My close encounter with the ‘haunted’ portrait of the girl with a creepy gaze: Painting that proved too scary to own is now on the wall at London attraction – do YOU dare go and see it?

A month after she terrified the sleepy coastal town of Hastings and made worldwide headlines for her creepy gaze; the ‘haunted’ portrait of the girl in the red dress has found a new home, in a dungeon beneath London Bridge.

The previous owners, who famously returned the painting to the HARC charity shop after becoming ‘unnerved’ by the child’s petulant glare, made the decision to use her notoriety for a good cause and so sold her for the princely sum of £1,600 to the London Bridge Experience (LBE). 

Now she sits pride of place in the amusement’s entry hall, staring down on hundreds of children who flock to the exhibit each day, biding her time, carefully choosing her next victim – if you believe in the curse of course…

The manager of the LBE, James Kislingbury, admitted to MailOnline they had initially stumped up the cash for the ghostie as they thought it would be good PR.

‘We were going to give it away in a competition,’ he says, ‘but that’s all changed now.’

From certain angles the girls eyes made her look either young or old – a terrifying thought!

MailOnline met the ‘haunted’ portrait in its new home under London Bridge

After winning the bidding war and driving all the way down to Hastings to collect his prize, James claims the haunting otherworldly qualities of the painting were self-evident.

The history of the ‘haunted’ portrait

August – The painting is bought by its mysterious first owner who returns it after one night. It is then bought by Zoe Elliott-Brown, from East Sussex. 

August 23 – The portrait is returned to the HARC shop a second time but then taken home again by Zoe who has a change of heart.

August 29 – Zoe appears on This Morning and claims the painting has ‘transfixed’ her mother.

September 6 – The portrait is listed on eBay.

September 13 – The portrait is sold to the London Bridge Experience and spooky occurrences begin.

The aforementioned owner Zoe Elliott-Brown had been vocal about her love and distrust of the painting and noted that she had noted her mother becoming increasingly possessive of the painting, spending lengths standing in front of it and stroking her hair through the canvas.

James continued: ‘The family who owned it were charming enough but I get the sense they wanted it gone. They had a little dog who was a lovely lad, really well trained.

‘As soon as they got the painting out of the box he started barking uncontrollably – he really hated it.

‘It’s a long drive back to London from Hastings and the electrics in the car stopped working which I thought was an odd coincidence.

‘When we got her into the office and opened her up it got even stranger.

‘There was a single droplet of water on her forehead. The box had been closed, sealed tight and wrapped in paper. It was impossible for any water to have got in.’

A month has now passed at the attraction while the painting has been in residence and James tells us examples of hauntings and paranormal events have skyrocketed.

‘This place has always been a centre for odd occurrences,’ James claims, ‘but since she’s arrived they’ve escalated.

Jayne, 68, and Zoe Elliott-Brown, 36, sold the painting on eBay after they were ‘haunted’ by it

The ‘haunted’ portrait of the girl in the red dress has found a new home

Zoe had bought the painting from the HARC charity shop in Hastings

‘Multiple staff have said they’ve seen things move. Another said she’s been chased up the stairs by a shadowy figure. Other staff just aren’t comfortable being around her.’

READ MORE: Owner of ‘haunted’ picture of little girl reveals she is convinced the painting is cursed – and believes there is something hidden in the frame

When I put to James that maybe, just maybe, buying a painting that was described by its first unfortunate owner as f****** evil, and hanging it in a lobby in view of hundreds of children, might have been a bad idea, he is coy.

‘We did consider that’, he says, ‘but she’s here now, and sometimes you just have to take your chances.’

Very well then – it was time for me to meet her.

Like most journalists in the country I had spent an obscene amount of time in August trying to find out as much about the portrait as I could.

I had spoken to the owner of the charity shop, tracked down the owners, even bid on the item myself when it was advertised on eBay. I was obsessed.

I don’t necessarily believe in ghosts.It seems like installing someone as one would be a lot of trouble and admin for God to go to to get one up on mortals he didn’t like.

Especially as entry to Hell is basically a revolving door these days.

That being said, I do believe in the supernatural and I think certain items and places can carry energies that linger.

In the same way people get a chill when they walk past a closed Blockbusters or Frankie and Bennies – objects have memories.

The ghost girl, with her sad, petulant and unruly glare clearly possesses something.

As I stood in front of her smudged face, I was taken aback by the entrancing qualities of her eyes that seemed to follow me around the room.

From certain angles they made her look either young or old to the point that by the end I wasn’t even sure if she was a little girl at all.

The artwork itself is a lot more slapdash than was apparent on the internet which suggests the artist had little to no actual talent beyond broad strokes and caricature.

Still as admittedly pony as the artwork was, it had some effect that was undeniably sinister.

One of the most oft repeated falsehoods in the world is that every mother loves their children unconditionally – a saying most of us know to be complete nonsense.

Some children grow up to be murderers, terrorists and rapists.

And some children, like the little girl in the painting, are clearly, just evil, evil sprogs.

Before turning away, I decided to lay my hand on her frame to see if I could feel any connections.

As soon as I touched the cheap wood, a shock of electricity ran through my body and my mind was awash with disturbing visions.

As soon as I touched the cheap wood, a shock of electricity ran through my body and my mind was awash with disturbing visions

There was an apple tree in a field and suddenly it was on fire. Children began to dance around it and lob flaming fruit at each other. Their faces melted and they stared back at me as skeletons.

Then I was in the woods, running from a shadow with Liz Truss’ face on it.

She was leering.

I stumbled and fell and her shadowy mouth swallowed me whole, enveloping me in blackness.*

‘Are you alright mate’

I snapped out of it and looked over at the photographer who was clearly bored and hungry for lunch.

‘Yeah, let’s go grab some lunch.’

The cursed portrait is on display at the London Bridge Experience on XYZ

*N.B: None of this actually occurred.

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