Darkness on Cold

Part Three

Boston Occult Society: Field Operative's Journal

(Fall, 1929)

Recorded by Walter Ashleigh

Friday, September 13th, 1929

    Tonight we arrived in the general suspicious area.  We set up camp and spent an uneventful night.

Saturday, September 14th, 1929

    We set out to visit local villages.  It took us an hour to reach the trail to the first one, and then it was another hour of hard hiking to the east to reach the settlement.

    Poo Yet Tah translated for us as we interviewed the shamen.  We started out with the usual pleasanteries, and then Larry began asking questions.
    First he asked if any of their people had been missing recently, to which the shamen replied that yes, a hunter boy never returned.
    We then asked about hunters and surveyors -- they don't know which ones.  They did, however, describe a group like Army people.
    We asked about Gnoph-Keh -- no.
    Then we asked about Silla.  The shamen did not react to the name, but told us that they had lost no-one to Silla recently.  The last time was apparently before he became a shamen, when he was a boy.
    Asking him about tupelac provoked a reaction, and he asked why we wanted to know.  He told us, "White men usually safe against tupelacs (because nobody cares about white men), but if a shamen wanted to hide something, he might use one."
    We asked him if anywhere around here was bad luck for hunting, and he said that was true east of here.
    Poo Yet Tah started to get the feeling that the shamen wants to tell us stuff but won't, as if he's under some pressure.  He suggested that one of us needed to get quite ill.
    Obviously I'm the only one who was sharp enough to pick up on his meaning.  I immediately fell down in a faint.
    Poo Yet Tah handed the shamen some money, and I was gathered up and taken into the hut.  Apparently he told the shamen that an evil spell fell on me and I needed to be healed.

    Poo Yet Tah and I spent about 45 minutes in the hut.  As soon as we were in there, the shamen started to chant and so on, while Poo Yet Tah began talking in low tones.

    In the meantime, the people in the village brought trinkets to sell to the rest of the group.

    Eventually Poo Yet Tah told me I could look a little better, but weak.  We left the hut, and I stayed weak all the way back to the truck.  We drove off.

    The shamen had said that someone (perhaps the cult?) is influential around here, influential enough to fear harm or supernatural reprisals.  Further south, it's less likely that the cult has influence.  We speculated that something might be hidden to the east.  We considered driving enough north to clear the village by a good bit, then turning east.

    It turned out that there was a Hida village north of here, and also east of the wood.  This would be our next place to investigate.  Sam Quickhand is actually Hida, but not from this area, so he would do all the talking.  He did say that he would be surprised if there was any Silla-worship here -- Silla and tupelacs are not a Hida thing, and therefore all we could really do is ask about the local Inuit.
    Sam spent quite a while in discussion with the leader and the shamen, and then reported his findings back to us.  The Hida didn't know a lot about the Inuit.  There have been no disappearances, and no Inuit feuds or overt war.  There was no worship of Silla here, no cult, and no fear of the cult.  There were areas that would be considered trouble, for example we should not go south and east of here into the hunting grounds.
    There are a few Hida north of here, and the Tlingit have more folks around here than do the Inuit or Hida.  The Inuit are associated with the coast, while the Hida and Tlingit are more inland.  We have no Tlingit translators, so there's no point in trying to contact them.

    We came to several conclusions:

    This all means we should investigate south of Anchorage.

    The Cult has strength, which is keeping shamens quiet, and they're clearly well established in Anchorage.

    We decided to return to Anchorage.

Sunday, 15th September, 1929

    We arrived back in Anchorage.
    That evening we learned that while we were gone, the warehouse had burnt to the ground, along with all the supplies.
    Barrow had apparently received telegram from Payne, and left town suddenly in a snit.
    In the meantime, Fred Warren is in charge.  He had found a guy who would take us to a fossil site of a Gnoph-Keh, and so we planned to go with him.

Monday, 16th September, 1929

    Preparations were made for the expedition to the fossile site in the south.

Tuesday, 17th September, 1929

    The expedition left today.  I decided to remain behind and keep abreast of things here.  This seemed a good time to complete my official report -- or at least this section of journal -- and mail it off.