I love me my twee creepy little stories, so settle down nicely by the fire while it pours with rain outside, and listen to this. My granny had a prohibition of putting up any pictures on the walls in the house that feature any eyes. From what I remember, she used to say that “things” could inhabit the pictures and watch you, or give you the “evil eye”. Not too sure about that myself, but this little gem of a story is right up there with some of my other favorite creepy stories.
Fortean Times has an article about a series of paintings they call the Crying Boy. The paintings (and reprints) all feature a portrait of a boy (not the same boy all the time) with tears running down his cheeks. The paintings are said to be cursed. Allegedly, hanging one of these paintings up is to invite trouble, and a burnt house. The fun part is that in each of the cases where a Crying Boy becursed house went up in flames, the said painting had survived untouched:
Rotherham fire station officer Alan Wilkinson who, it emerged, had personally logged 50 ‘Crying Boy’ fires dating back to 1973, dismissed any connection with the supernatural, having satisfied himself that most of them had been caused by human carelessness. But despite his pragmatism, he could not explain how the prints had survived infernos which generated heat sufficient to strip plaster from walls. His wife had her own theory: “I always say it’s the tears that put the fire out.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the stories had been started—and were being fueled by—The Sun tabloid paper, so a pinch of salt should go with paying attention to this story. So how much credence to the story did the boss of The Sun give it?
When the assistant editor took down a picture of Churchill, which had been hanging on the newsroom wall since the Falklands War, and replaced it with a Crying Boy, the mystery was resolved: “MacKenzie, bustling into the newsroom at his normal half-run, stopped dead in his tracks and went white. ‘Take that down,’ he snapped. ‘I don’t like it. It’s bad luck.’”
And what of the fireman, Alan Wilkinson?
Fireman Alan Wilkinson reacted in a similar fashion when his colleagues presented him with a framed Crying Boy on his retirement from the brigade. Like Kelvin MacKenzie, he denied being superstitious, but nevertheless immediately returned the painting, saying: “No thanks, you can keep it.”
The article then goes on to say:
Wilkinson admitted that he had been presented with another Crying Boy print by a worried woman who turned up at his home one night. He took it to work “as a joke” and mounted it on the office wall of the fire station. Within days, he was ordered by his superiors to take it down. Heaping irony upon comedy, the story continued: “The same day, an oven in the upstairs kitchen overheated and the firemen’s dinners were burned.”
Still, as far as creepy little stories go, it’s right up there with the other haunted painting. Does anyone out there have an actual copy of one of these prints? Has anything odd happened to you?
Sleep tight, children!