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Coal Cracker Cthulhu #10: Suffer Little Children



Friday, October 5th, 1923.


The Yonkers Train Station was an important stop on the Hudson Line. It could be argued that it was the last stop for civilization before the trains began their lazy journey up the east side of the Hudson River. It was also a focal point for trolleys, as well as commuter and regional trains, avoiding the ruckus of Grand Central or Penn Station and still getting into the city. Friday afternoon volume were for those commuting north of the city, a few "leaf-watchers" spending the weekend in the wild, and one very special passenger car attached to the rear of the 5:15 northbound.


Advertisements had been in the city papers for a chance to "Experience the Supernatural" for a weekend in a certified haunted house upstate. These saw print from time to time, and most people were hoodwinked out of their money by charlatans. Those charlatans however, never charged the outrageous sum of $50, nor did they ever promise a guarantee of a supernatural encounter.


Still, only five people responded:


JP Carson (played by Phil)- former railroad investigator, now independantly plying his trade in New York City. He had bought two tickets for a suprise anniversary present to his wife...


Jessica Carson (played by Jess)- Jessica was a school teacher from northeastern Pennsylvania. She had only moved to the city a year ago when "Phil" (JP) and her got hitched at City Hall. She was a fan of ghost stories, so it was a perfect, if strange gift.


Matthew Drozdowski (played by Scott)- Currently a Civic Engineer for the City of New York. Matthew was a brilliant man in a tarnished body, an accident with a horse team crippling his one leg. He had bought two tickets for himself and his lady friend...


Meredith Sizemore (NPC) - was the young lady Matthew was courting. Unfortunately, she decided to break off the relationship the night before the trip. Matthew has decided to go anyway.


Cecelia Peters (NPC) - young dilettante with a teenaged fascination with the ocult.


Of course, there were those who were invited to this excursion:


Paul LeMond (NPC) - "famed" spirtual medium. He will be conducting the spirit summonings.


Herb Whitefield (NPC) - Paul's manager. Shadier than a grove of trees.


Robert Carrington (NPC) - Owner of the house. He wanted to make sure that sights he had witnessed at the old family house were true spirits and just some hallucinations.


Martha (NPC) - short, overweight cook for the weekend.


Brian Nichols (played by Brian)- crooked bookkeeper and assistant to rising author Dr. Nathanial Millheim. Dr. Millheim is a close associate of Paul through the Belvidere Club. Paul had invited the good doctor up for the weekend, but meetings prevented him from making an appearance. He sent Nichols in his place to make sure that Paul was as legit as Herb claimed he was. It was nice to know the players from the fakes at the Belvidere.



The paying customers, plus Nichols, met Herb on the train platform. Jess was quite excited that her husband had picked such an exotic anniversary gift. They were escorted to the special car at the end of the 5:15 northbound train.


Herb Whitefield filled in the basic details of the house. To contact Jenny Carrington, the elder sister of Robert who had passed away when he was a young boy.


From the rural station, taken by a small motor coach to the house and finally met Martha the cook. The group claimed rooms for the weekend and did a very cursory once-over of the house before dinner. The group lightly picked Paul's brain during dinner, with Herb's heavy handed moderartion until it was time for the seance to begin.


Using an item from Jenny's past (a Jack in the Box found in the house) Paul attempted to contact her. Suddenly the room became freezing cold and Paul began acting in the speech and mannerisms of a young girl!


This was enough to convince Robert Carrington of Paul's authenticity, but something was going wrong. The spirit began to panic about something coming, Paul's body began to writhe and something was heard outside the room. Suddenly, the doorknob began to turn. Paul dispatched the spirit of Jenny and JP ran to the door. He saw the image of a woman dressed in colonial clothing, although the rest saw nothing. He followed her to an empty room, where everything was covered with a solid sheet of frost, Paul started an unscheduled seance.


This new spirit communed through Paul, stating " I am the Guardian of the House, I am here to protect against the Spawn of the Devil..". And as quickly as she arrived, she disappeared.


Overnight, Nichols and JP were awakened separately by the sounds of a crying child. Nichols was the first to investigate, and his movements downstairs nearly forced a worried JP to chuck a chair at him. They found the crying down the cellar stairs with a flickering light. Then a gust of wind extinguished the light and shut the door, with a scream downstairs. After a few worrisome seconds Matthew and Jessica came down with light and the group found a terrified Martha in the cellar. She too had heard the crying and had gone downstairs.


This being the first time in the cellar, the group grabbed brighter light sources and investigated. The one troubling area was the odd brick wall that didn't match the rough hewn of the other walls. It took the efforts of three of them, the they managed to open a door. They discovered piles of rubble and a few wooden supports for the house. On one of the supports they found a single wet nail, dripping blood. After being taken aback, they spent considerable time experimenting with this never-ending bleeding nail, ultimately taking numerous whacks of a hammer to knock it off the support, where it finally stopped.


Saturday, the group went over notes and tried to figure out what was going one. There was some debate whether or not the woman was a friendly guardian or evil spirit, Nichols investigated the library with little success, Matthew went into town and met disdain and little help from the local church leaders. However, in some old church records they had discovered that back in the 17th Century, Quentin and Katherine Tannerhill adopted the baby boy of a convicted witch (Witches, in New York, no less!)


The attic with Jess and JP, found correspondence between Robert's parents. It seemed that his mother was progressively getting more agitated with his sister with constant requests for his father to return home and deal with her "wickedness.". They also found receipts of payments to an asylum for the care of his mother, starting soon after the death of Jenny. According to Robert, he had been always told that his mother spent her last few years fighting a terrible illness. These new details made him very unsettled.

The group had also discovered the old Tannerhill Family Bible hidden in the house, and noticed entries dated during the Carrington family's residence, simply stating "the wicked one has returned!"


Saturday evening... Paul summoned Jenny again, and the group got more specific. She knew of the "bad lady" even when she was little, as well of a third spirit of a little boy. The group quickly decided that this "Guardian of the House" was malevolent and needed to be removed to let let Jenny and possibly the third spirit rest.

They begin a third attempt for Paul to contact this spirit, and with the help of the guests "exorcise" it from the house. Unlike the attempts, Paul could not even find this spirit. The group expended more and more Magic Points for Paul's effort but it was all for naught. It was like the spirit was already occupying someone else's body.

Upon that realization, Martha the unsuspecting cook comes flying out of the kitchen with a large kitchen knife, heading straight for Paul! The stunned investigators could only watch in horror as Jessica did what every mild mannered school teacher would do in this situation: take the silk scarves around her neck, wrap them around the deranged cook's neck, and chocking her to unconsciousness. Apparently, she had secrets not even her PI husband knew about, like why her Garrote skill was over 70%!


Paul quickly restart the ritual, and the very eager PCs in the circle gave as many magic points as necessary to cast the evil spirit away from the house, and with that all traces of spirit activity vanished.


On the trip back home, the group alternated between long, profound periods of silence and short flurries of conversation. Herb was ecstatic over Paul's performance, Robert was eternally grateful to the investigators, and Cecelia Peters was getting awfully cozy with Paul. All could agree that it had been a most eventful and unusual weekend.


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