Friday, December 16, 2005


The best position I can be in is the one where I can't tell which of two things creepier. So what's worse: a haunted painting or a prepubescent murderer? A probably hoax or a genuine internet phenomenon?

I found out about these two subjects — Nevada-tan and “The Hands Resist Him,” respectively — after I woke up this morning and began my all day of do-nothing, which I feel I’ve earned. I ended up on Wikipedia, which is generally a sinkhole for spare time. Sometimes, however, time spent there turns up something interesting. This is what I’ve got.

First up: Nevada-tan.

Also known as “Nevada-chan” in some circles, “Nevada-tan” is the name given to an underage Japanese murderer, who slashed a schoolmate’s neck with a boxcutter in 2004. Japanese law prevents the release of juvenile criminals, so all court proceedings just referred to the murderer as “Girl A.” That’s not catchy, of course, so people eventually took to calling her “Nevada-tan” after the distribution of a photograph of her wearing a blue hoodie from the University of Nevada.

A kid killing another kid is sad enough, I’ll admit, but when you really start to look at this case, it gets into your head and rolls around in an uncomfortable manner not unlike an especially slimy millipede that might have burrowed into your brain. Though Nevada-tan was only eleven years old at the time, she apparently was adept enough with web programming to make her own site. (The site has long been taking down, of course.) However, she styled the sit in the aesthetic mold of a scary, “Ringu”-meets-“FeardotCom” Flash movie called “The Red Room.” (Click if you want, and just keep clicking — it’s all in Japanese, and I can’t tell if understanding none of it makes it more or less scary.)

And then there’s the worst of it. For reasons I’ll never understand, this little killer has become quite an internet celebrity. In Japan, she’s had quite a few songs written about her. But she’s also the subject of some anime-style drawings. They’re all the same. Cute, in that big-eyed cartoonish sot of way, but always clutching a knife and always grinning maliciously. (Examples: here and here and here — and that’s just for starters.) It’s also apparently a thing-to-do to dress up like Nevada-tan. In fact, the University of Nevada had to stop selling the particular sweatshirt when they realized so many people from the other side of the world wanted it.

See? Millipede of grossness.

But then there’s this painting — “The Hands Resist Him.”

I don’t know quite what to make of it, other than the fact that it pushes deep — past what I usually consider unnerving and into something that I’d rather not think about a night. This painting, better known online as the “haunted eBay painting,” depicts a child and a nearly life-size child doll standing in front of a glass door against which some spooky phantom hands are pressed. The man who painted it — Bill Stoneham, who did so in 1972 — claims no understanding of how the alleged ghosts got into “The Hands Resist Him,” only that the painting is some extended Jungian metaphor.

Nonetheless, things got strange.

The painting drew attention in February of 2000 when an eBay user posted it for auction. These are some selections from the item description:
When we received this painting, we thought it was really good art. A “picker” had found it abandoned behind an old brewery. One morning our four-and-a-half-year-old daughter claimed, that the children in the picture were fighting, and coming into the room during the night…

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. This painting may or may not possess supernatural powers, which 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…

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 footprints 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.
So yeah — apparently there’s photos of the painting monsters in motion, which you can see here, yet what’s there just looks like the regular painting being strongly backlit. Also, the thing in the girl’s hand is clearly not a gun. It looks more like a bomb.

Odd, I think. The painting did eventually sell — and with this kind of marketing campaign, how could it not? — and the person who purchased it granted an interview with some of the paintings online fans. It’s here, at the bottom of the page. For the click-hesitant, let me tell you here and now that he hasn’t seen anything unusual yet.

So that’s the news for today. Now which is creepier: Nevada-tan or “The Hands Resist Him”?

(Now accepting votes.)

1 comment:

  1. as for the red room thing, I am in 11th grade japanese and initially it says "anata ga suki desu ka", and that is what is written, but before "suki" is the line that reveals other words, I dont know that many kanji but I can be sure of "anata ga suki desu ka" witch means "do you like your head?". also, great blog, it rocks