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Updated: Oct 21, 2023

According to several eyewitness reports in Putney, a diabolical manifestation emerged in the small hours of yesterday morning and surprised a number of local residents. First spotted by a passing taxicab driver, and then confirmed by a chimney sweep, it appeared that the shadowy creature - described by one frightened soul as a 'something akin to a flying moustache' - escaped from a house on Putney Hill. The house, Eldritch Monthly has now confirmed, is the address of notorious mystic, Denning Blandford, whose dabblings in the occult has brought him trouble before. Indeed, just last year he attempted a de-aging spell on Margaret Carlton-Thacker, Heiress to the Thacker's Crackers fortune, only to shrink both her feet the size of a small child leaving the poor woman unable to stand up without the aid of a walking stick. But this latest meddling in the Darker Arts seems to have undone poor Blandford when his inert body was discovered the following morning by his housekeeper, the poor man's face draped under a mucous-filled handkerchief.


It was fortuitous therefore, that the incident caught the attention of London's foremost Supernaturalist, Wilfred Woolfitt. Just an hour or so after the first sighting, he arrived on the scene, becloaked, unkempt, sporting his signature wide-brimmed hat, and with the express purpose of curtailing the activities of whatever Blandford released. Armed with his usual kitbag of curious mechanisms, Woolfitt was quickly in pursuit without any regard to his own personal safety.

"I knew at once what I was dealing with since learning of the incident while in the company of Ms Bethesda Hoop, perhaps London's most celebrated medium," Woolfitt later told Eldritch Monthly, scratching at his tangled beard, "We were in the midst of a rather passionate game of ping pong, if you know what I mean..." At which point Woolfitt waggled his eyebrows at me, "...when she stiffened like a pair of starched bloomers and cried that a demonic presence was abroad. Well, after she had described the nature of the disturbance, and where it was circulating, I was out of the door in a trice, and made at once to Putney."

In Woolfitt's possession were a number of unusual items he deigned particularly useful for the matter at hand, including a spirit compass allowing him to track the aggressive little aberration, a butterfly net he had borrowed from Ms Hoop (who was an enthusiastic amateur lepidopterist) and a small iron box from from which he had jettisoned his cufflinks. And it wasn't long before Woolfitt converged on his target.

"It was a tricky situation obviously," Woolfitt said. "No one can know the extent of the danger faced when confronting anything demonic. And demonic the creature most certainly was, if the smell of sulphur was anything to go by. But it was only later, when I learned of the police report and what had happened to Blandford, that I realised just what peril I was in."

Still, despite his misgivings, Woolfitt continued to follow the instructions of his spirit compass until he arrived at a darkened alleyway behind the Drum and Trumpet pub. Here, deep in the shadows, Woolfitt became aware of a manic tittering, and a faint blur of movement caught by the sheen of pub's upper windows.

"That strange high-pitched cackling was the sound of the Damned," Woolfitt explained soberly, "so I knew I had only one chance to capture the thing before it escaped the depths of the alleyway and continued to wreak its havoc."

Woolfitt therefore proceeded with all the seasoned skill of the professional he was, enticing the thing out of its hiding place with a knave's lamp - so named for its fierce red glow that attracts things of a corrupted nature. It tempted the horror out of its hiding place, and with a lightness of step, and a swift pounce, Woolfitt soon had the little monstrosity entangled in his butterfly net.

"Then it was the simply a matter of depositing the creature in the iron box and taking it once to be locked away in my Haunted Cupboard so it might never cause anyone any harm ever again."

Woolfitt then stole a kiss from the landlady of the Drum and Trumpet, who was throwing out some scraps into the alleyway through the back door, before jumping onto the back of a passing hansom that spirited him away and back into the fog.

As to the local police? They arrived some while later at Blandford's house to investigate the occultist's strange demise. Quite confounded by the many confusing reports offered by the locals, Inspector Gamely, who was the first to attend the scene, was nevertheless typically dismissive.

"Most likely the poor man was bitten by a rather large and hairy bat," was his sniffy assessment. "For they carry all manner of disease. Blandford, being a pallid and weakly individual, doubtless succumbed to a poisonous nip in a matter of moments."

And as to his opinion of Wilfred Woolfitt's involvement?

"That crackpot is always making a nuisance of himself!" Gamely exclaimed. "Causing more trouble than he solves."

Well, it is certain that trouble was indeed abroad last night in Putney. But according to this reporter, that trouble was of a particularly Strange and Unusual nature, and we must be thankful that Wilfred Woolfitt got wind of it, and applied his particular skills to the problem.

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