A painting of a young girl has been returned to a charity shop twice after two different customers claimed it was “cursed”.
The painting, which has gone viral on X (formerly Twitter) shows a girl in a red dress whose eyes “follow you”, according to shop staff.
It was donated to the Hastings Advice Representation Centre (HARC) shop in St Leonards-on-Sea, on England’s southern coast.
The striking portrait has been bought and returned twice since it arrived the small op shop, according to HARC manager Steve.
Steve confirmed the eyes of the girl in the portrait “follow you around the room” in an uncanny way. He revealed that the painting had been originally dropped off by a middle-aged man who brought in a load of old pictures and frames to the charity shop.
The picture was initially sold to a woman for £25 (A$49) but its new owner “came in two days later and said ‘I’ve got to get rid of this picture’ and that it had an ‘aura about it’,” Steve told the UK’s Telegraph.
The portrait went back into the shop window, this time with a discount and a warning to potential buyers that the artwork was “possibly cursed”, he explained.
It wasn’t long before a second buyer decided to try their luck and bought the portrait for the reduced price of £20 (A$40), despite Steve’s warning. However, the new owner was soon back in the shop.
Steve said she “came back shaky and distressed” and returned the portrait, “saying she never wanted to see the damned thing again”, according to reports.
The painting was returned to the shop window, this time with a new warning note, which read: “She’s back! Sold twice and returned twice! Are you brave enough?”
Photos of the painting have been posted online by curious passers-by. One tweet was viewed 9 million times.
“The picture was sold and brought back twice, the first time because the new owner thought it was ‘evil’, and the 2nd time because the new owner said ‘everything kept going wrong since she had it’,” a user explained.
Some people speculated the supposed curse was simply a marketing ploy by the op shop, but one woman said her friend had bought the painting and experienced its eeriness first-hand.
She wrote: “Whether the picture was born with it, or whether the belief in its curse has caused an actual curse, there is SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE.”