The Haunting of Mill Towers

“Good afternoon, I’m Dr. Gilman. Amanda, I and the rest of the staff at Sefton are here for your benefit. You understand that, right? Good. Now, for the record, I’m Dr. Theodore Gilman, chief psychiatrist at Sefton Asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Will you state your name and then tell us what happened?”

“Amanda Whateley. Right so…where to begin? Okay, yeah. So about a month in, I think that’s when I started noticing things. And it only seems to be us—women. Adult women. Whether we’re living here or working here or…both…and it doesn’t affect everyone, you know? It really makes you think you’re going crazy. Like, even now I dunno. But here I am, in Sefton. And I’m sorry about not sharing in group or anything. I’m just not ready for that. But I think I’m ready for this, I do. I am. 

“Okay…so, as you know, I’d been living there just over a month. Huh? Oh, Mills Tower. Yeah, in Aylesbury. I think I’d been there maybe a month when I first started to notice the lights, or really, the noise they made. Hissing and huffing. But faint. Incessant. Kinda like a washing machine in another room, but at that part of a rinse cycle where it’s all ‘unh-unh-unh’ right, but like mechanical sounding and right before it drains all the water into the utility sink. Sometimes it sounded like ya didn’t balance the load. No? Well I changed out all the bulbs in my condo and it seemed to help a little but it must’ve been the fluorescent lights in the hallways. You know those things leak black ooze? Anyways, I complained…what? Yeah, but just melatonin and it wasn’t working anyways. I was trying to get on suboxone at the time so I wouldn’t need to go to the clinic everyday. 

“So yeah, I complained to maintenance and they didn’t fix it. Finally, after a couple weeks of me complaining, they changed out bulbs and wiped away that black ooze. Guy tried to say he didn’t hear no noise and that the black stuff was from a ballast leaking. But that’s how it starts…slow…seeping into our reality like the yellow stain of nicotine bleeding through a primer coat of paint in a shitty trailer whose former occupants were heavy smokers. 

“Yeah, I was living in a trailer before Mill Towers. I was with this guy and it wasn’t good and…like, I thought it was my Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly phase, but it was more Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, and he was Amber Heard. What? No, uh, my dad. My parents, really. They got the condo for me and I moved in there. Yeah, with my daughter.”

At this point, in the video recording, Ms. Whateley breaks down sobbing gently and the recording ends after a minute or two.

“I’m Dr. Theodore Gilman, chief psychiatrist at Sefton Asylum, and I’m conducting a competency evaluation on behalf of the Aylesbury District Court. With me today is Amanda Whateley. Yesterday, you were talking about the lights. Care to begin where you left off?

“The lights…the noise from them. It didn’t get fixed. And the melatonin wasn’t helping. Everyone else pretended they couldn’t hear it but…you had to hear it…24/7, like a factory or something. I started taking Ambien to help sleep and like everything else awful in life, you just kinda get numb to it. But that noise…it was enough to drive anyone crazy. 

“Next came the sound of children talking. Always from around a corner or from behind a closed door. Mill Towers…people live there, so it seems normal at first, right? It’s not it’s the 1800s, after all, when children should be seen and not heard. But then it’s the realization that your neighbors don’t have kids or you stop and finally pay attention to the conversation—a conversation about working in a mill and who got hurt or killed that week and how they can’t wait to be a ‘piecer’ instead of a ‘scavenger?’ But it’s just those damn lights. And the stress from not sleeping well. So an Ambien became another Ambien…and then another and another and…well, it’s stronger with alcohol you know. Just a little bit. 

“’Hallucinations’ came next. And not like, seeing stuff out of the corner of my eye kinda stuff, but like spotting a severed finger in the hallway. Having a big clump of hair clog a drain—so nasty. The children, too, the children weren’t talking anymore—they’d whimper in pain and cry softly to themselves. No one believed me. They didn’t see what I saw…and…sometimes when I’d look again, I didn’t see it either. 

“One time when my parents came to visit, my dad told me not to mix pills and alcohol. The hair from the drain though…that was real enough, but like an asshole, my mother just told me that it’s gross and that that happens. But I know they knew what was going on and they were just gaslighting me. Something’s up, and they’re…they’re…something. And their comments: I looked tired. Was I sleeping? Not just them but everyone. Everyone would say it. And again with the pills and the wine. Mommy just needed to sleep a little.

“They took Livy from me. My parents. Like, to spend the week with them. My Olivia…and I…I’m here now. And my little girl…they took my daughter from me.”

“Good morning, Amanda. How are you feeling today? Ready to begin? Good. I’m Dr. Theodore Gilman, chief psychiatrist at Sefton Asylum. I’m conducting a competency evaluation on behalf of the Aylesbury District Court to determine if Ms. Whateley is competent to stand trail for the murder of her daughter, Olivia Whateley. Go ahead and take a moment to compose yourself, and then let’s pickup from where we left off yesterday. Oh of course, let’s see…Ambien and alcohol, auditory and visual hallucinations…ah, Olivia was going to spend some time with her grandparents.”

“It wasn’t…it wasn’t…that’s…”

“I understand if this is hard for you, Amanda. I do. How about you start with the lights again?”

“The lights? They were quiet. The maintenance guys replaced some ballasts or something cause the buzzing stopped. And my neighbors must’ve had kids cause I’d see them. Weird creepy children dressed in something from…I dunno. What’s that Netflix show with Florence Pugh and that guy from Dune? Timothy Chalet, Chalomet, something? Little Women! That’s it. Yeah. But poorer. Like if they lived in a trailer back then. 

“When I couldn’t sleep I’d go down to the second floor. It’d be dark and I’d see them playing tag or hide-n-seek or something down on the second floor. Crawling all around the tables and chairs in the shared offices and the conference room. Always in the dark, but you know, it’s just as well. Children shouldn’t be seen or heard. As soon as I’d start going across the floor, the motion sensors on the lights would turn everything on and the kids would just disappear. 

“Yeah, I was still on Ambien. And the pills were definitely working, maybe too well as I was sleeping a lot more than I used to and things like friends or even basic hygiene and grooming weren’t so important anymore. I was awake more at night. I just…I must’ve mixed up when I was supposed to be taking them.

“Oh, the kids? Sometimes I’d see them at a distance. In their old clothes. Sometimes…I’d know they were close. Like if I turned, they’d be there, right behind me. It’d be a cold chill or just that feeling like you’d get when you were a kid and you were alone in the basement. I remember a family trip to Acadia when I was a teen. It was one of those iron rung trails, the Precipice, I think, and I just knew someone or something else was there with me and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even open my eyes. My dad was sooo mad at me. But it was like, if I opened my eyes and something was there…uh, just thinking about the ‘what if’ gives me the chills still!

“No, I know. I’ve been told that there were no children there. Well yeah, I mean of course except Livy. She was…my parents…I think she’d spent a couple weeks with them? And they dropped her back off cause they ‘couldn’t deal with her anymore.’ That’s what they used to say about me, you know? When I was a teen. And it always came with a threat to send me away or make me see a therapist. You know I spent my summers in Pennsylvania with my grandparents just so my parents wouldn’t have to ‘deal with’ me? Like they were great and I was terrible? Did I ever…what? Livy…yeah.

“So Olivia was back with me. And I don’t think I was ready, but I had really really missed her and I know she missed me too. We went to the park, that first day. And ice cream. And we fed a whole loaf of bread to geese at the riverside park even though there were signs telling us not to. I’m sorry, can we…can we stop? I want to stop. I…it was such a good day for me. Olivia was happy. We were gonna do popcorn and make S’mores and find something to watch on Netflix that night and…and my little girl…they took my daughter from me.”

“Amanda…no one took your daughter.”

“Oh god…no…I don’t wanna do this anymore.”

“Amanda, you and Olivia went home after the park and…”

“Oh god oh god oh god NO! Nononono…”

“You murdered her. She was found in the conference room, badly beaten, with the table and chairs flipped on top of her…”

“Stop it! It wasn’t me! It was those girls! The mill girls!”

“Amanda? Amanda? Nurse, please get an orderly and a wheelchair. She’s gone catatonic. We’ll try it again, when she comes out of it. Last time it took what, two weeks? At least it was shorter than the time before that.”

creepy female children from 1800 that were killed in industrial accidents. Lost limbs, scalped heads, crushed and mangled in the machines
Ayelsbury Mills Girls by Brad Hicks

The Aylesbury Mill Girls

During the height of the Industrial Revolution, textile mills in New England had a huge appetite for labor, and three-quarters of its workforce were young women. Of that, half were under the age of twelve. The children, some as young as four or five, began work in the mills as scavengers, crawling between and under the machines (while they were in use), clearing away any dust, dirt, or anything else that might cause the machines to not operate at peak performance. 

Many a mill girl would find their hair suddenly caught up in the machine where, if they were lucky, it’d only be ripped out and they’d not be scalped or pulled into the machines. Others would end up with broken fingers or arms…again, if they were lucky. The machines were known to crush and mangle limbs so badly that amputation was sometimes required. The really unfortunate children ended up dead, either decapitated or crushed by the industrial wonders of the age.

The mills of Aylesbury are now long-gone. Now it’s all mixed-use developments living inside the old bones of the factories: condos on the upper floors promoting “loft-living” within walking distance to EVERYTHING in downtown Aylesbury; the second floor consists of shared office space for freelancers and gig workers, a large conference room that they can rent out as needed, and a few permanent offices belonging to, among other businesses, a Life Coach and an Event Planner, as well as a large balcony with a rooftop garden and views of the town; and the ground floor has a few shops around a central checkout point, such as a small organic grocery store, an over-priced coffee shop, a realtor for the building, and a small art gallery (to just name a few). Like the Facebook ad says, “loft-living at Mill Towers really is living at its best.”

However, the barrage of social media ads and heavy community outreach by the on-site realtor (who is also the vice president of the Aylesbury Chamber of Commerce) hide a secret. The Mill Towers are straight-up haunted. No lie. 

Some of the women who live there have reported hearing children’s voices late at night, and those who have gone looking swear that no one else was around. A few claim to have seen young kids playing in and around the second-floor offices after dark, yet when they set off the lights’ optical sensors and everything lights up on the floor, they’re alone. And two women that lived there…one jumped out of her sixth-story condo one day, Shih Tzu and all, while another hasn’t been seen in a few weeks. 

But hey, come see what loft-living at the Mill Towers is all about, cause aren’t you ready to experience life at its best? 

The Mill Girl Ghosts

Women alone in the Mill Towers after nightfall must make a POW roll. The ghosts only appear to adult women, typically when they’re alone but not always. Encounters with Aylebury’s Mill Girls often results in a slow POW bleed, drained out over weeks or months. 

  1. They manifest first the sounds of the steam engines and waterwheels powering the massive machines in the textile factories. The relentless nature of the noises combined with lack of sleep (and not being believed by anyone) costs 1 POW per week. 
  2. Once the victim has been bled of 5 Power, the voices of young girls can sometimes be heard. Whether it’s realizing that the victim’s neighbors don’t have children or the victim simply listens in on a conversation between young girls who died in the factory over 200 years ago, chatting away about work or the life they had, as if it were still 1807, there is a cost to be paid. Seeking help tends to result in the prescription of benzodiazepine for anxiety and to help with sleeping, as anyone experiencing this is just overworked or tired. Maybe they’re experiencing a bad side effect to the prescription and “let’s have you try this instead,” which is only going to result in a cocktail of z-drugs and benzos in their system. SAN 0/1D4 to realize that there are no kids present and the victim really must be going crazy. Plus, there’s still 1 POW going out the door each week.
  3. Static hallucinations start one the victim has lost 10 POW. There are no additional SAN costs for these, as the victim is already aware that they might be seeing things that isn’t there. Afterall, no one else believes them…in fact, it might be easier to just pretend that they’re not seeing anything either. At least it’ll save on being gaslit by others.
  4. Losing 15 POW points is a blessing. Really. The sounds of the factory stop or just blend in with everything else as to not be noticed now. The visual hallucinations of severed digits and scalps stop. Obviously, the medication (or whatever the victim is doing) is working. Plus, the voices of the little girls? Turns out there really were little girls as the victim has caught sight of them a few times now. Aways from a distance but still, such a relief! At this point, you’re doing so well you hardly notice the trickle of 1 POW per week going away…you mainly just want to sleep all day, every day. 
  5. At 20 POW, you’re definitely aware of them. And they’re definitely aware of you. And be it jealousy that you made it to adulthood or rage that built up over the last two centuries of reliving their trauma and deaths every week or hatred for the living in general, but they’re going to get you. And they’ll start with breaking the things you love before driving you to kill yourself.

Keeper’s Note: The loss in POW results in a corresponding loss in Sanity points, meaning anyone targeted by the Mill Girls has been losing roughly 1 SAN a week. This minor loss is felt as discomfort and unease; however, as it’s all “one” encounter, the results should be cumulative, growing from discomfort and unease to feeling that something is truly wrong with whatever is happening. See Sanity Loss, on page 165 of the Call of Cthulhu Keeper’s Rulebook, for a guide on how to roleplay the accumulated effects of long-term Sanity loss.

Many victims of the Mill Girls’ hatred never encounter the ghosts directly. The POW bleed and resulting Sanity loss is often enough to break anyone well before hitting the 20 POW that the Mil Girls need to materialize directly. Should someone remain, despite everything they’re going through, the 1D4+3 ghosts physically materialize at that point. 

The Mill Girls, vengeful ghosts of Industrial Revolution Aylesbury

char. rolls average

STR 2D6 × 5 35

CON 3D6 × 5 70

SIZ 2D6 × 5 35

DEX 3D6 × 5 50–55  

POW 4D6 × 5 70

HP: 10

Average Damage Bonus: –1

Average Build: –1

Average Magic Points: 14

Move: 7 scampering and crawling over and around everything


Attacks per Round: 1

Fighting 40% (20/8), damage 1D3+damage bonus

Dodge 30% (15/6) 

Armor: None; if “killed” through physical means, the ghost dissipates and just reforms the next night.

Spells: None.

Sanity Loss: 1/1D8 when one fully comprehends what they’re dealing with; the Mill Girls are a slow SAN-bleed encounter best used over several weeks/months.
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