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Thread: The Crying Boy painting

  1. #1
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    Default The Crying Boy painting

    I refer to the very depressing portrait of a young male child in tears which brought even more depressing consequences to the many homes around the country where it had hung on living room walls, mostly in the mid 1980s. I just happened to think about it in the past week, and watched a few YouTube clips about it. (I am not going to put an image of the painting on here because I don't know what might happen, considering the past!)

    A brief mention was made in a 2013 thread: https://forums.doyouremember.co.uk/t...932#post182932 - I thought that it deserved a thread of its own because of its incidental mention in that thread, and as far as I can see, no one else has started a similar thread since.

    I hated the portrait for the sake of taste and decency and sour feel towards it, but back in around 1985 it was rumoured to have caused many house fires around Great Britain where everything had burnt apart from the picture itself, for it was regarded to have been coated in a non-burning gloss. At the least Mona Lisa didn't have this controversy when it was painted all those centuries ago. It was assumed that either the boy portrayed in the painting or the artist came from a family of gypsies of Jehovah's Witnesses where they probably cursed or worshipped the painting into what it would be known for. I believe that the painting could have been made as early as the 1950s, so why it took 30 years before all these controversies occurred was anyone's guess. In fact, it even happened to my own family - it could have done, anyway...

    A Tuesday afternoon in mid 1985 - me and my parents were returning from a shopping trip, walking home from the shops along the main road. We pass a former corner shop which sold second hand items, pictures, old furniture, bric-a-brac (as Brian Cant would say), and anything that people decided to sell to them. We step inside and my late mother's eye is focused on a painting of a young boy crying, because she said it reminded of me at times, (a horrible thing to say), hence the fact that I hated it. (The irony was that many years later the boy reminded me of one of my nephews). Mother exchanges money with the shopkeeper (which I didn't want her to do), and she leaves the shop with the portrait and us, and we walk up the hill home.

    At home, a nail is knocked into a wall and the garish painting is hung up near the corner of the room, adjacent to a copy of Constable's Boat-building Near Flatford Mill on the opposing wall. The picture stays there for a few weeks or a couple of months whichever was the longest. Now, I am certain that while we had a painting, I had a minor electric shock plugging something into the wall underneath the picture where there was a bit of smoke - it could have been coincidental, or was it?

    Fast forward to the autumn of that year - my parents used to read The Sun as they are not intellectual people - (The Times, they were not, even if Murdoch owned them both). In a September 1985 issue of the tabloid newspaper, (probably on page 13), there was a mention about the painting causing many fires around the country - a "twice as big as a postage stamp" sized gallery (black and white of course in those days) of around six different portraits of crying boys were published in the newspaper, and one of them (probably the third one) was the one that had hung up in the living room at that time. It had been hung up for around a couple of weeks - certainly during the summer or autumn of 1985 thereabouts.

    My mother couldn't believe it - within a day or so (or perhaps even the same day), we took the picture off the wall and went down the hill to the shop where we got a refund for it, and I was glad to see the back of it as well. She came from a family of gypsies growing up and was very superstitious (i.e. not washing clothes on a Friday and all that), and so I assume that she was aware of the similarities of the fires starting around the country.

    I am not too certain whether my mother gave her reason for returning it, but I am sure that the reason would have soon been more than apparent to everyone. Reports of more house fires where the painting survived unscathed were mentioned by The Sun, and they even invited readers to send their portraits to the offices of the newspaper for a big bonfire. This was indeed around the time when I had a phobia about things going on fire; PIFs on the television on the subject; and Grange Hill and Coronation Street were just around the corner from having fires of their own. It wasn't long before I had a bedroom to myself which I have had ever since, and so there was something sinister about late 1985 and early 1986 to someone like myself.

    One of the fire brigades, probably South Yorkshire, tried to burn the painting but only got the frame burnt, while the same thing was attempted in a BBC documentary - it wouldn't burn, and yet everything else surrounding it was destroyed. Even over 30 years later it mystified even the police and experts in why the young man in the picture had been implicated into committing so much criminal damage and arson and had survived his presence. But why was there nothing for 30 years and the paintings had become flavour of the month all of a sudden in around mid 1985?

    Did any of you have a copy of those paintings. and did your family try to get rid of it as soon as they could possibly can as soon as they learnt of the Health and Safety risks of keeping it?
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Crying Boy painting

    Are you really concerned ??

    I don’t believe in anything mysterious like ghosts or ghouls or aliens or whatever ..

    There’s no conclusive , scientific proof of anything ‘other worldly’ ..

    Even when I was a little boy I used to purposely walk under ladders when everyone else was going around .. I always looked up first to ensure nothing fell down on me

    .. I ain’t stoooopid


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Crying Boy painting

    We were talking about this at work a few months ago, supposedly the pictures were covered with a retardant with made them hard to burn.

    I wonder if the blue Chinese girl has similar issues?
    The Trickster On The Roof

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Crying Boy painting

    I gave this ‘story’ a quick google but didn’t follow the links as they’re all weird and wonderful sites ... paranormal sites , obscure websites ..

    Yawn ... not for me ... I’ll stick to my history / documentary/ sports sites and channels


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Crying Boy painting

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincubus View Post
    Are you really concerned ??
    I probably was back then - all these coincidental fires seemed a bit too much, and I was seven years old at the time.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Crying Boy painting

    I guess the connection wasn't made between the 50s and the 80s because there wasn't really the type of TV shows that indulged in those kind of stories?

    I saw a pair of these at the market the other month, a matching crying boy and crying girl. Someone bought them though as they were gone when i went past the same stall later, I wouldn't have touched them, i remember the stories of the fires.

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