The Haunted Painting of eBay

The Hands Resist Him painting by Bill Stoneham

How wild is this? I first heard about that “haunted painting” being sold on eBay over a year ago I think. I thought it was a fairly freaky painting at the time, but hadn’t thought about it since. Then I glanced at today’s Spokesman Review and saw that same oddly disturbing picture displayed prominently on the front page next to an article telling the real story behind it. It turns out that the painting is titled “Hands Resist Him” and was painted by a Spokane graphic artist named Bill Stoneham 30 years ago. He sold it to a California art gallery back in 1973 and hadn’t heard about it since.

At least until August 2001, when the owner of the Perceptions Gallery in Grand Rapids, Mich., e-mailed Stoneham. The gallery had bought the painting from the California couple on eBay for $1,200, and the owner had tracked him down from a label on the back of the painting. He advised Stoneham to check out the various Web pages. Stoneham was spooked, all right, but not for the same reasons.

“Suddenly, there’s a blown-up image of my face from the painting,” he said. “Now, that was a creepy feeling.”

He was, in fact, the little boy in the painting, which he had painted from an old, faded family photo of himself with a little neighbor girl.