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Annabelle vs. Robert the Doll

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

One of the most cherished items a child may receive is a doll. The child instantly has a companion to play with. They are a guest of honor at a tea party or someone a child can tell their deepest secrets to. A new doll may be an added member to an already growing family of dolls. But what happens when that beloved doll becomes anything but loveable?

The two infamous dolls that come to mind are Robert the Doll and Annabelle. Each doll has an allure to the paranormal community, the film industry, and those with the curiosity of legends. Each doll is made of cloth and stuffing and in their original condition, were adorable. What went wrong?

I thought it would be interesting to compare the two dolls to each other and compare their effect on everyone who has had an encounter with them before they were put into a protective glass box. Before we start with the comparison, let’s learn a little about them.

Robert the Doll
Robert the Doll

The story of Robert began in the early 1900s when a boy named Eugene Robert Otto was given the doll by a servant of his parents. Another account was that the doll was given to the young lad by his father, who acquired it from overseas. Eugene loved the doll so much he named him Robert, respectfully after his middle name. The two of them quickly became inseparable.

It wasn’t long after Robert’s appearance that strange activity began. Gene (Eugene) was terrorized by the doll, especially if Robert felt neglected. When Gene and Robert played, the other members of the household could hear two distinct voices interacting in conversation. When approached and asked who Gene was speaking to, Gene’s response would always be, “Robert.”

Robert’s diabolical behavior ended up with him locked up in a box and essentially forgotten about until Gene and his new wife moved back into his childhood home after the death of his parents. Anne, Gene’s wife, came across Robert and freed him from his confinement. Anne brought Robert to Gene and shortly after, the strange activity began. The activity put a strain on the couple’s relationship until once again Robert ended up back in the box. Gene Otto passed away in 1974 and soon after Anne sold the property.

Robert was found by the new owner’s daughter and as you expected, Robert began his reign of terror. The child would claim that Robert moved around the room. He frightened the young girl and as she claimed would hurt her and she feared for her life. In the box he went until he was brought to the East Martello Fort Museum. The East Martello Fort Museum housed many of Eugene Otto’s art and the current owner found it fitting that Robert belonged there.

So which doll is more diabolical?

Both dolls have allegedly come from and or have some type of malevolent entity attached to them. Both dolls seemed innocent at first and then became identified as evil. Robert supposedly became evil after the servant who gave him to Gene placed a curse on the doll in retaliation for mistreatment by Gene’s parents. Annabelle became possessed by the 7-year-old, Annabelle Higgins, who was found dead in the same apartment Donna lived. Later, the doll is believed not to be possessed by the young girl’s spirit but under the manipulation of an inhuman spirit. In the end, both dolls found themselves behind glass. It has been told the glass boxes have been blessed.

But here is another similarity. The “blessed” glass boxes have not stopped the diabolical actions by the dolls. In the case with Robert, there are four steps you must take when in the presence of Robert. You must greet him with respect. You must be respectful while you are with him. There is no mocking him or tapping on the glass. If you want to take a photo, you must ask his permission and finally when you leave, thank Robert for the visit and say goodbye. There are numerous accounts of disasters that occur to those that don’t follow the rules. The museum receives countless correspondences daily asking for forgiveness from Robert for not following the rules.


Annabelle isn’t much different. She too has numerous accounts of visitors suffering misfortunes after visiting her and not being kind and not obeying the rules. In one instance after taunting the doll, a motorcyclist crashed and later died from his injuries.

In my opinion, one doll isn’t more evil or malevolent then the other. It is up to the individual's belief system. I believe these objects can and have been saturated with the previous owner’s energy. These are dolls after all. I’m sure they have endured all sorts of energy. My advice is if you happen to visit either of these dolls, be kind and respectful and don’t tempt fate.

Annabelle’s story started much like Robert’s. Annabelle was a gift given to Donna by her mother. Just like Robert, the activity started shortly after Annabelle’s arrival. Annabelle started off innocent enough. She allegedly left notes asking for help. It wasn’t until the doll had the appearance of blood coming from her, that a medium was called in. The medium’s findings were that the doll belonged to a child name Annabelle Higgins and from that point on the doll was named Annabelle.

Annabelle’s terror was inflicted on many of Donna’s friends. One example, a male friend found himself being choked by the doll. In the course of the activity a priest was brought in, and he put Donna in touch with the Warrens, Ed, and Lorraine.

It has been reported that Ed and Lorraine avoided multiple accidents on the way to see Annabelle. While waiting for the Warrens to arrive, Annabelle was plaguing Donna with night terrors and angry bouts of aggression towards her. It wasn’t until the Warrens arrived and splashed the doll with Holy Water, the activity from the doll quieted down. The Warrens removed the doll and took it back home.

Annabelle didn’t stop. The next few weeks, Annabelle behaved the same for the Warrens. Annabelle would appear to levitate or switch rooms. Annabelle was locked in the Warrens’ office and later, she found her way to the living room. Ed and Lorraine hired a Catholic exorcist who verbally and physically assaulted the doll and got into a serious car accident shortly thereafter. Eventually, the Warrens had a special case made for Annabelle, and she's remained there ever since.

Annabelle is Kept Behind Glass

I’ve seen the Annabelle doll at a function hosted by the Warrens’ organization. There were hundreds of people there and all crowded around the encased doll to take photos and appear in selfies. I was amongst the crowd of people and from a distance I took a series of photos. It wasn’t until I reviewed the photos, I noticed Annabelle’s facial expressions changed from joyful to angry, back to joyful.

So, ask yourself, if you found yourself at the end of a dark hallway and saw a doll sitting in a chair staring at you, which doll would you rather see?

Chris O’Connor, MA

Co-Founder/Gifted Psychic Medium

Eastern Connecticut Paranormal Society

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