Monday, February 6, 2012

Mystery House


It's most often found at the end of a stretch of dirt road, be it along a lonely bayou in the South, perched precariously on a ridge in the Smaragdines, or rising like a mirage out of the hardpan in the West. Those that seek it seldom find it without magic, but the lost are somehow drawn to it. However visitors arrive, few can forget the sprawling mansion known as the Mystery House.

One story says that Hulysses Mulciber, heir to the Mulciber Repeating Arms Company, was troubled by nightmares of a gaunt gunslinger riding ahead of an army of the ghosts of those who had died due to his family’s rifles. A medium told him that he should build a house designed to confuse and confound the spirits to escape the wrath of the Spectre of the Gun (as she named the gunslinger) and his vengeful army. Another story (more prosaically) holds he began the house as an elaborate gift to his wife who was angry over his philandering. Whatever the reason for its construction, records agree that building originally began in the Smaragdines.

The house even as conceived twisted and turned back on itself--it was almost a maze--and that was before it gained a life of its own. Hulysses didn’t live to see it; he died of blood poisoning following an accidental shooting in a hunting accident. The weapon that did the deed was, of course, one of his own company’s. His wife Ansonia, fervent believer in the reality of the grim Spectre, completed the project and paid numerous thaumaturgists (real and otherwise) to lay all sorts of protections on the house. And construction continued.

Whatever protection conferred to the house didn’t extend to Ansonia. She died of thirst, having gone mad and gotten lost in her own house. It was shortly after her death that the house disappeared from its original lot.

There are some stories of treasures in the house--mostly the mundane riches of the Mulcibers--but most who seek it do so out of curiosity. Most who find it, though, didn’t mean to. Those that have been there and survived report doors to nowhere, hallways that turn back on themselves, and rooms that shift. The stale air is filled with the low, arthritic creaks and groans of the house twisting and rearranging itself, and the distant sound of heavy footsteps--and jangling spurs.

17 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Sounds like a good idea for a TV series....

Tim Shorts said...

Great take on the Winchester Mansion.

Jack said...

Awesome.

Niccodaemus said...

Great stuff!

I'm actually a haunted house designer. Like for theme parks and such. I've produced a number of my own Halloween events as well.

Putting a "haunted house" into an RPG setting can be tricky, but I love this as a template! I just might have to do something with it!

Canageek said...

I hope you don't mind me posting this here, but I'd love to see more on the arctic regions of the world. You could even borrow an old Canadian term for it that is rather pulp: "The Land of the Midnight Sun"

"There are strange things done 'neath the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold.
The arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold.
The northern lights have seen queer sights
But the queerest they ever did see,
Was that night on the marge of Lake LeBarge
When I cremated Sam McGee." --The Cremation of Sam McGee, Robert W. Service, 1874-1958

Trey said...

Thanks guys.

@Jack - Because you demanded it (at least I think it was you)!

@Nicodemus - Interesting! You oughta to a post on the comparison between designing a haunted house and putting together a "dungeon" (of course, maybe you already have and I just missed it).

@Canageek - I did the post on Borea, of course, but there is certainly more I could do with that. There are a few more tidbits in Weird Adventures too. But I'll put some thought into a post on this.

garrisonjames said...

What a nightmare of a place to map-out...very cool site, excellent post!

Niccodaemus said...

I just might do that Trey. A post on Haunted House design!

Trey said...

@Garrisonjames - Thanks!

@Nicodaemus - Yeah man, run with it.

Niccodaemus said...

Hi Trey,

I took your advice. I wrote up the first of what will be a series of articles on Haunted Houses. Here's the first:

http://shatterworldbts.blogspot.com/2012/02/haunted-houses.html

Harald said...

Chester Winford had come prepared, after all, this was not his first delve, and he'd been searching for the Mulciber Mansion for almost a decade. Still, despite his Enochian compass and Lytian chalk, he'd become lost in the maze of constantly shifting corridors, disappearing doors, and rearranging staircases. One thing that hadn't failed him was his Max Heiss chronograph; he'd been in the house for two days now. All this time he'd managed to stay ahead of the slow, nonchalant footsteps of the ghostly gunman appeared to be stalking him.

All of this was as he'd expected, and now he'd found what he had come here for. He'd found Hulysses Mulciber's study, and as the medium had told him he would, in the top left hand desk drawer he had found a single caliber .45 cartridge. On the dull lead bullet, CHESTER WINFORD was engraved in neat letters.

Now all he had to do was get out of the house before the cold killer caught up with him. It was, Chester thought, time to improvise.

Harald said...

@Canageek:

I am sorry, but I will have to object. The Land of the Midnight Sun is not Canada, it is, in fact, Norway.

Trey said...

@Harald - Well done, sir! :)

As far as the Land of the Midnight Sun goes, Johnny Horton says it's Alaska, and who are we to argue with Johnny Horton?

Harald said...

Balderdash.

Trey said...

Well, I'll let you Northerners fight it out amongst yourselves. It was 73 here yesterday. ;)

Niccodaemus said...

I put up a post specifically for design. Let me know your thoughts!

http://shatterworldbts.blogspot.com/2012/02/haunted-houses-part-4-design.html

Trey said...

@Nicodaemus - Great. I'll head over and check it out.