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There have been various stories about children with mysterious powers from the Midwich Cuckoos to the movie The Ring.

I'm trying to recall a very specific short story. 1960s or earlier.

A young girl spends much of her time sitting in front of a TV. I can't remember whether the screen shows merely static or she somehow projects her own images onto the screen.

Adults (maybe her parents) are held prisoner by her and can't leave the house. It's possible that the girl has somehow separated the house from the normal world so that there is nowhere to go - there's just a grey mist outside. At some point she stops one of the adults from talking by sealing up their mouth - there is simply no mouth where it used to be and no scars or sign that it was ever there. I think she keeps them alive by using her powers.

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    This sounds something like "It's a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby, but the scary child is a boy named Anthony, and he's terrorizing an entire community, not just a household. One of the community activities is "TV night" where he projects weird staticky images on a TV set and all the neighbors have to pretend to enjoy it.
    – user888379
    Dec 25 '20 at 1:21
  • There was a sequel involving his daughter, although maybe only on The Twilight Zone.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 25 '20 at 1:23
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    @user888379 - I found it online and just read the whole thing. That is certainly part of my memory. I think I must also have it mixed up with a similar one where someone's mouth was sealed up. There were certainly a lot of similar tales! Dec 25 '20 at 2:03
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    Anthony seals up a mouth in the TZ movie.. youtube.com/watch?v=fvUJBcuLl6U Dec 25 '20 at 6:23
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    @chasly-supportsMonica In the spirit of Christmas, if you want to answer your own question, I'll upvote it. A couple of possible sources for the no-mouth image: "Charlie X" from the first season of Star Trek, and Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" (maybe too obvious :))
    – user888379
    Dec 25 '20 at 13:25

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