There’s nothing that I love more than art and weird historical facts, so today I’m going to write about some paintings that are believed to be, somehow, cursed and that have some pretty “bizarre” background. Most of these paintings are very famous even because they were owned by actors or other Very Important People. This is going to be a long post, so sit tight, grab a cuppa and enjoy.
“The Hands Resist Him” (Bill Stoneham, 1972) is known as the haunted eBay painting. It depicts a young boy and a female doll standing in front of a glass door against which many hands are pressed. According to the artist, the boy is based on a photograph of himself at age five, the doorway is a representation of the dividing line between the waking world and the world of fantasy and impossibilities, while the doll is a guide that will escort the boy through it.
Stoneham was under contract with gallery owner Charles Feingarten to produce two paintings a month, for a fee of $200 each. He then wrapped up his contract in 1974 with a large gallery show put on by Feingarten. There, “The Hands Resist Him” was purchased by actor John Marley, famous for his role as the movie producer in The Godfather. That gallery show also led to the painting’s first press mention: a review in the Los Angeles Times by noted art critic Henry Seldis. Between 1978 and 1984, three of the men closest to “The Hands Resist Him” died: Seldis in 1978, Feingarten in 1981, and Marley in 1984. John Marley’s family got rid of the painting and only in 2000 the painting surfaced in a listing on eBay. The family who sold the painting added a spooky story: “WHEN WE RECEIVED THIS PAINTING, WE THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY GOOD ART. A ” PICKER ” HAD FOUND IT ABANDONED BEHIND AN OLD BREWERY. AT THE TIME WE WONDERED A LITTLE WHY A SEEMINGLY PERFECTLY FINE PAINTING WOULD BE DISCARDED LIKE THAT. (TODAY WE DON’T !!!) ONE MORNING OUR 4 AND 1/2 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER CLAIMED, THAT THE CHILDREN IN THE PICTURE WERE FIGHTING, AND COMING INTO THE ROOM DURING THE NIGHT.“
The father of this young girl set up a motion-sensitive camera in her room to show his daughter there was nothing to be afraid of. Instead, he saw the boy crawl from the painting and the doll holding a gun. The painting was sold to gallery owner Kim Smith for $1,025, but there are still reports of people being repulsed, made physically ill, or suffering from a black out/mind control experiences just for being in the presence of the painting.
The Crying Boy is a mass-produced painting and exists in several and alternative versions, all portraits of tearful young boys or girls. It is by the italian painter Bruno Amadio (also known as Giovanni Bragolin) and was widely distributed from the 1950s onwards. On September 4, 1985, the British newspaper The Sun ran a story reporting that these paintings were jinxed as a firefighter from Yorkshire claimed that undamaged copies were frequently found at the scenes of fire. In the years that followed, some 40-50 cases were recorded in which a house fire destroyed everything except for the painting. Some people claimed that Giovanni Bragolin‘s painting were associated with illness and terror and that all 28 paintings represented dead children, or that he made a pact with the devil in order to sell his paintings. Whatever that is… it definitely worked.
Sean Robinson inherited The Anguished Man from his grandmother (what a lovely thought), who had feared the painting and kept it hidden in her basement. She chose to leave this frightening possession to her grandson because he’d been curious about it since he was a boy. Sean’s grandmother claimed that she didn’t know the painter, but that the artist mixed his blood with the paint just before committing suicide. When Sean hung it on the wall, strange events started to occur within the house. There were strange noises and fogs, doors opened in the night, unknown voices screamed, and the entire family was haunted by nightmares. After many arguments and sleepless nights, The Anguished Man is now hidden in Sean’s basement. He also recorded some “spooky” footage that you can check – here –
Man Proposes and God Disposes by Sir Edwin Landseer commemorates the lost voyage of Sir John Franklin to chart a passage through the Arctic waters in the north of Canada, with the polar bears assumedly feasting on his crew. Recent findings show that not everyone perished with the ship and that some crew members were cannibalised. The painting hangs in the gallery of Royal Holloway College at the University of London, a room frequently used for exams.
Whenever an exam is held, the painting is covered by a Union Jack flag because the students fear that the painting with drive them mad and cause them to fail their exams. Rumour has it, that when the College first opened as a female institution, a student taking an exam was so distressed by the painting that she killed herself while still sitting at her desk.
There are a lot of other stories about haunted paintings and objects but the post would have been, seriously, too long, but if you are interested in the topic I’ll be writing a second part… and even a third.
Did you know any of these stories and paintings? I find it pretty creepy that ordinary objects tha you can find in every house can turn into “destructive” things. I mean, who doesn’t have a painting hung on the wall? Probably you should check it closer…