St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum has confirmed through an official, Boris Sapunov, that the middle section of one of their icons depicting Christ, seemingly painted by an apprentice, has 'a negative bio-field'. Not just a case of inferior work, apparently, but a malevolent energy field. Mr Sapunov, from the Russian section at the Hermitage, recalled that three or four staff working in the vicinity of the icon had died having previously complained of high blood pressure, headaches and an inexplicable sickness. Dr Vyacheslav Gubanov, a physician in St Petersburg, has researched the icon subsequently, and claims its etheric power has the effect on human brains of creating a high level of 'vibrations'. In Gubanov's opinion, the icon was, most likely, ' meant for the elite, not for the common people'. So, a selective killer? Well, er nyet. A colleague of Mr Sapunov, Alexandra Kostsova, said that, in fact, only one of the workers in contact with the icon died, and that was as a result of cancer. There might, however, be other questions to consider. Did those in the vicinity of the icon rely on mobile phones, which can also upset the delicate process of the brain?
Anyway, the curators and workers were moved away from the icon, whereby the problem ceased. But it is just the sort of problem with icons that the late, lamented Christies' expert on icons, Johnny Stuart, might readily have solved, had he still been around. Other questions do arise. Could not the icon be sent overseas on permanent loan? So massive a field of negativity must now exist at the Baghdad Museum that perhaps the mysterious icon could usefully counteract the problems there, negating the Mesopotamian vibrations, not all of which may be bio-spheric, and many of which may be the effect of spasmodic locally induced explosives in origin. Or might Damien Hirst get involved putting right the apprentice's mistakes?