The Black House Edit
An abandoned house lies on the outskirts of the forest, not far from the Overlook Motel. It was ravaged by fire more than thirty years ago, and was never renovated or rebuilt - locals call it the Black House.
The house only ever had one owner. A woman named Carrie Killian moved to Kingsmouth from Miami and built the house in 1974. She didn't take a job, but worked from home, where she lived alone.
She offered consultation and help through pagan practices to those who had tried every other option for their ailments. It didn't take long before she had several clients on her list. Ms Killian mostly kept to herself and there was never a disturbance at her house. In the first years, she was well liked among the other citizens.
The Illuminati, however, had concerns. Much to their chagrin, the people who went to Ms Killian for help actually did feel better. She wasn't a fraud; she was an independent magic wielder and, therefore, unpredictable. Worse, she was often seen observing the Innsmouth Academy, its students and faculty. Occasionally she had taken notes while watching the activities at the school.
Members of the highly secretive society expressed unease over being watched by Ms Killian, and there was mutual agreement that she had to be discouraged. Through their contacts in the town council, church and Innsmouth Academy, rumours were manufactured and slowly spread to citizens of Kingsmouth.
As the rumours spread, citizens started turning their backs on Ms Killian - but only in the streets. Her public shame was their private hypocrisy; despite defaming her, many continued sneaking to her for treatment. Although she knew what people were saying about her, she never turned anyone away.
In the beginning she was simply badmouthed - called a fraud and a negative influence on children - but perceptions of her would soon take a loathsome turn. The vilest aspects of small town mentality were nurtured to push her out of Kingsmouth, with no thought to the dire consequences it would have.
The collective abhorrence of Carrie Killian festered behind the hidden backing of the church, town council and magi at the academy. These simple citizens, many of whom held secrets that could shame the light of day, ostracised her. After all, this was an outsider, not a true daughter of Kingsmouth. How dare she, this stranger, intruder, flagrant practicer of the weird arts, how dare she carry on like that in the open! Decency demanded that all things abnormal and occult be done only in secret.
It wasn't long before people in the small town openly called her a deviant. Many citizens claimed she dabbled with black magic and that she most certainly worshipped the devil. Her house was adamantly referred to as "a den of depravity and evil."
The severity of the rumours swelled to include gruesome rituals, sacrifices, orgies with demons and devils and sadistic blood magic. Ms Killian herself laughed off the accusations and continued her practice in spite of the repudiation of her fellow townsfolk. Indeed, she never hid her lifestyle or beliefs, unlike the Illuminati members permeating Kingsmouth.
Then, in 1987, several guests disappeared from the Overlook Motel. While the police investigation failed to provide any answers, city officials saw a chance to further tarnish Ms Killian's name. Rumours surfaced that she was responsible for the missing guests. She vehemently denied any connection. Though police offered no evidence, the idea had been planted in people's minds. Then, when the mangled bodies of two children were found near Ms Killian's house soon after, hostilities peaked, and a mob descended upon the house to chase her out of town.
The furious citizens, fuelled by each other's rage, carried weapons and torches to Carrie Killian's home, like a lynch mob from centuries past. After the incident, witnesses claimed the only intention was to force the woman to leave. But before the night was through, a house lay burnt and a life lay lost.
Different people told different stories of what happened. Some said the house burst into flames as they approached it and, despite their best efforts, none could do anything to extinguish the fire. Others claimed the Killian witch stood at a window, laughing hysterically just before the blaze engulfed her.
The sad truth is there was no mysterious energy that caused the Black House to ignite. In their frenzy, the mob trapped Carrie Killian inside, shattered windows and lobbed in torches. The house quickly caught fire and burnt fiercely, with the boxed in woman screaming in searing terror.
Shocked by how far the mob had gone in torching the house, though also relieved that their "witch problem" was dealt with, the Kingsmouth town council arranged a quick funeral. No one showed up to pay their respects. Carrie Killian was cremated, her ashes buried beneath a cheap gravestone.
The mayor, the priest, the Academy headmaster and the sheriff - all those who had started the slander campaign against Carrie Killian - hushed up what had happened. In the years since, rumours persist that the witch hexed her property with a dying breath. The house lies in burnt ruins - no one willing to shoulder the cost and responsibility of tearing it down, no one willing to confront its cursed history.
The people of Kingsmouth don't like talking about Carrie Killian. They like to believe that dark truths will disappear if no one mentions them. Perhaps deep down they realise how great a shame it is that wild rumours, false accusations, paranoia and small town mentality killed a woman whose only sin was an open and alternative lifestyle. Or perhaps they've just forgotten.