Clearing out the archives, I found a few posters that might be of interest.
Just as long as there are no experiments done on souls, please, Jesper.
*~Edited to fix typos- thanks Jezz!
A photo diary entry by Thursday Madaki
So, when I joined the SFI no one mentioned the ritual blood-letting. And, since then, it’s only been mentioned in passing- until the other day, when Evelyn said it was time to renew the Whistman contract.
‘I’d send someone else,’ Evelyn said, looking unusually sly, ‘but you haven’t left the archives for days and you need the exercise.’
‘Also the guardian will only deal with me.’
I interrupted then-
Instead of answering my question, Evelyn spoke to Bartholomew.
‘You should take her along.’
I hate it when they do that, like I’m the kid in a group of adults. I mean- I am, technically. But I hate being talked about like I’m not there.
Bartholomew was pulling a face like he was going to say no, so I spoke before he could.
‘I’d love to go!’
If only someone had mentioned it would involve hiking, and creepy blood drinking goat fairies.
Wistmans wood is only half an hour of walking from the main road, but that’s half an hour too much for my liking. I’m not really the biggest fan of the great outdoors, although I can appreciate Dartmoor’s weird brand of bleak beauty.
The drive to get there had been long, made longer by the fact that Jesper listens to recordings of scientific lectures whilst he drives.
Bartholomew and I played i-spy, but he said I cheated when ‘something beginning with A. M.’ turned out to be ‘abject misery’ because it was on HIS face and therefore he couldn’t spy it.
The reason we were driving all this way, then walking over uneven, ankle-twisting moorland, was because in the in the middle of nowhere is the kind of place you find a faerie who goes on vicious murdering rampages if you don’t check in on him every once in awhile.
The first contract was made in 2001, after a farmer who walked in the wood came home to find his sheep gone without a trace. Hikers were poked with invisible pins, and a young couple who carved their names into a tree drowned mysteriously in a shallow pool.
Evelyn, just starting out at Seaflower back then, tracked down the creature responsible, and made a deal. A deal that we were now heading out to reinforce.
The woods were beautiful and completely surreal. The entire floor was made up of huge rocks you had to climb and hop between, the trees were dripping with garlands of moss and lichen.
I barked my shins several times as Jesper led the scramble to the far side of the woods, where we stopped before a small cave formed under rocks and tree roots.
Bartholomew took something from his bag, unwrapping it and lying it on the ground. It was a athame- a ritual knife used in witchcraft.
‘I know you’re there,’ Bartholomew said.
I saw something move in the depths of the dark crevice. Light glinted on a pair of eyes, staring straight back at us.
To be continued in Sunday’s creature post! Please don’t hate me.
Yes, you heard him: moose pig.
First sighted in 1802, the Beast of Dean- or the more affectionate ‘moose pig’- is an enormous boar. Normal wild boar get pretty big, but not large enough to knock down trees and crush fences, as this little-known cryptid is reported to do.
Claims range from ‘the size of a cow’ to ‘large dog’, and having an ‘unearthly roar’.
Until this week the most recent sighting was in 2008. However, a recent spate of reports means Jesper and I will be going to the Forest of Dean to investigate, much to his delight.
Catch you later! Keeley xxx
What- or who- is The Owl With Tongues?
By B. Moon
The temporary office Elion Okar has set up in the break-room of the Seaflower Institute is a mess, although its creator insists to me it’s a complex system.
‘Each station is a potential connection,’ he says, gesturing to the coffee table as an example. ‘And is broken down into piles- evidence for, evidence against, and what a positive connection would imply.’
He is searching for links in the puzzle of the ‘Owl With Two Tongues’- a mystery that has dogged him since he was an undergrad.
A mysterious amulet found alongside evidence of an ancient sacrificial ritual, dedicated to a being otherwise unheard of, lost to time.
Or is it?
Elion has three favourite possibilities amongst the sea of papers decorating my breakroom floor.
Connection Number One: Medieval ‘Owl-faced mad-man’ (Coffee Table)
This woodcut illustration is from the bottom of a page of a 14C manuscript documenting the daily work of a popular bishop.
The accompanying entry recounts the story of a man: ‘for whom his good wife sought help, for he had torn apart his son’s dog, and it he then devoured there upon the ground’.
His wife, understandably concerned, went immediately to the house of the bishop; who accompanied her (along with several strong men recruited from nearby fields).
On their arrival, the party were alarmed at the man’s condition:
“we looked upon an owlfaced mad-man, naked and scrabbling in the fresh turned sod for worms, which he consumed with vigor’.
The man reportedly died after spending several days restrained. The bishop eventually came to a conclusion in his writings as to the cause of the man’s affliction:
‘punishment for a meddling in the occult… serving idols and false gods that are not Him… and bargaining with fairies and devils for knowledge his mind could not hold.’
Connection Number Two: Scottish ‘Lightning King’ (Counter next to the sink)
Found in a sealed off cave system, the Lightning King has always been overshadowed by the other paintings in the Blue Worm Cavern. The bold blue dragons distracted from the cracked stick man and his faded throne of skulls.
Its debated what of this mysterious figure is the original etching and what is cracks in the dry rock face- but there is an undeniable resemblance to the symbol involved in the recent Revery necromancer activity.
Connection Number Three: The Owlman of Mawnan (Floor to the left of the door)
This connection has the least evidence to connect it, but it’s my favourite because i have a fondness for cryptids.
The Owlman is a folkloric creature sighted in Cornwall in 1976, around a church built on prehistoric earthworks. Reportedly (from several different accounts) the owlman is a feathered birdman with huge eyes, pointed ears, and pincer hands (see Morgawr: The Monster of Falmouth Bay by Anthony Mawnan-Peller).
Will we ever find out about this ancient being? Part of me hopes not; but I fear that the Owl With Tongues is not done with this world yet.
‘Whatever you do,’ Lesley said, announcing her presence in Evelyn’s office doorway, ‘don’t touch Jesper’s sample jars. He damn near tore my ears off.’
‘So that’s what the racket was about.’ Evelyn looked up from her desk for the first time in what felt like hours, and was possibly even longer. She had to blink a few times before Lesley came into focus.
‘What a mess.’
Was she talking about Jesper? The mutating moth corpses? The undercurrent of tension? The political fallout from their open day disaster?
Maybe it was just the state of her desk.
Lesley cleared a space amongst the scattered papers and receipts, and gently plonked a steaming mug of coffee down in it.
‘You need a fuel break,’ she said. ‘Did you even go home last night?’
‘Vale is putting us through the ringer over this,’ Evelyn said, neatly sidestepping the fact that yeah okay, she slept in her office. ‘He wants to get us shut down. He might even succeed.’
‘Pfff,’ Lesley snorted. ‘He’s tried before.’
‘Yeah well, the mysterious disappearance of our guy full of moths might just cinch it for him. They don’t believe he even existed. Without a body…’
She ducked too late as Lesley cuffed her cheek with a gentle hand.
‘Chin up Evie. Henry Vale might be holding your soul hostage, but we’ve got his balls in a vice. If he gets us shut down, he’s got to foot the bill for his own occult special unit. And that means less money to slip into his own pocket.’
From upstairs came the sound of raised voices. Lesley rolled her eyes.
‘Damage control to the first floor,’ she said into an imaginary walkie-talkie. ‘Seriously, love. We’ll be okay.’
Evelyn hoped she was right.