Investigator Weapons: Charles Reber, Armed Investigator?

In the 1930s, Charles Reber, a US Army veteran of the Spanish-American War and an ex-Major with the Oklahoma National Guard, was a pioneer ballistics and fingerprint expert with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation & Identification, who consulted on numerous cases.

This alone would make him an interesting example for an Investigator of the Mythos. During the hunt for Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, he was also painted as a template for an Armed Investigator in newspaper articles like “One-Man Army Rigs Auto for Sudden Battle” in The Fresno Bee (08-JUN-1934):

Though he looks like a staid schoolteacher [!], is quite and unassuming, Reber is as expert with a gun as with his ballistics apparatus … Inside his sedan he has rigged out a rolling arsenal. By reaching up with his left hand he can pull a sawed-off shotgun, loaded with buckshot, from a rack in the car. With his right hand he can claw down a Browning automatic rifle. Reaching forward he can pull a Thompson sub-machine gun from a rack on the dash of the car, where it is flanked by holders containing clips [sic] of ammunition. In the seat with him he can reach a Colt .45 automatic or a long-range German Luger automatic of smaller caliber, but deadly accuracy. On the floor, in a case, he can reach hand grenades, [tear] gas bombs and extra clips [sic] of ammunition ‒ shotgun shells, high power rifle cartridges and pistol ammunition, all carefully arranged to be “handy.” In the back seat, for long range work, he has an old Krag-Jorgensen [sic] army rifle, made famous in the Spanish-American war for its deadliness. Its sights are carefully adjusted, with wind gauge, elevation, and important other arrangements. Continue reading “Investigator Weapons: Charles Reber, Armed Investigator?”

Investigator Weapons: Hudson & Brand

Stygian Fox have recently published Hudson & Brand, an organisation and scenario book for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition. It outlines the case histories of Hudson and Brand, inquiry agents of the Obscure. The book is set in London in the 1880s and offers excellent maps and other support material. I have contributed the contents of Hudson and Brand’s armoury (complete with stats). The 204 pages of the book are ridiculously good-looking and it is a great resource for any Gaslight campaign in London. Check it out!

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Investigator Weapons: The Thompson Gun in Great Britain between the Wars

Here, one would say, is an arm that is useless for sport, cumbrous for self-defence and could not serve any honest purpose …

     ‒ Hugh Pollard, “Gun Running and the Traffic in Arms,” Saturday Evening Post (24-NOV-1923)

 

Captain Hugh Pollard was mainly talking with the Irish Revolution fresh on his mind, but he certainly did not think that an “honest” Briton could see any non-military use for the Thompson submachine gun. And yet, despite what the sorry state of today’s British gun laws would make one believe, British investigators of the Mythos could most definitely kit themselves out with a Thompson gun in the 1920s and early 1930s. Continue reading “Investigator Weapons: The Thompson Gun in Great Britain between the Wars”

Investigator Weapons: The Strange Case of Harold Severy

Everything had gone fine until 1915, [Harold Severy] said, when he noticed that people were sticking their tongues out at him. Severy believed that his persecutors had a ringleader, and that lodges had been organized in various cities to torment him. His enemies, he thought, obtained advance information of his whereabouts and plans, apprising each other by underground communications. He tried to escape them by moving from New York to Baltimore, he said, but they caught up with him. Still trying to escape, Severy fled to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Chicago … Returning East, he came to Albany, where his tormentors soon caught up with him and began to cluck their tongues at him. Severy decided finally, he said, that the only way to stop the persecution was to shoot with a … gun.

New York Herald Tribune, “Albany Terror of ʻ16 Dies Mad at Matteawan” (22-JUL-1936)

 

On 01-FEB-1916, 25-year-old Harold Severy, dubbed “Jack the Shooter” by the press, was arrested in Schenectady, New York, for the murder of James Irving and the assault of three others. He had shot them on 28-JAN-1916 in Albany, New York, with a .22-calibre Stevens single-shot rifle without stock that had been fitted with a Maxim Model 1912 sound suppressor and a wire assembly to trigger the shot with the gun concealed up his right sleeve and the wire being pulled by a twist of his right hand.

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At the Movies: Sicario

Kate, this isn’t something that I dreamed up myself. I don’t have the authority to hire advisors, or authorize joint agency missions, or fly agents from Air Force bases. Are you understanding me? These decisions are made far from here, by officials elected to office, not appointed to them. So, if your fear is operating out of bounds, I am telling you, you are not. The boundary’s been moved.

‒ FBI Special Agent in Charge Dave Jennings in Sicario (2015)

This is a film review of Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario (2015) with an eye towards using it in Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game.

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Call of Cthulhu: The Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion

The massive The Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion published by Sixtystone Press is finally out. This is a book supporting the famous Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign published by Chaosium, set in 1925 and spanning the whole world from New York to Shanghai. The companion is 739 pages thick and an absolutely fabulous collaboration between Call of Cthulhu fans from all over. I have contributed four articles, describing the “King’s African Rifles,” “Shanghai Municipal Police,” “Leathernecks and Bluejackets,” and “Kaigun Rikusentai.”

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Tactical Shooting: Public Enemies

Gentlemen, shortly you will be provided Thompson submachine guns, BARs, and uh, .351 Winchester semiautomatic rifles. We are pursuing hardened killers. It will be dangerous.

– Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis in Public Enemies (2009)

Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009) is but the latest effort to bring the life of infamous bank robber John “Johnnie” Dillinger on the silver screen. It follows his exploits between autumn 1933 and summer 1934, but really concentrates on his affair with gun moll M. Evelyn “Billie” Frechette. As in many other Mann movies, the law enforcement side receives almost equal attention, here in the shape of Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis. While Mann undertook extraordinary effort to bring the time to life through clothing, automobiles, firearms, and locations, he stuck less rigidly to the historical facts, including the timeline. Events have been moved forward or backward, people have been omitted or changed, etc. It has to be understood that Public Enemies is not really a historical film at all, unlike Bryan Burrough’s meticulously researched book Public Enemies (2004), on which it is based. It is still an excellent movie, not the least because of its awesome score and of course its actors, including Johnny Depp as Dillinger, Christian Bale as Purvis, and Stephen Graham as “Baby Face Nelson.”

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