For everything, a theory. This is not the occult. This is science.
Everything has a rational explanation: it’s just that scientists haven’t got around to explaining
some things yet. The paranormal and the supernatural are just phantoms — all just normal, natural
phenomena that haven’t yet been observed enough for anyone to make sense of them.
Agree with that? You’re on the same page as Null Mysteriis. The organization’s been diligently working on explaining anomalies since the day Jean-Pierre Brattel walked out of a Parisian Theosophical Society meeting in 1893. The Theosophists’ original intent had been to apply the most rigorous standards of Victorian science to the claims of religion; Brattel found this fascinating, only to discover that in practice, the Theosophists were really just another new religious movement, one of dozens. After a few meetings full of messianic prophecies, hidden brotherhoods of Ancient Ascended Masters and suspect tales of rather convenient reincarnations, Brattel decided he had enough. It just wasn’t scientiﬁc enough. On the other hand, he felt the rationalists discounted out of hand the possibility that there might be things yet unexplained, and that science had not yet found every law of creation. He saw a need for a group to scientiﬁ cally examine things that are as yet, beyond science. He wasn’t alone.
By the beginning of the Great War, his brainchild, Null Mysteriis (an abbreviation of the Latin Nullum Mysteriis Processit: very loosely “out of the unexplained comes nothing”), had several hundred members across Europe and North America. The tragic turn taken by the ﬁrst half of the 20th century wiped out whole groups, and although Null Mysteriis, the self-styled Organization for the Rational Assessment of the Supernatural, survives into the present day, it’s only since the 1970s that its membership has been anything like that of its turn-of-the-century heyday.
They’re hobbyists. Apart from a few paid ofﬁce staff in Null Mysteriis’ world headquarters, situated in London since 1941, hardly anyone in the compact gets any money out of it. Anyone can join, but the pittance requested for membership every year pays for the admin staff ’s salaries, a monthly newsletter, a yearbook and maintenance on the organization’s various clubhouses. A “hunter” attached to Null Mysteriis usually has a day job, often a fairly well qualiﬁ ed and academically adept day job. Null Mysteriis’ members include zoologists, physicists, psychologists, psychiatrists, consultant doctors, chemists, sociologists and anthropologists, all of whom have minds open enough to use methods that conventional science holds in suspicion to investigate things it won’t even consider.
If Null Mysteriis has a failing, it’s that the often august people who comprise the lion’s share of its membership make the very common error of considering themselves expert in every ﬁeld because of their undeniable expertise in one. Null Mysteriis’ meetings can be fraught affairs, as physicists start holding forth on evolution and biologists start making pronouncements about psychology and ideology.
Null Mysteriis researchers working in the Chicago area include:
• You’re free to attend any Null Mysteriis meeting anywhere in the world, and you have an academic background. You gain a free speciality in Parapschyology, which you can place in Academics, Occult or Science.
••• You’ve made many contacts in different fields. You gain one dot in Contacts (one field of your choice), and one dot in Allies (Null Mysteriis).
••••• Having been in the field for a long time, you’re able to make educated guesses about most supernatural phenomena. You gain the Common Sense merit, only applicable to investigations into the supernatural.
Theories about the nature of the paranormal abound within Null Mysteriis; for every hunter, a new theory. Still, a large number of them can be very broadly categorized into one of three groups, most often spearheaded by one of the compact’s biggest names.
Alexander Watt’s Rationalists form the majority of Null Mysteriis: it’s all provable (and disprovable) with science — only some of it isn’t yet, but will be one day. It just needs diligent research and sensible empirical study.
On the other hand, Vincent Fielding’s Open Minds believe the important thing is proving or disproving the phenomenon by any means necessary — even means that some might call unscientiﬁc — and worrying about what makes it tick later. They’re growing in numbers, much to the dismay of Watts’ faction.
A small but similarly growing number of Cataclysmicists rise above the methodological argument and instead react with concern to a steep rise in reported paranormal phenomena (and hence expense of unclassiﬁed energy) since the millennium, projecting that if it doesn’t slow down soon, the world could be in for an cataclysm or apocalypse of some kind, and further postulating that maybe something needs to be done about it.