The “scariest” haunted painting by Bill Stoneham

by Bill Stoneham, 1972

Not long ago I saw a photograph of this painting on one of the forums, people were calling this painting the “scariest” painting they have ever seen. I must say that intrigued me, and as to what people saw on it that i do not find “scary” or “creepy”… So i decided to look into it.

The name of the painting is “the hands resist him”. It was painted by Bill Stoneham in 1972. On the picture is a young boy and female doll standing in front of a glass paneled door against which many hands are pressed. According to the artist, “the boy is based on the photograph of himself at age five, the doorway is a representation of the dividing line between the walking world and the world of fantasy and impossibilities, while the doll is a guide that will escort the boy through it. The titular hands represent alternative lives or possibilities”

The painting was first displayed at the Feingarten Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA during the early 1970s. A one-man Stoneham show at the gallery, which included the piece, was reviewed by the art critic at the Los Angeles Times. During the show, the painting was purchased by actor John Marley, notable for his role as Jack Woltz in The Godfather.

At some point in time after Marley’s death, the painting was reported to have come into the possession os a California couple, after being found on the site of an old brewery, as stated in their original eBay listing in 2000. According to the seller, the painting carries some sort of curse. Eventually the painting got sold.  The buyer, Perception Gallery in Grands, Michigan contacted Bill Stoneham and related the unusual story of its auction and people’s interpretation, which surprised the artist.

An individual who saw the story about original painting contacted Stoneham about commissioning a sequel to the painting.  Stoneham accepted and painted a sequel called Resistance at the Threshold. The sequel depicts the same characters 40+ years later in the same style as original. A second sequel, Threshold of Revelation, was completed in 2012 and can be seen on Stoneham’s website.

Resistance at the Threshold
Threshold of Revelation

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