During the previous weekend our Sensitive experienced a troubling dream sequence resulting in the puzzle you see sketched here. It had been a glyph sequence sprouting strange circuitry, in which decoders ultimately unraveled to be Morse code for coordinates to the Robert E. Howard Museum in Cross Plains, TX.
The combined message of the glyphs and the coordinates suggested that our team “seek XM data (to) improve technology” at the museum, so we dispatched an agent from our team to investigate. Below is her account of what transpired, what she discovered, and the implications for our team.
Throughout the drive there, I wondered about the glyph sequence. Why did it emerge now? What was our team to learn from its suggestions? What were we going to discover down this path that those cryptic messages put us on? Would we find anything at all in Cross Plains?
The team concluded that the “technology” was related to the new tecthulhu project to occur at Camp Navarro, but what about the rest of the glyph sequence? It seemed that we were to seek data in the XM around the Robert E. Howard Museum thanks to the coordinates embedded around the glyphs. But what data? And why there? Well, as one of the authors of the Howcraft documents lived and wrote at that site before his untimely death, perhaps there was information there that had been overlooked in the past that we could now benefit from. Though, that led me to an eerie realization:
I was going to be in the very rooms where Howard experienced esoteric visions of what would ultimately influence the Moyer tecthulhu.
I arrived in Cross Plains for a scheduled tour. With all of the anticipation built up prior to my arrival, I was struck with how quaint and welcoming the site was. It wasn’t some ominous, foreboding place at all (at least not to me, though I wonder how our Sensitive’s experience would have varied}. After all, it was here where a Howcraft author wrote, and where he and his mother both died premature deaths. I was greeted by a kind, witty woman, who was happily eager to share about the site’s history. And so, I ventured in.
We started in a sitting room with a portion of Howard’s own library. An ancient radio sat in the corner and he listened to it all he wanted because he helped the town install the wiring necessary for Cross Plains to receive radio waves. These details were evidence that Robert E. Howard actively pursued expanding his world through different mediums. XM, too? Well, other more learned and experienced researchers have already concluded that (and in the case of the Howcraft documents, made active use of his resulting works).
In the next room, we were shown intriguing artifacts Howard had possessed, though the two following pieces I thought were of special note to Luminescent Heart’s tecthulhu project. First, a postcard written by H. P. Lovecraft to Robert. E. Howard. It was physical evidence of their connection, right there before my eyes. Second, an original page Howard had typed. These documents, writings that both Lovecraft and Howard directly authored, were within inches of each other on a table.
Going in with knowledge about tecthulhu projects of the past, and preparing to support the construction of one myself in the near future, how could I not think about the Howcraft works?
Our docent shared memories the community had of the Howards (even though Robert and his mother died in the mid-1930s, there were still people alive who had known the family). We received a very human, relatable picture of who they were. Highs, lows, insecurities, and stories of a beloved family dog. It wasn’t just some crazed machine who contributed to the Howcraft documents, but a living, breathing man, with hopes, aspirations, and difficulties as every other person must carry and balance.
With all of this made more real to me, visiting the writing room felt strangely tragic.
When you step into the writing room, you see a typewriter with a piece of paper hanging from it. The note itself is only a replica, but you are brought into the moment that Robert’s father experienced: As you turn the corner, there in plain sight, drooping back from the typewriter, is Robert’s suicide note. It’s a quote from a piece called “The House of Caesar,” and reads as follows:
All fled, all done
So lift me on the pyre:
The feast is over,
The lamps expire.
In this room, Howard created Conan the Barbarian, the Gent From Bear Creek, and the Howcraft documents. You have to wonder how someone cramped into such a narrow room expanded beyond that tiny space to adventure in the places he did through his imagination. What did he see? The journeys he must have been on, all from that small, wooden chair.
As the museum wasn’t crowded, when the tour concluded, my kind docent graciously invited me to explore the house and hold documents, and touch relics. I was honored and excited (and above both, careful and respectful).
After touring the inside of the house I was permitted to explore the grounds of the museum. It is a small, white house with grey shingles. A white picket fence surrounds a neatly mowed lawn beside a two lane highway. To the front of the house, there is a small historical marker, and a sign that replicates the past declaring “Doctor Howard Residence” (Robert’s father was a physician). Rounding to the back of the house, there are a few items of note.
Intuition and Discovery
First, a small pavilion, presumably added for events. Then, there’s the field where Hank Johnson discovered the large glyph imprinted in the grass. Next, a mesquite tree that was documented to have lived during Robert E. Howard’s lifetime. It’s a scraggly thing but I was inexplicably drawn toward that tree. There was a plaque next to it commemorating the life and final resting place of Howard’s beloved dog buried beneath it (the plaque was added decades after Howard’s time). It was while I was musing over the duality of this plaque that something caught my eye.
At the base of the tree, almost around the other side and barely visible was a small box. Thinking that it was some litter or other detritus, I picked it up. Upon examining the small parcel I noticed what appeared to be a glyph sequence: “seek XM data improve technology”. This was the same sequence our sensitive wrote in her dream state. This could not be a coincidence.
I would later learn that while there were other visitors that day, none asked to tour the grounds. Could it be that something was shielding this package? Something waiting for me to find it? I returned to the museum and inquired of the docent about the package and explained, without giving too much detail, about the glyph sequence and my connection to it.
She said that she did not recognize it, nor did she recall seeing anyone on the grounds all day. At this point I was both apprehensive and excited. The docent’s interest was piqued as well and suggested that I should open the package since I was somehow connected to the writing. I cautiously proceeded.
Contained in the parcel were 3 items. One was a relatively recent reproduction of a Weird Tales book, and two other older looking magazines. Being familiar with nearly everything that Howard worked on, the docent immediately recognized all the prints. The most recent one was a reproduction of the exact issue of Weird Tales that began the relationship between Howard and Lovecraft. The older magazines have been confirmed to be original 1930’s prints produced by the same publisher. Interestingly though, they both contained stories written by Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft.
By a rise of intuition, I asked if I could place these three Weird Tales magazines about the house and take pictures. Our docent was more than happy to allow careful, curious explorers to experience the house as they (or I, in this case) desired, especially on such a slow day. Please check out our Instagram for pictures of the Weird Tales magazines intermingled with original artifacts throughout the house. There is one particular picture wherein the magazines have been placed with a book Robert E. Howard was confirmed to have handled (we had first been invited to hold that book, too, I would not overstep and make such a request otherwise).
I did not know if anything would come of placing these three magazines amid Robert E. Howard’s possessions, but for the sake of research, it seemed worthwhile. Maybe traces of the XM that influenced Howard would seep into these things connected to him. Maybe glyphs would be visible in the images where I could not see them while present. Maybe nothing.
The drive home seemed to go by more quickly than it should have, as memories of the trip and these eerie and uncertain pieces coming together were filling my thoughts. I felt the weight of leaving a place filled with such a depth of history and meaning to so many people. Howcraft documents aside, Robert E. Howard’s life and works have reached millions of people.
There are many things the team will have to evaluate and consider now. From our Sensitive’s dream imagery, to the deciphering by decoders that lead us to the museum’s coordinates, to the package bearing the dream’s glyph sequence at the site of the coordinates, and lastly the Weird Tales magazines within that bore both Howcraft authors’ history within them. It all suggests to me that there is still something for us to learn about our tecthulhu from the Howcraft authors, but what?
Could this be the missing piece of our research that we need for our tecthulhu module, leading us to learn how to harness XM relayed to our team for every mission completed around the world?
**Please consider exploring the website hosted by the group that keeps the Robert E. Howard Museum open. If interested, become a member! Further, if you have the means, donate to help keep it in good restoration. If you ever have the opportunity to visit, be sure to schedule a tour in advance to see the whole house, as they operate on a volunteer staff and need to set up a time. Thank you!**