I couldn't write Creepy Corner if I didn't have some creepy friends.
One summer I looked after my friend Anne's cat for a week while she was visiting her family. When I went to her apartment to get the low-down on how to care for her kitty, I noticed she had some new art in her fanciful, antique-filled apartment. It was the worst painting ever.
"That is the worst painting ever, " I told her.
Anne laughed. I would never come right and say this to most people, but my friendship with Anne was built on playful, "I love to hate your face" ribbing.
The painting in question was a large, crusty oil painting of a "laughing" mad man/clown, holding an orange kitten-victim. I think it was supposed to be cheery, but the murky brown background, the yellow tinge to the clown's pale skin, and the way the clown's mouth turned up but the eyes were dead didn't exactly inspire childlike glee. The effect was "Dungeon Clown."
Why do people love clown paintings?
"Isn't it awful? I love it!" Anne gushed. "I got it at that place on South Grand that has the basement full of cheap antiques nobody wants." I knew the place, I got my shitty dresser there.
"It was only 10 bucks, and the guy told me nobody would buy it because it freaked everyone out. Can you believe it?"
Yes, yes I could.
As Anne instructed me on her cat's needs, I kept one eye on the clown the whole time. He kept his dead eyes on me. All I could think was that I was going to have to come here after dark to feed Anne's cat and have my soul stolen in chunks so that Denise the Dungeon Clown could walk amongst the living again. Anne would come back and MY face would be frozen in that painting with the orange kitten-victim saying, "I tried to warn you."
I ended up caring for Anne's cat, soul (mostly) intact. Whether I covered the painting with a sheet mid-week is between Anne's cat, Denise, and me.
But there's no doubt some paintings can be pretty effed up. Some paintings are so effed up, people have dubbed them as CURSED.
Remember "The Hands Resist Him" from the "Creepy Shopping" post a few months ago? You guys didn't like that one too much. Neither did I. I was too spooked to post an image of it. Until now!
This is one of those famous "haunted" paintings where owners have claimed that the boy and the doll move around the painting, appear OUTSIDE of the painting, and that those who gaze upon it feel nervous and ill. According to an eBay posting from a family attempting to get rid of the painting:
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.
True or not, this painting gives me the heebie-jeebies and I really don't enjoy it. Even though I'd included it in this post, I'd like to unsee it. What the hell is up with the little hands in the window?
But there are more cursed paintings to unsee!
So remind yourself you're a skeptic and that you ain't afraid of no cursed painting, and enjoy a stroll through the Creepy Corner art gallery.
The Crying Boy
By Italian painter Bruno Amadio, "The Crying Boy" is the star of a pretty intense urban legend.
In the mid-1980s, English tabloid The Sun reported that the home of Ron and May Hall had been destroyed by a fire and that the couple "blamed a cheap painting of toddler with tears rolling down his face." The only thing that survived the fire was the "Crying Boy" painting.
The story gained momentum when Ron's brother, a firefighter, came forward saying that he'd seen multiple fire-ravaged homes where the only item left untouched was a print of one of Amadio's "Crying Boy" (of which there are a few) paintings. Then others started coming forward.
Everyone claimed that their "Crying Boy" print only brought sickness, death, and fire to their homes. Brian Parks claimed that after destroying his copy of the painting when a fire badly damaged his house, returned home to find the painting hanging unscathed on his charred living room wall. Others reported that try as they might, their "Crying Boy" wouldn't burn.
After stoking the flames of hysteria for a while, The Sun offered to host a bonfire in which all "Crying Boy" prints could be burned and their owners could be saved. Unfortunately, it seems you can't stop "The Crying Boy" and reports of the curse continued through the late ’80s.
The Anguished Man
Whether the stories surrounding the "The Anguished Man" are true or not, he's a pretty creepy dude. I mean, look at this guy:
According to its owner Sean Robinson, the artist who painted "The Anguished Man" mixed his own blood into the oil paint, painted this picture, and then killed himself.
Inherited from his grandmother, Robinson says it sat in her attic, covered, for 25 years before her passing. While Robinson had some morbid affection for the painting, his grandmother maintained that it was "evil." While in her possession, she told of strange noises (among them, a man crying) coming from the painting and a "dark ghostly figure in the house."
When "The Anguished Man" came to live with Robinson, he first kept it in his cellar until a flood forced him to move the painting into his third floor spare bedroom. Almost immediately after moving the painting into the bedroom Robinson and his family started hearing sobs, cries, scraping sounds, seeing a dark figure, and feeling unseen hands stroke or push them.
At one point, Robinson's wife claimed she climbed into bed with who she THOUGHT was her husband, but when she turned over was face to face with a phantom stranger. Double check that your bedmate is who you think he or she is before snuggling in tonight!
Here is some footage Robinson took of "The Anguished Man". Whether he's furthering a hoax or documenting some genuinely bizarre stuff, I'm not going to lie, I get a kick out of videos like these.
Who wants to stay in Sean Robinson's guest room?
The Painting of the Headless Man
Laura P. decided to create an oil painting of a strange photograph snapped by commercial photographer James Kidd. Shot in Tombstone, Arizona, the picture is of an old stage coach. However, there appears to be a mysterious headless man in the picture. Good ol' haunted Tombstone USA!
Laura had unexplainable misgivings while working on her painting of the Tombstone photo, but decided to finish it anyway. Maybe she should have listened to her gut.
Upon completion, the painting was displayed for purchase in an office. However, very quickly the office called Laura to come and take the "haunted" painting back because every day the staff would come in to find the painting off kilter no matter how often they straightened it. Additionally, "appointments were inexplicably messed up and papers went missing."
Hearing about Laura's "haunted painting" a friend of hers insisted of seeing a photo of it. After scrutinizing the painting, she laughed at it off, and went on her merry way. That night, "a clock that had been on the wall for 40 years, fell down and broke into a hundred pieces."
Hanging the painting back in her home, Laura continued to be plagued by weird events. One such incident involved three large starfish nailed to her garage wall. Without warning, in front of Laura's eyes, the starfish were ripped off the wall, and flew six or seven feet. It's a well known fact headless ghosts hate starfish.
Other strange things like unexplained knockings and "hazy figures" have plagued Laura since the creation of her painting. Whether Laura has incurred the wrath of the headless ghost, or just her overactive imagination, I really like this painting.
It's not anguished or crying or even terribly mysterious. It's a folksy, "Americana" watercolor, with an eerie twist. It doesn't smack you over the head (or lack thereof) with its ghoulishness. This is the kind of kind of cursed painting I'd hang in my own creepy corner. (If I weren't deep down terrified of tempting fate.)
If I go stark raving mad after writing this post, you'll know why.
So the next time you're perusing the flea market or antique store, and you come across an "interesting" painting, think twice before hanging it in your home, or else the next instalment of Creepy Corner just might be about YOU.