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Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin

By most accounts, Sloth's Pit is one of the weirdest places in the continental United States, but you won't find anything as mundane as a mystery house or a gravity hill here. Instead, we have apple orchards planted by John Chapman himself, where cider flows instead of sap. Every house is haunted, and ghost tours are available, provided by the Sloth's Pit Historical Society and the City Council. Camping equipment is always available to rent, should one be brave enough to venture out and spend a night in the woods, under the cover of starlight and looming trees. - Sloth's Pit Tourist Guide, 2016 edition.

A tiny town in a big state, right on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. To the west you'll find Duluth, Minnesota, and somewhere to the east, you'll find Superior, Wisconsin. It's located in the backmost part of Douglas County, and is one of twenty-three Nexuses in the United States of America, and the third most-active, behind Roadkill County, Oregon and Daleport.

Sloth's Pit is essentially what pops into the mind when you think "Midwestern Town". It has a main street that curves like a bow without a string, and branches off in several different directions; to the south, you have King Circle, Clark Avenue, and Maple Street, the more suburban areas. Also here are the two secular high schools: Jackson Sloth Memorial High and Jackson Sloth Senior High. Northward, heading towards Duluth, you have Bray Road, with the highway office on one side, and an abandoned farm on the other, home to a portal through time hidden in a well. They say that this well was struck by a meteor at one point, and that the land around it was barren for decades after inedible fruit grew in the orchards.

Main Street, going westwards, is the downtown, filled with all sorts of small business, from Rudy's Cafe to the Black Garden pub to Berry's Restaurant. In addition, you have all sorts of tourist traps that are open seasonally; John Henry's blacksmith shop still gets plenty of business, despite its antiquated nature, from tourists wanting authentic old-timey goods. Tourist traps sell all sorts of baubles related to the supernatural, from hodag eggs1 to genuine alien metal. A camera shop that still develops film sits next to a music store that sells sheet music in bulk, and rents instruments to everyone who's in the orchestras at the high schools.

Also located in the west is a dog park, accessible to all who wish, and flanked by two churches — one Episcopalian, one Catholic. Further out of town going west, there's a synagogue, and in town, several smaller shrines and houses of worship.

The eastern end of town is home to one place of note: the S & C Plastics building. Or, as it is known to some…

Site-87

Site-87 is one of the more oddball sites in the Foundation; not as extreme as Site-19 was circa 1990, but those who live and work within its walls are more prone to have bizarre things happen to them, as is the nature of the nexus. As a result of the unusual happenings, the psyches of the staff have adapted in various manners. They are some of the most diligent workers among the Midwestern Foundation sites, but at the same time, they aren't afraid to have morale building exercises such as prolonged camping excursions to study the anomalous nature of the forests surrounding the town.

- Dr. Philip Verhoten, The Crossroads: A Study of Urban Anomalous Nexuses in the United States.

Site-87, as of 2015, is the place of work for 834 Foundation researchers and administrative staff. It is home to the administrative center of the Department of Multiuniversal Affairs, as well as the headquarters of the Foundation's Nexus Research Initiative (NRI). The NRI classifies Sloth's Pit as Nx-0018, and has specific Nexus Interaction Protocols, which can be summarized as such:

1) Erasing the knowledge of the anomalous amongst the townsfolk would be detrimental to their lives. Only intervene if the integrity of the site or the lives of the populous of Sloth's Pit are in danger.

2) Foundation Personnel are to treat all members of the community in Sloth's Pit as E-Class personnel, and may interact with them as such. Knowledge of anomalies outside of Sloth's Pit are known to the general populous, but these are not to be further propagated unless under extreme circumstances.

3) Foundation personnel have privileges including the commandeering of vehicles, right to investigate, and right to detain individuals that are a threat to the town.

4) All major anomalies- particularly Unclassed Anomalous Entities (UAEs) Chapman-341 ("The Goatman"), Chapman-342 ("Sinning Jessie"), Chapman-343 ("Lovebird the Lizard Man"), Chapman-344 ("The Hook-Handed Man"), Chapman-345("Joseph Macek, the King of Knives"), Chapman-346(Queen of the Hoop Snakes"), and Chapman-347("Latsi, the Latia River Monster")- are to be captured and contained by any means necessary. UAE-Tryon-001("The Hidebehind") is to be captured and neutralized by any means necessary, if sighted.

Site-87 was established in 1976, following what was, quite possibly, the Foundation's biggest fuckup in the 1970s: the Camp Krakkow incident.

Camp Krakkow and the anomalies

Going to camp for the first time is scary for any kid. And in a town like Sloth's Pit, it's especially scary, because the town is filled to the brim with narrative force. Enough scary campfire stories, nightmares, and general anxiety over things like bugs in the restroom can form psychic scars on the land. At Camp Krakkow, these scars manifested as nightmares, and when the only thing holding them back — a protective bear totem — was removed by the Foundation, all within the camp's boundaries died.

The Foundation replaced the totem, and Site-87 was originally established to monitor the camp for any further activity. They believed that Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin, was just a normal town that, at the time, was grappling with a tragedy the likes of which the people of the Midwest were unaccustomed to, and planned on having the site be around for no more than a decade, before moving its personnel and resources to other areas of the United States.

Instead, the Foundation discovered a town where gravity on Main Street failed to exist for exactly ten seconds every Tuesday, and was predictable enough that people made a sport of jumping at the right time and landing on nearby roofs. They found a town where the police department regularly had to deal with UFO sightings, and where the cashiers at the gas stations made themselves look like deer. They found a town where hundreds of cryptids and critters existed in the woods.

They had studied nexuses before this— most notably Harkness, Maryland, which had become a breeding ground for hundreds of anomalous diseases and was essentially a quarantine zone for the CDC, and Eventide, Oregon, where the sun never rises. These had all been independently discovered by the Foundation, through town records or word of mouth. Sloth's Pit's isolated nature has long raised questions as to how the Foundation discovered it — something that not even Site-87 command, regional command, or even members of the Council have been answer. They simply got a tip about the anomaly at Camp Krakkow, and appeared on the scene.

Sloth's Pit was a different form of Nexus, in that its anomalies seemed to center around narratives— folklore of all kinds, urban legends, or things that were just plain strange. The entire town runs on narrative logic, where things often happen to move the 'plot' of one's life forward in an odd direction, and climaxes are all too common. Sloth's Pit abhors an attempt to invoke a Deus ex Machina in its boundaries, and loves to screw with people who attempt to invoke irony within city limits. Case in point, uttering the words "What could possibly go wrong?" can have either amusing or disastrous results, and is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 and a five-year incarceration.

The majority of the odder parts of town lore and anomalies within it are centered around the forest surrounding the town.

The Woods

Stay OUT
The Goatman lives here
Hungry, he stalks about,
Run in fear!
Burma Shave

— Signposts found in Baby Bone Wood near Koch's Hovel.

The Woods surrounding Sloth's Pit are divided into three sections: to the North of town, bordering Bray Road and the old farm steads, we have Baby Bone Wood. It is named as such because of a bridge over a now-dry riverbed, where a being — a murderer, a demon with the face of a goat — was said to abduct couples in wedlock and push them into the river, before stealing the baby from the dead mother. It is also home to Koch's Hovel, where the Goatman is said to live.

Then, south of town, where the old town square used to be, you have Sloth's Forest. Here, Jackson Sloth, the town's founder, lived from 1887 to Christmas 1890. Sloth's Pit, then called New Toronto in an effort to engage trade with Canada, was a lumber town established by Jackson Sloth in an attempt to compete with a former colleague and friend westward in Oregon, Wilhelm Siskin.

On Christmas day 1890, Sloth's Manor was swallowed by a massive sinkhole, and with it, half of his family; his wife Imogen, and his son Jasper. His daughter Caroline had been in the hospital, struck with conjunctivitis, which spared her life. It is said that Imogen, Jasper, and even Sloth himself still walk Sloth's Pit, albeit transformed.

Prior to the sinkhole, New Toronto was a quiet town; after it opened, supernatural phenomena happened like clockwork, growing especially severe around the holidays such as Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, April Fools, and the Fourth of July. What had been New Toronto was abandoned, the location of the pit lost, and the settlers moved north, into what is now modern-day Sloth's Pit.

Finally, there are the Blasted Woods, to the south-west, so called because several of the trees are bent at odd angles, as if caught from the winds of an explosion. They are home to several hundred critters, cryptids, and oddities, from the local ground sloth population to hodag nests to the Hidebehind, which is said to inhabit a single dead tree in a desolate clearing, the only tree standing upright.


Adding to the Canon

The rules are simple, but I suggest you read the instructions carefully.

1) Write using proper punctuation, spelling and grammar.

2) Get critique on it before posting. (Or not. A good part of the tales here are coldposts.)

3) Make yourself dinner, repeat step 2 (optional), and post it.

S & C Plastics is one of the looser canons on the site. There are a lot of characters that you can learn about by reading through the tales below… or you can take a new direction entirely. There are several avenues that people can go down in this canon, and it's all up to you what you choose. The tone in general, however, is less "doom and gloom and grimdark" and more "quirky town with weirdness bubbling up under the surface". Less Arkham, Massachusetts, and more Twin Peaks, Washington.

If you do want to write for this, here's some recommended reading/viewing/listening material to help get you into the mood:

  • Gravity Falls, animated television program, 2012-2016, created by Alex Hirsch.
  • Twin Peaks, live-action television program, 1990-1991, created by David Lynch.
  • King Falls AM, drama podcast, created by the Make-Believe Picture Company.
  • Our Town, 1938 theatrical production, script by Thorton Wilder.
  • Whatever you think would help you write best!

The Tales

Stand-Alone Tales:

By Djoric:

Stratagem - The tale that became the basis for the S & C Plastics universe.
Friday - The first official S & C Plastics tale that was written, if not the first chronologically.

By Ihp:

Last Days at Camp - Dear Mom and Dad, I'm doing fine…

Life in the Multiverse - A tale of the Bailey Brothers

Attack of the Keter Skeeters! - Coming Soon to a Theater near You!

Halloween at S & C Plastics - Or, why you should always decorate for Samhain.

And I Feel Fine - It's the end of the world- or is it?

Playing with Flames - It's not 'magic', it's 'EMF Manipulation!'

Local Legends - Let me tell you a story…

UnScience - "History Channel" my ass.

Dance the Danse - Of Legends and Hallows.

A Very Bailey Christmas- "Say hi to dad for me?" "I will. Promise."

The 12 Days of Site 87's Christmas- "We're gonna need a lot of eggnog and a lot of rum after this."

Satyr's Reign - Psycho killers, qu'est que c'est?

Happy Howlidays- Effects have defects, take a howl at the moon.

Coyotl- Coyote, meet Capricorn.

Black Autumn Hub- This is a Halloween Sloth's Pit will never forget.

Fools of Us All- April 1st is a quiet day.

By ksaid:

Four Seconds, Low Pitched - Emergency protocols for Jackson Sloth Memorial High.

By Roget:

Nacho Business - The testing will continue until morale improves.

By FortuneFavorsBold:

Leafers - Sometimes you've just gotta get away from it all…

By Technician Downs:

The Shark, Pt.1 - Bellincioni and Reader hit the bar.

By Petrograd

Time Crime in Greater Wisconsin - A Primer - Time travel is a recurring pain.

Story Arcs

1040 by Ihpkmn and FortuneFavorsBold
Tax Man - Let me tell you how it will be, one for you, nineteen for me…
A Multi-Universal Affair - For once, this canon stays in the baseline when talking about the Bailey brothers.
Bugs in the Process - An accurate census is not possible at this time.
There's Magic in the Air

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