A creepy portrait of a little girl has gone viral online for being "possibly cursed."
The unnerving picture was bought and returned twice at a UK charity shop.
But the store's manager says it was just a joke, and "nothing evil happened here."
A creepy portrait of a little girl that was bought and returned twice at a UK charity shop went viral for being "possibly cursed."
But the shop manager told Insider that "nothing evil happened here" — and he wants people to stop calling him about it.
Steve Elledge, the manager of the HARC charity shop in Hastings, told Insider that the painting was first donated in a batch with about six or seven others. He said they were "all quite normal," but that the girl in the now-viral painting "did have a very odd look about her."
"We just thought, that's nice. It had a bit of weight. It looked like it had quality, but it was a bit dark and all that," he said, so they attached a price of £20. "We didn't even think about it or anything. We just were like, yeah, we'll stick that in the window, that'll sell."
A woman came in and was taken with the painting, Elledge said. The next day she came in, saying she couldn't stop thinking about it and had to buy it.
"So she did," Elledge said. "And then three days later she brought it back saying there's some creepy aura about it. 'Nothing good's going to happen from this picture.' "
Elledge said he offered her money back, but she told him to keep it and left. So the painting went back in the window, this time sporting a note saying, "Possibly cursed?"
—Jayne Sharp (@Jaynesharp) July 22, 2023
It was "a humorous thing as none of us believed it," Elledge said. He had no idea the creepy portrait would become an internet phenomenon.
"No one here thinks it's a real cursed picture," Elledge said (though he said his colleague put her hand up to say that she did believe in it).
A second woman then bought the painting, but brought it back three days later. She was "a bit distressed," Elledge said, saying that "everything's gone wrong."
"I said, why don't you destroy it?" he said. "She says, 'No, that would make it worse.'"
Elledge told her she could have it back if she wanted to, and he again placed it in the window — now with a new note, reading, "She's back!!! Sold twice and returned twice! Are you brave enough???"
—Jayne Sharp (@Jaynesharp) August 21, 2023
Posts about the painting began making the rounds on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, with many commenters agreeing that the little girl is very unnerving. One X user speculated that, "She's definitely stepping out of the frame and walking round your house at night."
Another wrote, "Her eyes will definitely follow you around the room."
After the picture blew up online, the woman who had most recently returned it decided to come back for it, thinking it might have some value now that it's gone viral, Elledge said.
"So I am no longer a home of a possibly possessed or possibly cursed picture," Elledge told Insider.
"I don't even have the damned thing anymore," he added. "Nothing evil happened here. She just looked odd."
Elledge said he doesn't think he wants to "attempt humor again" because all the attention has been more trouble than it's worth.
The shop even posted on Facebook on Wednesday asking people to stop reaching out, saying staff "have been inundated with inquiries from all over the world, and unable to serve customers."
Elledge said the phone has been ringing constantly, and they had been getting emails asking whether the shop had any more haunted paintings or dolls.
"I was tempted to reply saying, 'yeah, we've got a whole warehouse full of demonic items,'" he said. "But now no, I will never ever ever do it again. I don't want any more hassle. I'm going to unplug my phone now."
Jayne Sharp, whose initial posts about the portrait went viral on X, shared a picture on Thursday of the shop's latest window display: a set of Victorian dolls with a note reading, "Dolls £2.00 each. We promise that none of them are evil or cursed in any way! They just look sinister!"
It appears Elledge hasn't abandoned all his humor about the debacle.
Read the original article on Insider