The photograph Bill Stoneham’s parents took of him when he was 5 years old wasn’t worth a thousand words. It was worth a million nightmares.  They couldn’t have known that, two decades later, Stoneham would transform the mundane childhood photo into a terrifying painting that has become the stuff of Internet legend.   It is called “The Hands Resist Him,” and since Stoneham finished the work in 1974, three people associated with it have died.


In 2010, Sean Robinson blamed his misfortune on a painting he owned entitled “The Anguished Man”. His grandmother told him the painter used his own blood on it and committed suicide. Both report shadowy figures, rising smoke, and hearing anguished screams.

Bruno Amadio created a string of striking paintings featuring weeping children. Beginning in 1985, stories regarding the paintings’ ability to both start, and avoid fires popped up. “The Crying Boy” inexplicably survived dozens of house fires, and people are scared these paintings purposely set houses ablaze.

This portrait of Bernardo de Galvez hangs in Hotel Galvez, and it is reported his painted eyes follow you as you pass it by. If you attempt a photo of de Galvez without his permission, you will never get a clear shot’

After the discovery of this painting of Madame Delphine LaLaurie, weird things started happening, including objects going missing, cloths bundled in fireplaces but not burning, and a mysterious “grey lady” appearing suddenly to carpenters. People think the Madame isn’t too pleased with restorations being done to her old home.

This painting was a purposeful work created by “Caregan”, an online user of feasters who mostly does pieces involving yuri-style bondagado. A made-up story goes along with the image, but even Caregan reports having had trouble finishing the work – and many others find it particularly unnerving as well.

The story is that a talented Korean girl painted this image shortly before committing suicide. If you stare at it for long enough, it will change. Some purport the girl transforms into a deranged psychotic, while others claim to have seen a haggard old woman. Be warned, though – a few imposters float around the net, the result of photoshop and jealous pseudo-artists claiming the image is actually theirs. You can search YouTube for extended videos of the piece, where people take the stare challenge.

This painting hangs in Austin’s Driskill Hotel. Many visitors report feeling sick, dizzy, or getting a “lifting” sensation while gazing upon the image for too long. Apparently the owners of Driskill tried to remedy this by moving the painting from the lobby to the 5th floor.

This is one of a set of incredibly dark, mysterious portraits by a Taiwanese artist named Lo Chang Peng. People are often disturbed and feel unnerved by his renderings – although I personally find them gorgeous!

Said to be the most frightening painting of all time, Goya’s “Saturn Eating His Son” does not just exist for the sake of being macabre. An entire philosophy emerges from it, with the image becoming symbolic for everything from abuse to fascism. A particularly interesting look into how it relates to the film Pan’s Labyrinth.

Apparently the malevolent spirit of murderer John Wayne Gacy still exists within his paintings of “Pogo the Clown”. Due to his notoriety, works he created while on death row are highly coveted. Musician Nikki Stone purchased Pogo, and soon got rid of it after his dog died and mother was diagnosed with cancer. Actor Johnny Depp also bought a Pogo, and suddenly contracted a pathological fear of clowns and likewise, dumped the painting.

This portrait is from Casa de Greene, and was purchased on a whim by a guy’s father who saw it “somewhere in Spain” and couldn’t resist buying it. The image has a way of putting a mysterious hold on who gazes upon it, and the father believes the girl in the painting is a witch, since her tears are falling at the same rate.

This is a work by the famous Yuko Tatushima. Along with being an accomplished artist, she is also a doll artist and performer – she played Ice in the film S-94 -. Apparently her talents take on a much more paranormal purpose. This particular work is said to induce feelings of suicide in those who gaze upon it.

13 Disturbing Paintings And Their Short Stories

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