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Cataclysms: A Sourcebook

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Cataclysms
A Sourcebook

Edited by G. Angelos

 

Introduction

A hunter of no great acclaim, Zephyr Jones is remarkable primarily due to the unusually complete range of documentation he left behind. Although it has been argued that the early twenty-first century Apocalypse, a sequence of events commonly called the Winchester Apocalypse, is one of the best documented Anglo-American near-cataclysms of the past five centuries,1 a closer look at the evidence undermines that claim. Hunter-archivists, like Robert Singer, Nic Rosenberg, and Eleanor Visyk, undeniably accrued materials that have proven invaluable for understanding the causal factors of this particular world-ending affair, but they left very little personal information behind. Thus, their origins and personal narratives, like the histories of so many other influential figures, must be reconstructed from public records, a task made more difficult by the fact that hunters customarily utilized pseudonyms when they performed acts to rid the world of supernatural evil.

1 Andrea Marvell, The Divine in Mode.

We are left with two major sources of personal information about hunters, both of which revolve around the Winchester brothers, Dean and Sam: the Winchester Gospels, written by Chuck Shirley under the nom de plume Carver Edlund, and the Winchester Apocrypha, a collaborative effort by Esposito, Rosen, Thompson, et al. Unfortunately, the Winchester Gospels are overwrought and privilege artistic stylistic choices over factual information, as can be seen in their fetishistic presentation of the Winchester's primary mode of conveyance, a 1967 Chevrolet Impala. The Winchester Apocrypha attempt to illuminate the dark interstices of the Gospels by reconstructing their quotidian lives, but the dearth of supporting citations and verifiable content render the Apocrypha a problematic source, at best.

The early twenty-first century proliferation of electronic personal record keeping, viz. blogging and twitter, initially seems like a promising avenue of research for the young scholar seeking to contextualize and understand the Winchester Apocalypse and the actions of key figures like the Winchesters, Novak, Singer, and Masters. However, to this date no archival evidence has emerged concerning these individuals. There is extant data from one personal blogging service, tumblr, which purports to be from Novak's daughter, Claire. Unfortunately, it has proven impossible to authenticate the digital record or its content.

The story of Zephyr Jones, as told through his own words and other direct sources in this volume, does not fill all of the lacunae in our knowledge of everyday hunting and life during the Winchester Apocalypse and its immediate aftermath. Nonetheless, when read in conjunction with other sources, it does give us a glimpse, albeit limited, into what happened to this one man between the sounding of a trumpet and the crackle of a pyre.

- G. Angelos


Ghostfacers Forum

The walking of the dead in Gurnee, Illinois in fall 2011 is commonly compared to the uprising in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in spring 2010. However, the events are over a year apart, and have very little in common beyond the superficial similarity of the animation of exanimate people. The Sioux Falls raising of the dead has been shown by McDonald et al. to be connected to the rise of the Horsemen as a prelude to Lucifer's attempted ascension. The Gurnee events occurred after the banishing of Lucifer and more likely belong to the series of events loosely grouped together as the Leviathan Insurgence.

The Ghostfacers Forums were preserved at University of the Dakotas – Sioux Falls as part of their collection of Winchester Apocalypse materials. The Singer Legacy forms the core of the collection, but they have been assiduously strengthening their resources in the area. Their largest coup was the acquisition of the surviving electronic records of the Ghostfacers, performance artists who engaged in and critiqued the self-presentation of the so-called hunter class by eliminating supernatural threats while undermining the grim seriousness that marked most hunters.

This sequence of entries from the Forum records Jones' first brush with cataclysmic affairs in his own words. All entries have been edited for clarity, and extraneous posts were removed. All dates in this and subsequent documents are given according to the Gregorian calendar; the year is taken to start on January 1. Spelling and grammar have been modified for conventional usage; where possible, I have noted where one can view the original sources in order to experience their full flavor. The Ghostfacers Forums can be accessed in their original state on the third level of the Ghostfacer Boards at the Mau Node.

Poster:
MZedd, Admin.
Nov. 1, 2011

Possible Zombie Sighting – Confirmation Sought

Good morning, Shadow World Denizens!

We've heard reports of zombies in Gurnee, Illinois. It's time for confirm/deny/report!

Poster:
Puckish Luck
Nov. 1, 2011

Confirm! There were piles of dead bodies by the football field, and the hazmat suits were out in full force this morning. Also a bunch of people with EPA badges, and someone from the National Parks Services.

Poster:
Breeze
Nov. 1, 2011

It was *terrible*. They just kept going after my brother, and he kept running away from them and they kept following him and I didn't know what to do. Eventually some dude showed up and then they all disappeared and he still won't talk about it and I'm worried about him.

Poster:
Perspicuous
Nov. 1, 2011

Deny! They couldn't hide dead bodies everywhere; it would have hit the internet already. Pics or it didn't happen!

Poster:
Anonymous Poster
Nov. 1, 2011

Confirm – looks like about half the local graveyard is torn up, and there's nothing that can account for it otherwise. Too many disturbed graves for people to be after a ghost, and we haven't had any weather patterns that would disturb the grounds like that.

Poster:
West Wind
Nov. 2, 2011

Confirm. I can absolutely, utterly, 100 percent confirm.

I'm the one who called them.

At least, I think I did.

I got the best trumpet ever – at least, it was the best trumpet ever until the whole walking dead thing – off of ebay from some dude named Nancy-something.1 It came the day before our concert, so I didn’t get much of a chance to test it out, but it's not like I had much of a choice since I had to have a horn to play. (Although I thought Josh was gonna kill me when I showed up with one I hadn't gotten used to.)

We started with Hang On Sloopy, and we thought that the pounding was just the audience getting into it, but then there were dead bodies dancing the fandango and I needed my brains in my head! And, ugh, the smell! They were coming for me, so I started marching and playing and they just kept following.

Then some dude popped up, claiming that he was the genii of the trumpet, wtf? And he snapped his fingers and stole my trumpet, but the zombies fell down in their tracks.

Was the trumpet cursed? How can I check for cursed things? Is there something wrong with me? Is that why my blood is sparkly now?

1 See Appendix 1 for the ebay receipt. Jones paid $10 for the trumpet and a case, an unusually low price for an instrument, even a secondhand one of unknown provenance. The seller is listed as one A. Nancy of Florida, leading some to speculate that these events do not properly belong to the Winchester Apocalypse, which was primarily monotheistic in conceptualization, A. Nancy being a known epithet of Anansi.


Traditional Angel Tale

The common themes and motifs used to describe angels in the so-called Angel Cycles illustrate the fears and anxieties of common people during the Winchester Apocalypse. The displacement of the actions of Jimmy Novak, however misguided, onto the being Castiel reflects people's worry that they, too, would fail when confronted with the struggles and temptations of supernatural power. Consistently, the unifying theme of the Cycles is that the ends do not justify the means. In this particular instance, the result of Novak's ill-advised attempt to conquer the Earth-adjacent realm commonly called Purgatory is the Leviathan Insurgence, which wreaked much havoc on the everyday lives of ignorant people.

The Resurrection of Gabriel takes the events Jones experienced in Gurnee and embroiders them. It has been suggested that Jones himself was the origin of the tale, which was originally passed around in bars, pool halls, and bowling alleys – the common highways and byways of hunters and their allies. This version comes from an oral history interview with Magister Sharon Satterfield.

Angels, they're supposed to be all badass and scary and powerful, right? They say that Lucifer was an angel, and he almost ended the world. Of course, you wonder why, exactly, they'd be bothered with humans, but logic is apparently something that's not built into their circuit boards.

Anyway, you have your archangels and your regular angels and your peon angels. Archangels are the ones with a bit of boom behind them, and they can choose their own adventures. Most of them seem to actually leave behind the heavenly game board – something's maybe kind of broken up there.1

1 According to the many variants of the Angel Cycles, Lucifer defied God and deliberately destroyed his grace, Michael committed suicide in despair (the exact mechanics of this are left as an exercise to the reader's imagination), Uriel was destroyed during internecine fighting, and Gabriel chose to put aside the sword. Mid-level angels who wander from the path of Heaven fare even worse. Cf. E. Marchamont, Losing Paradise: The Death of Anna Milton.

Right, so, Gabriel. He's an archangel, and he gets himself killed. There's a great cavalcade of heroes, talking and eating and trying to figure out a strategy to handle Lucifer rising, and they invite Gabriel, figuring that surely he had a few tricks up his sleeve after hiding from Lucifer for thousands of years.

But turns out he's trickless, and Lucifer shows up and destroys his brother, casting him into the aether with one blow of his shining hand.

And that would be it, but then Castiel2 had himself a rummage sale. Great artifacts of Heaven were unearthed and sold off so that he could clutch a penny or two to his bosom, and the Horn of Gabriel went on a walkabout.

2 The entity said to have possessed Novak. See Claire Novak, My Time in Hell for a detailed account of Castiel's attributes and history.

Son, I don't know what you know, but the Horn of Gabriel summons forth the dead at the End of Times. And it might not have been the end of times, but it was looking mighty close. So the gods all get together and think that maybe they need someone to put an end to this nonsense. And after a little of this and a little of that they get the Horn of Gabriel into the hands of a Bearer.

The Bearer blows that horn, and the dead start to dance. Up they come from the ground, cavorting and twisting, making the earth shake and the air reverberate with the rattle of their bones. And Gabriel hears the sweet sound, and he is resurrected from the nothingness into which Lucifer cast him.

What happened next?

Well, son, I don't rightly know. That's a tale not for my telling.


Journal of C. Gonzalez

Jones' involvement with supernatural elements increased over time. The next incident for which there is historical data other than hearsay involves his purchase of a ring in Anno Domini 2013. This excerpt is from the journal of Christina Gonzalez, the apprentice of hunter Tamara Weldon.

Hunters' journals are banal documents, and this one is not unrepresentative of the genre. Often, the author focuses on a sketch of the facts and skates by with a minimum amount of work. This seems to backfire regularly, necessitating that a hunter go through multiple iterations of proposed solutions before stumbling onto the correct one. Nevertheless, they rarely overcome their natural inclination towards speed and sloppiness and, therefore, never truly understand their prey.

Cursed Objects – Ring

Today: destroyed a cursed ring. T let me do it by myself, although she was standing right there with a bucket of blessed salt water in case the ring needed further neutralization. (Apparently you can't drop it in the water from the beginning. T threatened to make me write an essay about it, so I stopped asking.)

Zephyr Jones purchased the ring at a garage sale. It remained quiet until his sister, Breeze, actually opened it (it was a birthday gift). Since then pythons have been dying on their doorstep, one a week like clockwork. T says that doesn't make any sense – cursed rings target humans, not pythons – but sometimes our job doesn't make any sense.

It's made of silver and has an oval tiger's eye in the center. There are patterns on the band, although I'm not sure what they're called. (Note: look it up.) Zephyr claims that it caught his attention because it was "extra shiny" when he was looking through the jewelry bins, but it looked normal to me and T.

I nullified it by sprinkling it with salt and rosemary (60/40 mix, binder of rowan ash; used fresh rosemary – dried requires a different proportion which I am to figure out on my own) and using the curse-breaking chant in McQueen (p.167-172). T says that it's the most universally applicable curse-breaker, so I should memorize it.


"Vandalism at Antique Store." Gurnee Moon Tribune. May 23, 2014.

Zephyr Jones continued to appear in hunters' journals for the next three years, throughout his high school career. He is relatively easy to find and locate in indexed and/or digitized records, which provide a relatively rich, albeit highly biased, account of his life between his first encounter with the supernatural and his decision to become a hunter. He encountered four more cursed objects, including the Dread Pink Umbrella as first described by J.K. Rowling,1 a number of cryptids, including the hitherto considered mythical were-unicorn, and an average number of ghosts.2

1 J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
2 As determined by the Steinberg-Jessup-Chatterjee equations.

His last appearance in the records as a civilian was on May 23, 2014. His presence is incidental, but his absence from subsequent documents leads us to infer that he became an active hunter, working under pseudonyms, immediately thereafter.

For the fifth consecutive night the Copper Naiad has been vandalized. The owners of the antique store arrived in the morning to discover large quantities of white and black sand deposited on the floor of the shop.

"It's so distressing, thinking that someone could do such a thing to us," said Melissa Thompson, who co-owns the Copper Naiad with her partner Jessamyn Lawn. "The community's been very warm and supportive since we came here three years ago, and to have someone be this malicious upsets us very much."

Local high school senior Zephyr Jones, who has been doing his capstone community service work at the Copper Naiad and its sister-store, the Steel Mermaid, was the first on the scene yesterday. He described the sand as being laid out in a filigree pattern of black sand against white with a smiley face in the middle.

Cleaning the store delays the opening by at least three hours every morning, resulting in considerable financial loss for the owners. However, they have hope that the matter will be resolved soon. Two investigators from the American Antiquing Association, Donald Blake and Jack Torrance,3 arrived yesterday, and they have promised to find the culprits as quickly as possible.

3 The American Antiquing Association is a fictitious entity, and one remains curious as to why Thompson and Lawn were taken in by the stylings of so-called Black and Torrance. Jack Torrance is the main character in The Shining by Stephen King, an unusually literary allusion for a hunter. The origins of the name Donald Blake are more obscure; it may represent the masculinized version of Daphne Blake, a character in Scooby-Doo, an animated television series depicting buffoonish ghost hunters in the mid-twentieth century, perhaps indicating that this team is of the Ghostfacer school.


The Correspondence of a Hunter

Zephyr Jones' hunting career was largely unremarkable. He encountered a variety of haunts and spirits, battled eldritch creatures with large teeth and voracious appetites for human flesh, and almost died twice (once of the flu and once because he was possessed by the ghost of a naiad, the naiad's inclination to seek out its natural habitat causing some strains on Jones' body, said being aqueous in nature). He retired from active hunting after thirteen years, opining that it was a profession for young idiots, and pursued a career as an author. For several decades he used a variety of pennames under which he wrote plebeian books of genre fiction sold at travel stations everywhere. He is said to have disappeared in mysterious circumstances during the spring of his seventieth year of life, leaving behind only a pile of dodo feathers.1

1 Breeze Jones confirmed the origin of the feathers through genetic testing; specimens at the Smithsonian Institute were used as a reference.

His literary papers were donated to the Lillian Archive, and they discovered a wealth of hunting-related information contained therein. Concerned about their ability to properly house and preserve curseboxes, yeti hair lockets, and half-burnt banishing scrolls, they opted, after much legal wrangling and personal politicking, to transfer all pre-2028 material to the Visyk Memorial Library, where it remains today.

This exchange between Zephyr Jones and his sister, Breeze, is extracted from those papers. Spelling and grammar have been modified according to conventional usage unless doing so would impede understanding their exchange.

from: swetebreth@geemail.com
to: butlyteasonder@geemail.com

Hey Butly Tea!

Remember when everything I touched was turning rainbow? And you said that if I did your hair you'd owe me one?

Yeah, you owe me. So could you please figure out why I'm being followed by the ghosts of camels? A lot of camels? Please?

- Zeph

from: butlyteasonder@geemail.com
to: swetebreth@geemail.com

Maybe if you want my help you ought to call me by name, you jackass. Here's a hint: it's not "Butly Tea."

from: swetebreth@geemail.com
to: butlyteasonder@geemail.com

Dearest sweetest sister mine, oh Breeze from the heavens who brings joy into my life, whose email is "but lyte asonder", could you please tell me why I am being haunted by the ghosts of camels past?

- Zeph

from: butlyteasonder@geemail.com
to: swetebreth@geemail.com

Given that I'm not psychic (and Arlene2 hasn't shown me how to hack your system yet), how about some context, brother-mine?

2 Probably Arlene Campbell, part of the Campbell group of hunters active in the twentieth century. By the early twenty-first century, the family had dwindled in number, likely as a result of their violent lifestyle. Arlene could refer to Arlene (1962 – 2055), née Campbell, m. Mark Campbell in 2003, hunter; Arlene Campbell (1993 – 2055), hunter; or Arlene (2007 – 2055), née Campbell, m. Jenna Thorne, kindergarten teacher.

from: swetebreth@geemail.com
to: butlyteasonder@geemail.com

I'm in California. There are camels. Except, oh look, they walk through walls following me, so they're probably not real and people are beginning to look at me funny.

Help me, Breeze, you're my only hope!

from: butlyteasonder@geemail.com
to: swetebreth@geemail.com

Dear Zephyr,

You need to learn the magic of the internet. Specifically the magic of google. See, you type in search words, and then it tells you things like there were camels in Cali during the nineteenth-century and a bunch of them died.

Now, as to why they're following you, I couldn't say, although given your luck I supposed it really isn't surprising. (Did you ever manage to get that cursed temp tattoo off your foot?) General consensus is that you smell good to them – going through another dirty hippie phase, big brother?

Anyway, there's a taxidermied camel out at Fort Irwin – try burning it. If that doesn't work I'll dig out a ritual that should lay them to rest, although, fair warning, it'll probably involve things like camel urine and dancing naked in the full moon.

Let me know if you need me to do more poking about.

- Breeze

from: swetebreth@geemail.com
to: butlyteasonder@geemail.com

Ugh, do you know how long it takes to get burned camel smell out of your clothes? Here's a hint: I haven't managed it yet after ten bucks at the laundromat. UGH. Also, you neglected a tiny detail, like the armed guards. You know, the ones with automatic weapons since Fort I is still an active base. You suck.

However, no more camels!

But could you maybe help me with the polka-dotted chimeras?


Afterward

The story of Zephyr Jones is one of the most accessible accounts of the transition of an individual from civilian into hunter. Jones did not become a denizen of the shadow world through great personal tragedy or the manipulations of a powerful entity; his motivations are never explicated and must be surmised by the attentive and knowledgeable reader.

His hunting career has been extensively treated in two digiprint monographs: Anemoi at Play: The Lives and Careers of Zephyr and Breeze Jones by Laurent de Havilland and The 'Facer School: Facsimile or Fact by Terry Ng. However, one must be careful to separate fanciful speculation from knowledgeable deduction, and your humble editor strongly recommends correlating the known sources in order to draw your own conclusions.