Mansions of Madness

Mr Corbitt - Part 4
"We are the worst investigators, ever!"

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Herbert receives a call from Alfred Spitz’s twin bother – Sid, who wants to come to town to help clear his incarcerated brother’s name. His arrival is arranged for midday of the next day. Herbert notes that Bernard’s car is gone. He shortly has a nice meal which includes one of Corbitt’s specially treated tomato. Within an hour Herbert’s stakeout is disturbed by terrifying visions as the soma kicks in. He is fortunate enough to maintain enough cool to stay within the confines of his own house but it’s several hours later before he comes too cowering in a closet, naked and covered in his own excrement, .

Perkins is slowly becoming crazed by his experiences and has come to believe in magic. He convinces an unsure Gray to come with him to the university library and they spend the afternoon researching the geography and mythology of the Punjab region.

Dorothy continues to lead a very straight forward working life and spends most of her spare time in her boarding house.

Burns heads off in the middle of the night to conduct some grave robbing. The degenerate ex-PI breaks into the cemetery and digs up Lynn Meyer’s corpse, relieving it of a treasured book of poetry and her wedding rings. He spends the majority of the next day recovering from his physical labour by sleeping.

After showering, Herbert decides to take advantage of Corbitt’s absence and sneaks across to the rear of his neighbours house and breaks in. He heads down into the basement and discovers Bernard’s laboratory and its strange contents. Herbert’s exploration is disturbed by the presence of Corbitt’s pet – a hideous experiment. The woman-thing is cornered in the master bedroom and a brief tussle ensues. Herbert wounds the creature and decides to make good his escape while he still can and heads back to his own house. A more thorough search of Corbett’s house and a successful spot hidden in the laboratory would have revealed all of Bernard’s story and his plans to aid his dark benefactor – Yog Sothoth.

Herbert attempts to solve the issue by calling the police but makes the mistake of admitting his identity; unfortunately Herbert no longer has any credit or standing with the authorities who have grown tired of his recent outrageous actions.

Perkins arrives home tired and happy after an enjoyable day of research and a lovely meal with Gray. He has a chat with his wife who informs him of her very typical day of juggling household chores and looking after the kids. In fact the only difference to her day was the visit of a pleasant but rather insistent salesman – who was actually Bernard blagging access to Perkins’ house so that he could steal a pair of socks for use in a malicious spell. Tiring of the banal chat Perkins heads off to the kitchen to get himself a drink when he is suddenly stricken by intense and incapacitating pain (the results of Bernard’s Wrack spell – this is a direct consequence of Perkins having given Victor Meyer his business card). A terrified Mrs Perkins calls an ambulance and her husband is subsequently carted away to hospital.

It’s Wednesday and the first order of the day is a house showing at Herbert’s. After the showing Herbert notices that the realtor then calls over at Corbitt’s house. Several of the investigators, including Sid Spitz, arrive at Herbert’s place and there’s an attempt to formulate a plan of action following his night foray and discoveries – they agree that another visit during the night is in order. Sid is not too convinced by the crazy talk that Herbert gives him. They then observe the realtor return and place a “for sale” sign outside Corbitt’s house.

Gray visits Perkins in hospital and once again enjoys sabotaging a fellow investigator; he alerts the medical staff to Perkin’s belief in magic and his persecution of a colleague’s neighbour. The doctor is troubled by what he hears and decides that he will keep Perkins in the hospital for a string of physical and psychological tests to determine the exact nature of the man’s problems.

Unfortunately for the investigators Corbitt has been severely shaken at having come home last night to discover his house burgled and his pet injured. He is thankful that his secret is still safe but has decided that the investigators’ attention is now too intense and that it presents an intolerable risk to his plans. He has decided to move to another town and in the meantime he intends to keep a constant watch over his house in case another attempt to break in is made (he has armed himself with both magic and a shotgun).

The three investigators who are present at Herbert’s house are dismayed to find that Corbitt is still in; their plans to explore Corbitt’s house are ruined. Burns is angered but decides to come up with an alternative plan – he realises that they haven’t investigated the greenhouse. He manages to sneak unobserved into the greenhouse and spends over an hour thoroughly exploring the contents. Felix notes that there are plants from all over the world, many of which are narcotics, and that two of the plants appear to be “not of this earth”. He is so wrapped up in his search that he fails to notice one of these alien plants vector in on him and release its spores. Burns breathes in the alien spores and quickly suffers excruciating pain that blackens his skin. Terrified and in agony he flees back to Herbert’s house.

The whole debacle of an investigation started in Herbert’s front room and ironically that’s where it ends. Burns comes crashing into the front room, screaming in agony as his skin relentlessly blackens and splits open. Herbert and Sid immediately call an ambulance and watch in horror as Burns dies a hideous death right in front of their eyes. By the time the paramedics arrive Burns is just a brown mass of sludge on the carpet. The first responders are confused by the strange scene and distraught people before them. Corbitt observes the commotion from across the street and decides that this is the most opportune moment to strike – once again he casts the Wrack spell (using a tie stolen from Herbert’s house the week before). Herbert is busy trying to convince the paramedics that the large mass of brown sludge was once a human being when he is struck by the same debilitating and blinding pain that had incapacitated Perkins the previous night. The paramedics at last have a viable casualty to transport to hospital. Left alone in the strange house, Sid decides he has had enough horror and craziness for a lifetime and jumps into his car and races back to New York, never to return.

And so ends the adventure. Highly amusing but hopelessly inept. Dorothy is arguably the only investigator who manages to survive intact – she continues her career as a PI, unmarked by the mythos. Gray decides to move away to Boston to start all over – just as well as all his fellow investigators hate him. Herbert and Perkins are both sectioned for a year as authorities decide to remove these bothersome individuals from circulation; they will both regain their freedom but their careers are in tatters and they are haunted by their experiences and memories for the rest of their lives – Perkins however does manage to avoid the burglary and attempted murder charge by reason of insanity. Alfred Spitz is not so lucky; Corbitt subsequently attends the trial and gives testimony, resulting in Spitz being imprisoned and serving 7 years in prison – life is never the same for him following his eventual release.

Corbitt has to suffer the annoyance and unpleasance of leaving his home town but manages to set up his operation in a nearby state. He successfully raises Man-Bagari – the bridge, and many innocents die……thanks to the investigators and their reckless actions.

Hail Yog Sothoth!

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The Crack'd & Crook'd Manse
"Let's split up!"

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The adventure starts with the rag-tag group of bizarre eccentrics and slackers attending their paranormal society meeting upon special invitation. Each of them has become members due to their previous experiences and interest in the occult. Ezekiel Algernon has taken reception of a letter from a firm of lawyers, the Dodge brothers, based in Gamwell, Conneticut. Reading the letter aloud the group learns that a reclusive millionaire has gone missing from his family pile; they are asked to locate the man, dead or alive so that his estate may be settled. Eager for action the group quickly departs for the town for fame and fortune the very next morning.

Upon arrival they duly visit the lawyers’ offices and learn some more details concerning Arthur Cornthwaite’s mysterious disappearance. The man shut himself up in his mansion and has not been seen in town for a considerable length of time. The investigators whisk themselves off onto the open road and travel the seven miles out of town until they locate and arrive outside the Fitzgerald Manse; only there’s a problem – the tall wrought iron gate and fence that surround the estate are secured by a sturdy padlock and chain. None of the group feel brave enough to risk scaling the imposing fence and so Fliss has to drive all the way back into Gamwell, and revisit the Dodge bros to ask for the keys. By the time she arrives back outside the mansion a considerable amount of time and daylight has been lost.

Once they are finally on the property they waste no time exploring the eerily desolate abode. The exploration of the mansion leads to the discovery of a collection of curious and rare artifacts, among which the shrunken heads make a distinct impression on the psychologist, Doctor Ravi. They also locate a strange scrawling in one of the bathrooms – NaCl. Non-sense, some thought, but some of the sharper members recall that it is the chemical annotation for sodium, aka salt. Another thing that stands out is a journal detailing travels to far and exotic countries. During the search of the house Stanford, the military veteran suffering from PTSD, mistakes a coat rack and fishing line for an axe wielding maniac and runs for his life while shouting for help. After realising his mistake, he feels a great deal of shame and embarrassment. Stanford however is not the only one on edge – a short time later while searching another room, Michael, a civil servant with Communist leanings, notices scratching sounds coming from under one of the beds. Upon peering underneath he notices movement and decides to open fire with a shotgun he found within the house. The source of the noise turns out to merely be a raccoon that had taken up residence in the empty house. Sadly the racoon is no more.

Overall the atmosphere doesn’t seem right, and Ravi, as well as nearly everyone else, becomes really nervous. Their search has turned up surprisingly little tangible and as darkness begins to fall the group decides to settle for the night and continue their work in the morning. With so many bedrooms available everyone is able to quickly secure a comfortable bed, with only one or two people having to share rooms. The consequence of this action is that nearly everyone is separated and spread out across the large house.

As a security precaution while in the mysterious house, several members of the group decide it prudent to barricade themselves in their rooms. Little do they know that the threat is all about them, hiding behind the very walls and under the floorboards. The gregarious aristocratic socialite, Fliss, is the first to fall victim. She is locked inside the upstairs master bedroom, the same room where Arthur Cornthwaite met his untimely demise. She sits at a mirror, care-freely applying make-up when a snaking slimey tentacle creeps up from behind her and swiftly wraps itself around her, constricting her. Her ribs being crushed, she is unable to scream and quickly succumbs. The vile creature drags her lifeless body down the fireplace and into its basement lair.

Screams, shouting and thudding awake everyone in the middle of the night. They gather in front of Michael’s chosen room, the downstairs parlour. Common consensus identifies it as the source of the noise. The investigators are unable to enter easily due to the paranoid Communist’s makeshift barricade. After spending a few minutes trying to break the door down Ravi takes out his pistol and heads outside. Using his gun, he breaks the window from the garden. When he enters, letting the others in, they find something that exceeds their worse expectations: no one is in the room… but some teeth, patches of scalp, and a trail of blood lead to the chimney, clearly indicating that something truly terrible has happened to their friend!

Frozen in terror by their discovery, the horrified group clusters into a single room for safety. They then realise that Fliss is also missing and there is no answer to their calls. With a terrible suspicion they venture out of the room and head upstairs to the master bedroom. They break the door down and enter. Again they find it empty – only a broken glass and some drops of blood on the floor is left to indicate the horrific event.

Fearing the fireplaces and trying to understand what is hunting them down, and some also hoping to at least retrieve the bodies of their friends, they decide to go into the kitchen and take a better look at the cellar which they have not entered during the afternoon due to the door refusing to budge and a god-awful smell emanating nearby. With persistence of strength they finally manage to pry the door open to reveal a monstrous sentient green gelatinous mass of translucent corruption. As the thing begins to ooze towards them Ravi and Ezekial observe the dissolving remains of Fliss and Michael floating within the beast. Stanford, who has already witnessed enough horrors during the Great War can tolerate it no more and turns and flees straight out of the house. The psychologist runs over to the kitchen cupboards and begins to furiously search for a salt cellar, but before he can find his prize a tentacle snakes out and wraps around his leg and pulls him down into the cellar and into the creature in the blink of its multitude of eyes. Ezekial charges at the foul entity with a woodaxe, screaming, and is instantly overcome and joins the rest of his party inside the putrid mass.

Outside, Stanford bolts for his car, briefly waits for a minute, futilely hoping his friends will come running out of the house. When no one emerges he quickly guns the engine and heads straight to the local police station.

Upon recounting his tale in its entirety, the police believe Stanford to not be of sound mind, and repeatedly ask what has happened to the rest of the group. The police agree to check the house while they lock Stanford up for both his safety as well as the safety of others. The officers find nothing in the house aside from a few small bones and teeth, which leads them to detain Stanford further on suspicion of murder. As a man of means Stanford is fortunately able to hire a decent lawyer and subsequently avoids being charged with murder. Over the proceeding months family members of the missing party continue to hound Stanford at his residence and shop demanding to know what has befallen their loved ones. The stress becomes too great for him, and he finally sells his shop and home, packing up to move across the country. The events that took place continue to haunt him for the rest of his days……..

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The Old Damned House - Part 1
Magic, Mummies & Chowdaaah

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On a Sunday afternoon in September 1926 a select group of eccentric and foppish investigators of the Silver Stroker Crime & Mystery Club assemble in the club reading room on the 5th floor within a Boston apartment building. Smoke fills the air as the various members puff away on their pipes and cigarettes, inhaling the healthy tobacco vapours which are well known to keep all manner of maladies and illnesses at bay. These happy select few represent the keenest minds and wits of the club and they have assembled having accepted the rare privilege and challenge of conducting an actual investigation. The club president, Bartholomew Petard enters the room, accompanied by a stranger, a stern looking middle aged man dressed in a well cut suit. Bartholomew introduces George Knowles to the group and gives him the floor.

Knowles explains that he is co-owner of the Rimant & Knowles insurance company, based here in Boston. On Wednesday the notorious Hazard Pearls were reported stolen from the Hazard mansion in the Connecticut town of Mystic. Knowles has spoken with the investigating officer, Detective Wheeler, and is disturbed by what he has heard and the policeman’s attitude. He has little faith that the investigation will get to the truth; fortunately Bartholomew has told him that the keen minds of the club are prepared to assist and get to the bottom of things. Knowles asks that the group goes to Mystic as soon as possible and retrieves the missing jewels and more importantly, identifies the culprit. He elaborates that he is of the opinion that it is an inside job and that one of the Hazard family members has done the deed. Fliss enquires as to why this is believed and Knowles explains that the Hazards are one of the oldest and most well known New England families and that they have been steadily selling off their material assets over the years to make ends meet. The Hazard Pearls have an insurance value of $500,000 and furthermore Detective Wheeler has stated that ingress into the house was made through an unlocked window and that there is no sign of the thief’s exit. Fliss asks about the Hazard family members but Knowles only knows of Prime Hazard and a female, whose name he can’t remember offhand. With the briefing complete, Knowles asks if there are any further questions; Hugo, a stuttering illusionist, enquires whether there are expenses are to be paid during the investigation. Knowles is horrified by this question since it was Bartholomew who was so insistent on getting the club involved in the issue. The rest of the group quickly shut Hugo up and Bartholomew just as quickly ushers Knowles out, whispering to his nephew, Ezekial, to ensure that no similar embarrassments occur. Left on their own and having received their task the group decides that they will head out to Mystic early the next morning.

On Monday morning the group sets out on the road divided equally among two vehicles; Fliss’ open topped Bentley and Hugo’s van which contains is magician’s equipment and staging. It takes them just over three hours to reach Mystic and they encounter no issues except for Fliss’ awful and reckless driving which leaves a trail of roadkill all the way back to Boston. They park up on Main Street and opt to go into the Benson Hotel. Fliss, an aristocratic British socialite is used to the finer things in life and doesn’t hesitate in renting the hotel’s penthouse apartment for three nights. The group ensconce themselves in their new digs, unpacking their baggage and dividing themselves up into the three bedrooms. It’s close to lunchtime and after a meeting to discuss their next steps Fliss decides that she will go to the town’s only restaurant, The Albion, for luncheon while Ezekial, Michael and Stanford head off to the town library to begin some background research on the Hazards. Ravi, a demented psychologist, goes over to the town hall opposite where he charms the clerk into compiling all the marriage, financial and property records on the Hazards. The clerk tells him to come back before closing time, which is at 4.30pm.

Fliss finds that she is too early for lunch for the chef has not even arrived. Undeterred she takes a seat and orders herself a gin cocktail only to be informed that prohibition is still in force; the flapper has to settle for an Elderflower cordial instead and sits sipping in the near deserted restaurant while a piano player plinks away in the corner. Meanwhile in the library, Ezekial discovers a mess of stacks of books all piled up on the large tables and near bare shelves. After a while an elderly librarian appears and informs him that she is in the middle of cataloguing the libraries holdings and doesn’t expect to be finished on the task for at least another year. The occultist dilettante asks if there are any books concerning the Hazard family but is told that there may well be but the librarian doesn’t know where they currently are but is more than welcome to look for himself. The three investigators then spend the next three hours searching through the random stacks of books in the hopes of finding some information. Buns and cakes are purchased and consumed from a nearby bakery while the men continue to work. Their perseverance pays off when they come across a diary entry for a woman who was present for a Hazard family funeral in 1865. They also learn that further information may be available in the Mystic Historic Society which is located a mere street away.

Back at the restaurant Fliss is informed that the chef has finally made an appearance and after much deliberation over the rather limited menu opts for one of the many available chowders. A passable but uninspiring seafood meal is duly experienced.

After lunch all members of the group converge on the Historical Society and spend the majority of the afternoon going through the newspaper archives and artefacts. They discover a swaddled bundle of bones in a display case with a label declaring them to be the bones of an Indian Mummified Baby which was found in a graveyard in 1827. Ezekial and Ravi scrutinize the object and are unsettled by what their knowledge tells them – it’s not the remains of a child, nor is there anything to indicate it being of native American origin. As they continue to search they uncover a journal which gives the account of a Nailor Tom back in 1759, who encountered a Wilfred Hazard under strange circumstances. Checking the newspaper archives they then find an account from 1827 which report of the mysterious disappearances of 8 of the town’s residents; the Hazard family were at the forefront of the searches but no trace of the missing people were ever found.

Ravi heads back to the town hall and is informed by the clerk that the records of the Hazards have been compiled but cannot be viewed until the next day due to it being closing time. The group then head back to their apartment to discuss their various findings and what their next course of action should be. There is some concern about approaching the Hazard family directly and many feel that they want to learn more about them before doing so. By now it’s early evening and after enquiring with Harold on the front desk they learn that the small town only has St Michaels, the Old Church, the New Church and a few scattered knitting and poetry groups as a means of entertainment. Sadly local connections and introductions are required to join the knitting and poetry circles. In the god-fearing town of Mystic, The Albion serves as the slow beating heart of social life and with due dread Fliss heads back there with Hugo and Ravi accompanying her. Ezekial decides that he will remain in the apartment and contemplate the facts learned so far. Michael is keen to explore the Old Church cemetery where the mummified “baby” was discovered back in 1827.

Life has picked up a little in The Albion. A violinist has joined the piano player and there are now seven customers dining inside, all of them younger than those at lunch too. The trio are seated and presented with the same menu as before and while they contemplate which flavour of chowder to select they observe a stern looking middle aged man in a suit sat in a corner booth. Hugo, ever the extrovert decides to amuse his companions with some impromptu magic tricks which alarms two young diners sat a few tables away. Fliss walks over to them and apologises for her companion’s bizarre and inappropriate behaviour. As she is doing so the stern looking middle aged man appears and demands to know who everyone is and what they are doing there, showing a police badge and identifying himself as Detective Wheeler.

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The Old Damned House - Part 2
Toads, Tumbles & Tombs

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The stuttering fool, Hugo Yackman, the Master of Delusion, promises to buy a permit before performing any further unsanctioned acts of magic in a public place. Flapper Fliss, feeling the unpleasant heat of the law, assures Detective Wheeler that she and her cohorts will behave themselves while in town. Satisfied, the policeman returns to booth and his coffee.

Stanford the antiques dealer pops out and over to the Old Church and attempts to enter, but finds his way blocked by a shut door, which is no surprise seeing as it’s 7pm. He then opts to wander through the cemetery, his mind still fixated by the od finding of a mummified Indian baby some hundred years before. He spots nothing odd amongst the tombstones but just as he suspects his visit to be a bust he discovers the Hazard family crypt. The wrought iron door is firmly fixed by an old rusted lock and the veteran briefly toys with the idea of breaking in but quickly thinks otherwise.

Meanwhile, back in the hotel suite, Ezekial and Michael attempt in vain to ponder what has occurred so far, but something is wrong…..there’s an odd tension in the air and as the two men furtively and uneasily glance over to each other they both begin to suspect something queer about the other. The stress of this uncomfortable social interaction causes the arm chair communist, Michael’s, nose to bleed. A short time later Fliss, Ravi and Hugo return and wonder just what on earth has been going on and why the two men are looking so guilty.
There’s then a brief discussion about what’s been learned so far and all agree that more must be learned about the Hazards before approaching them. Stanford mentions the crypt but no one wants to know about it – they feel it’s too much of a risk to explore it and there’s not enough cause. They then all retire for the night and manage to get a good sleep.

The next day they all breakfast in the hotel and agree separate plans of action. Ravi, the crazed psychologist, heads off back to the Town Hall and after fending off much flirtation and boring chatter from the transfixed clerk, manages to gain access to the Hazard birth and death register, learning of all the current family members and the property records which reveal that the family originally possessed a shack built on a cliff riddled with caves that they built up into a sizeable mansion over the centuries. Hugo enters a short time later and attempts to buy a performance license but is completely ripped off and taken for a ride by the clerk who is relieving her spurned advances upon Ravi by punishing the hell out of the unfortunate illusionist. Ezekial and Fliss heads back over to the Mystic Historical society and futilely search through the archives for further information; what they do learn however, from a conversation with the curator, is that most of the town is talking about the theft of the Hazard Pearls and that some sources are saying that the Accursed Cat Burglar, a notorious criminal who targets famous jewels across the New England region, is the likely culprit.

Fliss drives Michael and Stanford up to the imposing Hazard mansion and then promptly departs, parking down on the beach and waits for their return. It’s been decided by the group that due to a number of them being made by Detective Wheeler last night that the lefty lawyer and the shell-shocked seller and the only suitable candidates left. The duo approach the grandiose structure and knock on the front door; there is no response and as they listen for movement they detect the sound of music coming from within. They stand around and wait, and while doing so Stanford takes a step back and promptly falls down the porch steps and onto his back. Stanford, embarrassed at his clumsiness, picks himself up and raps on the door again louder and Lucille answers duly answers it, irritated by the rude intrusion upon the family’s abode. She demands to know what the pair want and the retarded revolutionary, Michael, promptly identifies them both as representatives of Rimant & Knowles and proceeds to accuse the family of stealing the jewels and making a false claim; so much for his lawyer skills – one would surely be a fool to hire him. Lucille, incensed, as any normal right thinking person would be, slams the door in their faces. The pair knock again and a confused Prime Hazard, the family patriarch, opens it; he has received half a distressed message from Lucille about their presence and he now seeks to find out the truth himself. He asks them who they are and sure enough, after much reasonable talking about the necessity of clearing the matter of the thefts so that the fee can be paid out, Michael puts his foot in it again by mentioning that a member of the family may actually be the culprit. Prime is somewhat offended by the imposition but he agrees to permit the two into the house to view the crime scene.

They are taken to the library where they are shown an open and empty safe behind a bookcase. Prime tells them that he holds the only key and that it is always with him. He does not believe a member of the family is involved in the theft. He confirms that nothing else was taken apart from the contents of the safe, which was the pearls, the last will and testament of Wilfred Hazard and $500 cash. The duo look around the room and while doing so Stanford trips over his feet and smashes into a table, sending the contents and himself flying; a horrified Lucille comes rushing in to put the place straight again – at this point she must surely detest the pair. Trying to ignore his idiot companion’s ineptitude, Michael continues his inspection and discovers a family bible, which Prime refuses him permission to look at, and the traces of flower petals caught under the bookshelf. He also spots a large number of toads out in the garden through the windows.

The lame lawyer then asks which window the offender entered through and is told by Prime that the burglar came in via a sitting room window that had inadvertently left unlocked. They ask to see the room and are taken back to the front door and into the comfortable lounge. There is a profusion of comfortable tables, coffee tables and lamps. They inspect the window and note a pile of dirt and more flower petals. They then can think of nothing further to ask to see within the house so then opt to do a perimeter check. Inspecting the outside of the sitting room window they find a flower bed and trampled flowers matching those inside. In the flower bed is the foot print of an average sized man who is also pigeon toed. Michael also spots a tweed thread on the window sill. They then walk around the corner and over to the outside of library where, unbelievably, Stanford stands on a toad and goes tumbles forward, smashing his face into the house wall before collapsing onto the flower bed. Prime, a pious man, is so astounded by what he is witnessing that he blasphemes. Making their lame apologies the cack-mouthed two-left footed fools half run off the grounds and down to Fliss for a ride back into town.

Reconvening back in the hotel apartment the group discuss what they have all learned. There is uncertainty and vague suspicions. Michael focuses in on Prime’s statement that only the family and the insurance company knew the location of the safe; this prompts Ezekial into calling George Knowles, who denies letting the information go out from within the firm but does confirm the existance of the Accursed Cat Burglar. Hugo keeps fixating on the 1865 diary entry of Mistress Mercy Stanton and after over an hour of contemplation realises that they have all failed to understand its significance; they have all concentrated on the two named individuals but have missed the real relevance – the oddly loaded coffins. They finally realise that a visit to the Hazard crypt is now indeed warranted.

They leave the hotel after dark and reconvene outside the Old Church at 8pm. They make their way to the lonely vault at the rear of the cemetery and break the lock with ease. They walk down a winding flight of marble steps and enter a small crypt; within are held 300 years worth of neatly stacked coffins. They observe that they are arranged in labelled shelves in ten year increments. They take out the small child coffins of Lucy, John and Nathaniel and break them open to reveal that each contains only a rotted cloth and a heavy rock. A check of a coffin from 1750 reveals the skeletal remains of its incumbent. The investigators then spend the next hour checking through further coffins to determine when the last body was interred; it turns out that after 1760 there are only stones.

The investigators emerge from the tomb shocked and shaken at their discovery. Ezekial’s mind reels at the unearthly implications. Several members of the group find themselves supposing that no one in the Hazard family has died in the last 250 years and that they may be immortal.

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