Monday, October 24, 2011

Guest Spot: The Dunwich Experiment

In September, I mentioned The Dunwich Experiment, a Cthulhu LIVE LARP I planned to attend.  As noted, I didn't, but my good friend Nicole did.  She wrote her experiences in a loose, in-character journal format, and wanted me to share them here.  Enjoy!

Among the forensic evidence taken from the town of Dunwich, MA during a police investigation in 1969 following an incident during the “Dunwich Experiment” contest held in the town, was a journal belonging to a 22 year old college student.  This and other evidence were publicly leaked when Filmways, Inc. bought American International Pictures (AIP) in 1979.

This journal belonged to Miss Allison “Ali” Hockett of Middleburg, VA, a sophomore at Georgetown University studying parapsychology, and one of the contest winners.  It is known that she left Washington, D.C. the morning of October 3, 1969, taking the Amtrak to Boston, MA.  She traveled alone.  She is among the missing and, decades later, is presumed dead.

Excerpts from the journal pertaining to the 48 hours that have become known as “The Dunwich Incident”:

Friday 10/3/69 
Just off the train, nine hours, finally in Boston.  Read up on Dunwich history, some text for class, witchy stuff.  Waiting around the bus station for other contest winners and AIP people to arrive.  Maybe someone has some reefer?

Bus from Boston to  Dunwich is taking FOREVER.  Driver says it is an accident or bad road conditions – it is getting pretty rural.  Hanging out with Tommy Argento and Mike Barker, also contest winners.  Other two never showed.  Tommy is cool, and is in a band.  He’s also from DC – WHO KNEW? – and has a hefty flask of bourbon we’ve been passing around.  Mike is a Boston local, into the club scene.

Lady from AIP seems pretty OK, young, into good music.  Tamara... something.  Her boss, Mr. Herman is such a hard ass – loud, short, and way uptight.  Some actor is here, Gene Stockton I think?  He’s slept the entire time, didn’t see him get on the bus.

Been corrected.  His name is Dean Stockwell.  He seems out of it, like he doesn’t know what’s happening.  Wasteoid.

Saturday 10/4/69 (I think.  It must be after midnight, but my watch is busted)

Finally rolled in 10:30, a little drunk, thanks Tommy.  The town is dark, almost entirely uninhabited.  We’re brought to the general store-cum-tavern.  We’re given dinner and start to watch the film, The Dunwich Horror.  Some locals are here and they are rude.  This old man kept shouting at the projector screen every time someone said “Dun-wich”, seems the accepted pronunciation is “Dun-ich”, not surprised.  He and this other fellow also making snide comments.  Sad, because the Whately story is fascinating and although this is Hollywood BS, it is still interesting.

Then it started. 

Mr. Herman had a seizure or something – stood up started talking loudly about Silver Thomas showing us the way, and not getting out, some crap like that, and then he fell over.  Movie was stopped for that and because locals seemed not to like it.  Mr. H was OK, and we decided to turn in for the night.  Locals said we could take any empty/unlocked house; the inhabited ones all have lights and locks on.

Walked around a bit and finally found a big house (a shack, dear god) where we could all fit.  But then.  THEN.

Mike is gone.  We lost him, and he is not at the tavern.  Did he leave with that old man’s (Boomer) daughter?  I barely registered her – very quiet, mousy – but they say she went to Boston and maybe Mike went with her.  I don’t think so.  He was pretty wasted and probably wandered off somewhere.  Others agree and so off we go with the town doctor around Dunwich.  In the dark.  The whole damn town.  They have no street lights any more, so we just use flashlights.  There is no moon and it is cloudy.  It is dark, man.

So we walk.  Then we get shot at.  OH YEAH I FORGOT.  So earlier before the movie, we had talked about going to Sentinel Hill because, I mean, right?  Amazing.  So much history, so much energy.  Anyway, Tommy snuck off up there but didn’t get close because that old man Boomer followed him and was holding him up with a shotgun.

So we’re walking, gunshot, we drop.  There’s a ‘Nam vet in town (already) and he’s got tremors and flashbacks, and fuck you Dick Nixon.  Of course he wigs out (the vet).  The gunshot is B. with some other local, but he missed.  We carry on.

Every unlocked shack, every common area.  I have my EMF meter out and there are some great hot spots – 1) Doc’s cabin (does he operate?  He says it is his wiring) 2) empty field where they say a church burned down.  AMAZING!  We search the whole town and find some weird things (a creepy photo in an empty room, odd black fabric across random windows, a dead lizard, weird writing and drawings on the walls).  But of course no Mike.  If the dumb fuck went and broke his drunk neck falling in the woods, to hell with him.  My dogs are barking and I am ready for bed.

Locals are creepy and clearly distrustful of outsiders, so we’ve put furniture against the door.  Like that will stop them.

Saturday 10/4/69 (morning)
Mike came in last night.  Wasn’t in Boston.  Says he lost us in the house hunt, met with the Mayor, got a personal tour. Whatever, he’s slimy and weird, and I’m keeping clear.

I’m first up and dressed from our shack.  Got breakfast and walked the town with Doc Willett, Delmont (the vet), and Ruby Boomer, who actually DID go to Boston.  She’s still quiet and strange.  Nothing of note, though did see two weird lights – small and red, but not any bulbs I’ve ever seen.  My EMF went crazy at them, so who knows.  Didn’t see them last night, and they were bright even in the day.

Eating Lunch.  My mind is blown, expanded, sweet Tim Leary what is this place?

Went to Sentinel Hill with Tamara and Tommy (Mr. H and Delmont too, but they left).  Crazy readings at the Hill, just crazy.  This is a place of power, I can feel it.  Tamara starts talking about spirituality, and Dunwich, and history, and then she says that she hand picked Me, Tom and Mike as winners because we and she are actually blood of the Whately family and this town is ours.  Too much to write here, but it all MAKES SENSE.  This feels right. 

She had a dream last night that we did a ritual on S.H., that Ruby had mushrooms, but Tamara had nothing to place on the altar stone (still standing, by the way, just amazing) and then the Dark Man came to her and said she did it wrong and, “You are all now void”.  Then these orbs came and swallowed everyone up.  Tamara thinks the town people (Boomer esp.) know what we are and what we’re here to do (take the town, or Whately Manor, back).

We go mushroom hunting with Ruby, me, Tamara, Tommy, Mike, etc.  Try to get Mike to talk to Tamara, which he does later, but I don’t think he gets it like me and Tommy do.  Tam. wants to actually do the ritual.  Should be fun.

Boomer and the Doc are guarding Whately Manor and won’t let us in.  We need to get in.  There are things there that we need, that are ours, but they won’t let us have them.  Tamara is right, they are working against us.  Haven’t said a word about us Whately kids, but I know they know.  Tommy wants to smash a window to get in, but Tam. says no, that’ll be noticed. 

Delmont says he can pick the lock.  Doc and B. are eating now, we have to GO.

DONE.  We broke in, took everything that was left and are in our shack, furniture piled high at the door.  Looking over these things, they’re good, but they’re not what we need.  Old shaman box toy, weird bottle with golden dust, a blank notebook, and someone’s notes from an investigation in town.  Not good enough.  Delmont said there had been other things in there earlier.  T & T know that Necronomicon (WHAT SERIOUSLY?) is one, and there are other ritual components.  Official: they’re up to no good and out to get us.  They’ll end the town utterly and us along with it.  They must be stopped.  We’ve gotta get into Doc and Boomer’s houses.

We can’t leave Dunwich.  There are invisible barriers keeping us in.  Trying to get out unleashes horrors in the mind.  Others have tried, not me.  Don’t want to, but god, we can’t get out?

Planning.  Scared.  Know they’re going to try to stop us.  But we have to do this.

Something appeared outside the tavern.  It is like a pyramid sundial but not.  Weird texture.  I touched it, got electrocuted (?), it blew me back 10 feet.  Doc helped.  DO NOT TOUCH.  It shorted my EMF reader.  Boomer seemed to know what’s up, covered it with a trash bag.  Looking out our window I can just see others standing around it talking.  Don’t like this at all.

Been walking around, just walking.  Keep finding random sheets of paper with occult drawings, ritual instructions.  Something about summoning Yog-Soth- Tam doesn’t want me to write the rest.  Names have power.  Y-S then.  Y-S is the Dark Man from her dream.  He brings nothing, the god of nihilists.  This isn’t just us any more.  This is the end of the world.  Must act.  We keep the papers on us.  Know Doc and BOOMER need them for their rit.  Must stop them at all costs.  They have the Necronomicon.

Back in our shack.  This is as safe as we’ll get.  Heart won’t stop beating so hard.  Tried to talk to Doc, who seems to be friendly with Tam. but don’t know.  Don’t trust him.  His house has something radioactive, but don’t know what it is.  Ruby met us, says her daddy has power over her, she can’t hurt him because he has her hair.  What to do.

During dinner we will break into Doc’s house and Boomer’s and steal their things and torch the place.  It is the only way.

We cut off Tommy’s hair and mine is under a scarf.  Tamara is like Twiggy and has short hair and a hat so she is safe from Boomer.  Burned Tommy’s hair in the fire.  Boomer will never get it there.

Tam. talked to Ruby.  Boomer and Doc will do their ritual at Sentinel Hill at dinner.  Our plan is ruined.  We must act now. 

Back in shack.  Tommy broke in, stole Necronom from Boomer.  Tam and I to Sentinel Hill in dark and pouring rain and kicked over the fire pit and buried the ritual pages.  They’ll never find them.  We’ll win the night.

O god theyre coming for us all of them can’t run for the barriers o god were trapped

Dean Stockwell is not Dean Stockwell
The doctor can raise the dead
Tommy sold his soul to the devil for guitar skills and unleashed Y-S and the veil between this world and the next is so fractured and now Y-S will get us
Boomer is ancient
Everyone is old families – Whatelys and Bishops and everyone o my
We must do the ritual together.  It is the only way.  The only way we’ll get out.


We killed boomer and doc brought him back but hes not right and then boomer bit the other man and hes not right too.  No one can be trusted.  We failed the whatelys.


O god I said his name o god I forg


  1. That was awesome. You can totally hear the screeching of fingernails as she looses her grip on reality and slips into the abyss.

  2. Cheers, Jedediah! I had a lot of fun writing this. The game did that - it was hands down the best LARP experience of my life. I and the group I was with (Tommy and Tamara) took not a single sanity check, that I know of, until the very end, but our paranoia level was so high the entire weekend.


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