Key West’s Fort East Martello Museum Named Among 10 Best Haunted Destinations in U.S.
KEY WEST, Florida Keys — As Halloween approaches, Key West’s historic Fort East Martello Museum has been chosen one of the United States’ 10 best haunted destinations in the 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award contest sponsored by USA Today.
Announced Sept. 29 at 10best.usatoday.com, winners including Fort East Martello were selected by readers as the best in the country for reports of paranormal activity.
According to 10Best, “The fort has its fair share of ghost stories, but none are quite as famous (or mysterious) as Robert the Doll. This handmade doll, made at the turn of the 20th century, purportedly causes electronic devices to malfunction, and staff members have reported creepy giggling in the museum and swear that his facial expressions have changed.”
Housed in an unfinished Civil War-era fort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the museum was opened in 1950 by the Key West Art & Historical Society. Exhibits spotlight topics including the Florida Keys’ early shipwreck salvage and cigar-making industries, the metal sculptures of renegade folk artist Stanley Papio, and an eerie-but-true episode of love beyond the grave in 1930s Key West.
But the 41-inch-tall sailor figure dubbed Robert the Doll, given to a local child in 1904 and soon blamed for unnerving exploits, is the museum’s star attraction.
Internationally renowned for his mischievous deeds, Robert has appeared on national television shows, been a special guest at paranormal conventions and receives letters from around the world. He’s also the subject of Ghost Key West’s nightly “Robert the Doll Experience” guided ghost-hunting adventure.
10Best provides its users with travel content on attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for leading destinations in the U.S. and around the world. Contest nominees are chosen by a panel of relevant experts and editors from 10Best, and readers are invited to cast digital votes.
Other haunted spots receiving recognition include Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park in Yuma, Arizona; Wood Island Lighthouse in Biddeford, Maine; and Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fort East Martello Museum information: kwahs.org/museums/fort-east-martello/visit