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The Story Behind The Mysterious Crying Boy Painting

Like most of you , I grew up visiting my grandparents quiet often. Amongst the countless questionable ornaments and paintings , one in particular always struck out to me. Who was the crying boy in the painting ? Why was he so sad? And why did so many people have the same painting in their homes ? Turns out the painting comes with a dark story.

You may have seen this painting or different variations of this painting which were part of a series created Italian artist, Bruno Amadio, under the name Giovanni Bragolini and were meant to represent the orphans of WWII. These paintings grew popular amongst families, and were then mass produced in the 50s, which saw them pinned to the walls of most homes throughout Europe and even Australia.

It was during the 80s when the legend of the crying boy painting was first bought to light by The Sun Newspaper with an article titled “Blazing Curse of the Crying Boy” the article told a story of a mysterious fire that completely engulfed a home in the early hours of the morning in South Yorkshire, England. The home was completely charred, all but one item that is. Home owners Ron & May Hall noticed the beady eyes of the crying boy starring right back at them. The painting was exactly how they left it, completely un damaged.

Article From The Sun News Paper

This wasn’t the first time this had happened, as many others claimed that their house had burnt down leaving nothing but the Crying boy painting. These comments were also supported by firefighters who claimed to have always found the exact painting in perfect condition amongst the charred ruins of at least 50 homes.

After this story was published, mass hysteria swept the people of England and those who owned a copy of the painting around the world. Some even tried burning the painting, and claimed that besides from the string used to hold the painting up, nothing else was damaged.


Many theories emerged as to why the painting was allegedly cursed. One of the most popular theories stem from the artist himself, Bruno Amadio . It is said that the crying boys name was Don Bonillo, an orphan whom Amadio had adopted. It is said that the little boy had witnessed the death of his parents during a fire during the second world war. A priest had warned Amadio that the little boy was cursed, but Amadio still decided to adopt him. They lived a great life together, until one day his entire studio caught on fire. Amadio remembered the warning from the priest and blamed the fire on the little boy then immediately kicked him out the house.


Don Bonillo wasn’t heard from until 1976 when there was a report of a car accident which had bursted into flames. The body in the vehicle was completely unrecognisable. All was destroyed but a drivers licence that was located in the victims glove compartment. The Licence belonged to a man by the name of Don Bonillo. Could this be the same Don Bonillo? The so called ”cursed child” No relatives or friends of the victim ever came forward.

Although there has been many logical explanations as to why this painting never burnt in fires, this makes for a great story and definitely enters the hall of fame amongst many other urban legends.

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