Sunday, June 06, 2010

A Letter From the Society Regarding the Nature of the Monster of Kankakee County

December 15, 1903.

Dear Mr. Phinneaus,

I'm writing in regards to you recent conflagration with the Monster of Kankakee County. I know that you were called upon by the residents of the town of St. Anne, and I know that you faced - and received -  grave injury.

Yet, I and my compatriots - the Society for the Preservation of Mystical, Rare, and Otherwise Misunderstood Creatures -- a Society of renown, with respect to the understanding of said creatures - feel that your particular solution for dealing the Monster was excessive.  By excessive,  we refer specifically to your killing of the Monster. 

How much effort, Mr. Phinneaus, did you make in trying to understand the Monster's true motives?  How many entreaties to its better nature did you enact?  Did you find out if it was angry due to being driven from it's home?  Or, perhaps, you may have found that it was suffering from the loss of it's mate, had you taken the time to ask.

Since the unfortunate events of October, we have gone to Kankakee County ourselves to question the local citizens, in order to find the true picture of said Monster.  The picture we pieced together from their descriptions formed, in our opinion, one that does not even deserve the title of Monster.

This creature, while tall, scaly, perhaps with too many teeth to make an honest man comfortable - and a bit too much ravenous foam about the aforementioned teeth - would, at first glance, seem to be a killer of a most horrible nature.  Yet, when we examine it's actions, sir, we see that it was a gentle giant of the wild, as the blue whale is to the Ocean.

You may object here, and say: 'Sir, I protest. The entire incident in Kankakee County began with an unholy amount of blood and violence rained upon its inhabitants.  Beginning with the slaughter of Farmer Joel Jensen's flock, to the destruction of the West Kankakee Third  Baptist Congregation of Brethren - including twelve of its fourteen parishioners, the creature has been responsible for nothing but murder, mayhem, and the great fear and distress in the County's Womenfolk.'

I say again, let us examine the facts.

Farmer Joel Jensen, a man of great drink and for a penchant for swearing, seamed baffled by our very line of questioning.  We posed the question: was the beast acting in a way that could be described as natural, like a fox in a hen house?  Mr. Jensen, whom we suspect was drunk, merely stared at us with an expression of blank misunderstanding.  He then swore, and yelled something unintelligible - we are quite sure he had "hit the drink" as it were, and it being only nine in the morning, we judged his testimony in the whole matter suspect - from which we could only decipher the words "sheep", "blood", and "fountains". 

We haven't yet figured why he was referring to fountains, as his farm was one of a modest sort, but perhaps he had a small fountain that may have been trampled by either the escape of the creature, or by the angry onrush of farmers who had come to the aid of Mr. Jensen. What ever the cause, the creature can't be blamed for the destruction of any fountains, as it is a member of Nature, and should not be expected to be familiar with forms of garden art.

The second incident of note, that being the supposed attack and killing of the Du pries family, is one of equally misinterpreted motives.  The creature, as you know, arrived in the town of St. Anne just before dawn.  After its efforts to feed on a meal of mutton were interrupted so violently, it appears to have decided to take refuge in town.  Here, it found the carriage house of one Dr. Du pries in which to hide itself. 

From what we have gathered from witnesses, Dr. Du pries, alerted to the sounds of his horses being eaten - again, I refer you to the analogy of a fox in a hen house -- merely the creature's very nature seems to be to eat animals presented to it like a Pot-Luck lunch presented by a Ladies' Society - rushed to his carriage house, shotgun in hand to confront the creature.  It's here, as we know from your account, the first indications of the creatures imperviousness to shotgun shot must have first been discovered. 

Let us pause for a moment and consider what most likely resulted from this encounter.  Imagine, if you will, you are in your kitchen, rummaging through the pantry in the early hours of the morning. Your cook, not expecting anyone in the kitchen - certainly you would have rang the bell if you were hungry - is startled from her cabinet in a state of agitation.  Seeing an unknown form, rifling - regardless of one's qualities as a gentleman, one would certainly be rifling in the dark of those wee hours - through the pantry, she would, in the courage given her kind, would take a heavy skillet and proceed to knock you about your head. 

Now, would you react with a kindness and say, 'my dear woman, I was merely looking for a piece of that marvelous corn bread to satisfy a mid-night craving' or would you lash out at whoever was causing such violence to crash down around your ears.  I would submit, sir, that you would react a manner befitting the later.

It is in this same manner that the creature reacted.  As we understand from the state of Dr. Du pries body - or parts of which were later found by authorities - that the creature reacted with an animal ferocity rarely seen outside the hinterlands of Africa. That the family was also attacked in such a manner as cannot be described by man is a tragedy, but one that may have been avoided if they had not put on a light to see what was happening in the carriage house.

To recount what we have discussed thus far: firstly, the creature behaved as any natural creature would, given the presentation of so many fatted sheep for its consumption.  Secondly, when provoked, it reacted the way of any beast or man might - in its own defense. 

This brings  us, at last, to your arrival in this account.   You, Mr. Phinneaus, are aware of your own summoning to Kankakee County.  It had been after the unfortunate incident of the Du pries family, where in the members of town constabulary and the mayor decided they needed an outside expert in said matters.  You arrived by train, and as I won't bore you with the details of your own investigation, preceded to search the town for evidence of the creature for the next few days.

After a week of quiet, in town and County, we arrive at the events of that horrible Sunday. The West Kankakee Third Baptist Congregation of Brethren was holding it services.  The congregation, while small, produced a considerably voluminous sound in its singing.  It is this sound which seems to have roused the creature's curiosity.   Whether it was the sweet sounds of their voices, or allure of the Word made song, the creature was attracted to the melodic sounds of the Brethren.  From this, we can certainly conclude that the creature had a more gentle nature, then its actions indicate.

Of course, tragedy stuck, but this can be blamed more on the reaction of the congregation to the creature's entrance to the their little church.  Judging from the splintered doorway, we can surmise that the congregation was surprised, and their screams of surprise may have aroused the natural animalistic passions of the creature. Its violent response may have been doubly so, thanks to the previous encounters with men, ignorant of the creatures ways.

I could now detail the accounts of what followed: your first encounter with the creature, your own discovery of it's imperviousness to small projectiles, your saving of the last parishioner through heroic means, and the final tracking and slaying of the poor creature - we understand there was some sort of advanced weaponry involved, which I'm sure that our sister society, the Society for the Advancement of Mobile Cannonade, would be greatly interested in discussing the technical details -- I'm sure that you will be receiving an invitation to speak imminently - are all events that you are well aware and need no reminding. 

In sum, we of the Society for the Preservation of Mystical, Rare, and Otherwise Misunderstood Creatures would like to censure you, Mr Phinneaus, and  your actions in Kankakee County.  We believe, and the evidence shows, that these strange and unknown creatures are both gentle and natural, when left unprovoked.  Like all animals, the creature only acted violently due to ignorance and violence on the part of Man.


Mr. M. Robert Crowley, Esq.
Secretary, Society for the Preservation of Mystical, Rare, and Otherwise Misunderstood Creatures
New York, NY.

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      WUX CHICAGO IL JAN 5 1904,

        105 W 37TH NEW YORK  NY



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