The Sum of All Fears

NOTE: This post is reference heavy. For those that feel that they may be missing something I have explained all the allusions here.

Welcome back, dear reader, to the finale of our Samhain Celebrations. I have been honored to be your humble guide, but my term is now up. For this final piece, I bow out and let the voices of history be heard:

AUTHOR’S PREFACE

I will make no remarks of how the documents comprising this manuscript have come into my keep. Neither will I comment on their inclusion, arrangement, or order; the reader of this story will very soon understand how the events outlined here constitute a logical whole. Out of respect for the dead, and in deference to those who wish to present these events to the eyes of the public, I have contained all editorializing to this prefatory note, in all other respects, I leave the manuscript unaltered. Without controversy, it can be asserted that there is no doubt to the veracity of the events documented within, nor is there any call to question the authority of the witnesses, however absurd their testimony may at first appear. I am quite convinced that the plot described herein will always remain to some extent incomprehensible, despite continuing advances in psychology and natural science, for as the bard remarked, “there are more things in heaven and earth/ then are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Massachusetts,

October 2010,

W.B.

“The Miskatonic Messenger”

June 6, 2006

Dunwich’s Exciting, Adventurous Double

Robert Kams

Editor in Chief

DUNWICH- The oft-forgotten people of Dunwich are clamoring with excitement over two new arrivals to their town whose patronage could put them on the map. You may be forgiven if you don’t know of Dunwich, its insignificance was all but officialized when a recent congressional candidate made the remark, “that’s not a real town, not in Massachusetts; it doesn’t exist,” but real it is. Located in north central Massachusetts just beyond Dean’s Corner, Dunwich is a community that seems to have never recovered from the Great Depression, and the recent economic slump has done it no favors. A casual inspection by a visitor will reveal that most of the houses are deserted and falling to ruin, and that the broken-steepled church now harbours the one slovenly mercantile establishment of the hamlet. The houses that are inhabited are home to some of the poorest and least accounted for citizens of the northeast. On The Hill, it has long been widely accepted that the unspoken policy concerning Dunwich is one of planned negligence. “Let the lonely, curious country reclaim it,” one legislator is rumored to have said.

Significant demographic data has not been collected from Dunwich since the 1965 census, but its current population has been estimated to be at most 400, which would make it one of the smallest, if not the smallest towns in Massachusetts. Furthermore, the population is almost certainly shrinking, though the causes of this are poorly understood. The trend is clearly not attributable to emigration from Dunwich, because truly no one can be said to have met a man from Dunwich. The “Dunwich Decline”, as it has become known, is an often discussed curiosity among the faculty of Miskatonic University’s School of Sociology. Former Professor Emeritus, Andre Delambre PhD., has become infamous for his remark concerning the flagging population: “[They] was no doubt eat up by what he had call’d out of ye Sky.”

Despite all this, the average Dunwichian remains quietly resolved to her isolated, rural existence without complaint. This stoicism has recently been broken as the town’s Main St. is decorated for the first time in decades. It can never be said that the atmosphere in Dunwich is electric, but this is as close as it ever has been. The cause of this commotion is the unexpected announcement that two persons of international interest and influence will be making Dunwich their place of residence, at least temporarily. Both are European nobleman of some distinction.

The first is a Mr. Larry Talbot of Wales. He explains that his visit to The States, and specifically Massachusetts is in the interests of his health. In Dunwich he has found just the quiet and solitude his doctors have proscribed. It seems our fortune is unfortunately at Mr. Talbots misfortune, for he has come to Dunwich convalesce after a recent animal attack. When questioned about the matter, Mr. Talbot merely responded that the animal was “a great wolf.” We here at “The Miskatonic Messenger”, and everybody in the Miskatonic Valley wishes Mr. Talbot the greatest expediency in his recovery.

Our second distinguished guest is far more enigmatic. Rumoured to be of Central European descent and of an ancient family, little else is known of him. His influence and finances must be considerable, however, for in the months prior to his arrival, he had purchased and renovated the admirable Hill House. Despite repeated attempts by this office, no interview could be arranged by the time of printing. However, we have received a letter from our new neighbor, and in the interest of the public we present it here in full:

My Dear Mr. Kams and company,

I regretfully inform you that I will be unable to provide any interviews, now or in the foreseeable future, and the foreseeable future is, for me, very far indeed. I keep unorthodox hours, and I’m afraid they are currently occupied with my hunger for knowing your country. Please do not take this too harshly. In Romania, our ways are not like your ways, and acquaintances grow slowly. I’m sure in time our bond will be as blood.

Your Friend,

D.

The promise of these two arrivals is unmistakable, and the enthusiasm in the small town of Dunwich is infectious. We at “The Miskatonic Messenger” wish the best to our eminent guests. It would seem that the darkness around Dunwich is coming to an end. The future now looks brighter than ever.

“The Miskatonic Messenger”

June 11, 2006, evening edition

Bevy of Animal Sightings Interrupt Summer Night

DUNWICH- The night of the tenth was a sleepless night for many as residents across the town of Dunwich and the surrounding countryside were awoken from their slumber, not by the cockcrow, but by the howling of an animal that has not been seen in the Miskatonic Valley for more than forty years. Around 10PM, residents near Elm St. reported hearing a wolf’s howl, and shortly after, reports were being made from every part of Dunwich. Several courageous citizens left their homes in search of the animal, leading to a smattering of sightings. Eye witnesses are consistent in their reports that the animal was a large canine.  One witness, a Mr. Frank Cotton, claims to have been bitten by the beast, but his wounds are consistent with no known animal. Arkham’s Animal Control assisted the Dunwich Police Department in attempting to capture the animal, but in spite of their efforts it eluded them throughout the night. The search has continued throughout the day, but no trace of the animal has been found. Officials are urging people to contact the police if they see or suspect the presence of the creature. Under no circumstances, they say, should you approach it yourself.

Diary of Dr. Giancomo Rappaccini

Family Physician to the Torrance Family

June 18

Another sleepless night! I feel an unyielding shame stemming from my utter incapacity to offer any meaningful assistance to poor Regan. Her symptoms are all consistent with severe anemia, but I am unable to account for the lost blood. A thorough physical examination reveals no wounds large enough to account for her hypovolemia, though two anomalous puncture wounds were found on her neck. She claims no memory of how she came to have such wounds, and I am inclined to dismiss them as inconsequential to her current condition. I have only just finished reviewing the results of a bone marrow biopsy of her femur I had ordered, and it offers no clues to her current condition; the bone marrow is healthy and functioning. I have put Regan on bed rest and proscribed Chromagen. Poor Regan had difficulties in school last semester and has had to go to summer school. She will unfortunately not be able to attend. I have contacted Bates High School to explain her absence.

Log of Riget Hospital’s Emergency Services

July 10- July 11

6/10 11:05, 34y/o M w/ contaminated animal bite to LUQ. Dr.Stauf sutured wound. Rx: amoxicillin

6/11 3:15, 20 y/o F w/ contaminated animal bite to R ant. forearm. Dr. Brundel sutured wound. Rx: amoxicillin

Regan Torrance Obituary

July 22

Regan Torrance, 17, passed away in her sleep on Wednesday, July 19. A well-known and regarded student of Bates High School, she will be remembered by its faculty and her classmates for all the years to come. Her loss will be felt most deeply by her parents, Gomez and Morticia. She was fond of music and literature and had aspired to pursue a career as a music journalist by applying to Miskatonic University’s school of journalism. A vigil for her will be held tonight at her family’s tomb.

WE watch’d her breathing thro’ the night,

Her breathing soft and low,

As in her breast the wave of life

Kept heaving to and fro.

So silently we seem’d to speak,

So slowly moved about,

As we had lent her half our powers

To eke her living out.

Our very hopes belied our fears,

Our fears our hopes belied–

We thought her dying when she slept,

And sleeping when she died.

For when the morn came dim and sad,

And chill with early showers,

Her quiet eyelids closed–she had

Another morn than ours.

-Thomas Hood, The Death-Bed

“The Dunwich Problem, its Global Implications, and the Need for Immediate Action”

paper submitted to The Journal of Miskatonic Studies by Philip Ward M.D., D.Ph.D, D. Lit, Hon. B.D.S., H.S.T. Ph.D.,MA M.D.E., HVS, Esquire, Etc. ,Etc.

August 7

It has been known even to the layman for some time that there have been unnatural events in the New England hamlet of Dunwich, however the academic community, and through its patronage, the political community have proven all of their negative stereotypes by consistently failing to respond to what even cursory examination proves to be an imminent and grave pattern. I speak to you of the lycanthrope! Of the hemophage! Of their threat to humanity individually and plurally! Yes, Dunwich has become residence to the damned. Its nights haunted by the werewolf and the vampyr! How slovenly does this revelation prove the intellects of its academics? Why, one requires no more education than I to divine the fearful symmetry that the facts plainly harbor. Barba tenus sapientes.

The presence of these devils can clearly be seen in the face of the commonest of common people encountered along this damned town’s streets and byways.  It is the human psyche that is the best barometer for the spiritual storm to come, and it takes no keen observer to see that it is low. But exactly how close are the clouds, and how violent will the thunder be? To answer these questions we will turn to the queen of the sciences, the ars magna.

It is well known that our two antagonists are plague bearers governed by their hungers. As they feed they multiply, and it is this multiplication that poses for us the greatest threat. Let us consider the case of the vampyr in a simplified case: We begin with 1 vampyr, the Primarch, and it chooses a human to convert. After a feeding period, the human dies and is resurrected as another unclean. Now there are 2 vampyrs, and they must both feed. There is another feeding period, and afterwards there are 4. Naturally, all four vampyrs are subject to the thirst, and they produce four more. Now there are 8. Allow me to make the pattern explicit: 1,2,4,8,16,32,64… After each feeding period, the vampyr population doubles. This is a pattern of geometric growth. Dat Deus Incrementum. It will be used as the basis in defining the vampyr function, v(n), which will give us the number of vampyrs after n feeding periods, with the information we have now, v(n)=2^n. Notice that when n=0, v(0)=2^0=1 (any number raised to the zero power is one), because prior to any feeding periods, the number of vampyrs is one, the Primarch.

We have assumed that our vampyrs are not gluttonous and partake of only one mortal per feeding period, however let us consider other alternatives. Consider a more robust breed of nosferatu that enjoy the ichor of two humans during each feeding period. Again, we begin with 1 vampyr, but after the end of one feeding period we now have 3 vampyrs. Each of these three vampyrs will spawn two more, yielding six new vampyrs for a total of 9. Again, these nine will add eighteen, and there will be 27 total vampyrs. When each vampyr is adding two more to its coven each period, the vampyr population progresses like this: 1,3,9,27,81, 243… After each time period, the population triples. In this situation, the progression can be modeled thus: v(n)=3^n. If our vampyrs are insatiable suckers, and they must drink from three mortals per period, the progression would be: 1, 4, 16, 64, 256… and the function would be v(n)=4^n. Notice in general the base of the vampyr function is one more than the number of mortals each vampyr feeds from. We can incorporate this into our model. Let m be the number of mortals fed upon during each period, then v(n)=(m+1)^n. Notice that if the vampyr isn’t feeding, that is if m=0, then there is no progression in the vampyr population for v(n)=(0+1)^n=1^n=1.

To even the amateur cryptozoologist, it is evident that the werewolf population follows a similar pattern. Are they of equal threat then? To answer this question we must be able to compare the vampyr function, v(n), to the werewolf function, w(n). However, there is a problem: Both functions rely on the breeding periods of their respective devils, and these periods are not equal. Also, these periods are non-human temporal units and it would be far more useful if they were expressed in something more tractable to the layperson. So this will be our goal: To render these periods in mortal days, so as to achieve a better count of the sands in our glass- technically speaking, we are normalizing the time periods. For werewolves, this task is simple, for it is well known that these creatures are lunatics, married to the moon, and therefore the solar month serves as their period, that is the werewolf’s feeding period is once per 29 days.

For vampyrs, this task is slightly more complicated, for they are as a rule more idiosyncratic. If any one member of their sinister species can serve them as a model it is that treacherous Transylvanian, Count Dracula. Luckily for us, the records of his activity are well preserved and the mean feeding habit of a vampyr can be extracted from it. We will assume that he began his awful conquest of Lucy Westenra in the early morning of August 8th and continued this cruel task until her death on September 20th, this gives the vampyr feeding period as 43 days.

We can now create more precise models. New members are added to a werewolf pack once every lunar month, that is 1/29. A vampyr coven expands once every 43 days, giving 1/43. Given these new facts, we can modify our functions like this: v(d)=(m+1)^(d/43), w(d)=(m+1)^(d/29), where d is the number of days since the monster arrived and m is the number of mortals they feed on each period.

We are now ready to assess which one is the greater threat. Will vampyrs or werewolves consume us first? We will use 6.8 billion (in scientific notation, 6.8*10^9) as the current world population. When will vampyrs wipe us out? When there population equals or exceeds ours. When will that be?

v(d)=6.8*10^9

(m+1)^(d/43)=6.8*10^9

log(m+1)^(d/43)=log(6.8*10^9)

(d/43)log(m+1)=log(6.8)+log(10^9)

d/43=(log(6.8)+9)/log(m+1))

d=43(log(6.8)+9)/log(m+1)

For our purposes, we will assume temperate terrors, so each monster has one victim per period.

d=43(log(6.8)+9)/log(2)

d~=1405

Therefore, vampyrs end us all in approximately 1,405 days, or about 3 years and 10 months.

On the other hand, for werewolves we have:

w(d)=6.8*10^9

2^(d/29)=6.8*10^9

d~=948

Werewolves get us in 2 years 7 months. Of the terrors, werewolves are decidedly more terrible.

Our campaign is clear. First kill the lupine, and then stake the undead. Only this way will we ensure our survival. We have little time, but at least we possess it. If we had been plagued by another fearsome fauna, our time would already have been up. For the lethality of the walking dead has been well demonstrated:

The implications are clear. Pax Dei. Pax Americana. Pax Mundus.

Memorandum from “The Journal of Miskatonic Studies” to Philip Ward.

August 13

TO:                  Philip Ward

FROM:            Paul Sheldon, PhD. Chief Editor of The Journal of Miskatonic Studies

DATE:            August 13, 2006

RE:                  “The Dunwich Problem, its Global Implications, and the Need for Immediate                           Action”

Your article, “The Dunwich Problem, its Global Implications, and the Need for Immediate Action” fails to meet our publication standards, and will not be included in the next volume of this journal. Furthermore, we will decline to review any additional articles bearing your authorship until you have provided us a full and verifiable curriculum vitae. It is the opinion of this journal and its editors that several if not all of your degrees are fictitious. Your consistent misspelling of ‘vampire’ has not improved your reputation in these offices. Please take these criticisms into consideration before again submitting a paper to us.

Sincerely,

Paul Sheldon

Service report from Ripley’s Large Vehicle Towing Inc.

August 14

DATE:                           August 14

LOCATION:              Elm St.

VEHICLE TYPE:      Chemical Truck

REGISTERED:          Umbrella Corporation

INSURANCE:           Milton, Chadwick & Waters

MISC:                        vehicle ran off road into Crystal Lake. Majority of shipment lost.                                            Carrying: T-(illegible)

________________________________________________________

Fin

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

This was the fourth and final Halloween 2010 post. If you enjoyed it you may like the others: Vampire Numbers, Infernal Integers, Zombi(nacci)

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About Webster

Transitionally, I’m a math student and tutor en route to becoming a math professor. Permanently, I’m a mathematics enthusiast. I study mathematics professionally, and as a leisure activity. At the time of writing this, I’m a generalist. I have let to reach the depth of understanding that requires specialization. Though I eagerly await that time, I do enjoy the ‘now’ and find there is bountiful food for thought at any level.
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4 Responses to The Sum of All Fears

  1. Pingback: Zombi(nacci) | Spherical Cow

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