It goes without saying that art is powerful. It can bring people to tears, make them feel joy, and much more. But can pieces of art actually be haunted? In many cases around the world and throughout history, art is rumoured to be haunted by the figures within them. Whether just a feeling that people get when around the painting, or actual eerie events occurring in the surroundings, haunted paintings can cause havoc in many ways. As we countdown to Halloween, we’ve put together a list of some of the most haunted paintings around the world.
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The Hands Resist Him
The Hands Resist Him is a notoriously haunted painting completed by Bill Stoneham in 1972 depicting a young boy and girl standing in front of a shop window. Though the artist had no bad intentions, the painting has been blamed for the death of a gallery owner and the first critic to ever review the painting. The painting gained a reputation as it was sold on eBay with claims that it was cursed, accompanied by a webcam video of the small boy climbing out of the painting. The little girl’s hands could be seen to be holding a gun and people claim she is forcing the boy out of the painting to cause havoc in the real world. It’s also been said to cause strange things to happen when being viewed, from fainting, black outs, children screaming, and technology malfunctioning.
The Stagecraft or The Hanging Man
This eerie painting is an adaptation of a photograph, which was taken by commercial photographer James Kidd. The photo was taken of the wooden cart and the figure of a headless man was only found after the picture was developed, with no evidence of it being tampered with. The artist, Laura P, was drawn to the photograph and felt she had to paint it. Her oil painting of the photograph was hung in her house, causing inexplicable events. She claims that it has been responsible for a mysterious leak, objects being knocked over, broken items, and even mysterious knocks on doors. Laura has had many offers to buy the painting, however fears what will happen in the homes of buyers.
The Crying Boy
The Crying Boy has been blamed for countless house fires. Bruno Amadio completed the painting as part of a series of crying orphans and published it under the name Giovanni Bragolin. He made many prints of the painting to sell to tourists following the second World War. Following its distribution, the painting has been found untouched in many burned down homes. Found untouched in many cases, a story began to develop about the boy in the painting: His parents allegedly died in a fire and the orphaned boy cursed every home into which he was taken in. Despite no truth being found in this story, many people refuse to have the painting in their homes.
The Dead Mother
Edvard Munch, the famous painter known for ‘The Scream’, is responsible for The Dead Mother. The painting shows a young girl with her hands at the sides of her face in shock or despair, with her dying mother lying in bed behind her. Munch’s childhood saw the death of his mother and two siblings to Tuberculosis, which appears to be the inspiration of the painting. Many people claim that they feel uneasy around the painting, with her eyes following them round and the sounds of rustling bed sheets echoing near the painting.
Portrait of Samantha Houston
This seemingly sweet painting of a little girl has a dark story behind it. The subject, Samantha, is said to be the 4 year old daughter of a Senator in Texas. Samantha’s father brought his daughter when he stayed at the Driskell Hotel in Austin in 1887, where she unfortunately fell down the stairs when playing with her ball. Since then, her ghost is said to haunt The Driskell where she died. Her painting, completed by Richard King, was hung in the hotel where she died and has focussed the spirit’s alleged activity. A bouncing ball can often be seen in the Hotel lobby, door handles beside the painting rattle, and her expression seems to distort as guests view the painting. Guests have also reported feeling nauseous or a falling feeling around the artwork.
If you’re looking for less spooky inspiration for your art projects, check out our blog on How to Find Inspiration for Your Art.