Professor Nordhagen's Journal
It is my intention to <try> and keep an ongoing journal by the character as the campaign progresses. Best of intentions – we’ll see how well I do in practice !!!
The information posted here is <not> open knowledge to the other players – I trust them enough as gamers to know that they will not act upon any info revealed here … Unless, of course, someone steals my journal …
Well, the campaign is working towards a conclusion -
we are around chapter 14 or 15 now …
Better get this updated before we’re done !!!
The Journal of Professor Mikkail Ivar Nordhagen,
and The Starkwether – Moore Expedition of 1933.
Late June 1933
At last ! I have received a reply from Professor Moore, and have been formally accepted to accompany the expedition. There is a preparatory meeting in New York, in July. There is little time to delay – I must begin preparations immediately.
Equipment : I have decided to put some of the most modern cameras to the test on the ice. I will bring my favorite camera, my 35mm Lieca III, but will also be bringing a new one – a Lieca 250, with a capacity for a 10m roll of 50mm film – enough for 250 exposures per roll. I am worried about the effects of the prolonged cold upon the equipment and on the film, but I know it has worked passably for me in the Norwegian winter cold. I will just have to be extra careful handling them in the extreme cold …
Aside from that, I shall bring along a stereoscopic lens attachment for photographing the landscapes. I will bring along my own polar outfit, I am not sure how much I trust others to fit and provide truly adequate clothing for this endeavor. And lastly, given the rough nature of the American cities, I shall bring along my .32 Bulldog revolver. Oh, you fool, do not forget a couple of flasks of Lysholm Linje – I doubt there will be a source of good akevitt in the States !
The meeting in New York was the beginning of a dream I have had since I was a boy.
We were given the basic restrictions for amounts of personal baggage we may bring along. We were not given much in the way of detail about the expedition itself. It appears that there are no less than 3 other expeditions planned for the Antarctic – but ours shall be the first out and the first back, assuring the expedition the maximum publicity around it. While I disapprove of making public spectacle of such serious measure as this, I do understand that it is part of the game. While they “say” that this expedition has no ties to corporation or foundation, those who front the expenses have every right to desire a return on their investments. The stay in New York was short, thankfully. The weather was unbearably hot, and I found myself longing for the cooler climes of home. We meet in a little over a month, to pack and embark on board the S.S. Gabrielle.
1 September, 1933
h4. New York again !
Thanks be that the heat of July is behind us, and the city – while still dirty, crowded, and very “American” –
is a good bit more pleasant in the late summer / early fall. Our lodgings for the next few days are at the Amherst Hotel, and we have been told there will be daily meetings in the Rose Room to go over the tasks ahead of us. First points for today – fittings for our survival clothing, and doctor and dentist checkups. A few hours just prior to dinner allowed a brief bit of site seeing … We depart on the 14th, giving 2 weeks for inventory and loading.
He is methodical, and seems to be quite on top of things. Captain Starkwether on the other hand, seems like your traditional “man of action.” This outlook may serve in Africa, but in the Polar Regions poor preparation leads to dead men. I do not doubt his ability, but I am very glad that Professor Moore is overseeing the actual preparations.
2 September, 1933
The morning meeting laid out our travel plans.
Embark on the 14th, bound for Melbourne, Australia via the Panama Canal.
Refuel and lay in the actual supplies for the expedition in Melbourne, and from there head to the Ross Sea.
We are planning to establish a base camp there, and then move to the location of the ill-fated Miskatonic Expedition. From there, once we secure the remains of the prior explorers, we shall attempt to ascend the mountain range that Lake spoke of before his team perished. Our goal is to be off the ice by February 1, of 1934.
The area around Pier 78 is a mass of movement.
We have all been given assignments in conjunction with the loading of the Gabrielle. I have been tasked with cataloging and seeing to the proper storage of the scientific equipment. While the day has gone mostly well, I have found a few items that are not as they should be. Professor Moore has assured that all will be followed up upon, and I have no doubt that they will. The others, having been tasked similarly, have also reported numerous small issues with our equipment deliveries.
3 September, 1933
The Gabrielle will be captained by one J.B. Douglas.
He captained the S.S. Arkham, the vessel that supported the Miskatonic Expedition. While held in great regard, I must admit some reservation. I know it is foolish to believe in such superstition, but one could wonder about the wisdom of working with the holdovers from a failed expedition. Professor Moore seemed unsettled at the announcement, as if he knew of the arrangements – but did not expect them to be announced as yet. The day has been spent with more packing and inventory work. More discrepancies, but nothing insurmountable. It does make me begin to question the actual preparedness of this expedition.
h4. A grand announcement ?
4 September, 1933
No way to start a morning !!!
Captain Starkwether awoke us all, shouting and pounding on poor Professor Moore’s hotel door.
It seems there has been work in the newspapers of plans to fly an aero plane over the South Pole. One Acacia Lexington, apparently a woman of means, intends to pilot the aero plane. Captain Starkwether and this Ms. Lexington seem to have a history, and as such Captain Starkwether has ordered out embarkation date moved up to the 9th. Dangerous move, in light of all of the errors in the cargo manifests – but that is not my call to make. The more I see of Captain Starkwether, the more I begin to question the ‘legitimacy’ of this as a scientific expedition …
At the morning briefing, Professor Moore announced the addition of a member to our team. Charlene Whitson, a botanist. He quietly asked me to meet her when she arrived, and to see that she is brought up to speed on our plans. This was done, and the young woman seems to be quite energetic & well spoken. After dinner, I expressed my deep concerns with having a woman as part of this expedition.
5 September, 1933
Early this morning, Mr. Morgan was given a message by a boy in the lobby. He forwarded it to Dr. Carrington. It was a rambling note, about leaving the sleeping to lay – and the death of those who disturbed them. I believe this to be the work of one of the survivors of the Miskatonic expedition. They would prefer to see their comrades allowed to rest where they fell on the ice. I can understand this, but there are the families of those brave men to think of. Returning them home will allow their families to have closure, and to allow them to come to grips with the loss of loved ones. A handful of us decided to make a quick trip to Massachusetts, to see if we could uncover whom might be behind this letter. We spoke with several other survivors, but none had any knowledge of the letter. The most likely suspect, in my mind, would be Mr. Danforth – a student who accompanied the expedition. He came back in a very ‘unhinged’ state, and was in fact sequestered in an asylum for a time. He was recently released, and has supposedly been staying with his parents. We have chosen to not pursue the young man, a course which I support. While in Arkham, we did visit the Library and the Museum. We saw the few bits that they were able to recover with the last expedition. It seems that those poor souls had an exceptionally rough time on the ice. The day has ended, and we are staying at Dr. Carrington’s residence. We shall get the earliest train back to New York in the morning, and continue our preparations. Only four days until Captain Starkwether wishes to embark – each day one step closer to my dream of going to the ice.
(End of 2/13/09 session)
2/27/09 Session :
Sept. 6, 1933
We spent the evening at the home of Dr. Carrington.
A review of what we have found during our visit to Arkham :
The original expedition to Lake’s Camp – 22 members 11 died at the camp, 1 lost – presumed perished, 10 returned.
Of those who returned, we are unable to contact Professor Dyer, Mr. Danforth, Mr. Ropes, Mr. Gunnarson, or Mr. Larson.
We got a look at the University collection from Lake’s Expedition, and spoke with Arthur McTeague, a survivor of the expedition. He said that Danforth has been institutionalised, and that the poor lad was completely undone by the ice. McTeague told us that Professor Dyer referred to the area of the Miskatonic Range as the “Mountains of Madness.” Roylott and I managed to get a look at the original radio transcripts that McTeague broadcast from the ice, and the story he recounted to us matches the original as close as one might expect.
Dr. Carrington called upon some of his contacts in the area, and managed to track down Mr. Danforth. It seems that he was released about 6 months ago, into the care of his parents. We have a Boston address for the family, but decided that it would be improper to intrude. If the poor lad is making a recovery, we should not risk setting him back.
We decided to catch the earliest train back to New York tomorrow morning.
On the way to the train station, my eye was taken by a newspaper item - it seems that Captain Douglas has been killed on shore in New York. The newspaper article recounts the incident as a mugging, after which he was pushed into the harbor. Details are sketchy at this time. While I expressed some concern of superstition, I feel that this cannot bode well for our Expedition. To replace the Captain of our transport vessel at such late date - I wonder how this will impact our departure schedule …
We arrive back in New York just after the noon hour - the offices are closed, and the gates are swarmed with reporters seeking a story …
We made our way thru the crowd, and found a few of the longshoreman and ships crew. They passed along word from Starkweather & Moore – do our best to keep a low profile … We quietly departed the pier, and made our way back to the hotel.
At the hotel, we found signs of some activity – The Rose Room seems like it may have held the morning briefing, but there are no daily duty posts. We checked Professor Moore’s room, but he is not there. It is my understanding that there is a law in the state of New York, the Sullivan Act, I believe, which mandates that owners of firearms must register them. I have brought my .32 Bulldog with me, and altho I do not have the paper work to have it here, I choose to load it and carry it with me. I choose a coat that should conceal it to most eyes. While I wish to respect the American laws, I can see that the city of New York is indeed a dangerous place. I return to the front desk, and it seems that others of the group have headed off in different directions. The desk clerk told me that there was some sort of meeting going on at Capt. Starkweather’s room, on the 5th floor. I made my way upstairs …
A heavy crush of reporters were listening to statements from Starkweather & Moore. Rather standard fare actually – the expedition will go on, of course. All due respect to the late Captain Douglas, and so forth.
On the other side of the crowded hallway, I finally spied Mr. Roylott, and some fellow who
certainly seemed “official”, in a quiet fashion. The man is Detective Hanson, of the NYPD.
I answered a few questions from Det. Hanson, most of which were moot given the fact that we had
all been outside of the area until this morning. Roylott and I made our way to the edge of the
crowd, and managed to make eye contact with Starkweather & Moore. It was obvious that they
wished us to not reveal ourselves as part of the expedition, so we made our way back downstairs.
From the lobby, we rang Capt. Starkweather’s room, to ask if there was anything we could do.
The call went unanswered – which was not surprising given the circumstances.
During this time, Dr. Carrington made a trip to the city morgue. He managed to get a look at Capt. Douglas’ body, and came to the conclusion that he died of drowning – not from the violence of the mugging. Buffington Meyer and Alan Morgan checked out the stories of the sailors who apparently saw the attack, and pulled Capt. Douglas from the harbor. They had little to add …
Roylott and I headed back to the pier, to see what we could do to keep preparations moving. The crew is beginning to feed into the whispers of this expedition being cursed. Many of these men sailed with Capt. Douglas on the last trip, and his death has shaken some of them rather deeply. Roylott had an idea, and went off to find a chaplain – with the notion of having a blessing and a confessional to ease the sailor’s minds. I set about trying to get the cataloging and loading back under way, which at least for the time distracted the men.
Meanwhile – Tanj, Carrington, Morgan, and Meyer went to check out Capt. Douglas’ hotel room. Thier investigations revealed that Capt. Douglas arrived 3 days prior to when we were supposed to meet him “upon his arrival.” The hotel clerk was convinced to share information that Capt. Douglas had been in contact with someone named “Lexington” thru the hotel telephone. They rented the room next to Capt. Douglas’ room, which has a common interior door to it. Quiet investigation, as there was an officer outside Douglas’ room, revealed that the room had been ransacked – and not by the authorities. They took from Douglas’ room a couple of photographs (one of the ships of the prior expediton, and one apparently of Douglas and his brother), and a packet of papers – Capt. Douglas’ certificates, and some small journals. Some papers from the wastebasket also seemed cryptically useful. The journals were of the Captain’s voyages, but the one that would have covered the prior Arkham Expedition was missing … of course … Some of the letters reveal that Capt. Douglas was in fact going to bow out of our expedition.
Last inquiry at the hotel revealed that a german national by the name of Sothcott and rented the room next to Capt. Douglas’ – giving cause to believe he took the missing journal …
We met up at the expedition’s hotel a bit ahead of dinner. We all cleaned up, and found that most of the crowd of reporters had left. Det. Hansen was finishing up with Capt. Starkweather and Professor Moore, and also took the time to speak with Morgan and Meyer, whom he had not met yet. The eveing of the 6th concluded with our little group going out to dinner alone, the Capt. and Professor preferring to remain quietly in their rooms after a long day.
Dr. Carrington tried the telephone number that was found in the wastebasket in Douglas’ room, it had the name “Gerald Brackman” on it. The number connected to Brackman & Assoc – an uptown law firm. We will make a visit there tomorrow … Capt. Douglas’ brother, Phillip, we expect will attend the good Captain’s funeral, to be held on the 8th. We plan to try and speak with him around that time.
The only other clue readily availible was a reference to the “Purple Cup”. Our cabbie told us that it is a seedy bar, not far from Douglas’ hotel room. It caters to the sailors and shoremen. We returned to our hotel after dinner, and changed into our “lesser” clothes, and went to the bar. We were still very out of place, and got more than a few questioning looks from the few patrons. The bartender, after a few ‘gratuities’ told us that Douglas had met up with 3 sailors in the bar the night before he died. Nothing seemed too out of place, the men (we believe) were 3 men who opted to not accompany the current expedition.
We returned to our hotel, and I found a letter slipped under my door. It threatened dire things if we did not give up going back to Lake’s Camp … I shared the letter with Dr. Carrington, and plan to share it with the rest in the morning.
Sept. 7, 1933