Masks of Nyarlathotep

Masks of Nyarlathotep - part 2
Paintings and Paranoia

Our heroes awake to the morning paper reporting a fire at Ju Ju house and a report inside about the death of Anthony Cowles in a car ‘accident’. As they take this in there is a knock at the door. Olive L’amour, one time member of the guild, has had a change of heart regarding Elias’ request for help in his investigation and has come to join the party. Her arrival is timely for 2 reasons. Firstly she arrives just in time to replace Serene, who’s room is empty. She has obviously decided enough is enough and headed back to Arkham. Secondly, Olive arrives with a fresh clue, a pamphlet published by the Penhew foundation in the year before the Carlyle expedition departed for Africa. The pamphlet was obtained for Elias by a dealer in NY who bought the copy from the Carlyle library. It even has an inscription, appearing to have been sent from Aubrey Penhew to Roger Carlyle. Indeed, it appears to have been meant for the playboy millionaire all along, as this appears to be the only copy in existence, all others having been bought up by the Penhew foundation. The inscription also mentions an ‘M’weru’, possibly the ‘negro woman’ that Roger was apparently infatuated with in the months leading up to the expedition.

This new lead pointing at the Penhew foundation confirmed to the investigators that they should head to London. First they decided to contact Simon at the RPG to try and get one of the members from the psychiatry department to try and gain access to Dr. Huston’s files. Simon said he would try and it was agreed that if successful he would send them to London.

As they hung up with Simon they were called by an excitable Jonah Kensington who asked them to come to his offices. They set off in two cars, Tristram and Olive in his sports car and the others in Bill’s pick-up. On the way to Prospero press, Bill and Ted noticed a black Model A Ford that appeared to be tailing them. Bill turned off and the car followed. After a few more turns through the busy Monday morning traffic Bill pulled over to see what the tail would do. It too pulled over, a few cars back from them.

Ted got out of the pick-up and strolled nonchalantly back past the car, hoping they would follow him. They did not. He continued all the way round the block and returned to the car to report that there were two large black gentlemen in the car. An argument ensued as to the best course of action to take next and, whilst this was happening the two men got out of their car and began walking towards them. This decided the argument and Bill tried to start the truck but the engine refused to turn over. When the cultists heard the engine they pulled out machete’s and ran to each window.

As one approached the passenger side door Ted swung it open as hard as he could and levelled the guy before jumping out to get him. Bill still couldn’t turn the engine over and the cultist on his side began trying to smash his window. Chester pulled out his .45, pushed Bill down and shot the cultist in the face. Outside, Ted was pulled down by the cultist but a well-aimed knee to the groin resulted in the painful incapacitation of the man.

As they took stock of the situation the police arrived and they gave themselves up.

Meanwhile, Olive and Tristram made their way to Jonah’s office. Prospero Press had suffered a break-in and it was obvious they’d been looking for Elias’ notes. Luckily, Jonah had been forewarned. He had received a letter from Elias, written before his death but predicting the same. In the letter, sent from Hong Kong some months earlier, Jackson asks Kensington to give anyone looking into his death all the help they need. He gives them the originals of Elias notes which contain more detailed leads. With this in mind and the ramping up of Cultist activity, Jonah suggests he sort them out passage on the next ship to England. The two investigators head back to their hotel, hoping to meet up with their mysteriously vanished comrades.

They arrive to a chaotic scene. At least two bodies are being brought out of the hotel along with Wilburforce, Tristram’s man, who is badly injured. He apologises for only taking out two of the cultists before he is rushed to hospital. When they rush up to the room it is clear that all their physical evidence, the mask, bowl, robe etc. has been taken, their belongings trashed and the room wrecked. Tristram rings Jonah, hoping the others have made contact. Jonah advises them to get out of the hotel to somewhere less salubrious and gives them the address of a hotel in queens that won’t ask for names at check-in. Aware of the conspicuous nature of Tristram’s car, they take a taxi.

Meanwhile the others are being questioned by two detectives, Smith and Jones, who are not entirely convinced by their ‘self-defence’ story, especially considering Chester’s previous run-in with the law back in Chicago. The investigators unreliable recollections of the events of the last week don’t help as the detectives follow up inconsistencies in their stories. They quickly come to the conclusion that they have nothing on Bill and release him but Ted and Chester are held for questioning.

Bill returns to the hotel and, finding it ransacked and abandoned, rings Jonah. Jonah tells him where the others are and warns Bill to be careful. Bill abandons his truck and takes a taxi, noticing the tail almost immediately. With a 5 dollar inducement and a bit of time the taxi driver loses the tail and deposits him at the flophouse, where he spots some cultists in the by now standard black ford staking out the place. Deciding the only thing he can do is warn the others, Bill enters the hotel and makes his way to Ted and Olive’s room.

After filling each other in on the day’s events, they decide to sneak out the back of the hotel and make their way back to the police station, reasoning that custody is probably the safest place to be until Wednesday morning. They put the plan into action immediately and managed to sneak out of the back door without being spotted. In the alley behind the hotel, 4 bums were settling down for the night. With a bit of persuasion from Olive and financial inducement from Tristram they swapped clothes and headed out of the alley near the cultists car, leading them away and allowing the investigators to get away on the subway. Almost as soon as they sat down they began to feel drowsy and drifted to sleep.

Back at the police station, the detectives were pushing Chester hard. They softened up on Ted but didn’t release him, instead using him to poke holes in Chester’s account of events. Eventually they had enough for the day and left them to stew in the cells overnight. All the investigators were beset by strange dreams between now and when they left NY.

When the investigators on the train awoke it was to the sound of a conductor throwing them off the train at the end of the line. They were at the end of the line, the far side of Manhattan from where they needed to be and it was now the early hours of Tuesday morning. Being unable to hail one of the very few cabs operating at this time, due to their shabby appearance, they resolved to walk the forty or so blocks to the police station. The night was freezing and when they finally arrived the desk sergeant took pity on them and allowed them to sit in the entrance lobby of the station until morning. They managed to drift off and the dreams came once more. They awake to Detectives Smith and Jones arriving back at the station along with Detective Poole. When Poole sees them he reports that the police have discovered the bums that they swapped clothes with dead in an alley. After they relate the previous day’s events to him, Poole offers them protective custody and an escort to the docks the next morning, an offer the investigators gratefully accept. He also tells them that Smith and Jones are about to release Ted and Chester, having accepted their claims of self-defence with a little persuasion from Poole.

Once Jones is alone with Chester, however, he warns the watchmaker that the Bloody Tongue does not like to be thwarted and digs his fingers into the old man’s shoulder wound. After this, Chester is adamant that the NYPD is not to be trusted. It is only through much coaxing that he is persuaded that Jones is an isolated case and not the tip of a department wide cultist iceberg. They spend the rest of the day going over what’s happened and trying to decide what the next move should be.

The next day they are driven uneventfully to their ship and depart New York for Southampton. When boarding the ship, they notice Joe Brady, Erica Carlyle’s bodyguard, openly watching them as they board. Tristram is punched in the nose by an irate Spaniard, who turns out to be Hypatia Masters ex-lover, concerned that the questions Tristram had been asking about her would damage her reputation. Conversations with these men during the 5 day passage reveal nothing of interest. Brady claims to be ‘on vacation’ and the ex-lover refuses to be drawn into conversation with Ted. The investigators spend the rest of the trip going over what they know, looking at various clues in more detail and deciding on their course of action.

The only other matter of interest on the cruise is the spontaneous recovery of Chester’s obviously infected shoulder wound, which heals itself in a matter of days. This is a great relief to him but the confiscation of his .45 revolver at customs takes the shine of somewhat.

Arriving in London, the gang hole up in a suite at the Ritz. On arrival they receive Dr.Huston’s notes on Roger Carlyle, obtained for them by a member of the Guild. The notes mention an M’Weru, which could well be the name of the negro woman Erica mentioned. It also speaks of Huston ‘being exposed’ if he doesn’t go on the expedition. What could this mean?

They decide that the first orders of business should be speaking to Mick Maloney and Inspector Barrington of the yard, 2 contacts of Elias Jackson whose names were passed on by Jonah. They also want to try and find out what has become of Tristram’s cousin, sent to have a nosy around the Penhew foundation two weeks previously and not heard from since.

First up, they all head to the offices of The Daily Scoop on Fleet street, the tabloid that Mahoney edits. As they leave the hotel, Joe Brady is sat at the bar and raises a glass to them as they go. Maloney is friendly and welcoming having heard of Elias’ death and eager to help uncover the reason for his murder. He gives them three newspaper clippings that Elias seemed interested in. One is a report of a painter in Soho, whose work has received some attention recently for its horrific subject matter, supposedly painted from the painters ‘visions’ of alien worlds. The next is a report of a series of gruesome murders in a small Derbyshire village, supposedly carried out by a ‘beast that walked like a man.’ Thirdly is an update on the investigation into the so called ‘egyptian murders’ a series of horrible crimes in which the victims have been beaten to pulps before having their hearts pierced. The policeman in charge of the investigation is an Inspector Barrington, who Maloney confirms is the same man mentioned by Jonah.

Maloney tells them that Elias was not his usual self when he arrived in London towards the end of the previous year. He seemed nervous and on edge, fidgety, not his usual collected self. Something, or someone had scared him badly. Maloney isn’t sure what he did in London, but knows that he came here from the far east, Shanghai by way of Hong Kong.

The investigators decide to follow up these new leads immediately. While Tristram and Ted head to the formers London club to see if anyone has seen the cousin, Olive leads the others to Miles Shipley’s house, the painter mentioned in the article, posing as American art dealers. The door is opened by an elderly lady who turns out to be the artist’s mother. Through some persuasive fast-talk, they are admitted to the house and lead up to the studio by the artist. The house is dark, kerosene lamps provide some light but they are not bright. The house is clean, but a little bare.

Arriving in the attic, the investigators get their first look at the paintings. They are indeed horrific, showing strange, otherworldly scenes that leave the viewer feeling uncomfortable. Olive attempts to find out more about the inspiration for these images but Miles is obviously highly strung, mad even and after a few moments talking takes offence at an innocuous comment and ushers them out of the studio, refusing to sell them any of his work. On the way out, Chester notices a cupboard in the room with a heavy padlock on the door.

Downstairs, they attempt to find out more by gently interrogating the mother but she is no more forthcoming than her son. The party leave, certain that this house requires further investigation.

Meanwhile Tristram and Ted discover that the cousin did indeed make it to London and was seen around the club up until about two and a half weeks ago. He hasn’t been seen since, though no-one seems particularly concerned. After a delightful meal, Tristram and Ted head back to the hotel to meet with the others.

After hearing what happened at the Soho house, Tristram and Ted agree that further investigation is needed. A plan is concocted to gain access to the locked room in the attic. Ted and Tristram will go back to the house, posing as rival art dealers and offer to buy all Miles’ paintings with no searching questions. Once the painter agrees they will insist on taking both him and his mother out for a meal to seal the deal. Once the house is empty, the others will break in. There is some discussion over what they will do if the mother refuses to go as they discovered on the first visit that she’s been something of a shut-in since the death of Mr. Shipley but it is decided that this will not be a bar to the plan. After all, how much trouble could one old lady be?

Ted and Tristram arrive at the house and Tristrams obvious wealth makes entry smooth sailing. They are shown the paintings and offer to buy the whole collection. Miles, with prompting from his mother, agrees. Ted invites them both out for dinner and, after a little cajoling, Miles agrees but Mrs. Shipley will not go whatever they say. After a few minutes trying to persuade her, Ted accepts that it will only be Miles going with them. They troop downstairs, still urging the old lady to come with them when Tristram catches a glimpse of the old ladies shadow in the light of the Kerosene lamp. The shadow is not that of an old lady, rather of some huge, serpent like creature. Tristram tries to tell Ted what he has seen without alerting the residents of the house but gets stuck in some-kind of feedback loop and begins babbling uncontrollably.

Ted realises instantly that something is very wrong and tries to excuse them from the dinner and extricate them from the house, but suddenly, Mrs. Shipley is very insistent that they stay, at least until Tristram has had a sit down and a nice cup of tea. They are lead to the parlour and sat down on opposite sides of the room. Miles sits down next to Tristram and watches him closely as he continues to speak in tongues. Ted once again attempts to be allowed to leave but Mrs. Shipley returns with the tea, gives one cup to an unresisting Tristram and the other to Ted. Suddenly, the last thing Ted wants to do is drink the tea and he attempts to convince the Shipley’s that he needs to leave. Ted finally insists on leaving and goes to get up from his seat, at which point Mrs. Shipley stabs him in the shoulder with her knitting needle. Ted cries out and the old instincts kick in as he punches the old lady square in the jaw. She goes flying backwards and lands heavily on the floor. Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of the matter as she begins screeching and writhing. Suddenly, where moments before there was a little old lady, there is now an eight foot serpent man. Seeing this transformation is too much for Ted’s fragile state of mind and he withdraws, curling up into a ball on the floor and rocking gentle back and forth. Miles also leaps to his feet, grabbing a meat cleaver that was secreted by the side of the sofa, yelling in anger. He turns and swings it at the gibbering Tristram, who can only watch helplessly as the blade buries itself into the back of the sofa inches from his head.

Meanwhile, outside in their hiding place, Olive, Bill and Chester hear Ted’s yell quickly followed by a strange, otherworldly screeching and rush to aid their friends. On the way, Olive grabs a half-brick from the front garden and Chester grabs a milk bottle waiting for the milkman. Arriving at the entrance to the house, 59 year old Chester lifts his leg and kicks the door off its hinges with one devastating kick. Bill rushes in, heading down the hall and turning into the doorway of the room and freezes when he sees the Lizard man, on his feet now and looming over the cowering Ted. The monster turns to face him and starts a strange sibilant chanting. Chester arrives, pushing into the doorway besides Bill and comes up short. Olive, unable to get past the others to help and thinking quickly rushes up the stairs, hoping to get into the cupboard in the attic. Miles, seeing the newcomers turns and advances on them with his meat cleaver. Chester and Bill hurl themselves into the fray, mostly ineffectually, punching at Miles and the Lizard. As it finishes chanting it throws a hand up at Bill, who feels his mind twist as a blast of terror hits him in the face. Overcome with horror, Bill runs straight past the lizard and leaps out of the front window, rolling as he hits the garden outside, leaps the wall and flees into the night.

Chester manages to land a good punch on miles, but then the crazed painter swings the cleaver straight him and buries it in his chest. Chester looks down at the blade protruding from his chest, whimpers and collapses to the floor. This seems to snap Tristram out of his insensibility and he quickly takes in the situation. Jumping to his feet he draws his sword cane and charges the Lizards from behind, stabbing it through the neck. The creature hisses in pain and swivels round, aiming his snapping jaws at his attacker. Tristram jumps back, avoiding the attack, but Miles turns to help his ‘mother’ and lands a good right hook on Tristram who goes down. Things look bad for our heroes now. Tristram is unconscious, Ted is a small ball of terror, Chester is bleeding out in the hallway and Bill has run off in terror into the night. They are helpless as their enemies loom over them. Suddenly, the lizards head tilts back, his tongue darts out and with a quick gesture to Miles they both begin running up the stairs.

Whilst the fight was happening on the ground floor, Olive made her way up to the attic, used her brick to smash the lock and discover a easel upon which was a canvas with a sheet covering it. Removing the sheet, Olive saw a painting of a small island in the middle of a dark swamp. In its centre stood an altar and in the shallow water of its banks, lizard men waded. As Olive stared the picture seemed to shift, becoming three dimensional. She pulled it off the easel and took it into the main room, throwing it onto the floor. As she glanced at it she noticed that the water appeared to be rippling gently in a non-existent wind. She heard footsteps on the stairs and grabbed the kerosene lamp from the ceiling, holding it over the painting. The lizard and Miles pile up the stairs into the room. Olive takes the sight of an eight foot lizard man in her stride and yells out.

‘One more step and I torch it!’ there is a moment of silence as the three of them weigh up there options. Suddenly, with a quick ‘fuck it’ Olive smashes the lamp on the painting. The lizard screeches in fury and leaps across the room towards her, snapping his toothy jaws at her throat, whilst Miles runs to the burning picture and begins beating at it to put out the flames. Olive dodges the lizards attack and makes to run for the door and freedom.

As she goes to run, her foot slips from under her and she comes crashing to the ground beside the lizard. She feels a terrible weight as it puts a foot on her back and feels cold scales as it grabs her hair and forces up her head. In horror, Olive realises that Miles has succeeded in putting out the flames and is holding up the painting right in front of her eyes. She finds she cannot look away as the lizardmen in the painting begin to move and the smells of stagnant water begin to drift from the painting. The scene becomes more real with each passing second until the painting is real and the small, Soho attic room is gone completely.

She is lying on the small island. The altar glows before her and the sounds of splashing drift from the waters all around. The air is warm and muggy. Olive gets to her feet, takes a deep breath and steadies herself. Walking to the altar she sees nothing she can recognise, either in its design or in the symbols carved upon it. Behind her is the sound of wet feet on earth and a low, warning hiss. She turns and sees two of the lizards advancing on her. The first one leaps at her, cracking her skull and knocking her into blissful unconsciousness as they advance to feed upon her corpse.

Olives sacrifice is not in vain, however. She has given the others chance to recover. Ted drags himself to his feet and notes his two comrades on the floor. Chester has recovered consciousness and is dragging himself towards the front door. Tristram is still passed out, his jaw cocked at an unnatural angle. Ted reaches down and attempts to lift his comrade, but his strength seems to have left him and he drops the dead weight. The sound of footsteps coming down the stairs gives him impetus and he tries again but fails once more. As the footsteps start coming down the last flight Ted tries once more, panicking now. He finally manages to hoist Tristrams dead weight over his shoulder, grabs the sword cane and heads for the broken window.

Meanwhile, Chester is dragging himself to the front door. Remembering Mrs. Shipley’s reluctance to leave the house from their previous conversation, he hopes that if he makes it over the threshold the lizard will be stuck and he’ll only have Miles to worry about. He’s nearly out when they start coming down the stairs and see him. Chester pulls himself to his feet and staggers out of the

house, but the lizard piles down the stairs towards him, and continues out of the door. Steeling himself, Chester throws a desperate punch, connecting with the onrushing lizard and knocking it cold. Miles screams in fury and comes charging forwards, just in time to meet Ted, coming to Chester’s aid who throws a punch so hard that they hear the mad artist’s neck snap like a twig. He crumples to the floor. Ted draws Tristram’s sword and stabs the prone lizard enough times to be sure it’s dead.

Bill arrives back in time to see this. Having come to his senses halfway down the street, he forced himself to return and help. As the investigators lick their wounds and figure out how to get Chester and Tristram to the hospital, Bill runs back into the house to find Olive. Arriving in the attic, he finds a half burned painting on the floor. Looking closely at it, he sees a small island in a swamp. On the island, two lizard men appear to be feasting on something. On closer inspection the thing appears human. And as he stares closer, and the image begins to become three dimensional, Bill finally realises that it is Olive. Raising the canvas up, Bill smashes it on his knee, tearing it beyond repair.

‘Where’s Olive?’ Ted asks as Bill returns.

‘Olive’s not coming.’ Bill replies.

Round-up of clues for all investigators

Hello all. This is a roundup of what you discovered last time. Have a read of this before you vote on where you want to go next. Because of the amount of reading involved, you won’t be able to change your minds on the day, so conferring is allowed. I’ll be sending you all little character specific things nearer the time.

What you know about Elias Jackson’s movements over the past 2 years.

Elias had some information that some kind of African death cult had been involved in the disappearance of the infamous Carlyle expedition some years before. He travelled to the site of their deaths to investigate what had occurred.

Officials in Kenya were adamant that there was no Cult involvement and that the massacre was carried out by a local tribe. The natives, however, told him a different story, speaking of a cult that worshipped at ‘The Black Mountain’ and regularly carried out human sacrifice.

Elias’ doubt over the official version of events grew as he discovered that no Caucasian bodies were found at the site, only those of the parties black guides and bearers. Soon after, he met with a Danish mercenary who claimed he had seen Jack Brady, Roger Carlyle’s bodyguard, alive and well in Shanghai months after the whole party were supposedly killed in Africa.

He sent his collected notes to Jonah Kensington at Prospero Press and though he didn’t include any speculation amongst his meticulously well written and organised research, he did include a letter in which he insisted that this story was going to be big and had the potential to make them both rich. He asked for some more money and set off to London, where the expedition had unexpectedly stopped off on its way to Africa.

The only notes Elias sent from London were a barely legible scrawling in which he rambled about some unspecified evil, the fact that ‘they didn’t die’ and that he was under some sort of time constraint. His movements whilst in England are unknown. At some point on his trip back to the States he sent his telegram to the Realistic Policing Guild, requesting help from a ‘reliable investigative team.’

He arrived back in New York at the tail end of 1925 and met with the manager of Emerson imports about some ‘Native African Art’ that had been imported into the country. This in turn led him to Silas N’Kwame, the owner of ‘Ju Ju house’ a shop that sold native African charms and art to the local Harlem residents.

At around this time he phoned the members of the Guild requesting that they meet him at his hotel room on the 15th of January. However, when they arrived it was to find Elias Jackson murdered. It now seems clear that he was killed by the members of the Bloody Tongue based around N’Kwame’s shop in Harlem. Why they did it and who ordered the death is still unexplained, though it seems certain to have something to do with Elias’ investigation into the disappearance of the Carlyle expedition.

What you know about the Carlyle Expedition

Roger Carlye was a well known and extremely rich playboy. He was infamous for his love of the highlife, his various and plentiful girlfriends and his less than serious approach to family and business affairs. At some point in 1917/18, however, he suddenly developed and interest in the history and archaeology of ancient Egypt and began working towards the launching of an expedition to the Dark Continent. His motives for this remain a mystery, though newspaper reports call it a vanity project, people who knew him called it one of his fleeting hobbies and his sister suggested that his most recent girlfriend, a poor black girl, may have influenced him. The party Carlyle put together was not your typical archaeological expedition. He took his psychiatrist, an heiress friend of almost as bad a reputation as himself, his confidante and bodyguard who was a convicted felon and Sir Aubrey Penhew, renowned historian and founder of the Penhew Foundation. Of course, things went badly for this group of amateurs and they eventually went missing somewhere in Kenya. When the bodies of their guides and bearers were found, apparently having been murdered by local tribesmen, Roger and his companions were declared dead. Investigation of Carlyle has revealed that perhaps he was after something more than a few old bones. The discovery of occult books in his library at the Carlyle mansion seemed to point to some darker interest. He had been seeing a psychiatrist for some months and had spent time at a sanatorium, being treated for alcoholism. He is missing, presumed dead.

Jack ‘Brass’ Brady was on trial for murder when he met Roger Carlyle. Why the multi-millionaire playboy decided to pay the convicted felons legal fees, getting him off the charge on various technicalities, is a mystery. However, from then on the two men were close companions, Jack Brady acting as some sort of minder/confidante for Carlyle. He was with the expedition throughout their travels and was supposed killed along with the others in Kenya. However, a man Elias Jackson met in a bar in Kenya claimed to have seen Brady alive and well in Shanghai, some months after his supposed death. Brady wears a brass charm around his neck given to him by his mother who claimed to have ‘the sight’. The charm is carved with strange symbols and supposedly offers protection against evil. This charm is what gave him his nickname. He is still, officially, missing, presumed dead.

Hypatia Masters was an heiress and society girl, whose inclusion on the expedition was somewhat of a mystery. Although officially the expeditions ‘photographer’, it appeared to have been little more than a jolly for the sometimes girlfriend of Carlyle. However, after talking to a less than discreet friend of hers, you discovered that she had recently ‘got herself in trouble’, trouble which she had extricated herself from. Perhaps she joined the expedition to avoid potential scandal? She is missing, presumed dead.

Dr. Robert Huston was psychiatrist to the rich and famous. Huston had been Carlyle’s doctor for some time. Why he chose to go along with the expedition is unknown. Perhaps he was concerned for Carlyle’s mental health or perhaps he was offered large financial incentives. Huston was something of a celebrity himself, being a handsome older man with a somewhat chequered past. The fees he charged were famously extortionate. He had been recommended to Roger by his sister, who hoped to cure him of his dissolute and reckless ways. After the disappearance of the expedition and the declaration of his death, all of Dr Huston’s patient notes were taken into trust by the NY medical board where they can only be accessed by a family member or a fellow doctor with good cause. Dr. Huston is missing, presumed dead.

Sir. Aubrey Penhew was the only archaeologist and historian in the group, was officially the co-leader of the expedition and also arranged the trip through the organisation that bears his name. The Penhew foundation gives funding to archaeologists to carry out digs and expeditions to various parts of the world, but with a special interest in Egypt and North Africa. Penhew himself made a number of important finds, particularly in Dhashur. An old aristocrat, Viscount Pevensey, Colonel (ret’d) to give him his correct title, was well respected, both by his peers and society in general. His background is readily available in works like Who’s Who and Burke’s Peerage. He held title to several stately homes, as well as mansions in London, the Cotswalds, Monaco and Alexandria.

He graduated with honors in classics from Oxford, thereafter working with distinction as an archaeologist in Egypt. He served as a Lieutenant in the Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment (19th First North Yorkshire Regiment of Foot) from 1901-1902 during the Second Boer War. He was promoted to Colonel during the Siege of Kimberley. Penhew’s only criminal record was for stealing a policeman’s helmet whilst a student. The Penhew name traces to the Norman invasion and has been undiminished since, save for a single ancestor convicted of treason and black magic.

Sir. Penhew is currently missing, presumed dead.

Unknown woman: Erica Carlyle, Roger’s sister, mentioned a ‘negro woman’ who Roger had met and become infatuated with. She seemed to think that it was no more than one of Roger’s frequent infatuations and she had hoped he would grow tired of her before any scandal could break. She believes that his sudden interest in Africa was probably something to do with this infatuation and that the woman was with the expedition in Africa, though what became of her is unknown and there is no mention of her in any of the news reports. In 1920’s America it would have been more surprising if the newspapers had mentioned an unknown black woman with the party. Erica couldn’t remember her name.

The Expedition: The expedition set off in April 1919. Despite initially saying that they would be heading straight to Africa, the Expedition first headed for London and the Penhew foundation to ‘perform researches’ and pick up Sir Aubrey, who would act as a second in command for the expedition as well as providing some actual expertise, before heading on to Africa. The expedition based itself in Cairo, setting out on various digs along the Nile valley over the next few months.

Sometime in June, Roger became ill with sunstroke and the expedition retired from the city for a break. In July, the group unexpectedly made for Mombasa, taking a break from their labour, where they were entertained by the local Under-secretary Mr. Royston Whittingdon before apparently heading inland in early August on a hunting trip, though rumour suggested they were really after buried treasure. Nothing was heard from them for two months.

In October searches began for the lost party. In May 1920, Erica Carlyle made her way to Kenya, following rumours that the expedition had been massacred by a local tribe. This was confirmed later in the same month when Erica herself led a party into the bush following leads from local Kikuyu tribesmen. The police accompanying them discovered the site of a massacre.

Reports at the time said that the bodies of the whole party including bearers and guides had been discovered, though later reporting said that the bodies off the white members of the party had been hidden by the Nandi tribesmen accused, tried and hanged for the murders. These tribesmen always maintained their innocence and the bodies were never found, though all members of the party were officially declared dead later in the year. However, Elias Jackson interviewed a man who claimed to have seen Jack Brady Alive and well in Shanghai some time after his supposed death at the hands of hostile native tribesmen.


Erica Carlyle

Erica was satisfied that the official report on the Carlyle expedition was true but is somewhat concerned by the thought that perhaps all is not as it has seemed. Whether her interest comes from genuine interest in her brother’s fate, or a fear that he might not be dead and she might lose control of the Carlyle empire, you don’t know. Whatever her motives she agreed to let you see the books in her library in return for being kept informed of what you discover.

Lieutenant Poole

Poole is not best pleased with the distinct lack of evidence that you’ve provided him with so far, though he is perfectly willing to accept the idea of an African death cult working out of Harlem, despite N’Kwame’s successful attempt to appear an ordinary businessman. He is still expecting some kind of result for the accreditation he got you.

Silas N’Kwame

N’Kwame is the owner of a small shop in Harlam selling African objects de art and ‘magical’ charms. The shop is a front for a branch of the Cult of the Bloody Tongue, probably the same branch that carried out Elias’ murder. In a ceremonial chamber beneath the shop cultists make human sacrifices to their dark God. However, the wily shopkeeper disguised the chamber as a storeroom when the police arrived to search it. N’Kwame was last seen beaten unconscious and tied down in the back room of his shop by Bill Van der Molen.

Jonah Kensington

Editor and friend of the late Elias Jackson and interested visitor to the Guilds meetings in the past. Jonah was horrified at the news of Elias’ death and has offered to fund the party’s investigation through the guild in return for all the information they find out so that he can finish Jackson’s last book. He has provided much of the information gathered so far.


A photo of a boat in an eastern port. The name of the boat cannot be seen in the picture. The general consensus was that the port could well be Shanghai. Found in Elias’ room.

A matchbook from the ‘stumbling tiger bar’ 10 lantern street, probably in Shanghai, definitely not in NY. Sent to Jonah by Elias.

The business card of Edward Gavigan, Director of the Penhew Foundation with a London address. Sent to Jonah by Elias.

A letter from a Faraj Nazir to Roger Carlyle offering his help in acquiring ‘certain curios’. He asks Carlyle to visit his shop in the street of Jackals in Cairo’s old quarter. The letter was obtained by Jackson and was included in the file of his notes that Jonah gave you.

Anthony Cowles lecture notes. In which the eccentric academic sets forth his theory about an ancient ‘bat cult’ amongst the aborigines of Australia. The cult bears a number of striking similarities to the cult of the bloody tongue which appears to have been responsible for Elias’ death. Obtained from the professor at Harvard.

Elias’ Jacksons Nairobi Notes: a neat, well ordered file of Jackson’s findings from Africa, sent to Jonah before he left for London. Obtained from Jonah.

Elias’ London notes: a barely legible scrawl filled with cryptic ramblings sent to Jonah as Elias headed back to NY. Obtained from Jonah.

Roger Carlyles books: a set of rare, occult tomes that talk of dark alien gods, hideous monsters and insane cults. Tristram and Serene read them and were horrified at what they contained. Whatever Carlyle was looking for in Africa, it was obviously nothing sane. You were allowed to study the books by Erica Carlyle.

*‘Africa’s Dark Sect’s’ *a book found at Ju Ju house: This book had originally been the property of Harvard university but had apparently been stolen by the members of the Cult of the Bloody Tongue in New York. The book contained some information on the Bloody Tongue, talking of it having been founded in pre-dynastic Egypt before being forced out by the Pharaoh and apparently moving to Kenya, where they remain a small but active presence. When you were looking for this book at Harvard, you discovered that the only other known copy was owned by the Penhew foundation.

Cloak, Lions claw gloves, metal bowl, occult book and Mask: items recovered from the sacrificial chamber at Ju Ju house. These items are all a mystery, though they appear to have some ritualistic significance. The mask seems to exert a strong urge on those who see it to put it on, an urge you have all so far resisted. The book was read by Chester and it contains what purports to be a ‘magic spell’.

Ongoing investigations:

Tristram’s cousin: He was contacted by the party by telegram and asked to visit the Penhew foundation in London to ask if they could see their copy of ‘Africa’s Dark Sects’. He agreed and sent a telegram back telling them he was on his way down. Three days have passed and nothing else has been heard from him. This lack of urgency is not strictly unusual amongst the dissolute English aristocracy, though his mother has not heard from him either.

Dr. Huston’s notes: The party would like to see these confidential files. There was some disagreement about how to go about accessing them, with some members suggesting Serene attempt to pose as a member of the Doctors family and others insisting they should pursuade Ted’s Psychatrist, Dr. Vendtner, to obtain the files and pass them on.

Australia: Prof. Cowles theories on an ancient aboriginal bat cult with similarities to the cult of the bloody tongue is set to be tested by an expedition leaving from Sydney University in the next few weeks.

Cairo: This is where the expedition was based during their time in Egypt. Roger Carlyle was apparently in contact with some kind of dealer in antiquities named Nazir in Cairo’s old quarter. Elias visited Cairo and spoke to a number of the Carlyle expeditions contacts in the city.

London: The expedition stopped here on their way to Africa to carry out research, presumably at the Penhew foundation which has its headquarters here. Elias also came here on his way back to NY. Something here affected his mental state deeply, as shown in the differences between the calm and measured Kenyan notes and the madly scrawled London notes.

Mombasa/Nairobi: Kenya is where the Carlyle expedition met its grisly end, apparently whilst on a break from their work. The local authorities were in charge of both the search and then the prosecution of the perpetrators. Elias met with various contacts here, including the Danish mercenary who claimed to have seen Brady alive.

Shanghai: A number of clues point to Shanghai, not least of which is the report that Jack Brady was seen alive in a bar somewhere in the sprawling port city. There is also a picture of a boat in what looks like the port, but what this has to do with anything is unclear.

Masks part 1 - NYC
'This is a ridiculous idea'

This is a early version of events as they happened. i’m going to do a better one when I have time but this should serve as a reminder of the main events/clues.

In late 1924, the members of the Realistic Policing Guild who had been present at the killing of Peter Manusco, each received a telegram from guild president Elias Jackson. Jackson had been abroad, on and off, for the last two years, following up leads in his latest investigation into the disappearance and supposed death of ‘the Carlyle Expedition,’ an archaeological expedition led and financed by an infamous New York playboy.

Since Chicago, the members had cut themselves off from each other, refusing to speak at length to Elias who seems to have given up persuading them that there were logical explanations for what they claimed to have seen and concentrated on his day job. However, they all still had a lot of respect for Jackson and when they received the telegrams and spoke to the man himself by telephone on his arrival back on American soil, were worried enough about his state of mind to agree to his request to meet them in New York on the 15th of January 1925. All except Olive L’Amore. Elias and Olive seem to have had a falling out over the intervening period and she refused to even acknowledge receipt of the telegram.

Back at Miskatonic, the Realistic Policing Guild (student body) was going from strength to strength under the leadership of Samuel Vincent, a young economics student who appears to have been a hugely fanatical disciple of Elias Jackson and ran the RPG with a level of professionalism not yet seen. New members had to be introduced by current members and pass a test, usually a simple mystery of Vincent’s devising. There was also a modest monthly membership fee which was used for hiring locations, props and, occasionally actors for the ever more complex mystery nights.

Vincent received a similar telegram to the veteran members, asking him to send a member of the Guild to aid Jackson and the others in their mission, whatever that was. Unquestioning as ever, Samuel immediately called for the person he considered his most capable member, Serene De’Boa.

Serene was a Canadian ex circus contortionist who, at the age of 23, had somehow managed to find herself the only woman taking a psychology degree at Miskatonic. Vincent seems to have felt that her greater life experience and knowledge of the ‘common man’ gained from her years in the circus would make her more useful to Jackson than himself. It should also be noted that Vincent appears to have been an extreme physical coward, with no desire to put himself in harms way on the streets of the big apple. He, along with most members of the guild, had read and heard reports of the Manusco Shooting and, although fascinated, was probably also terrified of these strange friends of his mentor, however much he would have liked the kudos of helping Elias Jackson.

As it turned out, nobody was going to be able to help Elias Jackson.

On the appointed day, Ted Waltz, Tristram Fink-Nottle and Chester Flannigan found themselves alone in the Chelsea hotel, with no sign that anyone else was coming. Resigning themselves to this fact, they made their way up to Elias’ room, after the desk clerk received no answer to his call. At this point, Tristram takes up the story in his diary.

‘We knocked at the door and received no answer. What with Elias’ recent behaviour being out of character to the point of illness and the urgency of his request for help, we were all feeling somewhat uneasy. So when Chester suggested he pick the room’s lock, neither of us complained. Perhaps we should have been more cautious but time seemed to be a factor and so, when Chester managed to unlock the door in record time, it didn’t occur to anyone to be cautious.

Chester pushed the door open, still knelt in front of it and leant in to get a good look. As he did so, a vicious looking knife, at least a foot long, came crashing down from behind the door, burying itself into our good watchmakers shoulder. The old fellow barely made a whimper, he simply slid to the floor, blood pouring from the wound. Ted, whose presence of mind was extraordinary, particularly considering his mental state the last time we’d met, grabbed our friend by the ankles and pulled him out into the corridor, quickly tearing at Chester’s shirt in order to create a bandage with which to staunch the bleeding.

Once I saw that my old comrade in arms was breathing, I turned my attention to his assailant, listening carefully for movement. What I heard was the sound of feet on metal, as a man would make were he to run down a wrought iron fire escape. Rushing in I saw that my ears had not deceived me, the window leading to the fire escape was indeed open. However, what I saw next shocked me so, that to even consider giving chase would be unthinkable.

There on the bed, stomach opened, lay Elias. Poor Elias. It makes my stomach turn to write down his fate, as if committing it to paper makes it somehow more real. But there it is. Elias Jackson, my oldest friend in this country, is dead by violence.

Roused by anger, I made for the window, in time to see two men, presumably Elias murderers and Chesters attackers, jumping into a black car and speeding away through the snow. I managed to get the licence plate before turning back to inspect the body of my friend, still harbouring the faint hope that his injuries may not be as severe as first I thought. Alas, though still warm, his body was lifeless and, indignity on indignity, his killers had carved some kind of mark into his forehead with their vicious knife.

More happened after, but that is all I will manage tonight. I must sleep and try to forget the fear in Elias’ eyes.’

It was around the point at which Tristram stops writing that Bill Van Der Molen and Serene De’Boa finally arrived. It appears Bill got lost trying to make his way by car into Manhattan and Serene’s train was delayed. One can only imagine their reactions on discovering the scene. Chester, lying in a pool of blood in the hall, bloody footprints leading to a door that opened into a darkened room and the torn and bloody body of Elias. For Bill, who had almost not attended at all, it must have been as if the last two years had never happened. For Serene, whose enthusiasm for the assignment was lukewarm at best, it must have felt as if her worst fears had been realised.

They managed to compose themselves, however, and the team dropped into their natural tendencies for snooping easily, riffling through their dead friends belongings in search of clues to his murderers. It was whilst they searched that the police arrived, apparently alerted by one of the other guests.

Lt. Martin Poole was a decent man, no more corrupt than anyone else in the NYPD at the time and more dedicated than most. He was a realist, understood the politics of policing and was willing to work within the system. He recognised the arcane symbol carved into Elias’ head as the calling card of a killer, or killers who had been leaving bodies across the city for the last year or so. None of the victims were important enough to warrant a proper investigation, though Poole had made some initial forays into the world of cults and superstition, employing the services of a medium at one point though with predictably hopeless results. The cases had been laying unsolved in his desk drawer whilst more important matters took up his time but they still niggled at the Lieutenant and he saw in the members of the guild an opportunity to give the case the attention he couldn’t.

He seems to have quickly dismissed the idea that these people had been responsible for Elias’ death (though later commentators would disagree, inventing all manner of fascinating motives for Tristram, Ted and Chester to have wanted Jackson dead) and on hearing that they were investigators, of a sort, he asked for their help in the investigation. His fame wasn’t so great that the higher ups would allow paid police time to be taken up with investigating but Elias’ prominence in certain circles as an author would give Poole the wriggle room he needed to at least outsource the job.

After agreeing to become official associates of the NYPD, the group left the scene, Tristram taking a suite at the Chelsea (somewhat beneath his usual standard) and the others rooms to which their budgets would stretch.

That evening they discussed both why Elias’ investigation into the deaths of an archeological expedition might have unnerved somebody to the point of murder as well as the clues they had managed to discover in the room. They had a sketch Ted made of the symbol on Elias’ head, an advert for a lecture by an australian historian named Anthony Cowles and a letter from a Miriam Artwright of Harvard university apologising that she had been unable to find the book Jackson had asked for.

After some discussion, Serene and Bill were sent off to a local lecture theatre to see the lecture, only to discover that it had, in fact taken place the previous week. Closer examination of the handbill revealed that, although the historian was indeed based in Sydney, he was currently ensconsed in a guest professorship at Miskatonic University. At this point, the penny dropped with Serene and she realised that she had actually attended a lecture by the man. She recalled nothing of the content, however, having only attended to please a man she was seeing.

On reporting these facts to the group, it was decided that Serene and Ted, as current student and alumni of Miskatonic should head back there to see if the professor could be of any help to them.

Meanwhile, the other party members would visit Jonah Kensington, publisher, editor and friend of Elias Jackson. He was known to them all, having visited the RPG with Elias on several occasions during which he had sat at the back of the room watching proceedings with the air of a man taking in a good show. Indeed, the year that Bill had solved the case he had even applauded.

They also agreed on the wording of and sent a telegram to, Miriam Artwright, asking for details of the book Elias had been looking for.

The next day, Serene and Ted set out in Tristrams car for Arkham and everyone else went to see Jonah. He was pleased to see them, though obviously shaken by Elias’ death. He was more than willing to help them investigate and, in fact, suggested that he hire them to do so, through the Realistic Policing Guild. This was on the advice of his accountant, who was uncomfortable with Jonah paying money direct to random individuals.

He provided them with a vast amount of information, most of which is still available in the Guild archives, so I will not go into particulars here. Suffice to say, it appeared as if Elias had come to believe that not all the members of the Carlyle exhibition died in Kenya. Jackson had testimony from a man he interviewed in Africa who claimed to have met Jack Brady (who appears to have been something like a bodyguard to Roger Carlyle) in a bar in Shanghai. There are a couple of pieces of evidence included to suggest that Jackson followed this line up, a photograph of a port somewhere in China and a matchbox from a bar that may be in Shanghai. The notes that Jonah was sent by Elias from Nairobi can be seen in the archives and are in the assured, unbiased and sceptical style of his published work.

A second set of notes, sent from London a few months later, are much more disturbing. They are a barely legible scrawl and, indeed, the investigators gave the note over to Tristram’s man, Wliburforce, to decipher. A job which took all the rest of that day. The bizarre stream of consciousness speaks of making his readers believe in some horrible conspiracy that is never fully outlined. Roger Carlyle is mentioned, as are books he supposedly kept in his safe. The notes truly seem to be the ravings of a man in the depths of a terrible madness. But perhaps the information that Serene and Ted discovered in Arkham might shed light on this extreme change in mental state.

Serene De Boa’s diary relates the trip.

January 16th.

So, a day after heading to NYC, i’m back at Miskatonic. Not that the trip was uneventful, mind you. I’ve seen a dead body, put pressure on a deep neck wound, picked through evidence discovered at a crime scene and been hired (or something) by the NYPD. And then there was this trip back.

This Ted is a very strange man. He’s nice enough and harmless I’m sure but he seems a little…distant? No, not distant, the opposite, he’s too here, too in the moment, like a man trying to convince himself that this is reality. He stares at you for too long when talking and insists on driving the, despite his occasional habit of forgetting what he’s doing and taking his foot off the gas. He talks with too much intensity, too much insistence. It makes for uncomfortable conversations in close quarters.

I shouldn’t be too hard on the poor man, though. He’s been through a lot, seen a lot. And he is seeking help, which is more than most of these shell shocked men do. And he is clever, thats for sure and he’d probably be handsome, if he were a bit less gaunt.

Anyway, after the drive, we made our way across campus to the history department where the porter gave us directions to Professor Cowles. I tried to remember the man, but all that came to mind was a big red beard. To be fair to the man, I don’t remember the date that took me to see his lecture either, so that whole night was obviously a washout.

He did indeed have a big red beard and the rest of him matched it. His accent was somewhat faint but still exotic and he spoke with passion and conviction. Unfortunately, he was little help to us. He had met Mr. Jackson once and had read his books but knew nothing beyond that. He was sorry to hear of the murder and said he’d be happy to help us. He told us about his lecture, strange tales of Australian ‘bat cults’ who sacrificed victims with poisoned weapons that made them mad before they died, weird and symbolic god myths, cities buried in the desert.

I fear Professor Cowles is somewhat of an eccentric. He certainly believes these cults and religions existed but the evidence seems somewhat sparse. Along with Ted and that strange, vacant watchmaker Chester, I believe i’ve met more freaks in the last 48 hours than I ever did in the circus.

We received a telegram from the others. Miriam Artwright from harvard had responded to our enquiry and suggested we head up there to meet her. They had also discovered a lot from Mr. Kensington. We agreed by phone that we would head on to Harvard before returning to the city. Ted wondered if we should sleep in the same room tonight ‘just in case’. I said goodnight.

January 17th.

We set off early and this time I managed to take charge of the car. It really is a marvellous machine and suits it’s owner down to the ground. Tristram is, if anything, even more flashy than his automobile.

Ted was calmer today more…normal. Perhaps the shock of Elias’ death had hit him harder than I realised. He spoke more calmly and even made some jokes. His Dr, whoever it is, has done good work, but I’m sure Ted’s scars are just below the surface, waiting to burst out. Who knows what will happen when they do? I don’t think I want to be there to see it.

Miriam Atwright was doing something librarianish with stamps and index cards behind the main desk when we arrived at the Whitener library. She was a nice, if brusque, lady, who was sorry to hear about Elias’ death. He had obviously made something of an impression on Miss Atwright. Apparently he had been looking for a copy of ‘Africa’s Dark Sects’, In fact THE copy, as Harvard has the only copy. Or rather, had the only copy. It appears that, when miss Atwright went skipping off at Elias’ behest, the book was not in its assigned position. What there was, was a ‘dreadful stench, like the corpse of a rat had lain undiscovered for weeks.’

The only other copy of the book that the librarian knew of was in England, at the Penhew Foundation. Hmm. Would this be the same Penhew linked with the Carlyle expedition? If Mr. Jackson had been investigating the party, this would seem to be a reasonable assumption.

Our trip wasn’t entirely without fruit, however. With Miss. Artwright’s help, we were able to discover that the strange symbol that we found on Elias’ body. It appears to be related to an ancient african cult, The Cult of the BLoody Tongue. It seems as though these unpleasant individuals were expelled from Egypt during the dynastic period and relocated south, perhaps to Kenya. Perhaps Mr. Jackson had linked them to the Carlyle massacre? A number of the books referenced a book named the g’har….. Apparently the Penhew foundation has a copy of that too.

After we were done in the Library we headed back to NY. Despite the murder and all the talk of strange cults, I couldn’t help but think that the last couple have days have been very similar to my studies. Libraries, research, lectures. Perhaps this won’t be anything to worry about after all.’

While all this was going on, telegrams were flying back and forth across the country and, indeed the atlantic, with Tristram sending a message home to England, asking a cousin to request access to the books they wanted to see at the Penhew Foundation. Samuel Vincent had been notified of Jonah Kensington’s plans and sent a telegram notifying the investigators of his acceptance.
Following up on some of the evidence gathered at Prospero Press which included a card for an importer at the docks with the name ‘Silas N’Kwame’ scribbled on the back, the group made their way to the named gentlemans shop. ‘Ju Ju House’ was mostly frequented by african emigres and superstitious members of the African American community and stocked a wide variety of charms, ‘magical’ items and object d’art. Chester, Bill and Serene, who all went along to see this shop mention in their respective diaries that the conversation with the shopkeeper was somewhat strained and that he was keen to dismiss a key they noticed hanging on a silver chain around his neck as nothing but the key to his store room.

Having been unconvinced by his story and finding the coincidence of the african cults symbol carved in Jackson’s head and his interest in this importer of african occultist art too striking to ignore, It was resolved that they should sneak back with the others under cover of dark and try and gain access to the shop in the hopes of finding out what N’kwame’s relationship to Jackson’s murder might be.

In the meantime the group engaged in a long process of fact finding. Lt. Poole gave them Jack Brady’s criminal record, which was substantial, as well as pointing out the strangeness of his friendship with Carlyle, built as it was on Carlyle having paid for the team of lawyers that got the man off an open and shut murder case in California. Why the millionaire should have done this, based on a single meeting with the petty thug is unknown. It was known, however, that Brady went by the nickname ‘brass’ because of a brass plate he wore around his neck, etched with strange symbols that had been given to him by his mother and supposedly warded off evil. The investigators took careful note of this connection to the occult, bearing in mind the suddenness of Roger Carlyle’s interest in archaeology and the grisly fate that befell the party.

Dr. Huston seems to have been well known amongst High society New York as one of the first celebrity Psychiatrists, treating the wealthy for a reputed $50 an hour, an unheard of sum in those days. The fact that he was handsome and had been something of a rogue in his younger days no doubt helped his reputation with the easily bored young ladies of the city. Why he had gone on the expedition was unclear, though their was some speculation that he may have been treating Roger.

Hypatia Masters reasons for going along were even less clear until Tristram met with a friend of hers. She seemed to have been the typical flighty heiress, known for taking nothing seriously and for her ‘career’ as a photographer. Her friend, who Tristram describes in his diary as ‘A robust young woman with a friendly demeanour that bordered on the desperate and a mind which bordered on the dim,’ despite initial coquettish denials that she would ever speak of a trusted friends secrets, was soon laying said secrets out for all to see. It appeared Hypatia had had an affair with a dashing Spanish Communist, who had returned home to Spain. After he left, Masters discovered she was pregnant and then, some weeks later, appeared to forget. Though abortions were illegal at this time, it was not hard for women of means to obtain them and it would seem reasonable to assume that Masters had gone on the expedition, which had departed not long after this incident, to escape the possible scandal.

A quick trip to the NY Public Library and a perusal of ‘Berk’s Peerage’ told them all they needed to know about Sir Aubrey Penhew. A wealthy aristocrat and noted Egyptologist, his involvement in the expedition is perhaps the most easily understood. His ‘Penhew Foundation’ (the prime beneficiary in his will) funded these sort of trips by archaeologists as a matter of course and he himself had lead a number. He appears to have been the parties chief guide and organiser.

Information on Roger was harder to come by and it was decided that they should attempt to speak to his sister, Erica. After a humiliating encounter with the security staff at the gates to her westchester mansion, Tristram failed to speak to her. The party sent a telegram telling Erica that they had information regarding her brother. Soon a phone call from her lawyers led to a meeting being arranged.

That evening, the group set off to Ju Ju house to find out if N’Kwame was indeed linked to the cult that the group was now convinced had been responsible for Elias’ death. Ted would stay in Bills truck with Tristrams shotgun handy in case of trouble and the engine idling whilst the other affected the break in.

The shop was situated in a courtyard at the end of an alley off the main street and when the group made their way into the area, they noticed two homeless men who were using the courtyard as their bed for the night. Tristram tossed them a few dollars and they obligingly left the area. As they left, the group made a quick check of the courtyard and, finding nothing untoward, Chester got to work on the lock, which he quickly announce to be of an inferior standard and of no challenge. It appeared that this particular escapade would go off without a hitch.

However, things were not as rosy as the group by the shop supposed, as related by Ted in the diary he was keeping on the orders of his doctor.

‘At first I wondered who the two figures coming up the alley were but their shuffling gait and scruffy clothing indicated who they were, an indication that was confirmed by the others later. 2 beggars, who had been sleeping in the sheltered courtyard and who Tristram had thrown some of his seemingly endless supply of dollars to get lost. I realised I had my hand on the gun as I watched them turn the corner and made a conscious effort to move it.

I expected the two men to shuffle off to a speakeasy somewhere to spend the money Tristram had tossed in their direction but to my horror, as soon as they were out of sight of the alleyway, they removed their tattered overcoats to reveal a weird costume of leather and feathers. They pulled hideous hats from their coats, bands of material with a horrible pink tongue that lolled from the top. The outfits were accessorised with a couple of machetes and they began making their way silently back towards the others.

For a moment, all the old training came back to be. I grabbed the gun and jumped out of the seat. I aimed the gun at them and called out a warning. They paused, but continued down the alley, barely looking back. The others, alerted by my shout, came to meet them.
I don’t really remembered what happened next. I know I fired the gun. I know Tristram was wounded. I know that, once the screaming was done, the two cultists were lying bleeding to death on the floor. Did I do that? It’s possible, I’m not sure. I helped one of them, bandaging his wound but he passed out. His blood was on my hands and I could feel the bile rising but I went to my calm centre like you told me doc and the dead men didn’t come. The other man was already unconscious. As I tried to bring the man around, Serene came running up the alley screaming at us to ‘start the car!‘

As we drove off, Serene told us she’d seen some kind of ritual sacrifice taking place in the cellar of the shop, complete with chanting and silly costumes. She didn’t think it was funny though. She was obviously scared, poor kid. I thought about trying to comfort her but I didn’t think my sweaty palms and shaking arms would be much comfort to anyone. This was a job for the police, we all agreed.

We called Lt. Poole. He jumped to it straight away. He picked us up on his way to the shop, a dozen men with him. I think he thought this would be a big victory for him, an easy PR coup. ‘African death cult apprehended’ or something. But when we got back, the bodies were gone, the blood had been scrubbed and the room beneath the shop where Serene swore she’d seen the sacrifice of a human being was just a store room. Poole apologised to that liar N’Kwame and balled us out about it. I could tell he was rattled though. He isn’t a stupid man, he knows something happened there. I still had the blood on my shirt after all and Serene still had the sight of that man’s death clear as day on her face.

I hate that place. I never want to see it again.’

It would not be long, however, until some members of the group did see it again.

The next day was spent in quiet contemplation as they attended Elias’ funeral. For the last few days, the party had felt someones eyes on their backs and had glimpsed figures out of the corners of their eyes who vanished down alleys or into shops when they turned to look. The feeling of surveillance was strong at the funeral and on searching for it’s source they saw Olive, standing quietly at the back of the room, sobbing softly. When she realised they’d spotted her, she left quickly.

The only other attendee was Jonah Kensington, who asked them how the investigation was going. On hearing of their escapade at Ju Ju House, Kensington pointed out that even the most prolific death cult would not hold sacrifices every day of the week. Perhaps they had simply been unlucky to try and break in on a ritual night. This caused some consternation in the group, With Ted point blank refusing to return. Tristram was still in hospital recovering from his wound, so Bill, Chester and Serene resolved to head back and discover the truth.

That night, Chester again picked the lock and the reduced group made their way into the shadowy interior. All was quiet. Bill fumbled his way into a curtained backroom and, perhaps incautiously, fumbled for the light cord, flooding the room with light. lying on a bed in the corner was N’Kwame who, at the sudden brightness began to wake.
Thinking fast, Bill leapt at the old man, holding him down and clamping his mouth shut. He takes up the story in a letter to Olive.

‘I am not sure what I was thinking, Miss L’amour. I did not want the man to call out but I am not sure I had cause to treat him as rough as I did. I am a strong man, a young man. My years on the farm have left me fit. I have not been in many fights but I do know how to throw a punch if needs be. I think I may have busted the old negro’s teeth. He still tried to call for help though so I had to hit him again.

We knocked him cold and we left him in that little room, bound and gagged and took from him the key around his neck. Serene had guessed it would open the trapdoor and she was right. Chester stayed upstairs to look after the old man and keep watch and we went down the steps.

It was different from the morning. There were no crates, no piles of stock. There was a wooden contraption like a cart with no wheels and some wooden slats missing hanging from the roof. In the middle of the room was a round stone that Serene said covered the hole they had thrown the man into and it was connected to a thing like a hayloft pulley. On the walls were carved strange symbols and at the back of the room was a curtain.

We opened the curtain and behind it was a small alcove and there were some bodies, at least we thought they were bodies, hung on the walls, their guts all coming out. Sorry miss, but that’s what it was like and you did ask me to be truthful. At the end of the alcove were some strange things. Under a piece of cloth on the floor there was a copper bowl and a book and things and on the wall was a cloak and a mask and some gloves with claws in the end of the fingers.

Me and Serene were looking at those things when we heard a noise behind us. Those men on the walls weren’t dead after all, or maybe they were and no one had told them. They came for me and Serene with murder in their eyes. One of them began turning the wheel that operated that pulley and the stone started to rise. I know they planned to sacrifice us Miss L’amour, like they did that fella Serene saw.

We tried to fight past them, I blasted one into bits with my shotgun, but one of them grabbed Serene and began trying to bite her. I tried to get him off her, but he was too strong. If it hadn’t been for Chester I do not know what would have become of us Miss l’amour, truly I do not.’

Chester, hearing the commotion from his place at the top of the stairs, ran down to see what was happening, drawing his gun as he went. He related what happened next in a diary entry marked January21st.

‘I saw the farmboy and the hussy, assailed by men who appeared to be trying to throttle the life from her. Another of their number was turning a wheel which appeared to be opening a large hole in the floor. I fired my pistol, hitting one of the buggers square in the chest. He fell heavily but his compatriots continued their endeavours. I managed to wing the one opening the hole and Bill succeeded in freeing miss De’boa from the last ones grasp.

As they fled I happened to glance into the hole that was mostly uncovered and from which a terrible moaning and wailing was emanating. I think I saw a face, a mans face screaming, but I couldn’t be sure and the feeling of dread that washed over me caused me to turn from the sight before I could confirm what I had seen. The three of us ran full tilt up the stairs but when I glanced back the men in the cellar were simply staring stupidly back up at us. They appeared unwilling to move beyond the room itself.

As I watched, something grabbed one of the men, the one I had injured and he was dragged, uncomplaining, out of sight. I slammed the hatch shut and we ran for the car.

I have spent twenty years searching for proof of the arcane and occult, the hideous and horrible,, but the thing that grabbed that man at the bottom of the stairs was something so foul that I believe my mind may have obscured it’s true image from my memory. It had the shape of a great tentacle, like that of an Octopus, Which is no doubt a horrible enough thought, but there was something else about it, something I cannot quite bring myself to fully comprehend.

Later, when we got back to our lodgings, I sat up late into the night reading the books we had found. ‘Africa’s Dark Sects’ was one of them, indeed the very copy missing from Harvard. There was also another tome, something altogether more bizarre. The book mentioned things I have heard not even a hint of in all my researches, creatures of alien intent and evil countenance who wish to bring the world under their heel. The book mentions the servants on earth of these monsters, madmen and lunatics who wish for nothing more fondly than the end for all men that these creatures promise. Were these men who murdered Jackson such lunatics? Was the thing they had in that cellar one of their dark Gods? I must know. We may have discovered the men who killed Jackson but why did they do so? What was it he had uncovered of their shadowy activities that drove them to kill him and bring attention on themselves? It is almost too much to comprehend and the leads multiply like the heads of a Hydra. Following one leads to more questions than answers.

Today we meet with Erica Carlye. Perhaps she can clear some of the mist that seems to fog my mind of late. If only I could sleep I feel sure I could discern some pattern to all this but the dreams keep me awake. And the others are of limited value. Oh, no doubt Ted’s warning saved our skins the other night and Serene is an able researcher but they offer no more explanation than I can discover myself. It is infuriating. I must sleep.’

The tone of this entry is unusual. Chester’s diary entries are usually cold to the point of sociopathy but there is obvious passion and fear in what he relates here. The group were obviously much afraid of what they were uncovering and the malicious forces that may take offence at their interference. They were right to be concerned.

Erica Carlyle was not pleased to meet with the group but answered most of their questions, apparently honestly and even gave them access to her brothers books mentioned in Elias’ mad scrawl from London though she would only allow Tristram and Serene access to them, much to Chester’s annoyance. In return, she wanted them to keep her apprised of anything they discovered about her brothers death and demanded all they had learned so far. She mentioned that Roger had taken up with ‘a negro woman’ from Africa and she wondered if this might explain his sudden interest in the dark continent. she had no strong feelings about Brady, though she did not particularly like him. Huston had indeed been Roger’s doctor, on her own recommendation. Hypatia Masters was, as she had appeared, vapid and directionless and probably joined the expedition on little more than a whim. She had never met Aubrey and could not comment on his involvement.

With the men responsible for Elias’ death tentatively identified and the leads around NY drying up, it began to become clear to all involved that if they wanted to discover the reason for Elias’ death they were going to have to head overseas…

A new case...
In late 1924, the members of the Realistic Policing Guild who were present at the the Manusco shooting, receive a telegram from the Guild’s president, Elias Jackson, asking them to meet him in New York on the 15th of January 1925.

‘Have information regarding the Carlyle Expedition stop need reliable investigative team stop arrive january 15 stop please help stop’

Despite their various reservations, the group would reassemble at the request of their good friend and set in motion a chain of events that has gone down in guild history.
Guild File 0001: The Manusco Shooting
March 24th -29th 1924


The Manusco Shooting

In 1924 Elias Jackson volunteered to host the, by now yearly, meeting of the guild in central Chicago, Illinois at the hotel Ritz at which he was currently based. On March 24th, the day before the guests were due to arrive, he received a vital lead from an informant and was forced to make immediately for Kenya. Before he left he made arrangements for the visitors he was abandoning to dine at the Blue Heaven Club as recompense for the inconvenience.

Members attending were: Theodore Waltz, Tristram Fink-Nottle,Chester Flannigan, Olive L’amour and new boyBill Van Der Molen. They all arrived at the hotel on time and were presumably annoyed to discover Elias’ absence. However, once staff at the hotel had described the club to them they were, in the words of Fink-Nottle’s diary ‘Greatly Mollified.’

The Blue Heaven Club was well known amongst the elite in the city and Jackson had visited it on a number of occasions to interview potential leads from the African American staff. During these visits he had come to know the manager and was on good terms with him. The club was a speakeasy but one frequented by the great and the good. The booze was imported and expensive and the music was jazz, played by the house band, the 5 Stars. Arrest was unlikely whilst drinking at the Blue Heaven, not least because both the Chief of Police and the cities mayor at the time were frequent guests. Even though the Treasury Department had all the evidence they needed to shut the place down, they found themselves stymied by edicts from above at every turn. Of course, the expense of keeping the place running (the main debit line in the accounts would most likely have been ‘bribes’) meant the prices were as high as the society.

Treasury agent and later FBI bureau chief for Illinois, Roger Daniels, told Guild members in an interview shortly before his death in 1973 that he’d wanted to close the club for months.

“You got to remember, this was prohibition. If I found out about a negro…sorry, I mean a black bar up on the North side, we’d come down like a ton of bricks, everyone there would be arrested and the manager would be thrown in jail for a long stretch. But when it came to the places the bosses drank and believe me, the Blue Heaven wasn’t the only joint we knew about, then the judges never gave us our warrants. But closing down a place like that was how a guy made his career, it made all the papers, got your name known and the only way you could do it was if the place had trouble. A shooting, a fight anything like that. Then you had just cause, you know? So I had my guys stationed round the corner from that place for months, just waitin’ for something to happen. Nothing ever did, not till Ted and his pals turned up. Those weirdos from your organisation were the best thing that ever happened to my career.”

The official police reports from the night in question says that, around 10pm, Peter Manusco, who was sharing his table with strangers whilst apparently waiting for an acquaintance, was shot in the back of his head at close range by a large caliber pistol, probably a .45 and died instantly. Some of the group sitting across the table from Manusco chased the man out into the side alley hoping to apprehend him, where they and 2 of the clubs doormen were fired upon by a man leaning from the door of a grey Ford Packard, wielding a Thompson Machine-Gun.

Once the shooting was discovered, panic ensued amongst the crowd and, somehow, Peter Manusco’s dead body made it’s way from the table where he had died, out of the club entrance and onto the street, where it was struck by the first patrol car arriving at the scene. The CPD never got to the bottom of how the corpse got to the street, ascribing the unusual occurrence to the crowd fleeing the scene having somehow carrying Manusco’s body with them. Others, including Agent Daniels have speculated that, despite later coroner reports to the contrary, Manusco’s wound was simply not as serious as first thought and Manusco had somehow, with half his skull blown off, made his way under his own steam to the entrance.

If this sounds unlikely, consider Olive L’amour’s account of what happened, committed to her diary in the early hours of the following morning. She had stayed behind whilst the others chased the gunman, to tend to Theodore Walz who, upon seeing the man shot at close quarters and with his experiences in france having left him with what would now be called PTSD, had passed out. After the others had run through the door Olive got up to check Manusco’s pulse.

‘ It was strange to think that the man now slumped across the table before me had been my dancing partner only minutes earlier. Pete, as he told me his name was, had not been a good dancer and his breath was bad, but I doubted he deserved what he’d just received from the man with the gun. I rose and walked around the table to check he truly was dead, though I couldn’t see how anyone could survive such a wound. As I approached, the music from the band reasserted itself on my conscious thought. For a moment, all I could think of was how strange it was that nobody else in the establishment had heard the gunshot when, for those of us sat close to the poor man, it had been the loudest thing in the world. However, the club was very busy and between the noise of the patrons and that of the band, the shot appears to have gone unnoticed. The queer normality of the people around me gave me new courage and I reached a hand out to take his pulse.

But as I approached the blood-spattered corpse, it’s hand began to beat out a terrible rhythm on the table in time to the music. I froze as the dead man lifted his head, a hole the size of an apple leaking blood and viscera onto the table as he did so. As he got to his feet I am very much afraid to say that I screamed.

I think it was probably as much that scream as anything that the people saw that began the stampede. The dead man was on his way to the stairs and, as the great mass of people crashed upon him like a powerful tide, he was knocked down and crushed underfoot. But as I watched, the man rose for a second time, a bloody pulp of flesh, like something left in the butchers bin at the end of a busy day, and pushed his way out of the club, moaning the name ‘Joey’ at the top of his stilled lungs.

I am not sure at what point my colleague awoke from his stupor, all I know is that Ted got to his feet and chased the dead man out, screaming for a medic that he’d left behind six years ago and an ocean away. That was the last I saw of Ted until we found him later that evening, trembling in a dumpster half a mile away. Poor Ted. The others, when they returned would not believe what I had seen and I could not blame them, I hardly believed it myself. But I know what I saw and I saw a dead man rise to his feet and walk out of that club. ’

At first glance this would seem to support Agent Daniels’ theory and indeed it was partly her statement that lead him to his conclusions. But if you notice, Olive insists on the word ‘Dead’ and ‘Corpse’ and she would continue to insist that when Pete Manusco walked out of the Blue Heaven Club that night, he had been not injured but dead. She would still be insisting on this version of events the day she died.

At what point the Guild decided to take on the investigation and why they decided to do so is unclear. They obviously all had a genuine interest in police work and perhaps saw this as an opportunity to live out the fantasies of the Guild in the real world. It’s also obvious that the only angle the authorities where interested in was how the murder would help them close down the illegal drinking den. Perhaps it was felt that somebody should bring Manusco’s killer to justice and if the police wouldn’t then they would have to. Perhaps Olive needed to understand all she had seen that night and convinced the others. Maybe they were just naturally meddlesome.

However the decision was reached, it became clear by the following afternoon that they were not about to leave the matter to the authorities. They had obtained a number of leads from the club itself and would pick up more the next day. The following is an extract from a letter that Mr. Chester Flannigan sent to Eliot Jackson six months later, explaining his view of the whole affair.

‘When the patrons of the club fled the scene, we were warned to get out by a trumpet player who we had helped out earlier in the evening. He had wanted to get past our table but Mr. Manusco had been very rude to him until we insisted on his letting the man through. Why we got involved I’m not sure, you would have to ask the others.

Anyway, this trumpet player, whose name we later discovered to be Leroy Turner, a man of some skill with his chosen instrument but of most pathetic personal character, fled through the restroom and I followed him in an attempt to convince him to stay and tell the police what he had seen. However, by the time I got through the door he was already halfway out the window. As he dropped down into the alleyway beyond, something dropped from his cheap suit jacket and fluttered to the floor. It was the business card of a local funeral parlour for the negro population, with instructions on the back to meet there at 11 and to bring his trumpet. I thought perhaps we might use the event as an opportunity to discover more about the club and perhaps see if any of the band members knew the deceased and the others agreed with me that this might be fruitful. None of them seemed willing to join me though. I believe that I was proved correct in the end as you shall see.

In the morning, Fink-Nottle’s man brought him the paper which had a story on the murder. We now knew the victims full name and that the powerful people who had been there the night before were distancing themselves as far from the club as they could. The mayor in particular showed an extraordinary hypocrisy, worthy of his lofty political office.

After taking stock of this, we split up, following up lines of enquiry we thought may be useful. Olive, who at this point I still thought to be suffering from hysterical shock and despite all I have seen since I am not sure I was wrong, would go with Tristram to see the mayor. I think they hoped to pressure him into revealing something but despite getting past his receptionist, were threatened with a suit for slander by his lawyers. A fruitless endeavour that wasted most of the morning.

Theodore and Bill went to call on the Treasury Agent we had met at the club the previous evening and whose lack of interest in the murder itself had, to me, been baffling. Ted had been indisposed when the man had interviewed us and so it was thought if Ted could offer some fresh insight, he might let something useful slip. What Ted could have seen from his stupor that the rest of us missed, I could not imagine but they were convinced. They were not as successful as they would have liked but the agent did mention in passing that, in contrary to the Tribune’s report which described Manusco as a model citizen, the police believed him to be connected to the mob. I believe it was also during this meeting that Ted and Agent Daniels Learned of their joint status as veterans of the war. I believe they met for drinks later in the day but was not privy to that conversation. Probably old war stories.

I, meanwhile headed to the funeral parlour for the time indicated on the business card I had found. On the way I picked up one of the Negro papers and learnt that more credulous members of the staff who had witnessed the incident believed that Manusco’s miraculous walk to the exit had been some kind of voodoo spell. I scoffed at this at the time, though events at the funeral would alter my opinions to some extent. The paper also contained a notice of the funeral that I was on my way to attend. Through this, I learned the victims name, the name of his wife and his job. It appeared he had died in the cross-fire of a fight between rival mob bosses. I also discovered that he was the brother in law of the band leader Mitch Wester. There were too many coincidences here, from the connection to organised crime to the band at the Blue Heaven and I felt more and more confident of discovering some fresh information.

Once I arrived at the funeral, feeling somewhat conspicuous due to the colour of my skin, I managed to persuade the dead man’s friends and family that I had been his jeweller, had been responsible for his wife’s wedding ring and that we had struck up an acquaintance. Looking back, it seems surprising that anyone would have believed that a poor, coloured drayer could have afforded a custom made wedding band, or that the white, middle-class jeweller responsible would wish an acquaintance with such a man but I suppose I must have been more persuasive than I believed, as my story was accepted without question. Mitch Wester, the brother of the deceased and leader of the 5 Star band, was particularly trusting and talked to me about the tragic death of his brother-in-law for a few minutes. I don’t remember the details of the conversation and am sure it had no bearing on the case. I found Mitch Wester to be somewhat of a bore, only interested in his own, petty problems with no understanding of the wider implications of his relatives death.

I tried to discover more about the dead man when introduced to the widow but the infuriating woman was almost incoherent with grief, so I merely gave my sympathies and attempted to be inconspicuous.

Once the funeral procession started I fell into line with the mourners, though I found the whole spectacle somewhat comical. A brass band for a funeral? I shall never fully understand this country, I fear. At the start there was a brief and heated discussion between Wester and one of the band members which appeared to be about the late arrival of one of their fellows. I believe this argument to have been about the tardiness of Mr. Turner, who was not yet arrived, despite the time being well after 11.

As we trudged along, I began to get the sense I was being watched. Looking around, I saw nobody except for Leroy Turner, who was still stuffing the hip flask into his pocket as he ran across to the join the band. After a brief rebuke from Wester, he began to play that queer trumpet of his. I must say that, despite my dislike for ‘Jazz music’ I could not help but be impressed by the quality and tone of the young man’s playing.

At first things continued as before, though I couldn’t get rid of that sense of being watched. Suddenly there was confusion at the front of the parade, as the pallbearers seemed to stumble under the weight of the coffin, despite all being large, well muscled gentlemen and having had no trouble with it thus far. As I watched, the top of the coffin bowed, cracked and then splintered apart as a grey fist broke through the cheap wood. And then, suddenly as a children’s jack-in-the-box, the dead man sat up and moaned at the assembled mourners. Chaos ensued. The coffin was dropped and, as the corpse rose, men and women fled to avoid his icy touch. All but his wife that is, who stepped slowly towards him and said ‘Frank, is that you?’ The monster seemed to recognise the woman and at the same moment, come to realise it’s own terrible state of being. It collapsed to it’s knees, weeping, and wrapped it’s arms around the woman’s legs. after a few moments the corpse was still and, I believe, had simply drifted off once more to that cold place that all men must one day visit.

It was at this point, somewhat startled by the events I had just witnessed but still as collected as ever I had been, that I noticed the unpleasantly rat-like individual who had made such an impression on Peter Manusco the previous night. He was watching the unfolding horror with a strange look of excitement. When he looked back to myself he realised I had seen him, and ran. In the confusion of the crowd I could not see where he had gone. I would have my moment with this murderer though. Accepting that the man had escaped my gaze I turned my attention back to the unnatural events of the funeral and made straight for the wife.

The widow was screaming out her husbands name but this was no time for condolence and I gave her a resounding slap to calm her down. It worked and the screams turned to sobs. I tried to find out what she knew about these horrific events but before I could interrogate her further I was pulled away by Wester and a gang of his thugs. Despite my protestations they insisted I leave the funeral and were most threatening.

Fearing I would learn no more here, I left for my planned lunch with the others, unsure of how I would explain all I had seen.’

After hearing Flannigan’s story, the team seem to have split somewhat into two groups when it came to planning the next move. Bill and Tristram obviously believed the others to have misinterpreted what they had seen or, in Ted’s case, to have lost the plot. They saw the case as a straightforward murder investigation, albeit one that was increasingly looking like it would involve the mob.

Olive and Chester meanwhile were convinced by what they had seen that there was more than simply a gangland killing. Tristram and Bill agreed that there seemed to be some connection between the two events, though they were thinking of the gunman whereas the others were interested in the band that were playing as each of the dead men rose from the dead.

A plan was concocted to lure the band into playing at a time and place of the groups choosing, where they could have a body waiting to prove once and for all whether the dead really were rising from the grave. What they did next would be unusual and would foreshadow the Guild’s reputation for complex schemes to achieve simple ends.

In the groups defence, it is fair to say that they had had a difficult few hours. They had witnessed a murder, some of them believed they had seen the dead walk, their initial forays into real world investigation were proving frustrating and they were unsure of who was connected to the mob and who was just an innocent bystander. It seems likely that the group was being swept along by events and found themselves suggesting and agreeing with notions that they would dismiss as nonsense.

What they did next was organise a party at the ritz. The idea was that they would hire the 5 Star band to play and secrete a corpse (it was apparently undecided at this point if the corpse would be human or animal) somewhere on the premises to see what would happen. They had of course noticed that the trumpet players presence seemed to be of particular importance, so the gig would be conditional on his attendance. How they intended to find a corpse and sneak it into the hotel is unclear. What they would do if it did rise from the dead doesn’t seem to have been considered. And why they didn’t just ask the band some questions is a mystery. But they forged ahead with the plan, hiring the hotel’s ballroom for the evening of the 28th. Tristram Fink-Nottle takes up the story in his diary.

‘Looking back, the whole thing seems ridiculous. The thing is, it was all so damn easy. The hotel were falling over themselves to help, Jeeves made all the practical arrangements and when we arrived at his apartment after obtaining his address from the funeral parlour, Mitch Wester was obviously in no position to turn down a paying job. Honestly, the negro areas of this country are a disgrace. Someone should really give them a jolly good spruce up. This Wester fellow lived in a run-down apartment block with no furniture or any belongings to speak of other than four or five instruments in his room. It was cold and damp and, honestly, he didn’t even have a rug for the floor.

I didn’t want to spend more time talking to this chap than was absolutely necessary but Olive seemed determined to question him or somesuch. I almost regretted not going along with Chester and Bill to search Manusco’s office, but then I recalled what a bore Chester can be and how rural Bill is and counted my blessings. Ted’s a funny bird but Olive is a gal with class and no time with her is wasted.

Anyhow, she asked Wester about that trumpet player, whose name it turns out is Leroy Turner, and he told her he was a sort of a layabout, didn’t turn up to appointments, always drinking and so on. Apparently, he hasn’t been the same since the death of his girl, millie or molly or something. Anyway, what’s important is that he agreed to do the show and said he would try to get Leroy to come.

We told him we’d like to speak to Leroy ourselves, to make sure he comes and Wester told us we’d probably find him at a local drinking den. This whole prohibition thing is so tiresome. If a man wants a drink, why shouldn’t he be able to get one? It’s damned inconvenient and the most inconvenient part of this whole inconvenient trip. Papa, is still insisting I should stay out here and meanwhile all my old chums are living it up in a civilised country where a man can get a drink whenever he damn well feels like it.

Anyway, we went looking for this place and when we found it, good old Ted showed a stubborn streak I never thought he had. When the doorman wouldn’t let us in to see Leroy, Ted just kept on knocking until the buggers threw the trumpeter out to us! I thought i’d die. Anyway, I slipped the man a few dollars and told him they’d be more on the night and he agreed quickly enough. He was actually quite chatty once I gave him a swig of the old flask. Turns out he got his trumpet from Louis Armstrong himself, unless he’s telling tales, which is a distinct possibility.

Our mornings work complete, we went looking for Bill and Chester. They’d been rifling through this Manusco chap’s office and had struck gold. He had a sort of scrapbook, filled with cuttings from the Tribune detailing all manner of ghastly mob violence with a name scribbled by each one – Bonato. Seems like our friend Pete was not entirely on the straight and narrow and had been cooking the books for this Bonato fellow. Well, something must have gone wrong and he wound up ‘popped’ to use the vernacular.

I wanted to head to the Tribune and talk to the waller in charge of the mob stuff and Bill agreed that this might be useful. Ted and Chester wanted to go to the DMV and search for this grey Packard the gunman escaped in. Olive decided to head to the morgue and take a gander at the bodies of Manusco and this Fayette chap Chester saw ‘rise from the dead’ yesterday.

At the Tribune we asked for the craziest member of the journalistic staff as a jape and were directed to a chap by the name of Johnson. We immediately bonded over my ever-present hipflask and he told us Bonato was a small time importer of booze who thought he was more important than he was. Johnson gave him less than a year to live. I couldn’t help thinking that all these mobsters would live a lot longer if only they’d move into a safer line of work, like the production of my own chemical stimulants for instance. I think perhaps this forward looking country would appreciate my talents more than those stuffed shirts at Oxford. I fear, however, that myself and the gentlemen with the organisational nous to partner me are forever destined to stand on opposite sides of the legal divide. C’est la vie.

After saying our goodbye’s to Johnson (and inviting him to the party of course. the man is a delight and will lift everyone’s spirits when our yet-to-be-acquired body fails to be awoken by Leroy’s trumpet) we made our way back to base.

Once there, however, we were shocked to learn what had befallen Ted and Chester on what had appeared to be a safe, if pointless, trip to a government department. It appeared that Chester had become embroiled in what can only be described as a ‘shoot out’ on the streets of Chicago! In fact, the last time Ted had seen our elderly friend, he had been chasing our murder suspect down said street, waving a pistol and yelling ‘police’! After ringing around we discovered Chester had been arrested and I have just sent Jeeves down with the money to bail him out.

Honestly, this is turning out to be a very hard trip on the old pocket book.’

I am not the first commentator to note that Fink-Nottle’s diary should be taken with a large pinch of salt. He was in no way as flighty as he likes to make out in these carefully studied entries and there is strong evidence that he edited his diaries to avoid giving the impression that he was anything other than a dissolute party boy. Details of his colourful past can be found in his biography, elsewhere on this site.

Whatever the fictions of Tristrams diary, it seems accurate in terms of the salient facts. The group did book the 5 Stars to play at their party, Olive L’amour did visit the morgue where she saw the two bodies in question and was told by the coroner that there was no way either of them could have done what the witnesses said they had done and yes, 57 year old watchmaker and jeweller Chester Flannigan did get into a gunfight with a mob hitman in broad daylight on the streets of Chicago. Only two shots were exchanged but this was enough to leave an innocent bystander dead, Flannigan arrested and the mobster, whose name was Joey Larson, in hospital.

putting together the police report, witness statements and Flannigans own diary I have been able to piece together the startling events.

After a fruitless morning searching through hundreds of car registrations with nothing to go on and no guarantee that the Grey Ford Packard they were looking for was even registered, Ted and Chester set off back to the hotel. As they walked they became aware that they were being followed. Thinking quickly, Ted pulled Chester into a pawn shop, from the safety of which they saw Joey Larson, the man they had seen shoot Peter Manusco in the head from close range only two nights earlier, stroll casually past the shop, throwing glances through the window.

The two men decided to apprehend the man. WHY Manusco was killed didn’t matter when you knew WHO did the deed. Together they ran outside and demanded Joey stop. Joey reached into his pocket and pulled out the .45 he had used to shoot Manusco. Ted, who was in the process of attempting to tackle the man, rolled into cover at the first sign of a firearm, cover in this case being between the bumpers of two parked cars. Chester’s reaction was more surprising. Pulling a pistol no one knew he owned, he claimed to be a policeman and demanded Joey drop his weapon. At the sight of the weapons the crowded street panicked and people ran, screaming for cover. One man, Michael Drury, a Chicago native and heroic veteran of the fields of Ardennes, who was married with three young children and made a living teaching fourth grade english, a job which, by all accounts he excelled at, was not quick enough. Joey’s initial surprise at Chester’s outlandish claims of authority lasted only a moment and he fired his gun, striking said husband and father, who’s medal of honour (received for saving his men by single handedly charging a machine gun nest during an assault of the german line) would have to be sold to pay the rent by his widow, was struck in the side of the head and died instantly.

Seemingly unfazed by this violent death mere feet from where he stood, Chester returned fire and caught the gangster in the shoulder. Shocked and badly wounded, Joey turned tail and fled. Chester, who was, remember, in his late fifties at this point, gave chase. It seems he caught up with the much younger man in a nearby alleyway and tackled him, holding him at gunpoint until the police arrived.

Initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, Chester was later released on bail after witness statements backed up his story that he only fired in self-defence after Joey Larson fired and killed the innocent Michael Drury. It wouldn’t be long until all charges were dropped, Chester’s case helped by first the abscondment of Joey from his police guard at the hospital and later the discovery of his bullet riddled body at a warehouse obviously used as a clearing house for illegal booze.

But Joey is not out of the picture just yet. The night of the party came around and after a day of dead ends, it seemed as though the party would be the end of the road one way or another. The group had managed to find a speakeasy supplied by Bonato but the owner either didn’t know anything about the man or could not be induced to tell what he knew. The party left with a supply of liquor for their party but no leads. Worse than that, they still had no corpse. Eventually balking at the idea of supplying a human corpse for the experiment, at some point Bill was sent on an errand to fetch a chicken and took the opportunity to buy a dozen as a present for his ma and pa from the big city.

As he arrived back, the party was just beginning. The band, minus Leroy who was late, started up and more and more people began showing up. It seems that members of the group had been inviting anyone they met to the party and it soon became clear that word had spread. By the end of the evening, the party would go down as one of the most debauched of the roaring twenties. Stories abound of rivers of gin, startled chickens and a journalist with the voice of an angel but none of the Guild members would be there to see it.

At around 10, Leroy finally arrived. As he did so and the group prepared to kill a chicken for the greater good, a new group of men arrived. They instantly recognised Joey, his arm in a sling, accompanied by three large men in italian suits with bulges under their jackets. Joey pointed out Leroy and the four of them escorted the startled trumpet player out of the back door. Ted and Olive immediately followed the men out at a discreet distance and watched as they got into a familiar Grey Packard. Across the street was an idling taxi and Olive and Ted paid the driver to ‘follow that car.’ After a moment, the others realsed what had happend and followed, Ted and Chester in his pickup, Tristram driven by Jeeves.

And that is the last thing we know for certain. By the following morning 5 people would be dead, including Leroy Turner and Joey Larson. Tristram Fink-Nottle would be in hospital, receiving treatment for two bullet wounds in his right shoulder, where he would be accompanied by Olive L’amour, herself suffering from a serious head-wound, apparantley sustained in a car crash. Theodore Waltz would be found half-naked and gibbering about the kaiser’s plot in a city park the following morning.Bill Van Der Molen and Chester Flanningan would be tight lipped on what had occured for the rest of their lives.

What happened that night? Well, we don’t know for sure. There are only 2 sources of information to call on and neither of them is wholly reliable. the first is a transcript of an interview with Bill Van Der Molen’s parents in 1948.

‘ Interviewer: Mr Van Der Molen, please could you and your wife tell us what Bill told you about that last night in Chicago?

Mr Van Der Molen: Well, Like I said, Bill went out there one way, came back another. Like, a different person, you know? And it was that night that did it.

Mrs Van Der Molen: Bill was always a sensitive boy and what he saw out there (pause) well, it’s more than anyone should have to see.

I: What did he see?

Mr M: Listen, this family’s been through enough, I don’t want no one to think our son was crazy or nothing. Now you say no one is going to hear this, well fine, but then why record it?

I: It’s for the Guilds records sir. Our president has asked us to reexamine all cases that remain unsolved. It will only be seen by men and women who’ll believe your son sir.

Mr M: Hmm. That guild of yours…

Mrs M: _ Just tell him what he wants to know George, then they’ll leave._

Mr M: alright, alright. So that last night yeah? Bill and those friends of his, they chased these gangsters over town and tailed them to some warehouse. Bill said they tried to get close when they took that trumpet player in, but they were making too much noise, they didn’t want to get shot, see.

Mrs M: They had that much sense, at least.

Mr M: _One of ‘em lets the tyres of the Packard down, so they can’t get away. _

Mrs M: what did they think would happen when they tried, hmm?

Mr M: Anyhow, a few minutes after the gangsters go in this place, they hear a shot. at first they think they’ve gone and shot that coloured boy. But then they hear his trumpet playing, clear as day. Then screaming, more shots and the trumpet player runs out the back door laughing.

I: Laughing?

Mr M: Yeah, laughing, crazy like and shouting.

I: what was he shouting?

Mr M: Oh a name, you know, his dead girlfriend’s name. Mandy or something.

I: Go on.

Mr M: well, then the gangsters come running out in a panic. they jump in their car to go, but they can’t cos that damn fool let their tyres down. They look round to see who’s done it and see Bill and his buddies. They start pulling out pistols, so that Brit, the one with the title, he levels his shotgun and BOOM! blows one of ‘em away with both barrels and starts reloading. So Bill thinks, shit, I’d better help and he grabs his own gun outta the truck but he’s so nervous that he shoots wide.

_ Mrs M: Bill would never hurt a fly, bless him._

Mr M: So then there’s this fight, and there’s bullets flying round and lord snooty gets hit but they take another man down and the last one, he runs. When they go in the warehouse, they find the punk, the one who killed the guy in the bar…

Mrs M: Larson, they find Larson and his girlfriend dead on the floor. Only they hadn’t just been killed once. Bill said they’d been killed twice, they were all covered with bulletholes see, but it was the head shots that killed ’em, the rest was just for, you know sending a message. Like in the movies.

Mr M: alright, alright, who’s telling this anyhow? So they find these bodies and they hear the police coming so they run for the cars and Bill says, as they run they suddenly realise where the trumpet players gone.

I: And where was that?

Mrs M: We don’t know. Bill would never tell us. It must have been somewhere terrible though. If you could have seen the look in his eyes when he came home. He was never the same after that, never the same. I’m sure he wouldn’t have got involved in the other business if he hadn’’t gone to Chicago that year and he wouldn’t…wouldn’t…(Sobbing)’

It is certainly true that the police found bodies as described by Bill’s parents that evening. And it was also confirmed by the coroner that the two victims inside the warehouse had been shot and killed and then fired upon many more times after death. It was the police’s view, as Mrs Van Der Molen guessed, that this was intended to send a message. It seems Joey Larson had been sent simply to warn Peter Manusco after his boss heard about the file the accountant was keeping but Joey, who by all accounts was somewhat trigger happy, had gone off message. When Bonato found out about the murder he was furious but why he didn’t just dispense with his incompetent employee there and then is a mystery. It has been suggested that Joey mentioned that his face may have been seen by witnesses and Bonato ordered him to take care of that, planning to clean up all the loose ends. What Leroy Turner had to do with all this is another area open to speculation. it has been posited that he was running a rival operation, supplying local black speakeasy’s and undercutting Bonato. Based on what we know of Leroy this seems so unlikely as to be impossible. Besides, if he had been kidnapped from the party in order to be executed, why was he allowed to flee the scene of Joey’s murder unharmed?

the most likely explanation so far mooted is that Leroy discovered that the Grey Ford Packard that killed his girlfriend on their arrival in Chicago, belonged to Bonato and was often driven by Joey Larson. In this scenario, Leroy, driven mad by grief, asks for a meeting with Bonato on some pretext compelling enough to have made Bonato send his boys for the trumpet player. On arrival, the alcoholic, shambling Leroy shoots Joey and his girlfriend, causing the hardbitten mobsters to flee in panic. Hmm. Hardly compelling.

There is one other piece of evidence to consider. Dr Nicholas Vendter was a renowned New York Jungian with an excellent reputation for treating veterans with ‘shellshock.’ later in 1924, Theodore Waltz would become a patient of the Doctor, on the advice of Agent Daniels. After this, Dr Vendter would become the docotor of choice for members of the Guild, whose psychiatric needs were many and varied over the years. Upon his death in 1988 at the age of 98, he left a large collection of notes to the Guild, covering almost all of his ineteraction with Guild members. The collection is unsettling and it should be remembered that the following is an extract of a private conversation between an obviously damaged individual and his doctor. It should therefore be viewed not as a literal relation of events, but as a metaphor, created by Ted’s unconcious to deal with the events of the war that left him so injured and that he could not bear to relive, even in microcosm.

Case notes for patient T. Waltz, June 1925.

Theodore Waltz is a highly intelligent individual, whose mental reaction to his experience on the continent is amongst the worst I have encountered. Until 1924 he seems to have operated on a functional level, working in a low pay, low stress job, cutting ties with friends and relations and generally following the usually patterns. However, he suffered a severe breakdown in the march of ‘24, whilst attending what appears to have been a reunion of old college friends that somehow developed into a murder investigation. Over the last few months Ted has revealed more and more of the story of that week to me, from the man shot dead mere feet from where he sat eating his steak (a dish he can no longer see without becoming violently ill), to the suddenly escalated confrontation on the Chicago streets, to his involvement in what to all intents and purposes appears to have been a ‘shoot out’ with mobsters. All of these events contributed to his eventual breakdown and the real events are intertwined with a horrific fantasy about a trumpet that can raise the dead and men rising from violent deaths. These are obviously hugely symbolic hallucinations.

However, he has never been able to describe that last evening to me, the moment that he finally lost a grip on reality. There is a period, between around 11 in the evening on the 28th of march and 11am the following morning, that has remained a mystery. The closest he has come to telling me what happened is the following story, which he told me during a session in January 1925. It is, of course, an entirely delusional fantasy, but I believe it may hold some key to his current mental state. He had just finished describing the fight with the gangsters and continues the story from the moment he and his comrades left the scene.

“Just as we were getting back in the cars, with the sound of the cops approaching, someone, I don’t remember who, shouted out that they knew where Leroy was going and when they said it out loud, it all fell into place. We’d been so focussed on running around after gangsters and planning parties that we’d missed the most important thing anyone had told us.

Leroy was a dupe, a loser. He hadn’t seemed important. But Larson that little murdering prick, Larson figured it out before any of us. He was following us, me and the others, cos we saw his face at the club. He heard what happened at the club and, when he tailed Chester, and saw what happened at the funeral, it didn’t occur to him to think ‘oh, the coroner must have made a mistake’ he thought ‘shit, that guys trumpet raises the dead.’ And that’s what he told his boss, that’s why they came to the party, thats why they kidnapped Leroy. Imagine that doc, a mob that never died. Bonato would have kicked Capone out of town in a few days.

I don’t know for sure what happened in that warehouse, but I can guess. Joey brought his boss the guy with the trumpet that could ‘raise the dead’ and Bonato, who I guess didn’t like Joey too much, decided to test the theory. The girl was just a bystander, wrong place wrong time. She probably thought she was with a big time gangster and was going to get rich. All she got was dead. When Leroy played and Joey turned out to be right, those big tough gangsters shot the shit out of him, turned-tail and ran. They didn’t look twice at Leroy, like I said, he wasn’t important.

But he was important to someone. Marnie, Millie, whatever her name was, she’d loved him and he’d loved her. We missed that, you see. We missed the human element, the motive. After he realised what he had, after he realised what he could do, there was only once place he could ever go.

I didn’t want to go. I said so. They ignored me. We all knew what we were walking into, but I’d seen Hell once already, over there, and I didn’t want to go back. But before I knew what was going on we were at the cemetery. We could see Leroy, making his way up the hill in the moonlight. He was far away. We went after him though it was obvious we were too late. He started to play, I felt the ground move and saw…I…saw…oh god…”

At this point Mr Waltz began to weep. I waited for him to finish before asking him to continue.

‘The dead doctor, the dead were trying to dig themselves out of their graves. They were pulling at the cold earth, forcing their way up and out, into the night air. They were all around us and they were all reaching and moaning and I didn’t want to look because they were pitiful and…jesus…I just wanted to help them, to pull them up, scrape the dirt from their mouths so they could breath again.

I heard a shot, loud, close and when I turned I saw the Hun, pouring up, out of the earth where i’d left them, dragging themselves back, looking for me. They wanted me doctor. They wanted to kill me, they all wanted to kill me. I couldn’t stay there, I couldn’t let them get me. Do you know what the kaisers men do to prisoners? I heard the order to fall back, to abandon our position, and I followed it. I ran doctor, I ran as fast as I could and I left my friends to die, all over again.’

I point out that his friends didn’t die and, in fact, deny they were ever at the cemetery on the night in question. I also show him the cutting from the Chicago Tribune that I have found from the 29th of March, 1924, which relates the serious landslip that had resulted in a number of bodies in the Graveyard rising to the surface. Also, I continue, It seems to me that these living dead seem remarkably similar to the stories you have told me of you wartime service, of the bodies half buried in the trenches, of hands sticking up from the earth. Is it at least possible that what you thought were monsters and ghouls, were merely memories? Vivid memories to be sure, but only memories. You tell me, you’re the science major, what’s more likely, an army of the living dead or an overactive imagination brought on by the stress of the previous few days and witnessing an unusual and unsettling seismic event?

Ted seems to consider this, and my own face, quite carefully before nodding carefully. Before answering.

‘That one corpse did look a look a lot like Minnesota Bob….’

I consider this somewhat of a breakthrough! I believe we are making progress. “

I have been unable to find a copy of the Tribune report mentioned but have no reason to doubt the veracity of Dr. Vendtner’s account. Such land slps are not uncommon and, as mentioned, none of the other members of the group admit to being at either the warehouse, or the graveyard that night. They claim that after leaving the party, they tried to follow the gangsters but were fired upon and, after Tristram was hit, gave up the chase, instead taking their friend to the hospital. they say it was at this point that Ted fled into the night.

The police found Leroy later the next day, whilst helping to clear up the mess from the landslide. His death was blamed on mob violence, a theory bolstered by later reports of his abduction from the party by Joey and pals. They linked his death to the deaths of Joey Larson and company through the same witnesses. Joey was killed by some mobster who then drove Leroy out to the graveyard and did the same to him. The motive for the murder was unclear but in those days wise guys killed each other for looking the wrong way when crossing the street, so it wasn’t given to much thought. Plus, he was a poor, alcoholic, black Jazz musician and it wasn’t like there weren’t enough of them to go round.

It seems to me likely that the Guild was indeed at the warehouse and that events played out pretty much as Bill’s parent’s suggested. Something happened next but, with all the witnesses dead, we shall never know what. There is not even enough evidence to speculate on why and by whom Turner was killed. He was an insignificant nobody, no motive you can ascribe to any possible killer makes sense. There seems no logical chain of events that lead from Leroy fleeing the warehouse, to him lying dead in a cemetery, head blown off, chest gaping, surrounded by corpses.

Well, of course, that isn’t entirely true. There is one version that makes perfect sense. This version has the Guild members realising that Leroy has the power to call the dead back from the grave and also realise that he must be single-mindedly headed to his dead lovers grave to give her life once more. In his traumatised state, it would not occur to him that his playing might wake anyone else. A decision was taken to stop him, probably by word if possible but through deed if not. Once at the graveyard, they were too late to stop Leroy play and he wouldn’t listen to reason, so they decided to stop him. Leroy was shot twice, with two different shotgun blasts. The first barrel appears to have blown a hole the size of a snare drum in his chest, the second removed most of his head from his shoulders. The body was identified by dental records, found in the top and bottom segments of the jaw which were now separated by around fifteen feet.

The first shot to the chest certainly killed him. So why take the second? well, if I might indulge my macabre side for a moment, if Leroy’s trumpet could raise the dead, and if he was playing it as he himself died, then presumably the trumpets hoodoo would work on Leroy himself? It’s possible that Leroy breathed new life into himself and therefore the horde of zombies that were presumably clawing their way out of the ground. Somebody clearly took the level headed decision to stop the problem at source and took the musicians head off his shoulders, silencing the trumpet and, presumably, quieting the restless dead.

Of course, even this plot has holes. If you take the supernatural elements on faith. If this trumpet was a demonic instrument to call the dead back from beyond the grave, where did a penniless alcoholic get it? Did he buy it in a mysterious pawn shop that wasn’t there when he returned? Did he find it in a forgotten case in an abandoned house? Did Louis Armstrong give it him over a joint one night?

I digress.

The police file on Peter Manusco was closed after Olive L’Amour identified the dead body of Joey Larson as the gunman who shot him. Bonato, who seems to either have not been at the warehouse that night, or have escaped the fight, was killed a few months later by one of Capones associates in an argument over a girl. The Blue Heaven Club never reopened. Agent Daniels career went from strength to strength, as he rose steadily up the ranks, mainly on the kudos he had received for managing to close such a high profile club.

The Guild members each went their own ways. Theodore spent the next two years in therapy with Dr. Vendtner and seemed to come to more of a peace with himself. Olive threw herself into her work, travelling thousands of miles cross-country as she built a reputation amongst book dealers for tenacious bargaining and dogged pursuit of rare pieces. Chester went back to Arkham, continued his business practices and seems to have been barely affected at all by the whole episode. Bill returned to the family farm and, after initially telling much of the story to his parents, never spoke of it to anyone again. Tristram spent the next two years of his exile in the colonies recuperating from his injuries and using his wound to impress the various wealthy heiresses he was attempting to woo.

All of them declined Elias Jackson’s invitation in ‘25 to make up for the previous year and Theodore and Bill refused to even speak to him. The accounts the others gave were, to say the least, bizarre and after a few weeks trying to convince his friends, Elias was forced once more to abandon his task and return to Africa.

None of them would see each other until January 1926, when an urgent telegram from Jackson would bring them together once more, this time in that other mighty city of the 20th century, New York


Oh, one final thing. In the archives of the Guild is a souvenir from this investigation. A 78 rpm record, recorded by Mitch Wester’s band, the 5 Stars which was sent to Olive in 1925. The A side is the old standard ‘Dr. Jazz’ and is a competent if unremarkable arrangement. The B-side, however, is a composition of Mr. Wester’s own devising, supposedly recorded only a few days before the events at the Blue Heaven Club. The track is called ‘Dead Man Stomp’ and lists, as guest trumpeter one Leroy Turner. Guild legend has it, that this is the very piece the band was playing on that fateful night when Peter Manusco woke from the dead.

Legend or not, it is plain fact that no one in the guild has ever dared listen….

Stephen Mould, Guild Librarian. Taken from ‘100 years of the RPG’ the website commemorating the Guilds centenary.

Dead Man Stomp
Blow baby, blow.
Chicago 1924chicago24_1.jpg

The 5th annual Realistic Policing Guild meeting has been arranged by Elias Jackson, to meet in march 1924 in Chicago’s North side. When the members of the guild arrive at their hotels however, they find messages waiting for them from Elias.

‘Sorry about this, but I got a hot tip for a big story and had to follow it up. Unfortunately, the story’s in Kenya so I won’t be able to make it this year. This only came up last minute and you were all on your way, so I didn’t have time to cancel.

‘However, I did have time to ring a pal of mine over at the Blue Heaven Club and he says he’ll give your names to the doormen. It’s a real swanky place, high class all the way. have a drink for me (soda, of course! wouldn’t want to run afoul of the treasury dept boys!) and i’ll see you next year.

Apologies again, Elliot.

The Blue Heaven Club

Background on the Carlyle Expedition
To be read before we start Masks


Number 5 is missing from these. It reads:


CAIRO (AP) – Sir Aubrey Penhew, temporary spokesman for the Carlyle Expedition, indicated Monday that the leaders are taking ship to East Africa for a ‘well-earned rest.’

Sir Aubrey debunked rumours that the exbedition had discovered clues to the legendary wealth of the lost mines of King Solomon, maintaining that the party was going on safari ‘in respite from our sandy labors.’

Roger Carlyle, wealthy New York leader of the exbedition was unavailable for comment, still suffering from his recent sunstroke. Discussing that unfortunate incident, local experts declared Egypt entirely too hot for Anglo-Saxons at this time of year, and suggested that the young American had not been well served by his democratic enthusiasm, rumored to have led him to personally wield pick and shovel. -New York Pillar/Riposte, July 3, 1919


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