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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Cumbria spooky painting prompts online frenzy

A modern day Maryport ghost story is causing a storm around the world.

Sean Robinson
Sean Robinson and the Anguished Man painting

Sean Robinson, 46, of Lawson Street, was left a painting, called the Anguished Man, just over 11 years ago by a relative.

He said: “Nobody knows who the anguished man is and I can’t find the artist, but I was told, many years ago, that it could have been a self-portrait and that he committed suicide shortly after painting it.”

Around five years ago, when Sean’s family were living in Ellenborough, the cellar was under threat of flooding so it was cleared out and the contents put in storage.

Sean forgot about the painting but when he went through the items from storage after moving house, he decided on impulse to hang the portrait in the spare room.

He said: “That is when strange things started happening – noises, like something being dropped when there was nothing to be seen, doors closing slowly when there was no draught.

“They were things that you noticed but put down to some other factor.”

Wife Dawn, 37, said she had always felt comfortable in their home.

However, she added: “It is an old house and you get the creaks and groans when it settles. But then I didn’t feel comfortable any more.

“I kept seeing the shadow of someone passing, especially in the bathroom. I would turn around and talk to Sean and he would not be there.”

The couple said they had both seen the ghostly figure of a middle-aged man in their bedroom and had heard unexplained crying and moaning.

They added that the family dog refused to go into the cellar when the painting was there but happily entered it when the painting was taken out.

The crunch came when their 11-year-old son Kenan appeared to stumble down the stairs.

Sean said: “I thought he had just been clumsy but he is adamant that he felt as though he had been pushed.”

The couple, who said they did not believe in ghosts, returned the portrait to the cellar.

Before that, however, Sean set up a video camera in the spare room and left it running all night.

During the course of the night there was a distinct sound of something dropping to the floor but there was nothing to be seen the next day. The video also showed a door closing very slowly and light patterns appeared which could not be explained by something such as passing car headlights.

Sean posted the results on video-sharing website Youtube and has created a furore around the world.

A producer in the United States has contacted the family to say he wants to make a film, television companies as far away as Japan want to do documentaries and the family have been offered $32,000 for the artwork, although they have said they are reluctant to sell it.

Sean added: “There have been around 750,000 hits on the site. We have had emails from all over the world and people wanting to buy the painting, to exorcise it.

“There’s a film producer in Florida who is putting together a budget to decide whether he will make a film of the Anguished Man here or in the USA. We have had so many television companies contact us, it has been unbelievable.”

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