Chapter 1

Duringthewinterof1927–28officialsoftheFederalgovernmentmadeastrangeandsecretinvestigationofcertainconditionsintheancientMassachusettsseaportofInnsmouth.ThepublicfirstlearnedofitinFebruary,whenavastseriesofraidsandarrestsoccurred,followedbythedeliberateburninganddynamitingundersuitableprecautionsofanenormousnumberofcrumbling,worm-eaten,andsupposedlyemptyhousesalongtheabandonedwaterfront.Uninquiringsoulsletthisoccurrencepassasoneofthemajorclashesinaspasmodicwaronliquor.

Keenernews-followers,however,wonderedattheprodigiousnumberofarrests,theabnormallylargeforceofmenusedinmakingthem,andthesecrecysurroundingthedisposaloftheprisoners.Notrials,orevendefinitechargeswerereported;norwereanyofthecaptivesseenthereafterintheregulargaolsofthenation.Therewerevaguestatementsaboutdiseaseandconcentrationcamps,andlateraboutdispersalinvariousnavalandmilitaryprisons,butnothingpositiveeverdeveloped.Innsmouthitselfwasleftalmostdepopulated,anditisevennowonlybeginningtoshowsignsofasluggishlyrevivedexistence.

Complaintsfrommanyliberalorganizationsweremetwithlongconfidentialdiscussions,andrepresentativesweretakenontripstocertaincampsandprisons.Asaresult,thesesocietiesbecamesurprisinglypassiveandreticent.Newspapermenwerehardertomanage,butseemedlargelytocooperatewiththegovernmentintheend.OnlyonepaperatabloidalwaysdiscountedbecauseofitswildpolicymentionedthedeepdivingsubmarinethatdischargedtorpedoesdownwardinthemarineabyssjustbeyondDevilReef.

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