THE HANDS RESIST HIM
The Hands Resist Him, also known as The eBay Haunted Painting, is a painting created by Oakland, California artist Bill Stoneham in 1972. It depicts 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 a photograph of himself aged 5, the doorway is a representation of the dividing line between the waking world and the world of fantasy and impossibilities, while the doll is a guide that will escort the boy through it. The hands represent alternate lives or possibilities.The painting became the subject of an urban legend in February 2000 when it was posted for sale on eBay along with an elaborate backstory implying that it was haunted.
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 said to have come into the possession of a California couple. The painting appeared on the auction website eBay in February 2000. According to the seller, they said they found it abandoned behind an old brewery. They took it home and hung it in their 4-year-old daughter's room. One morning the daughter complained that the two children in the painting were "fighting" and "coming into the room at night." Alarmed, the father set up a motion-triggered camera in the room for the next three nights. The camera shot several photos, one of which showed the little boy "seemingly exiting the painting under threat."
News of the listing was quickly spread by internet users who forwarded the link to their friends or wrote their own pages about it.Some people claimed that simply viewing the photos of the painting made them feel ill or have unpleasant experiences. Eventually, the auction page was viewed over 30,000 times.
The painting became a web phenomenon.
THE ORIGINAL EBAY AD
HAUNTED PAINTING ----- WARNING AND DISCLAIMER
WHEN WE RECEIVED THIS PAINTING, WE THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY GOOD ART. A " PICKER " HAD FOUND IT ABANDONNED BEHIND AN OLD BREWERY. AT HTE TIME WE WONDERED A LITLLE WHY A SEEMINGLY PERFECTLY FINE PAINTING WOULD BE DISCARDED LIKE THAT. ( TODAY WE DON'T !!! ) ONE MORNING OUR 4 AND 1/2 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER CLAIMED, THAT THE CHILDREN IN THE PICTURE WERE FIGHTING, AND COMING INTO THE ROOM DURING THE NIGHT. NOW, I DON'T BELIEVE IN UFOS OR ELVIS BEING ALIVE, BUT MY HUSBAND WAS ALARMED. TO MY AMUSEMENT HE SET UP A MOTION TRIGGERED CAMREA FOR THE NIGHTS. AFTER THREE NIGHTS THERE WERE PICTURES.THE LAST TWO PICTURES SHOWN ARE FROM THAT 'STAKEOUT'. AFTER SEEING THE BOY SEEMINGLY EXITING THE PAINTING UNDER THREAT, WE DECIDED, THE PAINTING HAS TO GO.PLEASE JUDGE FOR YOURSELF. --- BEFORE YOU DO, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWIND WARNING AND DISCLAIMER. ----WARNING: DO NOT BID ON THIS PAINTING IF YOU ARE SUCCEPTIBLE TO STRESS RELATED DISEASE, FAINT OF HEART OR ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH SUPERNATURAL EVENTS. BY BIDDING ON THIS PAINTING, YOU AGREE TO RELEASE THE OWNERS OF ALL LIABILITY IN RELATION TO THE SALE OR ANY EVENTS HAPPENING AFTER THE SALE, THAT MIGHT BE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS PAINTING. THIS PAINTING MAY OR MAY NOT POSESS SUPERNATURAL POWERS, THAT COULD IMPACT OR CHANGE YOUR LIFE. HOWEVER, BY BIDDING YOU AGREE TO EXCLUSIVELY BID ON THE VALUE OF THE ARTWORK, WITH DISREGARD TO THE LAST TWO PHOTOS FEATURED IN THIS AUCTION, AND HOLD THE OWNERS HARMLESS IN REGARD TO THEM AND THEIR IMPACT, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.------------ NOW THAT WE GOT THIS OUT OF THE WAY, ONE QUESTION TO YOU EBAYERS. WE WANT OUR HOUSE TO BE BLESSED AFTER THE PAINTING IS GONE, DOES ANYBODY KNOW, WHO IS QUALIFIED TO DO THAT?
THE SELLERS CONTINUE:
THE SIZE OF THE PAINTING IS 24 BY 36 INCHES, SO IT IS RATHER LARGE. AS I HAVE HAD SEVERAL QUESTIONS, HERE THE FOLLOWING ANSWERS. THERE WAS NO ODOR LEFT BEHIND IN THE ROOM. THERE WERE NO VOICES, OR THE SMELL OF GUNPOWDER, NO FOODPRINTS OR STRANGE FLUIDS ON THE WALL. TO DETER QUESTIONS IN THIS DIRECTION, THERE ARE NO GHOSTS IN THIS WORLD , NO SUPERNATURAL POWERS, THIS IS JUST A PAINTING, AND MOST THESE THINGS HAVE AN EXPLANATION, IN THIS CASE PROBABLY A FLUKE LIGHT EFFECT. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO BID ON THE ARTWORK, AND CONSIDER THE LAST TWO PHOTOGRAPHS AS PURE ENTERTAINMENT, AND PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THEM INTO CONSIDERATION, WHEN BIDDING. AS WE THINK IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO BLESS ANY HOUSE, WE STILL WELCOME INPUT INTO THAT PROCEDURE.
AND FINAL WORDS FROM THE SELLER:
This auction is nearing the end. I want to thank the more than 13000 people that took the time to look at this image on ebay. I appreciate the more than 30 suggestions, that I received regarding blessing the house, exorcising and cleansing. 7 emails reported strange or irregular events taking place, when viewing this image. And I will relay two suggestions made by the senders. First not to use this image as the background on the screen, and second not to display this image around juveniles or children. Last not least, thanks for apreciating the art as well.
After an initial bid of $199, the painting eventually received 30 bids and sold for $1,025.00. The buyer, Perception Gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, eventually contacted Bill Stoneham and related the unusual story of its auction on eBay and their acquisition of it. He reported being quite surprised by all the stories and strange interpretations of the images in the painting.According to the artist, the object presumed by the eBay sellers to be a gun is actually nothing more than a dry cell battery and a tangle of wires.
Stoneham recalls that both the owner of the gallery in which the painting was first displayed, and the art critic who reviewed it, died within one year of coming into contact with the painting.
William Stoneham is an artist and writer who is notable for painting eBay's 'haunted painting' The Hands Resist Him.
Bill (William) Stoneham was born in 1947, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was given up for adoption at birth, spending his first nine months in a Boston orphanage. His adoptive parents gave him the Stoneham name. In late 2011, Stoneham started a search for his birth parents and soon received a copy of his original birth certificate, which contained their names. As a result, a full sibling and three half-siblings were located and new relationships are developing.
Stoneham is an accomplished artist who has worked in feature film, video game art, and fine art including oil painting, poetry, illustration and writing. His website contains many of his works from over the years. One painting, "The Hands Resist Him", has enjoyed some notoriety since it was auctioned on eBay in 2000. The painting is featured in various books, articles, and other cultural media.
Stoneham lives in Oakland, California, with his wife and is painting surrealist canvases, as well as creating digital illustrations for printed publications.
Bill Stoneham on the painting
Where to begin? Well I've always had a connection to what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious. I think we all do. Artists, especially visual artists, are barometers for the currents which run through this collective. Dreams are a common experience people may have with this. Anyway, my own experience is a sensitivity to place– physical, geographical place. There are memories, echoes of all the life within a place. Maybe it's what's called channeling. When I painted the Hands Resist Him in 1972, I used an old photo of myself at age five in a Chicago apartment. The hands are the 'other lives.' The glass door, that thin veil between waking and dreaming. The girl/doll is the imagined companion, or guide through this realm.
Both the owner of the Gallery where 'Hands' was displayed and the Los Angeles Times art critic who reviewed my show were dead within a year of the show.
I'm sure it was coincidence, but some of what I paint resonates in other people, opening the inner door, or basement. By the way, I still have no idea what happened to the character actor who bought the painting at the show or how it ended up abandoned in a building, though I could speculate. - Bill
In 1984, Marley died at age 76 following open-heart surgery.He is interred at Cedar Park Cemetery, in Emerson, New Jersey. He died within a year of coming in contact with the painting "The Hands Resist Him."
New paintings in the series
An individual who saw the story about the 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 the original. Stoneham has entered into an agreement with the current owners of the first painting to sell prints of it in three sizes. A second sequel, Threshold of Revelation, was completed in 2012.
Resistance at the Threshold
Threshold of Revelation