My final mailing arrived about a week ago, but I was saving it until I finished all the jigsaws and deciphering that came in the crate. There were a few things in the envelope that brought the story of the house right up to the current day.
By 2002, the house still has a reputation for being haunted. Two aptly named urban explorers, Eurydice and Djinn, break into the property by scaling the garden wall and enter the house through the conservatory. Although there are a few broken windows and tags on the outside of the conservatory, it looks as though no one has dared damage the interior.
After finding a gnome door, hidden by vines in the conservatory – the same door that the Gruesome Phantom was using to watch Hélène Ashworth – they discovered a trap door into the basement, revealing a long, narrow hallway, covered in dried flower petals. From there, they find a niche containing a “nest” of old blankets and papers, the walls covered in markings carved into the wood, which lead to another ladder up to the ground floor. The explorers separate, Djinn remaining on the ground floor and Eurydice going up to the next storey. Although the top of the stairs appeared to be a dead end, a panel in the wall eventually opened into a bedroom, which must be the one in the top left corner of the second floor. Once the panel closed, it was almost impossible to see from within the room. Makeup has been painted onto the vanity mirror to create a face and the room smells of lavender. The sound of a woman weeping draws Eurydice’s attention and when she looks back at the mirror, in the place of the makeup is a real face with “begging eyes.”
Eurydice flees, crashing through the rooms to find an accessible staircase, and eventually hears Djinn and an unknown voice speaking to one another. When she finds him, he is standing in front of another mirror, which is intact despite the shards of glass scattered across the floor, taking photographs of what he sees reflected in it. The mirror clearly shows a shadowy figure lurching along a narrow hallway, however the only thing that should be reflected, other than the explorers themselves, is the marble fireplace (which is noted to be cracked). The wallpaper in the photograph of the mirror matches the scrap that had Henry’s final journal entry scribbled on the reverse.
With the figure moving faster and faster towards them, Eurydice drags Djinn back towards the conservatory and they find another passage way under the back staircase – possibly the place that Hélène’s body was found. Eurydice notes that she ran without even looking back once, securing her escape. There was a tortured howl behind them, suddenly cut off as they left the house. Although Djinn managed to stay with her as they fled, he was not the same again and talks frequently about the house and its secrets. By the time of the article, he is in care and may end up permanently institutionalised. She brings him photographs from their previous adventures and sometimes seems like himself, but when he saw a picture from the house that had accidentally been mixed in, he started screaming and Eurydice has not been allowed to return. She has since given up urban exploration, but still feels drawn to the house, although she feels that if either of them ever returns, they will never be allowed to leave.
The brochure for Griggs Manor advertises the development of the estate into luxury flats. Although the scheduled completion is due in 2020, the website for Regal Residencies says that the project has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, possibly similar problems to those Henry and Laura had with their own workmen while the house was being built.
Normally, I tell my cats off for climbing on my desk and stomping on my keyboard, but on this occasion I gave them as pass, because they inadvertently showed me a hidden reference. I came back from making a drink to find that one of them had opened my start menu and had also hit F12 on my open browser (or perhaps it was the Grinning Goblin?)
The last item in the envelope was a letter to explain that the game was by the Mystery Package Company and the link to find out the identity of my mysterious benefactor, but I’m going to keep that to myself for the time being.
At every stage, I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the quality of every item I’ve received. Significant effort has gone into all of the props and, my initial reaction aside, it has been so much fun getting each package through the post and working through all of the contents. Getting to see the story unfold and handling all of the artifacts added a wonderful multi-sensory experience. Now I want to pick their artists’ brains on how they have weathered everything so beautifully, including the thick and dusty feel of the paper and the scent of neglect and age that lingers on everything. Unless there really is a cursed house, all of the props are real and the Mysterious Package company are spreading genuine curses around the world under the guise of games.
I’m a little sad that it’s over, but I suppose I can get back to my costuming projects now that my summer distraction is finished.