Archive for locations

093: The Sacred Ground

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on February 12, 2012 by glasganon

There is a patch of disused land where a church once stood in the southside of Glasgow. The grand has grown wild and untamed since the church was demolished, and due to its previous use as a holy site, can now be used as sacred ground.

Note that this does not mean it provides any kind of sanctuary from some of the entities that thrive in the darkness of the city – the creations of Shadow Farmers can set foot on the soil, the Silent Man can pass through the iron gate, the Scavenger’s Daughter will still find you, and They will be able to follow you there.

The real boon of the Sacred Ground is its use to practitioners – because the Gideon Keys of Glasgow have been interwoven so tightly with Christian mythology, certain elements of each system come together on the grounds of the former church. Mixing water with allspice on the grounds will create a kind of “holy” water which, when applied to the eyelids, will allow acolytes to detect those things and people who have heavy significance in the living mythology of Glasgow. A number of the mushrooms growing amongst the weeds can be ingested to give hallucinogenic trips that reveal the fundamental mycological reality that lies underneath our own. Rites held on the ground seem to have a much stronger effect, perhaps due to the things that are buried beneath.

The acolyte must avoid the area on rainy nights; unknown figures sometimes congregate in the grass, digging up cadavers from the soil, and it can be harrowing to see your own body being dragged up from the dirt.

049: The Watchtower

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on February 12, 2012 by glasganon

Go to any subway station south of the River Clyde, and ask for a single to Merkland Street; you’ll likely be told that Merkland Street has now become Partick, but reply “I like to keep one foot in the past, one in the future.” They should make some motion to show they’ve understood you – if not, or they ask you to repeat yourself, walk out of the station and rip the ticket up – it’s of no use to you.

If you manage to get the ticket, get on the Outer Circle line, and board the next train that arrives. Figure how many stops you have to wait before getting to Partick – for example, it’s one from Govan, seven from Bridge Street – and the second you sit down, close your eyes. Keep them tightly shut and count down the stops, and when you get to Partick, stand up and walk through the doors with your eyes shut. Open them once your feet touch the platform.

You’ll find yourself at the topmost point of the Watchtower: a colossal, concrete monolith that rises up from a valley, with a view that spans miles. The wilderness around the Watchtower seems to indicate the city’s current health: in almost all cases, the valley is as empty as it is dry and barren, but now and again, new things appear. A black, charred horse-and-cart that rides through the blasted valley, leaving a trail of dark soot and rot behind it. A sickening yellow shape that resembles an enormous cloud in the sky, until it gets closer and you realise it’s a creature of impossible dimensions, roaring through the deserted plains. A confluence of misshapen figures, congregating around the base of the Watchtower, looking up at you with their blurred, thrashing faces as the rain of annunciation falls from the heavens.

It is important to take note of as much of the wilderness around the Watchtower as you can, as quickly as you can – you will wake up inside the train you thought you had left as soon as it reaches Partick again.

024: The New Build

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on February 12, 2012 by glasganon

There is a building in the city center that has been under construction for at least the past four decades. It’s not hidden, it’s not disguised – it’s just taken for granted. However, no workers are ever seen on the site, aside from those who visit the building once a fortnight to check for signs of vandalism. When someone looks at the New Build and realises that work on it has never moved on, a set of interesting properties of the New Build make themselves known.

Once such property is the absence of an interior. Trying to enter the half-constructed rooms or climbing down into the structure reveals that, though it should be possible to get inside the half-a-dozen solid, sheltered rooms, the acolyte will always be standing outside, no matter how they try to get in. Bizarrely, thrown objects are immune to this rule – one could easily toss sensitive documents, old personal effects or things that might be used as evidence in undesired police investigations into the unapproachable rooms and be assured that it would not be discovered… more or less. It is simply impossible for living creatures to enter the rooms; they either find the passage impossible, or find themselves in a different building entirely.

This is down to the New Build’s second interesting property; by looking through the scaffolding of the building at different angles, different buildings are quite clearly visible. This is not down to the building being a mash-up of various architectural styles – although several are employed to disguise this bizarre quirk. In fact, the geometry of the scaffolds actually allow for passage from the New Build to specific other sets of scaffolding in construction sites around the city. There is no guarantee of safety, however – running along the wooden planks on the second storey of the New Build may cause you to shift to the seventh storey of an unfinished building in Queen’s Park – but this may prove vital if you need to make a hasty retreat from the city center. These “spatial shortcuts” do not always remain constant, and can switch even as someone is passing through them, leading to our third interesting property; the inhabitants of the New Build.

The Inhabitants are those people unfortunate enough to have been crossing between the New Build and another place when the shortcut they were on suddenly changed. Because of the unusual geometric effects of such a change, most inhabitants simply resemble fleshy canvases spread across frames of metal scaffolds, human forms punctured by bursts of broken brick and wood, heads bisecting corrugated iron with steel-wire nerves. The Inhabitants reside in the unapproachable center of the New Build, making themselves the custodians of all the unwanted objects that are tossed inside. They know our deepest, darkest secrets, all the things we want to hide, and they collect them when they fall into the New Build, stashing them away in some unseen room. Those that have secrets so dark they must be hidden here must pray the Inhabitants are never released from the unapproachable room.

105: The Crossroads Rite

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags , on February 5, 2012 by glasganon

Something happened on one of the crossroads at French Street. Constituent pieces of folklore mesh together around that crossroads that map a gory and haunting history, but those in the know refuse to comment upon it; how the specifics of the ritual came to light, such as the participants names, is unknown; someone, somewhere must know the truth.

Visit the crossroads on Monday about an hour before sunrise with two other people. Each person must stand on a different part of the crossroads; on the empty corner, place the entrails of a mammal – a “canopic bag” gives the best results.

The ritual must be performed like a play, where each person has a different persona to adopt. One person must at all times be addressed as (and consider themselves to be) Brian. Another is Margaret. The last is Steven. Their surnames are not given here, but they are easy for acolytes to discover, as they have since become bywords in the occult community in Glasgow. It is pivotal that “actors” make the performance as realistic as possible, and they must never break character; otherwise, the ritual will fail, bringing into being certain entities that otherwise remain bound to the crossroads.

‘Brian’ must turn to ‘Margaret’ and say “Margaret, you have to put her out of her misery.”

‘Margaret’ responds, “I never agreed to this.’

‘Steven’ must then say “I’ll bring her through“, and walk to the entrails, picking them up with his bare hands, preferably while saying “Here we go, girl, let’s go see your mum“. He must then bring the entrails to ‘Margaret’ and set them down at her feet.

‘Margaret’ must bend to the ground, and devour the entrails, whole. Nothing must remain. When she is finished, ‘Steven’ and ‘Brian’ must pull her to her feet, and lead her down the street.

Once the ritual is complete, the person who played Margaret will be forever sterile or barren, and cancerous cells will begin to grow in their brain; however, this tumour will slowly coalesce into something like an organ – and this organ brings with it a series of bizarre “powers”, such as the ability to cause spontaneous epileptic seizures in people purely by focusing on them.

Incidentally, there are people with the same first and second names as the three original members of the ritual, who are said to be enjoying successful careers with a certain law enforcement body.

116: The Fungal Bloom

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on January 22, 2012 by glasganon

There is a house in Bearsden that lies condemned, but this is not immediately obvious from the outside. It cannot be demolished as there would be too much disruption to the homes it is connected to, and the door and windows of the house cannot be welded shut, because residents of the neighbourhood felt it would cast a stigma over the area and petitioned for it to stay empty. Nowadays, people have all but forgotten about the strange house, and it would be entirely unnotable were it not for the thing that was responsible for it being condemned – the Fungus.

The house has become a home for a persistent, interminable mould that covers vast swathes of the ceiling, walls and floors. The fungus is so prevalent that acolytes will not realise that none of the rooms are carpeted – wherever you walk in the house, you are walking on a bed of mould, which releases small clouds of dust-like spores as you tread atop it. The master bedroom on the upper floor is murky and difficult to see in, due to the descent of millions of spores falling like snow from the ceiling – breathing in this room invites respiratory problems that come accompanied with persistent, recurring visions of people made out of mushrooms standing around you, watching you with absent faces.

The bathroom on the lower floor is the nexus of the bizarre infestation. From the plugholes of the sink and bath, long, pallid fungal stalks rise up to a foot in height, crowned by pale yellow cone-like heads. The shower head has stalks growing down from it, which curl up at the ends like hooks. The mirror over the sink has shattered, with a wrinkled, tumour-like mushroom growth sprouting through the glass.The toilet has become a throne for the fungal bloom; thick wreaths of white-and-beige flesh has burst out of the broken cistern, leaking trails of amber pus into a greasy puddle around the stained white ceramic. The u-bend has become a vase for a fungus so large it could easily be mistaken for a tree, its fleshy bark white and tender, topped with the sickly yellow cone of the thinner stalks in the bath and sink.

Entering the bathroom causes a subtle change in the fungus – it almost seems to quiver at your presence. The stalks sway from side to side, the fungal face in the mirror twists and flexes… and the tree-like growth seems to shudder. Approach the growth in the toilet bowl, and grasp a limb or stalk from the fungus – the flesh will tear off quite easily.

Chewing and swallowing the stalk will cause vivid hallucinations of an impossibly vast parallel reality made of endless, juddering fungi, writhing and rubbing against each other in a mass mycological breeding conclave. This is the fundamental reality under our own, and the fungi release spores that cause us to hallucinate the world that we perceive every day; the stalk allows a brief glimpse into that true world, grants us the chance to walk under the cyclopean caverns formed out of the bulbous skin of megafungi, lets us see the forests of colossal mould trees lit up by the otherworldly blue-and-green light of luminal rot. It is paramount that the acolyte does not become addicted to these altered states of consciousness – although that world is filled with painful beauty and unfathomable wonder, it won’t take long for someone to notice that you have awoken.

100: The Contrary Line

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on January 15, 2012 by glasganon

The Contrary Line is an impossible railway line running under Glasgow. Each part of the line, each “Contrary Station”, is not spatially connected to another. Instead, the Contrary Line is a purely conceptual framework that allows travel between several different points throughout Glasgow (and its alternates), a psychogeographical walkway that takes the acolyte to a place most in-tune with their subconscious mind.

To ride the Contrary Line, the acolyte must first locate a Contrary Station. These are found all over the city of Glasgow, but are difficult to find – acolytes that do find one often mark it as such using graffiti that only another acolyte would recognise – usually a pictogram of another Gideon Key – near the entranceway that allows access to the Contrary Line (a door, tunnel, ladder, hallway…). Indeed, many of the locations described and documented in the Gideon Keys contain a Contrary Station nearby.

The acolyte must then lead themselves into a highly associative mental state. This can be achieved in various different ways; many acolytes opt to meditate on the graffiti at prominent Contrary Stations, and several Stations have graffiti created by acolytes for this explicit purpose – look for related motifs arranged in a web-like pattern near an entrance into a dark or underground passage, and focus on unlocking the elements that link them all together. Other acolytes choose to compose spontaneous, nonsensical poetry in a stream-of-consciousness style, or carry books written in free association for that purpose.  The acolyte must then venture into the opening at a Contrary Station, all the while contemplating inter-related symbols, ideas and themes that mesh together in various ways. Focusing exclusively on one specific idea will prevent the Contrary Line taking effect – “sleight of mind” is a requirement.

Using the acolyte’s generation of interwoven ideas, the Contrary Line will transport the acolyte to the station most closely aligned with the topic that is linking together most of the acolyte’s thoughts, with a vast majority of these stations existing partway or entirely in Stained Glasgow. Those who focus on disease will travel to the Contrary Station at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Gory Bell. Those who focus on escape will find themselves in Trenchton, halfway between the only known exits of Rutherglen Rig. Those who focus on uncovering secrets will find themselves trapped in a dark, metal room with a slowly rising water level and The Man in the Tower – and, though they may not realise before too late, they are also deeply asleep.

Travelers beware: do not let your thoughts focus too heavily on death. This is almost unavoidable for those new to exploring the darker spaces of Glasgow, who cannot help contemplating the danger they may be in. Those whose minds resonate to strongly with death will be brought to the High Street Bone Railway Station, and may witness atrocities that force them not only to accept their inevitable termination, but welcome it – and rightly so. In the world above, there is no recuperation for a mind lost to the Bone Railway Station.

036: The Earthen Womb

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on January 15, 2012 by glasganon

On December 8th, 2011, Scotland was hit by strong winds that, thanks to the zeal of Scotland’s population, was unofficially termed “Hurricane Bawbag.” Transport around the country halted, businesses closed for the day, buildings were torn up and electrical power was disrupted. The storm also uncovered a “room”, buried several feet under the surface of a garden in Anniesland, which the garden’s owner never realised was ever there.

Despite having no entrances whatsoever, the room bore signs of recent habitation.

The room was an almost-perfect hemispherical shape, dug into the soil by unknown hands. The floor was somewhat smoothed, and in several places, shapes reminescent of footprints can be seen – as well as patches of earth darkened by the spilled blood of a housecat, whose remains were found near the middle of the room, freshly-killed. On first glance,the room appears to have hundreds of tender roots reaching in through the dirt wall – on closer inspection, these roots are seen to be small, fleshy tendrils. The tendrils themselves seem stiff but flexible, and could be manipulated like a human finger. One particular set of tendrils, however, lay slack and lifeless against the wall of the room – when they were tugged at, a clod of earth collapsed out of the wall, revealing a dessicated crumple of withered flesh. Comparisons were instantly drawn with a human placenta.

The owner of the property, before moving out and putting the house on the market, mentioned that her garden always seemed to have more birds in it than the neighbours’ – and once saw a bird instantly disappear before her eyes in the garden, but rationalised and dismissed it. She also actively prevented her son playing in the garden, as he had told his mother on several occasions that someone in the garden had grabbed him while he was playing; his mother came to believe there was a pedophile in the neighbourhood.

The hidden room was filled in with soil after its owner decided to move house. In the two weeks that followed the aftermath of the storm, many homeowners in the area reported that the grass and soil in the gardens had been partially dug-up.