SBR 1.35: Errant

A sieve isn’t broken because it lets water through. You are not incomplete despite the gaping holes you feel inside of you. They’re part of your function; a feature not a flaw. Welcome back to Spirit Box Radio


Hello, faithful listeners! Thank you so much for tuning in to the Enlightenment Segment. In the beginning I’d meant for it to be enlightening in a sort of active learning sense, where we’d all explore Arcanism together! And it has been that, just not in the way I’d planned. We’ve learned so much, haven’t we?! Or, at least. I have.

Kitty was right, I think, and there is more to this show than first appears. The links between what happened to me, and when Madame Marie started airing the show and set up the forums, and whatever is happening with the Impossible House? Well. It’s all too much to be a coincidence, but at the same time, coincidence is a powerful feature of Arcanism, as we all well know.

Like, Madame Marie is gone. She’s dead. She was killed, violently, from what Kitty and Anna said about the way she looked when we found her. Yes, Madame Marie was never popular. But there’s a difference between people not liking you and people trying to kill you. Succeeding in killing you, even.

Scrolling back on the forums, looking at archived threads. It seems like Madame Marie was just an unpopular but powerful psychic with a weird crystal ball, but that’s it. Half of you seem to respect her, the other half don’t. She helped a lot of people but there were a lot of people she didn’t or couldn’t. And the way she did things… well.

I can’t claim to know much about how Arcanism works overall. The Arcane, as it is, it’s unknowable, messy, hard to categorise. And Arcanism, it’s about trying to impose reason on it. Really, Anna should love Arcanism; that’s what she does with everything. Except built into the principle of it all is that is impossible. That as they design categories and distinctions, they’re doomed to fail in this task. Like this bit in the Little Book of Big Magic I’d always overlooked, part of the last section in my copy, the part that talks about ghosts, before it cuts off.

It says:

‘These distinctions of lesser arcana are imperfect and incomplete. Such like there is no such thing as a fish, for those creatures that swim beneath the waves are truly a thousand separate kingdoms, such is the case with ghosts and lesser arcana. And thus any endeavour which seeks to provide thorough distinction is doomed to contradiction and logical collapse.

‘Nonetheless we attempt to impose such divisions that we might more holistically approach such occurrences and manifestations of arcane energy by affording them appropriate respect for their apparent sentience and consciousness’.

I keep thinking about what Oliver said about how Arcancism used to be. Just the study of the arcane, not the practice of it, but now it’s got muddied and blurred, in exactly the way that this paragraph says the distinctions between kinds of lesser arcana is blurred. But I don’t know. It seems like this paragraph is suggesting more than just ‘study’. It talks about respect and all together it makes for a sort of reverence.

For some reason I keep thinking about how the first people to produce manuscripts which would be in any way recognisable to us now were monks.

Which brings us to the concept of the Major Arcana. A couple of you have suggestions about the Inconvenient Sins. A bunch of the other cards in the True Arcanist Tarot amount to the Deadly Sins; Pride; Envy; Lust; Gluttony; Greed; Sloth and Wrath. These three that Oliver called the Inconvenient Sins, the ones Kitty met inside the Impossible House, they are Ignorance, Ingratitude and Indifference.

So the question is, when you place these cards in chorus with one another, what meaning arises? If these are simply traits you find in people, none of them are desirable, but they aren’t unforgivable, either, if you ask me. If you ask me, not even the Deadly Sins are without their benefits. Pride can be good if it’s about the right things. Lust can’t be helped, as I know very well. Greed only tends to apply to the hoarding of things we find uncouth; nobody calls people with lots of friends greedy, and squirrels aren’t greedy for collecting and hoarding acorns, either.

Which means, of course, like with everything in Arcanism, it probably comes down to intent. But does anyone intend to be ungrateful, really? The only thing I can think of that comes remotely close is people who live monastically, choosing to disregard everything the world has to offer in favour of something different. And that’s not a bad thing, really, is it? Ingratitude is an impulse, an accident. I don’t think it can be done with intent, not really. I don’t know.

I’ve spent a lot of my life—

Or. Well. What feels like a lot of my life but is really just a large proportion of the part of my life I can actually remember…

Anyway, I think I feel beholden to people quite a lot. To Madame Marie. To Anna, to Kitty, even to you, Faithful Listeners. I am so desperate to communicate my gratitude for the swell of privilege and opportunity I have been afforded that– well. Sometimes I think it has made me blind to the ways things haven’t been so good. So maybe I can see why someone might aspire towards ingratitude, if they were made to feel they should be grateful for things that they should have been able to take for granted?

Not that I feel that way. I am very lucky. I lived through an entire house collapsing on me and six years of some sort of weird magical coma and… I don’t know. There are these people declaring their loyalty to me from all corners and I don’t understand why, I’m not sure loyalty is something I ever want to inspire, but… I’m sure I’m lucky to have it. I think.


Speaking of. I looked and… I can’t find Beth on the forums. I can’t find her anywhere. No emails, no messages, nothing. There are responses to messages that are gone. Other people on the forums are confused but they can’t pin down a moment where it happened. Someone tracked down an archived version of the site and… they aren’t there, either. They’re just. Gone.

I don’t understand.

So… I talked to Anna about it. Because it seemed like the kind of thing Anna might know about.

Anna remembers Beth calling. She said maybe it’s all a cruel joke people are playing on me but as soon as she said it her face twisted and she whispered, very quietly, so quietly in fact that I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean for me to hear it at all. She said ‘that was a lie’. And then she got up and went and stood at the window in the kitchen and put her face in her hands.

It’s all very hard for Anna. She wants very much for things to make sense, for facts to line up in sensible lines, for there to be a right and a wrong way to do things. That’s why she loves the letter of the law so much, and why she’s so scared of Arcanism. Why she’s scared of me, a little bit, even if she won’t say it. And definitely why she’s afraid of herself, which she absolutely would never admit to.

Her tiny little whisper was enough to make me sure this isn’t a joke, though. That Beth wasn’t lying. That she really is… dead. And. I thought a lot about that, what it means, what it might say about me, and you, Faithful Listeners, but I couldn’t get anywhere, and I won’t take it to Anna because. Well. As Kitty says, we shouldn’t push her. It’s not fair. Either she’ll understand or she won’t. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love us. She has at least accepted that whilst therapy might be good for me there aren’t a lot of places that would fully understand the what has happened in our lives, but she only figured that out because Kitty pointed out that we should probably all be in therapy to be honest, and Anna included, at which point Anna said there was no way she could say half of what she’s experienced in her life because it makes her sound delusional. And if there is one thing Anna needs, it’s to trust her own experience of the world. That’s why it’s hard, you see, with Arcanism. Because that’s a lot of trust she’s got to put in stuff that resists understanding and categorisation. That’s a lot of bravery to expect from someone all at once.

Anyway. She and her fiance have gone away for the week, this week. She didn’t want to leave me, but I told her she had to go and take some time for herself. She didn’t look happy about it but she did as I said. Which. You know. Good, I think. I hope.


Anyway, Faithful Listeners. I would like to try an experiment. Anna has finally returned the normal tarot deck to me, and I have a couple of reading requests from the forums, so I thought I’d do a draw from the normal deck, and then try a draw asking the same question to the True Arcanist Tarot. I don’t know how this will go, obviously. I don’t have a list of what the meanings of the cards in the True Arcanist Tarot actually are beyond, well there being actual real things they are referring to rather than just abstract concepts? Or perhaps the reverse, like the abstract concepts are personified and… I don’t know. Right. Anyway. Not important Moving on.

So, Andrea from Wisconsin wants me to ask the cards about her health. She’s been unwell for some time, quite seriously, I take it, and wants to know when she’ll be getting better.

Okay, so, ordinary deck first. I’ll try a one card draw. I’ll shuffle the deck, and I’ve drawn…

The Heirophant, in reverse. Which means weakness, I think. Uh, well, deck, that’s not much use to us, is it? We already know she’s sick. Look, I know it’s been a while. Ugh, let me draw again….

And draw again…

Page of Pentacles, reversed, which means no change, there abouts. So it looks like you won’t be getting better any time soon, Andrea, I’m sorry to say. Or at least that’s what it looks like from here. But the good news is it doesn’t seem like you’re going to get any worse!

Okay, now I’ll try the True Arcanist Tarot.

So I’ll shuffle the cards… huh. The deck feels… bigger? I don’t know. It’s. Oh, never mind. And I’ll draw a card.


It’s blank.

And I’ll–

Wait no, it’s not blank. I swear I was looking at the back before but now it’s. Now it’s. It’s one of the metal cards, but I swear it wasn’t… it’s… smiling at me, hang on – OW!


It’s one of the metal cards. But I swear. I swear it wasn’t. It’s smiling at me. It’s. Hang on–




Wh– what?? Where am I?





The White Door.







SAM: What.


What? What. No.


Was that the house? The Impossible House.




SAM: [FEARFULLY] H– hello?

STYKLER SNR: Alright, boy, you’re Madame Marie’s kid, aren’t you?

SAM: I– I am yes.

STYKLER JNR: Don’t let him derail the conversation. We have important findings to discuss.

STYKLER SNR: Alright lad don’t get your knickers in a twist. Never learned how to conversate properly, this one, my deepest apologies.

JNR: ‘Conversate’ is not even a real word.

SNR: Besides the point, innit? Let’s see then. We went to this house and we have a few things we need to report.

SAM: Oh, of course, Kitty. She asked you to look and at the house. It’s Stykler and Stykler, right? Thank you so much.

SNR: Not a problem, not a problem. You want to handle this one?

JNR: Oh, I wonder why you’re asking me to do this bit? Perhaps because you paid less than half attention the entire time we were there?

SNR: It’s because whilst your bedside manner is clearly lacking, your expertise cannot be matched. Save by me, of course. But I can’t stay in the limelight 24/7 can, I?

JNR: Green does horrors for your complexion. Alright, alright, you’ve convinced me. First off, you said this was a house? It’s not a house.

SAM: Um. It is a house?

JNR: I mean, yeah, granted, looks awful like a house from far away. But you get within a couple of meters of the thing it is pretty clearly not a house.

SAM: So… what is it? A Bungalow?

SNR: [laughing] A BUNGALOW!!! Ah, I like this one.

JNR: It’s not a bungalow either. It’s an artefact of the arcane which looks sort of like a house. That is, it’s not really anything at all? In normal terms it does not exist, same way as ghosts and that. But it’s there, nonetheless. An Impossible House if you will.

SAM: Yeah, the Impossible House. We’ve been calling it that… for months.

SNR: You hear that, your little joke isn’t even original.

JNR: It don’t really matter. Point is, this thing that’s not a house but looks like one, it’s a sort of. Yeah, well, in a way you could say it is a sort of residue of sorts. It might be possible for us to shift it but it would help to know what the source is.

SAM: The source?

JNR: Yeah, right, so arcane artefacts like this one, there’s usually a source, you know, like there is for ghosts and that. Some kind of thing occurs and it causes this sort of manifestation. You seem them in the wild time to time like, but they’re not usually houses.

SNR: Yeah the wild ones are usually sort of blobs, aren’t they?

JNR: Blobs, yeah, anyways it’s not the sort of thing we usually deal with. Course, we can shift out a ghost no bother, move on a poltergeist, muffle an echo, that sort of thing, but with a whole arcane artefact as big as this one? Yeah it’s a more complicated job. Here’s the thing, it’s not getting done today.

SNR: Not today, no.

JNR: And really you’re looking at best part of a month to shift it, to be honest, and that’s like… it’s going to cost you, I’m afraid.

SNR: It will be pretty costly, yeah.

JNR: But of course we can’t even start working at all until we at least have some idea what it is that’s uh, what word would you use, Stykler?

SNR: I dunno Stykler. Sustaining? Maintaining?

JNR: Yeah, thanks Stykler, maintaining. Until we know what’s maintaining it, we can’t even break ground, you know?

SAM: You mean. Something is causing this to happen, and keeping it going?

JNR: That’s the essence of it, yeah.

SNR: It’s the essence.

SAM: I… well. I don’t have any idea what it could be.

JNR: See that is going to be a bit of problem for us.

SNR: It is going to cause an issue.

JNR: We can’t exactly get in there and start shifting it without a good sense for what’s made it and keeping it going. In case it’s real nasty, you know?

SNR: Could be dangerous, see?

JNR: And of course the high risk is going to add to that base cost which as I say is already pretty high given the, uh, complexity of the issue.

SNR: It’s a complicated job.

JNR: Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s hard to know an exact cost until we know the finger details, and there’s a chance of delays.

SNR: These things happen.

JNR: Course, there’s always, well, we did have a little deal going with your dear old mum.

SNR: Bit of a racket, if you will.

JNR: She’d keep us in supplies and protections, put us in the line of work, that sort of thing. Lending a hand from time to time.

SNR: Big help, was Madame Marie.

JNR: Exactly, exactly. So if you was interested in… keeping that going?

SAM: Oh. I. Well. I can’t. I can’t do it. I don’t know how I… I can’t help you.

SNR: Ah. [LIP SMACK]That case you’re looking at at least twenty grand, son.

SAM: T– twenty thousand pounds?! Are you kidding?

JNR: Afraid not, no. Big risk, this job. Both of us putting our necks on the line.

SNR: Expensive necks.

JNR: Exactly, exactly.

SAM: And if you don’t do anything?

JNR: Well, there’s no signs of collapse or expansion at this time.

SNR: It seems pretty contained yeah.

JNR: That being said it’s not exactly stable.

SNR: Lot of unpredictable activity.

JNR: Reckon you could get away with just letting it sit there a bit and in fact to be quite honest with you if you don’t know the source it’s probably the best option for you.

SNR: Best case scenario.

JNR: There’s a chance it’ll go bad and maledict, of course.

SNR: Ah, there’s always a chance of that.

JNR: But trying to shift it without the intel is just as likely to spark that if not more so.

SNR: Best not to stick your oar in.

SAM: So you think I should just leave it?

SNR: Oh yeah.

JNR: Essentially, yes.

SAM: But its… it’s luring and consuming people.

JNR: There is that, yeah.

SNR: I’d say it’s less than ideal.

JNR: But there’s the possibility they are alive inside of it somewhere and in which case us going in without the info could kill them.

SNR: We like to avoid murder. Where we can.

JNR: We do indeed.

SAM: Oh, right. They could be alive in there?

JNR: It’s not impossible.

SNR: It could be the case.

SAM: So I should… what, leave it alone?

JNR: For the time being.

SNR: Just for now.

SAM: Oh. Okay then. Well. Um, thank you for all of your reconnaissance. How much do I owe you for the investigation?

SNR: Consider it on the house. Courtesy of Stykler and Stykler, Ablutionary Specialists.

SAM: Thank you so much!

JNR: You’ll bankrupt us, Stykler.

SNR: Nah, we’ll be fine, Stykler.

JNR: Right then.

SNR: Right then.


SAM: Right then. So that’s it. The house isn’t a house. It’s an artefact of the Arcane, just like my rose. It’s not real. So. I couldn’t have gone there, and Kitty couldn’t have gone there—


REVEL: [PROTESTING] Meow! Mrrrr. Mroooo.

SAM: Sh, it’s alright, Revel.

Faithful listeners. It’s the window. The second window from my bedroom. But. But it’s here in the studio. Even though we are in the basement. We are underground. But this window it. It looks out over a street. It. It is not the street that this house stands on.



No! All the notes! No!



It’s gone.

I was just touching it and it’s gone.

Like it was never there at all.

REVEL: Mrrrrrrrrrrr.

SAM: I know, I know. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

REVEL: Mrrrrrr. Mrrrraaaaaaaaa.

SAM: The window is following me. It’s. It’s following me. I don’t know how that’s possible but. But. Kitty said it’s the window from my old bedroom, from the one in the Impossible House, and that’s not real, which means. Which means. The window isn’t real.

REVEL: Meow?

SAM: Sorry, darling. Come on, we have to check something.


REVEL: Mra??? Mraaa??


SAM: Yes, Revel, we’re going upstairs.





SAM: Gods. What is happening?


SAM: My drawings. They’re everywhere.

It’s. It’s beautiful.

SAM: The window is here, it’s open, but. Through it. I can see. I can see a room with blue walls, Covered in my drawings of the White Door, but they’re perfectly still. And there’s a mirror.

[WHISPERING] I can see me.

[ALOUD] I can see me. But. My eyes. Gods. Is that what I look like right now? My eyes are like lightning





I– hang on.

The mic. It’s not plugged into anything. Faithful listeners, can you sti—


| Content Warnings |

– Background music of varying volumes

– Implications of past child neglect

– Sudden, loud sound effects

– Howling wind

– Brief static

– Mentions of serious illness (a show caller)

– Complex mourning for a neglectful/abusive parent (background, not direct, implied rather than directly confronted)

– Implications of murder or wrongful death

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