Reanimated Squirrel

A six-year-old boy, neglected by his mother, walked out the side door of his farmhouse and tried to resurrect a squirrel he’d seen crushed by a Subaru on Rural Rte. 21 in _________. (I’m withholding the boy’s name and location because he’s a minor.)

The squirrel had darted directly under the car’s front right tire, as if nature itself had forced its suicide. It flailed for a while, its upper half attempting to crawl away from its pancaked lower half.

The boy had the foresight to put on his father’s leather work gloves before he left the house, entered the road, and attempted to reshape the squirrel into its whole, living self.

The boy was too focused on the squirrel to notice a Ford Fiesta approaching from the north. According to a witness—a neighbor named Linda Ray—the Fiesta driver “smelled like my ex from ten feet away”. By which she meant he smelled powerfully of beer.

The driver, perhaps aware of his intoxication and driving with exaggerated care, saw the boy and gently braked. He turned on his emergency lights, left the car, and encouraged the boy out of the road.

Linda Ray appeared from her house on the opposite side of the road. She had seen the boy enter the road but had been slow in coming to help due to “bad hips”. She spoke briefly to the drunk Fiesta driver before leading the boy home to his mother. The driver left the scene.

According to Ray, the reconstituted squirrel bounded off, good as new and leaving behind only a trace of blood and fur. The boy’s mother was furious her son had left the house. She has declined to speak with me about the incident.

Naturally one would assume the squirrel hadn’t actually been injured, but Linda Ray referred me to several other locals with similar stories about the boy. A cat. A corn snake. A skunk. The boy has a growing reputation for reanimating dead animals. I spoke with the town pastor, who knew the stories well and seemed both awed and fearful of the child’s ability.

I hope to question the boy directly but expect his mother to put up serious resistance.

— report filed by Hank Ridley

Ouija Trolling

Hey, it’s Claire. So last night I drank half a bottle of Citadel gin, painted my toenails black, and broke out the Ouija board.

I made a real scene of it, lighting candles and listening to Bathory on my phone. I drew that vile symbol on the floor (not the *really* vile one I learned from that maniac I dated last June; I mean the lesser vile symbol) and sat in the middle with the board.

I don’t remember what I asked to make contact but a malevolent entity showed up fast and laid it on thick. He said his name was James, and that he was all alone and “scared of the red sound”, and then he got slippery with answers and started twisting the questions back toward me.

Was I hiding any pain? I told him yes. Was there a special pain I’d never shared with anyone before? Yes, I said. Would I trust him with the secret and allow him to help? I hesitated and let myself tear up before pausing the music on my phone and telling him my story.

I shared a long, detailed incident from my second failed marriage. About discovering that my husband had been having an affair. About the baby he’d secretly fathered with his lover. And then—and this was hard to say—about breaking into his lover’s house at night, and standing over the baby’s crib, and really, really considering…

Of course I made the whole thing up. “James” was obviously a newb and not too bright, and I let him relish my sham vulnerability for a while. He asked me to let him into my heart, “to soothe and warm the injury inside” me. (His actual words, spelled out with the planchette, I sh__ you not.)

I laughed and couldn’t stop. He was furious and started tossing lightweight objects around the room. A lit candle hit me in the chin, and the wax splattered on my tee, and it only made me laugh harder. Eventually he quit his tantrum and disappeared to sulk wherever he came from. I spent the rest of the night watching porn and feeling weirdly depressed, but that was probably just the gin.

I know you’ve told me not to play around with Ouija like this, but I’ve got to get my occult kicks where I find them. I kind of regret maybe teaching “James” a new degree of savvy he’ll use against others. I should probably feel guiltier than I do.

— report filed by Claire Maple

Snow Angel Attacks Teen

Fifteen-year-old Jarred Crew was injured in Barre, VT when a snow angel, or at least the snow delineating its form, violently held him to the ground for twenty minutes.

Crew and two friends, Julia Peters and Mary Walsh, were walking together through a neighborhood park at 8PM Saturday night when they came upon a man-sized snow angel with no surrounding footprints. The angel was missing a wing and, at the urging of his friends, Crew reclined in the form and spread his arms to finish the design.

The snowy outline contracted around his body, compressing his legs and torso and immobilizing his head.

“We though he was fucking around,” Julia Peters said, “until he started freaking out, telling us to pull him up and yelling that it hurt.”

Peters and Walsh were unable to pry him out of the angel’s grip. Nearby snow filled the space around Crew’s arms and then, according to Walsh, “the wings lifted off the ground and like squeezed down around him”.

Crew began to scream—he suffered three cracked ribs and significant abdominal contusions—and Walsh ran for help. Peters said, “This halo of snow covered his face and he couldn’t talk or breathe. I had to take my mittens off and claw it away with my fingernails.”

Crew sustained scratches, including one to his cornea, from Peters’ effort to help. By the time Walsh returned with her father and older brother, Crew had escaped and walked with Peters’ assistance to a nearby road. He was treated at the E.R. and released later that night.

No one investigated the scene of the incident until the following morning, by which time the snow angel had vanished under blowing snow. Authorities are said to doubt the veracity of the teens’ account.

Author note: Given this event’s proximity to Montpelier, VT, I can’t help but wonder if Harold Jens, still missing after his apparent dissolution in fog, somehow entered the local water cycle and was clinging to Crew in an effort to regain his original corporeal form. Either way, I’m en route to VT to investigate further.

— Report filed by Hank Ridley

The Girl with the Polkadot Arm

Dennis!

Thanks for forwarding William’s answer to my “fingers sprouting from my arm” situation. I loved his idea of chopping the fingers off and healing the wounds with skinwort, especially b/c I had a Tinder date coming up on Friday night, and a dozen extra pinkies probably doesn’t make the average guy’s fetish list. The chopping fix was nice and quick.

But yeah no. Even with St. Madelia’s spirits to dull the pain, the fingers had roots. Like deep-set bones and tendons and stuff. Pruning shears wouldn’t have worked. I’d have really had to gouge the finger-roots out.

So I grabbed a vial out of a biology starter kit I ordered last week (coincidence or omg fate!?), transmogrified the specimens with a hybrid curse and my own special medley of herbs and spices, and wha-la: I had a Petri dish full of necrotizing amoebas.

I mixed the amoebas into Vaseline and smeared them onto the extra fingers. They devoured the pinkies down to the roots in less than six hours. THEN I used skinwort to heal the wounds. I’ll have a dozen oval scars but it’s actually kind of neat: I’m the girl with the polkadot arm.

Please tell William thanks for his suggestion, though, and I’d love to borrow that book he offered to loan me.

Thanks!!

xoxo
Amanda

P.S. That’s sad his love life is sad. Do get him up and running on email. I’ll cheer him up Amanda-style.

Read the full exchange here.

Finger Cure

Dear Amanda,

Good work healing your severed pinky with skinwort. I’m afraid I have no explanation for why the rest of your arm started growing fingers.

There’s one account in LOST CURES, REFOUND AND REIMAGINED (very entertaining book; I’ll loan it to you) of a German man who died in 1911 after drinking skinwort tea. The following spring, a “flesh tree” sprouted from his grave.

I’ll keep researching possible causes of your finger problem so we can all avoid similar trouble in the future.

The best option I can suggest is to chop the extra fingers at the root and heal those spots with more carefully applied skinwort. I recommend a jigger of St. Madelia’s spirits before you get started. It’ll dim the pain without making you groggy.

I wish you lived closer so I could help in person, Amanda. Please let me know how it goes.

Look Beyond,
William Rook

Read the full exchange here.

Fingers Sprouting from Arm

Hi, Dennis!

I accidentally chopped off my pinky finger. You should have seen the blood. It was like some crazy cartoon the way it spurted.

I thought I was cutting a chunk of grief-root. I know grief-root doesn’t look anything like a pinky finger, but I was making more solstice broth, and you know how the vapors get if you add too much almond after the wishbone, and I spaced out from the fumes and whacked my finger off without feeling it at all. I even smeared a picture on the wall with blood before I came to my senses. It looks like a cave painting, like a bison or something. See attached pic.

Anyway it’s not the finger I’m emailing about. It’s the FINGERS. I used the skinwort treatment and my pinky’s reattached great and mostly healed, but now I’m growing extra fingers all the way up my arm. There’re fourteen of them now, ranging from stubby tips to whole pinkies. I can actually wiggle a few. I didn’t even think this was possible with skinwort and have no idea what went weird.

Will you please forward this to William Rook and get his advice? I know he’s good with this kind of stuff but he still doesn’t have email (?!?).

Thanks!!

xoxo
Amanda

P.S. Does William date? Hook me up. Kidding not kidding. I don’t even know what he looks like, he probably has fingers growing out of his forehead.

———————————-

Hi, Amanda.

Holy smoke. Fingers growing out of your arm: only you, lady. But I’m glad the original severed pinky healed up well.

I forwarded your message to William via the usual private channel. I’ll work on getting him online because this kind of relay obviously isn’t ideal when someone has an emergency. Regardless, he’ll answer quickly, and you’re right—he’s good with this kind of stuff. Hang in there.

Thanks for the pic of your blood drawing. It does look like a cave-painting bison, or a very primal Rudolph.

Yours,
Dennis

P.S. I wouldn’t ask William about his love life at this point. He had a rough year. That’s a very long story you’ll hear in the coming months when he’s ready to tell it.

Read the full exchange here.

Man Dissolved by Fog

A man named Harold Jens was dissolved by fog yesterday morning, shortly after dawn, in the suburbs of Montpelier, VT.

According to witnesses, Mr. Jens was taking his daily walk through the neighborhood when a bank of white fog moved toward him from the end of the cul de sac. Fog was widespread that morning, due to an influx of unseasonably warm air, but was described by locals as “plain old fog” or “thick but I don’t know, just fog”, etc.

Mr. Jens entered the fog wearing a black tracksuit and orange sneakers. Another walker, Debra Lakewood, was half a block away and watched him blur and fade entirely from sight. A minute later, Mr. Jens reemerged, staggering toward Ms. Lakewood and waving his arms as if surrounded by a swarm.

He was covered in fog, which clung to him so densely that he appeared as a pure white, featureless, humanoid body. “He looked like he was made of cloud,” another neighbor said. “I couldn’t see his face or anything. I only knew it was Harold because I could still see his orange sneakers a little.”

Ms. Lakewood reached him and tried to help, but neither she nor Mr. Jens were able to clear the fog away from him. “He couldn’t talk,” she said. “I thought he was suffocating. Whenever he opened his mouth, it was just this gap in his blank face with mist flowing in, like it was rushing down a drain. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know what to do. I guess I started screaming.”

Two more neighbors responded to Ms. Lakewood’s cries and hurried outside to help. Mr. Jens, blind and panicked, ran into the fog before anyone could stop him. His sneakers were seen moving toward an acre of woods at the cul de sac’s end and the neighbors pursued him, fearing he would crash headfirst into the trees. They lost sight of him just as the fog started to disperse.

“The sun broke through and burned it off so fast,” Ms. Lakewood said. “I swore I saw Harold’s shape in the haze, near a green Honda parked at the end of the street, but then he swirled and disappeared with the rest of the fog. Everything was clear in less than half a minute, like Harold and the fog had never even been here.”

Mr. Jens remains missing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact local authorities or email The Equinox Society.

— report filed by Hank Ridley

Veterinarian Finds Ouroboros

A vet in New Mexico is in possession of a snake devouring its tail—an actual ouroboros.

The snake is three feet long, dull black, and eyeless. Its species is unrecognized by consulted herpetologists.

Approximately one third of its total length is within itself at any given time. X-rays reveal a varying portion of the swallowed tail is always in a state of decomposition or digestion, but the snake’s total weight remains constant to the ounce, presumably because the self-consumed matter is being converted to new tissue in a constant cycle of regeneration.

Which of course is biologically impossible. At minimum, the snake should require water and additional calories for essential vitality, and yet the creature has been monitored in a closed environment for thirty-seven days and appears perfectly healthy.

The veterinarian, however, is said to have grown badly obsessed with the snake. Colleagues tell me he lost an alarming amount of weight in the weeks after its discovery. He has abandoned his job at the clinic, locked himself in his apartment with the snake, and communicates only via brief, snake-related texts.

His friends and relatives are increasingly concerned about his well being, especially because he has, in the words of his sister, “often struggled with OCD and severe introversion, even before he found the snake.”

— report filed by Hank Ridley

Evil Neon: 2nd Report

I experimented with the insanity-inducing neon.
 
It took some doing. The motel manager had unplugged the “FREE COFFEE” sign, which had already affected three people, and wouldn’t let me plug it back in. He wouldn’t sell it to me, either, but he finally let me take it to my room so I could view it without him.
 
He tripled my deposit in case I broke the sign or went crazy. I assured him I had plenty of experience with malevolent objects. “No worry tripling your deposit, then,” he said. Fair enough.
 
I detached the sign from his office window and carried it to my room. This was around 9:30 P.M. I closed the room’s blinds and put on only the bathroom light, with the bathroom door mostly closed, so there was just enough illumination to find an outlet and power up the sign.
 
I sat a long time, enjoying the spectral warmth I always feel around neon—a flush I associate with being buzzed but not yet drunk, or half-undressed with a stranger—and experienced no peculiar effects from the sign’s green glow. I must have fallen asleep.
 
How I ended up in the manager’s private room is beyond me. I was standing in his shower, fully dressed and soaked with hot water. When I stepped out of the bathroom, I saw the manager hogtied on the bed. He was unconscious.
 
He was also soaked in gasoline from a can on the floor. When I reached into my jeans for my pocketknife to cut his bonds, I found a Zippo lighter that didn’t belong to me.
 
I cut the manager loose, checked his vitals, and anonymously called an ambulance from his room phone. Then I got the hell out of there. Back in my own room, I changed out of my wet clothes and watched through the blinds as the ambulance arrived. I saw the manager walk out with the medics, looking dazed but OK.
 
The neon sign was missing from my room.
 
I spent the night expecting police to come but none did. In the morning, I couldn’t resist going to the motel office to see what the manager remembered.
 
The neon sign was back in the window it had come from. It was lit. The manager greeted me cheerfully, as if I were a stranger. He didn’t remember us meeting and had no record of me checking into the motel. When I asked about the neon sign and the incidents surrounding it, he had no idea what I was talking about.
 
I don’t either, anymore.
 
— report filed by Claire Maple
 

Neon Sign Causes Insanity

A neon sign at the ________ Motel has caused at least three cases of temporary insanity.

I’m withholding the motel’s name to deter occult-tourist nutjobs who will either disrupt my investigation or stare at the sign until they’re clinical nutjobs.

The sign is pale green and reads “FREE COFFEE”. It’s placed in the office’s front window and is visible from the road, which is the kind of treeless, strip-malled road that makes you want to avoid whatever urban center it leads to.

The motel owner describes the following pattern: a guest checks in, behaves normally, and asks about the free coffee. Each guest seems less interested in the coffee itself than in the “FREE COFFEE” sign. The guest then stands outside to stare at the sign and starts behaving erratically.

GUEST A: Male, middle-aged. Stared at the sign for three minutes before completely undressing, running into the road, and attempting to swim in oncoming traffic. Arrested. Believed to be under the influence and later released.

GUEST B: Female, adolescent, traveling with her mother. Stared at the sign so long her exasperated mother left her there to unpack the car alone, at which time the girl wrote in lipstick, in perfect backwards script on the office window so the manager could read it: “You will beg me to swallow your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver…,” etc. She listed seventeen organs before her lipstick ran out. Her mortified mother paid the manager for the cleanup expense and drove her daughter away without spending the night.

GUEST C: Male, elderly. Stared at the sign for less than a minute before removing his false teeth and using them, like a bad ventriloquist, to recite pornographic terms and definitions until the manager called the police. When the officers tried to calm the old man, he clutched his genitals, wept, and dropped dead in the parking lot. Autopsy results are pending.

The sign is currently unplugged.

— Report filed by Claire Maple

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