Monday, July 29, 2013

In which John Ashton Smith makes his first report....

"Dear Dr. Armitage,

I fear I am no closer to finding my friend and colleague Richard Morris; if anything, my investigation has taken a strange and troubling turn. But let me explain....

The lead that we had been given in Amenia, NY, led to nothing but a facility housing the offices of an organization that rescues unwanted dogs. An entirely legitimate and quite honorable organization, quite unlike the entity we're looking for.

However, I did talk to another doll in the area who directed me a bit further south, to the area around Poughkeepsie. Here I have found yet another incident which may or may not be related to our investigation. I have also made the acquaintance of the lovely Miss Hitty Caroline and her friends. (I should add that I won't be submitting hotel receipts for this part of the trip, as Miss Caroline's person, Maddy, has kindly offered me a place to stay. Perhaps the University could find some way of reimbursing her?)

I should also add that despite the claims of Mrs. Sally Bishop, I have seen no evidence that the so-called "Hitty Cult" is anything but a "cult" in the most affectionate sense of the word. Although they share a common philosophy and heritage, they do not participate in the bizarre "treelove" rituals she alleged in her last letter. Miss Caroline and her sisters are quite delightful company - Miss Caroline in particular.

Speaking of Mrs. Bishop, I believe I have also  debunked her allegations of one of her recent dolls "turning evil." The doll in question, Sheldon Dean Baylor, was in fact disowned when it came to light that he was gay - this after he was badly injured in a domestic dispute with his then-boyfriend. After escaping the broker he'd been consigned to, he was rescued and adopted by Miss Caroline's person, Maddy, in late September of last year. As you suspected, the claim was baseless and I believe we can close it as such.

However, this leads me to one of my new concerns. A day or so before my arrival, Maddy and one of the other dolls, a Miss Hitty Jade, discovered a female doll of about Shel's size, disoriented and semiconscious but apparently uninjured. Miss Jade reported that the unknown female was coherent enough to ask for Shel, saying something about "warning him," but subsequently lapsed into unconsciousness. Maddy took her to the nearby Hudson Doll Hospital, where she remains in serious but stable condition. I accompanied Maddy and Miss Caroline when they went to visit her today, and I believe that she is one of Mrs. Bishop's dolls. If I remember the adoption website correctly, I believe her name is Sparrow Gardiner. Perhaps you or Dr. Morgan could inquire about the whereabouts (or what she believes to be the whereabouts) of Miss Gardiner without arousing suspicion? I would not advise revealing her location, however. Given what we know about Mrs. Bishop's mindset and her baseless allegations regarding Sheldon Dean Baylor, I fear that we may endanger Miss Gardiner and possibly Sheldon as well.

This brings me to my other immediate concern. After we returned from Hudson, Maddy, Miss Caroline and I decided to make a thorough search of both her property and an adjacent lot. What we found was disturbing to say the least.

We were well out into the adjacent lot when my aether detector sounded. Following the signal, we found first an old key.

Maddy wondered aloud if it might have been Randolph Carter's, but I told her the University is in possession of that particular key. I am hoping you might be able to identify it from the photo included, It is old and quite heavy, with no markings or other clues as to why it set off the detector. For the moment, Maddy has the key in her safekeeping.

The other item is far more disturbing...

The detector was still sounding, and upon further investigation we found this small round silver box hidden in the undergrowth.

Despite my misgivings, we brought it back to the house. Miss Caroline was going to open it but I bade her not to. I fear it might hold a fragment of the Shining Trapzoidhedron. If that is so, then I fear what other forces are at work here....

I'm horribly worried at this point and fear I may in fact be well out of my depth. Perhaps Pete Riley or one of the others could be sent to assist me?

Maddy has reassured me that she can handle anything, but I fear for what might happen to her and the lovely Miss Caroline should, as I fear, my discoveries in fact be related to the situation with Richard and the Chester's Farm investigation.

Yours, concerned

John Ashton Smith
Miskatonic University Paranormal Incidents Team
Occult Studies - Doll and Toy Division
Arkham, MA 01914"

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