What is art is perhaps just as difficult as explaining what is a haunting. And haunted art? How can that be? Several paintings have strange occurrences, history and tragedy attached to them. From people dying to people feeling a certain way when looking at the paintings, these are some work of art that are claimed to be haunted.

The Crying Boy

In 1985, there were reports in the papers in England that the firefighter claimed they kept finding undamaged paintings in burnt down ruins. The paintings were all of the crying boy series, a mass produced scenario from the 1950s and onwards. The original idea of the paintings was from the Italian painter Giovanni Bragolin that sold over 60 of them to tourists. So many rumours surrounded the painter. Like that he painted the crying boys at an orphanage after fleeing to Spain after the war. The orphanage burnt down.

After the reports from the firefighters printed in the news by tabloid newspaper, the Sun, they organized bonfires to burn the pictures.


The Hands Resist Him

The Hands Resist Him, also known as the 'eBay haunted painting'

In February in 2000, a new listing on ebay appeared. An elderly couple in California tried to get rid of a painting from their brewery. But the painting had a disclaimer on it. It was said it carried some sort of curse or was haunted.

The characters in the paintings apparently had a habit of moving during the night. And occasionally, they completely left the picture as well, crossing the frame. It sold for so much more than what it was listed for.

It was purchased by the Perception gallery that tracked down the artist, Bill Stoneham that painted the picture in 1972. It was originally purchased by John Marley, most known for his role in The Godfather. And the strange travels of the painting and the mystery surrounding it, still lingers, even so many decades after the paint dried.


Man Proposes, God Disposes

At Royal Holloway University, there hangs a picture. The picture mus be covered every year. Or else…

It is an 1864 oil-on-canvas painting by Edwin Landseer. The work was inspired by the search for Franklin’s lost expedition which disappeared in the Arctic after 1845.


According to an urban myth a student in the 1920 or 30s. He was taking his exam when he suddendly stabbed a pencil into his eye, writing “The polar bears made me do it” on to their exam paper. He then killed himself. From this alleged incident, another legend sprung out in the 60s, claiming that anyone sitting in front of the painting during an exam would fail.

That is why everytime an exam is on, there is a college tradition of covering the painting with a Union Jack flag after a student refused to take the exam until the painting was covered.


The Rain Woman

The Rain Woman. Svetlana Telets

Ukranian artist, Svetlana Telets painted this picture in 1996. For six months after graduating art school, she always had this feeling of someone watching her. She herself claimed that something or someone took over her, like drawing through her. The painting was done in five hours, and the result, well… It was this strange and surreal looking woman.

The painting was bought, then returned, then sold, then resold again. The buyers didn’t want it in their homes. They complained that the painting was causing them to experience insomnia and anxiety. And there was always a feeling of being watched.


Untitled. Laura P.

Untitled. Laura P.

This painting was based on a photograph by James Kidd from 1994. A picture believed to have a headless figure some claiming to be a ghost. According to Laura P, she started painting the painting, not knowing why she did so, as if being under some possession.

After the painting was done, she herself told of things surrounding the painting that were, strange. Incidents happening to the artist, possessions missing, and objects falling and breaking are just some of them. This has led to some people claiming the painting is haunted by the spirit from the original photo.


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