Miskatonic President Murdered!
Arkham -- Late in the evening of Wednesday, August 9th, Miskatonic University President Winthrop Castleridge Ainsley, PhD, was mysteriously murdered. According to police reports, President Ainsley was walking home late in the evening when he was assaulted outside the campus library housing Miskatonic's world-renowned Rare Books collection. Forensics indicate that Ainsley was attacked by a large animal, as his body was badly ripped and clawed. While the wounds could have been inflicted by an appropriately equipped lunatic, a far more likely explanation is that the murderer released a large dog or hunting cat on Ainsley. According to police psychiatrists, Miskatonic's reputation for the bizarre and the outre might well lead a sufficiently deranged person to perform such a murder in the hopes of shocking the superstitious. President Ainsley's murder comes on the brink of Alumni Weekend and the 200th anniversary of Miskatonic University.
Police are also investigating the possibility that Ainsley's murder could be connected to the so-called "Vampire Killings" of approximately eight months ago. At that time, several people mysteriously vanished. Some of them were later found, their bodies emptied of blood. Farmers also reported having their flocks raided and a blood bank in Arkham was robbed. The crimes stopped as abruptly as they had begun. No one was ever apprehended, and police pronounced themselves baffled.
It has been reported to the Rumour that agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have taken charge of the investigation into President Ainsley's death. FBI Agents Maxwell Montag, Darlene Dienstag, and Milton Mittwoch are already present on the Miskatonic Campus and expect to have the case solved before the weekend is out.
In the absence of a University President, the Miskatonic Board of Trustees is responsible for coordinating the events of Alumni Weekend and seeing to it that a new president is selected as soon as possible. According to the Miskatonic bylaws, there must always be an active President of the University after midnight on the Saturday of Alumni Weekend. The bylaws further state that the President may be any faculty member or graduate of Miskatonic. However, the Board may not select a current Trustee or anyone who has served on the Board within the past two years. At present, the six members of the Miskatonic Board of Trustees are: former US Ambassador John Uspher Dinner III; Richard Bridelon Harkness; "Muffy" Pennypacker; Arthur Charles Prince; William Riveton Weld; and Chauncy Plumtree Wigglesworth IV.
Miskatonic Library Robbed!
Late Wednesday night, a person or persons unknown entered the Miskatonic Library Rare Books Collection and removed a number of very valuable tomes. Although the police have no clue as to the identity of the thief or thieves, there is a strong possibility that the theft was carried out by students pulling a hack. Hacking, or the pulling of elaborate pranks, is an old Miskatonic tradition. However, a more sinister note has been struck by the coincidence of the robbery with the murder of the Miskatonic's President, Winthrop Castleridge Ainsley, PhD. A number of the stolen books were rumoured to have been found on the ground near President Ainsley's body, and have been confiscated by the FBI. Miskatonic is rumoured to be threatening legal action if the recovered volumes are not immediately returned.
The theft of the books represents a major loss to Miskatonic. Although covered by insurance, the stolen volumes are likely to be irreplaceable. Several of them are hundreds of years old. Oddly, all the stolen volumes deal with various aspects of occult lore and black magic. One of the books reported missing is the legendary Necronomicon. According to popular mythology, and as dramatized by the well-known journalist and horror author H. P. Lovecraft, the Necronomicon contains all manner of dark and mind-shattering secrets. Legend declares the book to have been written around AD 730 by Abdul al-Hazrd, called the "mad poet of Sanna." Whatever the truth of these legends, and whether or not the book really contains "foul and blasphemous" knowledge as so many occultists claim, there can be no doubt that it does represent an irreplaceable antiquity. Other missing books include the Pnakotic Manuscripts, the Cultes des Est, Ludwig Prinn's Vermiis Mysteriis, the Book of Dzyan, the Unaussprechlichen Kulten of von Juntz, le Comte d'Erlette's Cultes des Ghoules, and the Liber Eibonis.
The FBI is investigating the theft.
Archaeological Expedition Returns
The Second Miskatonic Expedition to the Antarctic returned to Arkham late Tuesday night. Students of history will recall that the first Expedition was sent out in the 1930's to explore remote areas of the frozen continent. Reports of strange events and mysterious hushed-up findings haunted the first Expedition. Now, it appears that the Second Expedition has suffered a similar fate. Led by the dashing and romantic J. Edgar Graves, a professor in Miskatonic's Archaeology Department, the Expedition also included Professors Sebastian Tombs and Katherine Coombes, as well as Algernon Pitts, Dana Diggs, and "Chip" Barrows, students in the department. According to reports, at least one member of the Expedition went insane while in that frozen wasteland. This occurred shortly after the Expedition stumbled across the remnants of an earlier expedition. As yet, no hard facts have been reported.
Miskatonic Celebrates 200th Anniversary
Two hundred years ago this weekend, the first stones of Miskatonic University were laid by Roger Barton Williams. Williams, the founder of Miskatonic, had spent years scouring the world for ruined castles, fortresses, and ancient cities. He then purchased the rubble and built Miskatonic University from those hoary stones. He was reported to have said several times that he wanted his school to have the patina of age normally associated with such beacons of learning as Oxford and Cambridge, without having to wait so long. Williams situated his University in Arkham, Massachusetts, a region already known for Indian legends and believed by many of the original settlers to be haunted. Williams claimed that it would help lend atmosphere to the school.
Little is known about Williams himself, although he was reputed to be a skilled wizard and involved in secret societies. He was dedicated to learning and the promulgation of knowledge, and dreamt always of a school where all knowledge would be available to those who sought it. Miskatonic University is a fitting tribute to his dream.
School Spirit On The Rise
Although sighting ghosts at Miskatonic University is nothing new, with the approach of Alumni Weekend the incidence of such sightings has dramatically increased. In the past several months, numerous unexplained sightings have occurred. Some theorists claim that this is the ghost of Miskatonic Founder Roger Barton Williams coming back for the 200th anniversary celebrations; others claim this theory to be a load of dingo's kidneys since the ghost looks nothing like portraits of Williams. Whatever the apparition may be, restless spirit or the product of too many spirits, it is sure to add interest and excitement to the upcoming weekend.
Alumni Weekend Continues
Under the shadow of the death of Miskatonic President Winthrop Castleridge Ainsley, the University has announced that plans for the weekend are not to be halted. Already the Board of Trustees is taking charge of coordinating the events of the weekend. Speculation is rife over who shall be the next president of Miskatonic University.
There has also been a good deal of speculation as to whether the Board would fulfill its obligation to select a new president before midnight on Saturday. Historically, this is the fourth time in the history of the school that the president has died on, or shortly before, Alumni Weekend. Only once did the Board fail to appoint his successor in time.
Fifty years after the founding of Miskatonic, the president died of pneumonia shortly before Alumni Weekend. By Saturday night, the Board was unable to agree on a successor. No one was particularly concerned about this, believing that Roger Barton Williams' stipulation in the bylaws to be nothing more than his eccentricity at work.
By Sunday morning, one of the Trustees was a raving lunatic. By noon that day, another one was a drooling idiot, a third had become violently insane and had to be confined, and a fourth was ripped apart in front of witnesses. The funny thing was that, although newspaper clippings of that day report numerous eye-witness accounts of the hapless Trustee being shredded before the gaze of terrified onlookers, no one could see the creature doing the shredding. It later came out that this particular Trustee had resigned from the Board upon witnessing the insanity of his comrades. By 12:30 that afternoon, a new president had been selected and the three lunatics recovered shortly thereafter.
Since that time, no Board has been late with the decision.
Budget Crunch Hits Miskatonic
Not even Miskatonic University, bastion of upperclass, rich, expensive educations, top lab facilities, and highly paid faculty, is immune from the current economic climate. In the past few weeks, unfortunately coincident with Alumni Weekend, many scientific grants and government funds have been frozen. Rumour has it that the government is investigating Miskatonic for alleged misappropriation of funds. According to an unnamed source in the University, the Federal government became quite upset when it discovered that Miskatonic had billed the government for refurbishments to the mausoleum and the annual Halloween night bacchanalia. Government officials and University officers have so far declined to comment on this issue. One of Miskatonic's major projects, the new Planetarium, is in danger of being halted completely. As the building was intended for dedication and display this weekend, failure to be ready on time would be a serious blow to Miskatonic's reputation.
Physics Department Announces Breakthrough
According to the Miskatonic University Physics Department, significant progress has been made in the area of High Energy Nuclear Fusion. According to Miskatonic Professor Graf T. Fields, work on a "Fusion Containment Field" is showing significant progress.
Nuclear fusion is the reaction which powers the sun and other stars in the galaxy. According to noted scientist Carl Sagan, the sun contains billions and billions of hydrogen atoms under tremendous extremes of temperature and pressure. These billions and billions of atoms fuse to form billions and billions of helium atoms. This process generates the heat and light which warms the Earth. Nuclear fusion experiments have so far been unsuccessful in generating the necessary extreme conditions to create a controlled nuclear fusion reaction on Earth. Uncontrolled reactions, such as nuclear weapons, have been successfully produced.
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