The Dream Doctor HTML version

21. The Ghouls
"H-M," mused Kennedy, weighing the contents of the note carefully, "one of the family,
I'll be bound--unless the whole thing is a hoax. By the way, who else is there in the
immediate family?"
"Only a brother, Dana Phelps, younger and somewhat inclined to wildness, I believe. At
least, his father did not trust him with a large inheritance, but left most of his money in
trust. But before we go any further, read that."
Andrews pulled from the papers a newspaper cutting on which he had drawn a circle
about the following item. As we read, he eyed us sharply.
Last night, John Shaughnessy, a night watchman employed by the town of Woodbine,
while on his rounds, was attracted by noises as of a violent struggle near the back road in
the Woodbine Cemetery, on the outskirts of the town. He had varied his regular rounds
because of the recent depredations of motor-car yeggmen who had timed him in pulling
off several jobs lately. As he hurried toward the large mausoleum of the Phelps family, he
saw two figures slink away in opposite directions in the darkness. One of them, he asserts
positively, seemed to be a woman in black, the other a man whom he could not see
clearly. They readily eluded pursuit in the shadows, and a moment later he heard the whir
of a high-powered car, apparently bearing them away.
At the tomb there was every evidence of a struggle. Things had been thrown about; the
casket had been broken open, but the body of Montague Phelps, Jr., which had been
interred there about ten days ago, was not touched or mutilated.
It was a shocking and extraordinary violation. Shaughnessy believes that some personal
jewels may have been buried with Phelps and that the thieves were after them, that they
fought over the loot, and in the midst of the fight were scared away.
The vault is of peculiar construction, a costly tomb in which repose the bodies of the late
Montague Phelps, Sr., of his wife, and now of his eldest son. The raid had evidently been
carefully planned to coincide with a time when Shaughnessy would ordinarily have been
on the other side of the town. The entrance to the tomb had been barred, but during the
commotion the ghouls were surprised and managed to escape without accomplishing
their object and leaving no trace.
Mrs. Phelps, when informed of the vandalism, was shocked, and has been in a very
nervous state since the tomb was forced open. The local authorities seem extremely
anxious that every precaution should be taken to prevent a repetition of the ghoulish visit
to the tomb, but as yet the Phelps family has taken no steps.