Saturday September 10th, 1927
On a cold clear Saturday in early September the invitees to one of author William Keen’s literary luncheons gathered at his house in Boston. The year was 1927. Present were William Keen, Narandera Bose, Kang Leong and Father Xavier. Bose spotted a newspaper article describing the death of an author known to Keen in a Salem cemetery. The four decided to investigate.
Keen recalled reading articles by the dead woman in Occult Review magazine and sure enough a trip to the Boston Library revealed the following snippet:
The thirteen witches were reputed to be so evil that all transcripts of the trial are thought to have been destroyed. The leader of the coven was named Mercy Booth, who was said by more than one witness to have been visited by the devil in the guise of a tall black man, Other information indicates that she may have been related to Ludvig Prinn, executed by the Roman Inquisition in the 16th century for heresy and devil worship. The next article will contain more information on this interesting coven.
Keen and his friends decided that a trip to Salem was in order.
They boarded the afternoon train, arrived in Salem and checked into a comfortable hotel. First they inspected the quiet Fairfax cemetery, where they located the grave of Mercy Booth, apparently maintained by the ‘Daughters of Salem Historical Society’. Keen and his Chinese associate Kang Leong visited the Historical Society, while Bose and Father Xavier tried unsuccessfully to locate the milkman who had discovered Amy Hanover’s body in Fairfax Cemetery.
At the Daughters of Salem Historical Society, Willam Keen talked with the proprietresses, who told him that Mercy Booth had once lived on Lyle Street. Meanwhile Kang found a picture apparently of the execution of the witch. Kang took some old newspapers from the museum.
Examining the papers later, Narendera Bose found an article of interest, which mentioned an underground room found on a construction site on Lyle Street in 1893. Professor Hagerty of Boston University had declared the site ‘of no significant historical value’.
After supper, Bose and Father Xavier persuaded the hotelier to drive to Lyle Street, but they did not have a street number and it was too dark to be useful. The pair went back to Fairfax cemetery where they spotted strange humanoid forms moving among the gravestones. They beat a hasty retreat to the hotel.