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Old 01-10-2019, 04:38 AM   #51
Icelander
 
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Default Covens, Cabals, Gangs or Other Organisations Linked to Vile Vortices

I'm looking for ideas on any kind of organisation or group that is associated with one or more Vile Vortex. This could be scholars who study them, cultists who are trying to open up gates to other realities in them, guardians who defend humanity from what comes out of them, or just any kind of grouping of people aware of the occult who come from one of the areas of the Vile Vortices.

I'll probably need the most detail on groups that have something to do with the Bermuda 'Triangle' Vile Vortex, as that's where the PCs are, but it would be fun and flesh the world out if the PCs could be aware of (or learn about in play) organisations that are concerned with other Vile Vortices.

Let's take an example of a supernatural organisation. I've already mentioned in play that vampires exist. Or, at least, that Dr. Lapointe, the librarian aboard the Penemue, files any number of monsters or supernatural beings under 'Vampire', basically any creature that seems to draw sustenance from supernaturally draining blood, life or other essential parts from living beings. That means that traditional blood-sucking vampires would go under there, but so would magic-users who practice psychic vampirism, and such monsters as the chupacabra or pishtaco, for that matter.

There is an organisation of vampires on the East Coast of the United States, being most powerful around New York and New Jersey as well as a number of New England urban areas, particularly Boston, but they also have a presence in Philly, Detroit, Chicago and a number of other urban areas. It seems that the origin of these vampires is in Eastern Europe, as the organisation also has a presence in Eastern Europe, particularly the Ukraine, Moldova and neighboring countries.

As it happens, these vampires seem to have very worldly concerns. They operate what amounts to a classic criminal organisation, with only their considerable interests in blood banks being out of line from the areas of concerns that any criminal organisation might have. In addition, while they are considerably more brutal and blatant in Eastern Europe, in the United States, they rarely commit obvious homicides and tend to prey mostly on rival criminals. These vampires exist only as background and the PCs' Patron actually more or less ignores them.

What I'm looking for here are organisations, criminal or not*, that explicitly exist because of some influence from the Vile Vortices or because they believe in the theory about these areas and are in some way investigating or interacting with them.

I'm talking about apocalyptic cults worshiping beings connected with a Vile Vortex, revolutionary factions in Mali, Zimbabwe or other African countries within the two Vile Vortices there that are led by supernatural beings or powerful magicians, cabals of magicians claiming Places of Power within a certain Vile Vortex or criminal gangs from Caribbean islands where the higher mana in the Vile Vortex means that their leadership is nearly exclusively composed of magic-workers or otherworldly beings.

Something like the Kók-batay Nwa Nou or Kók Nwa ('We Black Fighting Cocks' or just 'Black Cocks'), a Haitian/New Orleans criminal organisation, with roots on Haiti, but a powerful presence in New Orleans since the 2000s and a growing presence in the 2010s anywhere there is a strong Haitian immigrant community in the US.

Or one of their rivals, as yet unnamed, some of whom are exclusive to Haiti or maybe even just a neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince, but others that stretch their tentacles throughout the Caribbean and to Florida, New York and other US states.

For Dominicans, I can use real gangs and DTOs, with occult-aware people having more influence the more it becomes apparent that their magic can really work. Some Dominican DTOs are, no doubt, controlled by something otherworldly by now, within the Vile Vortex. Should this translate into splinter factions and new organisations and gangs, with more esoteric names and traditions? Maybe so, if someone has ideas.

I'll also need Jamaican gangs of occult-aware criminals, not to mention such organisations from most every Caribbean country and some Latin American ones that are concerned with the area that falls under the Vile Vortex.

Does anyone have ideas on how the supernatural might have affected Mexican, Colombian and other Latin American drug cartels? I've proposed that some Ordinary Decent Criminals, who for all that they might be ruthless murderers, greedy drug dealers and hypocritical Catholics, still oppose what they perceive to be Evil, in the form of supernatural influences that can be construed as the work of the Adversary.

Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't also cartels that are by now led by the most powerful and ruthless magicians, or, at the very least, someone who was willing to make a pact with something awful and extremely vicious. There are, in setting, stories of cartels where the enforcers kill for pleasure, not business, and where entire villages vanish in remote areas.

Of particular interest to the PCs are probably criminals who operate mostly around the Andes region of Bolivia and Peru, but who seem to have various occult goals, in addition to being involved in drugs, arms trade and illegal mining and the smuggling of gold. Discovering the exact nature of the relationship between them and Brazil's Comando Vermelho (Red Command or Red Commando) is somewhat of a priority, especially considering that a Vile Vortex sits just outside of Rio de Janeiro.

I'll also need some organisations, or at least networks of acquaintances, from Caribbean countries and other nations connected to the Vile Vortex composed of occult-aware people who don't use magic for selfish and immoral ends, but try to help others, either on their own, or by making an allegiance with the PCs and their organisation.

*Though as the supernatural officially doesn't exist, anyone concerned with it will tend to be a part of an occult underground, at least potentially criminal.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:16 AM   #52
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Default Locations of the Vile Vortices and Mana Levels

For reference, assume we'll be working with this map of the Vile Vortices, but stretching some (or all) of them into lozenges, generally by fitting another triangle at the appropriate spot to what is a triangle in the picture. If necessary, the lozenges could also be turned around a bit in the process, to ensure that they cover the right areas and avoid what I want avoided. Currently, I have some views on that for the Caribbean 'Bermuda Triangle' and some vague ideas about the two African Vile Vortices and I might end up having preferences about the Vile Vortex in Pakistan and environs.

Also note that that there are a lot of hot spots that aren't part of the Vile Vortices, but rather seem to be confluences of arcane tides and ley lines, places of mystical correspondence or historical occult areas. These will tend to be much smaller and not endure as long, but might actually be just as powerful in the short term.

There are several areas in the world that, while not Vile Vortices, have been comparatively speaking, higher mana throughout all of the time modern occultists have been aware of the supernatural. These include much of the old 'Cradle of Civilization'; areas of the Middle East like much of Egypt, everywhere around the 'Holy Land' of Israel, Lebanon and parts of Jordan and Palestine, most of Iraq and parts of Syria, Iran and Anatolia.

There are small geographic areas with extremely powerful Places of Power in all of these locations and the average mana levels outside the major cities probably approaches Low Mana (-7 to -5 or so), as Vile Vortices can do. In fact, many occultists reject Ivan T. Sanderson's notion of the Vile Vortices entirely or, at the very least, propose adding an additional Vile Vortex to the schema, as the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eeast is by many yardsticks every bit as magically active as some of the Vile Vortices.

The geographic area where 'Classical Civilization' was concentrated around the Mediterranean also includes more Places of Power than is average, with Greece and Macedonia being fairly riddled with the places, as well as many islands in the Mediterranean having higher mana than most tourist locations. In general, Mediterranean coasts are higher mana than other places outside Vile Vortices. The higher mana is usually only a level or two above 'normal' (normal being Very Low Mana, ca -8 to -10) and dangerous tears in reality that let in floods of weirdness are not as big a threat as within the Vile Vortices.

London is also a place where there are many Places of Power and the mana levels are definitely higher than in most other such rich and technologically advanced urban areas. According to sources with the 'Shadow Court of HM Queen Elizabeth II', the Very British Conspiracy of occultists, scholars and shockingly lethal public school chaps sporting regimental ties, any preternatural model that fails to account for the centrality of London to the occult world absolutely cannot be relied upon.

Similar 'quasi-Vortices' might exist in other locations, notably China and possibly India, but the PCs' Patron, J.R. Kessler, does not have good contacts with anyone well informed on the status of the supernatural there. In particular, the Chinese government very effectively covers up and denies any evidence of supernatural occurrences on the Chinese mainland.

In general, local mana levels, as well as the concentration of ley lines and Places of Power, correlate pretty well with how much mythology and legendry there is associated with the area. Rural areas tend to be higher mana than urban areas and mana levels rise with sunset, but there are absolutely places, even within crowded modern metropolises, where something uncanny can exist even in the brightest sunlight.

It's unclear whether there's a causal link, but the more secular, materialistic, modern and 'Western' a given geographic area is, the less mana it will tend to have. Buildings of modern steel, glass and high-tech materials, built using designs and methods developed at late TL8, will tend to interfere more with magic than buildings of older designs and materials, but determining the relationship is so far not an exact science. Science laboratories are not usually good for mana levels and any modern building filled with late TL8 technology will be tend to be either No Mana or Very Low Mana (often -10), but there exist documented instances of powerful magical hot spots coming into existence in places otherwise full of advanced technology and high-tech materials.

What does seem clear is that it's not concentrations of people that do not coexist with mana, it's concentrations of people who don't believe in the supernatural and whose lives are concerned mostly with material things. Certainly, metropolises in countries where belief in the supernatural is strong and avoiding the Evil Eye and the notice of witches is a current concern with most of the inhabitants, can have comparatively high mana just fine. Even in ultra-modern New York, the mana levels in certain neighborhoods seem high enough for all sorts of shenanigans, perhaps because so many who live there believe that the supernatural is a living force in their lives.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:53 AM   #53
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Default The Supernatural and the International Situation and National Reponses

Because of the Facade (Pyramid #3/97, 'The Mask of Humanity' by Christopher R. Rice, p. 13-20) and the way that magic and other supernatural phenomena tends to be extremely hard to replicate under controlled, laboratory conditions, quite a lot of statesmen, politicians and bureaucrats still refuse to believe in the supernatural. After all, there is no conclusive evidence. Without very high Will or relevant Advantages, even encountering the supernatural is no guarantee that someone will believe in it.

This means that the official position of governments is that magic and the supernatural doesn't exist. However, with the increasing pace of supernatural murders, disappearances and large-scale violence that may have supernatural causes, there will be people within the government of every state who have some idea that something unprecedented in recorded history is occurring. This means that many countries that do not have an official position on the supernatural will have a secret response of some sort.

In the case of the Vatican, their secret response seems to be backed up at the highest levels and amounts to official, albeit secret, policy. The 'Shadow Court of HM Queen Elizabeth II' is, however, not an organ of the official UK government, but their comprehensive infiltration of that government and its various secret institutions results in them operating much like a unified, effective 'Deep State' within the UK. However, these two are exceptions, rather than the rule.

Much more common is a situation where various groups of friends, confidants and close co-workers within individual agencies or institutions in a country come to accept the existence of the supernatural, but are either unable or unwilling to inform their superiors or anyone outside their particular department. Any response is uncoordinated and performed as the personal actions of a few bureaucrats or other public servants, not a part of any unified secret organisation. As time passes, such organisations may learn about other similar ones and either ally with them, work against them or ignore them.

In the US, for example, it seems that elected officials, as a rule, neither believe in the supernatural nor have concrete positions on it. Individual Senators, Governors or even Presidential Candidates may privately believe in one or more supernatural event, but saying so in public is still stigmatized enough so that no credible candidate for national office has done so. There are, however, several very religious movements that are pushing candidates that run on a religious revival platform, complete with 'taking up arms against the tangible manifestations of Evil in the world' dog whistles for anyone who believes in monsters.

As far as can be determined, there is no unified US government conspiracy to cover up the supernatural or to interact with it in any way. There are, however, powerful factions inside Homeland Security, Justice and the military that are aware of the occult and whose goals may or may not coincide, but who do not trust one another well enough to work well together.

What about other countries?

Which of them have some kind of effective, more-or-less unified secret response to the supernatural?

Which have a balkanized mess of various secret agencies and conspiracies within different factions of their government and public service working at cross purposes (looking at you, Pakistan)?

How does being effectively a dictatorship alter the equation, in the case of countries like Russia, Turkey and Venezuela?

What might have happened in France and Germany? What is the official (if secret) position of the EU?

What about Brazil, what with the Vile Vortex on their doorstep?

And what about any countries that might not even have occurred to me, but some forumite is deeply interested in? Is anyone struck by what would have happened in their favorite (or most hated) countries if the world we know started to experience secret supernatural events in the 1980s and that they were becoming more important with time, in the 2010s having started to change world history in significant ways?
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:17 AM   #54
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Default Re: [MH] Vile Vortices and Supernatural Threats

From about 1930 onward, Hollywood has been the Occult center of the world or at least Western Civilisation. Widespread religious groups headquartered there, especially the more cultic ones, would be great. New Age religious groups almost always fixate on either Atlantis, Mu, or Lumeria, if not all three.

One group I'd look at would be Elizabeth Clare Prophet's followers. She proclaimed that Count St. Germain was an Atlantian prince and one of Theosophy's Ascended Masters. There is even an old TV show were Elizabeth Clair Prophet claims that St. Germain teleported into Independence Hall to make sure the Declaration of Independence was signed. The show was called In Search of.... It's for sale on Amazon. You'd love it and it is a goldmine for the things you're looking at.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:40 AM   #55
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Default Re: The Supernatural and the International Situation and National Reponses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
What about other countries?
I could easily see the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that currently controls the government in India to unofficially encourage and support magic workers that explain their powers with reference to Hinduism and traditional Indian Hindu beliefs. Acknowledgement might not be consistent - the party may not have a public platform regarding the supernatural, but many high ranking members would express open belief, and point to many of the miracles and powers of modern magicians as justification of their beliefs. This official encouragement would lead to many magicians and holy men coming public (and some of them might actually have genuine powers), with many seeing occult power as a way of currying favor with or rising in power among the BJP.

Given that one of these vile vorticies sits smack in the middle of India, this could lead to explosive results.

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Old 01-10-2019, 08:54 AM   #56
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Default Re: [MH] Vile Vortices and Supernatural Threats

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
From about 1930 onward, Hollywood has been the Occult center of the world or at least Western Civilisation. Widespread religious groups headquartered there, especially the more cultic ones, would be great. New Age religious groups almost always fixate on either Atlantis, Mu, or Lumeria, if not all three.
One PC was a part of an, as-yet-unspecified, fictional cult at UC Berkeley. While the eventual end of her involvement came after she became the centerpiece sacrifice of a demonic ritual, presumably they didn't lead with their demon-worship. It wasn't any kind of international deal, though, it was just a circle of college kids gathered around a charismatic, older guy who'd graduated a few years ago and now had some sort of researcher/lecturer/assistant position at the university.

The cult was meant to be a generic New Age sort of deal, with a wide syncretic field of rummaged concepts and names, with a generous dollop of 'Do As You Wilt' Satanism-as-Individualism, but to have come across Something of true power in its naive picking-and-choosing from any number of traditions. It's important that the player is not able to be certain about anything when it comes to the true source of any supernatural events connected to the group.

Any flavour is welcome, as is a connection to some real group, cult or religious idea, though I imagined that the inner circle of friends who were involved had eventually settled on some variation of Satanism in the end, complete with a heavily annotated version of the Satanic Bible, but obviously, they'd have been a profoundly heretical version and with no actual connections with the official Church of Satan. And it would remain entirely obscure whether the entity they ended up summoning had anything to do with Satanism or any Abrahamic religions, or whether it simply liked the decor and style.

In any case, no one there started out worshiping Satan or any similar entities, though they may well have slipped demonic names into their lists of Ascended Masters, alongside all sorts of names cribbed from any number of religions, to show how edgy they were.

One villain introduced is a former member, but he has obviously joined some sort of new organisation, cabal or cult by now, as his chanting and mystical symbols weren't the classic bad Latin and movie-demonology, but some incomprehensible language, not related to any language that the PC anthropologist who heard it could recognize and signs that she didn't, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
One group I'd look at would be Elizabeth Clare Prophet's followers. She proclaimed that Count St. Germain was an Atlantian prince and one of Theosophy's Ascended Masters. There is even an old TV show were Elizabeth Clair Prophet claims that St. Germain teleported into Independence Hall to make sure the Declaration of Independence was signed. The show was called In Search of.... It's for sale on Amazon. You'd love it and it is a goldmine for the things you're looking at.
Ah, yes. The CUT has already made terrifying villains as a New Age cult co-opted by Mythos-esque entities, in S.M. Stirling's Emberverse series.

Should I cast the Church Universal and Triumphant in an important role?
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:04 AM   #57
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Default Re: The Supernatural and the International Situation and National Reponses

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I could easily see the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that currently controls the government in India to unofficially encourage and support magic workers that explain their powers with reference to Hinduism and traditional Indian Hindu beliefs. Acknowledgement might not be consistent - the party may not have a public platform regarding the supernatural, but many high ranking members would express open belief, and point to many of the miracles and powers of modern magicians as justification of their beliefs. This official encouragement would lead to many magicians and holy men coming public (and some of them might actually have genuine powers), with many seeing occult power as a way of currying favor with or rising in power among the BJP.
Excellent. This sounds great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lwcamp View Post
Given that one of these vile vorticies sits smack in the middle of India, this could lead to explosive results.
Is it?

The Mohenjo Daro / Rama culture / Indus Valley Vile Vortex is apparently located somewhere in north-western Pakistan, judging from the areas that are definitely located within it.

But what are the exact geographic extents of it and how far does it extend into neighboring countries, including, for example, India?

I'd personally want to fit as much of the Himalayas as possible into there, while still getting most of the historical Indus Valley civilization, but assuming that we're working with a lozenge the same size as the Bermuda and the two African ones, I don't know how well it would fit.

I really should get some sort of map computer program where I can easily plop shapes and stuff into it.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:23 AM   #58
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Default More Speculation on Vile Vortices and Related Matters

Actually, I'd just like to present this website, as being pretty much exactly the sort of research that PC and NPC occultists are currently carrying out in my campaign world.

Aside from the twelve Vile Vortices, this suggests that there are also some positive energy vortexes, which the author proceeds to speculate about.

From the website:

"There are 5 areas of the Northern Hemisphere near 31.7 North that are Positive healing Energy Vortices:
  • Between Sedona, AZ & Sonora, Mexico (31.7N 112.8W) - Hopi & Yaqui Indian, Hohokom waterworks, Sedona Healing Vortex (& magnetic anomalies at Torreon, Mexico?)
  • The calculated Vortex Focus is near the Papago Indian Reservation, W of Tucson, AZ, S of Pisinimo/W. of Cowlic/Vamori/Little Tucson
  • According to Ken Eagle Feather, in "A Toltec Path" p.11, Castenada's Books on Don Juan (Matus) were centered here (mid-Atlantic, Atlantis per Edgar Cayce - "the position ... Atlantis occupied is between the Gulf of Mexico ... and the Mediterranean")
  • Egypt - Pyramids (focus Energy)
  • Himalayas, N.E. of Lhasa (Tibet) - Center for Tibetan Enlightenment - also, not far from Xi'an Pyramids in China. Home of the Panda and ancient irrigation systems and Midway Island

Further North, near 50 to 55 North, are some well known Vortices:
  • Findhorn, Scotland: Key Celtic/Druid Ley Line: Calendish megaliths, Loch Ness, Maes Howe, Ring of Brodger
  • Kiev (Ukraine, Russia) - Key Eastern Orthodox Religious Site
  • Buffalo Lake (Alberta Canada), major Indian Medicine Wheels
  • Hudson Bay, Canada north Magnetic pole, Ugansk Bay, Eskimo Art, Chubb meteor crater
  • Lake Baikal (Northern Mongolia): Meteor Crash? - unique soil, strange plant & animal genetic changes
"

There are also speculations about a world grid, lines of parallel and a much higher number of significant locations. As well as yin-yang linkages to various locations.

Good stuff, all.

In any case, maybe I don't have to extend the Karachi/Harappa/Mohenjo-Daro/Indus Valley Vile Vortex into the Himalayas, maybe the Himalayas are a mystically significant location of their own and have some unknown interaction with the nearby Vile Vortex.
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:45 AM   #59
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Default Intelligence and Security Agencies in the Caribbean and Environs

I'll be assuming that most Latin American countries, at least the larger ones, will follow the same model as the United States when it comes to responses to the supernatural. In general, the official stance is denial and ignorance, which in the case of many elected officials will be perfectly genuine.

Among the many long-serving professionals who make up the military, intelligence and security services, however, it is inevitable that at least some of them should make enough connections to become deeply concerned about events. After all, even though very many of the cases are being filed as missing persons (or not filed at all), the actual fact is that violent death is roughly ten times as common in the world as it was around 1990. Yes, granted, a great deal of that will be accounted for in figures on sectarian violence in hot spots around the world*, but even so, that's a whole lot of murders and vanished people.

As a result, there will be individuals and groups of individuals within a lot of intelligence and security agencies who know something is up. As things have been getting worse for decades now, with the first supernatural events occurring in the 1980s and by the 2010s, grown almost too common to ignore (though the Facade still allows it to keep happening), those who discovered something in the 1990s and 2000s might today be in positions of power and have amassed a faction dedicated to countering undesirable supernatural events.

What I was wondering is that which intelligence and security agencies have significant presences in the Caribbean and neighboring areas?

The US Intelligence Community will probably be the most significant, just in terms of pure budgets and numbers of personnel. The UK services will obviously need to pay some attention to the Overseas Possessions that are there. Then there are local services, for those Caribbean nations large enough to have any worth considering (Iceland doesn't and several Caribbean nations are smaller than we are).

But what about France? How focused are they on their few possession in the Caribbean? How significant are their intelligence services in the modern world? Do they have five people in the whole Caribbean outside their actual embassies and police stations in their possessions, sending reports that everyone ignores, or do they have an extensive intelligence and security presence that extends to spying on other Caribbean nations?

And which Latin American services are large and powerful enough to actually have much of a foreign intelligence service? Who spies in the Caribbean? Who has security and intelligence partnerships with island nations?

Basically, what national intelligence and security services do I need to consider, as allies, rivals or potential antagonists, for PCs operating around a lozenge-shaped Vile Vortex that is an extended 'Bermuda Triangle'?

*Nearly all subtly worse than in our world, with several African civil wars or ethnic conflicts in progress in this world that aren't in ours, like in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the Congolese civil wars reaching again into a number of neighbouring countries, Iraq and Syria much more violent (Yemen can't really get any worse), Mexico's drug insurgency being a war in everything but name, Mali being a great deal worse than in our world, unrest in Kashmir much more severe, and Venezuela apparently unraveling into a full-scale civil war with unknown numbers of factions, despite official denials that any violence is taking place at all.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:23 AM   #60
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Default Re: [MH] Vile Vortices and Supernatural Threats

If you are using the murder of Francesca Matus and Drew DeVoursney for inspiration, in our world the prime minister of Canada spent part of the Christmas and New Year's break 2016/2017 at the Aga Khan's private island in the Bahamas. The Aga Khan also sponsors academics and museums. A place called Bell Island at one corner of the Bermuda Triangle could not have any supernatural significance could it ...
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