True story behind Haunted Painting- The Hands Resist Him

True story behind Haunted Painting- The Hands Resist Him

7 min

We’ve all heard about haunted houses and cemeteries, even closet ghosts and monsters in the attic. But here we have a tale of a haunted painting. How can a painting be haunted? Read on to know.

The painting in question is The Hands Resist Him. Painted by Bill Stoneham in 1972, it is a self portrait painting that got media attention through eBay. The painting was put up for sale with a detailed ghost story attached.

According to Stoneham this painting is of himself as a five year old boy. Those spooky hands on the door depict another world with other lives and possibilities. The glass panes represent the thin veil of separation between this world and the world of dreams. The doll is a guide who will take the boy through the veil to the other world.

The Haunted Painting – The Hands Resist Him

“The Hands Resist Him”, also known as the “eBay Haunted Painting” is one of the most haunted paintings in the world.

It features a boy, a life size creepy doll and a glass paneled door behind them with hands trying to reach out from behind it. Stoneham painted it in 1972; it was then bought by John Marley, ‘Max’ from the movie The Godfather. It changed hands and landed in the house of a couple in California. It was then put on eBay in February of the year 2000.

If the couple is to be believed, the characters in the painting became animated in the night, sometimes even left the canvas! The boy and the doll, however, didn’t disappear from the view. The painting doesn’t just affect the owners. Even those who saw the painting online reported that they started feeling sick and nauseated. Some claim that the children who saw the painting ran away screaming; while others were said to be touched by an invisible force. A person who tried to print the image had his printer malfunction.

The painting was later purchased by an art gallery in Grand Rapids, MI for $1000. It was tracked down to Bill Stoneham. The haunting stories surprised him. Stoneham has also painted sequels called “Resistance at the Threshold” and “Threshold of Revolution”.

The Haunted Painting

The Hands Resist Him Painting
The Hands Resist Him Painting

History behind the Haunted Painting

The Feingarten Gallery in Beverly Hills, California, was the first one to display the painting in early 1970s. It was during a one man show at the gallery. The show was reviewed by an art critic from the LA Times. It was here that John Marley obtained this painting. Some time after John’s death, the painting was discovered in an old brewery by the elderly California couple. It was auctioned on eBay in February 2000. According to the couple, the painting was cursed. It was mentioned in the description on the website that the characters of the painting moved in the night and would even leave the painting and roam around in the room. They also uploaded a series of photos which showed the doll with a gun threatening the boy, the boy trying to get out of the painting. A disclaimer (full text below) was posted in the listing absolving the seller from all liabilities after the sale of the painting.

The listing became viral; everyone was sharing the link to it. People even claimed feeling nausea by just looking at it. The auction page was views went over 30,000.

The initial bid was of $199. After around 30 more bids it was sold for $1,025. Perception Gallery, the ones that bought it, contacted Bill Stoneham about the strange story associated with the painting. He was surprised by all the strange interpretations and stories surrounding the images in the painting. Stoneham said that the object in the doll’s hands is not a gun but a battery with a few loose wires.

Stone further mystified the legends by saying that the owner of The Feingarten Gallery and the LA Times critic died within a year of the first display of the painting.

The Mystery behind the Painting

In February 2000 the painting appeared for sale on with a lengthy description detailing that the painting had been found abandoned, behind a building. The seller then went on to claim that whilst the painting was in their house, the family’s daughter started to see the boy and girl moving inside the painting, they soon took to leaving the painting, and appeared to be fighting. The owners then set up a motion detector camera, which happened to show the movement.

Stoneham didn’t help the legends by adding that the gallery where the painting was originally displayed and sold at, and a Los Angeles Times critic, who reviewed the painting in an article both ended up dead within a year of the showing.

Many people report strange feelings and strange events after seeing the picture, some have reported children freaking out when seeing the painting or prints of it.

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Description of the painting on eBay

Here’s the original text that was in the description below the listed painting.

“When we received this painting, we thought it was really good art. A “Picker” had found it abandoned behind an old brewery. At the time we wondered a little why a seemingly perfectly fine painting would be discarded like that. (Today we don’t!) One morning our four and a half year old daughter claimed that the children in the picture were fighting, and coming into the room during the night. Now, I don’t believe in UFOs or Elvis being alive, but my husband was alarmed. To my amusement he set up a motion triggered camera for the nights. After three nights there were pictures. The last two pictures shown are from that ‘stakeout’. After seeing the boy seemingly exiting the painting under threat, we decided, the painting has to go. Please judge for yourself. Before you do, please read the following warning and disclaimer.

Warning: Do not bid on this painting if you are susceptible to stress related disease, faint of heart or are unfamiliar with supernatural events. By bidding on this painting, you agree to release the owners of all liability in relation to the sale or any events happening after the sale that might be contributed to this painting. This painting may or may not possess supernatural powers that could impact or change your life. However, by bidding you agree to exclusively bid on the value of the artwork, with disregard to the last two photos featured in this auction, and hold the owners harmless in regard to them and their impact, expressed or implied.

Now that we got this out of the way, one question to you eBayers. We want our house to be blessed after the painting is gone, does anybody know, who is qualified to do that? The size of the painting is 24 by 36 inches, so it is rather large. As I have had several questions, here the following answers. There was no odour left behind in the room. There were no voices, or the smell of gunpowder, no food prints or strange fluids on the wall. To deter questions in this direction, there are no ghosts in this world, no supernatural powers, this is just a painting, and most these things have an explanation, in this case probably a fluke light effect. I encourage you to bid on the artwork, and consider the last two photographs as pure entertainment, and please do not take them into consideration, when bidding. As we think it is a good idea to bless any house, we still welcome input into that procedure.


Video Courtesy: SuperFunnyman001

Nishit Jariwala
From being a wannapreneur to being a nobody, life now makes sense | Living the dream