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[We should all Listen to] The Magnus Archives


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Another terrible example of being digested by one of the Fears. We also see more of Michael Crew, who went from being chased by lightening monsters to BEING a lightening monster, so again--it appears that some get used by these forces. It’s funny that Simms thinks it’s the book, when to me it’s obviously not--the books aren’t the source of the power, Simms, they’re just the keys to the door.
Simms has his reasons, although it's spoiler territory to discuss it. I think it's not long now, though, IIRC.


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Oh, I think that the Meat Team grabbed the "this is my flesh, this is my blood" element of religion and ran with it.

Case: 0150806
Statement of: Lydia Halligan, regarding her insomnia
Date of Statement: June 8th, 2015
Date of Event: Unknown
Recording by: Jonathan Simms

I believe that, to write this, Simms stayed up several days straight.


Proud Fianna knight of hope and peace
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Case: 0060711
Statement of Stephen Walker, regarding his brother’s disappearance of Tour Montparnasse
Date of Recording: November 7, 2006
Date of Event: October 2006
Recording by: Jonathan Simms

Stephan hopes his brother is dead. He must be. If he wasn’t, well...that would be a fate worse than death. Stephan’s brother Grant was always afraid of heights, even of climbing trees. He was generally fine with elevators and stairwells, but it was ladders that really got him. Whenever he had to go on one, his hands and face would become paper-white. So Stephan knew this was a real terror for Grant.

Grant had lost his job, ended up staying at Stephan’s house in Newcastle. Stephan loved his brother, but tended to love his brother more when they were away from one another. Stephan was neat, Grant was messy, so...they were a bit of an odd couple. Also, Grant was having problems finding work, so things started to get stressful between the two.

So Stephan decided to take his brother to Tour Montparnasse. Which is how all this happened. Stephen doesn’t blame himself though. He knows this is all the doing of the man with the lightening scar. If he ever sees that man again, he’ll kill him.

The first time he had seen that man was a year ago. The brothers had been drinking and realized they had both forgotten their keys. They borrowed a ladder from the neighbors, and Stephan was the one going up. Grant was gripping the bottom, but the ground was soft and Stephan felt his balance shift. He felt and realized every moment of it, and he shattered his phone and his arm. No one responded to their knocking, so Grant had to climb up the ladder. Sweating and pale, he still climbed the ladder up. Then Stephan saw the man with scar across the street, dressed in an old suit, staring at Grant climb up the ladder. Stephan felt a wave of dizziness just looking at the man. Grant somehow barely made it to the window, and the man walked away (moving faster than you’d think), and Stephan forgot about it.

Grant found a new job, but kept living with his brother and even paying rent. Two months ago Stephan had to go to Paris for a conference and decided to make a week’s vacation out of it. Even though he didn’t get invited, Grant decided to come with him, making Stephan change his plans and accommodations. Stephan gritted his teeth but dealt with it as Grant promised to pay him back. However, Grant lost his job again due to smoking pot off-duty but on company grounds. As a result, Stephan had to pay for the entire trip--which meant Stephan got to decide what they were going to do.

In the petty vengeful way that only brothers can, Stephan decided to take a trip to Tour Montparnasse, the highest point in Paris. He tricked Grant into the elevator, where Grant started to realize what was going on--by the time they got out, his legs were shaking, and staggered away from the barriers on the observation deck. Stephan looked out on the beautiful skyline, and suddenly felt a dizzy spell. He hit his arm on the deck (probably that one), and as he regained his focus, he saw the man with the scar again. This time, the man stared at him, uninterested.

Some New Zealand tourists help Stephan up to his feet, and Stephan realizes the man is gone. As is his brother. Grant wasn’t downstairs, either. Stephan searched for hours, only realizing his phone was dead later on. When he recharged it, he finds he’s missed dozens of calls and hundreds of scrambled texts. Grant was asking where he was, where anybody was, where the elevators were…

There was one picture. The terrace, but no barrier--just a sheer drop with a ladder, the city unknown and alien. Whever Stephan tried to call him, it didn’t go through--except when it did, and the only thing Stephan heard was the sound of rushing wind.

If Grant isn’t dead, he’s still on that ladder. Let’s hope Grant is dead.

Simms is positive this is Michael Crew, the young Leitner book-stealing college student we last saw get flung up out of a window by a lightening-beast. Now here he is, helping other people get sucked into eternal tourist traps of doom. Simms brings up that if people get blessings from these...things...it always seems like the people get changed. The books change the user.

He ties this into the sky diver story when Basira charges in. She drops off the tapes, furious that the cops are covering everything up. They’re saying Altman was a crooked cop and ignoring the entire raid. As a result, Basira stole the tapes (it’s not like they’re going to solve Gertrude’s murder so Simm’s might as well have a crack at it!), and quite being a cop. She’s certain they won’t find out about the stolen tapes until the next review, and it’s not like they LOOK into Section 31 things...then she leaves, ignoring all this strangeness and going to live a good, normal life.

Another terrible example of being digested by one of the Fears. We also see more of Michael Crew, who went from being chased by lightening monsters to BEING a lightening monster, so again--it appears that some get used by these forces. It’s funny that Simms thinks it’s the book, when to me it’s obviously not--the books aren’t the source of the power, Simms, they’re just the keys to the door.


Proud Fianna knight of hope and peace
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Case: 0171302
Statement of: Melanie King, regarding her further research into “War Ghosts”
Date of Statement: February 13, 2017
Date of Event:
Recording by: Jonathan Simms and Melanie King direct from source

Simms is pissed. He and Melanie get on like J. Jonah Jameson and Spiderman. He wants to do something--he’s very busy you see--but Melanie is reporting she saw a more active ghost, and shows that something wounded her. A 1940’s surgical scalpel. That got his attention, and he decides to take her case.

...I wonder who started the tape recorder. I wonder if Simms even notices it was on.

Anyway, Melanie King, intrepid ghost hunter previous of “Ghost Hunt UK”, reiterates that their time with Sarah Baldwin (who peeled and stapled her own skin in a haunted hospital) was bad, but not what she was hung up on. No, it was the presence that attacked her. Melanie has no idea what Baldwin was, but ghosts? She knows ghosts.

Well after all that, the band kinda...broke up. It got harder and harder to get together, and soon enough her whole team quit. Ghost Hunt UK became Melanie. She even checked the old hospital, but couldn’t find anything weird or strange.

She started diving into haunted military or historical hospitals. While she was doing this, she realized the entire ghost haunt clique, and they all go to the same places. Research the same ghosts. Anything weird or strange and we all kind of...ignore it. Are they all trying to research the “safe” ones?

The more she looks, the more Melanie realizes there are a ton of places that no ghost hunter goes to hunt. Maybe this is why the community stepped away from her, even if it was subconscious. Maybe that’s why she was getting warnings from them all.

But Melanie couldn’t ignore it. She kept diving. She found new websites, new forums, new investigations. She started to feel the...reall ones. The messy ones. One caught her eye--a worker in at the CF Booth Scrap and Recycling, a train graveyard. The guy said one train had been there since he started, but it never got scrapped. For years. It was never qued to be scrapped, and any time he walked past it, he could smell a strong metallic odor. Old blood. For some reason it stuck with Melanie, and so she decided to go poke evil with a stick.

She heads up to Roderham, finds out that security is better than she was expecting (for actual thieves, not ghost hunting…). It took three nights to figure out a way in, so she followed the detailed instructions to the train car from the forum post, wandering in the dark valleys of train cars. She found she could smell the car’s location--that old blood tracing thorough the darkness. She found the old rusty, thing. She started to see figures sitting in the trains from the corner of her eye…

She sees the train car. Rusty, heavy, ancient and flecked with green paint, the smell of old blood overpowering her senses. She walks to the sliding door, and her flashlight catches the serial number of the car. She writes it down, then goes into the car. At first, it was dark--just featureless steel. On the floor, she sees a stream of red blood. She follows the stream to an old hospital gurney--the body on it covered by a white cotton sheet that was stained black at the bottom. The body was writing in pain, and then suddenly--

A shape charged the gurney, a gleam of metal. It was a man, dressed in green army fatigues, a medic arm band.He was in his twenties, and his eyes weren’t human--whatever it is to be human, it was long gone from there--only violence was left. He plunged the scalpel into the body on the gurney, again and again like a sewing machine.

Melanie was so transfixed in terror that she didn’t notice the man charge to her. It was only when that sharp white scalpel bit into her that she screamed. The next thing she knew she was being dragged away by the scrapyard’s security, ranting at them about blood and madmen. Of course no one was there when she looked. The guys in the scrapyard told the cops and the hospital she cut herself in the train yard, and she was sent off to the hospital (but not before some dog walker got her on camera and made her a trending meme for a few days). The police later dropped charges (funny that…).

She looked up the train serial number once she got out of the hospital. The train car was from World War II, the 11th US Army Field Hospital that had been operating in August 1944. In 1945, though, the entire train derailed. Officially, there were no patients on board, so other than the 5 dead and 14 injured, it was bad but not a complete disaster. Only a single car that was not part of the original train. Guess which one survived?

How did the car end up there? Well that’s why King went to the Magnus library, found a report from William Hay--who became occultist William H. Hay, who had written many books on the occult but were always heavily edited before release. Lucky for us, the Magnus Library has copies of the unedited versions, which Melanie found. Hay served on the hospital train, and did write a report where the long term smell of blood can cause a mania in a small minority of people, urges to commit unspeakable violence and that violence doesn’t just impact the body or mind, but the soul. He stated the train was derailed to prevent a young surgeon who was infected like this from getting off, and brings up a similar event at a hospital in Amritsar where patients were tearing themselves apart.

Well, Melanie decides that sounds like a great vacation and she’s already got her plane tickets. She wanted to make a statement in case anything happened to her when she got there, like being murdered by ghosts. Simms understands that. Melanie says she wants to see Sasha before she goes, and Simms is confused--Sasha brought her down to his office. No, Melanie says, that’s not Sasha. Is Simms trying to gaslight her?! She barges out, thinking Simms is being a jerk.

Simms didn’t follow up with this, because of the whole Not-Sasha thing. Simms is finally taking this seriously. He was looking through the tapes from Gertrude to find out where to start, and now thanks to Melanie, he might have an idea…

I liked this one a quick little ghost story--honestly the actual story is only a few minutes--but then as I was typing, I went “...I bet this is based on something real”, and sure enough I find out this is all based on reality. At least the train derailment. Not the Khorne-worshipping doctor. Probably.

The whole not-Sasha thing is a big reason why I really wish this was a TV series. The idea of replacing an actress with another actress and pretending nothing’s wrong for almost an entire season is just delicious to me. But at least Simms is starting to realize, and we’ll see what he can do to stop it...


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I know it was only one episode, but Northern Exposure did the 'replace an actor' thing rather well, but in a comedic way. It wouldn't have taken much to turn that episode into horror.


Proud Fianna knight of hope and peace
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Case: 9941509
Statement of: Lucy Cooper, regarding victim Rose Cooper
Date of Recording: September 15, 1994
Date of Event: August 1994
Recorded by: Gertrude Robinson

Allright! Gertrude!! More high-level evil-hunting, explosive-using badass Mom’s!

There is a stranger pretending to be Lucy Cooper’s mother. Everyone says that this woman is her mother, and looks at Lucy odd when she says otherwise.

While she and her mother never really got along,and her mother was always critical of her. It was when she got engaged to Laurnece though, she really lost it. She blew up at her daughter, claiming that she was throwing her life away. In the end they stopped talking for almost a decade, and her mother was proved right--Laurence had two affairs and got jailed for embezzlement. Still Lucy didn’t talk to her mother (not wanting to prove her right) until her father had his accident.

Her father was kind but ineffectual, always in his wife’s shadow. He fell off a ladder, and it was enough to bring Lucy in. She never reconciled with her mother, really--they were always close to a fight and biting their tongue, but her father was so happy seeing his family together again they both unconsciously agreed to a cease-fire.

Lucy started compiling oral histories for the British Library, which gave her another reason to see the family. Her parents lived in Draycott, and her mother was an expert on Irish folklore--that was why they moved there, you see. So many old stories about the place (you would think an expert on Irish folklore might know better than to LIVE WHERE THE GENTRY ARE, but whatever). So Lucy would take the two trains and a cab to see her father, record her mother’s stories and knowledge, and life moved on.

Two weeks ago, though, when Lucy went to see her parents, a stranger opened the door. Her mother had short hair, tall and thin. But her not-mother was short, plump, and had long curly hair. Lucy asked if her parents were home, and her not-mother laughed, joyful and not at all like her mother. Then her father showed up, next to her not-mother, smiling and looking at his daughter. Something wasn’t right.

Lucy asked where her mother was. The two stopped, then her not-mother reached out to hug her. Lucy yelled at her, told her to back off--to which her father, sounding angier than he ever has, tells her that this joke isn’t funny and no matter how angry she was this wasn’t the way to deal with it.

The next hour was a blur. Being handed tea and chatting with her “parents”. Her not-mother chatting like nothing was amiss, her father worried about her and talking about anything in his head to alieve her. What was going on? Her father was never senile. Lucy excuses herself and heads to the back garden, thinking about calling the cops but then--

She sees family photos from years ago. In each one, her mother has been replaced. This notMother had completely replaced her mother. After dinner, Lucy pulls out the family albums, and she sees over 500 photos that showed her notMother. As she flips through the pages, Lucy is positive she saw a smug grin of mockery on her notMother’s face. But everything tells her that this is her mother--the neighbors all agree. The photos all agree. The vicar of her church agrees. Of course, the vicar was worried about her health--she had a fall near the church, and the scream she had when she did was bloodcurdling. When he ran to her, she was fine though.

The only proof she has is that her recordings of her mother’s stories. They were unchanged. So now lucy is going to go play them for her father. Maybe it will wake him up. Maybe it will get her committed.


Sadly, George Cooper died of a gas leak two days before this recording was made. No other bodies were found, and Rose Cooper disappeared. Gertrude has a friend, one Adelard Decker, who in case 9910607 references similar creatures he calls the NotThem. If this is the same creature, followup is pointless--the creature won’t stay with the same Coopers, and it’s motives are unknown. She assumes it’s tied to the Stranger, but that’s conjecture. Gertrude is still not sure why only a few people can see through it’s effects. Magnetic tape appears to be immune to the changes, as are polaroids per Decker. Lucy gave them a tape of her mother’s recordings, but Gertrude destroyed it--she doesn’t want to draw this NotThing’s attention.

Simms found this tape, labeled “changeling/impostor”, in Basira’s bin. He also noted that all the tapes that disappeared after the Jane Prentice incident had Sasha’s voice on them. He can’t tell the others about the tape yet since he’s still not sure if any of them are murderers, but he needs to do more research to find out what these NotThem are and what to do about them…

Adelard Dekker: A friend of Gertrudes. Knows about the NotThem.

Man, the NotThings are really great, aren’t they? Just the idea that one day you wake up and the world tells you you’re wrong about somebody, just how maddening that would be…

Spoiler: Show

And of course, there’s a reason some people aren’t effected. In this case, Lucy wasn’t immune, she was supposed to not see. She was the one that was being picked by the Stranger to be, well--digested. It was her fear that it was feeding on I think. That's how the Unknown feeds--not just on the people it devours,but the people that see it.


Proud Fianna knight of hope and peace
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I've been waiting for this one.

Case: 0011206
Statement of: Lawrence Moore, regarding somethign that was not hsi cousin
Date of recording: June 12, 2001
Recording by: Jonathan Simms

Simms is scared. But he barrels on with his work--

Lawrence had a cousin Carl. Past tense. Carl lived in Petersborough, and every once in a while Lawrence’s family would go visit them, but they never came down to visit back. He realizes how close they live, it’s odd how rare they saw each other.

Either way, Lawrence and Carl got along fine--Lawrence was the younger cousin, and they would explore their grandmother’s garden or whatever. They still only saw each other only a few times each year. It didn’t bother either of them though. Even thought they ended up living nearby each other in London, they never hung out.

So Lawrence went to his brother’s wedding, and saw that something had replaced Carl. At the reception, Lawrence offered his hand to a dark-haired stranger and asked his name. NotCarl laughed. “Sure you haven’t forgotten your cousin Carl?” Lawrence asked his brother, and even his born-without-a-sense-of-humor father, and they both agreed that was Carl. NotCarl stared at him, smiling.

Everyone told him the same thing. Lawrence didn’t drink, so maybe it was the divorce and stress at work messing with him memory. He tried to laugh it off--some stress-related stroke only messed with his memory of a rarely seen family member? He got off lucky!

But he couldn’t let it go.

That was Not Carl.

He grabbed some books from his late grandmother that he was one day going to go through but never had. She had always taken a ton of pictures, and Lawrence saw this NotCarl in every one. Except two pictures of Carl.

There was a knock at the door. Lawrence went downstairs to see his NotCousin NotCarl. NotCarl felt, since they lived so close, it would be rude not to hang out. NotCarl came in and they sat down, both staring at each other. Lawrence was terrified of him sitting far too still. He glared at notCarl, but the more he tried to look at him the more he seemed to go out of focus--at one point, his Not-neck seemed too long… Lawrence was terrified, knowing that he did not know this man.

Finally, NotCarl stood up, saying how much he enjoyed the visit. “We must do this again, and soon”, and left. Lawrence wept until another knock at the door startled him. Another stranger--a black man wearing a crisp white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a thin necktie. The man asked him with determined eyes “did you know the man who left his house earlier this evening?”

Lawrence said no, and his visitor demanded to show him the pictures that hadn’t changed. His visitor was sitting on the couch, who finally introduces himself as Adleard Dekker, exorcist of a sort. They review the pictures, and Decker tells him to follow him. They go to his van, where he he pulls out a large wooden box and brings it back into Lawrence’s home. Lawrence tries to open the box, but Dekker stops him--what’s in there isn’t for him. Then Dekker told him to go to his room and stay there until it was all done. Lawrence demanded to know how staying in his bed would bring his cousin back, and Dekker shook his head. His cousin was dead, and the best way for Lawrence not to join him was to stay. In. his. Room. until everything was over.

So...Lawrence just followed the old man’s words. He laid in his bed and slept poorly, nightmares of his NotCousin. Morning came, and still Lawrnece stayed until late afternoon.

At 3pm, NotCarl’s knock rapt at the door. Lawrence strained his ears to hear anything. An hour of silence...then, the most unnatural scream he ever heard, an inhuman thing of pure rage.

Lawrence panicked, bolting down stairs and running towards the door. He had to get out of here. As he ran past his living room, he instinctively turned to see Dekker standing straight and noiselessly chanting something. In the middle of the living room, now outside the box, was a table covered in intricite webworks. In front of them both was NotCarl, now long and too-tall and too-thin. Wrapped around it’s notflesh was spiderwebs, coming from the table, and the horrible inhuman face of notCarl screamed.

Lawrence ran outside, and kept running until he collapsed. He returned to his home only the next morning. Dekker’s van was gone, but a new one was in it’s place--a dirty white van where two burly moving men (lightening! Thunder! neeeeeeigh!!) are taking the box with the table away. Carl is now reported as missing.

This was in the file Gertrude talked about. Simms found it, and he knows that Not-Sasha is tied to the table. He also found the old tapes that has Sasha’s voice, as well as her disappearing. He has the evidence. He knows NotSasha killed Sasha.

Now Simms sees her.

Later, he calls Tim and Martin together, tells them he’s feeling ill so they should go home. They both see through this immediately. Simms tells them that he’s sorry...for everything.


Simms gives them a goodbye and an apology on the tape. They deserve the truth, but he has work to do.

8ka-chick* later. Simms whispers, “it is remarkably easy to buy an axe in central London”. He’s in Artefact Storage. And he’s...breaking the table? “I don’t know if breaking this table will kill it, but I damn sure hope it hurts!” As he chops into the table, the static increases...then he laughs at his work. The table’s destroyed now, but hollow. Nothing but dust and cobwebs. Nothing to worry about.

Then Michael laughs. “That was very stupid. There’s no way out of this room. The tables were binding them. Even with your protections here, I doubt you’ll survive long. You. Need. a Door.”

As Simms shakes his head (and begins to realize just how badly he’s fucked up), we begin to hear a chorus of NotVoices calling his name--NotSasha is now free to move and act.

“Shit!” says Simms.

The tape recorder shuts off.

First, the statement--i always remember this one, since it feels like a Hellblazer comic not from the POV of Constantine. Something evil is there, it’s obvious a lot is going that you don’t know about, and at the end the character just has to go on with their lives.

This is kind of overrun by the action in Archive storage. I always got confused listening to this one because...WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING, SIMMS?! Like, you know that moment as a GM where your players decide on a course of action and you can’t even figure out how they got to THAT point? You’re running through your mind, trying to remember if you screwed up and said something wrong? How did they get it so wrong?!?

I still don’t understand how Simms looked at:
  1. There are Not-Them.
  2. Sasha is a not-Them.
  3. The magic spider table is recorded as eating a Not-Them.
Ergo, I should destroy the table. This will kill Not-Sasha.

...what? Did I stutter?! Were you on your phone, Simms?! What the hell was even giving you the IDEA that you should break apart the thing that ate the other monsters?!? I’ve listened to this series three times, and re-listening to all of this I was wondering “did i miss an episode to give him an ideathis was clever?” and NO!! I DIDN’T!! What’s your plan to stop Dracula, Simms? Burn all these crosses and garlic and bleed on him to lull him into a sense of security?!

...Jonathan Simms. The worst strategist in horror fiction.


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This is the chain of logic that I think Simms followed:
  • The first part of the puzzle that Simms encounters is the table. It is in a house where someone is replaced by a thing that came in the window. Way back in Episode 3. In his mind it's linked to the NotPeople, but not in an antagonistic way.
  • In the same series, that very table is delivered to the Archives by our in-no-way-suspicious delivery men. Yep, that table is dubious.
  • Very soon after that, Sasha is replaced, but no-one is the wiser.
  • The next time he comes across mention of the table, it's to do with Hilltop Road, where it looks like it was planned to be part of a ritual to kill/replace someone. What's the table for?
  • Simms learns that Sasha is notSasha, and figures out that it happened just after that evil table was delivered. The table is a trigger for replacing people!
  • While somebody is trying to exorcise a notPerson, they become attached to the table. They draw power from the table to protect themself.
  • I know, lets go and attack the table. I can destroy its power source before having to fight the thing itself!

Law Orc

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And a supernatural creature being tied to some magic thingy that is unrelated or even hostile to them seems to be rare in the setting. "The table makes or at least attracts evil dopplegangers" is a reasonable conclusion for him to draw with the facts at hand.


Yours Pedantically
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I find Jon's decision-making in general to be much better than his colleagues and the fandom give him credit for.
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