Todd's Game 2-22-11: Masks of Nyarlathotep - New York Investigation 1-1: Beginning
by, 24th February 2011 at 04:09 PM (825 Views)
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
(After playing Todd’s Call of Cthulhu “Masks of Nyarlathotep” game with Melissa, Adam, and Rob from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.)
Edmund Pewterschmidt’s Journal
Wednesday, January 21, 1925. Evening
While working at my office for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in New York City today, I was called in by my superior, Dexter Mason. He was a smart man who’d seen a lot in his past but didn’t want to dirty his hands any more. He told he’d gotten a crazy telephone call from the New York City Police Department. He said he needed someone with my investigative abilities to help them out immediately.
“It’s Lt. Martin Pool,” he said. “I never worked with him before, never heard from him before, but he says he’s got some kind of crazy nonsense going on involving a bizarre African cult out of Harlem. At least three murders so far he thinks are connected. They’re going to need some help on this. It sounds pretty crazy.”
“I’ll contact Lt. Pool as soon as possible, sir,” I said, adjusting my glasses.
“If you know anybody who knows anything about anthropology and archaeology and artifacts and cultism and the like …” he said.
“There’s someone at the Museum of Natural History I think I can contact,” I told him.
“It sounds like the kind of thing that we’re going to need to break out all of the guns for,” he said.
“Yes sir,” I said.
I made a telephone call to the precinct of Lt. Pool first.
“You guys call back pretty quick,” he said, when I informed him I was with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. “I’m impressed.”
“We are the Pinkertons, sir,” I said. “Lieutenant, we’re helping on the case; we understood the police needed some help and we’d like to help in any way possible. So, any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated, sir.”
“Well, it all started back when this poor soul, you got the feeling he was a good guy; the world was, I think, a better place when he was in it,” he said. “As far as I could tell. I never met the man. I got the call that Jackson Elias had been killed.
“Yes, I read that in the paper,” I said.
He related to me the details of how Jackson Elias had been murdered at the Chelsea Hotel last week. He told me he’d met, at the scene, a Sammy Pickens, who was now in St. Mary’s Sister of Grace Hospital. He also told me the name Huey Norton, a man who had been at the hotel as well. He related that just a couple of days ago, there’d been a double murder in the Ju-Ju House in Harlem and that the only person they’d found alive at the scene was Sammy Pickens. Pickens was in Room 216 at the hospital.
“There’s some other evidence on file down at the precinct,” he told me. “You might want to take a look at it. We found quite a few interesting tidbits: various documents, cards, notes and such, in Jackson Elias’ hotel room. Clearly we need to interview Sammy Pickens. He seems almost delirious from what he’s been through at the Ju-Ju House. We need to sort all of this out before any more bodies stack up.”
“Very well, lieutenant, you can be rested assured that the entirety of the Pinkerton Agency will be behind you,” I said.
“Well, not too close behind me, I hope, but all right,” he quipped. “When can I expect to hear back from you on your progress?”
I told him I’d be down to the precinct directly to look at his evidence and, from there, go to the hospital to talk to Mr. Pickens. He said he’d be waiting for me. I then called Elsie Haugstad, a woman I knew who worked at the Museum of Natural History who was an archeologist, though I don’t know how a woman was able to get involved in such a profession. I told her I was investigating several murders that might involve some kind of African cult and thought I might need her help. I asked her to meet me at Lt. Pool’s precinct as soon as possible.
I took a taxicab to the precinct and met with Miss Haugstad there. She was a rather plain woman with very fair hair, almost white. She wore glasses and always kept her hair tied back in a bun. While we waited for Lt. Pool, I filled her in on what we were investigating.
When Lt. Pool could see us, we went down the hall to the second door on the right. I knocked and a gruff voice bade us enter.
“Lt. Poole?” I said to the man behind the desk.
“You from Pinkerton?” he asked.
“Yes, I’m Mr. Pewterschmidt,” I said.
I shook his hand.
“Good to meet you,” he said.
“And this is―” I said.
“Elsie Haugstad,” she said. She had a thick Midwestern accent.
“You said you had an evidence file, sir?” I asked.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I want to share with you everything we’ve got.”
He handed over a file, telling me it contained items of import that they’d collected from Jackson Elias’ room at the Chelsea Hotel.
The file was relatively full. There was a blurry and grainy photograph showing a large yacht at anchor surrounded by Chinese junks. Only part of the name of the yacht was visible: the first three letters were DAR.
There was also a letter dated Nov. 7, 1924 and addressed to Mr. Jackson Elias, co Prospero House Publishers, Lexington Avenue, New York City. It read:
Dear Mr. Elias
The book about which you inquired is no longer in our collection. The
information you seek may be found here in other volumes. If you will
contact me upon arrival, I will be most happy to further assist you.
Harvard University Library
Another letter, this one handwritten, was dated 3 January, 1919, and from Cairo, Egypt. It read:
Dear Mr. Carlyle,
I am informed that you seek certain knowledge of our land and can
perhaps aid you in this. In my possession are singular curios which I
most happily believe of interest. These I willingly send for your consideration,
if a price can be agreed upon. Naturally they are ancient and must command
a goodly sum. I will arrange matters to your satisfaction when your agent calls
at my shop, in the Street of Jackals in the Old Quarter.
Until then, I remain your most humble servant,
“Have you ever heard of a Faraz Najir?” I asked Elsie. “He’s from Cairo, Egypt.”
The name Carlyle was familiar but I couldn’t remember where I’d heard it.
There was also a card for Emerson Imports with the address of 648 West 47th Street, New York, New York, and a telephone number of HA 6-3900. On the back was a signature that seemed to read Silas N’Kwane.
I asked the lieutenant if bodies had been found at Emerson Imports but he said that the bodies of two negroes had been found at the Ju-Ju House.
There was a second card, this one for The Penhew Foundation with an address of 35 Tottenham Court Road, London, W. 1 and with the name Edward Gavigan, Director, at the bottom. For some reason, the foundation’s name was familiar, but I could not quite put my finger on why.
Finally, there was a handbill that read:
“The Cult of
& the Southwest Pacific”
a two-hour lecture with slides
delivered by Prof. Anthony Cowles, Ph.D.
of the University of Sydney (Australia)
and presently Locksley Fellow
of Polynesian Esoterica
at Miskatonic University (Arkham)
Schuyler Hall, NYU
It was not dated, unfortunately.
We borrowed Lt. Pool’s telephone and Elsie called Miriam Atwright, as she had met the woman before. She managed to get Miss Atwright on the telephone and talked to her for several minutes, asking her about the book Mr. Elias had wanted to check out last year.
After she got off the telephone, she told me that a couple of other men had also asked about the book just a few days before. She gave the names Sammy Pickens and Vincent Vimes. Miss Atwright had done a great deal of research on a strange symbol and learned a little bit about it, though the book, titled Dark African Sects, disappeared from the stacks a few months before Jackson Elias asked about it. She said the gentlemen had a symbol that represented a strange African cult that was driven out of southern Egypt during one of the latter Egyptian dynasties. She said she could mail copies of the notes.
“I think I know the symbol you’re talking about there,” Lt. Pool said.
“You’ve seen it?” the woman asked.
“I believe it was what was carved into Jackson’s head,” he said.
He showed us a photograph of a head with the symbol carved into its forehead. It was very strange and not a little disturbing. I copied the symbol into my notebook.
He also mentioned that there had been several other murders similar to Jackson Elias’ over the course of the last year or so, each of them with one of the same symbols present. However, it had been kept out of the papers and not all of the identities of all the murder victims had been even made public. I asked him for a list of the names and he gave it to me.
After some short discussion, I suggested that Elsie call Miss Atwright back and tell her I’d send someone up to get the notes she was going to mail to us. I made a telephone call to the Pinkerton Office and arranged for an operative to pick up the notes. Harvey Smith was available and I gave that name to Miss Haugstad. She called Miss Atwright back and told her that he would come to Harvard and pick up the information the next day.