October 17th: Wineville Chicken Coop Murders: Sarah Louise Cawthrope Northcott

 Sarah Louise Cawthrope Northcott 1869 Ontario, Canada - Nov 21, 1944 California, USA

Sarah Louise Cawthrope Northcott
1869 Ontario, Canada – Nov 21, 1944 California, USA

Yes sir, “gran” was there. She didn’t hit ‘em much, owing to her bad heart. But she called which boy got axed when and made us cut ‘em up and other things besides. [long pause]

Uncle Stewart [Gordon Northcott] sometimes didn’t want to cut ‘em, and never once wanted to eat ‘em, but he couldn’t say so to her, no sir. Her look could make Uncle do anything, ANYTHING…. [sobbing]
–Court transcript of defendant’s grandson, Sanford Wesley Clark, age 15, witness at the sentencing hearing of Sarah Louise Northcott, Riverside County, December 31, 1928.

Sarah Louise Cawthrope was born to a middle class Canadian family of mixed heritage. Her ancestry was unremarkable save for an eccentric Orcadian grandmother named Gulle Moar, who fled prosecution by the Catholic church in 1832 for witchcraft. Unrecorded in history was the awful truth that Gulle herself was but one in a string of hosts for an ancient and powerful sorceress of Mother Hydra who lived in the Orkney Islands since the time of the Picts.

In 1875, when Sarah was 6 years old and Gulle nearing 65 years of age, the latter completed a Mind Transfer ritual upon the former. However, because the original sorceress was part Deep One, she could only successfully Mind Transfer permanently to a host with similar lineage. As a result, witches of this line have taken care to wed their progeny to humans tainted with Deep One ancestry, including their own siblings and offspring if no other suitors could be found. Either because of their Deep One heritage or due to inbreeding, or both, relatives of this family suffer greatly from mental instability.

While many with Deep One ancestry enjoy eternal vitality, not so Sarah Louise. She was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in her early twenties, quickening her need to find a suitable receptacle for her mind. To this end she wed George Cyrus Northcott, a prosperous merchant with mythos tainted blood. By him, she bore two children, Winifred and Gordon. Unfortunate for their mother, Winifred proved resistant to mental domination and Gordon Stewart suffered from schizophrenia.

Making matters worse, Winifred elected to wed John Clark against her parents’ wishes, a man without even a drop of mythos blood. Not surprisingly, the daughter born to them, Jessie Clark, proved wholly incompatible for mind transference. As her ancestors had done in the past, Sarah commanded her husband to rape Winifred and used magic to abort any pregnancies that did not originate from George Northcott. Of the three sons born from this incest, Sanford Wesley Clark appeared to be the most suitable mind receptacle.

In 1924, Sarah Louise Northcott relocated her family to Los Angeles from British Columbia. Two years later, she sent her son, Gordon Stewart Northcott, to a remote ranch in Wineville, Riverside County, ostensibly to start a poultry business, but in reality to prepare a ritual site for Mind Transfer. She also convinced Winifred to send Sanford Clark, then 13 years old, to work the farm while she sapped his sanity through participation in grisly acts of murder and necromancy.

History records that over twenty boys were likely abused, murdered, and dismembered between 1926 and 1928 in Wineville, California. But in truth many times that number were abducted in and around greater Los Angeles by Sarah Louise Northcott and her deranged son. What unspeakable horrors befell those boys are not known, but the vast majority of their bodies were never discovered, suggesting that at least some of them were animated as undead for her and her son’s pleasure or were consumed by them or their spells.

By happenstance, Winifred’s eldest child and Sarah Louise’s too human granddaughter, Jessie Clark, visited her brother and uncle at the ranch in 1928 and soon thereafter alerted the authorities of suspected abuse. Police raided the property and found evidence of capital crimes. News of mass murder spread quickly throughout the nation, and the case was dubbed the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders because its most famous victim, nine year old Walter Collins, was confined in a chicken coop prior to his murder.

Although apprehended, Sarah Louise Northcott continued to use unearthly powers in her own defense. Through mental suggestion and mind control, she convinced a teenager to pose as one of the murdered children, Walter Collins, the police to promote him as such, and the mother of the murdered boy to accept him as her own. For her own son, Gordon, Sarah did nothing; he was convicted of multiple homicide and was hung in 1930.

Sarah Loiuse Northcott spent 12 years in detention. In 1940 she moved to Parsonsburg, Maryland, to reunite with her husband, George. She lived there until 1944, when her current physical body finally expired.

Sarah Louise Cawthrope Northcott
59 year old human sorceress of Mother Hydra
INT 17
POW 23
DEX 13
APP 11
Move 6
HP 9

Sanity: 0
Damage Bonus: none
Weapons: none
Armor: none
Spells: Black Binding, Cloud Memory, Contact/Summon/Bind Deep One, Create Zombie, Dominate, Mental Suggestion, Mind Exchange, Mind Transfer, Nightmare, Send Dream
Skills: Cthulhu Mythos 70%, Fast Talk 65%, Occult 30%, Persuade 70%, Psychology 55%.

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