The Magnus Archives Wikia

Statement of Doctor Jonathan Fanshawe, regarding the months leading to the death and autopsy of Albrecht von Closen.


Doctor Jonathan Fanshawe visited Albrecht von Closen's estate under the beseeching of Jonah Magnus, the events of which lead him to cease their association. Fanshawe informed Magnus he would no longer collect and provide him esoteric accounts, and declined his offer of a position at Millbank Penitentiary.

Under the impression that he was to improve von Closen's illness, Fanshawe travelled to his estate in early April of 1831. Upon arrival he noted smoke and the glow of a fire, and, despite the rain, when they approached it was to find a gnarled and ancient elm isolated from the forest and set alight.

The tree was surrounded by a crowd, among them what looked to be a groundskeeper, who held a lit torch.

Fanshawe asked him why they were burning the tree with it raining so heavily, to which the man replied with resignation that his master, (whom Fanshawe assumed was von Closen) wanted the tree "dead".

As von Closen's wife Carla was dead, and his sons at school, the housekeeper Greta greeted Fanshawe at the estate. Greta welcomed him in and apologised that von Closen was indisposed. Despite Fanshawe explaining he was a doctor here to help with his illness, she responded that he would see Fanshawe when he was ready.

Greta left Fanshawe in the drawing room, leaving the door to the corridor open. As he waited, he noted the house seemed empty and devoid of life, and felt the sensation of someone watching him from the corridor.

Fanshawe continued to feel watched, eating dinner under the eye of an unresponsive Greta, attempting unsuccessfully to find comfort smoking back in the drawing room, and in his room, the light of the candle reflecting off the shutter-less window like an eye.

Eventually Fanshawe managed to sleep, however when he awoke the feeling of being watched had intensified immensely, and he was certain there was something in the room staring at him. Striking a match for light, the face of Albrecht von Closen loomed over him. Von Closen appeared pale and sickly, repeating the phrase "Leg sie alle zurück" (Put them back).

The match burnt out, and after lighting another, Fanshawe found himself alone.

Fanshawe did not sleep, and at dawn he searched the house for von Closen. Finding him in the library mesmerised by the lit fireplace, Fanshawe shut the door behind him and asked why von Closen had visited him during the night.

Von Closen apologised and drew Fanshawe's attention to the bookshelves, and told him that due to water damage he had the books rebound last year. Ignoring Fanshaw's insistence on discussing his health, von Closen proceeded to tell him a number of stories which transfixed Fanshaw and rid him of the strength to leave despite wanting to. Among the stories, Fanshawe noted of a few. One about a seamstress who removed her skin, one about a man with a terrible fear of death, and one about a fire so hot that even knowing about it was enough to burn a man’s tongue from his head.

Horrified, Fanshawe asked where he had read them. Von Closen laughed, touching a spine labelled 'A Warning' and seeming to fight the urge to toss it into the fire. In German, he replied, "I do not read the books. They read me."

As his stay progressed, Fanshawe discovered that von Closen had retrieved the books from a tomb, and began to suspect his mania and sickness was due to a contaminant from the books. Having no time or equipment for tests, he convinced himself that removing the books would help alleviate the situation.

With relief at the suggestion, von Closen asked Fanshawe if he would help, and the two proceeded to transport a library's worth of books through the Black Forest. They travelled to an ancient cemetery, and descended into a mausoleum, placing the books onto their original shelves.

When the last book had been replaced, Fanshawe heard a von Closen' scream from the top of the stairs, and ran up them to find him dead, though his body undamaged.

Fanshawe suspected his death was related to his observation while replacing the books - that all of their pages were blank. Later, he checked with Magnus' preferred book-binders and confirmed that the books returned were not the same as those that were taken. He 'hopes' that the books bring Magnus much wisdom, as it was a high cost.

Before von Closen was buried, Fanshawe obtained permission to do an autopsy. Covering his organs, bones and inside his skin, dozens of eyes with irises of every hue turned to focus on Fanshawe. He burned the corpse. He tells Magnus he knows it was his fault, and asks him not to write to him again.


John muses that he had hoped Jonah Magnus was innocent in the terrible things that surround the Institute but has now been proven wrong. He is also well aware that the Institute was founded precisely 200 years ago and he feels that something is coming.

John and Basira talk about Melanie. She is still shaken but seems to be doing better after they removed the bullet and has asked Basira to convey her apologies for stabbing John. He notes that the wound has already healed, far quicker than it should have. Basira is uneasy with John’s growing powers and he struggles to explain them as he does not fully understand them either. He describes that there is an ocean of knowledge behind a door in his mind; if he opens the door, he will drown. Basira also reveals that Martin's mother died while John was away.

At Elias's request, Basira visits him in prison. A tape recorder appeared in his cell, which he takes as a sign John has woken up. Basira points out that he is still able to watch them from his cell; Elias feels it would distract John from his development if Elias was around him right now. He notes that removing the bullet may have saved Melanie as a person, but it has rendered her useless as a protector at a time when the Institute is threatened on all sides. He claims to have an idea on how to protect the Institute and Basira agrees to hear him out.