Date of Discovery
Bill Stoneham originally painted ‘The Hands Resist Him’ in 1972 and finished it in 1974, but ‘The Hands’ was found in February of 2000 by a brewery owner from California. The couple purchased ‘The Hands’ from eBay for a whopping $1,025.
Stoneham originally named the painting “The Hands Resist Him” but it is also known to the eBay world as ‘the haunted eBay painting’.
The Hands painting is done on a 24 by 36’’ canvas in brilliant oil paints; the piece features a young boy and a doll-like girl standing in front of a window with a sea of disembodied hands reaching out from behind them.
Stoneham created this piece off of a photograph of him and a neighbor when they were kids. Stoneham said “There are memories, echoes of all the life within a place…The hands are the ‘other lives’, the glass door is the veil between waking and dreaming. The girl/doll is the imagined companion or guides through this realm.’’ He was quite shocked to learn of the stories attached to his piece of art. Stoneham went on to paint sequels to ‘The Hands’ and also keeps a personal note on his studio’s site, Stoneham Studios, addressing the painting’s story.
In 1974 ‘The Hands’ was bought from Stoneham’s gallery show by Feingarten; it was purchased for actor John Marley for his role in The Godfather movie. Between 1978 and 1984 three men who were very close to “The Hands Resist Him’’ died; Seldis in 1978, Feingarten in 1981, and Marley in 1984. Twenty-six years later Stoneham would hear of his painting again as it resurfaced in a 2000 eBay listing. The selling family wrote their experience with the painting as a horror story only bested by Stephen King; as well as adding the photos of the painting “changing”. The family set up motion-sensitive cameras in their daughter’s room after she claimed the children in the painting were fighting and coming out of the painting. The camera showed the boy crawling from the painting, just as the 4-year-old claimed. BBC reported in 2002 the ‘last two pictures purport to show the doll coming to life’, and forcing the boy to leave the painting at gunpoint. Some viewers of the painting’s ad on eBay also reported supernatural experiences after viewing “The Hands’’ piece for a long period. The reports claimed to experience disembodied voices, feeling hot air blown across them, feeling violently ill or fainting, hearing screams, being grabbed, blackouts, losing mind control, and many other concerning experiences.
Kim Smith bought the painting in 2000 off eBay for $1,025 after “Hands” had racked up a large legend on the internet. She reported the bizarre happenings started at the first email to bringing the piece home. She was asked to show the painting many times, the most memorable was in 2007. About a dozen men ranging in age from 14 to 60 came, Smith recounts “Twenty seconds passed, and just silence and then someone said, ‘that’s creepy’”. Smith turned down many offers, even a 6 figure one, and kept the painting because of the mystique it holds.
Today the painting rests in storage at the Smith’s Gallery in Grand Rapids, Mich; where it awaited filmmakers for its chance at the big screen. To this day Stoneham still receives messages weekly about “The Hands Resist Him”. Many share their stories and experiences after viewing it and some pry deeper hoping to have questions answered. Stoneham went on to paint 3 sequels to “The Hands” that carry the story and lore on. The first is “Resistance at the Threshold’’ (2004), then “Threshold of Revelation’’ (2012), and finally “The Hands Invent Him” (2017).
Modern Pop-Culture References
- Velvet Buzzsaw (2020)
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