Tom Slemen revived the story of The Crying Boy in book form as part of his series titled Haunted Liverpool. Slemen’s books are presented as non-fiction but are largely un-referenced. He says that the full story of The Crying Boy was uncovered by a retired schoolmaster from Devon named George Mallory’ in 1995. Mallory found the artist who had created the original, an old Spanish portrait artist named Franchot Seville, who resides in Madrid.
Seville, as you may now know, is one of the pseudonyms used by Bruno Amadio, otherwise known as Giovanni Bragolin. Seville/Amadio/Bragolin told Mallory that The Crying Boy was actually a little street urchin who he had found wandering around Madrid in 1969. Although he never spoke, he had a very sad look in his eyes. Seville then painted the boy, and a Catholic priest identified him as Don Bonillo.
The Catholic priest who gave Seville the boy’s name warned the artist to have nothing to do with the child because wherever he is, fires of unknown origin would mysteriously come about. As a matter of fact, the villagers called him “Diablo” because of this. However, the painter refused to heed the priest’s advice and adopted the boy. His portraits sold well.
One day his studio was mysteriously gutted by fire and the painter was ruined. He accused Don Bonillo of arson and the little boy ran away, naturally in tears, and was never seen again. When the story of The Crying Boy became known to the public, Seville was also regarded as a jinx, and no one would commission him to paint, or would even look at his paintings. In 1976, after crashing into a wall, a car exploded into a fireball on the outskirts of Barcelona. The driver was burnt beyond recognition. However, the authorities were able to recover part of his driving license in the glove compartment. The name indicated on the license was a 19-year-old Don Bonillo.
Unfortunately, all of the facts of this story can not be verified as Bruno Amadio, the painter, died in 1981. The truth of The Crying Boy has also gone with him.