Do you think it’s possible for a painting to be haunted and cause multiple houses to burn down around it? In the 1980s, a British tabloid called The Sun published a piece about a painting that was believed to be the source of fires.
It told the story of a family living in South Yorkshire whose home had been destroyed by a mysterious fire. The owners of the home, Ron and May Hall, lost everything except for one item. A painting of a crying boy was found unscathed amidst the ashes.
One firefighter claimed that this wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. He had witnessed many fires across the U.K. that had burned everything to blackened bits, save for the Crying Boy Painting.
The article blew up overnight, and many readers reached out to the newspaper, saying they had also been cursed by the painting. This led people to burn any prints they had of crying children in a mass bonfire in order to get rid of the curse.
But why did so many households have artwork depicting crying kids hanging on their walls anyway? So the painting was done by an artist named Giovanni Bragolin, who was known for painting hundreds of crying children.
The Crying Boy and prints of other children in tears ended up being mass-produced and readily available for purchase in stores during the 1950s to 1970s. Oddly enough, they tended to appeal to younger couples.
The boy in the Crying Boy painting was named Don Bonillo, and it was said that he accidentally started a fire in Spain that resulted in his parents’ deaths. Ever since then, fires followed the boy wherever he went.
In the 1970s, the boy himself became a victim of a fire. A body had been found inside the charred ruins of a car, along with a driver’s license that read the name “Don Bonillo.” No evidence has been found to confirm the story’s truth, but people still didn’t want to push their luck on the off chance that it was real.
To add more fuel to the flames and draw more attention to the story, The Sun peppered in some juicy details about the boy’s background, such as that he was mistreated by the artist who painted him, and the fires were his way of getting revenge.