reply posted on 11-6-2011 @ 09:36 AM by Tsurugi
All very interesting. The trails of blood and death left by "valuable" artifacts such as jewels and ancient relics are to be expected given human
nature. They hardly need a curse laid upon them; people will slaughter each other over them regardless. Not that I am saying there aren't curses at
work with some of them.
But I find the tales of strangeness that follow otherwise mundane objects such as dolls or unknown artwork to be much more fascinating; the "greed"
factor can be discounted as a likely source of the mayhem.
I have personal experience with an odd, unknown painting...it didn't engage in arson, but it was weird even so. A friend of mine assisted his blind
grandmother in locating and purchasing a house. The place was around fifty years old, in excellent condition, and had a long list of previous owners.
We never could find if there was a single reason for so much turnover of ownership, but people rarely seemed to live there long. If the place was
"haunted" it was of a benign variety, I admit the house was overly noisy at night and there were frequent odd drafts or puffs of air that were
noticeably different in temperature(both hot and cold) than the surrounding still air, but given the house's age those things were easy to discount
in theory, if not in practice.
There was, however, this painting in the attic. My friend told me about it one night when we stayed over after dinner and were watching a movie on
the TV in the room set aside for him by his grandmother. I commented on the various soft noises coming from the ceiling, saying we should set some
traps or get some poison or otherwise dispose of what sounded like a rodent infestation in the attic; an old blind lady could not possibly be at ease
in a house full of rats or mice that she can hear but not see. After a brief silence, my friend stated flatly that there was nothing "of concern"
in the attic.
The way his face and voice went to MIB Neutral when saying this naturally peaked my interest. I bugged him about it for a few minutes, finally he
told me that shortly after purchasing the place, he had checked the attic space to see if it would be suitable for long term storage of stuff his
grandmother didn't necessarily use but didn't want to throw away. When he went up there, he found a large, cavernous space, dry and unremarkable,
very much suited to long term storage. It was completely empty except for one thing: leaning against a vertical support and just out of arm's reach
from the trapdoor entry, there was a mid-sized painting of the head and upper torso of a young girl.
The painting was in no way sinister or otherwise "creepy looking." My friend said he remembered thinking it was a little strange; mainly because it
was just so unexpected. People abandon boxes of junk in attics, not paintings of pretty young girls. Only later did it occur to him that, seeing as
how the attic was totally empty aside from the painting, either a)The painting had been the only thing stored up there, which is strange, or
b)There had been other stuff stored up there and subsequently removed, and the painting had been purposefully left behind, because it could hardly be
missed by accident, which is also strange.
When he told his grandmother of his find, she immediately recommended they get rid of it. He told me she said "Little girls ought not be left in the
dark," but neither should they keep something so intimately personal as a hand-painted portrait that had been abandoned for unknown reasons. My
friend, reluctant to actually personally destroy the painting, put it out on the curb next to the trash, leaning up and set face-out, hoping maybe
some passerby would take it instead of the guys in the smelly truck. Either way, trash day came and went, and several weeks went by and he forgot all
about the painting.
Until one day his grandmother told him there were several boxes in her room that she had made ready for storage in the attic. When he brought the
first of them up the ladder and through the trapdoor, he saw the painting leaning in its spot against the upright, facing him.
I'm sure you all saw that coming. I did too when he was telling me the story. I was still fascinated, however, and I asked him what he did then, and
where was the painting now?
"I tried a couple more times to get rid of it. The last time, I took it to the park, folded it into one of the little BBQ grills they have there,
and set it on fire. I watched it burn to ash. The next time I went up there for grandma, it was there again." He paused, then said, "Now, when
she asks me to get something from the attic, or put something there, the place I actually go is the little shed in the back yard."
A bit more Q&A revealed that nothing actually scary or menacing or potentially dangerous had occurred; despite being repeatedly thrown away and even
burned, whatever was behind this phenomenon had not turned mean. My friend's fear or aversion was based purely on the weird-factor; paintings that
don't stay thrown away are to be avoided. I pointed this out to him and thereby convinced him to let me go up there and have a look at it myself.
The painting was there, as described. It was a small to midsized portrait, say 18x24 inches (46x61cm), done by a fairly talented amature, on a hard,
stiff media, somewhat like very dense cardboard and with a surface texture like rough canvas. It was of a girl in her preteens, say between nine and
twelve years of age, smiling slightly and very pretty, with blond hair and a blue dress in styles somewhat old-fashioned, like you would expect in
some of the earlier color photographs. There was no background, as though maybe the painting was incomplete...there was only a hint of shading around
her in an oval shape, to give contrast to the mostly light colors used to paint her. Outside of that oval, the canvas board was its original
off-white. That was really the only visually odd thing about the painting; the effect made it look as though she were sort of floating in a white
This has become much longer than I originally anticipated, so to cut a long story short: I took the painting with me and stashed it in my closet at my
house. Originally I had planned to keep it out somewhere but eventually had to put it away for the simple reason that I kept finding myself staring
at it, and in order to do things like study or read or fold clothes, I had to keep it out of sight. And yes, eventually it turned back up in the
attic, whereupon I checked my closet and it was gone from there. I wanted to do some more experimenting, a LOT more actually, but my friend said no
because the noises from the attic had increased a lot when I had the picture and his grandmother had asked him if he would set some rat traps in the
attic. He had never told her anything about the painting coming back, as far as she was concerned it had been taken care of the day she told him to
get rid of it, and he did not want to disabuse her of this notion. Rat traps wouldn't work for the noises, which would lead to questions he didn't
want to answer; that was the end of that. As far as I know, it's still up there.
My apologies for the overlong post.