The 5 Most Haunted Paintings in the World

There are plenty of paintings where the eyes seem to follow you around but these are the 5 most haunted paintings in the world and things go far beyond that. While most of them are hanging in a gallery or locked away in private collections, their story continues.

Number 5: The Hands Resist Him by Bill Stoneham

First painted in 1972 by artist Bill Stoneham, The Hands Resist Him isn’t your typical piece of art. This eerie painting depicts a young boy standing next to a large doll in front of a window with several small hands pressed up against the glass. While the content is creepy as it is, Stoneham’s style adds to the uneasiness of the whole painting.

Stoneham stated that in the original painting, the hands represented the many paths he could have taken in life. However, soon after selling it to a gallery, it began to take on a life of its own. Within three years, three men who had come into contact with the artwork lay dead—the gallery owner, an art critic, and the man who purchased the painting from the gallery.

The Hands Resist HimSince then, it’s been associated with death and despair and, for many years, it remained locked away. But, in 2000, The Hands Resist Him resurfaced on eBay where its treacherous past seemed into urban legend. Today, people still claim that the painting has eerie mind control powers that take over viewers.

Number 4: The Woman of the Rain by Svetlana Telets

haunted painting

According to legend, Ukrainian artist Svetlana Telets’s hands were guided over the canvas by some unbeknownst force, propelling her to finish The Woman of the Rain in just 5 hours. What came out of that work is a gloomy and dark figure shrouded in black clothing, standing in the rain.

The Woman of the Rain might seem like any other boring painting but it seems to create perplexing side effects in whoever looks at it. Previous owners have reported suffering sleepless nights, despair, anxiety, and an invasive feeling of being watched.

The painter sold the piece several times and each time it was returned. The buyers didn’t even want their money back, they just wanted the painting out of their house. They kept seeing a shadow of a woman walking around them as they slept.

The painting currently hangs in a salon in Kiev where customers occasionally report the painting showing signs of anger.

Number 3: The Crying Boy by Giovanni Bragolin

crying boy haunting painting

Few paintings have gained quite the reputation The Crying Boy has. While it isn’t exactly a masterpiece, Giovanni Bragolin’s The Crying Boy has become renowned as a bad omen that brings forth the fires of hell. This reputation grew to such a peak that British tabloids even ran a piece on it.

The Crying Boy was originally painted in the 1950s and soon became a common household print. However, it started mysteriously popping up whenever a house caught fire in the UK. Some firefighters even went as far as to warn homeowners from purchasing the print because wherever it went, destruction seemed to follow.

While it could be that many homes simply owned the painting and some of those homes caught fire, what makes this painting so peculiar is that in almost all of those cases, The Crying Boy seemed to survive unscathed. Homes and families’ possessions would burn to a crisp while the seemingly sad boy survived.

The only explanation is that the painting seems to be of a young Spanish urchin named Don Bonillo. According to legend, Bonillo’s parents died in a fire, hence his tears. Now, the young boy carries fire wherever he goes.

Number 2: Man Proposes, God Disposes by Edwin Landseer

Man Proposes, God Disposes by Edwin Landseer

Man Proposes, God Disposes might look like a terrifying painting of polar bears but its backstory is where the true horror lies. Originally painted in 1864 by Edwin Landseer, this gruesome piece of art depicts the final hours of scientist and explorer John Franklin.

Franklin had originally set out to find the fabled Northwest Passage—a maritime route through the Arctic that connects the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Unfortunately, the passage was frozen solid with shifting glaciers. As Franklin tried to pass through the region, his ship and crew became lodged in a sheet of ice.

Man Proposes, God Disposes shows what the Canadian government feared most—that Franklin and his team of explorers had been devoured by ravenous polar bears in the night. While the painting caused controversy almost 200 years ago, the painting is still attracting attention today in a much bigger way.

People looking at the painting were unable to look away and as darker events started to happen, the painting has been kept covered for several years.

Number 1: The Anguished Man by Unknown Artist

The Anguished Man

Easily the darkest story on our list, The Anguished Man comes with a cloudy background that no one can really verify. According to the owner, he inherited the painting from his grandmother who claimed the painting was evil. The original artist had created the work using his own blood before finally killing himself on its completion.

She’d see a dark and hazy figure roaming through her attic and hear sounds of crying and torment. After inheriting the painting, her grandson began seeing and hearing the same. The figure seems to resemble a middle-aged man though it’s not exactly clear who he is. Most people believe it’s the tortured soul of the painter, trapped within his own work.

The current owner has even reported seeing the painting move on its own, prompting a paranormal investigation. When questioned, the painting offered forth few answers, although, the dark figure appeared for the investigators and slammed a wooden table onto the floor.