I remember reading as a child a story with the following plot: someone has just bought a painting that depicts a house surrounded by vegetation (shrubs? woods?). As time passes, the owner sees that the painting changes day after day: a man appears out of the vegetation and approaches the house, enters by a window, then exits (I can't recall if he exits carrying the body of a young woman or not) and disappears.

The owner of the painting then discovers that the house depicted was actually the place in which a woman had been murdered (or kidnapped? I can't remember precisely) previously, and the criminal had never been found.

I haven't been able to find this story among my collection of Poe short stories, but the style was, as far as I recall, very much like Poe's.


1 Answer 1


Possible match, The Mezzotint by M.R. James features a changing painting depicting a supernatural creature making off with a child in a manor.

With these words the excellent man went to continue the round of his masters, and you may be sure the gentlemen whom he left lost no time in gathering round the engraving. There was the house, as before, under the waning moon and the drifting clouds. The window that had been open was shut, and the figure was once more on the lawn: but not this time crawling cautiously on hands and knees. Now it was erect and stepping swiftly, with long strides, towards the front of the picture. The moon was behind it, and the black drapery hung down over its face so that only hints of that could be seen, and what was visible made the spectators profoundly thankful that they could see no more than a white dome-like forehead and a few straggling hairs. The head was bent down, and the arms were tightly clasped over an object which could be dimly seen and identified as a child, whether dead or living it was not possible to say. The legs of the appearance alone could be plainly discerned, and they were horribly thin.

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    I wish I had recorded how I found this one. I have no idea now.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 11:54

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