Heather Gifford (39) was shopping with her twelve-year old daughter Melissa and fourteen-year old son Max at the Goodwill Store on Brewster Avenue earlier this month when she found an unusual painting buried behind some furniture towards the back of the store.
As an amateur artist, Gifford was drawn to the painting, and as there was no price tag, she quickly inquired with the cashier as to the price. “The cashier said she had never even seen the painting before,” recalls Gifford. “She thought that it must have just gotten tossed aside by mistake. I really wanted it though, so we agreed on twenty dollars.”
Shortly after Gifford brought the painting home, however, unusual things started to happen around the household. “I hung it in the living room, near the entrance to the upstairs,” she says. “As soon as I put that painting up on the wall, our dog Maisie started to growl and bark at it. Maisie never acts like that, but she wouldn’t stop. Something about that painting scared her. Anytime she would walk past it to go upstairs, she’d cry and run like something was chasing her.”
Gifford’s children started suffering from night-terrors as well, particularly Melissa. “She would have dreams about the woman climbing out of the painting,” says Gifford. “She said that she could see the woman’s eyes move to follow her anytime she was in the room, and that she heard her walking down the hallway to her room at night. Melissa is a very practical kid. It wasn’t like her at all to make something up like this.”
Things came to a terrifying culmination about ten days after Gifford had first brought the painting home. “I was in the kitchen cooking, and I heard a loud bang,” she says. “I came around the corner, and the painting had flung itself off the wall and across the living room. That’s a solid six or seven-foot distance, there’s no way it just fell like that on its own.
I started walking over to pick it up, and I heard a woman’s voice behind me, right in my ear start laughing. Then all of the glasses from the cupboard fell out onto the floor and broke. This whole time, I could still hear the laughter.”
Gifford wasted no time getting rid of the painting. “I threw a heavy tarp over it, and duct-taped it, then I threw it off the bridge into the river. I made sure that it was next to impossible to unwrap that painting, just in case it ever washes up.”
Since the painting’s removal, Gifford states that her home has returned to normal. “Melissa still has bad dreams sometimes, but nothing like before,” she says. “I genuinely don’t have a rational explanation for what happened, but I can tell you I will never get the sound of that laughter out of my head, not for as long as I live.”