Vanishing Portraits?!?!!

It’s a mystery that has plagued the Grand Staircase for months now: why are there portraits missing, where are they going, and—most importantly—who is taking them???

Designer Thistle Quibbler has reported that every few days there will be several portraits that mysteriously vanish from their customary places on the walls of the Grand Staircase. She and the other designers have no leads as to where those portraits are disappearing to, and so they are forced to find replacement pictures to hang instead. Nearly half of the original portraits from the Grand Staircase are missing, and some of the new ones have even been stolen as well.

But who is to blame?

This reporter wasn’t willing to sit and watch more beloved portraits go missing. I quickly donned my investigative robe and set out in search of the culprit. Like the designers have said, there are very few clues to follow. But I happened to be searching the Grand Staircase one night after curfew (shhh, don’t tell the professors), and I saw a suspicious figure slinking around. It was too dark to see who it was, but the person was definitely removing a portrait from the wall.

Rather than confront the culprit, I waited and watched to see if the thief would lead me to the rest of the missing portraits. The person responsible for stealing the portraits has been sneaking them out of Hogwarts, through a secret tunnel in the Forbidden Forest, and onto a train that runs on the same track as the Hogwarts Express. I was unable to discover where exactly the train was headed, as the train only consisted of the engine and one empty car (and I would have been spotted far too easily). But wherever those portraits are headed, it seems to be part of a much bigger conspiracy.

I have my theories, readers. At first I thought it was our old, mischievous friend Peeves. But what motive could he possibly have to steal portraits and send them off on a secret train? That didn’t make much sense, especially because Peeves prefers to wreak the more public types of havoc than the quiet, underground types.

Who else could it be? A student? A professor? A ghost, even?

Personally, I believe it to be the sly, underhanded work of our caretaker, Argus Filch. He has spent the last 45 (!!!) years cleaning up after hundreds, maybe thousands, of students, who—in his opinion—show him no respect. I believe he tired of giving his all to our beloved school only to receive no thanks. After all, he does all of his cleaning the Muggle way (because he is a Squib, as we all know). How would you feel if you spent hours cleaning up after dirty children only to have to turn around and do it again?

So what could he possibly be doing with these kidnapped portraits?

Perhaps he intends to reveal them to the Muggle community and expose magic once and for all. Or perhaps he is selling them on the Wizarding Black Market for a hefty price so he can finally retire from his less-than-glamorous job. Whatever his reasons, keep your eyes peeled for a “filching” Filch. Whenever that message pops up in chat (“Argus Filch finished cleaning Hogwarts!”), consider that maybe a few of those items are portraits from the Grand Staircase.

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