A Portrait Of The Artist As A Large Slug

A Report of the Boston Occult Society

(Late Spring, 1920)

Submitted by Alasdair Charles "Charlie" McNish

Monday <late spring> 1921

    The firm of Danning & McNish received a phone call from Penny Tilstrom, a wealthy socialite, wanting to speak with Michael Danning.  She said that a close friend of hers here in Boston was very sick and crying.  It appears he mentioned Michael Danning's name, which prompted her to contact us.  We immediately drove to Miss Tilstrom's house, picking up Frank and Father O'Reilly on the way.

    Miss Tilstrom met us at the door.  She was wearing an expensive dressing gown and jewelry.  As she led us upstairs, she told us about her friend.  She says she met Nelson Blakely two years ago at an art show.  Mr. Blakely was an artist, and had since moved into her home.
    She led us past other rooms to the sick room.  The first impression we received was the horrible smell that struck our nostrils.  The sight did nothing to improve that impression.  We were faced with a canopy bed, on which lay a man in blue silk pyjamas.  His face was bloated and dark, as were his hands, and his dark purple tongue stuck out.  He was breathing hard, and the overall impression was of how bloated he was.

(remainder direct from operatives' notes)
    Doctor says will die -- ????? found him in apartment unconscious -- had been depressed and withdrawn, ????? more, last June moved back to garrett in North End, and not until accident that contacted again.  Police won't say what happenned. he has no family, so doctor called her, and brought him here.
    Obsessed with retrieving paintings he'd done and sold.

    His studio dusty, -- no-one been here for some time.  Mostly portraits -- but backgrounds alwlays weird landscapes (dreamlands?). Portraits are of well-known socialites.
    Nelson specialised in those backgrounds.

Page (2)

    Get key to nelson Blakely's apartment.

    Call David Klondike -- saw in paper about accident (landlord found body on couch) -- IN charge of investigation was Det. Anthony Ehrling -- on vacation!
    Nelson Blakely had several strange friends (???? are given addresses?) only artist friend (mentor?) was Pickman -- may be dead?

    Richard Upton Pickman was an artist specialising in occult paintings.

    Other friends -- rivals -- William Bragg (art dealer), Samuel Bleaker(?) and Adrain Stimson (famous local occult students), Adrian Josome.

    David finds out name of beat cop in charge.

    Drive to apartment, Frank picks up his gun.  Meet David at apartment.
    david talks to apartment manager -- Melson was lying on couch, soaking wet, lungs full of water, and locked in apartment -- couch was a little wet.  Sea water, perhaps?
    The apartment -- 1 room on 5th floor, skylight, windows -- artists studio -- used recently -- landscapes without people -- tend to be darker, more ominous scenes.  The one in the centre of the room -- covered -- look at it -- very large picture -- show completely still lake surrounded by ruins of ancient temples, broken columns, and strangely headless statues.  the lake commands the viewers attention.

Page (3)

    Boxes with papers in room.

    Under couch is an ankh.  Also a piece of drying seaweed.
    In kitchen area is (hidden) remains of empty alcohol bottles.

    Take bozes to conference room in Ontario house.

    Ankh is silver.

    frank gets addresses for all the names.

    Papaers -- some are interesting--
    -- A lteer from Pickman -- "For reasons of health I have decided to retire, so to speak, and leave the Boston area, probably for ever. You know how to ?reach? where I'll be.  Come and visit often, but don;t forget to bring the sign of the Aegyptus with you."  Enclosed is a photo of himself and ???? Elliot.
    -- Another letter from Roger Baldridge, roughly says "Cannot beleive that dreams are serious -- his latests statue from a dream -- but relying solely on dreams for inspiration.
    Pickman?  He dropped out of sight ages ago.
    Dreams predict future?  Rubbish!" -- written January.

    O'reilly ?????? spoke of 4 paintings he tried to find -- there are receipts here (names and dates) --
    -- 2/12 "New York at Dusk" Mr and Mrs B E Biggs, 144 park Avenue #1130, $300.
    -- 2/28 "Fate" Reggie Van Statler $225
    -- 4/26 "R'lyeh at Dawn" E Bancroft, 113 Ashbury Blvd, $75
    -- 1/12 "Elder Yuggoth" A. Stimson, 3172 Huntington Ave #319 $100

    Boswell Biggs is very successful owner of major Boston shipping firm.
    Statler -- millionaire playboy killed several months ago in a motorcycle accident.
    Evelyn Bancroft -- she figures well in occult world.

    Dinner at the house, them go home.  Joe takes the Ankh to examine -- solid silver.


Tuesday <late spring> 1921

    Wake up.

    david Klondike calls -- wants to come over and talk -- lunch -- call the usual people.

    He went to ask Michael danning -- concentrating on dreamlands, MD's house -- and went there.  MD wasn't there, but did look at library.

Page (5)

    Yuggoth -- not in dreamlands (actually in real world) space but can be reached from dreamlands.
    Ankh is protection against some dreamlands creatures (as "holy symbol")
    ("Deep Ones" -- water creatures -- no connection)

    Charlie and Frank start with the occult people, while David + O-Reilly to see Biggs, check on Statler, etc.

    Before lunch, a call from Insert Name Here (lawyer) who wants to talk to Mr. Danning urgently and personally -- will arrive at 2 o'clock -- Betty Sands gives him directions.

    Frank visits Adrian Stimson -- lower middle class - 4th floor apartment.  He is invited in for some <water?> - the picture is on the wall - Desert with spiky crystals, temple in distance.  Says Nelson was not very involved with the occult - he got inspiration from dreams.  Stimson asks Frank aboiut occult, and the Boston Occult Society.  Stimson has heard of Danning - wants to know has made contact - but never met him, although know of him - McNish comes up - Stimson wonders when Frank last saw McNish.  A. Stimson wants tyo meet Messrs Danning & McNish - Invites to dinner at 7 o'clock.  Frank asks him about various creatures - the <MD's> doorman, the MiGos.

    David Klondike & O'Reilly go to Boswell Biggs.  Very expensive apartment.  The door opens - Mrs. Biggs talks to them eventually - (Mr. Biggs is tied to an armchair with a bathrobe draped over him, he looked in pain). - She saus she sold it to an art dealer = (MR Biggs was too squeamish?) - She gives him a piece of paper which should have the address of the art dealer.  - The art dealer - a small gallery - the painting is not in obvious sight - sold to Name about two weeks ago. - that is a small bookshop in a run-down twon - "porno works" - DH Lawrence, James Joyce, etc.  Some paintings - but not obviously "New York at Dusk" - talk to Name - he just sold it to Jacob who is in apartment upstairs - they go there - It's a really shabby apt building - 3rd floor - bums, murderers and derelicts here in the halls - numerous latches and bolts - man pears out - the painting is not for sale - he's very insistent - he loves the painting - they go in to look (for $20) - he shows them in grandly - not much furnishings - the painting is on the table - View of city at sunset, before darkness - foreground is old cemetary in which are several leering ghouls obviously about to break into a grave.

    Lawyer arrives - conference room - Dreamt - horrible foreboding - trail of destruction leading through Boston - people rushed and trampled - unstoppable creature destroying - no amrs, no legs, no distinctive form - huge mass crushing everything, awful smell, dripping and bubbling and snorting and devouring. - finally went to sea, and nothing could stop it once here.  Mr. Danning may have info on creature.
    - He will return around 6, and stay the night.

Page 7

    Frank - Adrian Stimsons "Dark Hearted Demon" wants us for dinner.  A.S. v good at getting infor w/o giving any - interested in Mr. Danning.  He's invited us to dinner.  Pass along a story to Mr. Danning.
    <Theme?> Evelyn Bancrofts - flapper - large house - Shiela (big woman with white cat "Meldria").
    Sunny Bancroft (pudgy, 35, E's son (?!) - Ev. didn't look old enough), Karen Selim (Cape, high black boots - quotes (mis-?) a lot of Shakespeare), Dr. Zeus (quiet - lives with EB - at desk working and reading and taking notes).  Various books on occult - (two are reputable occult, says O'reilly). - 1500 candles, 3 crystal balls, tarot sets.
    She impressed initially as hoaxter - but when A.S. mentioned, she spouted lots of things engind in "Black Hearted Demon" each time - "He wants to control all of Boston" - "Been in psychic war with him for years" - Dr. Zeus recognised Dream worlds + when poker-faced (others said "I know that" but obviously didn't).
    Painting in a niche in centre of room, rows of candles leading up, candles at bottom - altar? - represents the entire universe - bow of canoe overlooking and ocean, + and island that has freshly risen from ocean. ("R'lyeh at Dawn")
    EB cast a spell over Frank to protect him, and gave him a silver skull charm

    Roger Balridge has no idea about any of this.

Page 8

    David says formless creature is recognised, but not sure, and hopes not. - a Great Old One - Ghadamon.  One of the "biggies".

    Frank cancels appt w/AS, apt tomorrow in evening for dinner.

    David sleeps and tries to visit Michael Danning - at his house - he is in!  We have this problem with the name of an edler god - Ghadamon - MD says to follow him while they talk - Adrian Stimson? MD doesn't know him.  Mention Nelson's paintings - sounds like Pickman's stuff.
    Room with 4 mirrors - looking in through the mirrors at Boston Occult Society. - MD did not directly have a connection with the lawyer's vision, but the world is a weird place, after all - What would attract this Elder God? (Also DK mentions Nelson Blakely's drowning on sofa.) - MD shows DK a book in library - the answer is in here, but DK is aware of consequences, isn't he? - it's a BAAAD book. (+11 to Mythos) - contains some spells which DK could learn in time (can't really tell what spells do) - 2 spells - one that starts this mess, and one to stop it.  DK tries to learn the "go away" spell.  He wakes up.

    DINNER, then tell lawyer about dreamlands and stuff, and lawyer describes his dream.

    Lawyer dreams normally (sort of repeat of the last one)

Page 9

    Base of tree, as usual, get ot MD's home - he's not there, but we go in.  DK learns spell.  Frank reads book (tries to create a copy, but not really - a new book, difrerent), then reads about R'lyeh and Elder Yuggoth, etc.

    Charlie + O'Rielly look intyo bringing people to dreamworlds -- some drugs, some hypnotic and magical means, and some portals.

    DK - painter "Rydergard" did paintings of dreamworlds, and if slept near it, would be there. - Nelson Blakely was by a lake painting... Sleeping by a nice painting might be OK.

    DK learns the spell - usable only in dreamlands - suck a dreaming person back to real world - destroys a dreamlands version permanently - has no effect on dreamlands native - 5 mins, costs mag = Target's POW, range 10 yds.

    The other spell (not yet learnt) - spellthat begins process of sending Ghadamon to earth - refers to "time being right" as if specific time on dreamlands or earth when ripe for to happen - the spell assumes you know.

    R'lyeh is where Cthulhu is from - Cthulhu rests in R'lyeh.

Page 10

    (In the dreamlands, Charlie is studying "Nameless Cults" - Spells acquired: Contact Cthonian; Summon Star Vampire; Contact Hounds of Tindalos; Create Gate)

Wednesday (late spring) 1921

    Skeptical person who wrote letter to Nelson - Roger Baldridge - found dead with head remove and put on statue - have been similar murders.
    Other murder victims - closest to Bancroft's (suspect Stimson and Evelyn Bancroft) house.

    Dinner at Stimon's - seems trustworthy - mysticist - has been inside his picture (Elder Yuggoth) and immediately left. - David Klonsike told him story of MiGos in Vermont.
    Book of Ebyn - Blakely found it in Harvard Library by accident (read it) - Stimson <reeli?d> same as a book he had - least to Blakely which he thought helped with pictures.
    Lawyer says he got book back, which Stimson said hadn't.  - Book contains spell to call thing down to destroy Boston.

    Blakely is expanding - now over 350lbs and skin is splitting.

    Therefore both Blakely and Stimson read book (did Stimson understand spells?( Stimson does not appear to want to bring trouble down.

Page 11

    On way back - stopped at Penny Tilstrom's (who is totally freaked) - round back - (Frank had notices large clod footprint under Blakely's window) - David found seaweed.

    night - David Klondike woke up with hands around his throat - shot 3 times - staggered back and came back at him - so 3 moe shots which did it - someone else in room went out window + fire escape - DK chased but he got away.

Thursday (late spring) 1921

    Police arrested DK and jailed.
    Person shot had an axe which fits with murderer...

    DK called Betty (who was worried about Charlie anyway) call lawyer, then Frank go to police station and annoy desk sgt.

    DK released in afternoon.
    Frank wanted doctor to sedate Penny, but can't w/o family permission.

    Tilstrom's - Blakely even bigger, more splits, smell.

    (DK tries to cast the "Banish from Dreamworlds" spell - but had no effect)

Page 12

    Visit hypnotist - the car theat left after murder attempt was - make + licence plate. (Joe Patroni's looking into that).

By the way...

    Sleep in shifts to protect all.

    late evening, Charlie + O'Reilly finally wake up.  We're rather stiff.

Page 13

Friday (late spring) 1921

    Remembering Blakely's description.
    Huge 350lbs swollen, neck disappearing - hair falling out, blue bulbous stuff quivers, etc.

    Phone call from Joe at 8am - car belongs to Samuel Bancroft (E's son - Sonny)

    Frank, David, + Edward (lawyer) go to pcik up Blakely's picture and take it to house.

    Drugs for entering dreamlands - hard to find - one pharmacist might be able to put it together - name.

    O'reilly calls Penny's parents - they will sedate and remove her.

    O'Reilly calls Tilstroms to talk to housekeeper - no answer!

    Frank, david, joe, + edward go to Penny's - Front door - knock. - no answer.  They open the door and go in.  "Hello!"  Penny answers from upstairs, and comes down.  She looks a mess.  She says housekeeper is always here.  She takes them upstairs.  "Nelson is felling better!"

Page 14

    Nelson - over 400lbs - arms and legs swollen and black - bulges broken to reveal small deformed heads eating flesh around them.
    Frank takes Penny outside, and heads her downstairs.  She questions him and struggles a bit.  Joe knocks her out.  Frank takes her to couch in sitting-room.  Call doctor - busy, + will call back.
    Call Charlie and tell him what's going on.

    DK- Gademon + Blakely switching places - could kill this body (of G.) but would kill/trap Blakely.
    Will bring Penny, _ we well go into picture.
    Charlie: Call Stimson and tell him to come - well go into picture.
    Joe's "friends" will guard the beast - one of them freaks out and runs away.  Joe and friend will stay, the freaked out guy drives them back to office. - Joe is told to wait and hour and then torch it if he hasn't been called.
    Joe and friend play cards.

    Franks, David, Edward, Penny, arrive back.  Stimson arrives.  Adrian will hypnotise us all in conference room.
    O'Reilly brings ankh (but it doesn't make it)
    Hypnotises all (O'Reilly, Frank, DK, Ed, Penny, Charlie).

    In picutre.  Still lake, ruins, headless statues, broken columns.  ISee ppeaks of <Thrac> in distance.  Water laps quietly at shore, bolts of lightning.
    Shore broken bones and shells, crabs (silent, 1-1/2').

Page 15

    No sign of Blakely.  In Underworld of Dreamlands.  (Frank creates a staff.)  Prob we need to try another painting?  Seaweed -> Bancroft's?
    Where we came in, there's a picture-sized "hole" to our world - like Danning's mirror.
    We go back, and wake up.

    Edward will go back and watch the beast.
    Joe will come back and try to help us "acquire" the Bancroft's picture.

    Maybe not...

    Try Pickman?  He's a ghoul.

    "New York at Dusk" is Jacob's.
    We'll try to buy it, and if not, acquire it.
    Frank, DK, + Joe go there with $300 - they rent the picture for the night for $60 (to return by noon).  - take back to house.

    This time, take weapons (not Charlie).  - watching graveyard - ghouls about to dig into a grave.  When we speak, they move to attack, but stop...  They speak about Blakely, Pickman, point at ankh.  One steps forwards and speak, that Pickman wants to see us.
    Go to grave, they open and walk in - tunnels - 20 mins, crawl a bit (Frank and Joe and Charlie could get back).

Page 16

    Lead to special cave - <to?t??ting> of great artists form ?gate.  Pickman - ghoul with paintbrush and palette.  Invites us into cave.   We explain the problem.  N Blakely is at the sterile lake where he's switching places.  - we need to find Blakely and "banish" him from dreamlands and that will work.
    Lake - Minions of Gadamon, the Gadamon - sorceress and to deal w/Gadamon - had spell to get through minions - book w/spells in her tomb.  He can tell us where.
    He advises us it's dangerous, and to forget about it, but...
    Chouls show to tunnel, which leads to graveyard and tomb.  Not a safe place to go.  The ghouls leave.  We go down.  Charlie creates 3 flashlights.  Tunnel is warm, damp, low.  Walk a long time.  Hours blur into days.
    At graveyard - vast cemetary - night, misty, stones of obsidian and precious metals.  Go to the large tomb in the centre, 100 yds away - a low hill w/the tomb.  Inside - barren chamber 4yds x 6yds, shelf, yellow candles, animal shells w/horns - end of room - coffin of obsidian on 4' block of obsidian, above it a book.
    Frank goes in, - door squeals and opens.  Walks in.  Glass top to coffin - half-rotted skeletal body in dress.  He takes the book.  She reaches through the lid and grabs him.  She's 7'tall.  The sarcophagus crumbles.  She's very strong.  O'Reilly raises the ankh.

Page 17

    Frank ducks, takes book + runs.  DK shoots the sorceress, but it does little.  Charlie shoots the shotgun and misses.  The ground heaves and corpses start coming out.  Frank freaks out and runs hard.  We all run - Joe tosses some dynamite - the corpses try to grab us as we run.  Joe is grabbed but pulls away.  More grabbing goes on, but all break free.  Father O'Reilly scream, as his clothes start becoming alive and attack.  Frank grows hair and a snout - he's getting ape-like.  Charlies collapses and can't move.  Father has torn off all his clothes and is held.  Stimson screams as he goes into the tunnel and falls down.  Frank the ape drops the book and keeps running.  Joe comes back and rescues Charlie - who has no bones in his body.  Joe rescues the naked priest, who First Aids himself and picks up the book.  Charlie dreams up bones for himself by passes out and is a bit less CON + HP
    All head down the tunnel.  DK look at the book.  We come across an evil-looking ape.  He's been hit with a Devolution spell, says DK.  He runs off down the tunnel, leaving the book.  We find Frank.  DK dreams up a rock over Frank's head.
    There's a confrontation, duiring which we work out DK is paranoid, and we have to shoot Frank and he dies.

    Back to Pickman's cave.  Charlue goes to see him.  He has no advice.

Page 18

    We're out in the real world again.  Frank's body is not there.  Put book in vault and clean up.

    Betty Smith is here to interview Mr. McNish about Nelson Blakely.

    Clean up, do to drawing room. - DK will hide.  We hang "New York at Dusk" on the wall.  BSmith is suspicious to us - she knows the Bancrofts.

    DK takes the book to a hotel room and going into dreamworld - goes to Dannings (since book not with him) and reads everything.

    Charlie goes to Dannings and reads Book of Ebyn.  Learns the spell to Banish from Dreamworlds.

    Lawyer calls and says things prowling outside.

    DK is not in the house.  The book is gone.

    Joe, Charlie, Priest go to house.  Nothing there now, but smell "that smell" - sickly sweet seaweedy - same as place with book at church.  Find seaweed + footprints.

    There's only four of us left.  We vote to dump the acid.  We do, eventually.  the room is a mess.

Page 19

    While we do it, a thing appears at the door.  It's a greyish-green lizard/fish-like thing - Joe freaks out, runs at the thing and gets shredded.  His dynamite goes off.  Charlie freezes some.

    We finish the job, then leave gas on and a candle and blow up the house.

    Back to the house.

Saturday (late spring) 1921

    Henchman and lawyer onto DK.

    Tilstroms will get to Boston in evening.

    Jacob turns up wanting painting back.  Offer him $900 for it, give him breakfast.

    Call doctor over to look after Penny, and have Tilstroms met at station.

    Betty Smith calls, and she will be over at 2.

Page 20

    Doctor pronounces Penny insane.

    We buy Painting, and put both in vault.

    Stimson goes home, after we tell him what happened.

    Betty Smith arrives - to outside.

    The paintings - not worried about Stimson ("Elder Yuggoth")
    "Fate" was painting of hospital room with bed.  Was Statler's, but he's dead.  Doesn't seem too necessary.

    Betty Smythson will get painting and I will answer for them.

    She steals the painting that night.

    Statler's will mentions "Fate", we can find who has it -- it's at a private gallery in the basement.  Canopy bed - like Blakely's - room is smooth while marble, stone door at back.  Bed is only thing in room.  the shadows dance around the wall.  I buy it for $350.

    DK is in a coma in a hospital, the books gone.

    Destroy "Fate" and "R'lyeh at Dawn";


    i.e. keep "NY at Dusk" and Stimson keeps "Elder Yuggoth"