Brushstrokes from Beyond

Henderson Kentucky - Patrick Beck loved to paint. The 74 year old retiree had worked for over 40 years at the post office but when he retired in 1992 he found a new passion. On a whim he bought a canvas and paint from the art store and started at it. With no formal training he discovered that he had a knack for it. Landscapes were his favorites but he'd also paint horses, still life and the occasional abstract. He refused to do portraits because as he once told his grandson, "I can't paint faces worth crap."

"This picture taken by Ted in 1996 shows the painting as it was originally"

Yes a whole new life was opening up for Patrick. The only problem is that Patrick suddenly went and died in his sleep one night in July of 1996.

"We all thought that if Granddad had kept it up he might have been another Grandma Moses" says Ted Bowers, his grandson. "He had talent."

In remembrance of his grandfather, Ted decided to hang one of his art pieces in his own home. He choose the last finished painting that his grandfather did which was a landscape that showed the family cabin on the lake.

"Grandfather Beck loved it up there." Sarina, Ted's wife told me, "He'd go up there with the rest of the family and spend all week fishing and painting. That was where he passed away in fact. I remember he finished that painting just as the sun was going down and we all thought it was a good one. Then we ate supper and he went to bed early. The next morning when we got up, Bob (Ted's father) went in to see why Grandfather Beck hadn't got up yet. He found him in bed, looking just like he was sleeping."

"Close up of the painting as it was originally"

The painting hung in the family's living room for over 2 years before Ted noticed something unusual.

"I was up late one night watching TV and all of a sudden the TV started turning off. I'd turn it on and then it would immediately turn off. It happened like 10 times. I finally tried turning it to a different channel and it was fine but if I turned it back to Leno it would almost immediately click off. I didn't think of it that night but later after I started hearing the noises I remembered that Granddad hated the tonight show after Carson left. He refused to watch it."

The noises that Ted refers to seemed to come from the painting. "I'd hear this high pitched whistle in my ear," Ted told me. "It starts out a low hum and then gets louder until it goes out of my hearing range. The whole thing lasts about 10 seconds and I only hear it when I'm in the living room. It's especially bad if I'm sitting on the couch underneath the painting. Sometimes I'll hear it 10 times a night, some nights not at all. Sarina doesn't hear it at all."

"Notice the lighted window that has appeared"

Sarina agrees that she hasn't heard the noise but she was the one to discover that the painting had changed.

"I was cleaning one day and something made me look at the painting. Nothing seemed weird about it but then I noticed that there was a light painted coming out of one of the windows of the cabin. That was strange because I swear Grandfather Beck didn't paint it that way. He painted that painting by looking at the cabin during the daytime. There weren't any lights on in the cabin while he was doing it.. I thought maybe Ted had done it scare me but when I asked him he swore up and down that he hadn't done a thing.

Ted agrees and adds another scary note to the discussion. "The window that is lit up is granddad's room. It's the one he died in."

"Close up of the changed painting"

So what do the Becks plan to do about the painting?

"Nothing," Ted tells me. "If it is haunted by granddad I don't believe he would hurt us. I think he just left a little bit of his soul in the painting since it was his last one. It's adds a little something special to the home. And besides, I don't like Leno that much either."

editors note - While I was at the Beck's home I kept noticing that their small child kept staring at the painting. The Beck's have noticed it too and says that Granddad painting is a great way to keep the kid quiet. If their grandfather haunting the painting then it's the first baby-sitting ghost that I have ever heard of.


interview with Ted and Sarina Beck, December 17th, 1999

photo set #1 (Xmas) courtesy of Ted and Sarina Beck

photo set #2 by Derek Barnes

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