April 7th, 1937 . . .
After spending time recovering in Savannah and updating Janet Winston-Rogers on their progress, Lord Edward Homeward, Howard Defoe and Fr. Carl Meinardus made plans to fly to Los Angeles to use the Bank Key they found at the Henslowe Estate. The key, going to a safe deposit box at the Bank of Long Beach seemed to contain some important clues regarding the 1924 Incident and the current Henslowe Case.
Before Frankie Fawn prepped the DC-3 for a very long flight to the West Coast, Lord Edward sent off more correspondence to his uncle, Dr. Marvin Derrikson in Oxford, England. As Dr. Derrikson was something of a mentor to Lord Edward, Edward wanted his uncle’s take on a variety of topics currently under investigation.
When the group finally began their flight, they knew it would take them the better part of a week. Several stops for rest and sleeping for Frankie would put them in Los Angeles by the the 11th. During the flight, however, there was an incident. Howard Defoe noticed that his arm was festering, moving and making disturbing sounds. As he ripped away the bandages he noticed, to his horror, that there was a grotesque and horrific mouth mumbling and weeping, similar to the ones found at Joy Grove and at the Henslowe Estate on the alligator! Fortunately, within moments, Howard awake from this nightmare, noting that his arm was fine, but it was his psyche that was damaged.
Upon landing in Los Angeles on April 11th, at the Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, the investigators thought they would approach things differently than they had in Savannah. In Los Angeles they would rent a private penthouse apartment (West 4th Street Apartment) and rent their own car (1930 Dusenberg). Since the Bank of Long Beach was 2 hours away from downtown Los Angeles, where they were planning on staying, a car would be needed. Of course, many other areas like city hall and the library would be within walking distance.
After settling in, getting acquainted with the area and deciding on a course of action, the following day they drove down to the bank in Long Beach. To their dismay they found it closed. Not simply closed for the day but shuttered and no longer conducting business. A local vagrant said the bank had been shuttered for about five years and that the federal government had seized the assets. Determining that the FDIC would have dominion over everything, including safe deposit boxes.
The return to Los Angeles, proper, was slightly more somber as they came back empty handed and had to find the FDIC offices before close of business. After meeting with government officials, producing the safe deposit box key and proving they had the right to have access, the officials agreed to have the box brought to the office from the warehouse the following day. Meanwhile Fr. Carl went to the library to investigate the local take on the 1924 Incident and reported back that the farm that Edgar Job and Douglas Henslowe had referenced was on Lot 32 and was owned by a Ramon Echavarria.
The following day, Defoe decided to go to the police station in Los Angeles and see if he can get access to the police records on what happened at the farmhouse at Lot 32. Receiving a few suspicious glances, Defoe eventually was able to convince a clerk to make a copy of the file (Lot 32 File) with a few kind words and a few dollars for his trouble. Asking of any detectives were still around, Defoe was directed to Trent Huggins. Huggins and Defoe seemed to hit it off well with Huggins telling Defoe his take on the investigation – drug users and weirdos killing each other over heroin or something similar to it. The two men agreed to stay in touch but not before Huggins told Defoe to watch himself as certain elements of the LAPD did not like strangers asking too many questions. Gesturing to a particular detective who seemed to be watching their conversation, Det. Nate Detmiller, Huggins seemed to use this individual to illustrate his point.
Lord Edward first went to city hall to examine records. Whereas Echavarria seemed to have no relatives and no next of kin, the only property discovered was a home in Highland Park (who has gone three two owners since 1924) and the infamous Lot 32.
Back at the FDIC, Lord Edward did secure the safe deposit box and upon testing the key and determining it worked, scurried back to the apartment to examine the contents. Walking back to the apartment, Lord Edward did seem to notice a police car roll by and the officer in the passenger seat shoot him a dirty scowl. As he entered the rented apartment, he and Howard Defoe connected and everyone would be present for what was inside the box.
When they finally made it upstairs to open the box they traveled so far to find, they discovered it contained a large series of photographs and a ledger. The photos (Blackmail Photos) were perverse and disturbing pictures, clearly taken from concealment, which capture between three and a dozen people engaged in depraved sex acts in a variety of interior and exterior locations. The photos are not even titillating but instead disturbing in their unnatural, and in some instances, painful acts.
One man or Latin American descent, (later identified as Ramon Echavarria) is in every single one of the photos, leading the current investigators to conclude, he must have been the target of the photographs. Edgar Job appears in a couple of the photographs and another man, identified as actor Richard Spend, was also identified. These photos were so revolting that Fr. Carl had to walk away and Lord Edward remained quite disturbed for the rest of the evening.
The ledger (Narcotics Ledger) describes a variety of drug transactions, described in code, detailing the lucrative sale of a liquid substance called ‘N’ (later identified as Nectar). The ledger described sales between 1918 and 1924 and were clearly prepared by a trained accountant. Evidently, the material was compiled by the 1924 Investigators as possible blackmail material or leverage against Echavarria in case it was needed.
Howard went through the police file, confirming everything he and Huggins had discussed earlier. Turning to the section on the bite marks, Howard wondered if the bits could have been performed by horrible little mouths that they had encountered more than once.
The following day Lord Edward went to the UCLA Medical Center to examine the Secretion Goo that was discovered in Joy Grove back in Savannah. He discovered that while it was carbon based, there was no known substance on earth that matched. He did bottle up a small portion of it to send back to Janet Winston-Rodgers for a deeper examination since her family did own a pharmaceutical company.
At the same time Howard deciphered the Narcotics ledger and found that the mysterious accountant seemed to go by the name ‘Towncar.’ This prompted him to discover who Echavarria’s actual accountant was, suspecting that the would be one in the same. Searching around, Howard discovered that Echavarria’s accountant was Abraham Buchwald who was still practicing downtown and had a sterling reputation. Naturally, Howard decided to pay him a visit.
Lord Edward made arrangements to track down Yolanda Spenzel, the next of kin for Richard Spend. He discovered she was the maid for a large and wealthy family in Los Angeles and was bitter at her lot in life. Clearly Richard’s money paid for them both, preventing Yolanda from having to work. Now that he was gone, due to circumstances she felt could have been avoided, she was upset. She spoke of the strange parties, the weird activities, the suspected pornography and her brother’s wild mood swings from being sweet and charming to being morose and angry to sitting in a chair and drooling for hours at a time. She did say that his girlfriend at the time, the now famous actress, Olivia Clarendon, could have more details – assuming she had time for anyone. But she also mentioned how detectives who visiting her (likely the 1924 Investigators in disguise) asked her about drugs, specifically one called Nectar.
When Howard caught up with Abraham Buchwald, Buchwald was reluctant to discuss anything other than basics. But when Howard showed him the ledger that had disappeared over a decade ago, Buchwald seemed nervous as serious criminal and ethical questions would appear over him if revealed to the public. At this point Buchwald was much more forthcoming. He mentioned the wild parties, the dug trade he was involved with (Nectar)and the weird religion Echavarria seemed to practice. He implied that he had attended some of the parties but never was a part of the weird cult. He did mention the actor, Richard Spend, Richard’s girlfriend at the time, Olivia Clarendon as well as a history professor from UCLA, Dr. George Ayers. But he went further and related a story about how Echavarria once mentioned to him something about their weird god, Gol-Gorath. What the Gol-Gorath Statement amounted to was that Echavarria seemed to be ‘pulling one over’ on the rest of the cult, suggesting Gol-Gorath was not what everyone thought it was and how there was a deeper purpose for what they were doing. At the conclusion of their conversation, Howard placed a call to UCLA and got a hold of Lord Edward to tell him about Dr. Ayers.
When Lord Edward went to the History department, he discovered that Dr. Ayers had gone on sabbatical to Ethiopia a few months before the 1924 Incident and had not been seen since and was presumed dead. Seemingly a dead end. But Lord Edward was in a hurry and figured he would speak with some of Dr. Ayers’ colleagues at a different time.
Finally, Howard asked around and discovered that not only was Nectar alive and well in Los Angeles but was being distributed by a mysterious figure known only as ‘Captain Walker.’