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Barry Hopkins III

Expert on the myths and legends of the greater Baltimore area

0 · 261 views · located in America (Flashbacks to 1930 Germany)

a character in “Dead Empty Cases 3”, as played by WadeJackel


Asked to give a lecture at Baltimore community college on the history of the Bannerman castle.

So begins...

Barry Hopkins III's Story

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Character Portrait: Barry Hopkins III
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August 11 1980

Dr. Barry Hopkins had been asked by the administration of Baltimore college to give a lecture on the history of Bannerman castle, as part of Mr. Miller's class on local folklore of Baltimore. It was a bright and sunny morning in the middle of August when Dr. Hopkins arrived at the college, he had hoped to talk to Mr. Miller to get some idea of how much he had already explained the history of the Bannerman castle to his students. It turned out that he had in face taught them very little about the castle, which Dr. Hopkins was very happy to hear. Getting paid the hour, he had hoped to drag the lecture on for at least two days, and this little piece of information certainly would assist in that endeavor. When he arrived at the class the students were already seated, waiting for him to arrive with their excitement building, as the Doctor was known to be very informative in such matters, and the Bannerman castle legends had been a particularly interesting. The classroom itself was quite impressive, having changed very little in the past 60 years or more, it had a very cheerful and old fashioned look about it, with particularly good acoustics for lecturing. The teachers desk sat in front of the immense blackboard, with the semi-circle a pew-like seats looming over it, which always made Dr. Hopkins feel like some learned auditor in ancient Rome each time he gave his lecture. This particular classroom was always one of his favorites to deliver lectures in, in fact it helped him greatly, "Good morning scholars, my name is Dr. Barry Hopkins and I am a professor of folklore at Arkham University. Please feel free to break in at anytime and ask me a question, anything that might be burning a hole in your brain. Don't be nervous, ask me anything" With that Dr. Hopkins continued with his lecture. Taking a sip from the glass of water that had been laid out on the desk for him prior to his actual arrival, he continued with some basic facts concerning the castles rather strange history.

"Bannerman Arsenal, more commonly known as Bannerman castle was constructed in stages from 1901-1918 by Francis Bannerman VI. Bannerman purchased military equipment surplus from the U.S. Government at scrap prices, as simply a warehouse, the construction was particularly unusual, even odd. The buildings were designed by Bannerman himself and without the advice of professional architects. Although the island is officially named Pollepel, Bannerman privately referred to the island as Crag Inch, Scottish for 'rocky island' Bannerman's used the island until the late 1950s, when the military surplus was removed and the live munitions were deactivated. The powder house explosion of 1920 nearly shut the business down completely, it was not until a fire of undetermined origin in 1969 that the buildings fell into their present state of ruin."

"The island had several rather outlandish legends surrounding it, the most famous of which was that of Heer of the Dunderberg from Bracebridge hall
by Washington Irving, as he writes, 'The captains of the river craft heard the talk of the little bulbous-bottomed Dutch goblin in trunk hose and sugar-loaf hat, with a speaking trumpet in his hand which they say keeps about the Dunderberg. They declare that they heard him, in stormy weather, in the midst of turmoil, giving orders in low Dutch for the piping up of a fresh gust of wind, or the rattling off of another thunder-clap.'

Taking a sip of his water he continued, "Heer and his goblins are thought to defend the island from intruders, the American Indians were also afraid of the island, at least in the night time. Bannerman was a patriot, his reason for storing his collection of war artifacts was in the hope that it would one day be known as a “museum of lost arts”. Still, rumors of treason filled the air, some people claimed that he had provided aid to the enemy in WWI, this lead to the government stationing troops on the island until 1918. With a broken heart Bannerman would die short thereafter."

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"Seeing as we have touched upon the accusations which brought Bannerman's national loyalty into question, we should perhaps spend a little time discussing the era in which the castle operated at its peak."

Dr. Hopkins continued with his vividly detailed account of the castles history, taking another sip from the glass of water before him he suddenly switched to a far darker topic.

"During the years prior to World War II, America was in the grips of the worst economic depression that the nation had ever experienced. Unemployment was at a record high, and soup lines were a common sight in major cities across the country. Clashes between plant owners and labor unions often turned into bloody melees. At the same time it was becoming more evident that our nation’s participation in the conflict overseas was imminent. Unrest and frustration amongst the working classes opened the door of opportunity to a number of fringe political ideologies that might never have seemed like viable alternatives before. There was a resurgence in the Communist Party in the U.S., in the 1930s, there were 112,000 German-born immigrants living in Baltimore. Almost one quarter of the citizens of the United States at the time were of German descent."

The class waited with baited breath as Dr. Hopkins began to sift through his briefcase for his papers, pulling out the notes that he had cribbed from some recently published data he carried on with his lecture.

"Racial hygienist ideas were far from unique to the Nazi movement. The ideas of social Darwinism were widespread in all western countries in the early 20th century, and the eugenics movement had many followers among educated people, being particularly strong in the United States. The idea of sterilizing those carrying hereditary defects or exhibiting what was thought to be hereditary anti-social behavior was widely accepted, and was put into law in the United States and other countries. The Nazi regime began to implement "racial hygienist" policies as soon as it came to power. The July 1933 "Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring" prescribed compulsory sterilization for people with a range of conditions thought to be hereditary such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, Huntington's chorea and "imbecility". It is estimated that 360,000 people were sterilized under this law between 1933 and 1939."

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Character Portrait: Barry Hopkins III Character Portrait: Kinny Horowitz
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"Sterilization", and Nazi Germany were always two subjects that hit home for Kinny she can remember stories from her Grandmother about the horrible things she saw Nazi soldiers do in the ghettos that were once her home town. Stories like this always frightened and fascinated her at the same time she couldn't even begin to imagine being shunned or tortured just because of her lineage or religion. Her family being very religious, it was a wonder they got out of Germany without suffering in the concentration camps. If it hadn't been for non-Jewish friends illegally transporting them out of the country Auschwitz would have been their fate.

As Dr. Hopkins went on, Kinny raised her hand "So let me get this straight... Your saying that Hitler and the Third Reich got the idea for the purging of the Jews and anyone not of the so called "Aryan decent" from... America?" she said with a confused look on her face.

This thought was mind blowing to her, America was supposed to be this free country where everyone was equal and had opportunities despite race, creed or disability. Most of the things that Dr. Hopkins was describing were things no one had any control over, how could the country that had saved her Grandmother from dying a horrible death think that someone with these ailments be sterilized or worse. But than again America's history had not always been so free just look at slavery and segregation.

She tried to rationalize it all in her head, and it made her heart sink to think about her family had put so much precedence in this country and how it had saved their lives. They had a love for it that ran deep, to the point that when her grandparents spoke of America they would get teary eyed from feeling of hope and pride for now being a part of it. Her older brother David had even served for the Army in the Vietnam war, even with all that he had seen in that War he was deeply patriotic and loved his country. But this was like hearing that someone who had just saved you from a deep pit full of vipers, and finding out years later that your savior had dug the hole you had fallen into.

She hoped that maybe this was all a big mistake and that maybe Dr Hopkins was mistaken... but Kinny was a rational thinker and she knew that things like this happened all the time. It was a sad thing that the world they lived in was so judgmental and arrogant that these right wing ideological people who ran the country. She sighed and continued writing her notes she felt that she would have more questions by the end of this lecture then the instructor would be able to answer. Chewing on her bottom lip she wrote down her first question in the notebook she had sitting in front of her and waited for an answer from Dr Hopkins.

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Character Portrait: Barry Hopkins III Character Portrait: Karina Mellows
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Dr. Hopkins smirked at the question. "Well, I think that perhaps after-class would be a better time to ask those types of questions. I mean we are concerned with myth and legend here, obviously such things do not exist in the real world."

The teachers remarks received a few laughs and snickers from some of the other students in the classroom. Its not that the doctor meant to sound dismissive of the young woman's question, he simply wasn't expecting that kind of question. The lecture was coming to an end, Dr. Hopkins immediately began to stuff his notes back into his briefcase even before he had finished speaking, taking the last gulp of water from the tall glass which had been laid out for him at the beginning of his talk.

The students were in the process of gathering together their personal belongings before moving on to their next class, several of them were now heading toward the door.

"Oh yes, before I forget."

The doctor's raised voice caused everyone to stop their exodus. "You are all to gather in front of the administration building the day after tomorrow....Thursday, for those of you who have been too busy with your classes to know what day it is. Remember you must all be outside before 5 am, the buses will not wait for the tardy."

What the professor had not been informed of was that hardly any of the students would be taking the trip to Bannerman castle, the class was not a requirement and so most of the students were simply not interested enough to wake up at 4 o'clock in the morning to visit some old rundown building.

"I will be waiting there for you all to arrive. By that time the caretaker will have the gates unlocked. See you then."

The students returned to their efforts to exit the stuffy classroom en masse as the professor gathered up his briefcase and walked out of the room himself, from there he headed for the teachers lounge.