A brief history of the Surnateum
First quarter of the 18th century: a 'vampire panic'
sweeps across Europe. Worrying reports and tales told by travellers
returning from Hungary and Romania fan the flames of turmoil.
1746: The Church officially acknowledges the existence of
vampires via a book by Don Augustin Calmet.
1789: The group of monster-hunters is formed; the pistol is
ca 1820: The pistol, a flintlock model, is converted to a
percussion cap system. However, the pistol falls into disuse over the
15 January 1857: Birth of the future 'Collector'.
ca 1870: A case is manufactured by Nicolas Plomdeur, a gunmaker
from Liège (living in Paris) and Professor Ernst Blomberg.
1877: A curious young man finds the pistol in his attic. His
father tells him the story of the monster-hunters. His grandfather was
the last executioner. The young man, fascinated by this revelation,
would grow up and become the first 'Collector'. He moves to London, the
centre of the civilised world at that time. There, he joins the
all-powerful Masons and soon rises to the rank of Master. The rituals,
especially those for the second degree (Companion) awaken an ancient
magic and endow the Collector with strange powers. This magic is linked
to the Quest for the Holy Grail. The Collector takes up his 'position'.
He will go on to collect evil and haunted objects, as well as grimoires.
1888 (London): A member of the Golden Dawn named Victor (his
surname has been lost), who came face to face with a baital in
India, sponsors the Collector in the secret society. This former Indian
Army officer had travelled to the Americas and around the world looking
for vampires. While visiting a cemetery in India, he was injured by a
baital. The creature's bite can multiply the victim's strength
tenfold - for good or evil. The sect's unverified magic rituals
transformed the officer into Jack the Ripper, a bloodthirsty entity. The
Collector destroys the monster on the banks of the Thames; during the confrontation he
is spattered with the Ripper's blood.
1897 (London): Irish author Bram Stoker exposes his patron, Henry Irving,
as a vampire via his novel Dracula. Irving refuses to stage the
play at the Lyceum Theatre.
1899 (Pannonia, Ghent): During an investigation on the continent,
the Collector asks a doctor for his opinion on bones found in Pannonia.
The doctor, a specialist in blood research, ends up being the person
responsible for the events known as Rhesus 1. The Collector is unaware
of these events for many years. The swastika, a symbol linked to the
dragon, makes a fresh appearance.
1900 (Delos, Greece): Camille meets 'IRMA' on a Greek island.
ca 1902: Tsarina Alexandra, in a desperate state since she has been
unable to give birth to a male heir, discreetly calls upon the services
of a 'witch' from the steppes of Mongolia. The witch puts her under the
protection of an entity represented by a traditional magical symbol in
the form of a swastika. The tsarevich suffers from an incurable blood
disease transmitted through the maternal line. Bloody massacres taint
the Russian court beginning in 1905. The monk Rasputin slows down the
process destroying the imperial family, until he is murdered.
1906 (Naples, Italy): An amateur volcano geologist comes face to
face with a mythological creature in a cave near Naples.
August 1910 (Brussels World's Fair): A Serbian-American scientist
breaches the space-time continuum.
1913 (China and Tibet): The Collector takes his first trip to
China and Tibet. The team's first terton, Kao, becomes a member
of the Surnateum.
1914 (Ghent): The doctor disappears, not without making his
confession to the man who would become bishop under the name Monsignor Eugenius Van Rechem.
1918 (Ekaterinaburg): The Russian imperial family is massacred.
The Tsarina's last lucky drawing is a swastika. The baleful shadow of
the Order of Blood, which demands increasing numbers of sacrifices,
looms over the massacre. Rasputin, the magician who was protecting the
family, had been assassinated the year before.
1919 (Munich): Members of the Thule Gesellschaft, who share
knowledge with the Golden Dawn, unleash an uncontrollable ritual
involving an antique bottle (see the Host). They unknowingly increase the vampire's power.
1920-1921 (China and Mongolia): Two teams from the Surnateum set
out in search of an object that could change the very face of the world:
the khanne. They travel to the outer reaches of Mongolia and
China and pip Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg at the post. Ungern-Sternberg
wants to reincarnate Mahagala, the god of war, and Genghis Khan. To do
that, he needs the help of Bogdo-Geghen, the blind Buddha, a particular
drug combining opium and poison from the allghoi khorkhoi (the
Mongolian death worm) and the khanne. One of the Baron's banners
depicts a black swastika against a red background. Part of the
expedition seeks out passageways to the mythical Agharta.
1923 (Egypt): The Surnateum's first expedition to Egypt. The
opening of Tutankhamen's tomb prompts worries and raises questions about
1930 (Egypt): Second Surnateum expedition to Egypt. Some of the curses
1933: The bishop, realising that the story told during the
confession a few years previously had actually been true, tries to find
a way to get rid of the monster. He goes on a quest for weapons capable
of giving him greater power or for the power to destroy him (see Relics).
1934 (Germany): All of the enemies in the Catholic and
Conservative opposition groups, as well as all those who know who Adolf
Hitler's true identity, are eliminated by the monster during the Night
of the Long Knives (29-30 June 1934). The decimated opposition never
1938: Cassandra Grossemans 'sees' the presence of the demon in
her tarot cards, although the story is about other figures. Part of the
Surnateum's expedition team disappears in search of paradise, probably
in the Sargasso Sea.
1939 (Ghent): Monsignor Van Rechem accidentally discovers a way
to destroy the creature, but it is too late; the solution to the problem
is not accessible. He takes precautionary measures and has the evidence
sent to his cousin in Brussels.
1943 (Ghent): As he lays dying, he confides in his confessor, who
does not understand the story at all but who is sent by a superior to
the Collector to inform him of what has happened. The Collector puts
together the final pieces of an amazing puzzle. The Surnateum has
another weapon capable of destroying the monster; it will have to be
sent to Berlin.
1945 (Berlin, 30 April): The monster is killed in his lair. But
the weapon is lost somewhere in Russia. The Surnateum's team will also
have to be put back together, something that will take years.
1975: The Collector has a Magic Box sent to the man who will
become the next Curator.
2000 (Mongolia, Moscow): The head of Expeditions brings the
weapon to the Museum. All of the evidence attesting to the authenticity
of what happened find their way to the Surnateum. The private museum
housing the collections must be destroyed; the collections await a new
haven. A site is create which will facilitate contact among 'sensitives'.