Over the past century or so, hundreds of stories have been told about the house on Harlequin Lane. Most of them were your standard job, things going bump in the night and terrifying ghouls stalking visitors throughout the night, although some did display a certain interesting creativity which I had to admire as an author. Standing quite apart from the more recent developments of the area, separated by nearly a mile of dark coniferous woods in all directions, one can see on a foggy October’s morning how it has become such a centre for local folklore and inspiration for culture further afield. Its wrought iron fence and imposing Victorian facade, crowned with a window into that mythologised attic, could inspire dread into the heart of even the steeliest nerved kid sitting around the camp fire.
I’d never been much of a guy for ghost stories. I’d been a sceptic as long as I could remember; a non believer in God, aliens, spirits. I’d heard the stories of Harlequin Lane as a kid going camping with friends, and though I played my part in the sharing of such stories, not once did I ever think that these ludicrous tales had an ounce of truth. It amused me years later when, chatting with a colleague, he mentioned that he was the nephew of the current owner of the house. At the time, I was starting to write my first full length novel and was looking for somewhere quiet and inspiring to finish it, and within the week I had talked to the landlord and agreed a rate. The locals wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole, which had driven the price down to a sum that even I as a fledgling writer could afford.
A month or so later, I loaded up what few possessions I had elected to take with me and drove the 3 hour route from my home to that legendary abode. The road took me into the trees and by the time I arrived dusk was already sweeping along the length of the Miskatonic River. Inside the house were surprisingly modern facilities that somehow managed to fit with the gothic style of the exterior. Tired by the drive alone and the stress of moving, even if I planned it only to be for a month or two, I decided to catch an early night in the master bedroom.
Compared to the ground floor, the second floor seemed eerily untouched by the landlord and his developers. An ornate four post bed that had to be the original stood to one side of the room, opposite to a large bay window framed with heavy, ancient curtains. Across the hallway from the master bedroom was another, smaller room which was fitted with two small, scratchy looking original beds and. One of these had the covers neatly folded at the head end, just like the master bedroom, whereas the other looked almost like it had been slept in recently. Above them, an attic trap door carved into the wall looked as if it had been un-opened for years peered down upon the children’s bedsteads. The bed creaked as I climbed up on top of the unmade bed and grabbed a hold of the metal ring that formed the handle of the trapdoor and was unsurprised when the door remained stubbornly closed.
Leaving my bags in the master bedroom, I descended once more and picked up the phone to call the landlord. We traded niceties and, skirting the issue of the messy bed (which I chalked up to a kid staying there with his dad and being too lazy to tidy up after himself), I asked him where the attic key was, as none of the ones on the hefty keychain he’d given me seemed the right size for the ancient lock on the door. He paused at the other end, before telling me that the key was in the safe, if I “really wanted it”. Thanking him, I hung up and, moving to the safe, removed the wrought iron key from the recessed metal box.
I returned to the door and received a layer of dust as the solid wooden door opened and the stiff ladder yawned out of the dark and thudded down next to the woollen mass of the bed. Spitting out the detritus that had landed on my lips, I climbed the steps into the attic and looked about with the torch my father had given to me. As I’d expected, the attic was mostly bare. The last embers of daylight queerly silhouetted the colonial spruces that lay in the garden. Sweeping across the time-layered floor, I noticed only one object in the oak-floored room. A dark chest, maybe three foot in width, sat chained in the corner, a muddying surface of dust obscuring just how many locks lay on it. With a shudder unbecoming of a non-believer such as myself I recalled the starlit nights where grotesque and over the top tales of such a chest had been told and reviewed and embellished, and I felt a mild surprise that our youthful tales had had any such grounding in truth. Through the cupola of the attic I saw a waning moon rise and, taking myself down from that storied loft, I sought rest in the grand bed of the master bedroom.
I woke up sometime around a quarter past one, according to the clock I kept beside my bed. At first, I couldn’t realise what had bugged me. I’ve always found it hard to get to sleep in a new bed, and the strangeness of my surroundings couldn’t have helped. It was then that I heard the sound that had awoken me start again. Coming from the floor above, a loud thumping slowly yet persistently sounded. Confused but more importantly sleep starved, I drowsily roused myself before crossing the hallway and into the family bedroom. I grasped at the handle of the trapdoor and pulled the ladder downwards. I climbed into the attic and was relieved to see the source of the sound was that the moon-filled cupola had opened up and swung about freely on its hinges. Putting it down to the cooling of the house in the frosty night air, I pulled it shut and made fast the latch. Turning around, I heard a sharp metallic noise and jumped out of my skin (to my shame). Flashing my torch about the room, I saw to my surprise that one of the wrought iron chains that surrounded the chest had sheared under some unknown tension. Perplexed, I swept the chain to one side before returning to my bed and trying to get back to sleep. Evidently I had, for the next morning I found myself curled up into the foetal position, having sleepwalked from my bed to directly underneath the entrance to the attic.
Nothing of note happened the next day. I removed the broken, antique chain from the floor of the attic and disposed of it, before throwing myself into my work. Before I knew it, dusk had descended once again, and I prepared myself for another night in that dark wallpapered room.
That night, I awoke upon my feet, again at a quarter past one in the morning. As I came around I realised that my control over my body was limited only to my eyes, and with this revelation came an unreleased scream of terror. I have never had sleep paralysis, but I can only imagine that this must have been what it’s like, and I’ve never even read of having it while sleep walking. Stranger still, a queer silvery moonlight permeated the house as my feet went unbidden along a pre-determined route towards the other bedroom.
Opening the door, I saw her there, the phantom moonlight coming through the cloudy night illuminating her in profile. All fears fled from my mind as I focused upon the perfect symmetrical face that stared back at me with goat black eyes. Dark hair spilled around her alabaster visage as she released the ivory lace nightdress and revealed the unspeakably beautiful form that she had hidden there. Below the glass gem on the black choker she wore nothing, willowy limbs complimenting the snow white torso, contrasting against the darker flesh of her nipples and the hair below the waist. She lay back upon the bed accepting me as, regaining control of my body but unthinking all the same, I joined her. Our entwined shapes echoed throughout the moonlit house and I momentarily broke vision with that girl, closing my eyes in ecstasy.
As my rapture ended, I felt a charm break in the air like a teacup shattering upon the floor. I leapt back, distraught at my actions as I gazed in fascinated horror at the transformation that was taking place on the unmade bed in front of me. The beautiful creature started to cry out in pain as the bewitching expression upon her face was replaced with one of sheer, untreatable agony. Tears beginning to stream down my face, I watched as her ivory bosom heaved and the flat stomach began to grotesquely bloat and convulse. A leg broke while the gravid stomach reflected moonlight from its waxy surface and her agonized screams began anew as blood started to gush from within her. The blood started to stain the bed sheets black in the moonlight as something forced its way out, amniotic fluid mixing with its mother’s tissues. The goat black eyes glassed over in an ever staring gaze from the window into the dark woods beyond. As the creature on the bed started to cry, I blacked out.
I awoke the next day in an absolute mess. Although the horrific stains of the previous night had disappeared, I had evidently sleepwalked into that unmade bed. My pyjamas were soiled in my nightmare, and, panicked and still in a haze, I switched the bed sheets over, washing them and stowing them in the attic beside that bizarre chest. Strangest of all, however, was that another of the chains had split apart. It looked as if it had been done with a hugely violent action. Of the three that had bound the ancient oaken strongbox, only one remained.
At this point, I’m sure you can see that something untoward was going on in this house. Despite my scepticism, I couldn’t shake the feeling that perhaps our stories of old had had some element of truth buried in them. What I knew was that there were things going on around me and including me which, for all my smart-assed atheism, I simply could not explain. All that I understood was that whatever was going on couldn’t end well for me physically or psychologically. I simply could not stay again in that house. I spent the day in terror, leaping at every expected sound and furtively glancing towards the shadows. For the first time since childhood I found myself in a church within the village. My mind danced between the deep seated horrors I related towards that terrible chest in the attic and the carnal, twisted actions I had taken part in the previous night. I prayed for myself, for my soul, for anyone or anything that had gone into that wretched house, and I pleaded for help against the forces that dwelt within the house. All the while, I knew that my prayers would go unanswered.
I didn’t sleep that night. I didn’t even get into my bed and wait. I knew that, at a quarter past one, something was going to happen. I paced the kitchen, drinking coffee from shaking hands and watching the limbs of the clock slowly wander their eternal path towards that dreaded time. The second hand trudged ever onwards, and at last I heard that thumping rhythm from above begin anew. I felt terror consume me like a wave, but more than that, I felt the conviction to face whatever it was that so terrified me and, one way or another put a stop to this. I knew, in short, that this would be my last night in this hellish abode.
On the third repetition of that thump, light seemed to vanish from the house. I thought the power had gone off before realising, to my horror, that not even the light from the moonlit outside penetrated the darkness, and reaching the torch I’d been carrying with me for the last half hour, I couldn’t see its light. I began to scream and cry when, all of a sudden, light came back to me in that half shadowy perpetual moonlight. The thumping grew in intensity as I climbed the steps when I noticed a faint wheezing coming from the master bedroom. My breath catching in my throat, my hand reached out and gently pushed the door inwards.
Lying on the bed was a horrendously aged old woman. Marks of years upon years of stress and illness played out on the shattered visage whose eyes were screwed shut in such an expression of malice that I could not bear to look for more than a second or two. Draped on top of the thick blanket her frail figure hid within was a length of twine from which hung a heavy bunch of keys. With each breath that wracked her thin chest they clinked against each other in a rhythm juxtaposing against that of the attic’s thumping. As I approached the bed, she began to murmur in her sleep. I gazed upon her face when, all of a sudden, the elderly woman awoke, screaming and cursing in such exquisite pain that I almost had to look away. I locked eyes with her and, in a single second, I saw all the misery and pain that one creature could cause. I saw her past and present, and I saw what was about to happen, and all my brain could do was to shut it off and focus on the horrors that took place before me.
As she screamed at me, a heavy scent of oil began to permeate the room. The stench grew and grew until I had to cover my nose with my napkin. Still staring and screaming, I watched as her pores widened and thick, dark tar began to flow out, coating her and staining the bed she spasmed in. Her hair, previously thin and white, clung black against her neck, and goat black pitch coated her eyeballs, shutting me off from the stream of torment that I’d been subject to. She was thrown away from the bed against the wall, and I closed my eyes and flinched at the sound of broken bones that reverberated inside my mind. My eyelids peeling open, I watched as, with a soft “whumph”, pale flames started to flicker around her motionless form. Lying on the floor, what few intact bones she still had appeared to crack anew, and she started to rise on newly formed joints. Looking me once in the eyes through that flickering flame, she screeched an inhumanly hateful cry as I turned on the balls of my feet towards that terrible thumping.
My eyes wide with primal terror, I fled across the hallway into the other room. My shaking hands grasped at the trapdoor, slamming it down as I felt the broken creature drag itself towards me. I retreated into a dark corner of that silver-lit loft and watched through tearful eyes. The heavy chest shook and trembled with an inner force as the final chain strained and snapped under whatever dreadful power lay within. Aghast, I could only stare as the wood splintered and cracked and the locks that remained gave way to immense strain. Just about the last thing I remember from that night was the ancient lid stretching open and a blood red eye staring out from ashen sockets. In my terror I lost awareness as I heard a baby’s cry wail.
According to the doctor I woke up besides, I was found near death outside the house. In an apparent suicide attempt, I had set a fire in the top floor of the house before breaking the cupola window and jumping. The fire had been reported and put out quick enough that the house was saved, but I spent nearly an hour on the ground before a fireman stumbled over me. I’d broken my legs and hips in the fall, and the strange localised frost that had fallen around the house had left me with minor frostbite in my finger tips and four of my toes. I was diagnosed as manic depressive and borderline schizophrenic, and, for at least as long as it took for my lower body to heal, I was consigned to the psychiatric ward of the hospital.
Every night of the 8 months I spent in the hospital, I dreamt. I kept getting individual snippets from that lifetime of hatred that poured from the old woman’s eyes straight into the back of my skull. One night, I’d dream of a knife held against a child’s flesh; the next, I’d dream of arsenic, poured into a morning drink; the next, pitch, black against wrinkled, aged skin. It took weeks of persuading but, eventually, I managed to persuade my psychiatrist to help me remember what my mind had suppressed that night. Combined with news reports I’ve been able to find from contemporary archives, this is, as best as I can tell, what occurred in that storied mansion that lies deep within the Miskatonic Valley:
Jonathan Zadok Marsh died on the 28th of February, 1867, in Salem, Massachusetts. The successful but miserly businessman left his estate to his widow, Kathleen Marsh, who was heavily pregnant with twins at the time of his death. Official autopsy reports, mysteriously late in publication, stated that the late Mr Marsh died of tuberculosis, an all too common ailment at the time, however doubt was cast upon this even at the time. From my own recollections, I know now that Kathleen, jealous of the sway she thought the father would have over her children, poisoned the miser over several weeks with arsenic lacing his morning coffee. Post mortem, she bribed the county morgue staff with a considerable amount from the fortune Marsh had bequeathed in his will to the woman.
Within six months of her giving birth, she took her infant children to the newly constructed gothic-style mansion built on Harlequin Lane. She sold off the small house in Salem that she had been left and began to home school the children from the age of three. She seldom received visitors, but when she did, they observed the dark haired twins with great interest. The boy, going by the name of Henry Danforth Marsh, seemed to shrink away from attention, timid and afraid of mother lashing out. He appeared to enjoy simple pleasures to the extreme, his goat eyes lighting up at the sight of little gifts from the outside brought to him and staring with rapt attention at any trinket or oddity that caught his gaze. The daughter, Mirabelle Lavinia Marsh, was the opposite of the pudgy, dull boy. Her dark eyes, rather than pools of endless monotony, danced about within her skull, analysing and appraising anything around her with a care beyond her years. In her sharp featured, curious face, a keen intellect and handsome woman could be seen even from her earliest encounters with the world beyond Harlequin Lane.
Kathleen kept them quite apart from outside contact throughout their childhood. With a maniacal fixation she tried to be the only influence upon their upbringing them, schooling them in her faith and giving them the skills they would need for a future life. Fanning the flames in Henry, she neglected Mirabelle, who she saw as fit to be a sensible and useful wife for a future husband. Despite this, Mirabelle would often try and read the books and do the exercises set for Henry, who Kathleen was trying to mould into a banker or accountant much as his deceased father had been. When she found out about Mirabelle’s subterfuge, her wrath was awful. In her cruelty she beat Henry terribly, leaving welts that took days to die down, and weeks to form proper scar tissue on the child’s skin. As always, however, her anger took a darker turn towards the girl. She forced her to march out pre-dawn every frosty morning in November into the garden, where Mirabelle was made to strip down to nudity and stand stock still and unflinching until noon.
It wasn’t long after this event that Kathleen noticed signs of adulthood beginning to betray the passing years on the girl, as her own few, sparse wrinkles showed on her own skin. Any youthful innocence the face had once held had melted away long ago, and the jet black locks flowed elegantly down towards the budding breasts her clothes concealed. One morning Kathleen awoke early to hear steady, quiet panting issuing from the room across the hallway. To her outrage upon opening the door, she saw Mirabelle pleasuring herself in the mess of sheets her bed had become in her fornication. The childish brother was awoken from innocent sleep by the stream of horrid curses that spewed from his mothers mouth as, spitting with rage, she grabbed a hold of the girl and slammed her against the door, tearing her from the unmade bed. 10 times in all the mother hit the girl across the face with a closed fist, bloodying the alabaster nose and blackening the knowing, devilish eyes. Still shaking with rage, she grabbed a hold of the boy and threw him to the ground. Crying, the boy tried to grab a hold of the mother’s skirt and hug onto her, but she slapped him away as a man swats a gnat. Dragging the half-naked girl and her blubbering brother down the stairs, she began to heat up the iron over a fire while the girl attempted to cover herself from mother’s accusing eyes. Once the iron glowed, she handed it to the boy and gestured towards the girl. Kathleen ripped the girl’s hands away from her crotch and laid them out upon the table as the boy, still crying and begging for mercy, planted the iron down upon the delicate ivory fingers. Despite her strong constitution, this was enough to break the girl’s resolve. She cried out in terror and fear, and wept as the skin reddened and blistered under the hot metal. The boy then moved on to the next hand.
These terrible events happened at the start of October. From then until the end of February, every single day, the twins were woken at midnight by their mother. She would force them to march out as the girl had done all those years ago, and strip down to the skin while she watched from on high in the house. This time, however, her cruelty extended to humiliating them not just in front of her but in front of the world as well. From the cupola, she watched as they walked out and stood, naked and shivering, on the side of the major road Harlequin Lane joined to.
What she could not know at the time, however, was that her actions seeded a family tragedy of unparalleled proportions, and set the stage for acts of cruelty that border on the unthinkable, for as they stood together in those frostbitten mornings of the winter of 1882, they looked at each other and watched as their bodies developed. Henry lost the fat he had carried since youth and had taken puberty in his stride, becoming a handsome, if rather peculiar, looking man. Mirabelle had, as expected, grown into a bewitchingly attractive young woman, despite the scars her twisted upbringing had carved on her. More than that, however, they talked, more than they had at any other point in their life. A bond separated by their mother reformed, tethering them together with unshakeable conviction in what they had to do to manipulate mother and get away from her.
They were quite comfortable with each other’s bodies by the time March rolled around and mother allowed them to spend longer than 5 hours in bed each night. In fact, a reluctant attraction had formed between them as Mirabelle took Henry into her bed. The plan was that a child would completely break Kathleen’s dominance over the pair. Unable to pass the child off as her own due to her status as a widow and unable to admit to the taboo of incest, Mirabelle would flee to a convent. Terrified and disgusted at her son’s actions, he could flee without her having any wish to pursue this Judas within her own family. The love making was clumsy and awkward despite their adoration and commitment to the act, but it was successful and a child was conceived without any issue. Life grew in secret within Mirabelle as she prepared to flee to the nearest convent, a nearly 35 mile trip through the pines of the Miskatonic Valley and across the swamps of the river delta.
Mirabelle tried to escape on the 23rd of April 1883, just as the first bulging of her abdomen began to show itself. Creeping out of the rear door, she took the small bindle she had gathered from the hiding place beneath the sapling oak she had placed it and took a silent moonlit path along the back gate. Her screams woke both her brother and her mother as her leg sheared off, snapped cleanly in two by the powerful bear trap that had been placed beyond the fence, in the dark night the conifers concealed. She had already lost a lot of blood by the time her brother had reached her and applied pressure to the stump where her limb had been. Bringing her back inside, he screamed at his mother as she descended the stairs, a wry smile upon her face, lighting up the dead stones that were bordered with crow’s feet. She muttered something about needing to shore up that hole in the fence, saying that it wasn’t safe with such foolish children around as blood flowed from Mirabelle.
The brother, always weaker of will than his dark eyed sister, fainted at the sight of the great sanguine pool gathering under the table, where it dripped from the half conscious Mirabelle. Taking up a poker from the fire, Kathleen stared mercilessly into the teenager’s dark eyes as she pressed the iron against her leg, the flesh smoking and burning where it touched the metal. A dark, putrid smoke rose from the wound and awoke the boy with its ungodly odour. He vomited at the smell, and begged his mother to stop as the girl, delirious with pain and exhaustion, passed out.
Kathleen was abhorred at the sinfulness of the children’s actions, and disgusted that Mirabelle had planned to dirty a house of god by fleeing there. She held off on her punishment, however, and waited silent and withdrawn as the disabled girl’s belly and bosom grew. The night of the birth was during a still, moonlit December night. The girl started to scream and groan as, without any help from her mother or professional medicine, she forced the child out of her. The birth was imperfect, however. The baby came out sideways and premature by 2 weeks. The passage of the child tore apart the girl, and her dark blood stained the bed as she stopped breathing while her brother looked on, aghast. The baby was horrendously malformed, a product of inbreeding. It was genderless, with the pale, cracked skin of a harlequin baby. Worst still, however, was the second child that came with it. Half fused was a parasitic twin, mocking the perfect union of Mirabelle and her brother. The mother waited until morning the next day to come in and retrieve monstrous baby, tearing it from the son’s crying arms.
The first order of business for Kathleen was to dispose of the girl’s body. Using a butcher’s knife, she neatly and carefully dissected the corpse into smart, small chunks, before placing them in the kitchen fire and setting them alight. Next, was the boy’s punishment. She had had a treatment lined up for him, but the death of Mirabelle had made her reconsider and change tack to a more horrible penalty. Taking the same blade she had used before, still slick with Mirabelle’s blood, she ordered the boy to drop his pyjama trousers. She quickly removed his testicles, letting them fall onto the ground in a shower of blood as the child began to scream and cry in pain and horror. Reaching into the fire with a pair of tongs, she gently picked up the two charred eyes of his sister from the fire and placed them onto the pillow of the unmade bed, leaving them to stare onwards, ever watching as god would.
Ten years passed between this event and the conclusion to the horrible story of the house. During this time, the mother kept the son and his genderless child quite apart, denying the bond the boy so wanted. The son, she kept quite enslaved, letting him only leave the house in order to tend the garden and gather wood from the forested slopes beyond the house. Every night she sent the son to bed at ten and woke him at six. Since Mirabelle’s death and his mutilation, any disobedience or insurrection was utterly removed, and he became absolutely devoted to his mother. Mother’s cruelty was not limited only to her surviving child, however. She sealed the abominable grandchild away, visiting it only once a week when she opened up the strongbox the child was stored in and gave it enough food to get by, barely looking upon its cracked, damaged face before she shut it away from the light again.
Sometime during the year 1892, Kathleen began to suffer from coughing and, finding blood in her sputum, she sent for a doctor. The practitioner was the first visitor that Henry had seen since Mirabelle was dismembered, and he sequestered himself away inside his room while the doctor investigated his mother. Kathleen was found to be afflicted with the same illness that was thought to have killed her husband, tuberculosis. Incurable at the time, she was doomed to a long, prolonged death as her child looked on. By 1893, she was sickly and bed ridden, and the task of feeding the creature in the attic fell to Henry.
The boy took a firm hold of the heavy bunch of keys her mother had given her as he climbed the ladder into the attic. Trembling, he unlocked the padlocks and shed the chains of the chest. As he unlocked the chest, nothing in his long life of horrors prepared him for the creature that stared back at him from the chest. The person within was utterly inhuman. Blinded, bloody eyes in a stark white face looked out unseeing from a cracked, bald head. The parasitic twin on his back had almost shorn off in some accident, and the wound by which it was attached was heavily infected and smelled pungently. The beast was utterly naked, and its ambiguous genitalia were also infected and dirty. Worse than the sight, however, was the noise, for from that rancid throat came a thin, but persistent, baby’s wail.
Marsh was terrified and ashamed at the thing that he had begat. He grabbed a hold of a heavy tome that had been left in the attic and brought it down several times on the creature’s head. It shrieked as the soft bone deformed under its father’s strength, and Henry didn’t stop swinging until he was sure the child had stopped breathing. His hands shaking, he looked down at the purple blood that stained his starched cuffs and, emotionless, he climbed back down onto the first floor. Ignoring his mother’s persistent shouts, he walked out into the autumn evening to the small servants quarters which, while it had come with the house, had never been inhabited (and had long since been demolished by the time I moved in). He quickly and calmly retrieved a can of fuel oil from the boiler room and brought it back into the house.
As he opened the door, his mother, though weak in her illness, screamed at him. Her curses trailed off though when she saw the dark fluid that spilled on his clothes. Still calmly, the boy picked his mother up by the neck, and slammed her against the wall. Choking her, he sharply jabbed her with a closed fist, breaking her nose and jaw with one good punch. Stunned, for once in her life she was unable to exert control over her son, and it cost her life. The boy dragged her limp, wasting body up the ladder into the attic, and let her lie beside the corpse of his nameless child. He fastened one of the chains to the woman’s neck and attached the other end just inside the cupola. He planted a kiss on his mother’s brow before dousing her in the oil and setting it alight. Ignoring the burns and the screams, he carried her over to the window and, with a final goodbye, cast her from the window, letting her body slam against the wall beneath the window and hearing the bones crack against the wall while she screamed and screamed and screamed.
Even with the distance from the village, the fire brigade were called not long after the fire, and soon afterwards the police arrested the man for arson and the murder of his mother, sister, and child, who’s remains they found in the charred interior of the building. It was an open and shut case for the police. He admitted to the murders and the arson, and even claimed to have castrated himself some years ago, as evidenced by the scars the doctors found when they examined the prisoner. He hanged on the 17th of November, 1892. No one attended his execution beneath the stormy sky outside the courthouse. Legend has it that, as he walked to the gallows, he had a smile on his face and a spring in his step, and, when asked, he explained that he “would not walk eternal with them”.
I began this story by telling you of my scepticism. Following my stay in the house, however, I have had to change my mind. There are such things in this world that science cannot rightly explain yet, and perhaps, even as it progresses, it shall never be able to. Perhaps this is a good thing, perhaps it is not. What I have learnt from my stay in that twisted, historic house on the banks of the Miskatonic is this- people need not pray to a god or fear the devil. There is no need for a child to tell stories of ghosts and witches to incite terror, and a film maker doesn’t have to come up with some axe-bearing serial killer to horrify his audience. These things are unnecessary for, truly, there is no greater source of pain and fear than the mind of man.