|"The Hands Resist Him"|
Art in its painted medium is one of the oldest and more honest forms of expression. It requires the blood, sweat, and tears of the creator, so it’s easy to imagine that some of the artist is left behind once the painting is finished. How much power does a painting hold?
Have you ever found yourself unsettled by a portrait? The eyes of the subject may seem to follow you as you pass, their gaze may feel a little too real. A particular urban legend takes the unearthliness of a certain piece of art and taking it to the next level—a haunted painting.
There are two such real-life examples I am familiar with. The first concerns a painting by artist Bill Stoneham originally done in 1972. The painting, called The Hands Resist Him, features two figures standing in front of a glass door. The two figures are a young boy and a life-size doll with a dry cell battery and a stringy mass of wires clenched in her hands. Pressed against the glass door behind them are a dozen disembodied hands. To be honest, the piece is pretty creepy on its own, even without being dubbed, “the eBay Haunted Painting”.
The legend starts with the painting being purchased by actor John Marley (The Godfather). After his death the painting was found by a couple in an old brewery. The couple later decides to sell the painting on eBay, claiming that the artwork is cursed. In their product description the couple goes on to tell that the characters in the haunted painting moved about at night, and sometimes even stepped out of the frame into the room. People claimed that they felt sick or uncomfortable when they viewed the painting and eventually sold for $1,025. Nothing strange was reported after that.
|"The Crying Boy"|
The 2007 Vietnamese horror film Muoi: The Legend of a Portrait is about Yun-hee (Jo An), a writer who is looking for the topic of her next book. She discovers the legend of a girl named Muoi who was betrayed in life and murdered. Now her vengeful spirit haunts her portrait. As Yun-hee delves deeper and deeper into the legend, she finds the story bleeding into her own life.
And we mustn’t forget about Ghostbusters II (1989), which involves the haunted painting of Vigo the Carpathian, who possesses Dr. Janosz Poha (Peter MacNicol) so that he may obtain Dana’s (Sigourney Weaver) baby and regain life.
So next time you stop by your local art gallery, look a little deeper into the eyes of a portrait and see if someone stares back out at you.