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Occult Odds & Ends
Author: Ty States
System: Call of Cthulhu
These are stories, terms, or names that could blend into story hooks. Obviously it's up to the GM to take something here and turn it into an adventure. Truth and accuracy not guaranteed. :-)
Translator of Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek, responsible for story of apple & corruption; original text read more like, "There is the tree and from it you sprang."
Moving Coffins of Barbados
Parish of Christ Church at Oistin's Bay; tomb set up for a colonel who was subsequently buried at sea; first buried in tomb was Mrs. Thomasina Goddard; next was infant Mary Chase, then teenager Dorcas Chase & last Colonel Chase; noises, etc. were heard and coffins were found moved even though the tomb was inaccessible by most means. Closed to burials afterwards.
Appeared (from nowhere) May 26, 1828; just before he died (murdered, he was stabbed), he said, "Many cats are the sure death of a mouse." There's more info on Kaspar in a number of places; he's quite well-known, for a figure of mystery. And it's a nice code phrase for someone to leave.
Subversion of America
Cecil Rhodes left money in his will to the subversion of America and its eventual return to the British empire. Could be good source for a cult or secret society.
Disappeared September 23, 1880; a year later, the grass grew high in the area where he had disappeared and no animals went near. For four days his family heard his voice from inside the circle but could not find him. Finally, he went away forever.
Disappearing Island of Bouvet
Disappearing island, first mapped by Jean Mouvet in 1739, 1500 miles from the Cape of Good Hope; subsequent British expeditions failed to find it. In 1808 and 1822, it ws found and landed upon, but was gone in 1845. The island was about 5 square miles. In 1898, the German steamer Valdivia took photos confirming the island's existence, but the Norwegian survey craft Stavanger reported its disappearance in 1921.
The source of all Indian dances; the Indians believed it contained the dance secrets of the gods. Dances were performed by a sect of temple dancers (as occurs in most societies where the penalty for a bad move during dancing is death). (India: cf. Prester John & death of St. Thomas the Apostle, India, AD 53)
Development of Nauscopy
Developed by Bottineau of Ile de France (now Mauritius). In 1782, the governor of Ile de France requested a record of Bottineau's successes be kept; 100% accuracy for 2 years. Bottineau turned down an offer of 3,000 francs for the secret he got the bureaucratic runaround when he tried to sell it to government (see also Piri Re'is' map). Bottineau died in 1789, about the time of the Revolution. As late as 1818, there was a man on Ile de France who claimed to have learned nausocpy from Bottineau, and in 1935, a man named Peter Green on the island of Tristan da Cunha demonstrated the same abilities.
American psychic and multiple personality; b. 1848, had series of accidents in 1864 & 1865 (bedridden), then developed an alternate personality for 9 years, which receded, followed by the development of psychic abilities. Alternate personality had many skills in needlework. Active for 50 years (1874-1916), d. Feb 11, 1916.
Pri Ibn Haji Memmed
Admiral in Turkish Navy who commissioned a map of the Atlantic in 1513. It got tucked away and forgotten until 1929. In the 1950s, Captain Arlington H. Mallery studied it and discovered it is a remarkably accurate map, including territories not discovered at the time (including Queen Maud's Land).
Kingdom of Prester John
The third Christian kingdom of the 12th century (the other two being Rome and byzantium), a theocracy. After Genghis established his peace over Europe, England began attempts to make contact wiht the Kingdom of Prester John in the East, leading (in part) to the Crusades and much of the exploration of the next 400 years. The Nestorian Christians took their name from Nestorius, a bishop who was anathematized in 431, but claimed to have been founded by St. Thomas the Apostle (other sources have Thomas dying in India in AD 53). The first known reference to Prester John is recorded by the Historian Otto of Freising in 1145, who heard from Bishop Hugh of Gebal; next is the letter in Latin found in 1165, sent to Pope Alexander III, but the Pope didn't answer for 12 years; his messenger, Magister Philippus, never returned.
A holy place of pilgrimage in the Bhagavad Gita.
The Jumping Man
A mysterious figure from England, starting in 1837, who could jump 30 feet high. Descriptions are much like a spaceman: white bodysuit, head coated by a globe; first spotted by Miss Jane Alsop, 25, of London, and then a butcher was also a witness. Seen next in 1845, in Ealing and Hanwell districts. In the 1860s and 1870s from Warwickshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Surrey, Worcestershire, and Middlesex counties. Spotted in the summer of 1877 at a British army post near Aldershot (witnessed by Private John Regan and another); they reported it was bulletproof. Last known appearance September 1904 in Liverpool.
The death bone of the Australian aborigines.