The Curse of the Scary Crying Boy Painting

The Curse of scary crying boy original painting

This mystery is of particular interest to me, because when I was much younger, my parents actually had a copy of one of these crying child painting in our house, hanging half way up the stairs on the wall. Here's the story about the creepy old painting and it's numerous prints:

The Crying Boy is a mass-produced print of a painting by Italian painter Giovanni Bragolin. It was widely distributed from the 1950s on wards. There are numerous alternative versions, all portraits of tearful young boys or girls. In addition to being widely known, certain urban legends attribute a "curse" to the painting.

On 5 September 1985, the British tabloid newspaper The Sun reported that an Essex firefighter claimed that undamaged copies of the painting were frequently found amidst the ruins of burned houses. He stated that no firefighter would allow a copy of the painting into his own house. citation needed] Over the next few months, The Sun and other tabloids ran several articles on house fires suffered by people who had owned the painting.

By the end of November, belief in the painting's curse was widespread enough that The Sun was organizing mass bonfires of the paintings, sent in by readers.

Steve Punt, a British writer and comedian, investigated the curse of the crying boy in a BBC Radio 4 production called Punt PI. Although the format of the programmes are comic in nature, Punt researched the history of the Crying Boy painting. The conclusion reached by the programme, following testing at the Building Research Establishment, is that the prints were treated with a varnish containing fire retardant, and that the string holding the painting to the wall would be the first to deteriorate, resulting in the painting landing face down on the floor and thus being protected, although no explanation was given as to why no other paintings were turning up unscathed. The picture was also mentioned in an episode about curses in the TV series Weird or What? in 2012.

People who have an original painting or a print of the Crying Boy are apparently at severe risk of injury, or there’s a large chance that their house will burn down. Some claim that the painting is filled with subliminal messages, which encourages people to buy the painting, take it home, and hang it on the wall, and that as a result they will possibly even set their own house on fire while under the control of this painting and not have any recollection of even starting the fire. This would perhaps answer the question that has been posed by some: “Why would anyone want a picture of a crying child?”

Paintings of the Crying Boy are often found intact and still hanging on the wall after everything else in the house, including most of the house itself, has burned to a cinder. And this is probably for the best, because it is said that if a portrait were to fall off of a wall, that would be even worse, because that is regarded as an omen of impending death.

Can the curse be broken?
The only two ways the curse can be broken is to either give the painting away to someone, seeing as burning it doesn’t always seem to work according to those who have tried – or you need to get a hold of a Crying Girl picture. The two of them together will bring good luck, cancelling out the bad luck, according to legend. Others claim that being kind to the print can bring you good luck.

Why don’t the paintings burn?
According to Steven Punt, a writer and comedian, who applied a little bit of scientific method to try to debunk the curse, claims that the paintings don’t burn for two main reasons: one is that the print is put on a high density hardboard which is difficult to burn, and the second is that the print itself is covered in a flame resistant varnish. In addition to this, the paintings were said in some cases to fall on the floor after the string at the back of the painting perished, and from there the painting would collapse face first on to the floor, thereby preserving the print. This last theory contradicts some eyewitness accounts that detail how after the fire, the painting was still hanging on the wall, and it also fails to explain why other paintings did not survive the fires if they had been given the same treatment or were exposed to the same circumstances. Firefighters themselves were unable to come up with any real reason why the paintings didn’t burn. Those of a more superstitious orientation claim that the tears running down the boy’s cheeks put out the flames that attempted to burn it.

In fact, some people other than Steven Punt have even tried to burn the painting themselves in a controlled environment, only to find that they indeed didn’t burn. This has to make one wonder how The Sun was so successful at burning some 2500 paintings – or whether they were really burned at all.

Are the paintings worth any money?
Seeing as a lot of them have been destroyed over the years, yes, they can bring in some money. Prints aren’t worth all that much to be honest, maybe $40 at most, but original crying boy painting value (not prints), especially if they are framed, can bring in considerably more. Crying Girls are rarer than Crying Boys, so if you have an original of one of those, that would be worth up to $3000 and over. The one worth the most that I've seen is an original Crying Boy oil painting going for over $5000! These are the prices I’ve seen on eBay for these items.
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