Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mystery the "curse of the Crying Boy Painting" in Yorkshire

the curse of the Crying Boy Painting in the picture pic photo image gallerySteve Punt believes he's found the answer to one of the most chilling mysteries of recent times.

It all started in 1985 when a house fire in Yorkshire gutted the home of Ron and May Hall leaving only a mysterious painting of a crying child left unscathed. When similar paintings were reported to have survived other house fires the "curse of the crying boy" phenomenon was born.

here is the story :

In a chilling story that gripped the nation in 1985, the Yorkshire home of Ron and May Hall was gutted by fire - but their painting of a crying boy remained unscathed.
Hundreds more people went on to report experiences of house fires where a Crying Boy painting had survived. Now comedian STEVE PUNT has re-examined the "curse" for his Radio 4 programme Punt PI, in which he investigates quirky unsolved mysteries.

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, George Michael was a bouffant-haired pop god, David Cameron had just started at university - and Britain was in the grip of the Curse Of The Crying Boy. From all over the country came reports of house fires in which a picture of a tearful child was unscathed.

I remembered reading the story at the time and wanted to investigate whether anyone had ever solved the mystery. I tracked one of the pictures down. Recession has clearly struck the art world because it was only a tenner. I then talked to Kelvin MacKenzie - Editor of The Sun in 1985 who urged readers to send in their paintings before organising a bonfire - about what made the story so interesting.

The crucial factor, it seemed, was that it was a Yorkshire fireman, not a regular member of the public, who had noticed the unburnt painting and claimed that this was not the first time they had seen it survive a fire.

By this time I had realised that it wasn't just that the Crying Boy was involved in the fires - there were also rumours that it had STARTED them. How could that happen?

I talked to art expert Tim Marlow. He's not a big fan of the Crying Boy but did recognise the name of the artist, Bragolin, who died in 1981 and created a series of Crying Boy paintings for tourists in post-war Venice.

It didn't fit with the extraordinary tale that has appeared on the internet since the original story 25 years ago.

This version claims that the boy in the painting was an orphan whose parents had died in a fire. He was taken in by the painter despite warnings that he was a firestarter - a child who can burn things without touching them.

The artist's studio caught fire and he was ruined. The boy ran away - and ten years later a car crashed in flames on the outskirts of Barcelona.

The driver died in the crash, the online story goes, but a driving licence found inside showed it was the orphan boy.

This story is, of course, too good to be true. And even if the child himself could start fires, that's not the same as a painting of him starting fires, let alone 50,000 copies.

It didn't, to be honest, seem very likely. But was it true that the picture didn't burn? I went to the Building Research Establishment - a laboratory near Watford where they set things on fire for research purposes.

The result was a little surprising. A flame put immediately in front of the painting did set fire to a corner of the frame but only burnt around the outer edge of the child's profile before petering out.

But it turns out there is a reason why paintings often survive fires relatively undamaged: It is to do with the string on the back burning through first.

The painting falls face-down, giving it protection from smoke and heat.

It's easy to see how the Crying Boy became such a phenomenon. It has all the ingredients of a great spooky story.

An eerie child, a rash of fires, a mysterious artist, a "supernatural" ability to survive flames... and a newspaper with an eye for a good story.

Many people were spooked and wanted to be rid of them but Kelvin MacKenzie thinks there is another reason why the paintings flooded in.

Full article By : STEVE PUNT