Statement of Alexander Scaplehorn regarding his evaluation of The Trophy Room taxidermists in Barnet.
Alexander Scaplehorn works for the Inland Revenue, specializing in money laundering. He was sent to investigate the Trophy Room near Woodside Park in Barnet. It is the sort of place that might be involved in money laundering, with very few purchases except large one-off payments from external parties.
The shop looked old; the taxidermy tiger in the window was faded and had a broken tooth. The owner, Daniel Rawlings, let Alexander in and showed him around. There was a strong smell in the room "as though someone had murdered a lily and buried it under the floorboards," and Daniel smoked constantly, possibly to cover the smell. Daniel did not look Alexander in the eye, but the tax-man went to work explaining how to stop money laundering and looking through the accounts which Daniel had prepared.
Daniel explained that they had the oldest skins in the world at this shop including a buffalo skin from North America, a jaguar from South America, a wolf pelt from the Middle Ages, a hare from the Great Exhibition from 1851, and a 5th century gorilla skin from Carthage.
There was a knock at the door and Alexander heard two cockney voices calling for Daniel, who left the shop to help with some deliveries. After Alexander was alone in the shop, he heard a voice from under the floorboards. Spotting a door, he opened it to reveal a stairway going down and a figure with an illuminated face swaying slightly. "We've got one down here, come on, I'll show you," the face said mechanically. The figure repeated the sentence and, unnerved, Alexander went back into the shop to see Daniel had returned. With a grin, the owner asked if everything was alright, looking Alexander in the eye for the first time; he noted that his eyes were empty and glassy like the ones of the taxidermied animals around the shop. When they all started to move, Alexander charged into Daniel, knocking him to the floor as he fled. He remarks that it felt like hitting a sandbag.
He ran for almost an hour before he felt safe enough to stop. Luckily, he had gathered all his notes before opening the door and was able to write them a glowing report. He intends to simply never think of the whole event again, after all, whatever was going on, it wasn't money laundering.
The Trophy Room is still in business. Although Jonathan is hesitant to send anyone into a dangerous situation, Not-Sasha (acting as Sasha James) eagerly volunteered to investigate. She found no figure in the basement, nor anything else strange. The owner denies being the same Daniel Rawlings that went missing from Edinburgh in 2006 and John notes that they do look completely different, apart from having identical hair.
Jonathan broke into Gertrude's flat; it had not yet been re-let owing to legal delays due to her disappearance and the flat was mostly untouched. She lead a very minimalist life and had little more than a single shelf of books. She appeared to throw out books after reading them and of the books still on the shelf, the eyes had been carefully removed from any that had faces on the front. John also finds a laptop charger, but no laptop.
|ATTENTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!!|
This article contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot. Continue at your own risk.
- Related Entity: The Stranger
- It's possible the figure beckoning Scaplehorn down the stairs is The Anglerfish, though whether it is the same creature mentioned in MAG 1 and MAG 118 or another such being is unclear.
- In MAG 96, John visits The Trophy Room in person and learns that Gertrude killed Daniel Rawlings and stole the Gorilla Skin.
- In MAG 154, it is revealed that Gertrude suspected that James Wright, the Head of the Institute at the time, could see through any eye, even an illustration, and she removed the eyes from the book covers as a precaution.