CT heard this was a true story about a log cabin in the woods in Maine, before it became a popular vacation spot:
“This woman was camping in the area with her boyfriend. One day she wakes up early and decides, ‘I’m gonna explore before he wakes up. Get some solitude.’ She’s walking through the woods (around dawn) and she stumbles upon an uncharted cabin, didn’t appear on any maps or anything.
‘Ok, maybe I’ll see if anyone’s home.’
On the exterior it’s well maintained, not scary. Opens up the front door, walks in, it’s pretty nice on the inside too. Got some nice paintings on the inside.
She thinks, ‘This is a nice place.’
There’s one painting on the wall that catches her eye. She goes up to it and it depicts a family portrait. But something’s a little off about the family in the painting. It’s a hyper-realistic painting. The family is standing outside, and they all have exaggerated facial features — a bit surreal – their eyes are wide, unblinking. Their mouths are wide in an eerie grin.
She feels alone in the cabin. She wants to check the kitchen to see if they have any extra food, thinking she might just borrow something. There’s not much in the kitchen. She thinks, “I better leave before anyone comes back.”
She goes back to main room. Right before she leaves, she looks at the painting and the strange thing is… that in the painting the family is no longer there. It’s just a blank backdrop of the woods. She puts her face right up the painting and she realizes it was never a painting… it was a window.”
After hearing this story, CD mentioned that he had heard a version of the story where it’s “dudes camping, they can’t find a shelter, they find a cabin, go lay down for bed, and are disconcerted by paintings and in the morning they’re all windows.”
CT is a student at the University of Southern California. He is from New York City.
CD is a student at the University of Southern California. He is from Zionsville, ID.
This story was told during a folklore collection event that I set up with a diversity of members from the USC men’s Ultimate Frisbee team. We were in a classic folklore collection setting: sharing drinks around a campfire, in a free flowing conversation.
For a popular internet rendition of this story (a “CreepyPasta”), see: https://www.creepypasta.com/the-portraits/