Eliphaz Coleman, Pioneer Wizard
Born in the North East region of the AWC at the turn of the nineteenth century, muggleborn wizard Eliphaz Coleman’s life spanned both missionary work and magic. The son of a minister, Coleman studied at the Salem Institute of Magical Studies from 1808 to 1815. Unique among his peers at the Institute, upon his graduation Coleman enrolled at a muggle school, the Wilbraham Academy where he studied language and theology. Later ordained as a Methodist minister, Coleman struck up a friendship with Jason Lee, a classmate and fellow clergyman planning to establish a mission in the Oregon Country. Keen for a challenge and conscious of the need for religious and magical education in the Far West, Coleman chose to join his friend. In 1837, Coleman, his pureblood wife Agnes, and their four children arrived in the Willamette Valley, becoming the first white wizarding family in Oregon.[1]  
While Lee’s mission was dissolved after only a few years, Eliphaz Coleman remained in Oregon to shepherd the growing community. It was Coleman, in fact, who suggested the new town’s name: Salem, a nod to his childhood education in the East. In 1842, Coleman petitioned for approval to develop the nascent Oregon Institute as the first wizarding school in the West, but was denied. The Institute instead became a muggle university, but Coleman, ever undeterred, gave private tutoring in his home to young witches and wizards until his death in 1879.
To this day, wizards and witches of the Pacific Northwest gather in Salem for the annual Coleman Meeting, the preeminent wizarding social event for a region without a school of sorcery to call its own. Graduates of all seven schools (and of foreign academies, should any alumni be in the area) are welcome, but, in deference to tradition, the Master of the Meeting is always a witch or wizard from the Salem Institute. 
[1] Of course, the Colemans were far from the first magical folk in the Oregon Country. Eliphaz and his wife built lasting friendships with Native practitioners. Coleman’s diaries are the earliest written sources detailing the magical practices of the Kalapuya. Agnes’s interviews with a Tillamook healer formed the basis of the field of Pacific Marine Herbology.

Eliphaz Coleman, Pioneer Wizard

Born in the North East region of the AWC at the turn of the nineteenth century, muggleborn wizard Eliphaz Coleman’s life spanned both missionary work and magic. The son of a minister, Coleman studied at the Salem Institute of Magical Studies from 1808 to 1815. Unique among his peers at the Institute, upon his graduation Coleman enrolled at a muggle school, the Wilbraham Academy where he studied language and theology. Later ordained as a Methodist minister, Coleman struck up a friendship with Jason Lee, a classmate and fellow clergyman planning to establish a mission in the Oregon Country. Keen for a challenge and conscious of the need for religious and magical education in the Far West, Coleman chose to join his friend. In 1837, Coleman, his pureblood wife Agnes, and their four children arrived in the Willamette Valley, becoming the first white wizarding family in Oregon.[1]  

While Lee’s mission was dissolved after only a few years, Eliphaz Coleman remained in Oregon to shepherd the growing community. It was Coleman, in fact, who suggested the new town’s name: Salem, a nod to his childhood education in the East. In 1842, Coleman petitioned for approval to develop the nascent Oregon Institute as the first wizarding school in the West, but was denied. The Institute instead became a muggle university, but Coleman, ever undeterred, gave private tutoring in his home to young witches and wizards until his death in 1879.

To this day, wizards and witches of the Pacific Northwest gather in Salem for the annual Coleman Meeting, the preeminent wizarding social event for a region without a school of sorcery to call its own. Graduates of all seven schools (and of foreign academies, should any alumni be in the area) are welcome, but, in deference to tradition, the Master of the Meeting is always a witch or wizard from the Salem Institute. 

[1] Of course, the Colemans were far from the first magical folk in the Oregon Country. Eliphaz and his wife built lasting friendships with Native practitioners. Coleman’s diaries are the earliest written sources detailing the magical practices of the Kalapuya. Agnes’s interviews with a Tillamook healer formed the basis of the field of Pacific Marine Herbology.

A break from our usual programming to ask:
Will any of our followers be at LeakyCon? One of our mods will be, and at least part of the time, she’ll be cosplaying Artemis Reynolds — whose name you might recognize if you’ve been following us long enough. Look for tight black pants, a neatly-corseted waist, and a long blonde braid. She’d love to say hi!
So — Will you be in Orlando this week? What are you most looking forward to?

A break from our usual programming to ask:

Will any of our followers be at LeakyCon? One of our mods will be, and at least part of the time, she’ll be cosplaying Artemis Reynolds — whose name you might recognize if you’ve been following us long enough. Look for tight black pants, a neatly-corseted waist, and a long blonde braid. She’d love to say hi!

So — Will you be in Orlando this week? What are you most looking forward to?

Cynthia BlairHeadmistress, Randolph-Poythress Institute
Born in North Carolina in 1949 to James Blair, a pureblood wizard, and Deborah Hawkiss, a Muggleborn witch, Cynthia Emily Blair attended the Randolph-Poythress Institute from 1960 to 1967. Growing up in a period of rapid social change, both in the Muggle and wizarding worlds, deeply affected the young witch, and the desire for justice and progressive measures has defined her life and her tenancy of RPI’s highest position.
A witch of considerable vitality and energy, Blair looks younger than her age and expects to continue doing so for some time. She wore glasses until 2009, when Winnifred Candell, a young member of RPI’s Charms and Transfiguration Department, talked her into trying out a new magical eyesight treatment promoted by the MRD’s Division of Health and Wellness. It had the unexpected side effect of paling both eyes from their natural brown to a glassy blue, but otherwise the Headmistress proclaims herself eminently satisfied with the procedure: “I hope I have always been clear-sighted in my thinking; now the physical implements match up.”
After graduating from RPI, Blair spent the next thirteen years working for the FWR in Philadelphia, then transferred to DFAMC, working on those aspects of international magical law pertinent to wizarding rights. In 1990, then-Headmaster Frederick Bryant, a friend of her father’s, asked her to accept an appointment at RPI to teach History and Law. When he announced his pending retirement in 2003, he nominated Blair as his successor, over his current Deputy, Harvey Ferguson. Though his official reasoning was Ferguson’s own advanced age (a story which Ferguson obligingly backed, declining any further consideration of his name for the position), speculation abounded that Bryant, who had been responsible for the school’s de-segregation, hoped to ensure a progressive legacy in his unconventional protegee. The school’s board of governors had a long debate, made very public by the Sorcery Standard, with public opinion split between Blair and the more traditionally-inclined Jacqueline Worth-Hensley, then head of the Herbology Department. When Blair won in a 7-6 vote, Worth-Hensley made a lovely concession speech, quietly resigned, and took up a position with the MRD. 
Blair, though aware she lacked an unchallenged mandate, has nonetheless taken great strides to reform the view many American wizarding families have of RPI as still somewhat backwards and unyielding, attempting to balance the school’s traditions with innovations fit for a more globally-focused wizarding world. She has expanded RPI’s Special Semester offerings trifold, encouraging greater focus on non-European tradition as well as the school’s traditional focus on law and government, and she successfully integrated first-year courses in both Muggle Studies and Wizarding Culture into the mandatory curriculum. Her next goal is to add Science to the Fundamentals courses in Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Health, following the example set by Salem Institute though she faces an uphill battle with her board. 
Perhaps her most annoying trait is her ability to shrug off failure; if an initiative does not appear to be working, Blair is perfectly happy to tell her opponents they were right, and to try another approach. For the most part, however, it is her opponents who have been frustrated.
[X: Beatrix Ost, by Ari Seth Cohen]

Cynthia Blair
Headmistress, Randolph-Poythress Institute

Born in North Carolina in 1949 to James Blair, a pureblood wizard, and Deborah Hawkiss, a Muggleborn witch, Cynthia Emily Blair attended the Randolph-Poythress Institute from 1960 to 1967. Growing up in a period of rapid social change, both in the Muggle and wizarding worlds, deeply affected the young witch, and the desire for justice and progressive measures has defined her life and her tenancy of RPI’s highest position.

A witch of considerable vitality and energy, Blair looks younger than her age and expects to continue doing so for some time. She wore glasses until 2009, when Winnifred Candell, a young member of RPI’s Charms and Transfiguration Department, talked her into trying out a new magical eyesight treatment promoted by the MRD’s Division of Health and Wellness. It had the unexpected side effect of paling both eyes from their natural brown to a glassy blue, but otherwise the Headmistress proclaims herself eminently satisfied with the procedure: “I hope I have always been clear-sighted in my thinking; now the physical implements match up.”

After graduating from RPI, Blair spent the next thirteen years working for the FWR in Philadelphia, then transferred to DFAMC, working on those aspects of international magical law pertinent to wizarding rights. In 1990, then-Headmaster Frederick Bryant, a friend of her father’s, asked her to accept an appointment at RPI to teach History and Law. When he announced his pending retirement in 2003, he nominated Blair as his successor, over his current Deputy, Harvey Ferguson. Though his official reasoning was Ferguson’s own advanced age (a story which Ferguson obligingly backed, declining any further consideration of his name for the position), speculation abounded that Bryant, who had been responsible for the school’s de-segregation, hoped to ensure a progressive legacy in his unconventional protegee. The school’s board of governors had a long debate, made very public by the Sorcery Standard, with public opinion split between Blair and the more traditionally-inclined Jacqueline Worth-Hensley, then head of the Herbology Department. When Blair won in a 7-6 vote, Worth-Hensley made a lovely concession speech, quietly resigned, and took up a position with the MRD.

Blair, though aware she lacked an unchallenged mandate, has nonetheless taken great strides to reform the view many American wizarding families have of RPI as still somewhat backwards and unyielding, attempting to balance the school’s traditions with innovations fit for a more globally-focused wizarding world. She has expanded RPI’s Special Semester offerings trifold, encouraging greater focus on non-European tradition as well as the school’s traditional focus on law and government, and she successfully integrated first-year courses in both Muggle Studies and Wizarding Culture into the mandatory curriculum. Her next goal is to add Science to the Fundamentals courses in Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Health, following the example set by Salem Institute though she faces an uphill battle with her board.

Perhaps her most annoying trait is her ability to shrug off failure; if an initiative does not appear to be working, Blair is perfectly happy to tell her opponents they were right, and to try another approach. For the most part, however, it is her opponents who have been frustrated.

[X: Beatrix Ost, by Ari Seth Cohen]

"…Mr. Rolph’s survival of the attack is nothing short of miraculous. When Aurors removed him from the Wedigo’s lair, he was nearly catatonic. It is not surprising considering the demon had already removed and devoured his left hand, and seems to have taken great pleasure in [redacted for decency]. I doubt even the strongest Auror or strike-wizard would have stood up to such a thing, and that a Muggle, untrained in combat or psychic defense, should survive the dual assault of a Wendigo’s claws and mental torture speaks highly to his fortitude. Mr. Rolph spent some time in St. Sithney’s before being moved to a local hospital and a false report being circulated amongst Muggle authorities. It seems he is on track to make a full recovery, and if his behavior is somewhat altered, the healers believe it is due to the psychic trauma and not some other, more insidious source. Field Captain Smith, however, has advised a careful eye be kept on Mr. Rolph as the Wendigo in question was never actually found. Given his extensive experience in this field, we feel this may be a practical suggestion.” 
Report of Auror Infinity Jones, February 13th, 2013: Bismark Office.
[The artist of this work has kindly given us his permission to use his work. His webpages are in the included links and his tumblr can be found here.]

"…Mr. Rolph’s survival of the attack is nothing short of miraculous. When Aurors removed him from the Wedigo’s lair, he was nearly catatonic. It is not surprising considering the demon had already removed and devoured his left hand, and seems to have taken great pleasure in [redacted for decency]. I doubt even the strongest Auror or strike-wizard would have stood up to such a thing, and that a Muggle, untrained in combat or psychic defense, should survive the dual assault of a Wendigo’s claws and mental torture speaks highly to his fortitude. Mr. Rolph spent some time in St. Sithney’s before being moved to a local hospital and a false report being circulated amongst Muggle authorities. It seems he is on track to make a full recovery, and if his behavior is somewhat altered, the healers believe it is due to the psychic trauma and not some other, more insidious source. Field Captain Smith, however, has advised a careful eye be kept on Mr. Rolph as the Wendigo in question was never actually found. Given his extensive experience in this field, we feel this may be a practical suggestion.” 

Report of Auror Infinity Jones, February 13th, 2013: Bismark Office.

[The artist of this work has kindly given us his permission to use his work. His webpages are in the included links and his tumblr can be found here.]

Not all trees are magical. A crux of wandlore, in fact, relies on the identification of which trees have the ability to channel latent magical energies through their roots and boughs. What, biologically, sets these trees apart from their mundane kin is not understood any better than what separates the magically gifted from their Muggle fellows. Some trees simply seem to have the spark, and when combined with an appropriate core they become potent tools for the channeling of magical power. Other societies across the globe have, of course, found other methods: specially forged rings, properly carved runes, and even fans whose construction is not too far different from wands themselves (being constructed of wood and pulp from magical trees), but few have the same utility or versatility that a wand provides. 

A skilled wandmaker can identify a magically inclined tree in a number of ways. The best method involves checking the tree for the presence of tanzerbaums, dryads, or, in Europe, bowtruckles. Likewise, magical birds and other small creatures, like the Brywythian Shrew, often make their nests and burrows in the shade of arcane arboreals. Where this fails, an observant enchanter might notice a number of occult happenings in the presence of such trees: the manifestation of phantom breezes, the warping of seasonal temperatures, and the casting of strange shadows all herald the presence of sorcerous wood. Once, it is believed, such trees grew in abundance, forming vast groves and forests of magic and leading to the introduction of enchanted woods into Muggle folklore and fairy tales.

Of course, just because a tree itself is magical doesn’t mean it isn’t used for mundane purposes. Many are the majestic, wizardly tree that have been felled to make common furniture, crates, and barrels. It is the sad fate of most of that wood to lose its magic overtime; there is nothing mystical enough in a box or a stool to hold onto that sorcerous spark. Some pieces, however, are lucky enough to be cherished in Muggle hands: some become staffs, or wardrobes, or beloved dolls, and something of their power remains intact. And some rare few, American wandmakers have discovered, become ships.

There are no other conveyance, amongst Mages or Muggles, that has the same mythology as a ship. Planes and brooms and automobiles can have temperaments, it is true, but only ships have personality. From the smallest dingy to the greatest frigate, we’ve spent eons giving them names, and stories, and even faces. Back in the days when ships were carved of wood, and Muggle sailors vied daily with the savage sea, a ship could become a person’s whole world; home and fortress, foe and friend, all at once. And it is not surprising, therefore, that some of those fantastic ships had a little magic in their beams and boards, and such ships often became things of legend. It is said Captain John Razor’s ship, The Sea Hag, had a tiller of fine English Oak from a highly magical tree, which moved in the dread pirate’s hands as naturally as a wand in the hand of a master duelist.

Of course such wood was not a perfect prevention for catastrophe, but magical wood, especially seasoned so by sea salt and the swearing and prayers of sailors, is rarely content to rot on the ocean floor. Over the decades, much of it has washed up on the shores of the Americas, where wandmakers have realized its fantastic powers and started using it in their craft.

A wand from the sea is a precious and rare thing, and best suited to wizards who have temperaments that match the ocean’s in scope and strength. Regardless of the wood’s original origin, the sea has reshaped it, and made it their own, and so Mages whose hands bring life to a ship-wrecked wand often seek to change the world themselves, through sheer strength of will. They tend to hint at a gift for transfiguration and the more forceful of charms, though a strange connection with astronomy also tends to emerge in those lucky enough to be their bearers.

Not all trees are magical. A crux of wandlore, in fact, relies on the identification of which trees have the ability to channel latent magical energies through their roots and boughs. What, biologically, sets these trees apart from their mundane kin is not understood any better than what separates the magically gifted from their Muggle fellows. Some trees simply seem to have the spark, and when combined with an appropriate core they become potent tools for the channeling of magical power. Other societies across the globe have, of course, found other methods: specially forged rings, properly carved runes, and even fans whose construction is not too far different from wands themselves (being constructed of wood and pulp from magical trees), but few have the same utility or versatility that a wand provides.

A skilled wandmaker can identify a magically inclined tree in a number of ways. The best method involves checking the tree for the presence of tanzerbaums, dryads, or, in Europe, bowtruckles. Likewise, magical birds and other small creatures, like the Brywythian Shrew, often make their nests and burrows in the shade of arcane arboreals. Where this fails, an observant enchanter might notice a number of occult happenings in the presence of such trees: the manifestation of phantom breezes, the warping of seasonal temperatures, and the casting of strange shadows all herald the presence of sorcerous wood. Once, it is believed, such trees grew in abundance, forming vast groves and forests of magic and leading to the introduction of enchanted woods into Muggle folklore and fairy tales.

Of course, just because a tree itself is magical doesn’t mean it isn’t used for mundane purposes. Many are the majestic, wizardly tree that have been felled to make common furniture, crates, and barrels. It is the sad fate of most of that wood to lose its magic overtime; there is nothing mystical enough in a box or a stool to hold onto that sorcerous spark. Some pieces, however, are lucky enough to be cherished in Muggle hands: some become staffs, or wardrobes, or beloved dolls, and something of their power remains intact. And some rare few, American wandmakers have discovered, become ships.

There are no other conveyance, amongst Mages or Muggles, that has the same mythology as a ship. Planes and brooms and automobiles can have temperaments, it is true, but only ships have personality. From the smallest dingy to the greatest frigate, we’ve spent eons giving them names, and stories, and even faces. Back in the days when ships were carved of wood, and Muggle sailors vied daily with the savage sea, a ship could become a person’s whole world; home and fortress, foe and friend, all at once. And it is not surprising, therefore, that some of those fantastic ships had a little magic in their beams and boards, and such ships often became things of legend. It is said Captain John Razor’s ship, The Sea Hag, had a tiller of fine English Oak from a highly magical tree, which moved in the dread pirate’s hands as naturally as a wand in the hand of a master duelist.

Of course such wood was not a perfect prevention for catastrophe, but magical wood, especially seasoned so by sea salt and the swearing and prayers of sailors, is rarely content to rot on the ocean floor. Over the decades, much of it has washed up on the shores of the Americas, where wandmakers have realized its fantastic powers and started using it in their craft.

A wand from the sea is a precious and rare thing, and best suited to wizards who have temperaments that match the ocean’s in scope and strength. Regardless of the wood’s original origin, the sea has reshaped it, and made it their own, and so Mages whose hands bring life to a ship-wrecked wand often seek to change the world themselves, through sheer strength of will. They tend to hint at a gift for transfiguration and the more forceful of charms, though a strange connection with astronomy also tends to emerge in those lucky enough to be their bearers.

It was never easy making friends, when she was young. Her family lived out in the middle of nowhere on a farm that had long since gone to seed. Her daddy was a drunk, and her momma didn’t much like to leave the house, and her sister ran off when she was eleven years old. If Anna wanted to go to school, which most days she did, she had to get herself up and walk herself down the long dirt road to the bus-stop. 

The other kids laughed at her, of course. They laughed at her tangled hair and hand-me-down clothes and the fact she didn’t always get to bathe because sometimes the water wasn’t running, but Anna didn’t care. School had books, and hot food, and so many things to do. And it wasn’t home, which was best of all. But she was lonely too, especially since her sister ran away. So she took to talking to the snakes that lived in the tall grass, to the birds in the trees, and the foxes too, when the had the time. Then one day she realized that sometimes they’d talk back. Not all of them, of course. But that old hoot-owl would sit and listen to her, and even come down to let her stroke its mighty wings, and the snakes, well, one day they just started crawling up her legs and asking to be held, and how could she refuse. They would weave through her hair and lick at her ears, and one day she got in trouble at school for letting a little copperhead ride in her bag on the bus. 

Then one night, after momma and daddy had argued themselves into a stupor out in the living room, Elizabeth came home. It’d been three years since she’d vanished into the night, and since everyone else claimed that she’d never even existed. She walked right through the door, tall and beautiful and wrapped up in a clean black dress that covered her from its pointy hood to its sweeping train. She gave Anna a big sandwich and a little smile and explained that she’d been at school, and if Anna liked she could come away too, and leave behind the crumbling house, and the dirt road, and the children who taunted her and called her names. She had something special in her, and there were there were others like them who knew it, and thought it was grand.

So Anna went with Elizabeth,who introduced her to an named Mr. Boyd from the DSO and Madam Diamonde from the Laveau Academy, but she never forgot her Momma and her Daddy. They weren’t great parents, but they were hers, and Anna Gaunt believed in family, even if Elizabeth wanted to forget.

It was never easy making friends, when she was young. Her family lived out in the middle of nowhere on a farm that had long since gone to seed. Her daddy was a drunk, and her momma didn’t much like to leave the house, and her sister ran off when she was eleven years old. If Anna wanted to go to school, which most days she did, she had to get herself up and walk herself down the long dirt road to the bus-stop.

The other kids laughed at her, of course. They laughed at her tangled hair and hand-me-down clothes and the fact she didn’t always get to bathe because sometimes the water wasn’t running, but Anna didn’t care. School had books, and hot food, and so many things to do. And it wasn’t home, which was best of all. But she was lonely too, especially since her sister ran away. So she took to talking to the snakes that lived in the tall grass, to the birds in the trees, and the foxes too, when the had the time. Then one day she realized that sometimes they’d talk back. Not all of them, of course. But that old hoot-owl would sit and listen to her, and even come down to let her stroke its mighty wings, and the snakes, well, one day they just started crawling up her legs and asking to be held, and how could she refuse. They would weave through her hair and lick at her ears, and one day she got in trouble at school for letting a little copperhead ride in her bag on the bus.

Then one night, after momma and daddy had argued themselves into a stupor out in the living room, Elizabeth came home. It’d been three years since she’d vanished into the night, and since everyone else claimed that she’d never even existed. She walked right through the door, tall and beautiful and wrapped up in a clean black dress that covered her from its pointy hood to its sweeping train. She gave Anna a big sandwich and a little smile and explained that she’d been at school, and if Anna liked she could come away too, and leave behind the crumbling house, and the dirt road, and the children who taunted her and called her names. She had something special in her, and there were there were others like them who knew it, and thought it was grand.

So Anna went with Elizabeth,who introduced her to an named Mr. Boyd from the DSO and Madam Diamonde from the Laveau Academy, but she never forgot her Momma and her Daddy. They weren’t great parents, but they were hers, and Anna Gaunt believed in family, even if Elizabeth wanted to forget.

Antigua Finca —The Town out of Time

If there is one thing that brings together Muggles and Mages from all societies, its that they are terrible meddlers. Whether politics, the contents of their neighbor’s washing lines, or the fundamental laws of the universe, every human seems to have his or her own particular vice when it comes to poking their nose into something quintessentially not their business. Curiosity is a human trait that transcends nationality or birth, and drives all people to ask certain questions, some of which are probably best left alone.

Those blessed with magical ability are, typically, the worst of the lot. As much evil has been done with a wand and the wrong questions than has ever been born by ambition, brashness, or blind loyalty. There is no better example of this than a small island off the south-western coast of the territory known amongst Muggles as California. There, amidst the pounding waves and ocean gales, is small town founded sometime after Spanish wizards began emigrating to the new world in great numbers. The Inquisition and the rule of a new Catholic dynasty in Spain had largely destroyed what had been centuries of free magical study and society, driving many free minded Wizards and Witches to flee fire and conversion.

Some them apparently came to that small island, and established a town there. Nothing is known about the town known as Antigua Finca, “The Ancient Port.” In the mid 1700s, rumors of the town’s existence circulated amongst Spanish explorers and merchants, but by the end of the century the rumors had been dismissed completely…that is until 1869, when a small ship pulled onto the shores an island in the middle of a heavy fog. The sailors who returned reported finding a small town filled with statues and ghostly images, haunted by phantom noises and an ominous ticking.

When AWC agents went to explore, they found Antigua Finca, and the echoes of whatever spell claimed the place. As best as agents of the MRD can speculate, the Mages of the town had attempted to protect their settlement from discovery by warping time itself…and in some ways, they succeed. Antigua Finca became a town outside of time. Those statues that remain are all that are left of the witches and wizards caught on the edges of the spell. The faint ticking and ghostly noises? Agents specialized in temporal magic can only guess it is the spell still operating on some different level of existence. Perhaps some of those original casters survived the spell, but remain unreachable. The best theorists have been unable to make any difference, and the old part of the town remains hidden from time itself.

New settlers have, of course, moved in. The town now hosts a diverse population of wizards and witches who have learned to live comfortably with the perpetual ticking. Indeed, it is said the residents of Antigua Finca have the best sense of time of anyone in AWC, and the MRD has a permanent outpost in the region to study temporal anomalies. At the heart of the old settlement is the strange sundial believed to be the focus of the original spell that froze the town. If nothing else, the ticking is perceptibly louder here and people often misplace time when touring it, only to find it again later most unexpectedly.

Antigua Finca The Town out of Time

If there is one thing that brings together Muggles and Mages from all societies, its that they are terrible meddlers. Whether politics, the contents of their neighbor’s washing lines, or the fundamental laws of the universe, every human seems to have his or her own particular vice when it comes to poking their nose into something quintessentially not their business. Curiosity is a human trait that transcends nationality or birth, and drives all people to ask certain questions, some of which are probably best left alone.

Those blessed with magical ability are, typically, the worst of the lot. As much evil has been done with a wand and the wrong questions than has ever been born by ambition, brashness, or blind loyalty. There is no better example of this than a small island off the south-western coast of the territory known amongst Muggles as California. There, amidst the pounding waves and ocean gales, is small town founded sometime after Spanish wizards began emigrating to the new world in great numbers. The Inquisition and the rule of a new Catholic dynasty in Spain had largely destroyed what had been centuries of free magical study and society, driving many free minded Wizards and Witches to flee fire and conversion.

Some them apparently came to that small island, and established a town there. Nothing is known about the town known as Antigua Finca, “The Ancient Port.” In the mid 1700s, rumors of the town’s existence circulated amongst Spanish explorers and merchants, but by the end of the century the rumors had been dismissed completely…that is until 1869, when a small ship pulled onto the shores an island in the middle of a heavy fog. The sailors who returned reported finding a small town filled with statues and ghostly images, haunted by phantom noises and an ominous ticking.

When AWC agents went to explore, they found Antigua Finca, and the echoes of whatever spell claimed the place. As best as agents of the MRD can speculate, the Mages of the town had attempted to protect their settlement from discovery by warping time itself…and in some ways, they succeed. Antigua Finca became a town outside of time. Those statues that remain are all that are left of the witches and wizards caught on the edges of the spell. The faint ticking and ghostly noises? Agents specialized in temporal magic can only guess it is the spell still operating on some different level of existence. Perhaps some of those original casters survived the spell, but remain unreachable. The best theorists have been unable to make any difference, and the old part of the town remains hidden from time itself.

New settlers have, of course, moved in. The town now hosts a diverse population of wizards and witches who have learned to live comfortably with the perpetual ticking. Indeed, it is said the residents of Antigua Finca have the best sense of time of anyone in AWC, and the MRD has a permanent outpost in the region to study temporal anomalies. At the heart of the old settlement is the strange sundial believed to be the focus of the original spell that froze the town. If nothing else, the ticking is perceptibly louder here and people often misplace time when touring it, only to find it again later most unexpectedly.

aintnopartylikeatimelordteaparty asked
What is the currency used in Wizarding America?

The AWC uses standard American currency and has done so since its inception. Since, at the time of the Revolution, many families were still mixed, there was not a strong need to separate the currencies, and today, the AWC finds it more practical to maintain consistency rather than forcing Muggleborns, mixed-blood families, and those doing business with the Muggle world to exchange currency on a frequent basis. Rates of inflation are not strictly tied to those in the Muggle world, as the two economies often depend on different resources, but neither is the AWC’s economy immune to fluctuations in the Muggle market. Adjustments have been necessary as the AWC incorporated new territory, and they did suffer a fracturing during the American Wizarding Civil War, even worse than that suffered in the Muggle World, as the AWC split into more than two factions.

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Follock,
As you know I will be swinging by next Sunday to pick up you and Charles to buy his school supplies. As this will be both his, and your, first introduction to our hidden world, I wanted to take a moment and explain how our trip would unfold and what you can expect.
I will arrive promptly at 9 AM in a car given to me for the afternoon by my department. I will have already picked up two of my other charges for the trip, so our last stop will be your home. The other families accompanying us will consist of Mr. Grayson Ford and his father Woodrow, and Miss Ekani Tandon, who will be accompanied by her grandmother. They will also be starting at the Randolph-Poythress Institute this autumn and will be Charles’s classmates for the next seven years. I have often found it best that our Muggleborn students have at least one or two friendly faces already known to them going into their first year and, if I may be so bold, our parents often find having a community of their own in which they can confide a great relief.
I will also be bringing along Miss Mildred Frost, a 6th Year at RPI who underwent this same process six years ago and will be able to help Charles, Grayson, and Ekani accommodate to their new surroundings. Miss Frost is one of the most academically gifted students at RPI, and has volunteered to be your son’s go-to resource over the next school year. If has any questions that he is embarrassed to ask his classmates, he can turn to Miss Frost and she will help guide him. While the differences between our world and yours are not so great as some amongst both our communities might like to imagine, there are still certain cultural nuances and bits of lore that often leave Muggleborns at a temporary disadvantage. I can assure you it will only hinder Charles for a short time, but we like to mitigate even that period whenever possible, and an older student who understands the struggle of integration is an immense boon.  
After we depart your home, we will be entering Washington, D.C. and proceeding to Dupont Circle, from whence I will escort you into Circle’s Corner, a Wizarding community in the heart of the District of Columbia. We will have a short tour of the area, which will include the local extension of Lockstock’s Bank. I would like to warn you ahead of time that Lockstock’s is a Goblin run bank (see the enclosed pamphlet) and I would advise you let me do all the talking during our brief trip. If you wish, the Goblins can set up an account for you and your child in which you can deposit funds for your child to access during the year. They have connections to all the major banks that I am aware of in the Muggle world, so transactions will not be difficult. Each consultation will be completely private, so have no concerns on that front, and the Goblins are perfectly trustworthy, at least where money is concerned.  
From Lockstock’s, we will make a very important journey to Willoughby’s Fine Wands, where your child will undergo one of the greatest rites of passage of our world. The pairing of a witch or wizard with their wand is a moment they will remember for the rest of their lives. A wand is more than a simple tool: I do not think there is an adequate comparison in the Muggle world to the choosing of the wand, but I have no fears that once you have witnessed the process it will become readily apparent. Each wand is uniquely crafted, and Willoughby’s offers a variety of woods, cuts, lengths, and cores. Please remember that while your child’s books and general educational expenses are covered, the wand is a personal expense costing around $65.00. Most wizards go through two to three wands in their lifetime. All wands are equally priced, regardless of their core material and wood-type thanks to subsidies provided to certified craftsmen by our Congress.
You will also be free to shop in the many other fine establishments of Circle’s Corner. As Charles will be allowed a pet in his first year, I suggest a stop by Finnegan’s Familiars should you be inclined to provide him with one. There are also several bookshops that I will point out to you, including Conjury and Creed’s, which has a whole section for the parents of unexpectedly magical children. Formal dress is not required for the first year, but I often advise parents that a few extra sets of robes are generally a good investment.   
We will finish our day at the Thunderbird, a restaurant hidden in the famous W Hotel, which we will reach through the secret corners of the capital (I promise this will make sense in time). Do not worry about the cost of the lunch, as my department will be covering it. All the student groups shopping that day will come together to meet one another, and I believe that Headmistress Blair will be joining us with one or two members of her staff. She is generally happy to answer the concerns of parents of Muggleborn students, and likes to meet each of them in person before they start school.
As stated, I will arrive promptly at 9 AM, so please be prepared to go. Do not worry about space or traffic or parking concerns…these are not problems that overly concern our kind.
Sincerely -Ralph Donald DuboisSnr. Agent of the Department of Secrecy and Obfuscation - Muggleborn Liaison Wing”
Every Muggleborn Student, upon being identified by the Congress’s agents, seers, or network of magical-detection (which is tuned specifically to the massive outburst of magical energy that generally accompany a young mage’s first outpouring of magic), is assigned to the case-load of a specially-trained agent of the Department of Secrecy and Obfuscation. These agents are charged with inducting the future student into the secrets of the magical world and acting as an intermediary between the Schools, the Department, and the family. In the last 75 years that the program has been in place, the DSO has established very specific and effective protocols in dealing with youths who develop magical powers in Muggle settings. All the proper paperwork and obfuscations are taken care of to help the child begin their magical life (without the scrutiny of local schools and Muggle agencies), and, depending on the amount of time permitted between identification and the start of school, special trips into the Wizarding world are arranged. Since 1955, the DSO has also taken steps to protect magical children in abusive homes. They work closely through Muggle child-protective-agencies to address the issue, but have been known to remove magical children to the homes of Wizarding or squib families when other alternatives have been exhausted. On several rare instances, some students either orphaned, abandoned, or removed from their home due to a threat to their persons have become the temporary wards of their schools until more suitable arrangements could be made. 

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Follock,

As you know I will be swinging by next Sunday to pick up you and Charles to buy his school supplies. As this will be both his, and your, first introduction to our hidden world, I wanted to take a moment and explain how our trip would unfold and what you can expect.

I will arrive promptly at 9 AM in a car given to me for the afternoon by my department. I will have already picked up two of my other charges for the trip, so our last stop will be your home. The other families accompanying us will consist of Mr. Grayson Ford and his father Woodrow, and Miss Ekani Tandon, who will be accompanied by her grandmother. They will also be starting at the Randolph-Poythress Institute this autumn and will be Charles’s classmates for the next seven years. I have often found it best that our Muggleborn students have at least one or two friendly faces already known to them going into their first year and, if I may be so bold, our parents often find having a community of their own in which they can confide a great relief.

I will also be bringing along Miss Mildred Frost, a 6th Year at RPI who underwent this same process six years ago and will be able to help Charles, Grayson, and Ekani accommodate to their new surroundings. Miss Frost is one of the most academically gifted students at RPI, and has volunteered to be your son’s go-to resource over the next school year. If has any questions that he is embarrassed to ask his classmates, he can turn to Miss Frost and she will help guide him. While the differences between our world and yours are not so great as some amongst both our communities might like to imagine, there are still certain cultural nuances and bits of lore that often leave Muggleborns at a temporary disadvantage. I can assure you it will only hinder Charles for a short time, but we like to mitigate even that period whenever possible, and an older student who understands the struggle of integration is an immense boon.  

After we depart your home, we will be entering Washington, D.C. and proceeding to Dupont Circle, from whence I will escort you into Circle’s Corner, a Wizarding community in the heart of the District of Columbia. We will have a short tour of the area, which will include the local extension of Lockstock’s Bank. I would like to warn you ahead of time that Lockstock’s is a Goblin run bank (see the enclosed pamphlet) and I would advise you let me do all the talking during our brief trip. If you wish, the Goblins can set up an account for you and your child in which you can deposit funds for your child to access during the year. They have connections to all the major banks that I am aware of in the Muggle world, so transactions will not be difficult. Each consultation will be completely private, so have no concerns on that front, and the Goblins are perfectly trustworthy, at least where money is concerned.  

From Lockstock’s, we will make a very important journey to Willoughby’s Fine Wands, where your child will undergo one of the greatest rites of passage of our world. The pairing of a witch or wizard with their wand is a moment they will remember for the rest of their lives. A wand is more than a simple tool: I do not think there is an adequate comparison in the Muggle world to the choosing of the wand, but I have no fears that once you have witnessed the process it will become readily apparent. Each wand is uniquely crafted, and Willoughby’s offers a variety of woods, cuts, lengths, and cores. Please remember that while your child’s books and general educational expenses are covered, the wand is a personal expense costing around $65.00. Most wizards go through two to three wands in their lifetime. All wands are equally priced, regardless of their core material and wood-type thanks to subsidies provided to certified craftsmen by our Congress.

You will also be free to shop in the many other fine establishments of Circle’s Corner. As Charles will be allowed a pet in his first year, I suggest a stop by Finnegan’s Familiars should you be inclined to provide him with one. There are also several bookshops that I will point out to you, including Conjury and Creed’s, which has a whole section for the parents of unexpectedly magical children. Formal dress is not required for the first year, but I often advise parents that a few extra sets of robes are generally a good investment.  

We will finish our day at the Thunderbird, a restaurant hidden in the famous W Hotel, which we will reach through the secret corners of the capital (I promise this will make sense in time). Do not worry about the cost of the lunch, as my department will be covering it. All the student groups shopping that day will come together to meet one another, and I believe that Headmistress Blair will be joining us with one or two members of her staff. She is generally happy to answer the concerns of parents of Muggleborn students, and likes to meet each of them in person before they start school.

As stated, I will arrive promptly at 9 AM, so please be prepared to go. Do not worry about space or traffic or parking concerns…these are not problems that overly concern our kind.

Sincerely
-Ralph Donald Dubois
Snr. Agent of the Department of Secrecy and Obfuscation - Muggleborn Liaison Wing”

Every Muggleborn Student, upon being identified by the Congress’s agents, seers, or network of magical-detection (which is tuned specifically to the massive outburst of magical energy that generally accompany a young mage’s first outpouring of magic), is assigned to the case-load of a specially-trained agent of the Department of Secrecy and Obfuscation. These agents are charged with inducting the future student into the secrets of the magical world and acting as an intermediary between the Schools, the Department, and the family. In the last 75 years that the program has been in place, the DSO has established very specific and effective protocols in dealing with youths who develop magical powers in Muggle settings. All the proper paperwork and obfuscations are taken care of to help the child begin their magical life (without the scrutiny of local schools and Muggle agencies), and, depending on the amount of time permitted between identification and the start of school, special trips into the Wizarding world are arranged. Since 1955, the DSO has also taken steps to protect magical children in abusive homes. They work closely through Muggle child-protective-agencies to address the issue, but have been known to remove magical children to the homes of Wizarding or squib families when other alternatives have been exhausted. On several rare instances, some students either orphaned, abandoned, or removed from their home due to a threat to their persons have become the temporary wards of their schools until more suitable arrangements could be made. 

atlasobscura:

THE LAKE MONSTERS OF AMERICA
BY ALLISON MEIER / 22 NOV 2013
People love to fill in mysterious areas of nature with myths of monsters. Early maps had voids of knowledge marked with warnings that “Here be Dragons,” sasquatches are believed to be prowling the thick forests, and legends tell of strange creatures that might be concealed beneath the surface of our lakes. Here we present our map of American lake monsters (view it large here), showing the spread of cryptids that might be lurking in the depths of the waters of the United States.
Click here to view the whole map of the Lake Monsters of America, and perhaps discover what sea serpents and others nautical beasts might be lurking near you. If you would like even more monsters both mythical and real, check out our places around the world related to cryptozoology and fascinating fauna. 
Be sure to read the whole article at Atlas Obscura

atlasobscura:

THE LAKE MONSTERS OF AMERICA

BY ALLISON MEIER / 22 NOV 2013
People love to fill in mysterious areas of nature with myths of monsters. Early maps had voids of knowledge marked with warnings that “Here be Dragons,” sasquatches are believed to be prowling the thick forests, and legends tell of strange creatures that might be concealed beneath the surface of our lakes. Here we present our map of American lake monsters (view it large here), showing the spread of cryptids that might be lurking in the depths of the waters of the United States.
Click here to view the whole map of the Lake Monsters of America, and perhaps discover what sea serpents and others nautical beasts might be lurking near you. If you would like even more monsters both mythical and real, check out our places around the world related to cryptozoology and fascinating fauna