John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies is a formative book not only for the High Strangeness genre, but for me as well. It’s a book that is more about a place, about that weird sense of dread that something is not right, about the strange figures you might meet alone on the road or in your own home. The Mothman is a harbinger - if you see it, your life is about to change.
I live around the corner from where Parker Brothers used to print Ouija boards in Salem, MA so I wanted to do something that honored this place as well. Given the popular history of the Ouija board, from Sunday School panics to jump-scare movies in the theaters to entities like the XOXO, I figured there was enough of a sympathetic link between the two to bind the Mothman to one in ink and wood.
Design-wise, I stuck close to the classic Fuld layout of arched letters and a row of numbers. Things had to be shifted to make room of the Mothman, of course. In addition to YES and NO, I added INVOKE and ABJURE as a way to call the Mothman and (hopefully) send it away. Of course, the Mothman would demand a price paid for its attention, so one might find their planchette drifting towards REVELATION or CALAMITY. The Sun and Moon symbols remain, the Sun’s harsh rays twisting down from above while the Moon’s beams drip and flow over those below it. In honor of Keel, the Abyss that watches back writhes in the left hand corner. The hanging tree opposite offers a final reminder of one sure escape.
“Why do we always stay at places with skulls on the signs?” the wizard sighed into her cup.
“Can you think of a respectable hotel would allow a party of four heavily armed, blood stained wanderers to stay the night after a long day of slaughtering?” asked the fighter.
“Point taken.” The wizard looked to the cleric for help, but he studiously avoided her gaze.
“Also,” the thief piped up, her face covered in red sauce, “There’s hotwwwiiiiiinngggggsss!!!!!”
Back then, they were called Ye Monsteres d'Pockette and they committed furious battle against each other in the most secluded of arenas. Humble serfs would dream of the day that they would leave behind their lowly station to attain the greatest heights of glory as Pokemon Masters. In order to do this, they had to complete a series of quests and challenges, travelling across the land, searching far and wide for the power that lay inside.
This hand carved and pressed panel honors the Old School Pokemon trainers that have come before us and inspire us to this day.