Feb 16, 4:45 pm: Annie is shocked to discover her puppy Gladstone tucked under Douglas’s coat – and the fact that they had returned their room keys to Victor and told him they were leaving town. They head to Raubsville to find rooms for the night.
5:30 pm: Nikoli chats with a few men sitting around the Raubsville Fire Pits. The men tell them they can sleep by the fire, or in the common room at the Raubsville Saloon. Annie is concerned about what to do with Gladstone while they’re out investigating. After some discussion, they decided to sleep here tonight, then head to Judd’s tomorrow morning. Along with getting information regarding the Witch’s Rock, they’ll ask him to watch over Gladstone while they’re gone.
Feb 17, 2am: Nikoli is awakened by ghost girl Samantha, her two body guards and more than a dozen other children. He takes them outside to a private area to give them their lessons. Samantha tells him: “The Sheriff was really mad. Four guys came in, and he asked them what they were doing. They said they had tried to take them, but some old woman came out screaming at them, and the next thing they new they were standing in front of the Sheriff’s Office.” One of the boys said he was watching later when one of those men asked if they should go get the old man that lives by the woods. The Sheriff replied: “No, he never comes to town anyway. You should go get the Barber and his wife instead.”
1 pm: The group arrives at Judd Crannel‘s shack. He is sitting on the front porch drinking a bottle of homemade beer. He invites them in, offering them lunch. Angus notes mistletoe hanging above the door and asks him about it.
Judd: "Oh, I hang that there to trick the ladies into getting kisses. ’I don’t actually get visitors that often, though. Then again, it’s said that mistletoe has mystical powers."
Angus: “Really?! Do, tell.”
Judd: “Ha! It’s just old tales. You’ll believe anything, won’t ya?”
1:15 pm: The group enjoys “beef” stew while Elmer and Judd discuss Witch’s Rock and enjoy some of Judd’s homemade jerky. Elmer recognizes the flavor: slightly pickled and salty with a pork-like texture. Annie and Douglas enjoy the flavorful stew. Angus and Nikoli both feel the meat is a bit off, definitely picking up on a sour-salty flavor. Angus thinks back to earlier this year when he accompanied Elmer to get the Indian artifact, and the discussion about the meat the man had brought back from the Australian Aborigines – fermented human flesh with a pickly and salty flavor. He immediately gets up to tell the others not to eat the stew, but they all choose to ignore him.
1:20: Judd explains that, long ago, people could take their sick to the rock and leave them overnight. When they returned, they would be well. Some times they would be right as rain, but other times they would be a bit off – something just not quite right about them. They’d act strange, and possibly cause some problems, and then would just disappear after a few days breaking the poor family’s hearts a second time. “Sometimes, dead is better.” He recalls, when he was a lad, seeing Dr. Seiler riding off with a sick child to the rock one day. He followed him and watched as he put his fingers on the rock wall, then slide some fingers across it, and such. Then, a large stone slab started to open, and a strange bluish glow came out from under the ground. Then, some strange creatures with green skin that shined in the sunlight started coming out. “It scared the tar out of me, so I ran off. When I asked Dr. Seiler about ‘things in the woods’, he said that there were good spirits there and not to be afraid of them. Their teachers and healers and would not harm me.”
Elmer explained what was happening in Williamstown, and Judd agreed to be careful – and questioned whether Raubsville was safe.
1:30 pm: Angus excuses himself “for a smoke” and heads outside to investigate the smoke shack Judd had mentioned. He passes a locked storm cellar door at the back of the house as he heads to the smoke house. Inside, he sees long strings of sausages hanging from rods. Spying a bundled up blanket in a far corner, he lifts it to discover three large mason jars filled with pickling liquid and human heads: a very old woman, an old man, and an aged adult man with a nasty gash across his cheek. Horrified, he replaces the blanket and heads out. In the corner by the door he spots large muddy boots, and a shovel. He makes the realization that the stew meat and jerky is probably from dead bodies that had been buried for several days or weeks.
1:45 pm: Judd explains that the path to Witch’s Rock is blocked, so they should enter the woods a couple hundred yard North, travel in a couple hundred feet, and then head South to catch the original path. He leads them to the point, and asks that they stop by on their way back to let him know how things went.
3:00 pm: The path is difficult to follow due to age and lack of use, but Annie eventually leads them to the rock. As they round the South side, they see that things have changed. Where the arms of the rock reach out to form the ends of the ‘U’ shape, a 6" band of blood has been painted. It runs up the rock walls and across the rocky ground, creating a barrier-line that must be crossed to continue. Also, a large black bear lies dead in a pool of blood just in front of the stone slab. Annie deduces that the pool of blood is not large enough to account for the bleeding out of this large creature; in addition, larva are extremely tiny, indicating that the bear was killed less than 24 hours ago. Angus spots that the bear’s throat has be cut cleanly by a very sharp knife.