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The Mystery Behind The ‘Cursed’ Portrait Of ‘The Crying Boy’ That Terrified UK Back In 1980s

Published on 24 December, 2017 at 11:00 am By

Can a painting have evil powers that can cause houses to burn down around it? Well, back in the 1980s, a huge number of Brits believed it.


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It was called ‘The Crying Boy’ and the picture depicted a child that looked sad and downcast, tears brimming from troubled eyes. The painting, along with other similar ones of children crying, was done by an Italian artist, Bruno Amadio, under the name Giovanni Bragolin. The children represented were often poor and very beautiful, who stared straight out of the picture, with tears welling in their eyes and rolling down their cheeks.

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Though it was strange to hang an image of a weeping child on your wall, the pictures proved popular all over the world. In the UK alone over 50,000 copies sold. In total Bragolin painted over sixty paintings and up until the early eighties the prints and reprints of his images, continued to be mass produced.

On September 4, 1985, media reports emerged telling about a couple, Ron and May Hall, whose house had burnt down due to a fire. Strangely, only one item seemed to have survived the blaze. Found amongst the ashes and ruin was a frame, the painting within was face down on the floor, and only slightly scorched. The Crying Boy had survived the fire somehow!

Fire-fighters believed the painting to be cursed, and that none would hang the picture in their homes. Further reports emerged talking more than fifty ‘Crying Boy’ fires. Soon, fear about the curse quickly spread. Many readers told their stories through the paper, and various other papers around the country.

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After people read about the curse, people attempted to destroy their copies of the paintings. They attempted to burn them in their garden incinerators, but the painting failed to burn. Mass bonfires were organised and quickly over two thousand had gone up in flames. Other methods of lifting the curse also appear to gain popularity, such as handing the painting to another (thereby giving them the curse), or hanging the picture alongside a painting containing a crying girl.

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It is also said that Amadio’s paintings of crying boys were cursed by the memory of Don Bonillo. It is also believed that various crying boys were orphans who, soon after the paintings were completed, died in a orphanage fire.

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