Special Investigations Division
Case Report 58
June 28th 1905
SEALED BY ORDER OF THE COURT
Detective Ichabod Crane
I, Icabod Crane, write this report under seal by protest. The decision by the Chief of Police to continue to keep all matter of investigation undertaken by this division an utmost secret is, I continue to feel, contrary to the public interest, regardless of whatever momentary panic might result from the public learning the full extent of supernatural dangers inhabiting the state of New York. However, my feelings on the matter are well known, as are the feelings of my superiors, and form a longstanding argument best referenced but not repeated.
In the matter of Miss Abigail Gist, as reported by her father Fredrick Gist on January 10th 1905, to the Bowery Street Station; Miss Mary Gardner, as reported by her father James Gardner on March 3rd 1905, to the Morningside Heights Station; and Miss Maryfrancis Stewart, as reported by her mother Genevieve Stewart on June 23rd, 1905, to 84th street station on the Upper East Side.
The preceding three cases were referred to the Special Investigations Division by Chief Magistrate Armstrong on June 24th. In each case a relative of the victims found the girls in their bedrooms weeping or in fits of hysteria. All three also reported that they had seen an object or animal turn into their daughters as if by magic. Miss Gist and Miss Gardner reported rape by an acquaintance.
The family physicians of both young ladies attest that there is evidence of violence upon their persons. Detailed reports were not provided, and requests for such were met with an unfortunate outrage as well as disparagements of my character that were completely uncalled for.
In the case of Miss Stewart, Mrs. Stewart reported that upon seeing a mouse turn into her daughter, her daughter had struck at a cat, which then fled out an open window. Mrs. Stewart swears the cat turned into a young man as it fled. Miss Stewart also reported that the young man was attempting to have sexual relations with her against her will, but had not succeeded. Upon review of the three cases it was agreed that they likely bore relation to one another, and furthermore that the claimed transformations made it a matter for the Special Investigations Division.
I, Detective Crane revisited each victim for more in depth interviews, accompanied by my assistants Mrs. Katrina Crane and Constable Masbeth. Miss Gist refused to be interviewed by myself, and indeed refuses to leave the guest room, to which she has relocated. She did agree to speak with my wife in private. Transcriptions of all interviews are attached to this report as exhibits A through F.
All three young ladies charge that a young man, appearing to in his early twenties, had recently made their acquaintance while on outings to nearby parks. Descriptions given in each case are consistent, describing a man of average height and thin build, clean shaven, with short brown hair. He gave a different name to each lady, however, alternately styling himself Henry Allen, Alan Hubert, and George Day. He told all three that he was a university student. A sketch completed at the time of the initial interviews is attached as exhibit G.
Reportedly he would begin to briefly woo each lady, offering gifts of courtship and calling upon them regularly. Visits, gifts, and requests for attention would increase in frequency until reaching the alarming rate of multiple times a day. In each case the young man became insistent upon continuing courtship even when turned away by the young lady in question.
In the case of Miss Gist, her family, noting her distress at the, by their account, obsessive turn ‘Mr. Allen’s interest had taken in their daughter, forbade him from calling again, even going so far as to threaten police involvement. The next evening at sunset, she reports, he appeared in the back garden unannounced, clasping his hand over her mouth with supernatural speed. He then threatened her to remain silent or he would harm her. She reports he then challenged her to a game, saying that should she win he would leave her alone forever, should she lose he would ‘have what he wanted of her’, but should she refuse to play he would harm her and her family. Fearing for her life, she agreed to the game. He then pulled a small bottle from his coat and bid her drink it. She did. He drank from it as well, then asked her “what would you become to be away from me?”. She said the first thing she thought of, a bird.
As soon as the words left her mouth a fire spread through her body, the world shifted around her and she found that she had, indeed become a bird in shape, though not in mind. She flew from him, seeking to escape to the eaves of the house, but he too became a bird and pursued her. She landed in a nearby tree and discovered as soon as she thought it that she turned into a squirrel. He too, however, became a squirrel. Seeing the park lake was filled with ducks, she turned herself to one, hoping to be lost among the crowd. He matched her, and seemed certain which she was no matter how she tried to lose him or appear as one among the many. She could hear him in her head, she said, asking what she would become next, then telling her how she would be caught. Despair filled her as she changed from one form to another, his voice a constant presence, mocking her choices and easily countering them.
His pursuit forced her back towards her house. She thought to hide in her own room as one of the bed linens, but he too became a coverlet and so trapped her. He then forced himself upon her, though still transformed, and when finished stated that he had had what he had wanted and left as a hawk. It was then that her father came looking for her and saw her change from blanket to girl.
Miss Gardner reported that rejection seemed to make him more interested. He would become more insistent, to the point of near violence. Mr. Hubert, as Miss Gardner knew him, approached Mr. Gardner for permission to marry Miss Gardner. He was refused.
He appeared in her own room the next night at sunset, issuing the same challenge given to Miss Gist. Events that followed were much in the same vein as those with Miss Gist, though the transformations differed. Miss Gardner too was caught and treated violently. She reported that she had tried to turn back to herself but had been unable to.
Miss Stewart however managed to evade him, though caught in the same despicable trap as the others. I felt certain that our case hinged upon her. She had changed back to herself, and been able to strike at her attacker.
It was Mrs. Crane who realized that time must play a factor. Each girl had returned to herself exactly three hours after taking the potion, as had the criminal.
A thorough examination of each crime scene yielded no physical evidence.
It was again Mrs. Crane who provided a course of further action. Perhaps, having been thwarted in his pursuit of Miss Stewart, he would attempt again to attack her.
We removed Miss Stewart and her family to a safe location, Mrs. Crane providing her with such protective charms and wards as only a skilled and studied mistress of the white arts can perform, proving once again that her presence as a member of this investigative team is entirely and unreservedly warranted. For the fifty-eighth time. Even more so by what next occurred.
Mrs. Crane retired to Miss Stewart’s bedroom near sunset, hiding her face in a pillow. I hid in the closet, watching the room from between the slats. We left Constable Masbeth with the Stewart family as an added protection, and to ensure no one broke the wards the way the last protected victim did.
Just as we deduced, the villain appeared as darkness first set in, stepping from a shadow by the window. He approached the bed where Mrs. Crane lay and called for Miss Stewart. Mrs. Crane sat up and faced him bravely.
“She’s not here” She said “and you’ll not find her where she is.”
“You will do well enough then” he said. I saw he had a small bottle in his hand, and before I could leap from the closet, he threw the contents of it into my wife’s face. As I burst forth I heard him say “I become a snake to strike you”. His transformation, though expected, momentarily startled me. A poorly tacked rug unfortunately tangled my feet, sending me to the floor. I admit a, perhaps, slight phobia of snakes. The sudden change in position, coupled with the inevitable rise in heart rate at the sight of such a disgusting creature caused me to momentarily lose consciousness.
The remainder of this report shall be completed by Mrs. Crane therefore, as primary witness.
By which he means he fainted.
It is by far his most distressing habit.
I could feel the magic of the potion taking hold as it seeped into my skin, burning through me. The snake diverted his attention from Mr. Crane as soon as he hit the floor, focused once again on me.
“What would you become to be away from me?” it hissed. As soon as I heard the words I knew they too were a part of the spell. A compulsion to speak entered my mind, whirling possibilities.
I knew that I must keep my wits if I was to avoid losing this game.
“A mongoose to catch and kill you.” Instantly my body shifted, twisting inside as I collapsed down into a small creature.
“I a fox to catch you”
“I a foxhound to break your neck” I leapt at him, but he was too fast.
“I a wolf to beat you down” From the corner of my eye I saw Mr. Crane awake.
“I spider to bite you” I shrank and drew him to the other side of the room.
“I a bird to catch you” He said flying at me. Mr. Crane crept up behind him. The villain turned and noticed him, and for a just a brief moment startled.
“I a witch to trap you” said I, turning into my own self. I threw all my power into a spell to freeze him as Icabod grabbed the bird tight and threw him into the fire. He screamed and returned to his true form, writhing in agony upon the floor. We both seized him, pulling his burning coat off. He tried to speak, but fearing another transformation Mr. Crane clubbed him with his truncheon. It is unfortunate that he did so with enough force to require several days in hospital, during which time the man could not be questioned.
Thus the villain was caught.
The confiscated potion is currently undergoing scientific and mystical testing in our laboratory. The man refuses to identify himself, so other means will be needed to locate his further belongings, and hopefully the source of this means of transformation. Currently the only thing he has said is that proud women deserve to be humbled.
We apologize for the mess made of the interview room by Constable Masbeth after the prisoner made that statement. We do not apologize for the mess made of the prisoner.
In the mean time, in accordance with executive orders regarding the special circumstances of those engaging in criminal paranormal acts, he is to be held indefinitely.
The families have been assured that the man is caught, will remain in custody, and that they will not need to face the strains of a trial.