Chapter 1

ItwaslanguidcuriositywhichfirstbroughtStephenJonestoRogers’Museum.SomeonehadtoldhimaboutthequeerundergroundplaceinSouthwarkStreetacrosstheriver,wherewaxenthingssomuchmorehorriblethantheworsteffigiesatMadameTussaud’swereshewn,andhehadstrolledinoneAprildaytoseehowdisappointinghewouldfindit.Oddly,hewasnotdisappointed.Therewassomethingdifferentanddistinctivehere,afterall.Ofcourse,theusualgorycommonplaceswerepresentLandru,Dr.Crippen,MadameDemers,Rizzio,LadyJaneGrey,endlessmaimedvictimsofwarandrevolution,andmonsterslikeGillesdeRaisandMarquisdeSadebuttherewereotherthingswhichhadmadehimbreathefasterandstaytilltheringingoftheclosingbell.Themanwhohadfashionedthiscollectioncouldbenoordinarymountebank.Therewasimaginationevenakindofdiseasedgeniusinsomeofthisstuff.LaterhehadlearnedaboutGeorgeRogers.ThemanhadbeenontheTussaudstaff,butsometroublehaddevelopedwhichledtohisdischarge.Therewereaspersionsonhissanityandtalesofhiscrazyformsofsecretworshipthoughlatterlyhissuccesswithhisownbasementmuseumhaddulledtheedgeofsomecriticismswhilesharpeningtheinsidiouspointofothers.Teratologyandtheiconographyofnightmarewerehishobbies,andevenhehadhadtheprudencetoscreenoffsomeofhisworsteffigiesinaspecialalcoveforadultsonly.ItwasthisalcovewhichhadfascinatedJonessomuch.

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