Weird Horror is presented to you as we have found it. Due to the age and the nature of the materials within, each envelope’s contents are unique, with their inherent peculiarities.
The game’s provenance is questionable, as is how we came to bring it to you.
Here, then, is Tim’s account:
In Great Falls, Montana, I picked up Jayson Elliot, a fellow fan of old games, to join me for a day of driving. We visited the Slip ‘n’ Dip Lounge and were disappointed to miss the mermaid show. We visited Cassiopeia Books and Let’s Play Games and Toys (both are neat places!). We planned a lazy drive which would take us to the Ronald Reagan Minuteman State Historic Site, then Fargo, with one very special stop en route.
Jayson, a great fan of old science fiction fanzines, had set up the treat. We were to visit the home of M—–, an archivist renowned for his incredible collection of old sci-fi zines. It was business for Jayson and an absolute delight for me. (I later sat on a “History of Fandom” panel at Archon 2019 and find myself having to keep very mum about what was to happen later in the story.)
We arrive to find tragedy has struck. M—– had, three days before we arrived, had an unnamed medical emergency and been moved to an assisted living facility back in Great Falls. We found this out from his two sons who we found carting things out of M—–‘s house. Jayson made an offer for the whole book collection but they wouldn’t sell a thing.
We left. There was nothing to do. We visited the missile park earlier than anticipated. I was amazed by it (please go, it’s an amazing time machine). We drive to Fargo and get out of the truck. From the back of my truck Jayson pulls a battered and bulging suitcase. He’d grabbed it from a discard pile in the alley by the house.
It seemed to be worthless at first glance. Phone books (ha ha, I said), old office supplies, and then a lot of paper ephemera. We sorted through it in a Taco Bell parking lot next door to an airplane museum. The bulk of the suitcase was . . . this.
The suitcase was stuffed with this game / fanzine called Weird Horror. About 250 copies worth of stuff was in the bag. The game is . . . okay. It’s primitive in some respects, rather sophisticated in others.
What do we know of the people who made it? The copies do not actually have an author or contact info on them. It’s our guess that the stamp on the game is an imprimatur, pointing to an obscure writers’ society named The Jolly Catchment as the amateur press association responsible for this interesting game.
What else do we know? Jayson estimates that the game is from 1915 to 1925, but some of the ephemera is from later, indicating people playing with the material in the 1930s and ’60s.
That’s not a lot to know, is it? Jayson and I pored over this stuff and of the dozen names we were able to get out of the ephemera we couldn’t find a single darned thing. It’s like these people never existed.
What we know is that there is no record of anyone who has played Weird Horror, from any decade that we have researched. Why that is, or how these copies came to be gathered together in that suitcase, we simply cannot say.
We are fairly certain, however, that there is no danger — physical, spiritual, or otherwise — to playing this game. At some point we will build up the courage to attempt it ourselves. If you are adventurous enough to play a game with the rules in this booklet, let others know if and when you are safely finished.
Game well, we’re sure there’s nothing to worry about.
-Tim Hutchings & Jayson Elliot
© 2021 Solarian Games