This ‘Cursed’ Painting Was Returned To A UK Thrift Shop Twice — Then Sold Online For $2,000

Published September 13, 2023

After the story went viral, the second customer returned to repurchase the artwork, and then sold it on eBay, with half the profits going to the thrift shop.

Girl Possibly Cursed

Jayne Sharp/XAfter a customer returned the painting complaining of a “creepy aura,” the thrift shop manager put it up in the window with the warning, “Possibly cursed?”

A painting purchased at a thrift shop in the UK was sold for over $2,000 on eBay after it was deemed “cursed” by the shop manager and its previous owners.

36-year-old Zoe Elliot-Brown bought the portrait of the little girl from Hastings Advice and Representation Centre (HARC) for $25. It had been returned by its previous owner for having a “creepy aura.”

“Another lady came in and noted how creepy it looked, and then she came back and bought it, and then she brought it back a couple of days later saying that it had ruined her life,” Elliott-Brown explained according to the New York Post.

Elliot-Brown brought the painting home and hung it in her living room — but then claimed her mother began suffering from strange health effects.

The mother started feeling shaky and having hot flashes. She collapsed in the bathroom. One day, Elliot-Brown said she woke up to find her mother caressing the cheeks of the girl in the painting.

And that wasn’t all. Elliot-Brown said she began hearing phantom knocking at her door in the middle of the night.

But the final straw for Elliot-Brown came when she and her boyfriend were taking a walk, and suddenly, a “big black figure” appeared before them.

“[My boyfriend] grabbed me, and we began running back the way we had come,” Elliot-Brown said. “He was screaming that it was right behind him.”

Returned Painting Note

Jayne Sharp/XThe “possibly cursed” painting was placed back into the window of the thrift shop after it was returned for a second time.

Elliot-Brown then took the painting back to the shop, three days after she purchased it. Steve Elledge, the manager of HARC, said she seemed “a bit distressed,” saying that “everything’s gone wrong,” according to Business Insider.

“I said, why don’t you destroy it?” Elledge said said. “She says, ‘No, that would make it worse.'”

This time, Elledge put the painting back in the window with a note that read, “She’s back!!! Sold twice and returned twice! Are you brave enough???”

Throughout the saga, pictures of the painting’s playful advertising went viral on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter.

Elliot-Brown returned to the shop to take the painting back, thinking it could be of value now that it had gone viral.

“[I wanted] to get it to someone who actually knows about this stuff and can do something positive with it,” she said.

The painting ended up selling for over $2,000 on eBay, and the proceeds will be split between Elliot-Brown and HARC.

Painting Ebay Listing

eBayThe painting was sold on eBay for nearly $2,100 — half of which will go toward the thrift shop, where it was purchased for only $25.

But Elledge said the whole debacle has caused him a massive headache. HARC posted on Facebook asking the public to stop contacting the shop.

“Due to unprecedented interest in our ‘haunted painting,’ which has spread like wildfire across social media, we are asking kindly if you don’t try to contact either our London Road or Queen’s Road shops,” the post said. “We thank you for your interest, but our shop managers and staff have been inundated with enquiries from all over the world, and unable to serve customers.”

Elledge said he doesn’t think he’ll attempt humor again due to the massive amount of calls about the painting.

“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,” Elledge said.

But a new photo from the shop has been making the rounds on X again. The shop window now features a set of Victorian dolls with a note that reads, “Dolls £2.00 each. We promise that none of them are evil or cursed in any way! They just look sinister!”

After reading the saga of the “possibly cursed” portrait, learn about some other paintings that have better claims for being cursed, like these works by serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Then, read about the brutal art of Artemisia Gentileschi, who used her creations to get revenge on her rapist.

Hannah Reilly Holtz
Hannah Reilly is an editorial fellow with All That's Interesting. She holds a B.A. in journalism from Texas Tech University and was named a Texas Press Association Scholar. Previously, she has worked for KCBD NewsChannel 11 and at Texas Tech University as a multimedia specialist.
Matt Crabtree
Matt Crabtree is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. A writer and editor based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Matt has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Utah State University and a passion for idiosyncratic news and stories that offer unique perspectives on the world, film, politics, and more.
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Holtz, Hannah. "This ‘Cursed’ Painting Was Returned To A UK Thrift Shop Twice — Then Sold Online For $2,000.", September 13, 2023, Accessed June 19, 2024.