This is the true story of the Haunted Painting, the most bizarre and frightening tale I’ve heard in quite a while.
In February, 2000, the haunted painting was put up for sale on eBay and an auction begun. Today, many wonder if it was a true story, or a marketing ploy. Item 251789217 was it’s name on eBay, but it quickly became known on the Internet as “The Haunted eBay Painting.”
The item description in itself was bizarre:
WHEN WE RECEIVED THIS PAINTING, WE THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY GOOD ART. A ” PICKER ” HAD FOUND IT ABANDONNED BEHIND AN OLD BREWERY. AT HTE TIME WE WONDERED A LITLLE WHY A SEEMINGLY PERFECTLY FINE PAINTING WOULD BE DISCARDED LIKE THAT. ( TODAY WE DON’T !!! ) ONE MORNING OUR 4 AND 1/2 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER CLAIMED, THAT THE CHILDREN IN THE PICTURE WERE FIGHTING, AND COMING INTO THE ROOM DURING THE NIGHT. NOW, I DON’T BELIEVE IN UFOS OR ELVIS BEING ALIVE, BUT MY HUSBAND WAS ALARMED. TO MY AMUSEMENT HE SET UP A MOTION TRIGGERED CAMREA FOR THE NIGHTS. AFTER THREE NIGHTS THERE WERE PICTURES.THE LAST TWO PICTURES SHOWN ARE FROM THAT ‘STAKEOUT’. AFTER SEEING THE BOY SEEMINGLY EXITING THE PAINTING UNDER THREAT, WE DECIDED, THE PAINTING HAS TO GO.PLEASE JUDGE FOR YOURSELF. — BEFORE YOU DO, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWIND WARNING AND DISCLAIMER. —-WARNING: DO NOT BID ON THIS PAINTING IF YOU ARE SUCCEPTIBLE TO STRESS RELATED DISEASE, FAINT OF HEART OR ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH SUPERNATURAL EVENTS. BY BIDDING ON THIS PAINTING, YOU AGREE TO RELEASE THE OWNERS OF ALL LIABILITY IN RELATION TO THE SALE OR ANY EVENTS HAPPENING AFTER THE SALE, THAT MIGHT BE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS PAINTING. THIS PAINTING MAY OR MAY NOT POSESS SUPERNATURAL POWERS, THAT COULD IMPACT OR CHANGE YOUR LIFE. HOWEVER, BY BIDDING YOU AGREE TO EXCLUSIVELY BID ON THE VALUE OF THE ARTWORK, WITH DISREGARD TO THE LAST TWO PHOTOS FEATURED IN THIS AUCTION, AND HOLD THE OWNERS HARMLESS IN REGARD TO THEM AND THEIR IMPACT, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.———— NOW THAT WE GOT THIS OUT OF THE WAY, ONE QUESTION TO YOU EBAYERS. WE WANT OUR HOUSE TO BE BLESSED AFTER THE PAINTING IS GONE, DOES ANYBODY KNOW, WHO IS QUALIFIED TO DO THAT?
Shortly thereafter, in response to questions about the piece, the sellers posted the following addition:
THE SIZE OF THE PAINTING IS 24 BY 36 INCHES, SO IT IS RATHER LARGE. AS I HAVE HAD SEVERAL QUESTIONS, HERE THE FOLLOWING ANSWERS. THERE WAS NO ODOR LEFT BEHIND IN THE ROOM. THERE WERE NO VOICES, OR THE SMELL OF GUNPOWDER, NO FOODPRINTS OR STRANGE FLUIDS ON THE WALL. TO DETER QUESTIONS IN THIS DIRECTION, THERE ARE NO GHOSTS IN THIS WORLD , NO SUPERNATURAL POWERS, THIS IS JUST A PAINTING, AND MOST THESE THINGS HAVE AN EXPLANATION, IN THIS CASE PROBABLY A FLUKE LIGHT EFFECT. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO BID ON THE ARTWORK, AND CONSIDER THE LAST TWO PHOTOGRAPHS AS PURE ENTERTAINMENT, AND PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THEM INTO CONSIDERATION, WHEN BIDDING. AS WE THINK IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO BLESS ANY HOUSE, WE STILL WELCOME INPUT INTO THAT PROCEDURE.
After this description, there were eight shots of the item. Two were overview shots. Slightly left of center on the canvas, we see a boy of perhaps five or six, with sloping shoulders and a heavy brow, scowling at us. He is dressed as we would expect any early- or mid-twentieth century middle- or lower-class young boy to be dressed: a blue tee-shirt, greenish shorts, short socks and shoes. His dirty-blonde (or dirty blonde) hair is cropped into a very short crew-cut on his blocky head. His expression – his small, deep-set eyes, and his slightly downturned frown – are the look of an alien: disdainful curiosity. “You are not supposed to be here.”
To his right, propped against a window moulding (or perhaps free-standing, it’s difficult to tell), is a life-sized wooden doll girl. She’s wearing a faded blue dress. She only has empty holes for eyes, but her mouth is articulatable (and closed). In her hands she’s clutching what at first looks like some sort of tall bottle or canister tied with a string, but on closer inspection appears to be a tall battery (complete with little lightning bolt) with mad, dangling clips.
The two are standing on a street curb, in front of a full-length window. The building behind them is completely dark inside, but reaching forth from the darkness we can distinguish at least a dozen tiny hands. Some of the hands are lower, some higher, but none are higher than the two central figures; if these are, indeed, children’s hands, some of the children are on the floor. It is not clear whether the hands are reaching for the window pane, the light, or the boy and the doll.
Four more shots were details of the boy, the boy’s face, the doll’s face, and the doll’s battery (or whatever it is). But the last two shots were the ones that were supposedly made by the motion-activated still camera. They are clearly different from the daytime shots. Because the flash was centered on the boy (being the central figure on the canvas), and because it’s a rather large painting, the doll (who was, as I said, towards the left edge of the painting) is obscured by shadow, but the photographs clearly show that now, her mouth is open.
After the auction began, viewers started to report strange happenings whenever they tried to view the page. All of them – spectral voices, hot flashes, black-outs and “mind-control experiences” – are typical of mass hysteria. One man, a Native American spiritualist in Mississippi, claimed that the painting had evil in it, and after having viewed it on his web browser he had to cleanse his house by burning white sage.
More than thirteen thousand people bid on the work. The buyer, who remains anonymous (his E-Bay login was ionia7) but bought the work for $1025 US, claims that although the story of the arguing spirits is compelling as a curiosity, he was more interested in the composition of the work and was “buying to sell.” He says that it seems to have been produced some time between 1965 and 1975, and is entitled “The Hands Resist Him.” It is signed, but the current owner has not released the artist’s name. He has never experienced any unusual effects, and calls the work “a good example of surrealism from that period.
I think it’s pretty clear that everything which happened to people who viewed the painting through the web was the result of the power of suggestion. On the other hand, I remain skeptical but agnostic as to whether the painting itself is animate. If it were a hoax, the trickster employed the most cunningly inconsistent assertions, destroying the reader’s ability to restore any suspended disbelief. Even if it isn’t legit, there would have to be something seriously wrong with someone to have painted the thing in the first place. I mean, they would have to be fucked in the head quite badly. If you saw the work, you’d understand. It’s just spooky. It is not at all surprising that it provokes such extreme reactions.
The new owner of the painting claims he found an inscription on the back saying the title of the picture was “The Hands Resist Him”. He also found a signiature, but refuses to say who the painter was. He says he received thousands of e-mails from people claiming they were “repulsed”, made “physically ill” and “suffered from blackout/mind control experiences” just by viewing the pictures of the painting online.
An exorcist type of voice, along with a blast of hot air, like standing in front of an oven door. Two friends crying after this experience and praying until a minute had passed and everything went back to normal.
A new Epson printer that ate and mutilated page after page when the user tried to download images of this oil.
The Native American who became so ill he had to cleanse his house by burning white sage. He warned me not to put this item around small children, and that there is great evil contained here.
As I recall, both the owner of the gallery where ‘The Hands Resist Him’ was displayed and the art critic who reviewed it were dead within a year of the show.
Seller: MrNoReserve. Winner: Ionia7. Price: $1,025.00
Sources (some with pics):