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‘Cursed’ £20 charity painting returned again and again because of spooky stare

A "cursed" painting of a little girl has twice been returned to a charity shop after customers complained it had a "creepy" aura.

The portrait features an unknown child wearing a red dress and an unnerving expression.

It was first donated to the Hastings Advice Representation Centre shop in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, along with a bundle of other pictures and frames by a middle-aged man.

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Shop manager Steve feared it may not sell as the girl had "eyes that follow you around the room".

But a female customer snapped it up for £25 after telling him: "Isn't it creepy?''

Two days later she came back in and told Steve "I’ve got to get rid of this picture" as it had "an aura about it".

He put it back in the window with a sign saying "possibly cursed".

It was then bought by another woman who also quickly returned "saying she never wanted to see the damned thing again".

She was "terrified" and "came back shaky and distressed", Steve said.

He returned the painting to the shop window priced at £20 with a starker warning which read: "She’s back! Sold twice and returned twice! Are you brave enough?''

A photo of the sinister artwork snapped by a passerby was posted online and went viral.

Some users compared it to the cursed doll Annabelle from 2013 movie The Conjuring.

Others said the subject looked like the ghost children in 2001 Nicole Kidman film The Others.

One replied online: "I am not brave enough. I ain’t about to be taken by a Polly Portrait Poltergeist.''

Another advised the owner to "burn it".

Some claimed they had suffered calamities after buying similar pictures.

"I bought a similar painting in 1991,'' said one.

"Within 25 years my Auntie Joyce was in hospital with gallstones and I twisted my ankle quite badly in the park. Coincidence?"

One more added: "I have a similar painting of myself. My brother had it done for my parents at Christmas from an indoor market. That day soon after I threw up with an awful sickness bug.''

An art expert said: "The biggest Renaissance/Baroque painters knew how to create this eerie feeling. Their portraits make people feel there is a direct eye contact following them.''

But a wag replied: "My dogs eyes follow me around the room. Not cursed. He just wants a biscuit.''

Some users joked they would use the phrase "she’s back…returned twice" on their dating app profiles.

The global furore surrounding the artwork encouraged the most recent owner to return to the shop to retrieve it.

"The last person was terrified. She couldn’t have it,'' Steve said.

"But then she saw it had so many views she changed her mind.

"She thinks now it’s got some sort of monetary value.

"She rang me up saying, `I bought your picture, can I have it back?' "She’s decided she’s no longer scared and she can put up with it.

"She wanted to buy it back and she had it back for free.''

But he said the painting had been advertised as "cursed" for a reason.

"It did everything it said on the tin,'' he added.

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