Darkness on Cold

Part Four

Boston Occult Society: Independent Agent's Journal

(Spring, 1930)

Recorded by Carrie Walker

Saturday, March 15th, 1930

    Today I met with Charlie. He told me that one of the telegraph agents from Anchorage had disappeared.  Obviously we should get out of town as soon as possible to avoid anyone making a connection between us and the BOS.
    Charlie has assigned a "controller", and all contact should pass through him.  He's experienced, an accountant and lawyer, and therefore can talk without worry, but we should not expose him to anything.  He can approve large expenses.  His name is Alexander Smoodgen.
    He was to drop by Jennifer's place later.  I was told that we could rely on his advice.  I'll run the tactical operation, while he will resolve large items.

    Mr. Smoodgen arrived at Jennifer's house tonight.  I summoned the others to dress properly and come above stairs to meet him.
    He introduced himself.  He looks like a geek, and definitely a bit weird.  I guessed his age to be around 25.
    Once drinks and cigars were passed around (Alex didn't take either, while of course I rolled my own), he explained how things were going to work.  He'll be funding hte expedition.  We are not to talk about him, and not reveal his existence to the enemy, even under torture.
    Our goals are to destroy the airship project, as part of destroying the cult and preventing them from releasing Ithaqua.
    Alex asked, "Why an airship?  Why not an airplane?"  It's a good question, one I think we should try to answer.
    Zack said, "What do you see getting our of our activities?"
    "Saving the world?" Alex replied.
    Rocky was rather disbelieving.  Alex is paying us to stop them, that is our job.  Rocky started talking about the Cult, and the beasts, and so on, and when I noticed that Alex was starting to twitch, I quickly changed the subject back to more sane discussion.
    We'll be discussing our needs on the way to Camden, and Alex will contact us there.  Alex gave us our tickets, I thanked him, and he left.

    Our train will leave tomorrow.

    Zack then asked us about stuff like the critters.  We talked, drank, and smoked well into the night.

    I prepared Tom and packed the rest of my gear.  This could be fun.

Sunday, March 16th, 1930

    We arrived in Camden this evening, taking a taxi to the address Alex had given us.  It turned out to be an old run-down house in a not so nice neighborhood.  The key was on the table, and food was in the fridge.  A note said we should call a certain number when we arrived and had our list of requirements ready.
    Doc took the list.  Rocky suggested getting a delivery van with a generic name for our use.
    It turns out that Gary is our dynamite expert.

Monday, March 17th, 1930

    At 10am, Doc called the number.  The person on the other end of the blower said "O'Reilly's" and Doc told him the list was ready.  Doc then said, "I'm looking for Alexander Smoodgen," to which he was told that he must have the wrong number, he wasn't known there.

    If Doc blows Alex's cover again, I might have to put out a contract...

    The phone rang soon after.  Rocky answered it, and handed it over to the "person who mentioned his name."  I don't know what Alex said to Doc, but I hope it wasn't pleasant.
    As a result of the conversation, Rocky and Beau took the list to an address and gave it to the proprietor.  The place was a flower shop.
    When he got back, Rocky presented me with a violet.  Strange guy.

    Doc checked the paper.  There was an article about the airship "The Camden" by Paul Garvin, who is covering the project.  It read like an update, and said things were going fine.
    There is some conflict between the union and management at many of the yards, but not that one.

    Doc and Gary then went to scope out the shipyard.

    Gary came back and presented us with a sketch of the layout of the "Alliance Shipbuilders of America, Camden Airship Facility."  The airship is in a hangar.  The iron fence is topped by barbed wire.  There are probably dog patrols.  The bars of the fence could be forced to get someone small through.  He didn't notice lights. Doc stayed behind to case the joint at night.  The Sharp Detective Agency is doing the guards.  The yard is a union shop, fortunately.  Gary said he has a contact at the SDA to get a job.

    Doc got back late with more scoop.  The guards change every four hours.  The shift changes at six.  The main gate is open after 6, but the rest are closed then.  They check all vehicles at night, and some during the day.  There are lights at the gate, and random ones throughout the yard.  The fence is not lit, but the yard in general is well lit.  There are dogs and patrols at night, and the whole place.  He suggested checking where the power lines came in.

    I sent Beau and Gary to check the shipyard at night.  They had a hard time finding a taxi, but did get there in the end.

Tuesday, March 18th, 1930

    Gary and Beau returned.  They said it was quiet at night, but there were always guards and some vehicle traffic.  The whole area comes back to life at 6 am.

    In the afternoon Gary and Beau went over to Philly for the detective agency job.

    Doc went out too, to visit the paper (the Star Courier, not the Gazette) and talk to Paul Garvin.  He found out that the plant has guided tours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  He checked the archives and brought back copies of all the airship articles.  Apparently the project is being funded by the Navy.  We decided to visit the place tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 19th, 1930

    Everyone went on the guided tour, except Beau who wanted to wait for a phone call (probably about the detective agency job).  The tours are at 10 and 2:30, and it's suggested that visitors turn up half an hour early to sign up.
    Doc, Rocky, and I went as a group, while Gary appeared to be by himself.

   We signed in at the gate.  Our guide was Miss Pettigrew.  She talked constantly for an hour, mostly showing us around the dirigible.  The airship was covered with scaffolding.  The maiden flight is planned for mid May.  The project began four years ago, with construction taking three years of that.
    We noticed that some sort of gas bags were inflated.
    This ship uses hydrogen.  Their engineers know how to make it safe.  Doc asked where they keep the gas, and Miss Pettigrew pointed at an area "over there."  Gary asked about the security, and she pointed out the security building, and mentioned the patrols.  The guards are armed with pump action shotguns and revolvers.  All the employees -- all the workers -- were wearing uniforms.
    The setup was very similar to the hangar at Endurance.
    The ship is apparently modelled after the "Los Angeles."
    I asked Miss Pettigrew why not an airplane, and she replied, "Airplanes can't fly that far north."

    Doc wondered that if we trashed this airship, whether the Navy would just supply another.  I pointed out that if that happened, it would no doubt be in the paper.

(now just transcription of notes...)

while gone...

    Car and van ("The Flower Shop") arrive.  w/supplies, incl. whiskey, pistols, and rifles, but no other military hardware (no dynamite, incendiary rounds, or elephant gun ammo).  Alex's letter says to use the car, not a taxi, from this address.  Contact him through Francisco's.  also, leave qequipment in can, and don't let van out of sight (moved money and liquor inside).

we return.  (Doc found out the Dilbert Compton does himy)

sit down for a smoke and drink.

    doc will cruise occult shops.  Find out names of rich occultists, look for Ithaqua stufff.  Will check paper for shops, + personals, etc.
    gary will check for union boss, address, name,.  also for odd weather.

    Tonight, Gary goes bar-hopping, checking for union boss info, + dropping rumors that management want him to be dealt with - can drop name Lawrence Hubert.

    Gary calls O'Reilly's and gets where it is.  "Ask for Mo."  I'll go there too...
    Bo drives us.  Rocky goes too.
    Gary and Bo are armed with .38 revolvers.

    O-R's - lounge, velvet, high-backed booths.  We as for Mo, and are directed to sit.
    Waitress brigns us hors d'oeuvres.  I light up, and coffee.  Gary gets a cigar.
    man comes over + joins us.  Moe.
    Gary + Bo say they're police (detach + ex) - I say I want coffee w/more of a kick, + say the boss might have heard of me.  Boston, Atlanta.
    1/2 hour later, he comes back + leads in to a back room.  Same decor, stiffer drinks.  2 tables, we're the only ones.  Different waitress - beautiful.
    Bo - bourbon; Gary - whiskey.
    Me - martini on rocks.  Big one.
    Gary chats her up at my suggestion.  She's worked here a long time.
    I ask if I were in town on business, and didn't want to step on toes, how would I talk to the man with the toes.
    Next round, comes back with a note says "Edward Gordon".
    Gary pathetic at picking up.  Fails.

    Go home. - as leave, waitress hands Bo a piece of paper w/name and number (Melissa).

    Bo drives us home safely.

Thursday, March 20th, 1930

    Bo has a date tonight... needs clothes - will take car + drops Doc + Gary off @ library.

    Gary finds nothing significant w/weather.  crime boss -- couple of names, no org chart... union bosses, no mention.

    Doc - reads society columns looking for occult stuff.  Asks librarian how to contact these people - find addresses, like in Who's Who.  Also, books on beliefs + practices of gypsies - can she recommend bookstores?  She mentions some in Camden, or for more esoteric books, gives address of place in Philly.
    Doc goes to Philly to store - asks taxi driver the strangest thing happened in last 3 years - aside from electing a dork as mayor, nothing happens in Camden.
    Talks to store person, .. It's a book w/antique books + other curiosities, slant towards occult.
    No web-footed figures, but does find a winged snake -- Indian <something>-wood , ~18" high, carved, made by <---> Indians in deserts of the west, + we believe it to be at least 100 years old.  Buys fortune-telling book, Native American (Religions of) book ($10).  Figure is $50, so doesn't get it yet -- gives him $20, to hold statue.  Also gets address of another of his occult list.
    Taxi to first name's address - good row house.  Butler opens door, + asks why he's here.  Doc says he wants to talk about mystical matters - butler says Mr. Houdini charges significant money for his time, unless he has something to offer?  "Years of experiences + travel"  let in.  After 1/2 hour, "Monsieur Houdini" (clearly not French, more like Balkan) introduces himself.  "Dr. Smith, spent some time in France in War, + worked with some gypsy families and so on.  Been in AK for several years - talk about occult in Alaska...
    Talk, talk, tea, sandwiches...
    Doc tells him of Cult of Silla.
    Talk about books and stuff, + gypsies (he looks like one).  Houd says can sell him a book by a Rom, who wrote it in Romany + was translated by another person into English -- v. rare, so $75.
    Butler gets it.  Small volume, leather bound, good quality.  Intro - seems authentic.  about the Traditions + Practices of Central Eastern Europe.
    Doc says he'll be back tomorrow at same time.

    Doc takes taxi about 1/2 mile away from house.

    I call Edward's number.  Appointment @ 4pm @ address.

    Bo's back, so I take the car.  Rocky drives me.

    Arrive.  Office over warehouse.
    Receptionist -- I tell her I have 4pm appt.  Carrie Walker.  Mr. Moore will be meeting w/ me.  I follow her in.  Mor Moore impressed.
    Airship yard - no small businessmen are involved in it.  The project is well funded by some extremely old money + the us govt.  Wouldn't be stepping on any local business toes.
    Local businessmen will help us w/info, anon of course. - The old money - their other interestes, generally what's going on, tips for gaining access.
    I give him the number at the house.

    Doc tells me what he found -- talked to Harry Houdini, local + respected + been around for a while -- told him story re:Silla - in Who's Who, so established in society.  "Ret'd doctor looking into occult, stories to trade."  He has a book on occult written by Roms - wants $75.
    I suggest he call to authorize $200-$300 for purchase of occult.

    Gary - no unusual weather, + some reference to crime bosses (three or four) but no union info.

    Bo's date goes v. well.  Melissa comes back w/him, so Rocky has to sleep elsewhere.  He understands.  "Day-amm!"

    Bo - Melissa asks him a lot of q's about who he is, why he's in town - first date, or is she pumping him?  Since works how in house full of other guys + a girl ("She doesn't prefer men"), + who are they, ewtc.

    Doc hits newstands, to find old news-seller to ask about local weirdness.  Gets name of shipbuilder union boss.  Haunted house story, in Courier, last fall maybe.

Friday, March 21st, 1930

    Melissa makes us all breakfast... friendly + good-looking.  Then she left.  (Bo called a taxi)
    Gary + Bo went for job @ agency...

    Rocky invites me to a talkie.  We go to Philly for it...

Saturday, March 22nd, 1930

    Morning, talkt ot Zack.  They went to house of guy whose aunt owned a piece of Allied.
    Found news articles on haunted house - 830 Franklin Ave.  Amelia + Everett Osbrook - killed by an unknown axe murderer in May of 1919.  Abandoned since then -- strange noises, etc..
    Coin collection in basement cabinet missing.
    Everett was major stockholder in Allied Shipbuilders of American.
    "Noises from house frighten children" reported on April 11th 1928.
    Man found dead in building (65 years old), no wounds, April 3rd, 1929.
    Zack + Gary searched house while Bo waited outside.
    House now owned by Clarence Porter, lives in CA.

    Zack goes to see widow of mailman who found the couple dead.  Bo drives him.
    Told me -- Brian Early (mailman) dies of heart attack in Aug'27.  Nothing interesting...

    List of major stockholders (none Osbrooks or Porters)

    I get phone call ... someone's bringing me list - list shows up in 20 minutes.

    List of major contributors / sponsors, + approx guess of how much.

    Tell Rocky + Gary; they'll check at library.  JP Morgan is railroad money.

    I rest before casing the yard tonight.

    None of those 3 names hold stock in ASA.

    List of major contributors / sponsors, + approx. guess of how much.

    tell Rocky & Gary  -- they'll check at library

    J.P.Morgan - railroad money?

    I rest before casing the yard tonight.

    None of those 3 names hold stock in ASA

    JPMorgan Jr - (real one) dad into railroads + shipbuilding
    Carlson (real one)
    Dr. Paul Lansing (no local listing for phone or address) - none listed in regular who's who, but in medical one - prominent NY physician.  GP.

    They retunr -- Paul Lansing GP in NYC, etc.  Porter (owns house) deed managed by law firm of X and Y in Philly.  Newspaper guy who writing articles had an idea who investors where: never heard of Lansing, didn't know Morgan was investor, + Carlson interested in commercial transport.

    I'll go case the yard, while they take the van to the house. they leave @ 10pm.
    I'll leave at 10:30pm in the car.

    They go to house.  Over fence + break in to kitchen.  Search for a way to basement ...
    They find the basement - two beds slept on recently, and a still (in a pit).  A tunnel leads out, with the vent from the still following it.
    Tunnel leads to sewers.  They go back.  They try to cover their traces but tore up too much.  Leave.  Drive back to house. 5 hours later.

    I - take car
    drive around all sides indirectly.  No abandoned buildings adjacent, + no good places to hide nearby.  Nothing overlooks it - 2 storey building across road @ back of shipyard is best can do.
    Bet[...] reasonably + very well done security.
    2 guards @ main gate.
    Go back to home.
    I'll wait up...

    They come in - they found a stairway down plastered over from the inside.  a good high-quality still + hooch there.  They brought back some.

    Bo will drive me, + forget what happens.

    Drive to dark street.  Remove plates.

    Drive by shooting, 100 round drum @ main gate.
searching a truck as we go by.
    kill a guard 1/first burst, + empty rest of magazine into truck etc. for effect.
    Bo jerks wheel, car jumps kerb, recovers.
    Looks like I killed the second guard.

    Stops at house.  Tell Bo to dump car (minus plates) in river.  Tell him to dump plates where a cop wouldn't find them.

    Bo talks to me when he comes back.  the conversation counts as if it didn't happen.

Sunday March 23rd

    Zack gets a paper.-- drive by shooting at shipyard, 2 guards dead, driver of truck injured + in hospital.  No leads.

    I call the flower shop, + when they call back I ask for another car -- same model, same color.

    Zack goes back + looks thru paper for Lansing, + his occult list.

Monday 24th March 1930

    Gary + Bo go get uniforms in day + report to work @ night.  Work @ warehouse somewhere.  Just the two of them, no others.  Supposed to do rounds...
    Random warehouse...

Tuesday 25th March 1930

    New car arrives.
    Zack goes to look for papers for all the other airship locations - predictably he has little success.

    Local paper full of stories about yard - if anything, redoubled their efforts to finish on time + security.  Assumed the shooting was gang-related, but why would organized crime care?
    I go to Gary + tell him to use these events to get a transfer there.

    I drive w/Zack to look @ area sorrounding the yard.  There are indeed no places for rent overlooking the yard - I was right.
    Zack goes in to talk to the folks in the warehouse along the east side of the yard.  No result.
    West end, Z goes again.  Warehousoe quite full.

    While waiting, two plainclothes cops come up to car.  City cops.  Ask what I'm doing here.  I am driving a friend, Dr. Zachariah Smith around, looking for office space.  I give my name.  They ask if they can search the car -- fine by me.
    Z. retunrs.  Detective Hitch talks to him.  He says he's looking for cheaper office space.  He says he's come from Alaska.  They ask where - he gives the address.  they ask where I'm staying - I say there too, but I'll be leaving town soon.  They explain it's because of the trouble here.
    they leave...

    Secutiry on the yeard has increaded dramatically.  Plainclothes officers on street; in yard, openly carrying weapons, including tommy guns.

    We go back to the house.

    Call flower shop, say I need to pick up flowers in person.  Walk to newsstand, catch a cab.
    Go into ship.  Talk to Alex Smoodgen.  Tell him about compromised security, posibley phone tap, suspicious girlfriend (waitress from O'Reilly's), cops have car ID.
    Alex - drivebay will bring in State Police - real trouble - finish up quick or go low.
    Cops infiltrating seciurity is the only open path - ideas?
    Alex - contact sponsors, ins> from top.  Consider going to someone w/story of cult?
    Alex says he will look into somewhere to stay for me (I say I'm going to leave the house in a few days).

    I tell Dr. Smith this location is no longer secure.

Wed 26th March

    Tell Gary + Bo about location.  They'll move after getting paid.
    Move van to flower shop.  Bo takes it + parks @ shop.

    Bo crashes the van into a parked car.  He just leaves + goes on to flower shop.

    I'll drive Zack around.  Widen search for offices.  Find a two-room place a fair way away.  Before renting it, go back to shipyard.  Zack goes in to apply for a job again.  Neeeds to come back in an hour, so we go get coffee.
    Go back in an hour -- leave resume + references.  He'll give it a couple of days + if nothing happens, will rent the two-room office.
    Z suggests working w/occultists as doctor w/"alternative methods", etc... I say go for it...

Thurs 27th March

    Flower shop calls mid-morning.  Taxi.

    A.S @ shop.  He has an apartment for me in nicer part of Camden.

    Drive Zach around - library, medical supply, etc.

Fri 28th March 1930

    Rocky + I move to apartment (via taxi).
    Settle in.
    Call the house + give the number.
    Send off journal.

    Mr. Sharp calls Gary - he + Bo start Mon. night