Regardless of the truth of the stories that surround this painting many families that have owned a print of this painting state that at least one member of their family found the picture to be “creepy.”
An Italian artist or Spanish artist by the name Bruno Amadio—no one seems to know for sure--did the original painting. The picture depicts a young boy, an orphan, of around 4 years of age who is crying. Other versions of this original painting have been done since.
|One version of print.|
A print of the Crying Boy was mass-produced and distributed in the UK starting in the 1950s. In the mid 1980s the many prints of this painting gained the reputation of being cursed and sometimes even haunted.
This story took shape when the British tabloid The Sun published an article in September of 1985 that shared a story that a firefighter from Yorkshire, Peter Hall told. According to Hall unscathed Crying Boy prints were found in 40 to 50 homes that had burned down.
Hall went on to state that a fire had even ravaged his brother’s home but that his print of the Crying Boy remained undamaged. This story also stated that because of these fires other firefighters would not place a print of this picture in their homes.
The Sun * kept this story alive by having readers send in their Crying Boy prints. They then made a big deal of burning these pictures in a large bonfire in November of 1985.
|Another version of print.|
* Other British sensation tabloids that picked up on this story were The Daily Mirror and The Daily Star.
|Original Sun story.|
To add fuel to the fire-- pun intended—The Sun circulated the untrue story that while some of these “sent in” prints were being stored in a warehouse--they caused this structure to burn down.
This story then took on a life of its own with tales circulating that the original artists’ studio had burned down and shortly after the young boy depicted in the picture was killed in a car crash.
Thousands of prints of this picture have been bought—the curse is said to effect all of these prints but with the caveat that the owner must be aware of the curse first.
Yet another story stated if the owners of the prints “were kind to it” it would actually bring them good luck.
In a departure from the curse story others stated the young orphans’ ghost haunts all the prints because of the tragic way he died.
Steve Punt, a British writer and comedian investigated this curse for the BBC. This production concluded that these prints did not burn because a fire resistant varnish was used on them.
But many people who have experienced these fires do believe in this curse. They state this BBC production did not explain why the wooden frames and string that held these prints on the wall also did not burn.
Here is a link to an article that maps how this story became so huge.
The video below shows a “test” presented on Steve Punt’s show entitled, Punt Pl. An attempt is made to burn a Crying Boy print.