|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.
The Coffin, also known as The Pit, is an artefact of The Buried and a gateway into its domain.
The coffin is rectangular and made of unvarnished, pale yellow wood and with the words “DO NOT OPEN” scratched into it, in letters three inches high.
When encountered by Joshua Gillespie, Alice "Daisy" Tonner, and Jonathan Sims, the coffin is wrapped in a thick metal chain closed with a heavy iron padlock. Joshua also describes the wood of the coffin as being very warm to the touch while the chain was as cold as you would expect from a thick piece of iron.
Inside the coffin is a staircase with roughly hewn stone steps leading deep into the ground. When opened, the coffin compels people to walk down its steps before closing behind them. Victims find the journey down increasingly tight and then become trapped in The Buried.
The exact origins of the coffin are unknown but “John”, a servant of The Stranger, found it in chains at some point and believed he could control and bargain with it. In or after 1993, he enlisted Breekon & Hope to help him transport it. According to Breekon, the coffin was a “test” that was given to multiple people. Presumably in the same manner as Joshua Gillespie’s experience: John left the coffin with a person and they were eventually compelled to enter it and become lost in The Buried. The last of these instances is when, around 1996, “John“ gave Joshua Gillespie £10,000 to look after an unspecified package.
After Joshua spent the money almost a year later, Breekon & Hope delivered the coffin to his apartment. Joshua spent about a year living with the coffin. Placing things on the coffin caused a soft but insistent scratching from inside and whenever it rained, a soft, melodious moaning emanated from within. The coffin seemed to affect his sleep, causing him to try and open the coffin while sleepwalking. Joshua counteract-acted this by encasing the key to the padlock in a block of ice.
After almost a year and a half, the coffin no longer moaned when it rained. Breekon, Hope, and John came to retrieve it and appeared surprised to see Joshua again. Joshua heard screaming from his living room as they fetched the coffin and there was no sign of John afterwards. According to Breekon, “when the test finally failed” and the coffin did not have another victim, it claimed the one who tried to master it. However, Breekon and Hope were not included in this arrangement and became bound to the coffin. They continued to carry and transport if without a destination.
On July 24th 2002, it was raining heavily as Breekon and Hope drove down the M6 near Preston, accompanied by a man who called himself Tom. They were stopped by police officers Isaac Masters and Alice “Daisy” Tonner for driving at about 25 miles an hour on the motorway and brought out the coffin after the police hear it moaning in the back of the van. Masters demanded the key from Tom and unlocked the coffin. The chains snapped off it as if they were spring-loaded and the lid opened on its own. Breekon and Hope restrained Daisy as Masters, seemingly entranced, walked into the coffin and the lid closed behind him. Daisy was unable to stop them as they packed up the coffin and drove off.
Fiona Law’s death was officially listed as resulting from a failed liver transplant in 2003 but MAG 167 reveals that she was instead consumed by the coffin. It is unclear whether this also occurred in 2003.
The coffin, alongside Breekon and Hope, is present in the House of Wax museum in Great Yarmouth in May 2017 while John is being held captive there.
The coffin is also present in the House of Wax on August 7th 2017, when The Unknowing is attempted. Breekon feeds Daisy to the coffin after she kills Hope. With Hope’s death, Breekon is no longer bound to the coffin and he drops it off at the Institute on 3rd March, 2018.
Later that month, Jonathan Sims willingly enters the coffin in order to rescue Daisy and they emerge together after three days. Afterwards, John has the coffin sent to artefact storage with specific instructions on how to keep it locked up.
Bold marks episodes where the coffin appears outside of statements.
- The "coffin song" includes the voices of Jonny Sims, Alexander J. Newall, and Jessica Law