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……..