Barnum Institute of Science and Horror

I try to patch him up, and slip a few bits into my mouth

Annie ran back to the girl to question her more regarding alligators, crocodiles, and “the man”.

Elmer took a running start to deftly leap across the crocodile-guarded stream. Unfortunately, his aged body did not fully comply and he landed waist deep near the edge. While Angus attempted to distract the croc by throwing rocks (obviously not his best talent), Elmer climbed the bank on the other side and through some massive stroke of luck suffered only the most minor of injuries from the croc’s attacks.

Douglas ran downstream to where Scott had crossed, and sped across and over the Savannah to the boy. He grabbed the boy’s hands, who immediately became “live” and confused. Suddenly realizing where he was, the boy screamed, but then quickly composed himself. “Throw the dice. Take your turn!” Douglas shouted, and the boy did just that: threw the dice.

Elmer and Angus approached as the lions came to life: the male leaping to attack the boy while the female stood over her cubs, ready to assist her mate.

Elmer used the opportunity to try to bandage Scott, but quickly became distracted by how incredibly delicious he was.

Angus distracted the lioness with a pointy stick that somehow, miraculously, kept her at bay. Douglas valiantly stood his ground against the charging lion, stopping it’s pursuit. In response, the lion bit a large chunk of flesh and bone from Douglas’ side, killing him instantly.

The boy ran off screaming, but finally shouted “Jamesonji” when reminded by his brother. The game’s effects were swallowed by a whirling windstorm, everything went black, and the investigators found themselves sitting in a small room with several tanks full of taxidermy snakes and other reptiles.

They escorted the boys out of the museum, and stood at the door discussing whether they should leave themselves, or continue. Scott warned them that the voodoo woman was only temporarily weakened and that the supernatural powers within the building might become restored if they leave now. Douglas pointed out that they knew the location of Barnum’s bust, and since they were so close to completing their task, they should finish now.

Agreed, they headed up to where they had seen the head of Barnum atop the large mound of vines in the Menagerie. Unfortunately, it was actually a large stone memorial to Barnum – a replica of the monument that resides at Seaside Park.

PTB1906.jpg

They headed to the door that led to “the Egress” and the stairwell to the attic. Upon reaching the attic, they found it to be a huge open space with 15’ ceilings, and a circle of tall columns that held an even higher roof. The attic smelled musty and “old”, and was littered with tables, shelves, crates, piles of curtains, and many other objects.

Angus and Elmer headed toward the large group of incomplete mannequins that stood somewhat near the center. Almost all the mannequins were missing limbs, and some were simply torsos, or legs lying on the ground. Some wore scraps of clothing – one wore a Russian soldier coat, the insignia shoulder pads having been ungracefully ripped off.

Scott and Douglas investigated two large shipping crates. One, from Egypt, held a large collection of mummified remains wrapped in ancient linens. The other held wooden artifacts of tall slim figures, and animals: some painted, and all showing extreme aging and wear.

Elmer headed over to another table while Angus started taking watch. Beside the table was a small open shipping crate full of jewelry, including several necklaces and bracelets. On the table were several necklaces that all contained shells and beads. Beside these was a photograph of the Joice Heth painting (from the Second Grand Saloon) in which she wore the necklace of “Binding and Control”. The photo sat atop two other papers. Douglas came over and read the papers while Elmer continued searching the crate for the necklace.

Letter from Middleton to Barnum
Bill of Sale – Necklace

The investigators quickly pieced together part of the puzzle:

  • Joice Heth died in 1836
  • Barnum’s troubles with fires began the day he sold the necklace to Mr. Middleton in 1857
  • Middleton almost immediately re-sold the necklace after falling prey to “an abrupt development of unforeseeable hardships” – possibly fires
  • The man he sold the necklace to was burned to death in 1857 in an accidental fire shortly after the purchase, and the necklace was supposedly destroyed in that fire
  • In 1888 Barnum attempted to re-purchase the necklace from Middleton, and learned that it was gone

Angus noticed a small animal creep quickly from shadows near the stairwell to shadows underneath a nearby table. He casually wandered over, carefully positioning his lantern to slightly illuminate the shadowed area. He saw the shadowy head of a small animal, and eyes that looked like those of a cat.

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