The Haitian Affair

Day 2: Darker things discovered

Day 2: Friday October 31st 1926, a bar, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Before we went to Doctor Northeast’s house, Jonah insisted we find the bar from the previous evening, to confirm whether he had in fact left the hotel as he remembered. The bar is located almost opposite our hotel. The barman’s grasp of English was pretty much non-existent. In the end, Jonah was forced to stand in the street and shout for help. A kind middle-aged woman agreed, warily, to translate. It turns out that the barman did indeed remember Jonah from the previous evening, Jonah consumed several whiskeys over 20 minutes before leaving the bar. THis was the first time Jonah had been in to that bar. This then proves that not all of our memory of yesterday evening is false. We continued on to the outskirts of town where Dr Northeast’s house is located.

Day 2: Friday October 31st 1926, Dr Bruce Northeast’s house, outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Dr Northeast’s property stands alone at the side of the road and backs onto the Haitian jungle. We noted the dead black rooster over the verandah (a voodoo offering to Baron Samedi), which had clearly been hanging for a couple of days. Just visible behind it was carved into the side of the house a stylised human skull with three eyes. I noted this was similar to the tarot card Jonah had found. I took a rubbing of it for future reference.

On approaching the house, we noticed that the door had obviously been forced open, the lock smashed. There were multiple dried footprints going to and from the door. Jonah immediately took point, gun out ready, and warily entered the front door, closely followed by Otto and Tobias. Henry too the right side of the house, I the left. My military reflexes have obviously faded as I did not draw my gun nor approach the potentially dangerous location with the wariness I should have displayed. Henry got out the re-constructed shotgun in a purposeful manner.

The living room
Jonah, Otto and Tobias discovered that the living room had been trashed, quite thoroughly and purposefully. In Jonah’s opinion this had been done by several people (which is corroborated by the number of footprints) with deliberate purpose, yet in a chaotic matter. Furniture, books and clothing were all torn and damaged. There was no sign of Dr Northeast. The three headed cautiously for the only exit – a door at the back of the room.

Meanwhile I on the left and Henry on the right discovered side windows looking in onto the same scene. We continued towards the back of the house. I continued round the back and found a window looking onto a bathroom, also destroyed. Henry found another window near the back of the house looking in onto a bedroom, just as the other three entered through the interior door.

The bedroom

The bedroom was also trashed. The bed was standing upright against the wall. There was a horrendous stench, recognisable as decay. All eyes turned to the bed. Otto calmly hooked his cane over the edge and pulled it back down. There was a body, hacked to pieces, putrefying in the humid air. A white male. Presumably the good doctor himself.

None of the others had been prepared for this terrible sight or smell, yet all seemed to take it in their stride remarkably well. I was fore-warned not to enter the bedroom, but I insisted, for the Reader would not expect a reporter of good character to avoid evidence, however gruesome it might be. Even fore-warned it was still a shock to see the terrible extent of the mutilation, as if hacked by many hands. However, while I cannot recall ever seeing such a sight before, it did not turn my stomach nor distress me terribly (though I try not to think about it, of course). My mind must be adept at blocking out the worst horrors, but this leaves me to wonder what have I seen to cause my memory loss?

Henry, Tobias and Otto decide to track the footprints, Jonah began searching the bedroom, starting with the grisly task of the body itself, and I began to look for clues in the living room. Henry voiced the disturbing possibility that the attackers could have been us (for which we can no longer remember) as they discovered there were 5 sets of footprints. However, he calmed our fears on further investigation that none of the footprints matched his own. Additionally, Otto’s unique gait (due to a wound suffered in the Great War) would have been obvious, but was not present. The tracks were seen to lead into the jungle.

While searching the living room, I heard a gun shot from the bedroom. I called out to Jonah and went to see if he was injured. It transpires that when examining the body, a fearsomely large spider (a tarantula I am informed) crawled towards him, and fearing being bitten, he shot it with his pistol, most expertly it transpires.

We decided to follow the tracks into the forest, but before we did that we all turned to searching the house, to discover any clues as to what had happened here, and when. It took us a good two hours of searching through the tattered remains of the doctor’s possessions, but we eventually turned up some more information, disturbing though it was.

It was Tobias that found Dr Northeast’s journal, buried untroubled under some clothes. The last entry was Monday 27th October 1926. Reading this aloud, we discovered that we had already met with Dr Northeast (the previous day, Sunday) to discuss our investigation. We had discovered that Jack sterling had been kidnapped and taken to The Star Pools to be a victim in a ritual of blood sacrifice. It appears Dr Northeast subsequently visited this area (previously believed to be a myth) and saw Jack Sterling. According to his journal something had been done to Mr Sterling, and he might be killed in a ceremony occurring during the Fete Gede.

This caused us consternation because we may only have 24 to 48 hours to find and rescue Mr Sterling, and in doing so we might encounter dangerous people and creatures alluded to in the doctor’s journal. There is something called the Floating Horror Cult we must also be wary of. Dr Northeast alludes to the Floating Horror being some sort of creature; perhaps this is a Loa or demon. The journal also referenced a tale in Book: The Masked Messenger of the Ashanti Warrior and the Sharp Stone.

This book I had discovered along with two others, Ghosts of the Living and Created World of the Insane Mind, which I have yet to examine. I did read out the passage mentioned in The Masked Messenger, but I do not yet fully grasp its meaning.

While reading from this book, I glanced up at my audience and back down again to the book to find another tarot card had appeared out of thin air. Now I know what Jonah felt yesterday. This card was Tarot Card: The Devil, another unusual illustration I expect as it is different to that presented to me by Marie Jerome. I also note with consternation that this is the second card to have appeared and it matches the second card in the tarot reading. I expect that another card will appear before long (admittedly I am hoping to someone other than I) and that it will be The Hanged Man. I fervently hope this is not an indication that time is ticking away and that should the last card be revealed before we complete our mission there will be dire consequences.

There are further journal articles to be read, in addition to those tomes just mentioned. We also still intend to follow the tracks of the 5 murderers (as we all believe them to be).

It occurs to me, writing this, that the number five keeps cropping up. I do not believe coincidences. There were 5 mysterious Haitians in Jonah and Tobias’ visions, five tarot cards in the reading, five sets of footprints (though they could be from the same Haitians) and, lastly, five of us. The number may be significant. Marie Jerome said I should use my intellectual power to succeed, thus I shall attempt to puzzle out this riddle with the aid of the not inconsiderable intellect of my companions.

Day 2: A Tarot reading

Day 2: 31 October 1926 A bakery, Rue Macajoux, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

I will detail the card and interpretation in the order given by Marie Jerome. I have paraphrased her words as plainly as possible.

  • XIII Death – The first card represents the Past, where I have come from, what I have learned/experienced. It represents a lack of hope, coming from an impasse, lost minds, not knowing what to do. Something important has been lost, but I have learned how to cope with it. The past is the key to success. I can use it to reclaim the past.
  • XV The Devil – The second card represents the Present, physically and the state of mind. This card appearing is apparently a good sign as it means I am gaining clarity and insight. My intellect wants to dominate my intuition and feelings. This intellect gives me power (the energy of many people). If I let intuition and feelings get stronger this trusted power may be lost.
  • XII The Hanged Man – The third card represents the Future, where I will find myself. I will need to make an important decision with profound consequences. I must beware selfishness and egotism, avoid false prophets and let go of fears. I will be required to make some sacrifice of self for the greater good. I am seeking someone. I may have to give up this search or let him go to succeed.
  • IX of Swords – The fourth card represents the Obstacle. To overcome the obstacle I will suffer loss and treachery. I will deceive myself somehow.
  • X of Swords – The final card represents the Outcome. If I overcome the obstacle I will receive this outcome. It will involve pain and anguish, a low point, but the worst has passed. I can accomplish great good.

It was unclear whether this reading was for the group or myself as an individual, however Marie Jerome refused to do another reading. We left to find Doctor Bruce Northeast.

Day 1: Bleeding passports and blank faces

Day 1: 30 October 1926 Hotel Olafsson, Port-au-Prince Haiti

After the discoveries of the day, we had much to consider. The evening was drawing on and we still had many questions. Before retiring for the night, Tobias and Henry decided to take some air (Jonah still being, presumably, at a bar); Tobias in particular to determine whether we were still being followed. Otto and I decided to do further investigation at the Hotel.

Otto examined the pistols from the safety deposit box. I wanted to determine whether they had been fired before – i.e. were they new (and perhaps evidence of a weapons shipment) or used. With his expert knowledge of handguns, he determined that they were in fact very new. He went downstairs to try to get more information out of Nathaniel. I do not believe he was very successful. I tried in vain to use my hospital charts to predict when our next period of unconsciousness might occur. I had not finished my assessment before falling asleep or into unconsciousness because suddenly it was morning and I was lying in bed, not sitting at the desk as I remembered. Unfortunately, I could find no discernable pattern to the bouts of unconsciousness so there must be some other reason for them to occur.

Day 2: 31 October 1926 Hotel Olafsson, Port-au-Prince Haiti

Jonah woke us and called us together. Something had apparently happened to him last night (to Tobias too) when out and he needed to discuss it. After leaving the bar, he went for a walk, in a different direction to Tobias, it seems. Both experienced disturbing hallucinations, visions or otherworldly experiences which I shall describe here as related to us.

Jonah’s experiences

Firstly, Jonah explained that he had left the hotel abruptly the previous evening after having investigated Tobias’ bathroom. He says that he opened the vanity cupboard, checked inside and when he closed the door, a tarot card was wedged in the mirror, which was previously just a normal mirror. That had unnerved him slightly. He showed us the card. It was number XIII Death. Disquieting.

Jonah left the bar after a couple of drinks to settle his nerves. Not long after he had started walking he noticed a group of 5 Haitians behind him. His surroundings were suddenly different and the hotel was not in the direction it should have been. He noticed blood on his clothing and found that his passport was bleeding. Yes, Reader, you did read that correctly, there was blood pouring from his passport. He also passed a window and on looking into it he had no reflection other than a dark silhouette. He heard dogs barking. Then he fell unconscious and woke up the next morning in bed.

Tobias’ experience

Tobias saw the military car opposite the hotel, but it was empty. On his walk he had a similar experience, except that when he looked in a shop window, the reflection was of a group of 5 Haitians who were not actually there. He said the street also changed when he turned a corner. He noticed blood on his trousers and found that his passport was bleeding too, except when he examined his photograph it was just a dark silhouette. He also recalled the barking of dogs. Then he fell unconscious and woke up the next morning in bed.

There was no physical evidence of their excursions, no blood in their passports or on their clothes.

At these revelations we obviously had some discussion over the cause. Henry, Otto and I had also become unconscious at presumably the same time. Though Henry was on the porch and thus outside the hotel, he had not had any visions, neither had Otto nor I. Drugs, hypnosis, voodoo and magic are all possibilities. We needed verification of what had happened.

Otto went down to reception to talk to Nathaniel, who had left for the day. The new receptionist, Joseph, reluctantly agreed to contact Nathaniel for Otto to ask some urgent questions. Otto had been conversing with Nathaniel when he lost consciousness. Nathaniel, however, stated that all he remembered was having a discussion with Otto, then Otto returning to his room of his own accord, not Otto collapsing. When interrogated some more, Nathaniel could not confirm Tobias, Henry and Jonah returning to the hotel, though there is a side door. Perhaps while our conscious minds slept our bodies continued to act normally without our control or knowledge. This is a rather disturbing thought.

We determined that we should find a witchdoctor to explain these mystical goings on. On the list of names from the safety deposit box was the name of a tarot reader, which would be a good place to start. We set out for Rue Macajoux to find Marie Jerome.

Day 2: 31 October 1926 A bakery, Rue Macajoux, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

We parked in Rue Macajoux. Jonah spotted the military car parked opposite us and got out to talk to the men inside. They would not admit to following us, and did not confirm seeing Jonah leave the hotel. They admitted they may not have been in the car all evening, however. Jonah asked them pointedly to keep better notes of our movements (selfishly to ensure we could track what we were actually doing), but they did not seem impressed with the request.

I purchased a newspaper, but there was no further news of the missing foreigners. Henry was becoming concerned over his lapses into unconsciousness and has started making his mark in various ways (to trace his steps later). I have done so, but am not convinced it will work.

At the back of a bakery we met Marie Jerome, the tarot reader. Her room was full of parrots and candles, with a large pentagram inscribed on her desk. The woman herself is a young and well-proportioned native. She recognised us – we had been here a few days ago apparently, asking about voodoo. She referred us to a Doctor Bruce Northeast (another name on that list) who is writing a paper on voodoo practices. Jonah showed her his death card and she was obviously shocked. It is not one from a traditional deck and clearly disturbed her, giving her ‘bad feelings’. She asked us if we wanted a reading done, we had refused previously. I agreed to have a reading done. It should hopefully shed light into my missing memories.

Day 1: Finally a Purpose, but yet more questions

Day 1: 30 October 1926 Elmwood Military Hospital, Haiti.

I pick up the tale of this bewildering and seemingly endless day with the realisation that Jonah’s breakout has made the navy uneasy – there are guards on our door. I have confirmed that, at least according to the charts kept by the medical staff here, we have all been falling unconscious at exactly the same time and for the same duration – all the charts are identical. However, I take some comfort from the fact that our bouts of incapacitation are becoming less frequent.

I consented to Herr von Gruber examining me to determine whether there was a physical cause to our group unconsciousness, but there were no signs of any physical trauma. There is also no evidence that drugs have been administered. There must therefore be a psychological reason, though the shared nature of our ‘episodes’ is strange.

Doctor Kelly looked at us strangely when Henry asked if we had been found (by locals) together – we still have no recollection of that time. His inexpert opinion is that we may have, together, witnessed some horrific act of violence. He has asked us to, in effect, try to appear sane when Major Medwin arrives. He wants us to leave Haiti as soon as possible.

Nurses arrive with some chairs and a table – we shall see the Major soon. I have requested some small items to assist in my remembering and continuing this investigation. Gratifyingly, I did not pass out this time on conversing with the nurses.

Jonah is clearly anxious, he attempts to leave via the window, but we convince him to stay, though he appears to need a weapon to provide him comfort (a clipboard clip) – is he dangerous?
He overhears Doctor Kelly trying to convince someone in the corridor (Major Medwin) not to see us. This is odd, does he want us to leave or not?

Major Lloyd Medwin arrives and begins to interrogate us with the customary arrogance of a short military man with red hair. His clerk records the conversation, to our disquiet. The Major demands to know what we last remember; for his records I said I last remembered getting off a bus in Boston a month ago, Otto just said he was getting ready for bed, but not in Haiti, the others stay silent.

Major Medwin informs us there have been reports of foreigners going missing a few days ago – could these refer to us, or part of our group? A newspaper provided by one of the kind nurses on our way out later confirmed these reports.

He demanded to know why we were Haiti and what we were going to do. We countered with our own questions. The navy has clearly been investigating our situation – we now understand we were staying in the Hotel Olafsson in Port-au-Prince, we arrived by boat and we checked in together (but unsure if there were others). But nobody knows why we are here.

Tobias asks Major Medwin if he may telegraph his friend in New York who may know why we are here, since he had been intending to visit him. There is no telephone out of Haiti, unfortunately. His friend is one Jack Sterling (a wealthy businessman). Tobias’ passport indicates he did in fact visit New York in the last month. None of us recognise the name.

Major Medwin agrees to let us go as long as we inform him as soon as we know anything as to our visit to Haiti. He kindly arranged a jeep for us and we now have a map of the island. He has warned us to be careful in the city – Henry had asked if we are welcome – as some of the populace do not welcome white people (Haiti being under American occupation for the last 7-8 years).

Tobias drives skilfully, but perhaps a little too enthusiastically, back to Port-au-Prince. We appear to be followed by another vehicle from the military complex. Major Medwin clearly is interested in what we are here for. During the journey I find a newspaper article from the Tuesday 28th edition of the Haiti Progres about the disappearance of foreigners, screams and blood. We are disturbed by the thought that this could refer to us.

On arrival in the city we note there seem to be preparations ongoing for a festival – crucifixes, flowers and dead chickens. This would be the Fete Gede, a voodoo festival of the dead due to take place at the weekend (1 and 2 November). I keep having to remind myself that it is Thursday, today.

We find the address for our hotel and park up outside. A few of the locals give curious, but not hostile looks. Anticipating answers, we enter the Hotel Olafsson.

Day 1: 30 October 1926 Hotel Olafsson, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The hotel is new, perhaps two or three years old, and styled to attract foreigners such as us, no doubt. There is a sign in Creole over the desk, but I do not know what it says. An elderly black man sits behind the reception desk. He gives us a curious look at our attempts to explain that we have lost our memories. He re-introduces himself as Nathaniel and attempts to reply to the barrage of questions we fire at him. He explains that we have not been back here for a few days.

There is initial confusion, possibly caused by the language barrier or cultural differences, where we mistakenly understand that a room has been paid for by Otto (in fact we have three rooms paid for by Tobias, more on that later). Our belongings are either in the room or in the safety deposit box. It is quite large and rattles in an interesting way as Nathaniel carries it into a back room. Once alone we open the box.

Contents of the safety deposit box:
10 revolvers (5 of 38 Automatic Pistol and 5 of .45 revolver) none of which we remember as being ours.
$300 (not a sum we were expecting to find as an accumulation of our previous funds)
A List of Names
A map of Port-au-Prince to go with our Map of Haiti
Open return boat tickets on the Louisa Queen to New York
A Letter from Shaw Investigations*
A Sterling Industries report@

*Shaw Investigations is a private investigation firm based in New York.
@Sterling Industries is the corporation owned by Jack Sterling, Tobias’ friend.

Our Purpose has been revealed! On perusing the letter from Shaw investigations, which is addressed to Tobias Black, it appears that we have been retained by them to assist Tobias in locating one Jack Sterling who is believed to have gone missing in Haiti. The Reader may note on inspection of the letter that it refers to one Rupert Haze. This refers to my good self regardless of the inaccurate portrayal of my name in that letter and the false assertion that I have experience of the criminal underworld. But I digress. Now we had a purpose, the finding of Tobias’ friend. However, on examining the report on Sterling Industries, the matter became more complex and potentially more dangerous.

The report claims, such claims as yet to be substantiated or verified by us, that Sterling Industries may be supplying weapons to the Haitian rebels (the company already being known to supply weapons to the US military). This puts us potentially in the middle of a potential uprising, notwithstanding the illegality of the smuggling of weapons. By helping Jack Sterling we may be aiding a terrorist and become wanted criminals ourselves. But this is all supposition, and assumes the worst about a man most of us have yet to find let alone meet. I reveal these things merely to provide context to our investigation and not to slander a well respected businessman.

We retrieve all the items and are shown to our rooms. I will briefly set out what we found there in the order we found it as this aids my memory and even the tiniest detail may be of significance later, when hopefully our memories return fully.

Otto and Jonah’s room
In Otto’s suitcase, Otto discovered that his precious Luger pistol was missing. There was ammunition for the guns previously discovered in the safety deposit box, and some shotgun shells. There was also hiking boots, a rucksack and flashlight, not Otto’s as far as we can tell. Lastly, a matchbox from a speak easy ‘The Sugar Cane’ in New York, proof at least one of us had been there. The matchbox contained a large dead moth with a skull pattern on the back. This is known as a death’s head moth. Very curious.

Jonah’s suitcase contained the disassembled parts of a shotgun.

Tobias’s room
Tobias had a single room. It was extremely, suspiciously tidy. So was Tobias’ suitcase. In it we found a shipping manifest from the Sterling factory (the Motthaven, Bronx) to Labaddie Imports and Exports (Port-au-Prince) for agricultural machinery. Sterling Industries do not manufacture farm machinery. Immediately we are suspicious that this could be a cover for weapons shipments. But the tidy nature of the suitcase may mean it was planted here.

Jonah had gone to check the bathroom while the rest of us were checking out the suitcases. He came out rather abruptly and declared he needed a drink. He left immediately to find a bar.

Henry and Rupert’s room

We did not find anything out of the ordinary in this room or in our suitcase which thankfully contained our notes. However, I discovered with alarm that someone had removed several pages from my precious notebook, in fact all those pertaining to the period of my missing memories.

Deaths Head Moths, Matchbooks and Hotels

Dear Mother,

I find myself in the unenviable position of having lost a great deal of the past month. By the time you ready this you may be reviewing our escapades thanks to our American journalists narrative but I fear that I simply most put quill to parchment in order to make some semblance of sense in these extraordinary events. Forgive my ramblings for I fear that I am not entirely compos mentis.

I am one of 5 fellows suffering from simultaneous unconscious episodes in a Naval Hospital in Haiti. We have been here for some time and have lapsed many times. I do not recall any events from the past month which as you can understand I find disturbing. Having woken up again in that Naval hospital in Haiti, an interview table was set up and the American officer in charge of our rehabilitation arrived and proceed to question us. From this we deduced that other people have been going missing, although as this is a fairly backward island, it could be supposed that the natives have been alleviating white folk of their goods/lives.

We were lent a robust staff car to take us to our last known lodgings, which still had us checked in. On our travels it was noted that we were being followed, whether by our American friends or parties unknown I cannot say.

The hotel – I use the term loosely, is a meager building having seen far better days than its current existence. We have 3 rooms, with my good friend Otto von Gruber of Germanic persuasion and the odd English gent Jonah sharing one, myself and Rupert Hayes, an American tabloid journalist, another and the eccentric English gent, Tobias Black on his own in a third. Our suitcases are present and we have discovered clothing, ammunition and guns as well.

I say “odd English gent” as Jonah has a rather an abrupt and forthright manner as regards Hospital staff and indeed humans in other roles of authority – he has yet to quarrel openly with the rest of us, however I fear it won’t be long. Whilst examining Tobias’ room – for we could not deduce rooms easily from the keys given – he ran out of the bathroom and has not been seen since. Whilst his manner is abrupt he is rather handy with improvised tools to enter otherwise barred domains and comes across as capable in a tight corner.

Its been noted that there is a set of clothing for sturdy hiking and a shotgun for which none of us can lay claim – although I have rather taken to the beasts following our last escapade. The concierge for wont of a better word also informed us that the safe contained a strong box. Tobias has examined the contents and discovered that we are looking into the disappearance of an American friend who appears to be running guns to the rebels and perchance the local militia in the guise of agricultural machinery. There is also currency present to the princely sum of 300 dollars (around £61 7s 1d at the current exchange rate of 4.85 USD to 1 GBP).

We have also discovered a matchbox with a deaths head moth inside from a local speak easy, a playing card and letter of engagement for our services to Tobias from his American friends family. It seems that the American in question has come about a small fortune via these nefarious means so it is of no surprise that the dissappearance took place in this small portion of this backward isle.

I have left out the names of places and people in case I taint their reputation before fully understanding the circumstance.

Yours truly
Henry Jones

Day 1: Where and when are we?
Where and when are we?

Dear Reader,

I must first assure you that I am of sound mind and this is not some fantastical tale I will impart to you in this series of articles. I hope you will be as eager as I, Rupert W Hayes (an independent journalist) in the uncovering of the true nature of things and sequence of events which encompass what I have called The Haitian Affair.

Day 1: 30 October 1926 Elmwood Military Hospital, Haiti.

I recall arriving in Boston on 23rd September 1926. I do not recall the five weeks between then and now, nor travelling to this strange humid hospital in Haiti. These are two of the mysteries I and my companions are determined to solve, along with the disturbing and seemingly random episodes of sudden unconsciousness. But I am getting ahead of myself.

We awoke some hours ago with pounding headaches not unlike one I experienced on occasion during my days at the University of Vermont. It was a large room of some kind with an overhead fan churning the thick humid air overhead. There were five of us in a room meant for more, each dressed in strange pyjamas and each suffering terrible head pains. Not from restful sleep nor yet from the consumption of intoxicants nor drugs it was quickly established, but from some unexplained unconsciousness. Outside the locked room was a wall topped by barbed wire and beyond that some jungle. Where were we? What day was it?

The four others were strangers to me, three from the British Empire and one from Germany. We established that, however it had occurred, we had arrived here from different places, with Tobias Black, the artist, having somehow been transported here from London. Wherever here was, clearly with jungle outside it was unlikely to be anywhere any of us was familiar with. In addition, our possessions were missing – our clothes were neatly folded next to our beds on top of which were our passports. Otto von Gruber, the German scientist was fortunate enough to have retained his walking cane. We were not therefore in the hands of savages.

My notebook was, alas, missing, so I write notes upon the hospital charts – for we were indeed in a hospital. Each of us sported a wristband inscribed with our name and the date of admission – 28 October 1926. No-one recalled the intervening four to five weeks. We determined to leave the room if we could.

Jonah quickly disabled the lock on the door and cautiously opened it. At that very moment, a man in a doctor’s coat appeared out of thin air in the centre of the room. Jonah stepped into the corridor, our heads throbbed with new pain and we dropped into unconsciousness once more.

We came to again, lying on our beds, but not changed back into night clothes. The doctor spoke to us under a barrage of our questions. Dr Alan Kelly explained we were in Elmwood Military Hospital, on a US Naval base in Haiti! Today was 30 October 1926, therefore we had been here for 2 days, though none of us could remember. He seemed pleased we were able to recall being awake some 2 hours ago and explained that we had been lapsing in and out of unconsciousness in a strange way for the last 2 days. The medical charts confirmed this. There were no signs of medical interventions which might have explained things. We have even been eating and drinking or carrying on conversation either side of an episode of unconsciousness.

Apparently, some townsfolk in the capital Port-au-Prince found us wandering muddy and confused on the outskirts of town as if we had spent time in the jungle. We had at that time no understanding of our names or of where we were, had no possessions and seemed to be in the grip of some horror. None of this could we remember. Tobias checked his passport and like the others it was stamped with 23 October as the date of entry to Haiti.

We demanded to be allowed to leave, but the doctor said he could not authorise us to be discharged. He would need to speak to Major Lloyd Medwin. Jonah tried to leave the room and got into the corridor before we all collapsed again. Puzzled, we wondered whether moving as a group might avoid this bizarre situation – that of sever headaches causing unconsciousness seemingly when separated from the group.

The doctor was persuaded, against his better judgement, to allow us to go to the canteen. I determined to test Jonah’s theory about staying together by dawdling in the corridor. Everything seemed fine, the others were in the canteen talking with the doctor (observing the armed guards). I retreated towards the room to talk to a nurse I had spotted earlier. All I wanted to do was ask her name, but immediately I began to speak my head began to pound. I backed away and instead wrote a question doen for her. On showing this to her I lost consciousness again. Bizarre to say the least. What is going on? The others also lost consciousness at that moment.

There was a portly Haitian cleaning the room when we awoke again. Jonah tried asking her a question whereupon the colour drained from her face and she screamed, babbling in the local tongue no doubt. He tried to stop her leaving. Guards appeared and she was allowed to escape. They translated her babbling. She said ‘Baron La Croix has us marked’. I had heard of this being before – in voodoo culture he is the Loa for death also known as Baron Samedi or Baron Saturday. We are marked for death is what she meant then.

The guards left. We had been out for half an hour this time. Tobias (the English artist), inspired by recent events, started drawing. Henry Jones (the explorer from Manchester, England) and Otto were content to eat the fruit left for us. I gathered fruit in a pillowcase and obtained the mop handle, in case a quick exit was needed. Jonah, obviously a man unsuited to confinement of any kind, resolved to leave. He smashed the window with a chamberpot and started off. A few minutes later he was brought back to our room. He had succeeded in reaching the gate (round the corner of the building) before giving himself up. However, he had managed to carry on a conversation with several people and get some distance away without us falling unconscious. So perhaps our shared inability to stay awake has something to do with the doctor or perhaps only certain of us are capable of acting more or less normally? At this point we still have too many unanswered questions and little access to answers.


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