Episode 207: Strange NPCs - Albert Fish

We’re back and we’re presenting a somewhat darker episode than usual. While The Good Friends of Jackson Elias is definitely a horror podcast, most of the horror we discuss is rooted in the fantastic. In this episode, however, we’ve decided to look into some real nightmares from the classic 1920s era for gaming inspiration and talk about Albert Fish.

Main Topic: Albert Fish

Originally, this episode was going to form a segment in one of our Great NPCs of History series. There were a couple of problems, however. The first was that once we had dug into the research, there was so much material that it would require a full episode. More important was that however fascinating we find Albert Fish, there is nothing about him we could describe as “great”.

If you’ve heard the name Albert Fish before, you should have some idea of what to expect from the episode. Otherwise, be warned that he was a serial killer, sexual predator and cannibal who targeted children. He also delighted in taunting the families of his victims. His crimes are the stuff of nightmare. While we try to present the details soberly and without too much prurient detail, this episode will not be to everyone’s tastes.

As ever, our motivation is to find inspiration for Call of Cthulhu. While the actual crimes of Albert Fish are too horrible for most games, details of the police investigation, newspaper reporting and trial that his crimes spawned should prove useful to Keepers of classic-era campaigns.

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Albert Fish's 1903 mugshot
Albert Fish’s 1903 mugshot
Albert Fish shortly before his execution
Albert Fish shortly before his execution

News

Chaosium Reprints

Matt discusses some goodies from Chaosium that have landed on his front doorstep. Horror on the Orient Express and Beyond the Mountains of Madness are now available again in print-on-demand format. As Matt points in the segment, however, the binding quality is a lot higher than you might expect from POD. He also touches upon the new scenario collection, Does Love Forgive?

Horror on the Orient Express reprint covers

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 7

Issue 7 of The Blasphemous Tome will be escaping into the wild before the end of June. It includes a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario, licensed by Chaosium, written by our very own Matt Sanderson. Everyone backing us on Patreon will receive a copy. Please see our Patreon page for more details.

The Blasphemous Tome issues 1-6
Episode 206: The Willows

We’re back and we’re going on our summer holidays! What could be finer than drifting down the Danube, marvelling at all the willows crowding these sandy little islets? Well, maybe not being consumed or driven mad by the unseen cosmic forces lurking within them. But that’s just the kind of risk you take when you go camping.

Main Topic: The Willows

Following on from our recent discussion of cosmic horror, we thought it might be helpful to look at an example of the genre. Dating back to 1907, Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows” is one of the earliest examples of cosmic horror. It was also a profound influence on the young HP Lovecraft, who later raved about it in Supernatural Horror in Literature. Unfortunately, as we explore in the episode, this admiration was not reciprocal.

As usual, we dig into the story in detail, looking for inspiration for our Call of Cthulhu games. Also, as usual, we disagree about almost everything.

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely, safely separated by invisible dimensional barriers.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Algernon Blackwood

News

The Meat Trade on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Scott has been running World War Cthulhu: London for our good friends at Ain’t Slayed Nobody. His scenario, “The Meat Trade”, delves into the underworld of wartime London, in more ways than one. The first episode will go out on the Ain’t Slayed Nobody Patreon feed towards the end of April.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 7

Issue 7 of The Blasphemous Tome will be escaping into the wild before the end of June. It includes a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario, licensed by Chaosium, written by our very own Matt Sanderson. Everyone backing us on Patreon will receive a copy. Please see our Patreon page for more details. If you would like to submit a short (up to 500 words) article or piece of black-and-white artwork, please contact us on social media or email us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com

Episode 198: The Whisperer in Darkness part 5

We’re back and we’re saving face. OK, it’s not one of our own faces, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep it safe. You never know when Mr Akeley may need it again. Thinking about it, we should probably do something with these hands too. That old Akeley is a careless sort. We’re sure he’d forget his own head if it weren’t attached…

Main Topic: The Whisperer in Darkness part 5

This is the final instalment of our multi-episode investigation of Lovecraft’s classic weird tale, “The Whisperer in Darkness”. Last episode, Albert Wilmarth travelled to Vermont to visit his eccentric penpal, Henry Akeley. The two shared some mind-expanding conversation that quite unnerved Wilmarth. Now, we cut forward to that night as Wilmarth searches for answers and then wishes he had never found them.

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely. None of us has had to call in from Yuggoth, mercifully. The internet connectivity there is shocking.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Last Chance for The Blasphemous Tome 6!

You can still secure your issue 6 of The Blasphemous Tome if you act quickly! We shall send you a copy or two of this exclusive fanzine if you back us by the end of December 2020.

This is the print-only ‘zine we put out every year for our Patreon backers. It is licensed by Chaosium and contains material for the Call of Cthulhu RPG. In particular, this issue features a new scenario by our own Paul Fricker, called “Of This Men Shall Know Nothing”, set in the latter days of World War II.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 6 cover

Scott on Pretending to Be People

Scott has been running his scenario “Bleak Prospect” from Nameless Horrors for the Pretending to be People podcast. This has been glorious, bloody chaos so far, in all the right ways. Episode 1 is now available for download.

Pretending to be People

Matt on Roll to Save

Matt recently appeared on the Roll to Save podcast, discussing the new RPG releases of 2020. Iain Wilson and Matt also talked about some games they played for the first time this year.

Paul on panels at Grogmeetish and Dragonmeet

And as if that weren’t enough guest appearances, Paul joined our good friends from What Would the Smart Party Do and The Grognard Files for two panels recently. The first was a Q&A session at Grogmeetish and the second a panel at Dragonmeet, both of which took place online this year for obvious reasons.

A Weekend With Good Friends

Following the success of Jacks-Con in July of 2020, our lovely listeners have organised another virtual convention. A Weekend With Good Friends will take place on our Discord server between the 14th and 17th of January 2021. Full details can be found here.

We’re back and we’re getting sick of these fleshy bodies of ours. They’re always going wrong and they’re too expensive to maintain. This only seems to get worse the longer we have them. We suspect they’re long out of warranty by now. Happily, our new buzzy friends seem to have the perfect solution for us. They’ve told us that it’s not unlike taking a long, warm bath. A very long one. Maybe forever.

Main Topic: The Whisperer in Darkness part 4

This is the fourth instalment of our multi-episode investigation of Lovecraft’s classic weird tale, “The Whisperer in Darkness”. Last episode, Albert Wilmarth had become troubled by the increasingly bizarre letters from his new friend Henry Akeley. Someone or something also seemed to be interfering with their correspondence, stealing stones and sending fake telegrams. Now, after receiving a typewritten letter telling him all the alien attacks were a simple misunderstanding, Wilmarth has decided to accept Akeley’s invitation to Vermont. This can only lead to a happy ending.

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely. Happily, we have worked out how to network our brain cylinders. We just hope these attachments provide a reasonable simulacrum of human speech.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

The Blasphemous Tome 6

Issue 6 of The Blasphemous Tome is now shipping! This is the print-only fanzine we put out every year for our Patreon backers. It is licensed by Chaosium and contains material for the Call of Cthulhu RPG. In particular, this issue features a new scenario by our own Paul Fricker, called “Of This Men Shall Know Nothing”, set in the latter days of World War II.

Don’t worry if you haven’t secured your Tome yet. All hope is not yet lost! We shall send you a copy or copies if you back us by the end of December 2020.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 6 cover

Matt at the Miskatonic Repository Convention

Matt took part in a panel at the recent Miskatonic Repository Convention, talking about how to write scenarios for Call of Cthulhu. He was joined by such luminaries as Jon Hook, Oscar Rios and Call of Cthulhu line editor, Mike Mason. Happily, the panel was recorded and you can watch it on YouTube merely by clicking below.

A Good Friends Christmas Carol

To help everyone get into the Christmas spirit, good friend of the Good Friends Mike Perceval-Maxwell is organising a reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in the week before Christmas. He will be joined by Dominic Allen, Rina Haenze, Paul Fricker and Scott Dorward. This is an edited version of the story, cut down to a suitable size for readings by Mr Dickens himself.

We will read the story over four evenings — the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of December. Each reading will start at 10 PM GMT and run for around 30 minutes. The readings will take place in the Bar voice channel of our Discord server. We also plan to record the readings and make them available later for those who cannot listen live.