The Hunting Mirror: Sinister

Slide 1: A photograph of Neolithic cave art. Stick figures are clearly discernible, as are deer, horses and mammoth. A hunting party is bringing a mammoth down to the right of the shot whilst to the left, a group of smaller figures are seen congregating around a figure with an odd, elongated face.

Professor Jonas: This is the caves at Chauvet, in France. How many of you were bought Cave of Forgotten Dreams by your parents for Christmas? (Laughter). Thought so. This image is at the back of the cave. Note the elongated face, the pointed chin. There are scorch marks surrounding and over the face.

Slide 2: A medieval woodcut. A group of people in middle European clothing are being thrown into a river from a humpbacked bridge. They appear to be being thrown by their children. The elongated face is at the bottom of the river, more defined now, with clear eyes, a nose, a mouth. There are scratch marks over it.

Professor Jonas: What do we see? Aside from proof that rap music is not the cause of evil in modern children? (More laughter). We see the children, killing the adults, to honour…(Points at face)…him. It. We see it. It see us too.

Slide 3: A group of period police cars and ambulances huddled around a house. A pool is distantly visible in the background. Four bodybags are being wheeled out.

Professor Jonas: 1966, an entire family is subdued, tied to pool chairs, dragged into their swimming pool and drowned. One child is not accounted for and never recovered.

Slide 4: A burnt out car, again clearly not contemporary but slightly closer. Human remains are visible inside.

Professor Jonas: 1979. A family are restrained in their car and burnt to death. One child is not accounted for and never recovered.
I should warn you, these get worse.

Slide 5:Another house, another huddle of emergency services vehicles. There’s a sliver of yard around the back of the house and the lawn is visible, streaked with red.

Professor Jonas: 1986. A family are incapacitated, restrained and…their heads are run over repeatedly with a lawnmower. (Gasps from the audience). One child is not accounted for and never recovered.

Slide 6:A crime scene photo showing a family bedroom. The décor is almost contemporary and the sheets are soaked with blood, arterial spray visible on several surfaces. (More Gasps)

Professor Jonas: 1998, a family are incapacitated, restrained and have their throats cut. One child is not accounted for and never recovered.

Slide 7: A backyard. We’re looking at a tree, a branch on the right side has recently been sawn off. A branch on the left holds four empty nooses.

Professor Jonas: 2011. A family are restrained and hung by the neck in their own backyard. One child is not accounted and never recovered.
Horrifying crimes, united by the single haunting image of a missing child. We know, we’ve seen the horrors inflicted on these people and we can only imagine the horrors inflicted on the child we’ve never been allowed to find. Our own minds have been turned against us, used as a weapon.
Look again.

Slide 8: Slide 1 in close up. We see the sunken cheeks, the hints of the marks over the eyes.

Slide 9: A close up on the face in the river and the children. Both are smiling.

Slide 10: A close up on the pool. There’s a shape, resembling the markings in the earlier slides but distorted through the water, on its bottom.

Slide 11: A closeup on the side of the burnt out car. There are markings on the walls around it, again similar to the face.

Slide 12: The marking, now recognisably a face, scrawled in blood on the side of the house.

Slide 13:Another crime scene photo, showing the approach to the bedroom. The face has been painted on the wall, in blood.

Slide 14: The tree, the photo taken from behind, the nooses visible. The mark is carved into the tree’s trunk.
Professor Jonas: This is Bughuul. Bughuul is an ancient Pagan deity, who, it was believed, could see you through any representation of him. Note how the woodcut and the cave painting were both marked? That’s closing the door, keeping the mirror one way. Bughuul has largely passed into history today, a forgotten deity in a world crammed with entire pantheons of them. There are hundreds, thousands, of gods who kill or steal children. You all know the Pied Piper of Hamelin story? Then you all know one story about that god.
So what makes Bughuul different? Why was his mark found at all of these horrific murders and one other? Because Bughuul would kill entire families and take one last child into his realm to consume its soul, or, to put it another way…

One child is not accounted for and never recovered.

(Murmurings from the audience)

I know, believe me. It’s one of those questions which opens far too many doors, implies far too much. The kindest outcome here is that multiple serial killers worship Bughuul and committed their single, horrific serial crimes to honour him. There is some evidence for this but, not, I feel, compelling evidence.
The reason for this is the final crime.

Slide 15: A house, clearly in the present day. The yard is visible to the left of the image and a moving van is front and centre in the driveway.

Professor Jonas: The site of the 2011 killing was purchased by Ellison Oswalt earlier this year. Mr Oswalt’s work may be familiar to you; a crime writer with good successes behind him but, only behind him. He bought the house with full knowledge of what had gone on there, planning to use it as the basis for his book.
He did not tell his family where they were moving.

(Louder murmurings)

Ellison’s motives were good, even if his methods were contemptible. He wanted to find the missing girl and he set about it with due diligence. He was the first to find the links to Bughuul in fact. He opened the door to this level of research for me. He was a good investigator, a solid mind.

Slide 16: A photo of Ellison Oswalt, clearly an older photo. It’s black and white and he’s immaculately dressed. It looks like a dust jacket shot.

Professor Jonas: Ellison and I only talked a couple of times. I never saw much of his family, and from what I can tell, neither did he. When we spoke the first time, it was as academics, dealing with abstract concepts but the second time…heseemed terrified. There had been incidents, a dog outside threatened him, his son suffered night terrors, his family took to the true nature of their home exactly as well as you might think.

(Nervous laughter)

Yet he stuck there, kept investigating the events, kept digging away at what had gone on in that backyard.
There’s bravery in that as well as stupidity and selfishness. I’m not here to eulogize the man, just to give you my thoughts on him and what happened to him. (He pauses, drinks some water).

Slide 17: A large, Gothic house. The front is covered in incident tape, the yard lined with police officers and vehicles.

Professor Jonas: Not long after we last spoke, Ellison moves his family out of the house. He wouldn’t say why, and refused to answer calls for weeks. A colleague of mine, who works in law enforcement, spoke to him the night he died and he seemed find, happy even. My colleague did give him some bad news though; that each murdered family had moved from the house the last murder had taken place in, and had themselves been killed within days of arriving at their new home. Ellison, I was told, seemed…frightened and yet…unsurprised. My colleague became concerned and reached out to his fellow officers in the area. There was no real cause for alarm, just a policeman asking a favor of another so it was not given an especially high priority but, approximately 90 minutes after the last time I spoke to Ellison, a unit arrived at his house.

(Cleans glasses)
They…ah…they found Ellison and his wife, and his son.

Slide 18: The living room of the house. There is blood spray on several surfaces. Bughuul’s face is clearly visible.

Professor Jonas: They’d been dismembered. With an axe.

One child is not accounted for and has yet to be recovered.

(Dead silence)

(He coughs, collects himself)

Professor Jonas: The depths of Ellison Oswalt’s crass irresponsibility notwithstanding, it is my belief we’re dealing with something beyond the usual serial killer or cult scenarios. I believe we’re dealing with something beyond the normal and something grounded in the lost children. I believe, in short, that we are dealing with a monster, something which eats minds as hungrily as it doe…lives. I also believe it must be stopped and that the way to do that is to tell as many people as possible. He cannot be everywhere at once, he cannot view everyone at once and he cannot take us all. So now you know, now you see him, and he sees you. Centuries after the war began, humanity has fired it’s first shots and you, my friends, are on the front line.
Now, any questions?

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