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Whately’s Meddling Kids Put The Monster In The Mesa Mausoleum

November 9, 2005

Kathleen has a great photo essay about the experience, but I thought I’d pipe up with my two cents about this past weekend’s foray into the Scoobytacular. Myself, Katie, Brian, Kathleen, and not-often-seen Drew took the dork express south to the northern edges of the Chicago sprawl. There, for the fourth year in a row I enjoyed the hospitality of Digg and Gail Freeman. They’re LARP runners extraordinaire, and this was the final year of the seminal Whately series of Halloween events. Every year they turn their house inside out, offering up adventure and scares to groups willing to go outside of their comfort zones.

The Curse of Whately’s Mausoleum was a roleplaying-heavy atmosphere-a-thon. Players took on the roles of cross-purposed eccentrics invited to a party in honor of Whately’s daughter Mina’s engagement. By the end of the night, in the role of Van Helsing, I’d been shot, stabbed, bitten, and staked to a wall. It was not, if I may say so, my finest hour. At least I can partially blame Alan for my failure.

The Curse of Whately’s Mesa was almost the polar opposite from Mausoleum. A roleplaying lite hands-on mystery, Mesa had myself and most of my fellow players crawling around the Freeman’s backyard in pouring rain and mud. Not only were we on the ground, but we crawled through ‘The Cube’. The massive wooden structure was an abandoned mineshaft inhabited by long-dead spirits, and boy were we crazy. Thankfully, we were studious in recalling the details we saw during our spirit visions. We successfully exorcised the spirits from the mine and escaped into the night.

Last year, we were sane-crazy. I, for example, was a German neurologist who was a bit boorish in public but otherwise quite personable. At night I liked to retire to my study with a nice glass of cognac to talk to my collection of harvested brains. The Curse of Whately’s Monster was a collaborative effort, with brilliant sociopaths from across the sciences combining forces to bring to life a bride for The Creature. Our long efforts were thrillingly successful, and we managed to flee the scene after witnessing the ‘wedding’ of The Creature and his Bride.

This past weekend, then, we were due a break from stress and intrigue…and the lack of Scooby snacks. We took on the roles of the characters from the Hanna Barbara schlock cartoon Scooby Doo. In The Curse of Whately’s Meddling Kids, with me as Shaggy, we faced down monsters, creepy mirrors, and like, far too few sandwiches. It was a hilariously fitting end to the run of Whately games, and a heck of lot of fun.

Many and heartfelt thanks to Digg and Gail for their talent and insanity, as well as thanks to Aaron and Alan for letting us know about a place to tap into some really excellent fun.

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