The most haunted paintings of all time


Halloween is just around the corner, and that means one thing in the art world – to teach you about the most famous haunted paintings to date! So, that’s what we’ve done.

We’ve rounded up haunted artwork from the past (and the present) that you really need to know about, describing the spookiness behind each one. To keep expanding your knowledge of hauntings of all kinds, just read on!

The Anguished Man

The Anguished Man is a haunted painting by an unknown author; even to this day, no one knows who created it (it’s a bit like a Banksy art installation!) Haunted artwork always has a backstory, but this one hits a little different. Why? Well, to create the painting, the artist’s actual blood was used instead of oil paints…

Then, Sean Robinson inherited the painting when his grandmother passed away, and it was her who told him about the blood-filled painting, revealing that the artist committed suicide shortly after creating their illustrations. After Robinson took the painting under his wing, unusual things started happening. He started seeing paranormal activity, and began capturing it on his camera:

"I set the camera up once more in the spare bedroom. The painting has been stored away since the last recording. I recorded over three nights for approximately four hours per night, between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. I recorded the usual banging noises, but on the second night at approximately 3.25 a.m. I recorded the painting suddenly falling over and immediately afterwards a small orb is visible just above the painting.

"There were no drafts in the room and the painting was stood at an angle against the wall so it should not have been able to tip over by itself. I also experienced the strange mist again at the top of the stairs, it was like I was suddenly surrounded by smoke and I became very cold, but then it just vanished as quickly as it came."

The Crying Boy

The Crying Boy by Bruno Amadio is part of a series of paintings of crying orphans, with Amadio publishing this series under a different name – Giovanni Bragolin. So, what makes it one of the most haunted paintings around?

Well, The Crying Boy has been blamed for several house fires. Why, we hear you ask? Because when these particular homes were set alight, this painting was still standing amongst the debris in all of them, and untouched (in most cases)! Pretty unusual, right? The alleged story behind this haunted, Crying Boy painting is about an orphaned child, whose parents had died in a fire, so the boy cursed every house he was then placed in. People believe he wanted families to experience the same fate as him.

No obvious truth has been found in the story, but that doesn’t stop people from believing it. And even to this day, people don’t want to risk hanging this painting in their homes, just in case they tempt fate…

The Dead Mother

Image source: WikiArt

Inspired by the death he experienced in his own childhood, Edvard Munch’s painting, The Dead Mother, is one of the most haunted paintings around. It looks creepy, but the stories behind it are even creepier…

As you can see in the image above, The Dead Mother painting details a young girl standing in front of her mum’s bed with her hands over her ears. In the background, you can see her mum laid in bed, lifeless. And with Munch losing his mother when he was five to Tuberculosis, the subject of this masterpiece isn’t accidental…

This painting makes people feel uncomfortable to look at, but people claim they’ve seen the young girl’s eyes following them around the room. Others say they’ve heard the sound of the mother’s swishing bed sheets echoing as well. Not what you’d expect to experience after hanging up a new painting!

The Stagecraft of the Hanging Man 

Another iconic haunted artwork piece has to be The Stagecraft of the Hanging Man, which is an adaptation of James Kidd’s original photograph. The painting depicts a wooden cart parked up on the grass, with the image of a headless man standing in front of it. It was only when Kidd’s photograph was developed that the headless man showed up on the photograph, which is pretty spooky in itself!

Artist Laura P later painted this photograph and hung it in her own home, only to realise that it was cursed. Soon after displaying her beloved masterpiece on her walls, weird and spooky things started to happen. This included random objects being mysteriously knocked over, as well as hearing inexplainable knocking sounds on the doors.

And she even blamed The Stagecraft of a Hanging Man for the mysterious leak she found in her house after she hung it up. Laura has since had offers to buy her painting but apparently, she’s too scared to sell it; she’s worried about what would happen to the potential owners afterwards…

The Hands Resist Him

Painted by William Stoneham in 1972, The Hands Resist Him is a haunted painting that's based on a childhood photograph quite close to home. This artwork portrays a boy (around the same age as five-year-old Stoneham) standing next to a female doll. Both stand in a doorway looking sad and confused, and this painting was first displayed in Feingarten Gallery in America (Beverly Hills, California) in the ‘70s.

Shortly after, The Godfather actor, John Marley, bought the painting and after he passed away, The Hands Resist Him painting was later found by a couple, at a random site where an old brewery once was located. But the story doesn’t stop there because the two owners put the painting for sale on eBay, claiming it was haunted and “cursed”!

Stoneham’s painting then coined a new name, the “eBay Haunted Painting”, after the sellers' listing claimed:

“When we received this painting, we thought it was really good art... the time we wondered a little why a seemingly perfectly fine painting would be discarded like that (today we don’t!) One morning our four-and-a-half-year-old daughter claimed that the children in the picture were fighting and coming into the room during the night.”

The Hands Resist Him was then viewed over 30,000 times and sold for a whopping $1,025.00. Who bought it, you ask? Only the Perception Gallery in Michigan (America).

Share this newfound knowledge!

There you have it, some of the most haunting paintings to date. Now you’ve learnt all of this fascinating knowledge, you can share it with your friends and family. Plus, you can dive into even more information on each, as well as reading other informative pieces over on our blog. You’re welcome!