Who Forted? Magazine

Mail Bag: The Torturous Cries of “The Anguished Man” Painting [Updated]

Every once in awhile we’ll get a piece of reader mail that seriously creeps us out. An email we recently received from United Kingdom based reader Sean Robinson is most definitely one of those emails.

Sean writes to share with us a story about a haunted painting, created with the blood of the artist and passed down from his grandmother, the presence of which has resulted in everything from the appearance of faceless men, disembodied cries of anguish, and strange fog, to name a few.

The following is Sean’s email to us:

 

Over twenty five years ago a friend of my Grandmother gave her an old oil painting called ‘The Anguished Man’. She told my Grandmother that the artist used his own blood mixed in with the oils and committed suicide shortly after finishing the painting. I have no way of confirming if this story is true or not, but my Grandmother passed the story down to me when she gave me the painting.

I really liked the painting, but because my wife didn’t like it I kept it in the cellar. After our cellar was flooded during a prolonged period of heavy rain I moved the contents of the cellar to my parent’s garage while the cellar dried out. When I got the painting back I decided to keep it in our spare bedroom on the third floor of our house. Shortly after we started to hear strange noises, loud unexplainable bangs and an odd scraping noise like someone scratching their nails on fabric.

When the painting was in the cellar our dog would not go in the cellar, she would just stand outside growling; now when it was upstairs she refused to go to the top floor despite the fact that she usually used to follow me everywhere.  At night we would often hear crying and sobbing noises. I suppose these noises could have come from outside the house, and it was suggested the crying could have been a cat outside, but they sounded like they came from within the house. I wasn’t duly alarmed at this point and put everything down to natural phenomenon, however I started to see the shadowy figure of a man in the house, it was always just in the corner of the eye or brief fleeting glimpses of a dark shape. Soon the rest of my family were seeing things too. It has also been suggested that because we all knew the history of the painting that we were all imagining these things, and I suppose that is a possibility, but at the time it felt very real.

As the weeks went by the noises got progressively worse, I even heard crying that seemed to be coming from inside our own bedroom, again it has been suggested that this could have been from a cat outside the window but I’ve heard the noises cats make and this sounded distinctively human. A few nights I woke up suddenly and saw the dark figure of a man standing at the foot of the bed. Could I have been dreaming? Again, this is a possibility, but at the time it felt very real. The figure had the appearance of a tall middle aged man but his features were unclear. I never actually felt afraid at this point just extremely curious. I wanted to find out what was happening. Was it just my imagination or was there something paranormal happening? We started to notice numerous cold spots around the house and we often had a strange feeling of being watched. I often felt like someone was standing directly behind me and heard whispers that seemed to be extremely close by.

One evening my wife had gone to bed early, she thought it was me getting into bed beside her but when she turned around she found herself staring into a strangers eyes. I heard her scream from downstairs and ran upstairs to find her extremely shaken up by the experience. She has since told me she may have had a very lucid dream but at the time she was convinced it had actually happened. After this experience my wife persuaded me to put the painting back in the cellar. Things settled down almost immediately but once again my dog refused to go anywhere near the cellar, when the painting was upstairs the dog would quite happily follow me into the cellar.

After posting the videos on YouTube I attracted a lot of interest worldwide and several people asked me if I would consider setting a video camera up in an attempt to record some of the activity. I moved the painting back into the top bedroom and set up the video camera. I recorded for approx eight hours over three consecutive nights. After the first night I was convinced I had left the bedroom door open but in the morning it was closed so I changed the camera angle in order to record more of the bedroom because at first it had been focused solely on the painting. After spending several hours looking through all the footage I found I had recorded quite a lot of noises, most of them sounded like they came from outside the house and were easily explainable but a few were different. They sounded like they came from inside the bedroom. There was a strange scraping sound similar to the noises we had previously been hearing and the sound of a loud bang, like something falling but in the morning nothing was disturbed.

When I checked the footage from the second night I found I had recorded the bedroom door suddenly swinging shut despite there being no drafts in the room. The third night I closed the door before recording in the hope it might swing open through the night but on this occasion it remained closed. I decided to leave the painting in the top bedroom for the time being and over the next few weeks my wife felt someone stroke her hair when she was in the bathroom and one night when I was going to bed I saw a strange fog like mist at the top of the stairs, I walked into the middle of it and it was extremely cold, it felt like I was standing in the middle of some dry ice, my vision was blurred and I became very light headed, then suddenly it vanished as quickly as it came.

Now while some of the incidents could be explained by saying I was dreaming or it was a result of my over active imagination, this strange mist was real, it was something I could see and feel and something for which I can find no explanation. While the painting remained upstairs the whole family experienced feelings of being watched. We also started to hear the noises at night again, somehow the whole house felt different when the painting was upstairs. I also began to experience intense feelings of anxiety and dread and suffered from terrible nightmares, at one point it felt like I was being repeatedly and violently lifted up out of bed and slammed back down. I also started dreaming about the painting and kept dreaming about the same man, a tall middle aged man but I could never quite make out his face.

After a few weeks I decided to set up the video camera again in the spare bedroom to try and catch some more of the activity on tape. This time I recorded over four consecutive nights for about seven hours each night. I spent hours looking through the footage again and I found I had recorded several strange light anomalies. At the time these were recorded everyone in the house was sleeping, there are thick curtains up in the bedroom so it can’t be light from outside. There was one small lamp on in the bedroom at all times. They were not like the usual ‘orbs’ you see on some videos and photographs, they seemed to be moving around and over the painting. I also recorded many noises, such as bangs and scraping sounds that were similar to the sounds in my previous video.

A few days after this was recorded I heard my sons footsteps coming down the stairs then suddenly I heard him stumble and fall down the last four or five steps. I jumped up and rushed to help him, to my relief he was unhurt, just a little shaken up. Later on in the day I could tell that something was bothering him so I asked him what was wrong, he was a little reluctant to tell me at first for fear of sounding stupid but after some persuasion he told me that it felt like something had pushed him downstairs. He said that he was just walking down the stairs when he felt a pressure on his back that pushed him forward, he tried to stop falling but he said the force behind him was too strong. Well this really concerned me, was I putting my family at risk by keeping the painting in the house? I decided to put the painting away again in the cellar and once again the activity seemed to stop.

I have tried to research the paintings background and have posted the story all over the internet in the vague hope that someone will recognise the artist but so far I have had no luck. I have had many offers from people wanting to buy the painting but I really have no desire to sell it. At first I thought the painting was very unsettling but I put down all the activity to the fact I had been told of its background and perhaps I was imagining things, but the longer I had the painting the more convinced I became that there is something paranormal about it.

It has been suggested that because he used his own blood in the oils it could be the restless spirit of the artist but a few people have told me that it may be much more sinister than that, they told me that it could be some sort of demon. At first I was a little disturbed by the activity but I always felt there was nothing malicious or evil about it but since my son’s ‘fall’ down the stairs I’m not too sure. If the painting is indeed ‘haunted’ then is the ‘spirit’ trying to communicate with us, trying to tell us something? I have been advised at various times to burn the painting or even bury it, then I have been told not to burn it because  if I  burn it and it is some sort of gateway then I would be  just sealing whatever has come through into our reality and that could make matters much worse. I have also been told to have it blessed or even exorcised. I do know now, however, that I don’t want to destroy it. I have asked my family if they know anything about the painting but nobody knows anything about it. All I have to go on is what was passed on to my Grandmother and in turn was passed on to me.

Hopefully I will eventually find out the artist’s name and then I will be able to research the validity of its back story. I have tried to remain objective and look at the events rationally but I have no explanation for some of the things I have experienced.

 

See what I mean? Creepy.

So Fortean art fans, can anyone help Mr. Robinson put a bead on where his painting originated? Any tips for dealing with a haunted object that don’t involve calling the weird old fart from Haunted Collector (Sean wants to actually keep his painting, after all)? Let’s hear them. Share your thoughts in the comments and maybe we can help get to the bottom of this mystery.

UPDATE: It’s been awhile, but it seems that the painting is up to its old tricks. Click here to read an update on The Anguished Man, its trip to one of the world’s most haunted castles, and the chaos that ensued.

Greg Newkirk

Greg Newkirk

Senior Editor at Who Forted
Documentary film-maker, professional monster chaser, and mystery monger, Greg is the senior editor for Who Forted? 'Zine. When he's not occupied by writing about the wide world of the weird, he's busy directing and editing documentary films like The Bigfoot Hunter: Still Searching or writing about offbeat travel for Roadtrippers. He's currently in production on his new project: an original documentary web series titled Planet Weird. He currently lives in Cincinnati.
Greg Newkirk
Greg Newkirk

14 Comments

  1. Chris Sargeant

    11/27/2012 at 3:50 PM

    Some of his older videos are pretty hokey. The smoke and the painting falling over seem a bit on the nose, but if he isn’t hoaxing it then it’s pretty compelling stuff. You would really need to get a hold of his raw footage to rule out a hoax, at the very least to be able to determine that he did actually record for long periods of time and that the events occurred at the times that he claims.

    An interesting case, but my bet is that he is faking it and just hasn’t had a decent offer on the picture yet.

  2. adam nicke

    11/29/2012 at 3:29 AM

    why doesn’t he give the name of the artist? presumably the painting is signed. It would certainly make researching the artist easier!

  3. R Emmet Lee

    11/29/2012 at 7:45 AM

    Independent research is definitely needed. How old is the painting, exactly? Any chance that it’s an Austin Osman Spare?

  4. S.

    11/29/2012 at 6:58 PM

    None at all. That isn’t even remotely like Spare’s style.

    Nothing like this is mentioned in any of his biographies or the stories told about him. Also I doubt he would have contributed to something out of a seventies horror movie.

  5. Conquistador3

    11/30/2012 at 7:51 AM

    Hi everybody.
    I have been carrying out a tiny bit of investigation on the matter.

    1)The video and the emails have been around for at least a year now (at very least since January 2011).
    2)It appears whoever sent the emails has not made any serious attempt to identify the author. Making inquiries among local artists would be a good start and free of charge. He admits as much him/herself. On the Unexplained Mysteries board he said he had a number of artists and museums looking into the painting but failed to post any follow up or even the names.
    3)Whoever sent the emails has so far not asked for any other help than identifying the painting. That’s weird (more later).
    4)Whoever posted the videos has so far not profited in any other way than through increased popularity for the YouTube clips (if it’s original content Google will give him/her a bit of cash). And of course a few offers to buy the painting.
    5)Very little, if any, hard data are given to those willing to help identify the painting. Where did grandmother acquire the painting? Exactly when? “Over twenty five years ago” is far too vague. Has the painting ever been examined by somebody with a bit of artistic knowledge to provide more info? (No in my opinion, see above). What are the painting exact dimensions (framed and unframed)? Are there any marks behind the painting?
    6)I am still to show the painting to my mother (she went to the arts school and she studied various painting techniques): it will be interesting to hear what she has to say.

    So what we can make out this? Not much.
    I have known people with genuinely disturbing experiences. They fall into one of these two categories.
    1)They are too scared of ridicule to openly speak about them and need a lot of encouragement and a bit of cajoling.
    2)They want help. They want someone to help them understand what happened or get rid of what’s happening.
    This chap doesn’t fall in either category. He is not scared of ridicule (as proven by some board interactions he had last year) and doesn’t want any help getting rid of the “paranormal” activity accompanying the painting. Which is a bit on the “odd” side if you understand what I mean.
    I have a very definite idea about what’s going on but I am not posting for time being.

    PS: Greg, the Bigfoot Hunter DVD finally got through customs. You guys rock!

    • Greg Newkirk

      12/01/2012 at 5:07 PM

      Aha! I’d be curious to know what you think is going with this. I’ve had my own ideas and I bet they’re pretty close to your own conclusions. The guy seems like a very nice man, and is clearly not very interested in getting rid of the haunting.. but I have noticed that quite a bit of interest has been generated with a few film studios.. hmm..

      Also, very glad you got the DVD in one piece! Treasure it always, that’s one of a handful!

  6. Kathleen

    01/14/2013 at 1:01 PM

    Well it makes for a great Halloween story but It does seem a little suspcious that his grandmother was given the gift of a creepy painting made with human blood by a guy who killed himself and just decided to keep it. Particularly if she was experiencing unexplainable phenomena as well. Sounds like a fabricated story to me. But I loved the article and reading about it, nonetheless. Very interesting!

    • Brittany

      10/04/2014 at 7:45 AM

      Agreed. And if she kept it hidden because she was aware of ominous attachment to the painting why would she pass it on to her grandson? And I have a hard time believing the “spirit” would quit tormenting a home cause it got moved to the basement. There’s so many holes in this story.

  7. Anjy

    02/09/2013 at 12:28 AM

    If this is indeed an authentic haunting, I’m assuming that this piece of art is carrying the energy of the “anguished man” that committed suicide after it’s completion. Especially when his blood was used as a medium, that creates an even stronger bond between the object and the deceased. Because those who take their own life usually do not move on beyond this dimension, the painter may have chosen to attach himself to this painting, therefore haunting whoever has it in their possession.

  8. Anjy

    02/09/2013 at 12:29 AM

    & IMO, that’s an extremely disturbing painting, I would never put it in my house, even if my grandmother gave it to me. Too creepy.

  9. Pingback: A Scare Is In The Air… | Space Cadet Glow

  10. David

    06/02/2014 at 12:00 PM

    Its clearly a fake, the video clip is easily faked, and the story just doesnt stack up either. I have seen this painting live, a ghost hunting company are using it to run experiments. Apparently it moves however of course its always done in the dark, people in contact with the paainting feel it move, all done by a very clever bit of psycology if ever there was proof of IDEOMOTOR effect this is it!!!! The story goes like this, the guy in th epic is named David, he commited suicide in 1946, was linked with Belsen. Now Belsen was liberated in 1945 Aprl 15th so why paint a picture after being liberated from Belsen and then commit suicide???? Also the pic aparrantly answers questions by moving, if the guy conductng the experiment is as he claims a medium, why doesnt the spirit just talk to him???? I think this is a gimmick.

  11. David

    06/02/2014 at 1:31 PM

    I would also add that in all of these type of videos, the bottom of the dor is always obscured, although with the angle shown it is not difficult to fake this with a wire on the door knob. I am also made more sceptical as the person who did this video clearly has good video editing skills, look at the porduction of the titles etc……

  12. Alucard

    08/22/2014 at 8:54 AM

    This painting has a supernatural force behind it,and a entity named Vlaew has his fingers in it and possibly its making.i wish to buy the painting or somehow obtain it,Sean would not want a “kiler painting” inside his house that can hurt his family but in my hands it would cause nothing to me.i merely desire it for its ability to break or rather affect the material world from the dimension where souls inhibit for my astral projection that i agreed to with Vlaew for us to merge for we are same entity only separate by being existent in different dimensions,it can happen that 2 same souls are born in different shapes.

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