The Curse Of The Crying Boy Painting - The Parapod Series 2, Episode 2 Review

February 16, 2016 5:19 PM ‐ The ParaPod

This article is more than seven years old and was last updated in January 2018.

In this week's Parapod believer Barry Dodds tries to convince his skeptical friend, Ray Peacock that a painting of a crying boy was responsible for hundreds of house fires in the 80s.

The Crying Boy Painting
Barry starts off by telling us that this was "something that used to happen ages ago" and involved a mass-produced paining by Giovanni Bragolin of a boy who was crying. Ray encourages Barry to sum the story up in two sentences, as this often help clarify and tale.

Barry says, "picture... crying... boy... people's... houses... burned... down."

Ray left out a nervous laugh, "I didn't say 'say it as if you're telling it to an African tribe', you can still use correct grammar."

So Barry tries again, "some people bought a picture of a crying boy and their house caught fire. But I can't get all the facts and all that in." To which Ray says, "you wasted that last sentence."

Barry explains that the artist "had a thing for boys crying" and his studio burnt down, he jokes that it "was probably vigilantes." He goes on to say that "everybody who had one had house fires." Ray questions this claim, given that around 50,000 copies of the painting were sold in the UK, "did every house it was ever in have a fire?"

Barry is forced to concede, "no, but a lot of them did," he added "these houses burnt down, the only thing left was the picture of the crying boy."

Ray then points out that there's statistically more chance of 'Carrying On Up The Charts' by the Beautiful South being in a house fire than the crying boy, which of course would mean that 'Carrying On Up The Charts' must be cursed.

According to Barry, The Sun newspaper broke the story in 1985. After Ron and May Hall's home in Rotherham was destroyed by a fire, and the only thing the survived the blaze was a painting of the boy.

Ray says that it was fire fighter, who's noticed trend of the paintings surviving multiple house fires. The fireman who spotted it was actually from Essex, but Ray also referred to Alan Wilkinson, a fireman from Yorkshire.

Wilkinson personally reported finding 50 unburnt prints of the crying boy in the ashes of house fires. When he retired from the emergency service, his colleagues gave him a copy of the infamous painting that he refused to take home.


Despite the fact that Ray decimated him, Barry maintains that he believes in the curse saying that "it's weird" and says he wouldn't have a copy of the painting in his house.

Ray sums up the argument differently, "it was a publicity stunt by The Sun, and it was to sell more papers which it did because idiots like you believed it"

Ray 2 - Barry 0.

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