A long spooky story, but interesting… “Years ago, when I was about 13 I was spending the summer at my grandparents. They lived in a neighborhood that had no kids save one, a girl near my age, about eleven or so. We took turns spending the night at each other’s house and hung around the big back yards. Nothing about her house bothered me per se, except for this one painting that hung in their upstairs hall. When you came up over the stairs Kim’s room was directly across the hall with her brother’s room and the bathroom to the right and her parent’s room to the left. When you went into her room and turned around, there on the wall right by the bathroom door hung a 20×13 Margaret Keane portrait. (She’s the lady that paints those kids with the HUGE black eyeballs.) At the time I knew nothing about art and had no idea who Margaret Keane even was, all I knew was that picture gave me the creeps. Done with a charcoal background, the picture showcased a solitary figure – a girl about fifteen – from the shoulders up. Her hair was brown and cut very, very short, she wore a bluish-gray top with a white collar and her expression was somber – not to mention the eyes were huge and dark, big black holes in the middle of this kid’s face. It was creepy and one always got the feeling that they were being watched whenever they were in Kim’s room or going down the hall. Her brother refused to even sleep upstairs because the picture gave him the willies.

The last time I spent the night there we had stayed up late watching some movie and fell asleep in the living room. I awoke near dawn and had to go to the bathroom. Not giving much thought to the fact that I’d have to pass that picture to get to the toilet I headed up over the stairs. I was four steps up and turning on the landing when I felt terrified. I looked up to see a shadow on the wall by Kim’s door. I stood there, wondering if it was Kim’s mom, Judy, or was it something else? The call of nature made up my mind on whether or not to continue and I cautiously made my way up the stairs, hoping and praying it was Judy. In the early morning light I found the hall empty. Scared to death I slipped into the bathroom and clicked the lock as quick and quietly as I could. I did my business and wondered how the heck I was going to get back downstairs without scaring myself again. I had just finished washing my hands when I saw it – the knob was turning slowly back and forth, as if someone was trying to get in.

I froze for a minute, then, telling myself it was probably Kim, I flipped the lock and opened the door way to an empty hall. I looked up at that picture to find the eyes CLOSED! At this point I was ready to cut and run, especially when I saw that damn shadow again, reflecting on the wall from inside Kim’s room. Something was not right and I wasn’t about to stick around and find out what it was. I ran back downstairs, hiding beneath a blanket until everyone else got up. I made my way back upstairs to collect my stuff to find the picture’s eyes were again open (I knew I wasn’t seeing things, those eyes were gigantic, it would be impossible to mistake them being open or closed). As I was coming out of the bedroom I stopped to stare at that evil picture, I don’t know how I knew, but I knew that it was a terrible portrait and there was a lot of evil behind it. Judy came up behind me and commented on how sad the girl looked, and then she stated on why she’d bought it: “the poor thing looked like it had lost its very soul”. I had to agree, it didn’t have a soul all right! The look in those eyes was the darkest, most evil glare I could ever recall seeing and it made every hair on my body stand upright. That picture was looking right at ME and it felt like I was being PULLED towards it. Judy spoke to me again and the pull stopped, I turned to talk to her and felt whatever it was watching me. The phone rang and Judy went to answer it, leaving me with that horrid picture, I turned back to it to find two tiny pinpoints of red in the middle of those dark, black eyes. I’d seen this picture hundreds of times at this point and I knew there was no red in those eyes. That was it for me, I told Kim I had to go and I got the hell out as fast as possible.

I never spent another night with Kim after that, we grew up. . .we both got married and had kids, seeing each other on occasion. One time, after Judy’s death, I made it a point to ask Kim what had happened to the picture. She told me that when they’d built a house in the country when she was in high school, they’d hung the picture in their new living room and it didn’t seem to apppreciate its new home. The picture would never stay up, constantly falling to the floor. Finally, tired of rehanging it, they put it into storage and weird things started happening – footsteps in the attic, things moving around up there by themselves – a highly suspicious and old world Catholic, her father took the painting and attempted to burn it in their field. Only thing was – it WOULDN”T burn. They doused it with gasoline, stuck it in a grill with charcoal – it didn’t even get soot covered. About that time her brother, Mark, hosed the picture down, frame and all, bagged it up, weighted it down and threw it over a bridge. After that all the strange occurences stopped and her mother refused to purchase any more paintings.

This was twenty odd years ago now, and I’ve seen hundreds of Keanes over the years. They were the rage of the seventies and early nineties. People even have sites dedicated to the artist – but I’ve never seen a copy of that picture, nor have I ever gotten the same bizarre feelings of paranoia around Keane portraits. No one knows where Kim’s mom purchased the painting, nor do they know the history that accompanied it – all we DO know, is that it was evil and carried something unexplainable with it. (from Shadowlands)

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