Masks of Nyarlathotep
Realistic Policing Guild
The Realistic Policing Guild is an organisation with a rich and chequered past. Originally little more than a social club for the logically minded, it soon morphed into a private detective agency which specialised in bizarre and complex cases, often revolving around death cults and disturbing murders. Perhaps this is not surprising, considering the type of person who seems to have been attracted to the guild, especially in the early days of it’s existence. The original members almost all had violent deaths or lengthy, often irreversible, spells of mental illness. This tradition of unstable personality has continued throughout the hundred years since it’s formation, alongside the more positive traits of its members, such as their dogged determination to reveal the truth, whatever the circumstance.
The club was founded at Miskatonic University in 1914, after a public lecture by noted criminologist Dr. Maxwell Schiffing, of Berlin’s prestigious Humboldt-Universität. The lecture was attended by all the primary founders of the club. After the lecture, attendees were invited for drinks in the private apartments of the Senior Lecturer in Criminology, head of the recently founded Miskatonic Sociology Department. By all accounts, Dr. Schiffing, though a capable public speaker, was an intensely dull man personally and the guests soon began to talk amongst themselves. Eventually a small group gathered consisting of young journalist Elias Jackson, post-graduate student Theodore Waltz and his fellow students Olive L’amore and Molly……., watchmaker and occultist Chester Flannigan, a recently naturalised immigrant from the UK and Tristram Fink-Nottle, a teenage aristocrat on extended vacation from his family seat in the south of England.
How the idea of forming the club was first mooted is a conversation lost to history, all we know is that someone, probably Jackson, suggested the idea of meeting to play out the investigation of ‘crimes’ that would be devised by one of the members on a rotating basis. The idea was taken up enthusiastically and in June of that year the inaugural meeting of the Realistic Policing Guild was held on the campus of Miskatonic University, with the first mystery created by the clubs founder and first president, Elias Jackson.
For the next 2 and a half years, until the USA’s entrance into the Great War, the guild met regularly, often monthly and membership expanded quickly. However, once war was joined, many of the younger members, including Theodore Waltz, volunteered for service or were conscripted. The Guild stopped meeting and may have died there, had it not been for the tenacity of it’s founder.
Once the war was won, Elias Jackson renewed the meetings of the guild, this time as a yearly event. The renewed Guild meetings were envisioned as reunions of old friends, with a particularly convoluted parlour game thrown into the classic mix of dinner and dancing. Successful meetings were held in 1920, 21,22 and 23, despite the guilds reduced numbers, due to the slaughter the war had wrought on the male population. In fact, they managed to gain a few members and following it’s meeting in ‘22, held at it’s old stomping ground of Miskatonic University, the Guild as a University society was restarted by members of the student body.
It is in 1924 that the Guilds more famous history as an actual investigative body really began, with an event that appears in Guild records as case [[Guild File 0001: The Manusco Shooting | ‘0001 The Manusco Shooting’]]. Called to meet in Chicago by Elias, when they arrived the group found that Jackson had been called away at the last minute, hot on the heels of a lead to his latest story. Before he left for Africa, however, Jackson booked the group a table at ‘ the Blue Heaven Club’ a high class speakeasy in the cities North Side. Whilst at the club, the attendant members witnessed the murder of a local accountant with links to the mob named Peter Manusco.
As with much of the history of the Guild, what happened next is somewhat vague. It appears that, after befriending a local treasury agent, the group set about investigating the death, embroiling themselves in the dangerous world of bootlegging and mob violence. The strange rumours about the investigation and the even stranger claims of some of those involved with it are explored elsewhere on this site but suffice to say the whole episode had a profound impact on those involved.
Ted Waltz, who appears to have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time due to his experiences in France, would spend the next 2 years in therapy. Mild-mannered Watchmaker Chester Flannigan found himself arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a mob hitman in broad daylight on a busy Chicago street, a charge that was dropped after witnesses confirmed his claims that he only fired in self defence after being fired on himself. Tristram Fink-Nottle sustained serious gunshot wounds in his left shoulder that would leave him in pain for the rest of his life, the origins of which would never be fully explained. Olive L’amour and Bill Van der Molen, a more recent recruit to the guild, appear to withdrawn from contact with their former comrades in the guild altogether, Olive to pursue her career in book dealing and Bill back to his farm in rural Massachusetts.
As mentioned above, these early investigators and the cases they pursued are well documented elsewhere, not least in pages on this site, and so we shall move the story on a decade to 1935, when members of the guild, by this time officially an ‘investigative agency’, were involved in the uncovering of a German plot to bring Nazism to the US, as well as the famous ‘Lake Geirson’ case that would claim the lives of all four members of the team that investigated it but would also reveal the existence of a hitherto undiscovered chain of ritual killings in the Vermont area.
By the outbreak of WW2, the Guild was a well respected institution and members spent much of the war working for the OSS behind enemy lines in Europe and the Far East. Perhaps their most famous exploit was their involvement in the destruction of the Schauberger Mark III, an advanced Nazi Jet fighter, some time in 1944. This was obviously a trying time for members of the guild as the reports made of their activities grow more and more hysterical in tone and bizarre in content. One surviving member of the team that found the secret Schauberger base claimed that the aircraft were powered with the tormented souls of the dead. The gentleman in question spent the ten years after the war confined to a secure psychiatric facility and was by no means alone. The Guilds ranks were much reduced by the war and what emerged was a more streamlined organisation.
Post war presidents of the society moved away from investigation and towards a more educational focus, giving young men and women the skills required to follow an investigation through to a successful conclusion. As the cold war got going, these skills were much in demand and many former members of the guild went on to work for the various intelligent services. However, during the Mcarthy UnAmerican Activities Hearings, a number of prominent members were criticised for perceived ‘Socialist’ sympathies. It is possible that a guild investigation of a members of the comittee connection to a ‘bacchinalian sex cult’ did not endear the organisation to the committee.
Far from being an excellent line on a CV, being a former member of the guild became a mark of suspicion. Though, as with many ‘suspect’ organisations, these suspicions did not seem to bother the various security agencies, who continued to hire ex-members.Indeed, what had, during the 50’s, lead to a severe drop in memberships, led to a boom in the 60’s as the more politically minded students of that era saw any organisation censured by ‘the man’ as an attractive prospect for extra curricular activities. During the 60’s the guild was involved in a wide range of esoteric cases. Many of the reports which detail these cases, in particular case ‘0898: Bloodrites and Woodstock’ can only be described as appearing to have been written under the influence of narcotics. Reports of ‘winged creatures’ and ‘tentacled monstrosities’ have all the hallmarks of classic Acid Fiction of the time, sounding less like reporting of the events as they occurred and more like bad trips. .
By the mid seventies things had calmed down and after being forced out of the University itself following complaints that the Guild was indoctrinating student members into some kind of weird black magic cult, the Guild set up offices in the town of Arkham and started the professional phase we are familiar with today. Reports from that point until the present day are a lot less hysterical than those of the past and events that previous generations may have accepted as supernatural in origin are now explained in much more lucid terms.
Today, The Realistic Policing Guild is one of North America’s most respected and long established private investigation companies, it’s members accredited by the state and often called upon to advise official police enquiries in more complex cases. Comprising 25 full time investigators, working across the world, the Guild works tirelessly to meet the aspirations of it’s motto: ‘Uncovering the truth, whatever the cost.’
Original and noteworthy members include: