A portrait of a little girl has gone viral after being sold at a charity shop in the UK - and returned twice.
Steve Elledge, the manager of the HARC charity shop in the South Coast town of Hastings, said the painting was donated in a batch with six or seven other pictures. He thought all of them looked “quite normal” but said the girl in the viral painting "did have a very odd look about her," Insider reported.
"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 told the outlet, so they attached a relatively modest price of £20, or just over $25. "We didn’t even think about it or anything. We just were like, yeah, we’ll stick that in the window, that’ll sell."
Soon after, a woman had walked into the shop and seemed interested in the painting, Elledge recalled. She returned a day later, saying how she couldn’t stop thinking about the portrait and was thinking of buying 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 is going to happen from this picture.’”
He said he tried to give the woman her money back, but she told him to keep it and she left the store. The painting then went back in the sales window for the same £20, this time with an extra note on it reading: “Possibly cursed?”
Despite the addition of the “cursed” note, Elledge told Insider that none of his employees actually thought the painting had creepy vibes. "No one here thinks it’s a real cursed picture," he said, though he did mention that his colleague put her hand up to say that she did believe in it.
However, a second woman bought the painting and returned it three days later. The charity shop manager said she looked “distressed”, mentioning that “everything had gone wrong.”
Buying! What’s the worst that could possibly happen? pic.twitter.com/LcHABdgvO0
— Jayne Sharp (@Jaynesharp) July 22, 2023
"I said, why don’t you destroy it?" he recalled. "She says, ‘No, that would make it worse.’"
Once again the painting was put back in the sales window for the same original price with a new note reading: “She’s back!!! Sold twice and returned twice! Are you brave enough???”
People have been posting images of the painting in the sales window on X, formerly known as Twitter, with comments talking about how creepy it looks. “She’s definitely stepping out of the frame and walking round your house at night,” one person commented. “It’s a really sweet portrait. I’d buy it for £20! Obviously I would set up a time lapse to see how her face changed overnight,” another commenter joked.
Because of the painting’s internet fame, the second woman returned and took the painting back. "Nothing evil happened here,” Elledge said. “She just looked odd."
He also said he’d probably be more careful when trying to tell jokes about “cursed” merchandise because he’s tired of all the phone calls and emails the store has been getting, asking if they have any other “cursed” items.
“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."