TITLE: THE MUSEUM FIRE
GENRE: Middle-Grade Adventure
To Those Unlucky Enough To Come Upon These Cursed Pages,
First of all, burn them, feed them to a hungry goat, dissolve them in a vat of acid, but for all that is well and holy: do not read them! Stop now, or damn your eyes!
You obviously have not stopped.
If you feel you must continue reading then you should know that nothing good will come of it. This manuscript contains the true account of what really happened on July 13th, 1865 at the address of 117 Broadway, New York, and recounts in lurid and flagrant detail the conflagration that consumed that most glorious of Manhattan institutions: Barnum’s American Museum.
In my vocation as a crime reporter for the New York Tribune, I had the misfortune to occupy an office on the corner of Ann Street and Broadway, the windows of which looked immediately onto the Museum across the street.
This story is compiled from the eyewitnesses of myself (and others, who shall not be named), interviews with the involved parties, and investigations into the event using the powers of deduction for which I am greatly renowned and appreciated.
In doing so I uncovered a fiendish plot, an otherworldly secret, and brought a world of suffering cascading down upon myself.
I have been in hiding from the dark and murderous forces at work against me. I feel that death will soon be at my door. Alas, I hear it knocking. Really.
H.B. Fennimore – Author. Detective. Gentleman. (New York, 1865)