My obsession with all things ghostly and paranormal is well known (and frequently the source of eye rolls) among my nearest and dearest. So it was little surprise that I was so enamored with the story of the cursed Crying Boy painting, which Mamamia covered late last year.
To summarise the tale, in the 1980s, there was a spate of house fires in England. Among the ashes, fire fighters would find the Crying Boy painting, unharmed by the flames. These mysterious fires happened often enough that firefighters refused to have the paintings in their own homes, and a media frenzy followed.
The painting – or rather paintings – of crying boys, mostly created by artist Giovanni Bragolin, were popular in the day and many homes had some version of one. It came to be believed that the Crying Boy was inherently cursed, and anyone who owned one was in danger of perishing in the flames the haunted paintings could conjure.
Naturally, I immediately checked to see if it was possible to buy the painting these days. I easily found one on eBay, among listings for haunted dolls and other paranormal objects. I posted the link on social media along with the eerie tale of the Boy, and forgot about it.
Fast forward two weeks. I had been working alone in the (haunted) Mamamia office over the Christmas break, and, having just flipped off the computer and made my way towards the door, I saw it. A giant package with a note attached, sitting on the other side of a meeting room's glass door.
I noticed the metre-high parcel because the note had my name on it, ominously scrawled in spidery, serial killer handwriting. It read: "Because there's only one way to find out." I knew then what it was: The Crying Boy.
My wonderful and clearly bonkers friend Louise had gone and bloody bought it from eBay for me - and hand delivered it to my office. "Frankly," she said later, "I didn't want it in my house".
I tore the package open with the fanatical joy of a kid at Christmas.