Note to readers: this little blurb was mocked up as a newspaper clipping for players to discover if they thought to go looking for old articles on the haunted Wheatley mansion in-game. This clipping gave them the name of Roderick Kemp, which they could then follow up on to discover the memoir previously printed here. The mock newspaper, The Voice of Providence was a long-running prop in the game (I started the Providence game as a table-top adventure while still in college, then moved it to a Live Action game in 1994. The chronicle was featured at Origins 1995, 1996 and 2000. You’ve not GM’d till you’ve wrangled nearly 200 players for four long days. The game ran all night, and sometimes players would track us down to our hotel room to go over puzzles they were trying to solve in-game. Creating both characters and plots with enough depth to occupy people for that length of time engenders a special kind of madness. Still, I miss it some days).
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Deputy Roderick Kemp made the grisly discovery on a sultry afternoon in the summer of 1875. The corpses included the body of Detective Solomon Godwin, 35, Arnold Powell, a drifter, and young Kevin Blackwell, an eleven-year-old-boy who had been missing since March of that year.
Dr. Jacob Frost, the Providence coroner, worked hard to identify the remains of the other bodies, however, in most cases, decomposition was so advanced that identification was impossible. In all, the remains of at least fifteen individuals were discovered in the home, which, by all appearances, had been abandoned for at least two weeks. No sign of Whately himself was ever found, although it was the opinion of the Providence police that Whately was dead.
Since the house became the scene of one of the most dreadful murder cases Providence has ever seen, it has stood abandoned on its lot not far from the Kirkwood Cemetery. Many tales have grown up around the house, including a persistent rumor that Old Man Whately haunts the property, protecting his hidden gold. The rumor of hidden treasure associated with the house came about from the fact that Whately, the eldest of five siblings, was the sole inheritor of the Whately fortune. Despite this, Whately lived a relatively simple live, remaining in the seclusion of his home and coming into town only to buy supplies every two or three weeks. On these occasions, he was often observed wearing the same patched and soiled set of clothes, with wild, unkempt hair and beard. To all appearances, he lived in poverty, which of course begged the question of what happened to the family fortune.
In twenty-five years, the mystery has never been solved, but it has become a rite of passage for some of the daring young men of Providence to invade the abandoned home, particularly on nights of the full moon, to dare the specter of Whately to manifest and drive them from his house of horrors.