When the players got to the house we made sure that the house was full of stories for them to discover – stories of the history of the house and its current inhabitants, but also stories of the ghosts that haunted it. The players had to be able to work out what had happened to these people. We spent a lot of time sourcing and creating props and documents to make this environmental storytelling work.
Most of our stories were told through documents. Like the player briefing packs, the house contained letters (some unopened, with vintage stamps on), diaries, children’s exercise books, photographic negatives, books (we adapted some old-style Penguin novels, fitting them with new covers), magazines, newspaper clippings, receipts, betting slips, tickets, postcards and all sorts of other things.
The bulk of these we created from scratch and then printed on a variety of stock paper. Some of the rest we adapted from vintage props.
And then we filled in the blanks with additional 1950s props or replica props – cigarette cards, automotive & photography magazines, tickets from ocean liners and so on.
We created wooden christmas decorations for the players – which we designed and laser cut. We also filled the house with appropriate props for the various rooms, including props tailored to the ghosts. For example, the Children’s rooms were filled with creepy toys; the Soldier’s room had World War 2 memorabilia; the Young Couple’s room had the aftermath of a wedding; the Silent Movie Ghost’s room had glamorous outfits (which she’d shredded in a fit of depression); there was a suitcase left by a psychic investigator that was full of occult-ish items.