The new owner of a reputedly cursed painting recently told the Daily Mail that he thinks it could be responsible for a recent run of misfortune experienced by himself and others.
James Kislingbury, managing director of The London Bridge Experience, bought the painting of a little girl on eBay for $2,136 from the previous owner, Zoe Elliott-Brown, who decided to sell it after claiming that she was chased by a “black figure.”
Supposedly haunted or cursed paintings are popular items on auction sites.
In 2018, a “haunted” painting said to come with its own shadowy figure was sold in New Zealand for $150, and in 2022, a “cursed” painting that reportedly caused its owner five days of “sickness, loneliness, sleeplessness and uneasiness” was sold on eBay for $1,750.
Elliott-Brown originally purchased the painting for $32 from a charity shop in Hastings, East Sussex, England.
Prior to her ownership, the portrait had reportedly been bought by an anonymous buyer who returned it after only one night.
For Kislingbury, the reported trouble began immediately when his car broke down on the way to pick up the painting.
Once the painting was at its new home in The London Bridge Experience, the misfortune only intensified.
‘We’ve had a couple of floods on the site between November and December. We came in one morning and the basement was flooded,” Kislingbury said. “We’ve had small leaks in the past, but nothing on this scale. We’re lucky that the building is quite robust, so the damage wasn’t too bad, but it was a little bit unexpected. I know a cynic would say it’s just a coincidence, but given the volume of things which keep happening, I do find myself questioning whether there’s more to the painting than meets the eye.”
“After I brought the painting onto the site, we kept it wrapped up in the back of our office for a while. Nobody knew it was here for a couple of weeks, but staff started reporting sightings of shadow figures following them. One member of staff even said they kept hearing footsteps behind them, but when they turned around nothing was there,” he added. “And the day it came onto the site, a TV blew up and we had Wi-Fi faults.”
Later, when Kislingbury brought the painting home to do a radio interview, he may have brought the curse with him.
“I had a radio interview in the early hours, so I took the painting home with me. That same day my father-in-law ended up in hospital and our toaster and dishwasher blew up. We’ve never had problems with either before,” he explained.
The bad luck even seemed to follow Kislingbury on a vacation he took with his wife and two children just two weeks after the painting was purchased.
“I ended up hurting my shoulder badly and we had problems on the ferry and with the hotel,” he said. “It was a bit of a blighted holiday to be honest.”
During his vacation, staff put the painting on display in the London Bridge Experience’s entrance, and since then, Kislingbury said, visitors have heard whispers and seen shadow people, along with claiming that their own home appliances have malfunctioned after visiting.
A psychic medium was brought in to do a reading on the painting last November.
“We heard all sorts of funny noises during the reading. Even the medium was quite puzzled,” Kislingbury said. “But she picked up on a variety of things. She believes the female subject was more than likely painted after she died, and that it was painted by a spiritualist. She also pointed towards a building linked to the painting in Eastbourne, which is now a hotel.”
Following that reading, one of the attraction’s staff reportedly experienced the curse at home.
“Our social media chap said he was watching TV when he got home that day and it suddenly fell off the wall and smashed in front of him. He had a lovely big, expensive LED TV which was firmly bolted to the wall, and had been for quite some time, and it literally flew off the wall,” Kislingbury said. “It’s bizarre. All sorts of odd things have happened.”
Despite what’s happened, Kislingbury said that there are currently no plans to part with the painting.
“It does creep me out a bit, but I’ve gotten used to it now and I tend to brush it off,” he said. “We’re no stranger to unusual things happening in this building—we have our very own plague pits in the basement. We’re planning to keep it and we hope it can find a happy home here.”