After the horrific discovery of the Snuff Film and the clear psychological trauma it had caused Dr. Edgar Blackford and Dr. Zachary Wells, the group was frozen as to what steps to take. On one hand, there were many avenues to research. On the other hand, the group was drained of all emotional health. This was not a good way to embark upon a dangerous path. Knowing that getting Gwenyth Miller’s aid would lead to some difficult questions, Dr. Blackford considered other options. Perhaps another therapist he knew. Meanwhile, Judith McKnight decided to call Dr. Samantha Woolsley in order to get her input on what they had experienced.
Dr. Blackford had a former student living in the area, Adrian Boley. Adrian was a fairly successful ‘pop psychologist’ who had made a small fortune in writing self help books that were for popular consumption. His competence in real traumatic matters were limited but Edgar felt he was the best option under the circumstances. After a quick call, Edgar had set up a session for the group the following morning in Sunset Falls.
When Dr. Woolsley arrived, she was brought up to speed on what had happened. It was then that she revealed that she had a contact nearby, a mentor of sorts, who she had discussed the issue with, regarding what the others had been experiencing. She stated that her contact valued his secrecy on the matter and did not want to be known outside of the little group but was willing to help. When she revealed his identity, Professor Alan Wolff, this was a welcome surprise to Judith, who saw him as an uncle, but something of a sore spot with Dr. Wells who had been the target of Wolff’s scorn for his relationship with the serial killer, Linda Plassey.
That evening the group met with Professor Wolff who sat them down and explained what they were dealing with – or what he thought. He had found some accounts of what sounded like the Snuff Golem which had been encountered by several other individuals over the past 20 years. Among their discoveries were (a) the creature would likely never stop the rampage it was on and (b) it was theorized that water would be the main weapon against it. Professor Wolff later went on to explain the greater threats, again speaking about the Outer Black as well as the entities that were trying to seep through as well as the fact that the Outer Black became more powerful and the membrane weaker with the more people who experienced the horrific entities from beyond. It was then that he allowed them to explore his basement with his occult library and strange artifacts.
During the time the group spent researching in his library, Professor Wolff did mention that he felt there were specific focal points that the Outer Black needed, in order to come into the world. He theorized that the Ritual Slab as well as the Markhardt Estate could well be examples. He also pushed the idea that Peller Lake could be one as well, as he had personally experienced some unusual experiences there. Prof Wolff also showed them a text he called the Black Book which was written in the Chonic Alphabet which he subsequently lent to Dr. Blackford. The Black Book, Prof Wolff stated, may have some clues as to what was going on in Silent Waters. Nonetheless, the group agreed to conduct an investigation, the following evening, at the Markhardt Estate to see if his theory panned out. However, before they concluded for the evening, Dr. Wells noticed an unusual skull in Prof. Wolff’s library, something he felt would aid in the research process. Judith discovered that there was a series of clues they should investigate, confirming that the Markhardt Estate should be the next step. After all, if there were secrets – or dangers – in her home, she should be aware of them.
The next day the group went to the home of Adrian Boley for their therapy session. Whereas Boley was a fairly obnoxious individual, filled with what Dr. Blackford would later call ‘psycho-bable,’ and also evidenced by the numerous portraits of himself throughout the house (including a nude portrait), it could not be denied that his unique style of therapy ended up being helpful for most of the group – excluding Dr. Blackford, whose mind was likely not in the right place to get proper treatment. The session ended with Boley giving out his books to those gathered – You Are Me and You Are Me, Too.
Later that evening, after putting in time at their respective jobs, everyone gathered at the Markhardt Estate, including Prof. Wolff and Dr. Woolsley, in order to uncover whatever secrets they could find. They would be shocked at the discoveries they would soon make.
In the attic, Dr. Blackford made an unusual discovery. Under a secret bottom in an old trunk there was an old photo album from the 19th century, showing, what would later be identified as Otto Markhardt as well as his wife, Constance and his son, Willy. When shown, Dr. Wells recognized Otto from the apparition he had encountered at the Ritual Slab. Evidently, it was Markhardt’s ghost he had come across. Meanwhile, in the basement of the house, Judith found a secret hatch that lead to an earthen sub-basement. This area was a room that had broken furniture and even some strange sigils on the floor. The most remarkable feature was a series of small silver boxes, made by the Atlanta Silversmith company in the 19th century. Upon examining the sigils, Dr. Blackford determined it was some kind of gate. The gate would have been made by someone who was inviting entities from the Outer Black into the world and would have required a human sacrifice to do so. Unfortunately, closing the gate would also require a human sacrifice. This, it was surmised, made it easier for an entity like the Snuff Golem to come through into their world.
Upon careful examination of the silver boxes, Dr. Woolsley first determined that they had great value – likely in the current market between $8,000 and $11,000. When opened they found strange papers that seemed to be cursing specific individuals. Each of the six individuals cursed was, obviously, a person long dead, but had a remarkable coincidence to some of the present investigators. These Ancestors were related to Judith, Dr. Wells, Fr. Jack and Gwenyth Miller. Apparently, whomever created these boxes (which were not unlike voodoo dolls), presumably Otto Markhardt, wished great ill and ruin on the targets.
The next day they planned a trip to Peller Lake to see what clues could be found. The serene lake, with its natural beauty seemed an unlikely place for something sinister, however, that would be soon shown to be untrue. Professor Wolff reminded them that this had been the scene of several strange lights as well as some unusual sightings of what could have been dangerous wild animals (but local park rangers had found nothing). Further, it was Dr. Wells’ encounter with what he now knew was the ghost of Otto Markhardt, indicated unusual activities at Peller Lake. Searching the area, Judith found a strange Pocket Watch when she almost fell into the lake. The watch, with the initials ‘O.M.’ was also constructed by the Atlanta SIlversmith Company and quite likely seemed to be from the 19th century. Dr. Blackford, upon reaching the apex, looked down into the pristine waters and saw, clearly, similar sigils as the ones in Markhardt’s sub-cellar. Clearly, an attempt was made to create a gate, here, as well. Fortunately, however, it had not been powered. What was Markhardt doing out here and how was the gate not completed? Markhardt DID disappear but why, how and who was involved?
Upon concluding their investigation, and researching their own backgrounds, discovering their connections to the Ancestors, Judith had a strange dream that night. She had a vivid vision of the Ancestors, confronting a hooded man at Peller Lake who was attempting to summon a creature from beyond, presumably the Outer Black. In this altercation, the Ancestors not only stopped Markhardt but killed him in the process, burying his body in the lake, explaining his disappearance. Judith awoke in a cold sweat, holding onto the pocket watch she had found at the lake.