When you think of the word ‘haunted’ your mind automatically conjures up images of foggy, moonlit graveyards and creaking old houses, you wouldn’t automatically think of paintings, right? Well, ghosts and ghouls are well known to haunt objects as well as places. And in the case of these haunted paintings you might find that you’re safer in the graveyard at the stroke of midnight than in a room with any of these malevolent works of art hanging on the wall.
From unexplained deaths and fires to a painting that comes to life in the middle of the night, here are the 5 most haunted paintings in the world.
1. The Anguished Man by Unknown
Sean Robinson had always been curious about the strange painting his Grandmother owned. He had discovered it as a boy while exploring her basement. Hidden from view by layers and layers of old, unused curtains, she told him it frightened her, saying that while she didn’t know the artist’s name, she had been told that the artist had mixed his own blood in with the paint just before committing suicide. After her death, the painting was given to Sean who hung it on the wall of his family home. Soon after, strange occurrences began to happen.
An unexplainable fog began to appear in the house, strange banging noises could be heard from empty rooms and one night Sean woke to find a dark figure looming over his bed. He could take no more. The Anguished Man was taken to the basement the next morning and placed in the corner, hidden from view by blankets where it remains to this day.
2. The Crying Boy by Giovanni Bragolin
At the end of the Second World War, artist Giovanni Bragolin began painting portraits of Italian orphans crying. Over time the mass-produced prints became increasingly popular in England, that is until the 1980s when people began to say that the prints were cursed. The Sun newspaper reported that in over 50 house fires, the Crying Boy prints were the only item to survive the flames. In one case, firefighters found a print, still in its frame, face down on the floor completely untouched by the fire that had destroyed the rest of the house.
Sound strange? Well according to numerous psychics the prints are haunted by the orphans, their misery and despair continuing to haunt the paintings long after their deaths. If you want to get your hands on a ‘cursed’ painting you’re in luck, you can actually find copies of The Crying Boy prints, or one of its many spin-offs on eBay.
3. Love Letters by Richard King
The Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, is famous for its haunted reputation and is a regular stop off for paranormal tourists from around the world. Of all the many ghost stories connected to the hotel, the most well known is that of Samantha Houston, the four-year-old daughter of a U.S. Senator. During her stay at the hotel in 1887, Samantha tragically fell to her death while chasing a ball down the main staircase. The painting Love Letters which hangs in the hotel does not actually depict Samantha, but it is said to be haunted by her spirit none the less.
Sightings of a little girl playing with a ball have been seen throughout the hotel. Staff and guests regularly report that the painting makes them feel dizzy and nauseous, while others have experienced a sensation of being lifted into the air while standing in front of it. Some even claim that the painting is trying to communicate with them, believing that if you stand in front of it for long enough the little girl’s expression will change.
4. The Dead Mother by Edvard Munch
While many of you will be more familiar with Edvard Munch’s haunting painting The Scream, it’s actually another of his paintings, titled The Dead Mother that people say is actually haunted. The deeply disturbing painting which depicts the figure of a young girl standing in front of her mother’s body has been exhibited around the world. People who have viewed the work of art find it unsettling, to say the least; but they also claim the eyes of the child followed them incessantly. Stranger still, some have even claimed to have heard the faint sound of the dead woman’s bedsheets rustling.
5. The Hands Resist Him by Bill Stoneham
In 1972 artist Bill Stoneham, painted the now infamous The Hand Resist Him. Inspired by a childhood photograph of himself and his wife’s poetry, he gave the painting to his local art gallery to display, before being purchased in 1974 by a private buyer. Over a decade later, the gallery owner, the buyer, and the art critic who first reviewed the painting had all died. Quite the coincidence? That’s not the half of it. After the death of the original owner, the painting changed ownership again and again until it was finally put up for sale on eBay. Which was when it’s true haunted nature was finally revealed.
The family selling the painting claimed it was haunting their daughter. The young girl told her parents she would often wake in the middle of the night to the sight of the boy and doll coming to life, crawling out of the painting to come and play with her. These stories of strange nighttime playmates were enough to convince the family that the painting needed to go. Some eBay customers said that just viewing the painting on their computers caused them to became physically ill and suffer blackouts. Undeterred by the ghost stories, gallery owner Kim Smith purchased the painting for $1,025. It now resides in storage, safely hidden from the view of unsuspecting art lovers.
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