thought illusions


Mystery Performers

Effects and Materials

copyright 2014 Stephen Eric Young


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thought illusions
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It was April 14th. The Great War was still 2 years away. Everything at Ragdale House, the country home of Lord and Lady Atherton, seemed peaceful and quiet.

It was well into the night and Lord Atherton had woken feeling unwell. 
He made his way down to the kitchen to try and find something to ease his discomfort. 
He was surprised, considering the lateness of the hour, to see a light burning in the servants’ hallway, and on entering the kitchen he was appalled to see Lady Atherton and a number of the staff engaged in what could only have been a séance. 

Lord Atherton exploded with rage. It seems that the most junior of the staff, a young chamber-maid, had claimed some sort of ability to contact those who had passed over to the other side. 
Lady Atherton had been trying to contact her son who had died almost a year earlier, at the age of 6, in a boating accident. 

Lord Atherton's rage was initially focused on the young chamber-maid. So intense was it that at one point he grabbed the girl by the shoulders and threw her across the kitchen. The girl fell against the still-hot range, and in breaking her fall had placed both hands on the hot-plate. She ran screaming from the kitchen. 
The commotion had woken other staff members and Lord Atherton sent the butler and stable lad to find and return with the young girl. 
Lord Atherton then turned his anger on his wife who eventually, like the maid, ran from the kitchen in tears. 

This was not the first time this had happened. And after Lord Atherton had destroyed the first Ouija board the young girl, at the insistence of Lady Atherton, had made another board which was hand lettered on the underside of a drawer from the kitchen dresser so as to avoid discovery. 

Despite an extensive search of the house, the young servant girl was nowhere to be found. 
Lord Atherton arranged for the dogs to be sent out to try and track her down in the extensive grounds surrounding the house.

He stormed upstairs to his wife’s room to continue venting his fury.

A short while later a huge commotion erupted in the garden. It seems the dogs had tracked down the girl. 

Lord Atherton, unable to locate his wife had returned downstairs, just as the butler entered the kitchen, ashen faced and calling for a doctor to be summoned.
The dogs had indeed found someone, but it was not the girl. It was Lady Atherton. The dogs had found her hiding in the small boat house at the edge of the lake, where her son had died almost a year earlier.
Unfortunately in their excited state they had attacked the lady of the house. She was badly mauled and needed extensive hospital treatment. 

Incidents of this nature, if they got into the papers, could ruin a man with standing like Lord Atherton. And, connected as he was, he would be unable to keep the affair quiet. However, fate is an unusual thing. For the next few weeks the only news that people wanted to read about, the news that filled almost every available inch of newsprint, was a terrible tragedy that took place on that same night, thousands of miles away. An unsinkable ship had hit an iceberg whilst on its maiden voyage, resulting in massive loss of life

The chamber maid had made her way to the nearby fishing village where her brother worked as a hand on one of the fishing boats.

It was only Lady Atherton’s threat to demand a divorce from Lord Atherton ( a scandal he could ill afford) that saw the return of the maid to Ragdale House.

Lady Atherton returned from hospital, badly disfigured. Already somewhat unstable following the tragic death of her son, she became a veritable recluse in her own home.

She spent the next 11 years before she died, in one room of the great house. She ate, slept and spent her every waking moment in the nursery, situated at the top of the house. Her only contact was with the maid who looked after her needs. She never spoke to her husband ever again.

She lived out her days sat at a table with the maid and her  spirit board, trying constantly to contact her dead son. 

She would sit at a table and roll a glass marble, from her sons’ toy box, over the board. She would note down in a book the letter the marble stopped on.

Then repeat the process, over and over again. She filled countless notebooks with streams of letters. When she wasn’t rolling the marble across the board, she was sat by the window, pouring over the books, trying to find some message hidden within the pages of random letters.

After her death these books disappeared and are still being searched for.

The board however, as you can see, was recovered....

Click on the board to see other designs we have produced


A back story

to accompany the reading/spirit boards

we produce.