‘Haunted painting ruined my life – now I need a professional to life the curse’

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  • A woman who bagged a "cursed" painting from a charity shop said it has "enchanting" powers that have turned her life upside down.

    Zoe Elliott-Brown came across the portrait of a young girl in a red dress from Hastings Advice Representation Centre (HARC) shop in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, last month.

    As she went to buy the £20 work of art she was warned it could be cursed, having been returned time and again thanks to its alleged dastardly doings.

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    But the 36-year-old said her mum, Jayne, became "transfixed" after she sent her a snap of the painting and encouraged her to buy it.

    Zoe said: "I've never seen my mum want something so much. She was fascinated by it – but not in like a positive way."

    But after bringing the painting home the pair have said the curse is very real with their lives having changed for the worse since bringing the painting home.

    The family's dog Cilla instantly started "growling" at the artwork when it was brought into the living room and she "wouldn't go anywhere near it".

    Jayne, 68, then began to suffer health issues, including hot flushes and shakes, and even had to put on jumpers to keep warm despite it being the middle of summer.

    But although the painting had some worrying effects, Zoe said her mother became "weirdly protective" of it.

    "She was continually staring at it. She was running her figures over its cheekbones, she polished it even though it didn't need polishing," she added.

    "Any mention of getting rid of it… she got really snappy. It's like some family heirloom she's become protective over. My mum was point blank refusing to get rid of the picture."

    Hoping to "cleanse" the painting of its evil powers, Zoe put it in a box with sage.

    But Jayne's condition continued worsen and she even collapsed in the bathroom one day.

    Over the next few days Zoe caught her mum stroking the painting despite the strange effects it had caused.

    "It was odd behaviour, especially for my mum," Zoe added.

    "My mum is still really odd and vacant and won't really discuss it."

    Two weeks later Zoe and her partner Ben went to watch lightning storm around three miles from their home.

    As they came out into a clearing they say they saw a "big black figure" appear in front of them.

    "We began running back the way we had come. [Ben] was screaming that it was right behind him.

    "I didn't clock that it could be anything to do with the picture but then I've never ever been chased by a dark figure in a lightning storm.

    "It was the most terrifying experience of both our lives."

    Fed up with her bad luck, Zoe went to return the painting to the charity shop.

    But just weeks later she returned to the shop and the pull of the cursed artwork prompted her to take it home again.

    Now she's looking for a professional to help rid the painting of the curse once and for all.

    "[I wanted] to get it to someone who actually knows about this stuff and can do something positive with it," she added.

    "I thought knowing my luck some idiot will go and get it and try and burn it and I don't really want to be left with the remainder of whatever the hell has been going on.

    "Technically I was the last owner. [I want it] dealt with properly."

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