Clues at the Jokaydia Grid House of Usher, by Location
Before the Simulation Begins:
Letter Student groups will get: adapted from the ending of Poe's "The Facts in The Case of M. Valdemar"
29 October 1847
My dear friends,
I need you to come to my ancestral home! Madeline and I are ill, and I fear for her demise. Since you have long been close to me, I share with you a terrible dream I had. It expresses some sense of the turmoil in my ravaged soul.
I saw my sister before me, stretched upon her bed, able to speak but not move. I had used the science of mesmerism to try to calm her shattered nerves. The doctor and Jenkins looked on as I tried this desperate measure. As she lay in the trance, suddenly, these were her words to me.
"For God's sake! --quick! --quick! --put me to sleep --or, quick! --waken me! --quick! --I say to you that I am dead!"
I was thoroughly unnerved, and for an instant remained undecided what to do. At first I made an endeavor to re-compose the patient; but, failing in this through total abeyance of the will, I retraced my steps and as earnestly struggled to awaken her. In this attempt I soon saw that I should be successful --or at least I soon fancied that my success would be complete --and I am sure that all in the room were prepared to see the patient awaken. For what really occurred, however, it is quite impossible that any human being could have been prepared. As I rapidly made the mesmeric passes, amid ejaculations of "dead! dead!" absolutely bursting from the tongue and not from the lips of the sufferer, her whole frame at once --within the space of a single minute, or even less, shrunk --crumbled --absolutely rotted away beneath my hands. Upon the bed, before that whole company, there lay a nearly liquid mass of loathsome --of detestable putridity.
Please, make haste! I fear this dream to be a portent of things to come.
Your humble and obedient servant, and dearest friend,
- Note under Portrait: Sir Howard Usher, 1770-1831. Dear father, careful scholar, keeper of secrets best kept. A last flower upon a withered branch. Commissioned and Placed by Madeline Usher 9 April, 1846.
- Bookcase beside sliding bookcase: (falls from a book entitled "The History of the Ancient Britons"): Written in a delicate and feminine script: I am not as sympathetic as you about our being the last of our ancient race. So be it. If the line fails with us, then it is Gods will.
- Beneath portrait on opposite wall: Sir Richard Usher, 1698-1761, man of letters, explorer, architect. Built the folly here in his last years, and made great renovations to our ancient home. Vanished in a night of heavy fog, presumed lost on the Moors. Copied from an ancient drawing and painted by Roderick Usher 3 January, 1845
- Beneath painting with shrouded figure: The shipwreck of The Grampus, during last winter's storms, had not a soul aboard, but much cargo was intact. In the captain's cabin I found this strange monochromatic work, near a hand-scribbed note that read only "Ultima Thule, October 1845." The mystery haunts me still but I leave this work for our visitors to ponder. Roderick Usher, June 1847
- In desk beneath painting of "Death's Visit": Poem "The Haunted Palace" that Roderick recites in the story. It is written by Madeline for this simulation. See See Poems for text.
- In book atop desk: "You find a bookmark in this text, Brompton's Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine, at this passage: "Hypochondriasis can be marked by many symptoms, including abdominal discomfort, a remarkable lowness of spirits or a desponding habit of mind, an obsession with every minute change in bodily feelings, and an apprehension of extreme danger from the most trivial of ailments."
Madeline's Room (rear of house, off kitchen)
- Letter on top of desk: My Dear Clothilde, I will try to slip this letter out with a bribe to Jenkins, whom I distrust but who loves his money. Your advice was correct! I have begun to keep a dream-journal to document the strange forebodings and half-recalled images from my long nights. Last night I dreamt that I walked in my sleep--or did I? In any event, I was in the attic, and I felt a familar let unseen presence. When I said "mother" a spirt came to me, and it said such things, warning me of Roderick and his madness! What shall I do? If we could arrange it, I would flee to your home; I know that your husband is a man of honor and would assist me in hiring a barrister, if it comes to that. I must be free of this terrible fate that I feel hanging over me."
- In Desk Drawer: Madeline's Journal:
- 1 November: I do not think that Roderick is correct in providing me with Laudanum. I fear that it will not assist me with this malady of walking about at night. I would prefer to lock my door. He frets over me, but his own health is troubling.
- 2 November: His attentions disturb me, and at times I wonder as to his relationship to mother. There were sympathies of a scarcely intelligible nature between them, I fear. And it may go deeper still. How is it that our family tree has no branches? Why only one stem? I look to the genealogies and find evidence of a terrible past--one I fear to investigate further.
- 6 November: After the visit by that dreadful doctor--how he leers at me!--I noticed Roderick's dismay. If I have walked so in my sleep and not come to harm, why should they bother? Why not simply lock my door? Jenkins complains that the lock is old and the entire door must be replaced, and that weeks are needed to procure a new lock, etc. but I trust none of this. And why WAS Jenkins so furtive when I saw him taking a large trunk into the basements? Or was he bound for the Crypt? At times like this, I feel my mind slipping as surely as is my brother's.
- (on floor, behind crates) "My dear sir, I thank ye for kindness to my fam'ly and me. The rent comes due, good times or bad, as my dear old dad used to say, God rest him. And Lord Usher ain't done too much lately to help with the higher prices at the market. But to your question. Lord Usher does like to ride his horses at times, but since the Lady took sick, he's been close about the house. Still, I can send my boy round your place if the Lady swoons and won't waken. Don't see how, good sir, I can get Lord Usher to leave the house..." (writing trails off here)
- (mostly hidden, under a box): "My dear Jenkins, I do hope you received the small sum that I left with your wife. It pleases me to repay your kindness, and I'll happily be around to have a look at your son's ailing foot. Do give the boy my regards. He needs to be hale in order to continue his work down at the Vicarage. Give him a spoonful of the blue elixir I left, with his dinner."
- Journal, in top drawer of desk:
- 5 Nov. Nothing gained with laudanum. Will try the C.H. I obtained.
- 6 Nov. Chloral Hydrate: Have attempted nearly 30 grains without a cure. What of the doctor's new medicine, this Chloroform? What Dosage? I dreamed of her lovely head, shaven and pierced by the doctor's final suggestion...God preserve us from such brutal necessity.
- Letter, in bottom drawer:
My Dear Lord Usher,
I really do think that you have been overwrought by the decline in Madeline's health. It would be terrible to fall prey to ancient superstitions about the righteous souls who pulled down the heathen stone ring to build the Usher graveyard.
The stones are, of course, of great antiquity and any cultists who may have celebrated dark rites in their precinct have long vanished before the light of true wisdom and the power of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
I have, however, endeavoured to look through our parish records, as you requested. The stones, it seems, were somewhat dispersed as early as the 15th century, and during the time of the Godly Protectorate your ancestor Mandrake Usher, who had fought alongside Cromwell, was noted by my predecessor as "scattering to the four winds the bits of Satanic filth and other such from the grounds of the ancestral castle."
Thus we have an answer. At some time in the early 17th century, any remaining ring of stones was taken down, and rightly so, by your family.
I remain, Sir, your humble and obedient servant,
Giles Rammage, Minister, St. Stephen's Chapel, Robin Hood's Bay
Library Second Floor
(when touched, bookcase). You find a book lying on its side at the end of a shelf. Its title is Events Along The Yorkshire Coastline, by Sir Bailey Rumpole, 1833. The book has a ribbon marking a page with a map of the coast near your location, including known currents. You note that circles have been drawn around several areas and marked with a star. At the bottom, in a man's handwriting, beside another star you see noted "known shipwreck."
Outside the House: The Graveyard
Near stone with triskeles on its surface: Wooden chest and shovels. Inside a Skull with this note:
"Visit of The Dead"
by Roderick. I have saved thee from the Necromancer's drill and chisel, beloved mother.
Thy soul shall find itself alone
Alone of all on earth unknown
The cause but none are near to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall then o'ershadow thee be still
For the night, tho' clear, shall frown:
And the stars shall look not down
From their thrones, in the dark heav'n;
With light like Hope to mortals giv'n,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy withering heart shall seem
As a burning, and a fever
Which would cling to thee forever.
But 'twill leave thee, as each star
In the morning light afar
Will fly thee and vanish:
But its thought thou can'st not banish.
The breath of God will be still;
And the mist upon the hill
By that summer breeze unbrok'n
Shall charm thee as a token,
And a symbol which shall be
Secrecy in thee.
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