Apparently out of the blue in October 1985, the tabloid newspaper The Sun ran a story about a popular painting, which they dubbed ‘The Crying Boy’, being cursed or jinxed. In a series of articles, they built up the story that the picture was very bad luck to those who owned it, and that it somehow caused fires, but was untouched when everything else in the room was burnt. A number of readers wrote in agreeing that the picture was cursed, although some claimed that it was actually good luck when paired with the ‘Crying Girl’ painting. When the newspaper offered to destroy any pictures sent to them (paradoxically on a giant bonfire), they ‘came flooding in’. The item made the national television news, but by March 1986 seems to have been forgotten. It will be interesting to note whether any previous examples of this belief come to light, or if the newspaper concocted it, and whether it continues without the help of the media. Either way, it is an excellent example of how the mass media play a major role in creating and spreading modern folklore.
See also PICTURE.
Main articles: Sun (24, 25, 26 Oct. 1985);(12, 13 Nov. 1985);(24 Feb. 1986).