Call of Cthulhu: Skullhouse
Gold Diggers of 1922
1906 – Apr 18 – The San Francisco Earthquake stops work on the Southern Pacific “new spur”.
1906 – July – Discovery of the artifacts in the shell mound – Professor Kroeber of the Lowie Museum sends letters to various contacts in the regions of origin of the mask, stone disc, basketry disc and stone pestle. Kroeber is distracted by other work and the appearance of Ishi and fails to note the single relevant reply, from the University of British Columbia.
1915 May 23 – Date of the odd Ishi recording which contains a reference to Tsonoqua.
1921 Feb. 3 – The UBC warehouse is plundered by unknown vandals.
1921 Oct. 16 – That night Tom Rogan, the old switchman, hears a godawful howling… Like a dog or a coyote… But loud … From the new spur… where they got some cars for months now. Told Clancy to have a look the next morning… There was a singing kinda… Later. Didn’t sound like it came from the Tent… They had their Revival in the afternoon Sunday… Not late. Little Angelina got to the stand, bought the oranges and dawdled to watch the trains… She spoke with other kids who were playing on the tracks. They went south along the tracks, following a creek-bed and said she was still there when they last saw her. (She said she was listening to the singing…)
1921 Oct. 18 – Rev. Ambrose is missing, though this is not immediately known as his wife covers it up.
1921 Oct. 21 – The Rev returns and is apprehended by the investigators.
1921 Nov. – Early in the month, the reverend dies accidentally – hit by a train.
1921 Nov. 20 – Prof. Kroeber returns.
1921 Nov. 28 Prof Kroeber, having discovered the 1906 reply from UBC, sends out a new wave of letters.
1921/1922 Late Dec. – Early January – Estimated time of attack on Caquarimiut band at Kokechic Bay.
1922 Mar. 6 – The coyote has been seen around the Visitacion Valley tunnel and the remnant of the shell mound since late October. It has been howling the last couple of nights. Old Tom Rogan is badly affected by… something . Apparently the same singing he heard before.
1922 Mar. 7 – The investigators revisit Visitacion Valley and speak to various persons including Tom Rogan.
1922 Mar. 8 – The investigators visit the Lowie, meet Prof. Kroeber and his colleagues, and convince him to secure the very odd artifact, (the one which has a five pointed star of tarred cords securing a sandstone lozenge to a granite slab) in a convenient safe. The investigators get access to the professor’s correspondence about the artifact at this time.
It seems that the coyote is gone from Visitacion Valley.
1922 Mar. 9 – Apparently the date Benjamin Geitner was approached by pawn broker Rex Morganthal. Morganthal wanting to borrow $7000 to buy gold…
Mar 12 – Sunday – Death of Pawnshop Owner – Apparently Ben Geitner was present – certainly he had a bit of flaked gold like the over $15000 worth found in the pawnshop…
5 year old Luigi Mazeppi lost in the Produce District .
Mar. 13 – Monday. It turns out that Benjamin Geitner got picked up in a dazed condition and taken to SF General, where Dr. Xander discovered another of those weird little leather “fetish” thingies sewn to his arm.
On returning to the Lowie, the investigators find that Professor Kroeber has become romantically involved with a strange blonde woman named Leda Zenika… He is listening to old Ishi recordings and they hear one from 1915 which in addition to containing a reference to Tsonoqua, seems to them to contain the notes of the weird song which they have been hearing of. On re-play of the recording does not contain that song at all.
Kroeber provides various information on Tsonoqua, the American Indian legend of the cannibal-woman who preys on children. It also seems that, while Tsonoqua is depicted as a blonde woman, most of the time, she may also appear as male…
Gold Diggers of 1922 begins on Tuesday, March 7 with a newspaper article about the disappearance of seven-year-old Mindy Jones from outside her Visitacion Valley home. This immediately brings to mind certain unresolved events of the Angelina Rossi Investigation back in October, 1921—Ithaqua’s “little helper”, the two-note tune, the mutilated child.
In this instance, there are even fewer clues than in the Rossi case. People in the neighborhood report recent coyote activity, and Southern Pacific switchman Tom Rogan has been hearing that repeating two-note melody again.
On Wednesday, March 8, the investigators check back at the Lowie Museum to see if Professor Alfred Kroeber can tell them more about the shell mound now that he’s back from his field work.
In addition to Kroeber, investigators meet his executive secretary and apparent girlfriend Ethel Fields, Professor John Harrington and his two children, and the “museum Indian” John Running Deer.
Kroeber has actually been looking into the 1906 shell mound investigation again and shows the party the far-ranging artifacts that were gathered from the chamber, as well as the mysterious lozenge-shaped slab that rested above them. He brings out correspondence from colleagues in Vancouver and the Alaska Territory suggesting that unknown parties have used extreme force to seize similar slabs from those regions.
Deezer persuades Kroeber to better secure his slab in light of the possible threat. The artifact is locked behind a combination door that Miss Fields can open.
The trail runs cold on the Jones case, and nothing much happens until Monday, March 13, when another child goes missing. This time it’s little Luigi Mizeppi from up by the Embarcadero. Around the same time, pawnshop owner Rex Morganthal is brutally murdered after being forced to open his safe. Mob accountant Ben Geitner is being help in connection. He works for local gangster Michael Udderson, who operates out of the Blue Garter. Geitner is now under Dr. Xander’s care and appears much the same as Reverend Ambrose A. Armstrong was during his Ithaqua “episode”, down to the leather bundle sewn to his inner forearm. Geitner raves about Morganthal wanting $7000 for gold.
Morganthal did indeed have a large quantity of gold in his safe, but it appears that whoever killed him left most, if not all, of it behind.
This most-recent activity prompts the investigators to check back with Professor Kroeber, who, it turns out, has been two-timing Ethel with a mysterious glamorous blond by the exotic name of Lita Zennaka. Kroeber seems out of sorts and confesses that Lita has been pressuring him to show her the secured artifact; she wants him to bring it outside since she’s oddly claustrophobic.
Kroeber has been reviewing the 1915 Ishi recordings and the investigators hear a fragment where Ishi talks about Tsonoqua/Dzoonokwa, a terrifying cannibal woman of Indian myth. The Professor shows a number of illustrations of Tsonoqua masks, all of which have blond hair. Tom mentions Reverand Armstrong’s “Golden Jesus” and Kroeber produces an image of a more masculine Tsonoqua mask, this one with bushy blond facial hair.
20’ tall Tsonoqua totem pole
The ‘Golden Jesus’ Tsonoqua mask