The Curse of the Crying Boy

The Curse of the Crying Boy

?I?ll tell you why the paintings never burned. The boy?s tears put the fire out.?

One September morning in 1985, British residents opened their copies of The Sun, a popular newspaper, to find an astonishing article. ?Blazing Curse of the Crying Boy? read the headline. According to the story, Ron and Mary Hall lost their home to a fire when a frying pan burst into flames. Although the whole house was destroyed, one item remained: a print of a painting of a crying boy. Ron Hall?s brother Peter, who was a fireman, claimed that this wasn?t the first time this had occurred. Peter stated that he had witnessed many fires in which everything was ruined except for the Crying Boy painting. The response to the article was overwhelming. Within a day, hundreds of readers had reached out to the newspaper, claiming to be jinxed by the painting. How could one painting cause such an uproar?

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It all began in the 1950s. A Spanish artist named Giovanni Bragolini made a series of paintings that depicted a young child crying. He sold those paintings to tourists as a reminder of the orphans of World War II. Oddly enough, people in England, especially young couples, grew fond of these paintings. Mass prints of the paintings were sold across the country.

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After the story was published, people were seized with hysteria. The legend grew bigger as imaginations ran wild. Some people claimed that the painting had caused the death of family members. Others reported that when they tried to burn the prints, the painting would not catch on fire. Even restaurants with Crying Boy prints were burned to the ground. Firefighter Alan Wilkinson asserted that the fires were not supernatural events and were a result of carelessness. However, he admitted that he had noted more than fifty ?crying boy? fires since 1973.

Eventually, enough was enough. With people desperate to get rid of their copies of the painting, Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of The Sun, came up with a solution. He told readers to send in their paintings and that The Sun would destroy them once and for all. On Halloween, newspaper staff burned more than 2,500 copies of the painting.

As time passed, the original frenzy died down. But that hasn?t stopped people from adding their own pieces to the legend. One story claims that the boy in the painting was an orphan living in Madrid. Despite a priest?s warning that fires broke out wherever the boy went, the artist decided to adopt the child. Sometime later, the artist?s studio burned down. The little boy ran away, never to be seen again.

Was there something sinister about this painting? Or was it all a media spectacle designed to attract readers? Regardless of whether or not The Crying Boy was truly evil, its tale lives on in infamy.


Clarke, David. ?The Curse of the Crying Boy.? The Curse of the Crying Boy , David Clarke, 30 July 2011,

Wax, Alyse. ?Did This Painting Unleash a Supernatural Curse on Its Owners?? The 13th Floor, RSV BH, 4 Mar. 2018,


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