Barnum Institute of Science and Horror

There's more than two ways to enter the exit -
The Epilogue

Angus retrieved a blanket from the attic, wrapped up Scott’s body, and carried it downstairs to the main office. He slept there to keep it safe from scavengers, while the others slept in the General Store. A few hours later, they were awakened by and met with the curator: Prof. John P. Marshall.

Investigators – “There were several issues with the museum that were causing problems. We’ve fixed them, along with also resolving the major issue.”
Marshall – “Well then, I believe we agreed on $5000 immediate payment (Annie cleared her throat loudly, trying to drown out the professor’s voice) and 5% of the museum’s future profits. Now, let’s take a look at the damages.”

He began listing items with estimated repair/replacement costs:

  • side door entrance torn off the hinges: $50
  • bullet holes in the 1st floor and Aquarium wood flooring: $100
  • theft of items from the Cobbler shop: $250
  • African Vulture Fly and one egg: Non-replaceable
  • Ape woman taxidermy repair: $25
  • Navajo Witch and dolls: Priceless, original purchase of $7500

Marshall – “So, it appears that the damages are in excess of the $5000 agreed upon fee, and the remaining balance can be taken …”

But before he could complete the sentence, Angus broke in tersely: “The Navajo Witch was an evil demon that had captured the souls of 4 young girls and has been tormenting them for decades. Certainly you are not saying that you approve of this and wanted us to let her continue to torture…”

Angus was interrupted by Elmer: “Hopi witch! She was not Navajo, although the girls were.” He continued with a slightly more diplomatic manner, but continued to describe the numerous paranormal objects and events the group had encountered."

The curator became agitated, denying the reality of it without dismissing the possibility entirely: “I don’t believe in such things. However, there were problems, and you are experts – which is why we hired you. So, let’s say the Navajo Witch had to be destroyed…”

Elmer – “Hopi!!!”

Marshall – “Well, then, there is the very important matter of the death. I’ve notified the authorities, and Inspector Petri will be here shortly to ask you some questions.”

“The ape woman came to life and killed him,” Angus blurted out. “And if you had …” – (Angus was very angry, blaming Scott’s death on the curator’s failure to provide them with more information at the beginning of the investigation.)

Marshall – “Preposterous! Looks more like you felt the need to drag the ape off the display, and now you’re trying to blame some ‘accident’ on some sort of ‘supernatural animation’ of the thing.”

“Look,” Douglas interjected. “Do you want us to tell you what really happened, or tell you something that both you and the Inspector will believe?”

This caught the curator off guard. After thinking a few moments, he whispered a shaky reply: “I think the latter may be best.”

Douglas – “We needed to move the ape to see what was behind it. Scott lost his footing due to the creature’s weight, and fell with the beast landing on top of him. His head hit the floor violently, cracking open his skull and causing his immediate death.”

The explanation satisfied both the curator and the Inspector. The curator took Annie aside to sign extensively legalesed paperwork regarding the 5% profit share, and explain that the $5000 would be wired to her account in Fairfield within the next couple days.

Before leaving, the investigators took a quick look at the cobbler shop – it was completely empty and immaculately cleaned from floor to ceiling. Upon entering the carriage home, they noted an antique oak box sitting on the seat. When Angus reached to open the lid, his hand was slapped firmly by Mr. Loughman, who now appeared seated atop the box and scolding him: “Lookie lookie, must’nt touch what isn’t ours!”

With that, they headed back to Fairfield.

Detailed Timeline

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Look at the floor. Look at the floor. Look at the floor.

Annie and Elmer ran out the Egress, telling the ghost girl to stay with Douglas and meet them downstairs. They ran into the cobblery, startling Loughman. They explained that they had found how to subdue the voodoo woman, but the others were trapped by the fires she had set upstairs. “She’s trying to burn the place down again? I’ll not stand for that!” Loughman exclaimed, then climbed the wall and disappeared through the ceiling. Annie and Elmer left the cobblery and headed down the corridor to inspect the columns at the end of the hall.

Scott, Douglas, and Angus stood at the top of the stairs, their way blocked by the flames. Angus stretched his muscles in preparation for running with the heavy bust of Barnum, while Douglas peered into the burning room. A flaming zebra slammed into Douglas, knocking him into Scott and landing him roughly on the steps. Scott headed back to the attic to look for a shroud to help them run through the fire unharmed. Angus heard the glass windows shatter, saw a lamp light start scanning the room, and heard a man shouting trying to get them to escape through the window: “This way. You have to hurry. The whole place is going to go.” The ghost girl helped Douglas to his feet – her left hand was solid, unlike the right hand that seemed to pass through physical objects.

Scott heard the music box in the attic and decided it was too dangerous for him to continue alone. As Angus was about to charge through the flames, Loughman climbed through the floor asking them why they were delaying: “This is no fire; it only looks like fire,” he explained. The explanation helped Angus and Scott to pass through the flames unharmed; unfortunately, Douglas was not convinced and was burned by the flames as he ran through them carrying the girl.

As they entered the Sixth Grand Saloon, they passed the Singer Sewing Dog actively working the sewing machine. It turned to look at them as they passed, pulling its lips up to form a hideously creepy smile. Angus turned his eyes downward, focusing on the floor as he continued to run with the heavy bust: “Look at the floor, look at the floor, look at the floor…”

As they entered the Fifth Grand Saloon, the Ape Woman grabbed Douglas and pulled him in. Both Douglas and the girl let out a scream; Angus continued running with the bust while Scott went back to help. “Let him go!” Scott shouted as he stabbed the huge beast in the arm with his small pocket knife. The beast responded by slamming Scott backwards, breaking his back and smashing his head against the floor with a sickening crack. The girl screamed and ran off while Douglas attempted to break free. The ape groomed him roughly, painfully pulling small patches of hair from his head with her teeth. Douglas maneuvered to knock the egg from the ape’s hand – she howled and went after her egg, releasing Douglas from her grasp.

Angus ran through the remaining rooms, keeping his head down and blocking his view with the bust. As he reached the corridor, the girl ran up from behind screaming. Angus continued down the stairs, but had only made a few steps when he was suddenly attacked from behind. A large black cat clung to his back, clawing at his face and neck. He quickly turned and slammed his body against the wall, crushing the cat and sending it falling to the ground.

At the bottom of the steps, he asked the girl about the others. “It killed him, the scrawny one. And it has Douglas, and he can’t get away.” As Angus started lamenting the loss of his companions, Douglas ran down the stairs. The three ran into the Entrance Hall to find the exit to the main corridor blocked by the armored statue. It completely filled the doorway, blocking the way with both its mass and large halberd.

Meanwhile, as Annie and Elmer approached the columns, the voodoo woman appeared before them. She was crouched as if to pounce, like a wild animal. She wore a thatch skirt and belt of shrunken heads. Her top was bare and disturbing. Her hair was wild and matted, with things crawling around in it. Her eyes were most disturbing of all: burning red pupils inside a yellow iris – almost cat-like, but demonic. “Leave this place, it is mine!” she hissed.

Annie and Elmer began a calm discussion, asking her what she wanted. Her answer: to burn everything that Barnum had ever loved to answer for his horrible treatment and lies. Annie calmly questioned her strategy: “Barnum’s already dead. So there’s no need for you to continue doing this. What are you really trying to accomplish? What is it you want?”

“I want to destroy everything that he held dear. I cannot rest. He defiled my body, and then he incinerated it. He did not give me a proper burial, like he promised to do. And now, I will burn everything he loves to the ground – just like he burned me.”

After several minutes more of discussion, Annie asked the simple question: “What can we do to help you rest?”

“Nothing! There is nothing that can be done. Unless you can bring Barnum back to life and he were to apologize for what he has done and admit that his actions were cruel and evil. Only then would I be able to rest.”

“Well, I do have this letter,” Annie said as she produced the Letter from Barnum to Nancy – Please Forgive Me. “How do I know this is really his signature,” the witch challenged. “Well, I have these other documents,” Annie replied calmly, pulling out the Bill of Sale and multiple other documents that contained Barnum’s handwriting and signature.

A deal was struck: Heth would not harm Annie or her friends and would cease her vengeful behavior; Annie would bury her ashes in the woods and give her a proper burial, with blessings from a Catholic Priest. The armored statue slowly walked back to the corner of the room, allowing Douglas and Angus passage to the hallway. Learning of the deal, Douglas searched the General Store for tools, and Annie popped the stopper out of the column (with Loughman’s covert help) to retrieve the urn containing Heth’s ashes.

Angus remained with the ghost girl while the others set out to find a priest and fulfill their side of the agreement.

Upon completion of the burial, they returned to the museum, resolved to help the girl “find her mommy”. After much questioning, and re-visiting the area where the girl “woke up”, they finally pieced together most of the story: the girl was Egyptian, her mother sent her outside so she could complete a trade deal, the girl’s right arm was ripped off by a crocodile, the girl ran back to the house and died.

They took the girl to the Egyptian section of the museum, where she spotted the mummy: “Why is it wearing my necklace? Is that … it is! Mommy!” The girl ran towards the mummy and disappeared in its folds. Finally, they understood the whole story: The Lost Girl

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Give me my props!

The investigators split up, searching the attic for the bust of P. T. Barnum. Scott headed to the small enclave on the corner to discover a tall stone statue of a humanoid lizard female from Sumer (thousands of years old, and certainly priceless).

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Annie searched a large desk, finding a drawer full of Bill of Sales and Purchase Orders. Diligently searching through the mass of papers, she found an envelope from a law firm to Nancy Fish Barnum: Letter from Barnum to Nancy – Please Forgive Me

Angus heard a creaking sound, and noticed that a rocking horse was rocking without a rider. He headed over to investigate as it slowly came to a halt. Beside the horse was a small music box: Charity’s Music Box. He opened it carefully, and it began playing music. This caught the others’ attentions; and they thought they could see a young woman dancing. She strongly resembled the ghost of Charity that they had seen before. Angus quickly closed the box, and the ghost disappeared with the music.

At 3am the room began trembling, as if from a minor earthquake. It subsided after a few seconds.

As they continued to search, they discovered several bizarre and creepy things: stacks of balcony chairs; foot lockers full of military clothing and moth balls; piles of clothing, leather belts, satchels, worn leather shoes, and reed sandals; shelves of mummified animals and human remains; and a large travel trunk full of shrunken heads and tiny spears. Annie found a wooden statuette of a cat with no tail, ridden by a small aged woman holding a tiny spear. She decided to torment Angus with it by suddenly thrusting it at him – he was shocked, but was able to maintain his composure.

Scott left to continue the search, discovering a table filled with games and a pile of rag dolls with one particularly creepy doll sitting in front. It appeared to have a rabbit’s head, and yet if you looked closely, it was actually a rabbit’s head “mask” pulled over a human head and tied tightly about the neck.

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Douglas, Angus, and Scott headed back over to the music box. Douglas opened it, and the music played for only a second. Douglas wound it back up so that it played, while Scott returned the amulet to the box. Closing it and laying it back on the floor next to the rocking horse, they spoke to Charity telling her they had returned her locket, and that she was now “free”.

Finally, they headed to the farthest corner from the stairwell. Layers of stage curtain lining and window curtains covered many objects. Annie started removing them, uncovering a nest of black beetles with “red eyes” that were eating away at the cloth. Beneath were empty open boxes, tiny barrels, and a brilliantly white bust of Barnum.

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Angus lifted the bust, and the room began to tremble once more. They started debating on what to do next, when they noticed a black smoky cloud was rolling across the floor of the attic. They hurriedly tried to exit, and found their way blocked by the mannequins; they had come to life, moving and crawling across the floor in a zombie-like fashion.

They made a wide circle around the mannequin zombies, which proved to confuse and slow their approach significantly. However, upon nearing the stairwell, they found the exit blocked by the Sumerian lizard woman. The creepy rabbit doll leaped out, knocking Scott to the floor and jumping on his chest. After much effort, the investigators were able to bypass the doll and run passed the lizard woman that blocked their way. Scott, Annie, and Angus were the first three to make it to the stairwell; it took a little more time for Elmer and Douglas to make their escape.

As the first three reached the bottom of the stairwell, they found that the menagerie was ablaze. Angus directed them to leave through The Egress to avoid the flaming room and any additional perils they might meet on their way down to the first floor. The journey down the stairwell was strangely quiet, but when they reached the door they found it to be locked and chained shut from the outside. Annie unlocked it with the keys, and Angus produced a crowbar and started popping the hinges off of the door.

Thinking on the situation, Scott made a sudden realization: Heth had been contained within the building, and Barnum’s bust was in the attic of the building; while Barnum’s bust was on the column, Heth had been contained within the column. So, if Barnum’s bust is taken outside of the building, Heth will no longer be contained within the building and will be free (at least for a time).

He explained it to the others – Angus didn’t believe, but deferred to the “paranormal specialist”. Annie, although also not fully convinced, yielded to the expert. The three headed back up the stairs, re-joining Elmer and Douglas. After some discussion near the top of the stairs, they decided it may be good to employ the help of Loughman to extinguish the fires. Annie and Elmer decided to head back down the stairwell to The Egress and re-enter the museum by the front door to quickly reach Loughman and ask for his help. The others turned to face the blazing fires within the menagerie.

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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.

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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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I pull it out and reach around to see if I can feel anything

Annie called out to the “ghost girl” telling her it was okay to come out again. Then, the two joined the others in the Sixth Grand Saloon.

Angus was a mental mess: he was twitching and turning sharply in response to the eerie shadows and sounds that surrounded and threatened him. At the request of Douglas, Scott relieved Angus of his guns, just for the time being.

The investigators headed off in search of the Seventh Grand Saloon. Faced with two stairwells leading up, and no clear signs as to which was the correct path, they chose to go left. The stairwell was lined with an expensive and decorate brass hand rail, and at the top of the stairs was a hallway with a sign that read “The Lecture Hall” pointing left. Of course, they decided to go the other way and entered the “Office – No General Admittance”.

Inside the office they found a dusty bookcase, a desk, and another door to a storage closet. Scott investigated the bookcase, Elmer investigated the closet, and Annie investigated the desk. There was nothing of interest on the bookcase, and the closet held only a single large crate full of bundles of “ready to print” but un-assembled pamphlets. However, the lowest left desk drawer contained a hidden bottom with a folder that contained a Post Bill advertising Joice Heth as an attraction, along with several very interesting documents.

Letter from Bowling to Barnum
Bill of Sale – Joice Heth
Letter from ST to Barnum
Journal Pages

As Elmer was leaving the closet, he noticed a large poster-sized blue paper with white lines and writing tacked onto the wall. Upon closer inspection, the group determined it was a blueprint of this museum, and that it showed a very interesting addition – a stairwell to a fourth level: the attic. Consulting her notes, Annie commented: “Oh yeah, three floors and an attic.”

They left the office and continued down the hallway to take in the grandeur of the Grand Lecture Hall. They stood at the entrance, taking in the awesome views: “Meh, boring.”

Heading back down and then up the right stairwell, they soon discovered that the stairs and walls were inundated with tree roots and ivy. At the top they discovered a tropical forest, with thick vegetation covering a tall stone object just ahead, and blocking any passage to the right. Attempting to clear the vegetation by hand resulted in more damage to Douglas’ hands as the vines lacerated them; but Scott was able to quickly get the situation under control with his small but reliable pocket knife. The mystery object was an old fountain.

Forced to take the long way around to the attic stairwell, the group encountered several inanimate jungle creatures, although there was also clear rustling in the underbrush. A young boy of about 15 suddenly leaped out in a threatening and accusatory manner. After some discussion (and chocolate) he led them to his cave where he explained his plight.

“My brother, Benjamin, and I broke in here because, well, the museum is abandoned. We heard a drumming, found a neat looking game, and took it up here. At first it was fun: the whole place turned into a tropical forest – which was cool! Then monkeys came, but we drove them off. Then there were tropical birds, and that was okay. But then the vines came, and that was scary because they cut us up pretty badly. We tried to get out, but the vines blocked our way – so we knew we just had to finish the game to escape. Next came crocodiles, and when the lightning came we ran between the cages. But when Benjamin was just 2 spaces away and it was my turn, well, the game took him away. Look:”

He pulled away a coat to reveal the game, and the center crystal read: “With one more roll the game is done, for player one will win. But you must find where he has gone, before this game can end.”

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“I found him, but the lions have him – and there’s crocodiles!”

At the mention of crocodiles, the ghost girl shrieked, exclaiming that crocodiles are mean!

The boy, Caleb, led them to where his brother was being held captive. On the way they passed a tall structure of ivy and dead leaves – atop the 20’ pile they saw a stone head of P. T. Barnum!

Benjamin was in the Savannah, across a small river, and guarded by lions. The waters were infested with live crocodiles waiting to attack anyone foolish enough to try to cross. Scott tried to convince the ghost girl to scout ahead while Annie reassured her that she couldn’t be hurt because she was already dead. But the girl was completely freaked out by the crocodiles. “No, I won’t go. Alligators are nice, that’s what he said. But, crocodiles are mean! They bite you and chase you and kill you! I won’t go, I won’t go, I won’t go!” and with that, she ran away.

Scott went further downstream and ran across the knee-deep water. He made his way to the boy, and found both lions and boys to be nothing more than taxidermy replicas. However, when he touched the boy, the lions came to life – he backed away quickly and all went back to its non-animated state.

Pulling Angus’ gun, he shot the lion in the head. In response, it came to life and dug its heavy clawed paw into his shoulder, forced him to the ground, and then raked down his body spraying forth shards of flesh and internal organs.

The scene was intensely gruesome, and yet, somewhat enticing to Elmer. His mind went back to the many cultures he had studied, some that regularly practiced cannibalism; and he was suddenly intrigued, and just a little bit hungry!

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I'm imagining the head right here
I squeeze hard and pop the head off

Scott continued searching the roll-top desk, and found a small silver key – frail, as if to a small box. Annie investigated the stack of “blank” stationary, and made an etching of the last letter that had been written: from Barnum to Sumpter, dated Apr 12, 1890. It was a request for 5 columns and busts; oddly, the tallest column and bust of Barnum were to include a hidden and seal-able compartment.

Letter to Sumpter

The group dispersed searching for the bust of Barnum, while Elmer searched for the Navajo Witch. He found Nukpana Shima (tr., Evil Mother) lying in a glass display case in the South corner of the room. Two more Navajo dolls ‘appeared’ behind him; he scooped them up before turning to investigate the body. Her skin was leathery, and the eyes still appeared to be in the sockets, although covered by a white film. She wore an ancient animal skin top and leather skirt, a belt of silver circlets with a wave design surrounding a Thunderbird: obviously not Navajo, as they would never inscribe the sacred image of the Thunderbird on jewelry. She also wore a belt of rope with 4 diminutive and shriveled mummified humanoid figures. Also in the case was a large long box with cloth and room for several dolls, although it only contained one:

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The others came over (except Scott, who was continuing the search), and Douglas started discussing that, based on the jewelry, the Navajo witch was obviously Hopi, (mortal enemies of the Navajo for a time). All 5 dolls, however, were obviously Navajo. The dolls Elmer held started squirming, so he dropped them. Upon hitting the ground they screamed, which woke the witch.

She appeared behind them in a cloud of black smoke that solidified. She shrieked and hissed: “leave them alone, they are mine forever!” The 4 mummified figures fell from her belt and grew to become zombified Navajo girls. Each remained attached to the witch’s waist by bloody sinews that tore themselves painfully out of the girls backs and shoulders. The girls screamed and writhed in pain as they lashed out with one clawed hand and horrible fangs – the other hand clutching a ragged doll tightly to their chests.

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Scott arrived just in time to witness the appearance of the witch and the suffering of the zombie girls. Then, he saw the Navajo dolls running off. The entirety of the scene was too much for him – he had seen strange, ghostly things before: but nothing like this! Suddenly, he felt surrounded by ghastly terrors as the whole room seemed to come alive to threaten his life. He fought to maintain his sanity, struggling against the many hallucinations that attacked him as he tried to help subdue the witch.

Douglas grabbed the skull headed doll, which shot out veins and tendons that attempted to bore themselves into his hand. Successfully ripping the doll free, he handed it to Angus. Angus attempted to cut it apart as it dug veins and tendons deep into his palm. It was only with Douglas’ help that he was able to rip the doll loose and toss it to the ground. “Obviously, this doll is what trapped the poor Navajo girls,” they both realized.

Annie ran to scoop up all the Navajo girl dolls, while Elmer began a calm debate with the witch regarding “her claim to these girls” and the fact that “all Navajo are dead, so she should move on to the afterlife”. This distracted her enough for the zombie girls to slow their attacks, and for Annie to run off to the other room with 3 of the Navajo girl dolls – Scott had grabbed the other, placed it in the long box, and shut the lid, trapping the poor doll that scratched at the lid and cried to be set free.

After several failed attempts to cut the belt from the mummified remains, cut the zombie girls loose from the witch, and shooting her (all of which were ineffective, and some having horrific visible consequences to the poor zombie girls), Elmer ran to long box on the table, grabbed the doll from within, and ripped the small doll out her hands. This caught the witch’s attention, as the Navajo doll and associated zombie girl decayed into nothingness.

The witch charged Elmer, and Angus ran to defend him, hoping to grab the witch and throw her to the ground. But as he touched her, his mind was overwhelmed by horrific images of children being brutally tormented and tortured as the witch stood among them laughing. He was frozen with shock and fright!

Having heard the witch’s scream from the other room and with a hint from the dolls she was questioning (“I wasn’t going to keep it. I just picked it up. And then she got me.”) Annie put the pieces together and tore the remaining dolls from the other Navajo girl dolls’ hands.

The witch dissipated with more horrific screams as Angus fell to the ground shivering and paranoid. As he looked around, he swore he could see figures moving in the shadows: small figures, lurking and watching him with evil intent.

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It's too big to fit. I can't take it like that.

Having defeated the voodoo woman, for a time, the investigators returned the ‘voodoo doll’ to the case and retrieved the turquoise Hippo necklace from the other room. Douglas put it on and tried several occult strategies, but nothing unusual happened. Annie carefully cut the Aztec necklace off of the mummy’s chest, where it had been glued. While Scott placed the Hippo necklace onto the mummy, Douglas put on the Aztec necklace and tried to activate it’s divination powers. Nothing unusual happened.

They decided to head to the Sixth Grand Saloon to find the Navajo Witch. Stopping briefly to look about in the Fifth Grand Saloon, they once again heard sounds of someone running around upstairs, and that of a young child sobbing in the far corner of the room. Scott and Elmer went to investigate the sobbing. Annie and Angus dug through P. T. Barnum the Great American Showman looking for whatever had happened to Joice Heth’s remains. Douglas wandered over to investigate The Ape Woman of Borneo.

The Ape Woman looked to be a real specimen. Although it was odd that she held a large egg in her hand and the workmanship of the face appeared to be sub-par, there was nothing else unusual about her.

Annie was having trouble with the wordiness of the text, but Angus was able to find a couple sections that spoke of Joice Heth’s death:

  • Upon her death, Barnum agreed to an autopsy to confirm the woman’s age. (Those who wanted to witness the autopsy could do so at a modest fee of 50 cents per admission.) Unfortunately, the doctors who performed the autopsy determined that, while certainly decrepit and slightly disabled, she appeared to be no older than 80 years old – their estimate was 79. Barnum insisted that there must be some error, but also used this opportunity to announce a public burial would take place. Strangely, the burial never happened, and there is no record of what actually became of Heth’s remains.
  • Later in life, Barnum ‘admitted’ that the woman he had submitted for the autopsy was not Heth, but the black servant woman of an associate that had also died recently. He claimed to have made the switch to honor Joice’s wishes for her body to not be defiled. When asked about her remains, he would never give a direct answer.

Scott and Elmer found a young girl of about 6 sitting between two alligators. Her long black hair was pulled to one side and braided into a long pony-tail. She wore a long tweed dress with a simple reed belt, and a blue beaded bracelet on her right wrist. She was crying because she couldn’t find her mommy, and said she had been here for ever: for years. The girl became skiddish, and they called for the others. Annie knelt down to talk to her and calmed her down, agreeing to help her find her mom. The girl said she could take them to “where she should be”, although the girl couldn’t quite explain what she meant by that. “She’s beautiful, with long straight black hair, brown eyes, and the most beautiful dresses. Her skin is tan, like mine,” the girl stated, although she herself was quite pale. Annie took the girls hand to walk with her, and learned that the girl was actually a ghost. After the initial shock, and some blunt banter between Annie and the girl about who was actually dead, they headed off to find the girl’s mom.

Annie led her to the three glass cases of dolls: “no, none of these look like her,” the girl said. The girl led them back to the Second Grand Saloon, with the case of jewelry and masks on the wall: “This is where she should be. She should be here, and I looked, but couldn’t find her. And now, she’s gone! She’s not here anymore!”

Annie convinced the girl to stay with them so she wouldn’t be alone, and the investigators continued back to the Sixth Grand Saloon.

This room was very difficult to navigate, with numerous tables and glass cases full of various collections: ivory carvings; whistles made from pig tails, reeds, and bones; scraps of cloth from uniforms of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, American Indian war, Russian Qing Dynasty war, etc.

They passed by two large pieces of furniture: a dresser ornately carved with large roses and decorative swirls with the label "Bedroom dresser of Nancy (Fish) Barnum – from Waldemere home (Woods by the Sea); and a professional roll-top desk with the label “Office desk of P. T. Barnum – from the Marina Mansion”. A photo in a frame labelled “P. T. Barnum and his second wife Nancy” sat spanning both pieces of furniture.

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Annie investigated the dresser while Scott investigated the desk. A piece of crumpled paper was visible from under the right back corner. Annie removed the bottom drawer to retrieve the paper. She discovered a crumpled letter sitting atop a folded newspaper page that had somehow slipped behind and beneath the dresser drawer. The Letter from Barnum to Nancy was a warning with a strange demand to “find an artist and commission a portrait forthwith.” The newspaper page contained an article describing the Barnum Menagerie Fire, with a disturbing portion highlighted: “… the watchman was in the horse room. His lantern exploded, igniting the hay and straw.”

The desk’s roll-top and side drawers were empty, and the middle center drawer was locked. Angus picked the lock somewhat less than deftly. Inside, they discovered a clipped stack of expensive stationary paper. There was no apparent writing on the top page.

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Scott pulled out his tool and tried to describe the seaman

Elmer struck up a conversation with the cobbler, who seemed much more amenable now. They learned that he was originally from Ireland and worked for a cobbler named Peter. Peter’s son, Sean, was obviously no cobbler and kept putting things in wrong places. Frustrated, he accosted Sean, who became wide-eyed and ran out of the shop never to be seen again.

When asked about the native American dolls, the cobbler became very agitated and accusatory: “I don’t go up there. Ventured once, but there’s strange thing, very strange. Humans are always meddling; don’t realize things are old: sometimes much older than they appear. They need to have more respect, and not just go messin’ around with stuff. Things should be left alone, except to put them right!”

When asked about the voodoo lady, he replied, “Things have always been strange here, but got a lot worse once she showed up,” referring to the black voodoo woman. He first saw her when she lit Malone’s place on fire. He stopped the fire: “I wasn’t puttin’ up with her burning down my shop. I’m not sure if she knows it was me. I think she knows I’m here, because she doesn’t come in here. But I won’t do anything to run afoul of her!” The day prior to the fire, two men had carried off the bust of Barnum taking it somewhere upstairs.

The group made a business deal with him, agreeing to take him to Fairfield and put him up in his own cobblery. Angus said he would ask nothing in return, which made the cobbler suspicious and slightly snide. Douglas mentioned they would help for free, but there would be payment required for helping to find a better than average location and providing him with connections to wealthy clientele. This put the cobbler at ease.

Angus asked the cobbler his name, giving him his own as a show of faith. The cobbler laughed calling him “bold” and stated: “You can call me Loughman”.

The group made their way upstairs, and eventually to the mummy. The casket stood upright in the corner of the room surrounded by a tall hippopotamus looking statue with a plaque reading “Ammit the Destroyer”, and a container depicting a cat in bandages. In front of the cat lay several small clay jars with occult symbols for the heart, tongue, eyes, liver, stomach.

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A sign at the foot of the mummy read: “Egyptian mummy Pa-Ib and his Amulet of Divination – 2500 B.C.” The mummy’s face was unwrapped and horrifying, and he wore a silver necklace with moonstone beads and a central silver disk with a skull surrounded by strange symbols: clearly not Egyptian since silver was rare and moonstone unavailable in Egypt, and the skull and symbols were clearly Aztec.

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As Elmer and Scott headed back to the get the turquoise hippopotamus necklace, the others investigated 3 glass cabinets containing dolls from various cultures, including Native American, South American, Russian, Chinese, and Indonesian. One in particular was quite odd – a smooth featureless doll carved from African Blackwood (sub-Saharan or ‘Senegal’ Africa) wearing a long coat of black cloth and a sash woven from black and white hairs tied around the waist. A strange symbol of two overlapping hearts was carved on the chest: occult symbols of “Soul Binding”. They decided to take the doll and deal with it later.

As they removed it from the case, Scott explained more regarding the strange doll: “the act of combining personal effects to the same item can be utilized by powerful wizards to maintain a connection to the soul of the other throughout death. It was often used as a means of tormenting a soul for eternity.”

Annie convinced Douglas to remove the sash from the doll. As he tried, his hands suddenly burned as if on fire, and the others could hear and smell the burning flesh. Angus came over to help, and witnessed both his and Douglas’ hand bubbling, bursting, and sizzling from the fiery heat. As Douglas fought off the pain and struggled to remove the sash, the voodoo woman appeared laughing: “You can’t do anything.”

Scott seemed unphased by her sudden appearance, simply asking her: “why do you have such a problem with Barnum? What did he do?”

“Horrible man, wouldn’t let me have any rest. But I got my revenge: burn them, burn them all. And now I’ll make you suffer too!” She grabbed Scott’s sleeve and started burning out a large patch to take with her.

Douglas knew he couldn’t rip the sash off and threw it back into the case. Angus went to pull his gun, and then had a sudden insight and instead pulled out the cold-iron blade. He slashed the sash from the doll, which fell to the ground as the voodoo woman turned with a look of shock in her eyes: “What?! How can that be! It’s impossible.” As she started to fade, she spat curses out: “I’ll get you, I’ll get you all! You’ll pay for this!”

The mariner from Malone’s cafe appeared before them all, mouthed the words “Thank you”, and disintegrated.

At the realization of this minor victory, the investigators felt a bit of relief, regaining a small amount of resolve.

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You do get allies

D’art’s computer was upset for the first half of the session, so this section will be extremely brief. so the keeper added the missing notes.

The investigators exited into the Third Grand Saloon. The entrance to this room is a short hallway; the walls are covered with Native American and South American artifacts, including displays of arrow heads, bows, flute, pipe, headdress, etc. A turn in the hall reveals a glass case against the wall. Inside is a placard that simply read: “Mayan and Aztec jewelry”. Inside was a collection of gold jewelry with turquoise, quartz, and jade, several decorated with skulls and serpent heads. One necklace was peculiar: it contained several turquoise beads strung on a fine resin-ed string with a large center circular turquoise stone. The center stone contained an etched and dyed hippopotamus (not native to the Americas). Elmer and Douglas discussed the piece, deciding it was middle-North African – possibly Egyptian.

The hallway opened into the larger room. A large collection of Russian war artifacts occupied a large portion against the far wall. It included a soldier in full decorative dress, but very much in-accurate in attire. He wore a black fur Cossack hat, and Russian army double-button breasted black coat with white cross-stripe. Shoulder patches were stitched onto the coat: one that of a Sergeant, and another that of a Lieutenant General. He was decorated with 3 medals, also a mismatch: a French medal depicting Napolean, a Sudan Africa military medal, and a British medal inscribed with the words: “PUNNIAR 29th Dec 1843”.

As Douglas and Angus studied the Russian artifacts, Elmer turned to revisit the North/South American jewelry display. Blocking his path was another Navajo girl doll; when he picked her up he heard her sobbing: “Please. I didn’t know. I didn’t know.”

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The center of the room was filled with Polynesian and Hawaiian artifacts, including stone Tiki gods, one Moai head, and a display of elongated skulls. Douglas and Angus passed this to reach the Egyptian mummy, but turned to follow Elmer and Scott into the next room rather than investigate the area.

The Fourth Grand Saloon contained the aquarium; a remarkable illusion. It appeared to have a depth of hundreds of feet, and as they walked passed the fish and sharks appeared to be swimming. Scott discovered two merfolk camouflaged against coral that appeared to be over 100’ in the distance. The room also contained a glass case with “the fantastical Feejee Mermaid, from the South Pacific oceans”.

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As Angus entered the Fifth Grand Saloon, he nearly tripped on another Navajo doll and kicked it over.

As Angus backed away, Scott picked it up to hand it to Elmer. He heard sobbing cries: “I didn’t mean to. I wasn’t going to keep it. Please, … please…”

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As the others started into the room, Angus retreated back to the Aquarium room. Very shortly, he felt something lightly touching his left leg. He glanced down and saw something at his leg, lapping at blood that was spilling down his leg and pooling on the floor. He carefully pulled his gun and shot the creature, which turned and hissed as it quickly shot off and out of the room.

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They decided it was late and it would be better to investigate during the day to “get a baseline” first, before continuing with nighttime investigating. As they headed down the stairwell to the first level, they heard noises coming from Malone’s Cafe and Coffee. As they approached, it fell silent. However, the noises were replaced with a loud and slow steady pounding that echoed through the building. As they walked by the Cobbler, the noise was clearly coming from within – but when Douglas investigated, he found nothing but a large strip of leather being worked to include decorative metal studs.

Meanwhile, Angus saw a cloudy mist form over the columns at the end of the corridor, and slowly begin to move towards them. It turned and entered into the General store – but when Douglas and Scott investigated, they found nothing out of the ordinary.

As they reached the end of the hall, they heard loud scratching coming from behind the door to the storage hall. Scott opened the door to reveal 6 very large rats and a large pack of smaller rats behind. Both Douglas and Angus saw the twisted faces of Sherman and Walter on 2 of the rats. These charged at Douglas; he responded by running back down the hall. While Angus and Elmer fought off the rats, Scott slammed the door shut – successfully winning a “battle of wills” against the haggard black woman who somehow clawed at his neck trying to stop him. Turning to fight the rats, the door swung open again, apparently of its own accord, and the group decided to flee and retrieve Douglas. Angus fired several shots into the rat pack, which resulted in the vermin feeding on the carnage rather than chasing after the investigators.

Meanwhile, as Douglas was fleeing down the corridor, the door to the Cobbler opened revealing that the room was now well lit by a lantern. He ran inside, shut the door, and heard someone tapping at the work table. “Yes, what do you need?” a raspy voice asked him. After some conversation, and the mention of Annie, the ‘cobbler’ became angry and leaped onto the counter. It was a horrid creature: short and scaly with clawed hands, horribly wrinkled leathery face, sharp cruel looking teeth, and burning bright yellow eyes – oh, and a fancy green top hat.

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As Douglas attempted to calm the leprechaun down, the Angus (hearing Douglas inside) opened the door to view the scene. He was un-phased, and immediately started greeting the creature with a thick Irish accent. The creature responded favorably and, after a little discourse, Angus gave him his shoes “because they were in a terrible state” – and they continued talking as the creature started cleaning them up.

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A bear walked in with a bandage on his hand
I reckon... someone here shot my pa.

April 13, 4:15 pm

The gang made their way into the first grand saloon. Douglas and Everest paused to look into the shadowboxes, while the others continued up the stairs.

At the top of the stairs, Elmer found a small creepy doll he thinks is Navajo.

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As he peered from box to box, Everest glimpsed Iranistan and was captured by a scene of an urn and photograph. The photo lay against the urn, and showed Barnum standing proudly next to a decrepit black woman seated in a chair. Someone began dusting and moved the photo, lying it down on the table. After a few moments, from the urn rose a smoke that solidified into the figure of a woman kneeling on the floor. There was a sudden spark, and Iranistan caught on fire. As he turned to leave, a creepy ugly face screamed at him. Though disturbed, Everest took a dark picture of the Iranistan shadowbox and flash photos of the stairway and hallway.

As Annie ascended the stairs, she rolled her ankle. Checking her foot, she found that her boot had been untied and partially unlaced. Angus confirmed that she didn’t break her ankle, but he lost her boot while he checked. Annie and Angus went to the cobblery to get her boot back. She found it there, the laces completely removed, and commanded the spirits of the cobblery to fix the boot! And she left the hammer there.

The lot of them continued forth to the second grand saloon. Angus, Elmer, and Everest wandered and found the “African Vulture Fly” aka Shaggai-Shan! It was on display under a glass dome next to a second dome with several small ovoids purported to be eggs. When Angus came close to the bug-monster, it came to life! The thing bashed against the glass dome! Angus drew his gun, called for help, and stepped away, and saw that the critter once again became inert.

Douglas came over and tried to draw a containment symbol on the bug’s dome, but when he did, the horror came once again to life! It burst its dome, as Douglas had nearly finished his symbol.

Angus fired three rounds in rapid succession, landing two, but wasn’t able to fell the creature. It leaped from the display at Douglas. He parried it to the side and slashed at it with his sword; Annie, too, struck at the thing, knocking it to the ground, where Angus blasted it again. Some lilting music began to fill the air….

….

….

Everyone noticed a busted globe of glass, and Angus had his weapon out. How odd. He holstered his weapon, and everyone once again dispersed to investigate the saloon. Douglas shared that he had found a painting of Joice Heth, and that she was wearing a strange necklace with occult symbols.

The group went to investigate and found the collection of Barnum’s “representatives of the wonderful”: life-sized wax figures, many photos, and two paintings – one of Joice Heth, and the other of Jenny Lind Swedish Nightingale.

Everest also recognized the occult symbols on the necklace Joice wore: symbols of Binding and Control.

Elmer noted that the painting were clearly painted by separate artists. In fact, the painting of Joice Heth was unmistakably painted with a black ink that was commonly used in the 1830’s (clearly recognizable by a slight greenish hue). The signature and distinctive brush strokes clearly indicated that this was a work by Sir Arnold Curther, a famous and well-renowned painter who’s works ranged from 1832 to 1839. The pigments, artist, and composition style highly suggests that the work was done while Joice was still alive – placing its creation around 1835-1836.

Elmer was unable to discern much information regarding the painting of Jenny Lind Swedish Nightingale, except that it was much newer.

Barnum’s Representatives of the Wonderful

Photos

Paintings

  • Joice Heth – she is wearing a beaded necklace with a large circular amulet. The amulet itself has strange occult symbols of Binding and Control.
  • Jenny Lind – Swedish Nightingale – born Johanna Maria Lind (6 October 1820 – 2 November 1887), better known as Jenny Lind.

Wax Figures

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