The Strange Case of the Red Painted Woman

Lusk Vigilantes Citizen’s Concerns Flag D

 

It is the autumn of the year 1890 and you are Mr Ernest Vincent Steadyman Chairman of the St Botolph branch of Mr Albert Lusk’s vigilantes. He set up the Citizen’s Concerns organisation back in 1888 when Jack the Ripper carried out so many murders in the face of police incompetence. The murders seem to have tailed away but the Ripper has never been caught. However the police seem to be just as useless in dealing with the many other crimes rife here in Whitechapel. Most of your members are the owners of small businesses, afraid of becoming victims of the large lawless elements. Citizen’s Concerns has built up a network of informants. With their assistance, you have been able to hand over to the police reliable information, leading to the arrests of several, pickpockets, burglars and fences. Currently there is a local forger producing half crown pieces dated 1882 whose operations have damaged many of your members. For some time you have been trying to track him. Last year’s dockers strike, where they won a pay increase from five pence to sixpence an hour, has brought increased prosperity to the area. However there is a suspicion that the aggrieved dockmasters have been paying the inflated wages with these forged coins. You carry one of the forged coins as a sample. They are slightly heavier than the true ones.

   This impending operation is somewhat different, possibly involving sacrilege and devilish rites, as well as extortion and men profiting from immoral earnings. One of your informants is a Miss Edna Gimlet who has been bombarding you, the police and the newspapers for some time about ‘goings on’ near her. Miss Gimlet frequently visits St. Radegund’s churchyard to lay flowers on her late brother Gabriel’s grave. He was a locksmith of some substance who left his house and some money to Edna, whilst the rest went to her married sister Mrs Amelia Dawning. Miss Gimlet has been maintaining for some time that local harlots have been taking their clients to the ruined St. Radegund’s church. You and the police have been at pains to point out to her that harlotry is not a crime. For men to live off women’s immoral earnings or to run a brothel are crimes. You have pointed out that the Graveyard is in the care of the Sexton Timothy Fowler, who ensures that the gates are locked every night. In fact the large main gate at the west end of the graveyard remains locked most of the time unless there is a funeral. The graveyard is only used by poorer local residents of long standing nowadays! The last one buried was one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, Fancy Thatte. It is said that she has been seen haunting the Plague Way over the wall from the graveyard. The roof of St. Radegund’s Church fell in during a wedding ceremony over a hundred years ago, so the parish was incorporated in with neighbouring St Botolph’s. Sexton Fowler claiming lack of funds, has allowed the graveyard to become badly overgrown. Soon after the collapse of the church, it was said to be haunted by the bride, who perished with several dozen others on that sad day. Throughout the years there have been reports of other hauntings, some dating back to the plague victims, buried in the meadows that are now the Plague Pit Cricket ground. This is owned by Lord Knowe and is used by Knowe's Gentlemen’s Cricket Club and the boys belonging to the nearby Lord Knowe’s Boys Finishing School. Thus it can be removed from any thoughts of wrongdoing.

   Some months ago Miss Edna paid her 17 year old nephew David and his friend to spy on the graveyard. They reported that the harlots were using both the ruined church and the gravediggers shed and that they had keys to gain admittance. Edna knew that her brother had made quite a lot of keys to the graveyard and in fact she had one herself. The second night they went, the boys were frightened out of their wits by the shining ghost of a woman! They had no idea who she was. When they reported it to the Sexton, he beat up both of them for trespassing! David’s mother Amelia was very angry with Edna, for leading him into dangerous trouble. They had words and have not spoken to one another since! However Edna now has great suspicions about the honesty of Sexton Fowler. She has kept up her snooping and has now reported finding burnt out black incense candles and fresh bloodstains around the church altar! She thinks the Sexton has been allowing cultists to carry out devil worship there! She reminds you that the coming 31st of October is Hallows Even night which is also a full moon! She has implored you to come to investigate the graveyard on that night, as her intuition tells her that there will be dark deeds done there! Since then she sent the following letter to be published in the Times

 

It is with considerable chagrin that I consider it

my  public duty to write this letter. The facts are

that I have been for some time aware of  unlawful

acts being committed in the St. Radegund Graveyard.

The local police have again and again turned a blind

eye to these. Last Saturday around 1 am. screams

were heard from the direction of the church. Visiting

it at 10am I found fresh blood stains on and around

the altar. Clear evidence that some unspeakable act

of sacrilege had taken place there. I reported this to

the Bogey Lane Station who ‘recorded’ the report.

After a repeat call Constable Legget was detailed to

accompany me to the Church. Despite it raining the

blood was still there showing as fresh as ever! The

Constable passed the information to his Inspector.

The next day he visited the church in company with

the Sexton Timothy Fowler who holds the graveyard

keys. The bloodstains were now gone! Sexton Fowler

told me that since there was no evidence of any crime

the police would take no further action! Thus are the

public served by these overpaid layabouts!

Miss Edna Gimlet 2 Knowe Lane Whitechapel.

 

Following this youths broke all her windows and she has written asking that none of your members come to her house in future. As it happens, you have another lead in the area. One of your members lost a watch, which he suspects was stolen by a woman in the Grim Way. He subsequently saw it in the window of Grolzmann’s Pawnshop. He bought it from them to find it still inscribed with his own name! Grolzmann said that it had been brought in by Grim Tim the Sexton, who said he had found it in his graveyard. Doubtless thieves would take their booty to him during the hours of darkness, so it is a good idea to check if he is still open. You might even encounter one of his dishonest clients. One of your members, Timothy Swagger, has the theory that the bloodstains in the ruined church are those of a fresh Jack the Ripper victim. He thinks that the Ripper has now a means of disposing of the bodies of his victims. Possibly in fresh graves in the graveyard? He is mindful of the purpose Albert Lusk set you up, which was to render the streets safe from the Ripper. He says with truth that there are many harlots in need of protection in the St. Radegund area. Both of you agree that this late at night, anyone you encounter, is probably up to no good! Also that almost any building with a light on must be regarded as suspicious! 

    On the night your party arrives a little late due to the dense fog from Whitechapel High Street into the Grim Way. You start on Move AvD –1.  

 

On this night it is very dark with a thick London Particular pea-souper fog. Visibility is down to six inches with recognition at three. This increases to nine inches and recognition at six inches near the lit gas street lamps.  

To conceal identities in the fog players will move flags until meeting.

 

Earnest Steadyman LEA, Activist, Mo 5.5”, Fa 2/3/5, Ag +1, Th +1, Me +1, revolver Bst –2. Firing 3” 4+ Pst 0, 6” 5+ Pst 0, 11” 6+ Pst 0, 18” 7+ Pst -2

Class VI, PI Respectable, Charm M+1 F+1, Coercion 0. MC £7 – 19s – 9d

Police whistle 24”. Watch penknife.

Timothy Swagger Activist, Vle, Mo 6”, Fa 2/3/5, Ag +2, Th +2, Me +2 stick Bst -2

Class VI, PI Respectable, Charm M+1 F+2, Coercion +1. MC £7 – 19s – 9d. Watch.

Butler Reginald W Assistant, Mo 5.5”, Fa 2/2/3, Ag +1, Th +1, Me +1 fists Bst-3

2 pepper sachets R 2” D10 -2 rounds blinded sneezing Mo & Me –2.

 

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