Mansions of Madness

The Old Damned House - Part 4
Close to God


Ravi advances into the room, eager to learn what the source of the eerie light is. He peeks around the corner of a stack of boxes and sees that there are several large holes punched into the wall and ceiling, and several plates containing crumbs are scattered across a trunk top – it appears someone or something has been feasting. He notes a foul musty smell emanating from the apertures but they are too small to permit further investigation; he does note however, that the dimensions of the house seem much smaller than its outwards appearance. He walks back over to Caleb’s room and asks the mad collector about the layout of the mansion and is told that the other wing can be reached by a flight of stairs on the floor below.

Meanwhile, downstairs, Prime joins the party in the music room and is shocked to see so many strangers present. Learning that one of them is a mere mechanic, he instructs the man to go and wait in the sitting room, which Hugo duly does with chagrin. “Dr” Ezekial introduces himself and informs the mad family that he has successfully treated Fliss’ “injured” ankle. He makes to excuse himself, but first asks where the lavatory is – and is duly taken by Lucille. While going about his business, Ezekial meets Ravi coming down the stairs; the pair swap information and decide to use the opportunity to quickly explore the other side of house.

The pair bound up the previously unnoticed stairs and enter the other side of the house. They are confronted by several closed doors and another flight of stairs going up; they decide to ignore the entire floor and focus on searching the other side of the attic. They race up the next flight of stairs and find themselves in the attic with a door to the left and another to the right – after a brief debate they opt to try for the door on the left. The gloomy room inside is sparsely furnished and the window is covered with newspaper to prevent the light getting in – in the middle of the room a corpulent old man sits slumped in an old-fashioned wheelchair, seemingly chained to the wall. The old man’s eyes are closed and his breathing is laboured; Ravi moves in to use his medical expertise to determine the man’s condition while the somewhat cowardly Ezekial hovers close to the door for safety. As Ravi approaches the old man suddenly springs up and attacks! It becomes quickly apparent that the man was merely pretending to be an invalid, furthermore, to Ravi’s trained eyes he can see that there’s something very troubling about the man’s appearance – something not quite human. An absurdly long black tongue shoots out from the old man’s improbably wide mouth and wraps around Ravi’s throat, choking him. A shocked and horrified Ezekial pulls out his silver ceremonial dagger and attempts to strike the deranged assailant but the man is far too swift and violent for him; Ravi attempts to break free from the man’s tongue but it’s too tightly wrapped and moments later he blacks out. Ezekial, seeing his compatriot collapse, realises that he will be next and turns and flees, leaving Ravi to his fate. The toad-like old man draws the unconscious psychologist into his craw with his vice-like tongue and crushes his bones and consumes him whole, just as he had the Accursed Cat Burglar the week before.

A terrified Ezekial races back down the stairs and runs into a surprised Lucille, who asks him what the matter is. The craven occultist is in full flight mode and bowls past her, knocking her over, and runs full tilt out through the front door, out of the grounds and down the hill, towards town. A stunned Prime runs out of the music room in response to his “cousin’s” cry; everyone else quickly joins him out in the hallway as he picks Lucille up. Moments later the sibling pair run up the stairs to investigate what the cause of Ezekial’s fright was; Fliss and Hugo take full advantage of the chaos and quickly chase on up behind them.

When they reach the landing of the first floor they see Prime and Lucille being knocked down on the next flight of stairs as the unhinged toad-man comes charging down onto the floor. A terrified Fliss wastes no time and pulls her already prepared derringer out and pumps two rounds into the crazed fiend’s midriff. As the old man is momentarily staggered Hugo leaps forward and ineffectively strikes him with his cane; the enraged man lashes the magician with his monstrous tongue, sending Hugo flying. Most of the Hazard family converge on the landing – utterly shocked at the sudden eruption of violence; Prime calls out to his Grandfather, urging him to stop the attack. Fliss quickly reloads her pistol and takes another two shots, one missing, and the other grazing the monster’s arm, she then dodges the creature’s counter-attack once before being struck by another. Hugo springs back to his feet and tries to grapple the assailant but he is no match for the other man’s monstrous strength and the savage tongue whips across him again, seriously injuring him. Fliss fires again and hits with a single round, attracting the monster’s attention once more. Hugo picks himself up and tries to floor the beast by pulling its legs out from under it – but he is too weak and it turns round and lashes him once more with its tongue, splitting Hugo’s head like a ripe melon. Fliss fires wide on the first shot but her second goes into the creature’s eye, killing it instantly and bringing its rampage to an abrupt end.

The Hazard clan howl in despair and anguish, their cries quickly joined by unearthly wails as several small and disfigured “children” appear from behind furniture. Prime steps forward and demands to know why all this has happened; Fliss responds that they are there investigating the theft of the pearls. A sickly blue luminescence flashes into view and moments later the deformed Jean Hazard appears, brandishing the missing black pearls. He cries out in a warbling barely human voice, yelling at Fliss that she can have them, before throwing them at her in fury. The aristocratic sleuth picks the acclaimed jewels up, and as she does so Wilfred’s corpse beings to twitch and convulse. Moments later a black amorphous mass erupts from out of the bloated corpse and begins to crawl towards the investigatress. At the same time the house begins to shake and the earth below rumbles – an earth-quake is occurring!

Fliss doesn’t hesitate for a moment – she turns and flees. She belts past Saphronia, Guillaume and the twins and flies straight down the stairs. The house continues to shake violently, sending everyone flying, tipping over furniture while wide cracks appear in the walls and plaster falls from the ceiling. The wealthy heiress manages to reach the bottom step but a violent lurch sends her colliding with a sideboard, and then crashing to the floor. Her new found love, Ellery, cries out to her for help as he stumbles down the stairs. Fliss scrambles to her feet, yelling for her paramour to follow her. The floor boards are buckling and the walls shaking, the frantic heiress throws herself out through the front door. She turns around just in time to see the house collapse in on itself; her lover disappearing from sight forever as he and the structure are swallowed up by the earth. The ground still shakes and the aristocrat once more wastes no time in saving her skin by racing over to her car, cranking it, and speeding off, out of the estate. Moments later she spots the weary and heavily exhausted Ezekial at the bottom of the hill; she drives on past him and into town.

The Bentley pulls up outside the Benson Hotel and the highly distraught Fliss climbs out from the driving seat, regains her composure and strolls into the lobby, casually greeting a concerned Harold. She makes her way up and into the penthouse apartment where Michael and Stanford have been loafing around all day, reading gentlemanly magazines and giving each other Harrow Handshakes. They are shocked at the sight of her – the mental and physical trauma of the afternoon is written on her face. They ask her where all the others are and she tells them that Ravi and Hugo are both gone – she then provides an extremely brief summary of what has occurred. Michael is most concerned about the missing pearls and is overjoyed to discover that they are in fact in Fliss’ possession; he immediately phones up George Knowles and informs him that they have managed to recover the pearls – when asked about the theft he mistakenly informs the insurance partner that the theft was an inside job. Knowles tells Michael to immediately drive back to Boston and meet him at the club with the pearls. Michael agrees to this and moments later an exhausted Ezekial enters the apartment to an unfriendly reception – the group instinctively feel that the narcissistic braggard has had a hand in the deaths of their compatriots, or has at very least failed to help them.

A short time later and they have packed up their belongings, settled their bill and loaded Fliss’ car. Outside on the street there is a commotion and fire trucks come wailing down the street on their way to investigate the “earth-quake” up on the hill. Realising that Fliss is in no state to drive them back to Boston, Stanford takes the wheel and they arrive outside the club at 7pm without any problems.

They make their way up to the 5th floor and enter the club to find Bartholomew Petard and George Knowles waiting for them. The pair enquire where the rest of the group is and are informed at the tragic loss; with pleasantries concluded, Knowles then asks for the pearls. Michael takes them from the emotionally unstable Fliss and is about to hand them over when the startled insurance man points to behind the clueless communist and asks what the small black amorphous mass crawling on the wall is. They all turn and stare in horror as the walls and ceilings about them begin to transform before their very eyes – things are becoming steadily blacker, colder and lower. Michael races for the door but finds himself confronted by a stone wall. Seconds later and all signs of the Silver Stroker club have disappeared and they are in the deep black caverns of N’Kai. Everyone is shocked but Bartholomew and Knowles are the worst – they are freaking out.

There is only one direction for them to go and that is forward down a narrow passage. They have only the feeble light offered from their lighters to guide their path and they try to ignore the sounds of something slithering among the rocks around them. A short time later they arrive at another cavern – this one bathed in an ethereal blue light; the source soon reveals itself to be none other than Master Jean and the other deformed Hazard children who are sat in a circle. The investigators approach; the children are sullen and dejected at the loss of their elders and beloved family members. Fliss, unsure of the children’s motives, asks what they want of them and is told by Celestine that they do not want anything from them but rather the investigators need to return the pearls to their rightful owner. Michael asks about the owner but the children refuse to provide any details and merely offer to guide them to him. The investigators have little choice but to agree and for the next hour are led through the near pitch black labyrinthine cave tunnels until they reach the edge of a monstrous cavern and the obsidian skyline of a subterranean city.

They enter the city in a procession, Master Jean leading the way while the other children protect the group’s flanks from the horrific dwellers of the place – formless entities of black ichor that slowly track them from the alleyways and rooftops. Fliss and Ezekial, already traumatised by what they witnessed at the mansion, enter into a dream-like waking nightmare, somewhat detached from the reality of what is occurring around them. Bartholomew and Knowles are near-hysterical while Michael and Stanford manage to hold onto themselves even as they witness a throng of over fifty of the creatures following in their wake. They finally reach the epicentre of the city, a large black hole in the ground; Master Jean points to spiral steps that lead down into its depths.

The group descends; no one wanting to be left alone with the crowd of creatures above. They reach the bottom of the seemingly empty gargantuan chamber and ask the children in puzzlement what they should do now. The children inform them that they should return the pearls to their owner and point in a direction – they all turn and become aware that something large is in the chamber with them. Master Jean moves forward and his bio-luminescence reveals the presence of a Great Old One, Tsathoggua, himself. The toad-like god is stirred from his eternal semi-slumber by the proximity of his long lost possession, the black pearls; he transmits his desire for their return to the primitive creatures before him. All the investigators feel the god’s presence in their mind and Fliss tries to communicate and bargain with it which only serves to stir up its annoyance. Realising the eminent danger and their precarious position, Michael strides forward, bows, and lays the pearls before the deity. The super-being is delighted with the gesture and decides that its hunger has been stirred and randomly plucks the nearest thing up, a deluded Ezekial, and pops him into its mouth. The astonished investigators realise that it’s time to leave and quickly make their way back over to and up the curving stone steps.

Celestine urges the group to follow her and they all run full pelt through the throng of ichor-creatures and down the main boulevard. The creatures stir and realise that the party is no longer in the possession of the token of their master’s protection and finally give pursuit. Everyone is running at full tilt as the black mass of flowing creatures give chase; one of the things manages to catch up with Knowles and latches on to him, slowing him enough for its brethren to catch up. The rest of the group ignore the insurance man’s screams and race into the tunnel chambers, staying close behind Celestine. Moments later they pass through a dark tunnel and emerge into the light…….

…..the four people emerge to find themselves in a field as dawn breaks. In the distance they see a truck driving along the dirt road towards them; they make their way over to the road, wondering just where they are. Bartholomew Petard voices his concern of what he’s going to tell his sister, Ezekial’s mother. The truck stops and the surprised farmer asks the exhausted and dirty-looking group if they need a lift. Michael asks him if there’s a town nearby and the farmer tells him that they are but a few miles away from Wichita. The group then ride in the back of the truck, sitting amongst the hay bails, heading back towards civilization, thankful to still be alive.

The Old Damned House - Part 3
The sweet, sweet music of love


The shocked Silver Strokers re-converge at the hotel apartment and discuss their next steps. They know something’s most definitely up at the Hazard Mansion but there’s also a suspicion of the caves beneath it and Michael even suggests they go and explore them that very night – which is soundly rejected by the rest of the group. They eventually settle on a compromise plan of reconnoitring the mansion further and conducting research on the caves.

They wake up the next morning, breakfast and then split up into teams of two to conduct their tasks. Stanford marches over to the town hall and engages with the clerk, asking if it’s possible to obtain paperwork on the cave network. He is informed that it is indeed possible but it will cost $18 dollars and will take two business days to complete. The not so smooth operator then proceeds to try and speed things up by offering a bribe – this horrifies the clerk who promptly tells him to leave. The antiques dealer shuffles off before he lands himself in trouble. A short time later Hugo Yackman, Master of Delusion, enters the foyer. He approaches the weary clerk and asks if there is anyway he can speed up his application for a Performers license; the young lady screams at him and threatens to report him to the police for bribery if he doesn’t make himself scarce. The incompetent illusionist promptly performs a disappearing act.

Ezekial, the occultist bluffer, makes his way yet again to the Mystic Historical Society; the curator can’t believe her eyes – she’s seen more business in the last four days than the whole previous year! The dilettante then asks if he can search through the newspaper archives once again, this time looking for any articles concerning the cave network. With permission granted he then spends the next 90 mins searching and manages to uncover a piece from the 1830s which states that the unsuccessful Mystic tin mine was shut down due to its lack of yield.

Fliss drives herself and Ravi to the beach at the back of the mansion; once there they fool around for thirty minutes before removing a spark plug from the engine. The pair then walk up and along to the mansion and knock on the front door. There is no response and Ravi can hear some seriously bad singing coming from within; he knocks again, firmer, and this brings Lucille to the door. Fliss then goes into actress mode and asks to use a phone, telling the housekeeper that they have broken down on the beach and need the assistance of a mechanic. Lucille, taken in by the younger woman’s English eccentricities, informs the pair that they don’t possess a phone but they are welcome to wait while she fetches her cousin, who is a dab hand with repairs. Fliss and Ravi find themselves left alone in the same sitting room that was thoroughly inspected by the bumbling duo, Michael and Stanford, only the day before. The psychologist walks over to the window and surreptitiously unlatches it so that the gang of strokers can make ingress later if needed. He then takes the opportunity to search the room – and promptly spots something odd behind the waste paper bin in the corner. He moves closer and observes that it’s some sort of bundle; unable to see it clearly he opts to pick it up and inspect it, and is shocked to find it to be a mummified Indian baby! It’s almost identical to the one held within the Historical Society, and his expert medical eyes again tells him that this one too has nothing to do with American Natives or babies. He then spots that the thing contains an abundance of tweed fibres – the same fibres that Michael found on the sill!

A short time later Lucille returns with a lumbering middle-aged bald man in tow. She introduces the pair to Cousin Caleb, who greets them in his simple tones. Lucille informs Fliss and Ravi that Caleb will escort them back to their car with his bag of tools where he will make an attempt to fix it. The trio leave for the shortish walk, during which the simple but friendly Caleb reveals his unusual passion for collecting antique prosthetics. Upon arrival at the beach Caleb inspects the Bentley and has enough mechanical knowledge to understand that a vital engine component is missing and that he is unable to fix it. Fliss carefully conceals the missing spark plug under a wheel arch before the trio make the journey back to the mansion; all along the way Caleb relates further details of his bizarre hobby to Ravi who feigns an interest.

Upon arrival back at the house Fliss once more deploys her acting skills and pretends to stumble and sprain her ankle. Fliss is ushered back into the sitting room while Ravi rushes back into town on the pretext of fetching both a mechanic and a doctor. A compassionate Lucille fetches a cold compress for the injured aristocrat, and while helping to apply it is joined by the sudden appearance of the twins, Isabeau and Ellery. There is an instant intense physical attraction between Fliss and the dashing young Hazard male; it is as if they are but mere puppets of the love gods – their strings hopelessly and joyfully entangled together, forever. Small talk ensues as the young pair yearn to learn more about each other, much to Isabeau’s irritation. There’s a yell from down the hall, calling for the two twins – it’s Aunt Saphronia, who’s desperate to commence with another musical rendition while her voice is suitably warmed up. Fliss is carried by her new paramour into the music room where a vast array of instruments are on display; she meets with Saphronia and during their discussion the older woman’s child-like innocence shines through. Then Fliss is treated to a 90 min + musical fantasia as the deranged dowager screeches out the top parlour hits of the 1870s and 80s; midway through the performance an irate and drunken Cousin Guillaume appears and showers them all in abuse, saying that the cacophony is driving him mad. Saphronia defends herself, saying that her singing is a gift to the world and that it sooths and nourishes her precious “crystal bats”. Guillaume doesn’t care a bit and offers a few more choice insults before storming off.

During all of this Ravi jogs back into town and makes his way to the apartment where the rest of the gang is sitting around uselessly. He tells them of the situation and Hugo volunteers to play the role of a mechanic and Ezekial eagerly opts to become a fake doctor, taking Ravi’s medical bag along as a prop. They jump into Hugo’s magic van and chug off towards the mansion. Michael and Stanford, having proved themselves to be varying degrees of inept, just as eagerly opt to remain reading and loafing in the safe environs of the apartment where they can offer and receive no danger.

Hugo drops Ezekial and Ravi off at a short distance from the mansion and then continues down to the beach where he retrieves the hidden spark plug and fixes Fliss’ Bentley. The fake doctor and shrink make their way over to the house and are readmitted. The fake doctor immediately goes to work in the music room on Fliss’ “injured” ankle while Ravi speaks to Lucille asking to see Caleb’s prosthetic collection, bribing her with baked gods from town to ease the way. While Ezekial is busy at his fake work the musical madness strikes up once more and there’s another knock at the door; when Isabeau opens it she finds a Bentley parked on the front drive and a suave moustachioed Hugo who identifies himself as a mechanic from town. He tells the pretty young girl that he has repaired Fliss’ car and is duly invited in; while the pair engage in polite small talk there is a spark of attraction between the pair. The duff magician uses this new connection to ask to use the water closet; the naïve young Isabeau leads him upstairs to the first floor and leaves him there.

After taking care of business Hugo takes the opportunity to do a little exploring; he makes his way over to an open space which reveals itself to be a parlour containing needle work and knitting. A thorough investigation of the space reveals it to be Lucille’s abode as well as the spartan bedroom next to it. It’s while exploring Lucille’s bedroom that Hugo is startled by the sudden movement of a wardrobe door; with great trepidation the somewhat cowardly illusionist manages to stir up enough courage to approach the closet and throw open the door to reveal nothing but hanging clothes. A deeper investigation then reveals a hole at the back of the wardrobe that goes into the wall itself. Hugo is now spooked enough that he decides that he’s had enough of investigating and hurries back downstairs to join the others.

Meanwhile, up on the attic level, Ravi has been taken up to Caleb’s room and subsequently has to endure an hour long show and tell from the demented collector. Ravi observes that the man’s collection is extensive and expensive. He eventually makes his polite excuses and leaves. As he closes the door to Caleb’s room he hears a door shut behind him; spinning around he sees that there is only one other room. The psychologist has far more chutzpah than the illusionist and simply walks over and opens the other door without hesitation. He finds himself standing in an attic room that is packed full of draped crates, boxes and trunks – an ethereal luminous bright blue light flickers across the walls and ceiling and then abruptly stops.

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


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.

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


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.


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


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……..


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


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!


Mr Corbitt - Part 3
"There is a time to laugh and a time not to laugh, and this is not one of them."


The investigation resumes on Saturday afternoon. The investigators meet in a city park to discuss the new information and to formulate a plan of action. Herbert informs everyone that he is convinced that Corbitt is definitely involved in something unsavory and that they had all better find evidence of it in order to vindicate themselves and get their lives back. Herbert says that he recalls that Corbitt always leaves his house early Sunday afternoon in his car and returns several hours later – the group agrees that they will tail him using Gladys as all the investigators are known to Corbitt.

The next day Felix Burns collects Gladys from home after church; it turns out that Felix and Gladys have been having an affair for some time which enables Felix to recruit Gladys’ help with the assistance of Dorothy (some excellent roleplaying was done by Tim and Murray; well done guys). Felix drives to the end of Corbitt’s street and waits for movement. Perkins and Gray make their own way to the stakeout in the former’s car. Corbitt duly leaves his house at 1300 and is skillfully followed by the staggered convoy of investigator’s cars. Herbert maintains his cover by staying behind and doing some gardening. Dorothy visits the office to conduct research and locate Lynn Meyer’s parents.

Corbitt drives to the city dump, gets out of his car and is seen rummaging around the trash for almost an hour before he finds and retrieves two canvas bags similar to the ones he had last Sunday. The investigators manage to observe this but come perilously close to being discovered – fortunately having Gladys with them turns out to be a most fortunate move on their part. Corbitt is seen returning home by Herbert shortly after and the basement light goes on once more. The investigators who tailed Corbitt conduct a thorough search of the dump to see if anything else is there and manage to find a piggy bank and a broken toaster which can be easily fixed (mmmm, toast! :-P). Gladys is left sitting in the car for ages and eventually walks home in disgust.

Burns informs Herbert of Corbitt’s actions and then contacts Dorothy for the location of Lynn Meyer’s grave – the investigator’s have their wires crossed as Dorothy has located Meyer’s parents’ address which she gives to Burns. Burns also discovers that his wife has left him, taking their young son with her – she has had enough of his recent strange and violent behaviour. Herbert arrives at Burns’ house and is mystified and suspicious when Burns appears holding a spade, wittering on about his “missing” wife and suggesting that they dig up a suburban house (Lynn Meyer’s parents’ place).

It’s Monday and Gladys and Dorothy go to work – because they still have jobs, unlike everyone else. Perkins and Gray follow the agreed plan and spend the day researching Corbitt in the library. Unlike Burns both these investigators can actually read and manage to uncover two articles by closing time. One article reveals that Corbitt’s father was killed by bandits when they were both traveling in India – his body was never recovered. The other article concerns a professional nurse called Mona Dunlap who witnessed the tragic birth of Corbitt’s child and the subsequent death of the mother; the article reveals that the nurse was hospitalised at the city sanitarium. It’s too late to follow up on the new leads so Gray and Perkins head over to interview Lynn Meyer’s parents (amusingly most of the investigators refuse to allow Herbert and Burns to conduct the interview due to their previous poor performance together). Perkins leads the interview telling a bewildered Victor Meyer that they have been unable to get into contact with Corbitt in regards to a missing persons case. Victor can only tell him that Bernard was always a loving husband and a decent member of the community and they rarely hear from him anymore. To convince Victor to talk to them Perkin’s gave his business card to him and the older man assured the investigators that he would let Corbitt know that they had called!

The next day Perkins and Gray finally inform the rest of the investigators of what they have found and learned so far. They then head over to the city hospital to find out what they can about Mona Dunlap. After managing to convince the reception nurse of their legitimacy and a brief interview with a doctor the pair learn that there wasn’t any need to go to the hospital at all and they actually needed to go to the sanitarium. An hour later they arrive at the required location and once again go through a very familiar process of convincing a reception nurse of their legitimacy before having a brief interview with a doctor(!) This time however they learn that Mona died very shortly after admission and that the doctor still clearly remembers the case due to its oddness. Mona’s last words spoke of another son, hideously disfigured being born. The investigators now know that Lynn Meyer’s gave birth to twins before she died and that one of them survived.

This episode closes shortly after midday on Tuesday with Burns failing to convince Gladys to accompany him to the city cemetery with the intention of checking out Lynn Meyer’s grave; Perkins and Gray want to conduct some research into Indian mythology at the University library; Dorothy continues to work peacefully at Eagle Bond; Herbert Crance meanwhile ponders what all the information may mean and what their next move should be….

Burns_and_Gladys.jpg (Burns and Gladys out on a date)

Mr Corbitt - Part 2
More like The Apprentice - Part 2


It’s a new day (Tuesday) and Dorothy and Burns manage to turn up to work where the boss convenes an office meeting and states that if the investigators get into anymore trouble they will be fired. He asks where Gray is but no one knows.

Crance decides to calm down a little but blows his phone call on Corbitt (who’s not in to take it). Crance’s lawyer advises him to plead guilty to the breaking and entering charge which he does in the afternoon, receiving a $100 fine. He returns home and phones the boss, informing him of his intention to quit and move to New York. The boss puts him on a fortnight’s sick leave and has Gladys collect Crance’s license and gun.

Gray makes a call to the office and Gladys relays to the boss that the junior detective has been arrested. The police interview Gray and issue him with a caution and instruct him to stay away from Corbitt’s street. Upon his return to the office Gray receives a reprimand and final warning from the boss.

Perkins, now with lots of spare time on his hands, decides to go to the doctor to get a medical opinion on what has caused his injuries. The doctor is at a loss to find the cause. Perkins then spends the rest of the day in the library searching for the possible cause, happening upon books on medicine, poisons, animals and magic. Perkins decides to study books on magic (taking out fives books) but learns nothing.

Dororthy spends most of the day working quietly to keep up appearances before slipping away to visit the library. She conducts a search on missing persons and children in the county over the last five years and learns that only a single adult is missing and there is no connection to Corbitt.

Burns escapes the office on the pretext of conducting case related field work and heads over to City Hall and the public records. His search of the indexes reveals that Corbitt was born in Providence and has always lived there, inheriting his house from his late father who died 14 years ago. He also learns that Corbitt is a widower – his wife seemingly dying in child birth some 10 years ago. He also learns that Corbitt has his own horticultural import/export business registered to his home address.

Burns heads downtown to the dancehalls to find out if anyone knows of Corbitt. It appears no one does. He pays a underworld source, Fat Tony, $10 to go ask some questions around town for him. Burns is joined by Gray and the uneasy pair agree to put aside their differences and conduct a joint investigation. Burns wants to know more about Corbitt’s business and decides that the docks are a good place to try. They locate and gain entry into a dockside speak-easy and proceed to question the rough-looking dockers about Corbitt (Burns pays a complete stranger $5 to ask questions about Corbitt around the docks). The dockers smell a rat – two well-healed gentlemen reeking of the establishment and who are not drinking are asking questions about someone and flashing money around. The couple leave the speak-easy none the wiser; on the walk back to the car they are jumped (by some of the dockers) and Gray is knocked out cold. The group surround Burns with cudgels and knives – there is no possibility of drawing a gun; Burns decides that he will feign fainting and sinks to the ground. The muggers strip both investigators of their licenses, guns, wallets, money, keys, watches and in Burns’ case, his shoes too. The muggers then flee into the night leaving Burns to summon help for his unconscious colleague. An ambulance eventually arrives, picking Gray up out of a puddle of his own blood and urine and takes him to hospital. Burns hot wires his own car and drives home to cry himself to sleep.

Herbert Crance makes arrangements to sell his house and spends the next few days staking out Corbitt’s house from his front room. Crance is in a bad way but refuses to eat and rest properly, determined to spot anything unusual. Corbitt is observed going into his basement regularly and occasionally leaves the house in his car for a few hours at a time.

The next day dawns and Burns phones in to say that he will not be in till later as he has been mugged. the boss takes the phone from Gladys and learns that Burns is still pursuing Corbitt and fires the senior detective. Burns tells the boss to shove his job and drops Gray in the do-do as a parting gift (payback!).

Gray spends the whole of the day in hospital and only manages to make a call to the office in the afternoon. He is clumsy in his explanation to Gladys and she duly reports to the boss that Gray was beaten up while investigating Corbitt with Burns. The boss sighs and tells Gladys that Gray is fired. Dororthy relays the news when she visits Gray at the hospital later.

As the week progresses Crance continues his obsessive surveillance of his neighbour, Spitz is rotting in jail, Dorothy (the only investigator who still has a job!) keeps her head down and tries to get her work rep back, Perkins has no cause to investigate further and spends his time recovering from his injuries at home. Gray also recuperates at home. Only Burns actively pushes on – driven by his irrational hatred of Corbitt (all his trouble started when someone thought they saw Corbitt drop a child’s arm – since then his life has come crashing down around him) he decides to follow up on the information he has already gleaned and research it at the library. The problem is that Burns is an old school detective who is most at home talking to sources, following people and fighting – he is absolutely clueless at conducting his own research, barely knowing how to read, even what books are or how to use a library. All this is born out by him spending the rest of the week (3 solid days!) going through the newspaper archives and turning up nothing at all (six consecutive failing rolls! what a player!). The library closes Saturday evening and as if by an act of god (or perhaps a weary Keeper who can’t bare the thought of two whole sessions passing by without a single player handout being found) Burns stumbles upon a obituary for Corbitt’s late wife – Lynn Meyers.

Jubilant at his find, Burns rings Herbert Crance and discusses his find. Herbert quickly mulls the information over and decides that they should locate Meyer’s parents and interview them to find out what they can about Corbitt. The pair also have the amazing idea that if they have unearthed one clue at the library then perhaps more can be found there. They decide that they will contact Gray and Perkins (who can both actually read, are familiar with books, and know what a library is) and get them to conduct the research down at the library.

Last week’s questions have now been answered: 1) Yes 2) Probably not 3) No, and 4) Unlikely.

There is now a new question: Is CoC designed to make the Keeper go insane for real?


Mr Corbitt - Part 1
"I fought the law and the law won!"


The scenario starts innocently enough; six members of the Eagle Bond detective agency in Providence, RI are enjoying Sunday evening drinks and cocaine (wtf!) at Herbert Crance’s suburban house. They witness Crance’s erstwhile and super-friendly neighbour, Bernard Corbitt, return home in his car and struggle with his front door while holding two canvas wrapped objects. Bernard drops one of the packages and the more alert members spot that it contains what appears to be a small child’s arm! Bernard enters his abode and the investigators see his basement light go on.

The group discuss the disturbing scene and quickly come up with a coordinated plan in which two members will sneak around the back of Corbitt’s property and peak through his windows while two will knock on his front door and distract him and two will remain on watch from within Crance’s house. Reasonable enough – so far so good…….

Spitz and Perkins duly sneak onto Corbitt’s property without being spotted and determine that one of the basement windows has a blind drawn across it while the other appears to be an ordinary utility room. Meanwhile Crance and Burns knock on the front door and invite Bernard to come and join them over at the party – which he politely refuses before closing the door. Crance then seems to lose all sense of proportionality and decides to pick the front-lock in broad daylight. Bernard is shocked when his neighbour suddenly forces open the front door and lets himself in. After Bernard vainly utters threats to call the police the maniac detective attacks him and his demented and drunk colleague, Senior Investigator Burns, throws cocaine into Corbitt’s face. Fortunately for the local businessman the police arrive just in time. Crance quickly admits his criminal behaviour to the policemen and after a brief pat down which reveals their possession of firearms, narcotics and consumption of alcohol, they are promptly arrested. Bernard informs the officers that Crance lives just across the street and they proceed to knock on the door. Dorothy Haslett answers the door while Fields quickly sneaks out the back and heads back to the office. Dorothy attempts to placate the officers and explain her colleagues’ bizarre behaviour but the shrewd policemen detect the alcohol on her breath which provides them with the probable cause to enter Crance’s house and discover the scene of the party and the illicit consumables. A paddy wagon is then called for Dorothy as there isn’t enough room in the cop’s car.

While half of the investigators are carted off by law enforcement, Perkins and Spitz emerge from their hiding place behind the greenhouse and head back to Crance’s house. The front door is locked but the back is fortunately open. They decide that they will wait until dark and then gain entry by breaking into Corbitt’s basement utility room. Darkness duly descends and armed with paper and jam the duo break the basement window and are about to enter when something scuttles across the room and out the interior door with much banging and crashing. Lights come on and the pair flee back to safety behind the greenhouse. The basement lights remain off but the rest of the house is lit. After many minutes pass the pair decide to venture back out and peak through the downstairs windows, discovering nothing out of place. They then move back to the utility room basement window where a nasty surprise is waiting for them. Perkins only has time to see Corbitt standing in the room before he is thrown 13 feet through the air, landing unconscious in the vegetable patch. Witnessing the strange and shocking sight, Spitz pulls his gun and fires into the basement window, narrowly missing Bernard, who ducks for cover. Realising that he has probably woken the entire neighbourhood Spitz decides to retrieve his comrade and drag him back over to Crance’s house. He deposits the still unconscious detective on a couch and peeks out the front window in time to witness a police cruiser pulling up; Bernard answers his door and points over to Crance’s house. Spitz attempts to exit the house but another cop car pulls up and a foot pursuit ensues before Spitz is caught and arrested. Perkins is carted off to hospital (under arrest, naturally).

Next day dawns with nearly all of Eagle Bond behind bars. Dorothy is smart enough to be contrite and her lawyer advices her to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge which she duly does, copping a $25 fine. Burns also realises the error of his ways and complies with his lawyer’s advice to plead guilty, receiving a $50 fine. Crance however continues to display increasingly bizarre behaviour, repeatedly stripping down, and mocking the duty sergeant with dumb insolence – causing the irritated officers to beat him with abandon, which results in injuries severe enough to warrant a trip to the hospital.

The situation for Perkins and Spitz is even more extreme. They have both been charged with attempted burglary and attempted murder. Following legal advice Perkins denies everything but fails to convince the judge – he makes bail with $100 but will have to stand trial. Spitz is firmly banged to rights and after making unsound allegations about Corbitt has to undergo a psychological evaluation; The judge refuses bail.

Eagle Bonds’ boss eventually learns that most of his employees have engaged in a drunken drug fueled party during which they suffered group delusions about Crance’s neighbor, which resulted in them repeatedly attempting to break into his property to kill him. He warns those fortunate enough to have been bailed that they are in danger of being fired if they slip up again. Perkins’ lack of contrition and the seriousness of his offence causes him to be suspended.

Gray (almost the sole hero of the piece), having been lucky enough not to have been arrested during the previous debacle, and managing to avoid a serious beating from his colleagues despite dobbing everyone in to the boss, strangely decides that it is wise to loiter outside Corbitt’s house as well as harassing him. Unsurprisingly the fine members of Providence’s police force quickly swoop down to arrest yet another member of the Eagle Bond detective agency (which is increasingly appearing to be a front for organised crime).

The questions remain – Will Eagle Bond’s crime wave continue? Will the investigators manage to stay out of prison or keep their jobs? Will any of them actually learn anything at all about what is going on?


The Sanatorium - Part 4
Behold the Apocalypse


The investigators are in the thick of combat. Charles Johnson, the insane attendant, narrowly misses Chet with his wood axe but manages to deliver a near fatal blow to Eileen and a terrible wound to the Doc before finally being put down by the reporter. The group have to administer emergency first aid to half their number before rushing back to the sanatorium to perform life saving surgery on Eileen.

While Eileen is undergoing emergency treatment Chet wanders downstairs to the basement at the sound of frantic screaming and witnesses the manic street preacher, Leonard Hawkins, being plucked out from his cell by a gaseous semi-solid tentacle. Chet manages to save Darlene from a similar fate by successfully warding the creature off with the Elder sign pendant he took from Eileen. Depositing Darlene with the others up in the treatment room Chet returns to the basement to rescue the remaining two special patients. Allen Harding however, has been possessed by the cosmic creature and issues dire mocking threats prior to exploding in a mist of bone and gristle before Chet’s very eyes; the reporter only comes to his senses again when the Prof joins him and Blanche begins to scream from her cell. Armed with two Elder sign sigils the duo manage to save the deranged old lady from the multi-coloured alien.

Rushing upstairs they are able to see the full dimensions of their adversary – it is a gaseous multi-coloured creature half the size of the building. The group struggle to decide what to do next, and Chet unsuccessfully attempts to cast a spell to contact his serpentine benefactor. Amid the indecision the group soon find themselves under further assaults from their foe; it possesses Blanche and nearly succeeds in dragging the Prof over to the window to be consumed by the waiting creature and he is only just saved by a lucky blow (although he is shot in the process by the good Doc!); the Prof then angrily turfs the elderly patient out of the window to be absorbed by the monster. Wisely retreating into the corridor the group briefly experiment with Molotov cocktails and contemplate dousing the creature with tap water (which would have been futile as it is only susceptible to salt water!) when it is Darlene’s turn to be possessed and she makes an attempt to feed herself to the creature by diving out of the window; which she is prevented from doing.

After further debate it is finally settled that Chet is the only member of the team who is physically capable of escaping the monster. A plan is formulated to lead it to the docks where they hope to then drive it into the waters with the Elder sign sigils, but they correctly theorise that more signs are required and incorrectly, that another can probably be found on Johnson’s body which they had neglected to search. Chet heads out of the building via the back door and makes it to the corner of the woods before observing that he is being pursued. After an epic battle of wills Chet manages to search the body and finds nothing of use before succumbing to the alien creature’s powerful mind control which forces him to drop his protection and allow himself to be consumed. Finally the alien entity has absorbed the required amount of life force to permit it to ascend from the earthly realm and enter another dimension as an even more powerful being.

The terrible transformation turns night into day and rends the very earth with fissures. The ground begins to shake terribly and the sanatorium begins to collapse in on itself. The Doc, giving in to his own sense of self-preservation, abandons his patient and compatriots and manages to jump from the top floor of the building and scale a tree with impressive monkey-like skills, before racing down towards the dock where safety awaits, but ultimately to no avail – his extremely weekend condition means that he does not survive a heat blast and therefore tragically falls at the last hurdle. The Prof manages to maintain his cool under pressure and heroically attempts to save the lives of the others. He unwisely chooses to push Eileen’s trolley down the top flight of stairs and the gravely wounded and fragile Eileen dies as a result of the tumble. The Prof then rushes back into the corridor to rescue Darlene but his time has run out and the entire building collapses and buries them both. Fortunately for the both of them they are not conscious when the creature completes its transformation and ascension, which blasts the island with an explosive force that bakes and burns everything.

Everyone is dead. The other-worldly culprit has truly left the scene. When the authorities do visit the island the next day they are greeted only with a scene of utter devastation and a unsolvable mystery. The most plausible of the subsequent theories is that one or more of the patients escaped from their cells, ran amok and murdered everyone before setting fire to all the buildings on the island……



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