Monday, August 1, 2011

The Shadow Over Suffolk

Searching for evidence of distant, imaginary, relatives called the Whateleys, I arrived at a quaint coastal settlement in the county of Suffolk.

Once a thriving port and town and, anecdotally at least, a past capital of East Anglia, it is now a town in name only.  In 1286 the bulk of the place sheered off, broke free of its parent land mass, and was swallowed by the cold, grey, rapacious waters that test the integrity of the British coastline like rats gnawing at the walls of Exham Priory.

Now there is but a sparse sprinkling of homes; a public house; a museum; and a stretch of beach that is largely untainted by the crass commerciality that blights many a seaside resort.

Few relics remain of the town-that-once-was, but expeditions into the sea are revealing the sunken past of this once-great port. It is imprinted into legend that an oncoming storm is often preceded by the ringing of long lost church bells from within the ocean itself.

Of the Whateleys I could find no trace. But, for a family notorious for dark deeds facilitated by some of the more toxic passages of the Necronomicon of the mad arab Abdul Alhazred, a sign in the museum seems to offer a dark but nebulous hint:

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