Case #9982211, statement of Joshua Gillespie regarding his time in the possession of an apparently Empty wooden casket.
Statement Summary Edit
Joshua Gillespie and a group of friends traveled to Amsterdam to celebrate their graduation from Cardiff University. One afternoon, Joshua wandered off alone and got lost in the backstreets of the city. After finding his way back, he went to a café to unwind and encountered a man who referred to himself as John. John was short and clean-shaven with short brown hair and "an odd density" to him. He claimed to be from Liverpool, calling himself an "Englishman inside a foreign land," although he did not have a noticeable accent. He told Joshua he was looking for a friend to look after a package for him. He offered to pay £10,000 for this favour, which Joshua accepted. When John left, Joshua immediately regretted the decision, but was not able to leave to chase after John.
Joshua resolved to give John back the money but didn't see him for the rest of the trip. A year later he finally used the money for the deposit to rent a single-bedroom flat in Bournemouth, where he was to start his first graduate job. The house was just off The Triangle. A week after he moved in, there was a knock at the door. Two red-faced men, both over 6 feet tall, carried in a heavy cardboard box, approximately 2m x 1m x 1m. After confirming that they were speaking to Joshua Gillespie, they refused to answer any more questions and left the flat after putting the box down.
There was no return address on the box, so Joshua opened it after the delivery men left. Inside the box was a coffin made from unvarnished yellow wood. There was a thick iron chain around the coffin with a padlock and key, as well as a note from John: "Delivered with gratitude, J". On the coffin was carved the phrase "Do Not Open" in 3 inch high letters. There was no smell from the box, so Joshua suspected it did not contain a corpse. The wood was warm to the touch, but the chain was cold. Joshua removed the key from the padlock and resolved to not open the coffin, moving it into the living room.
The coffin made Joshua nervous. One day he unwittingly put a glass of orange juice on top of the coffin, which resulted in a soft but insistent scratching which stopped when he removed the glass. He moved it somewhere else on the coffin lid with the same result, but the scratching didn't stop for 5 minutes.
When it rained, a soft, melodious moaning, almost like muffled singing, emanated from the coffin.
The coffin, or its occupant, seemed to have an affect on Joshua's psyche. The day that he received the coffin, Joshua drank a scalding cup of tea, apparently taking no notice of its heat. Over the course of the eighteen months he was in possession of the coffin, he had frequent but unremembered nightmares and kept waking up in a panic, unable to breathe. He also started sleepwalking, each time waking up in front of the coffin with the key in his hand, apparently about to open the lock. This led him to freeze the key in a bowl of water at the back of the freezer so that the chill would wake him up before he could melt the block of ice and extricate the key.
About 18 months later, on a rainy day that dawned without the coffin's usual moaning, there was a knock at the door, which turned out to be John and the delivery men. They seemed surprised to see him and said they hoped the coffin hadn't been too much trouble. Joshua gave them the key but didn't accompany them into the living room, so when screaming started he didn't see who had screamed or why. The delivery men brought the coffin out, putting it into a van with the name 'Breekon & Hope'. There was no sign of John, though.
Post-Statement Follow Up Edit
Tim did some digging into this case and found that Breekon & Hope was the name of a delivery company based in Nottingham that went into liquidation in 2009, making it impossible to look into their records.
The housing association that owned the flat Joshua lived in kept extensive records and it appears that he was the only tenant in the 8-flat building for the two years these events took place. No one has lived there since and the building was eventually demolished.
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This article contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives, and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot.