The Curse of the Crying Boy came out of nowhere one morning in 1985. The Sun published on page 13 of its 4 September edition, a story with the headline: ‘Blazing Curse of the Crying Boy.’The story described the horrible tragedy that befell of May and Ron Hall when their Rotherham home was destroyed by fire. A photo accompanying the story depicted The Crying Boy, and the caption read, “Tears for fears… the portrait that firemen claim is cursed.”
The Cause of the Fire
The cause of the fire was a chip-pan in the kitchen of their 27-year old home which overheated and burst into flames. The fire quickly spread and destroyed razed everything on the ground floor of the home. Only one item remained intact, a print of ‘The Crying Boy’ on their living room wall. The framed print of The Crying Boy was unscathed, continuing to hang there, undamaged, whilst surrounded by a scene of charred ruins.
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A Curse Is Born
Devastated at their loss, the devastated couple made the unlikely claim that the painting was cursed and it, not the chip pan, was what caused of the fire. While this was a story that would not normally have made the presses, the one unique thing about it was the intervention of Ron Hall’s brother, Peter. Peter is a a fire fighter based in Rotherham. His colleague, station officer Alan Wilkinson, claimed that he had responded to at least fifteen house fires where everything was destroyed and the only thing left intact in each home was the picture of ‘The Crying Boy’.
According to Peter, he had warned the Hall couple about the mystery of the painting, but they initially laughed it off. He asked other people to heed his warning, and get rid of their own giant paintings of crying children as soon as possible. He also suggested that firefighters believed the painting as the cause of the fires, and that none of them would hang the picture in their homes. Although the firemen did not actually use the word “cursed,” a legend was then born.