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Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Manacles

Taken from G Hall’s Myths and Legends in Cornwall (1921), this is the only recorded copy of this legend. The Manacles derive their name from ‘maen eglos’ which means ‘stone church’ in Cornish.

Just around from Manacle Point (on the nearby coast) is Porthoustock. The cliffs there are carved into grotesque shapes by extensive blasting.


1 The legend is partially correct and a great demon known only as the kirix is imprisoned beneath the sea bed.

2 The legend is a complete fabrication, but there was evil present at one time. Upon the Manacles an ancient, squat temple dedicated to a dark god, can be found. This is the stone church and it was abandoned centuries ago and can be found by anyone who explores the Manacles.

3 The stone church is a deep one temple, with their hybrids quarrying away at Porthoustock to free a star-spawn of Cthulhu trapped there. They are still a long way from freeing the vast beast.

© Steve Hatherley

The Disappearance

A pretty woman approaches a Private Investigator to track down her missing husband. She gives the investigator a thorough description of her husband, Phillip Wainwright, and a key to his study. She has contacted the police, but after their initial interest they do not seem to be very cooperative.

Phillip vanished during the night after working late in his study, a week ago. She found him missing in the morning and he has not been seen since.

His study reveals little. There is evidence that Phillip was engaged in much research - lots of cryptic references and what appears to be several attempts to crack a code. However, there is nothing concrete to follow up.

At his place of work, the library, his colleagues display no surprise. A policeman was snooping around several days ago. Phillip had been spending much too much time in the Restricted Access reading room. A check of its contents reveals that one of the books is missing.


1 The missing book was the original Al-Azif by Abd al-Azrad. This same copy is possessed by the soul of the author and Phillip, through deciphering sections best left alone, opened his mind to the ancient Arab.

Currently Phillip, under the influence of Abd al-Azrad, is working his way towards The City Without A Name in the Arabian peninsula in search of the Arab’s last remains.

2 The book is an ancient sorcerer’s diary, and Phillip decoded a spell from it to summon Nodens, the Outer God. He foolishly cast the spell and after a few moments Nodens appeared. Phillip bargained badly and the God dropped him and the diary upon Yuggoth where the Mi-Go have preserved his brain.

3 The book is a hypnotist’s workbook and has been taken from his study by the police as possible evidence. They will return it soon, when the case is closed. When Phillip decoded and recited the chants he fainted. Upon returning to consciousness he found his memory had vanished. He wandered out of the house, into the streets and onto the knife of a murderer. His corpse has yet to be discovered.

© Steve Hatherley

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Old Straight Track

Watkins’ The Old Straight Track was first published in 1925.

While ley lines are now commonly known about, they were a new theory in 1925, and someone in 1925 might want to follow them up as a way of identifying mystical or occult locations. Besides, a newspaper might pay handsomely for proof of other lines not mentioned in The Old Straight Track.

By careful use of a map, a compass, ruler and pencil one may eventually conclude that the small village of Todberry in Dorset is the meeting point of three such lines.

By visiting the village, and carefully working out angles with a compass the exact point of intersection can be found. It is in St Mary’s churchyard, and a stone cross has been erected at the exact point. The cross may look Christian, but closer examination reveals that carved into it is something altogether different – a protective ward.

The rest of the ward is formed by several old stones forming an circle. All are hidden; built into the church, hidden in the graveyard, used in the wall, toppled in a field, submerged in the stream.


1 The stone circle is protection against an ancient demon which will return should it be tampered with. A legend of strangers coming to disturb ‘He That Sleeps’ is handed down by word of mouth and strangers are closely watched.

2 The circle is an ancient place of worship, but has no other significance.

3 An ancient sorcerer is trying to remove the ward so that he may reawaken ‘He That Sleeps.’ The sorcerer has had little success so far...

© Steve Hatherley

The Hatching Rocks

Spherical quartz formations formed when molten rock is cast from a volcanic eruption into water and cools before deforming. Found near Mt. Etna. 1871, J. Castle.

Thus reads the note next to three 10 inch diameter spheres.

The museum is small and its geology department smaller. Nobody has properly identified the stones; they gather dust, ignored and unremarkable.

The stones are Cthonian eggs. Professor Castle found them near Mount Etna and brought them to the museum. His theory on their origin is entirely inaccurate, and he did not examine them in more detail before his untimely death in 1872.


1 The Cthonians followed Castle back to the museum after the theft of their eggs. Before they arrived, he put the ‘rocks’ on display. His heart failed when they tried to telepathically interrogate him and so never found the eggs.

2 The eggs have been stolen from the museum. As the tiny Cthonians slowly matured their telepathic abilities grew, and were sensed by adults. Human agents stole the eggs and took them through to the Dreamlands.

The Waking Worlds are becoming too dangerous and the Cthonians are infiltrating the land beyond the wall of sleep. The plan is in its infancy; so far only a handful of eggs have been taken through.

3 Before an adult (or human agent) can reach the museum, the eggs hatch. The babies first kill birds and rodents but grow rapidly, demanding larger prey. The initial act of vandalism is not high on the police priority list, but they take more interest when the killings begin. It is only time before an adult appears to reclaim the young.

© Steve Hatherley

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Tropical Death


1 One of the plants in the greenhouse is a form of nocturnal triffid and has just reached maturity. Until now it has been crawling around the greenhouse looking for prey before returning to its place.

2 One of the plants in the greenhouse is a four foot tall Very Young Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath. It has only just become mobile, and has been looking for prey. It was given to Kew after explorer Horatio Barnett returned from an expedition to darkest Africa. He died shortly afterwards and the strange plant was donated by a member of the family.

3 Smale died from contracting an exotic tropical disease. The source of the fast-acting disease is the pollen of a particularly beautiful orchid which has just come into bloom. The disease requires a large quantity of pollen to be inhaled before it can overcome the body’s defences. Smale had been breathing it for several hours before the swift acting disease took hold. Smale’s corpse is a wonderful supply of nutrients and soon it will sprout small green tendrils – new orchids.

© Steve Hatherley

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Grim Portrait

Dexter Cauldrose is a mildly talented artist, his technique often crude and composition amateur. Despite this, his portraits are sought after by the fashionable rich. The waiting list is several months long and as a result, Cauldrose has a richer lifestyle than many other, far finer, artists.

He is a success because of his novelty value. Cauldrose specialises is gruesome portraits, revealing his subject in death. Sometimes he portrays his subjects lying in state, but often has them disembowelled and brutally mutilated. In some circles, the more brutal the death, the better.

Then, they begin to die.

Cauldrose is the first to go. His self-portrait showed his body chopped to pieces in a barren room. (It was the reaction to this painting that led him to identify his market.) His body is found in a barren room, chopped and looking exactly as he painted. At first it is taken to be a very sick joke, then others begin to die as well.


1 Cauldrose’s paintings are not so much predicting the future, as creating it. Cauldrose himself was killed by an escaped lunatic. Others will become accident victims, suicides, or mauled by wild animals. Each death is unconnected, except by the extraordinary artwork of Dexter Cauldrose.

The deaths occur at the same rate as the portraits were painted. As the pattern is discerned, worried subjects will be able to determine the time of their demise. There is no way out, except for the destruction of these violent works of art.

2 Before each killing, the subject is approached by a tall black man, elegantly dressed in black. He offers a bargain, a contract. In return for signing a single sheet of paper, covered in indecipherable typescript, the subject will be spared.

At first, the subjects ignore him, only to pay the price. Then, when the first escapes the seemingly inexorable murders, the contract is brought into light. Written in an unknown language, the subject has unwittingly signed away his soul to Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos.

But why does the Outer God want their souls? And when will he collect?

3 The real painter is Cauldrose’s insane brother, working from crude sketches and photographs provided by Dexter. Locked in the attic, he lived for nothing but to paint. Then, his condition worsened, and he turned on his brother, dressing the body to look like his art. Now he is wandering the streets, hunting for other subjects.

© Steve Hatherley