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Key West & Voodoo Dolls: My Own Halloween Trick or Treat Story
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic/Modifications: Text Overlay. It is attributed to Marius Haffner, and the original work, As if it was out of a spooky movie, can be found here.

Have you been part of your own Halloween story? So let me tell you about mine.

The summer right before my junior year in high school, I went to Key West for a week. A group of us teenagers spent a summer together researching marine science and technology. What a summer!

Key West was a bit "adultish" for us because we couldn't enjoy it sperks like going out to clubs, lounges, drinking, or any other adult activity. We did what most young tourists did. We visited a pirate museum toured the Hemingway House, went kayaking, created chaos along Duval street and bbq-ed at our hostel. (No the hostel is not the horror of the story).

So during this trip, we took a ghost tour through Key West. Along the way, our tour guide stopped us at this big white house. It looked like the Amityville home without all the scary woods that stood behind it.

We gathered across the street from this house as the tour guide began to tell us about Robert Eugene Otto. One day, Robert received a gift from his Bahamian nanny known to practice voodoo and black magic. He named it (drumroll please) Robert.

 Have you ever seen a horror movie where the main character walks up to an unlocked door and enters? What happens? Do they ever live to tell the tale?

We’re standing there on this dark, hot summer night, and the tour guide started to get to the juicy details of Robert the doll’s mischief. When things would get broken, go missing, or just could not be explained, he said, Robert the kid would blame his doll. Of course, no one believed him because duh it's a doll.

His parents would often hear Robert talking to the doll and hear someone responding. They really thought Robert was imitating the doll's voice. But, they soon believed that the doll was actually answering him.

Mysterious things kept happening. The neighborhood children would say that Robert the doll would appear in the windows and scare them as they were passing on their way to school.

Who would believe a group of children? They have wild imaginations. Right?

But, what about this: neighbors confessed seeing Robert moving from window to window. Do adults have imaginations too?

Robert the doll didn’t stop there. One day a maintenance worker, or a plumber, I can’t remember, was inside of the house repairing something. As he worked, he heard noises. No one was supposed to be there, but he kept working anyway. More noises crept through the house. The maintenance worker or plumber walked through the house but could not find where the noises were coming from.

Then there was Robert the doll. Could it be this disfigured, lifeless looking creature?

Did the worker live to tell the tale? We can assume that he did since I’m telling you this. Ha!

So as the tour guide continued to describe this unsightly looking doll to us, he pulled out a photo and held it up for the group to see.

Robert The Doll
The photo I took of Robert The Doll.

I took out my disposable Kodak camera. The one where you had to turn a dial each time you take a picture while hoping that the photos would turn out ok.

I took my shot of the photo. Seconds later the tour guide said these words (major side eye to him):

"Before you take a picture, you must ask Robert if you can take his photo otherwise your technology will stop functioning, and/or your camera roll will come out in all photos of Robert.”

Now you tell me, sir! So I kindly, yet jokingly ask Robert if I could take his photo. Not holding any truth to this theory, I decided I’ll just take photos of the house.

Fast forward to Friday, the end of the trip when we arrived at our drop-off location to unload and then go home. What a trip, I thought. I can rest easy. 

The following day, a few of us decided to work on our group project. We sat down at one of the brand new MAC desktops to upload and edit our video. We were almost done. Like we were adding the last frames to our video when the computer crashed. It went blank.

My heart dropped.

Alright, this is normal, I said to myself. I pushed the button to restart the computer. It turns on. So I’m thinking like “Yeah, we’re all good. Just a little setback.”

Then, a white screen appears. And, nothing.

30 seconds pass. 2 minutes pass. 5 minutes pass and still nothing.

I don’t think you understand the severity or even weirdness of this situation. This was a brand new MAC computer that had been installed and set up a couple months before we were even allowed to touch it. There was no way that this computer should have crashed this soon. Uggh!!

We spent time on our project and did not have a backup. We were so confident (or foolish) in our product that we deleted the clips off the camcorder. I don't know why we didn’t save them anywhere else but on this one computer! *Sigh*

Someone joked during our “crying” session that “Robert did it.” I couldn’t verify the truth of this statement because I hadn’t processed the film from my camera. My response, "Yeah right." But, deep down I knew it could've been possible.

I clung to hope that the IT guys could help us out. And, they surely did. NOT. They erased all hope because they could not explain what’d happened or fix the issue. Although we later were able to piece together our final video project, the stress of losing our hard work was upsetting. Like I would have rather someone steal *knocks on wood* the computer than to have it mysteriously crash. At least there would be a logical explanation.

That computer with that blank screen sat in the lab throughout the summer and the school year. It haunted me. It was like the plague. I could not erase the reminder about what the tour guide said. Could Robert the doll really have done this?

Robert, if you can hear me, could I use you as the subject to my...

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My Own Halloween Travel, Trick and Treat Story

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