…In reply to my question Tillinghast mumbled that this permanent glow was not electrical in any sense that I could understand… – H. P. Lovecraft, “From Beyond,” 1920.
“Permanent”? Hmm… Let us suppose (for the purposes of fun) that Crawford’s machine isn’t just permanently ‘charged,’ but the entire house is in fact now a permanent tear in the fabric of reality:
“–she turned on the lights downstairs after I had warned her not to, and the wires picked up sympathetic vibrations.”
I would argue that the ‘permanent’ glow and the ‘sympathetic vibrations’ in the electrical wiring of the house are hooks upon which one could hang a sequel scenario:
- That once activated (perhaps in its improved, final state), the machine can somehow function without current, (though perhaps at a lower level of effect). Like using an electro-magnet to create a permanent magnet.
- That the wiring in the house, once accidentally tuned to the vibrations of the improved machine, would also create a ‘permanent’, low-level effect.
All this being said, and since these events take place in November of 1920 (early in the Golden Age), perhaps one could plot a return to “the ancient, lonely house set back from Benevolent Street.”
Crawford is dead, so the house could pass to his distant relation (perhaps a PC or NPC), or be taken by the city. Either could then experience strange goings-on and call for some investigation. I’d really like to give the PCs the red herring of a ‘traditional’ haunted house set-up, but then have them discover this is the old Tillinghast place, where the alleged hypnotism murders took place, etc. Maybe the ‘ghosts’ only appear when the lights are on? Perhaps the old wiring is being brought up to code, or the voltage has recently changed, increasing the effect?
“Parts of Boston, Massachusetts along Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue still used 110 volts DC in the 1960s…” –Wikipedia
Help raise money for the Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Puerto Rico hurricane relief program by buying a raffle ticket from the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, and get a chance to win a rare Cthulhu idol:
This is my attempt at a chronological list of events mentioned in Frank Belknap Long’s short story, “The Hounds of Tindalos.” I am including the events of the ‘present’ only – not those mentioned as being in the distant past.
Here be spoilers:
Continue reading “The Hounds of Tindalos: Reconstructed Timeline of Events”
Among its many smaller enigmas, the original BR is a forest of mysterious bottles used as props and set dressing. Foremost among these are the 2019 Johnny Walker Black Label bottle and the Smirnoff de Czar bottles, but there are others. One is the elusive, tall ‘craft bottle,’ the labels of which recently turned up at auction. But this post is about another bottle, buried deep in the background: a Kirin beer bottle.
Continue reading “Blade Runner (1982): Kirin Beer Bottle”
Some of you may be familiar with the famous ‘chess-playing automaton’ known as “The Turk.” In fact, The Turk was an elaborate hoax, concealing a human chess player inside it. Of course, like anything successful and / or famous, there were imitations:
The Turk (debuted in Austria in 1770) changed hands a few times, and was eventually destroyed in a museum fire in Philadelphia 1854. Ajeeb was allegedly destroyed by in a fire at Coney Island in 1926, though at least one apparent copy of Ajeeb toured Canada in the 1930’s. Mephisto debuted in London in 1876, played games in England for several years, and was shown in Paris in 1889. “After 1889 it was dismantled and its subsequent whereabouts are unknown.”
And there is your inspiration: A long-lost ‘automaton’ re-discovered! Was it the product of a mad genius? What powers it? An entrapped demon? Alien technology? The ghost of a murdered operator? What secrets does it contain? And who is willing to kill to get it?
More on Ajeeb here. And here. And even here. See also: Psycho, an air-powered pseudo-automaton (1875).
And a copy of what sounds like an urban legend about Ajeeb:
In one instance, a sore loser shot Ajeeb in the torso and supposedly wounded its operator. However … several others knew that the apprentice had been killed. To cover up for their still-successful ‘automaton,’ they got rid of the apprentice’s body. Due to the transient nature of the apprentice (who was known by no reputable or believable sources) the murder was never discovered. By 1898 … the operator … left, complaining of strange occurrences from inside Ajeeb where the automaton was moving on its own accord… two other operators [b]oth sometime later reported to friends and family brief incidents where Ajeeb seemed to be acting on its own. Allegedly, the last operator refused to play anything but checkers due to strange occurrences within the automaton.
… And the course of the path of the moon is light to the righteous, and darkness to the sinners … – I Enoch 41:8, R. H. Charles’ translation.
For those who have no idea what I’ll be talking about, here’s a primer:
Black Knight Satellite Conspiracy Theory
For “fun,” I’ve been poking at the Google Newspaper Archive and Wikipedia, and trying to dig up some more articles / background info. Inspired by Ken Hite’s “The Dracula Dossier,” I briefly thought I might phony up a whole, physical mock dossier, but that would be a lot of work, so I’m just going to post my copy-pasted bullet points.
The idea is that you can use this ‘raw material’ to flesh out some RPG thing you’re writing background for. Periodic alien visitation, ancient alien satellite left in orbit, prehistoric human space-faring evidence, etc. Maybe change the names / dates / locations if you need to. I’ve got most of the Black Knight Satellite ‘events’ on my list, and I’ve added some more arguably ‘relevant’ material.
If you were more industrious than I, however, you could easily print out the photos, and print the articles on newsprint and put them in a folder. Ideally, you’d have some supporting ‘memos,’ and similar period paperwork. Could be a neat ‘artifact’ for your players to find.
Timeline and articles below the jump:
Continue reading “Building a Backstory for an Alien Satellite”