My fellow colleagues and friends,
Along with this letter, I have enclosed an artifact that may very well be the pinnacle of my findings: a pocket watch, hidden beneath the floorboards of an early twentieth-century cottage in Liege, Belgium. The watch, though rusted and covered in dust, is in near perfect condition and a wonderful addition to the historic archives of the university; however, I urge you to be cautious when handling this precious artifact. In fact, I implore you not to open it but instead to quickly put it somewhere safe and far away from human contact.
Perhaps it would be better if I withheld the watch and returned it to its blanket of dust underneath rotten floorboards, but I am not strong enough to resist my natural affection of the preservation of history, no matter how dark or iniquitous that history may be. This small memento, though its impact is actually larger than some may believe, is extremely dangerous. It contains vivid memories of the “War to End All Wars,” the very first World War. These memories are filled with dark and sad emotions: the fear of the Germans as they attacked Belgium and the excruciating sorrow of one who has died in the trenches.
My friends, this artifact seems to have captured the memories of its owner or owners. I’m clueless as to how this has been accomplished, and I cannot explain it scientifically, but this pocket watch is cursed. These horrid memories have seeped into my mind and the minds of my crew, and we have all felt as if we were reliving a war that happened a century ago.
I can only ask for your trust, my logical friends. Many of you may think I’ve gone insane or sipped too much wine, but neither is impacting my words today. When the watch is opened, the memories are released into your mind. When the watch is closed, the memories vanish and only traces of the strong emotions remain until nightfall when the memories reenter your dreams. We have all felt it here in the cottage, and it has caused a few members of my team to abort our mission. Not only do the memories echo World War 1, but they also relive terrible occurrences that have happened inside the cottage where the watch was discovered. Through my extensive research, I have discovered that the cottage has been abandoned for more than fifty years.
Though I fear the pocket watch because of its power to poison my mind with horrific scenes, nothing can rebuke its value. Never have I encountered an artifact that speaks directly to the mind. Some may believe it is magic, but if anything–I believe it is cursed.
To end this letter, I again ask that you do not open the watch. It is too valuable… or too dangerous to leave here, although I fear what the consequences may be if the memories cannot be contained at the university. However, I completely trust the professors there to keep the watch preserved and safe, which I hope is enough.
I am sorry that I could not deliver this in person. I am going to remain here, researching and developing a more logical explanation to this mystery. If I should return soon, I hope the reason will be a positive one.