Professor Randle Briggs taught at Berkeley in California in 1964 and was involved in the riots there during that time period. He was arrested and spent a few days in jail, but was hounded after his release by police officers that were looking at him as a major link in the cause of the riots.
To avoid police prosecution, he decided to follow up on his pet project – the mysteries of Maundbury. His parents were from the area and often spoke of the strange goings on there. Of strange forests, odd fires and missing persons. He had it marked for follow up for years – hoping to write a book about the place and slip into a comfortable retirement. He secured a home to live in, packed his meager assortment of personal items and left California without looking back.
The first year of his stay was said to be uneventful and quiet for the most part.
In 1964 He followed the trail of Valerie Peterson and wrote several articles on the psychology behind her murderous rampages and what it did to the families of the poor children involved.
In 1965, he befriended a young girl who’s father and sister had recently died. He hoped to provide assistance in her coping, but stopped after being chastised by the girl’s homebound mother and the angry eyes of some of the mothers in town. He decides to shift his focus to events of the past.
He speaks with a Professor Alfons Cassius Nagel at Oxwain Occidental College and strikes gold. Nagel confirms the strange tales of Maundbury and is able to direct Briggs towards some of the more interesting areas of the happenings.
Chief William Eli Lloyd stops Briggs one day in the summer of ’65 and takes him to lunch. He warns Briggs against trespassing and tries to convince him to drop his investigations and return to California. Briggs declines, but promises the Chief that he will paint Maundbury in a good light and stay on the right side of the law. Lloyd is heard telling Briggs that he’s already gotten on the wrong side of the law and leaves Briggs to pay for the meal.
In the fall of ’65, Briggs is seen walking the Coal Trail to Dante Passage . When he doesn’t return, rumors start to fly. The Cosmopolitan Beauty Salon is set alight with the buzzing sounds of the young man’s disappearance. The sense of disappointment when he returns two days later stops the excitement.
Greyhaven Port was the next stop for Briggs. He’s seen with binoculars and a bag of food – searching the sky for large, winged animals.
By 1966, Briggs is accepted as a member of the community - a beloved eccentric with a penchant for the strange.
In the Spring of 1966, Professor Randle Briggs purchases a backpack, tent and sleeping bag. He let’s his landlord know that he’s going to spend a few days in the Telemark Forest . Warned against the adventure, he smiles and starts walking on to the forest.
His journal says that his heart was racing as he grew closer to the forest.
From his journal: “I can see why people have a fear of this forest. The trees start looking like a wall at one point. The thickness of the forest flora is enough to give someone claustrophobia. I can't help but to think that someone...or something...is watching me. Most likely just some animal, but the feeling makes me wish I had purchased some ax or rifle for this trip.”
He never makes it into the main part of forest.
He finds the body of Shelly Chrisfield-Tanner at the edge of the forest. His knowledge of basic first aid saves her life. He single handedly drags her to the roadway and he manages to flag down assistance. She’s safe, but looses her eye due to severe damage to it.
Briggs is celebrated as a hero for days.
Before he is able to return to his adventure in the forest, he is gunned down by an assailant and set ablaze. Unconfirmed reports show the deed was done by a member of the Servano crime family.
Professor Randle Briggs never finds his mystery.