Skip navigation


The following interview was conducted on February 5th, 2013 shortly after the mysterious death of Milo Brecklin. Brecklin was found savagely mutilated at his estate in Boulder, Colorado on December 21st, 2012.  At the time, Tanner Wallace was a long-time employee of and had become the closest confidant of Mr. Brecklin. Although Wallace was working on an assignment for Brecklin in Antarctica at the time of Brecklin’s death, he suffered an immediate nervous breakdown at virtually the exact moment of Brecklin’s death. Wallace was institutionalized in an effort to properly treat his condition. The investigators tried numerous times to question Wallace with no success, being that Wallace was unresponsive. Slowly, Wallace began to emerge from his condition after several weeks. What follows is a transcript from a cassette tape of the initial interview that Agent Deborah Simpkins, an agent of a special unit of the FBI, conducted with Wallace while he was still recovering at Napa State Hospital. Simpkins planned on doing several days of interviews but the day after this interview, Tanner Wallace disappeared from Napa State Hospital[ii]. He hasn’t been found yet.

Simpkins: How did you first meet Milo Brecklin?

Wallace: I met him back in 1985 shortly after being discharged from the Service. I was in an Army Special Forces unit but was discharged for an incident that occurred involving a botched operation. It wasn’t my fault, but I had information that they were trying to sweep under the rug and decided to “do the right thing”. Only no one gave a shit about the right thing and I was black listed and eventually kicked out. It was shortly after that incident and I was sitting in some podunk bar outside of Bragg nursing my pride with copious amounts of alcohol when Brecklin found me. At the time I didn’t realize just how connected Brecklin was. I thought it was just happenstance that he found me. In reality, he was recruiting me. He knew people in high places and apparently, they knew that I was right after all. I couldn’t be protected from within, but Brecklin needed my skill set and was informed of my situation.

Simpkins: And just what did he need you for?

Wallace: Well, at first he was extremely vague about that. He made it sound like it was a shame for the government to put so much effort into my training only to let it go to waste. He said he needed someone to work security for him on various adventures around the world. I took him to mean that he would be going into countries where the governments were corrupt or unstable, you know, on things like mountain climbing expeditions, safaris, river trips, you know, things like that. I mean, he was obviously a rich man and I just assumed he liked to throw money at these adventurous trips.

Simpkins: What made you assume he was rich?

Wallace: Oh, he just exuded it. Brecklin was a larger than life fellow. He carried himself that way. He spoke with authority and had an amazing charisma. He also smoked the finest cigars, drank the top shelf liquor, wore expensive clothes, and never hesitated in paying for things with cash – you know, a big, fat roll of it on him at all times.

Simpkins: So, what did he really need you for? When did you suspect that his adventures were, ah, quite eccentric?

Wallace: That actually started to hit me with the very first assignment he gave me. See, I had nothing tying me down in North Carolina. No wife, no kids, no family, no home. He immediately offered to relocate me to Colorado, put me up in an apartment, and pay me a retainer until I could do a couple of jobs for him to see how I thought I would like it. He was a slick guy, real suave and super intelligent. He knew what he was doing alright. If he could just get me to agree to the initial trial run, I would stick around. After moving what little possessions I had out to Colorado, he sent me on my first assignment to interview a prisoner who was serving in a prison for the criminally insane in Alabama.

Simpkins: Do you remember where exactly in Alabama?

Wallace: Oh, sure, it was the Wetumpka State Penitentiary in the town of Wetumpka. The inmates name was Charles Kordish. At the time, I was wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. The assignment was nothing like I thought it was going to be. To me, at the time at least, the Kordish guy was just plain crazy and I kept thinking that maybe Brecklin had a few screws loose too. Brecklin wanted the interview conducted in a very certain way and warned me that the guy would be saying things that were outlandish but to stick exactly to the questions he had prepared.

Simpkins: And just what did the guy tell you?

Wallace: He was incarcerated for murdering several people – they had taken up residence next door to him – after he believed them to be grave robbers. Two of the people were professors; one was a local professor at Coosada University and the other was some Brit. Both were archaeologists who specialized in ancient cultures. The other guys that were killed by Kordish were a couple of hired hands. Anyway, this Kordish fellow starts telling me about all of this occult crap the men were into and how he had discovered them robbing graves and performing black magic rituals with the corpses. Only they weren’t just going through the motions, the spells actually worked and he walks in on them summoning these creatures and proceeds to go nuts on them and kills everyone. But, of course the creatures disappear along with the body and the cops just find him and the four dead bodies – you know, the professors and the hired help. So I’m thinking this guy is crazier than a cuckoo clock and his whole story is suspicious as all hell. But here’s the best part, the guy was a shaky fellow, all nervous and scared because he believed that the creatures that were summoned were still out to get him. In his mind, he was convinced that he was being stalked by these ghouls.

Simpkins: Ghouls? Did he use the term ghouls?

Wallace: Yeah, he used that term. He also knew their real names: Chaklah’i.

Simpkins: Chaka – what?

Wallace: Look, do you know the kind of stuff Milo Brecklin was really into?

Simpkins: I know that he was heavily into occult lore and esoteric history; however, I don’t know nearly enough to know why. I’m trying to piece together his work.

Wallace: You mean, you’re not investigating his murder?

Simpkins: Murder? No, I mean, we don’t know that he was murdered, first of all, but, that’s only a part of my investigation. I’m investigating his life’s work, which also includes how he died, I suppose.

Wallace: I’m sorry, I thought you were… What exactly are you, anyway? Who do you work for?

Simpkins: I work for the F.B.I.’s Division 212[iii] – the division that investigates Fringe Science. We investigate any significant crime such as terrorism, murder, or any malicious plots that involve credible ties to incredible things. Look, Mr. Wallace, can we return to the topic of the ghouls?

Wallace: Do you believe in such things? Do you believe that Milo Brecklin had uncovered things that ought not to exist in a sane world?

Simpkins: Yes, I do. But we are at this time completely in the dark in having a clear picture. And that’s why we need your help in understanding what Milo Brecklin was searching for.

Wallace: I see. I returned to Boulder struggling with whether or not to quit. I mean, it was some nuts-o stuff but it was also easy money. Brecklin met me and I debriefed him on Kordish. I asked him if he really could help get Kordish out and he laughed and said he could but that he had no intention of doing it. When I asked why he said that it would be better to let the Chaklah’i get him so that no one would know the truth. Then he proceeded to bring up what was on my mind. He knew I was thinking this whole thing was complete hogwash and he couldn’t blame me. He told me to just suspend my opinion until I could do one more job for him. He promised that after this job I would understand.

Simpkins: And what was that job?

Wallace: Well, it was really a series of jobs; but it was all carefully calculated by him to show me things.

Simpkins: Which was?

Wallace: It began with a trip to England. Really it began with me meeting the D’Amato Twins.

Simpkins: The D’Amato Twins?

Wallace: Yep, Jalenne and Janelle D’Amato. They both had paranormal abilities giving them the ability to locate and communicate with the dead.

Simpkins: Locate and communicate with the dead? And could they?

Wallace: Turns out, they could. Brecklin needed me to witness their abilities to bring me on board with his work. The first leg of the trip was to Bathley Moor in England[iv]. We went there to retrieve the body of a man who was murdered there in October 1961. The man’s name was Hamilton Tharpe and he was a Priest of Cthulhu. You ever heard of Cthulhu?

Simpkins: Yes, I have. He, or it, is a mythological deity that supposedly came to Earth from a far off dimension or another planet and was trapped beneath the ocean in a sunken city like Atlantis or something.

Wallace: Hmmm, close, but you get the idea. Anyway, the story that was related to Brecklin was that Hamilton and his brother Anderson ran this carnival that was really a front for Hamilton’s occult activities. He collected occult antiquities and hid them amongst the other strange oddities of the carnival freak show. A pretty clever tactic, I must say. The carnival was in Bathley Moor in ’61 when their little operation became jeopardized. Apparently, Anderson was largely unaware of Hamilton’s activities in the cult and once he found out there was a confrontation that cost Hamilton his life. Anderson buried the body in Bathley and the carnival skedaddled right on out of town. Yeah, so I find myself out in the middle of some cold moor, soaking wet from the rain, watching these two pale, freaky girls find the grave. Janelle, the one who can locate the dead goes into this trance and begins to walk in these jerky steps back and forth. Occasionally she’d take several rapid steps then begin to pace around again and, bam, she’d be off again. Finally, she comes to an abrupt halt and snaps out of her trance and says, “he’s here”. Here I am again wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into, but a part of me was curious to see what was buried there. So I began to dig. Brecklin didn’t prepare me at all for what I found. I don’t even think he knew what condition Hamilton Tharpe would be in.

Simpkins: So he was there? You found the body?

Wallace:  Oh, yeah. We found him alright. He was mostly just a skeleton with a few places where there was tissue left. His head was mostly decayed with large blotches of mummified skin still present. The skull shown through most of the head, but where his hair should’ve been, there were snakes. That’s right, just like Medusa. I started to inspect them to see if my eyes were playing tricks on me and the damn things started to move. The friggin’ snakes were still alive! Well, needless to say, I flipped out. So while Jalenne went into her trance and began to ask the body of Hamilton Tharpe a whole bunch of questions that Brecklin had prepared for her, Janelle led me away and talked to me to calm me down.

Simpkins: What was Brecklin trying to find out?

Wallace: I don’t know. I was too busy trying to come to grips with the crazy shit I had just seen.

Simpkins: Did the corpse actually talk to the girl?

Wallace: No, not like we’re talking. Whatever it said was all in the mind of Janelle. I wasn’t too concerned given my state at the time.

Simpkins: I see. So, what did you do with the corpse?

Wallace: We doused it with kerosene and burned it. Once the snakes were dead, we reburied the body.

Simpkins: So, that made you a believer, huh?

Wallace: Well, it sure made me start questioning things real hard. I realized that Brecklin wasn’t just interested in safaris and mountain hikes. But that was only the tip of the iceberg for that trip. We had one more place to visit in England before going to Saudi Arabia – that’s where the real trip was to. Before we flew out of London, we went to the Highgate area of London to the former residence of Henri-Laurent de Marigny[v]. He passed away many years before but in the early 50’s he had gained possession of an object.

Simpkins: What kind of object?

Wallace: It was a mirror that once belonged to an Egyptian Queen named Nitocris. It was believed to have special, occult properties. Apparently, Marigny had a close call with it and decided to destroy it. He shattered the glass and melted the metal of the frame down. I don’t know how Brecklin knew it, but he found out that Marigny buried the metal in his garden, so we went to find it.

Simpkins: And did you?

Wallace: Oh, yes. It wasn’t really that hard.

Simpkins: Why was Brecklin so interested in the metal?

Wallace: He wanted to conduct certain tests on it.

Simpkins: Tests?

Wallace: Yeah, he was investigating the property of different metals trying to determine if they had commonalities. He had come to the belief that extraterrestrial metals were acting as a cancer to the planet.

Simpkins: What prompted him to think this?

Wallace: I can’t say when he first came across the idea, but it was the basis of everything he was researching. As a matter of fact, it was the reason we were going to Saudi Arabia. After we discovered the lump of metal that used to be the Mirror of Nitocris and before we left England, Brecklin had an extensive conversation with me. After seeing the thing in the ground that used to be Hamilton Tharpe he felt sure I was receptive to an even crazier sounding idea, so he told me about the plague of vampires that was currently infecting Riyadh. It was a tough pill to swallow, but he explained that these weren’t the typical vampires of myth and pop culture. Vampires have been portrayed as creatures that anyone would love to be – immortal, supernatural powers, mysterious charm. In reality, he said, vampires are a despicable and degenerate lot. They are virulent creatures forced to shun the light of day and live off of blood. That’s about where the similarities end. In pop culture, vampires have been portrayed as possessing traits of the bat, but they really are closer to the rat.

Simpkins: He wanted to see if this plague of vampires was caused by an alien metal?

Wallace: That’s right. Actually, to see if a meteor had impacted the desert somewhere near Riyadh and was affecting or mutating people.

Simpkins: Seriously?

Wallace: Dead serious. Look, I know this all sounds crazy. I mean, in your line of work, haven’t you seen things that defy rational explanation?

Simpkins: Would I be here if I hadn’t?

Wallace: No, I suppose not.

Simpkins: So, did you find it? Did you find the meteor?

Wallace: Let’s just say that after that experience, there was no going back to a normal life. Brecklin wanted to be sure that I had the meddle for the trip. I convinced him I was all in and so it was off to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to visit the Ain Hith.

Simpkins: Ain Hith?

Wallace: I didn’t expect there to be such a vast cave system right in the middle of the Arabian Desert. Ain Hith is the name of the largest entrance to the caves. It lies south of Riyadh just off the road to Al Kharj. It’s an amazing site, these huge cliffs that just rise up out of the dunes of the desert. People go there to climb them, but very few go there to go cave exploring. A few people have died in an attempt to explore the caves adding even more to an aura of uneasiness about the caves. Brecklin was convinced that in some bygone geological age, that part of the Arabian Peninsula was hit by a meteor and created the terrain features that morphed over the eons into the mountains of today. He believed that Ain Hith was the nest of the vampires.

Simpkins: Nest?

Wallace: That’s right. He had collected enough information that he was sure that remnants of the meteor were affecting people – drawing them to the source. He was sure that we could wipe out the vampires and get a sample of the metal.

Simpkins: Did you?

Wallace: Me and the twins arrived in Riyadh and were met by another group hired by Brecklin. Roger St. Pierre was their leader. Ever heard of him?

Simpkins: Sorry, No.

Wallace: Famous cave explorer and cave diver. He discovered and mapped caves in Mexico that are among the most extensive in the world. Anyway, it was him and a group of his cave explorers. There was also a meeting with a Saudi Arabian official named Khalid al Fasid and several of what appeared to be his bodyguards; also present at the meeting was Devon Schattenreich[vi], although they all didn’t actually go down in Ain Hith.

Simpkins: Now, him I’ve heard of. Very mysterious occult figure who has a large following. He’s believed to be a magician or wizard or something.

Wallace: You might want to add him to your list of people to find out a lot more about if you’re going to understand Brecklin. Cthulhu should top that list, by the way. Anyway, Schattenreich is a huge deal in magical circles. He is also like a walking encyclopedia of occult and magical knowledge. He was there to get us all up to speed on how to deal with vampires.

Simpkins: Garlic, silver bullets, stakes through the heart?

Wallace: Ha ha, very funny. I told you that all of that is just myth and pop culture. Although vampires do have an insatiable appetite and a blood lust to match, they aren’t immortal. They can be killed with normal weapons, but they do keep coming at you even after a normal person would’ve been dropped dead. There are other certain things that slow them down.

Simpkins: Like what?

Wallace: Like magic.

Simpkins: Seriously?

Wallace: Oh, I’m dead serious, Lady. After meeting with Schattenreich we were ready to go. The twins went with us to the caves but they only went as far as the underground lake. Not really a lake, but more like a pool. See, Ain Hith descends for quite some ways underground until it ends at a pool of water. From there, you have to don SCUBA gear and proceed to another network of caves. We were leaving a guideline to help us ensure we found our way back out. The twins stayed there.

Simpkins: How did the vampires get in and out? Through the water?

Wallace: No. There was another entrance but we didn’t know where it was. Hell, it could’ve been anywhere in those canyons and mountains. By going in through the main cave entrance of Ain Hith we were hoping to come at them through a side tunnel and hopefully surprise them. But it didn’t work out that way. No, we came out of the water and no sooner got our SCUBA gear off than they were upon us. Brecklin was right, they were vile creatures that no man would choose to be. They were small, pale and hunched over – crawling like rats over each other. They were degenerate little monsters who had become accustomed to the depths of the dank, dark cave. They reeked of rotten meat or sour blood and were covered in filth. It was all we could do to hold them back as we fired round after round into the swarm of them. We just barely survived that initial onslaught and there were numerous times I thought for sure we were goners. There was a break in the attack and we realized that they had retreated. Probably a hundred bodies lay strewn about the cavern and the blood was thick and fetid in the still air. There were ten of us initially and we lost one during that fight.

Simpkins: Did you leave?

Wallace: Leave? We had just begun.

Simpkins: You mean, you kept going into their nest?

Wallace: I know it sounds like madness but St. Pierre rallied us. We took inventory of our ammo and he made me formulate an attack plan while one of his other men, Fowler, I believe, began conducting a bunch of magical chants from that damn book Schattenreich had brought us. I didn’t know it then, but now I can tell you that is was the infamous Al Azif– the Necronomicon. I thought it was idiotic at the time and so distracting. I mean, I was trying to get everyone to move in a close formation and here’s this guy chanting a bunch of mumbo jumbo magical baloney! But I’ll be damned if it didn’t work better than any gun ever invented by man! We groped along prepared for another stand and he kept that singsong chant echoing ahead of us. The vampires were terrified of it! They shrunk away from us but you could see that they were struggling between wanting to rip at our flesh and the terror of the meaning of those chants. It was hypnotic, suggestive, repetitive and pretty soon we were all singing it – The Hymn of Doomed Carcosa. It was sheer lunacy going deeper into their hive; there were so many of them. If something broke the spell of the chant then there was no way we had enough ammunition to fight our way out. We went on like that for some time. Finally, we arrived at the heart of the nest. And there we beheld a sight so incredibly monstrous that everyone fell silent except for Fowler, who was literally in his own world with the chanting from the Necronomicon. It was their queen.

Simpkins: Their queen? Like an insect? An anthill?

Wallace: Sort of. She was humanoid – had once been a human, I suppose. Vast, though. Fat, bloated, corpulent and oozing some viscous liquid like blood from her body. She was foul and grotesque. We opened fire out of a primal urge to destroy that which should not be on this Earth. Hatred, repulsion, fear, I don’t know the words for it. Our faltering of the chant, the eruption of the gunfire, and an instinct to protect their queen was all enough to break the spell over the vampires. They surged and St. Pierre was there screaming orders at us to stop firing and renew our efforts at the chant. The queen was writhing in great spasms and a couple of the men had lost it – one wept like a small child on the ground and another had broken and ran only to be engulfed by a swarm of vampires. The rest of us took up the chant and St. Pierre began to dispense the charges. We blew the queen up until she was nothing but charred goo. With their queen gone, the rest of them were confused, lost, disoriented. We continued to assault them even as they scurried off into the dark depths of the desert.

Simpkins: What about the metal? Was the meteor there?

Wallace: Oh, yes. It was right there where the queen had been. She reposed upon it like a giant, fat spider on a large egg. It was no larger than a basketball and quite light for all of its appearance. It contained so many colors – the strangest metal I’d ever beheld. We retreated back the way we had come, continuing the chant the whole way. I don’t think we even needed to, though. The vampires were almost indifferent to us now.

Simpkins: Was the queen breeding? Was she like an ant queen?

Wallace: No, it wasn’t quite like that. I’m not completely sure just what power she exerted over the vampires in the nest, but apparently they brought her food – victims. There were corpses strewn all about the central chamber.

Simpkins: So, did you get the meteor back to Brecklin?

Wallace: Actually, no. We returned with it to the hotel and were due to return the next morning back to the States. That night, we were awoken at gunpoint and Khalid al Fasid and his men took the meteor. We went through all of that for nothing. We were pissed but Brecklin was beside himself with rage. He vowed revenge but that’s a story for another day.

Simpkins: Which is a good thing because my time for today is up . . .

[i] Ain Hith is a real cave system southeast of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I explored the cave during the first Gulf War and made it the central piece of my story “The Cave” in Tome of Horror.

[ii] Napa State Hospital is really a psychiatric hospital in Napa, California founded in 1875.

[iii] An invention of mine with a loose reference to the story I wrote called “212”.

[iv] This is a reference to the story “The Fairground Horror” by Brian Lumley.

[v] This is a reference to the story “The Mirror of Nitocris” by Brain Lumley.

[vi] This is a reference to the magician and slight of hands/flourishes expert known as De’Vo Vom Schattenreich (a stage name). I had the pleasure of working with him in the Air Force when his career as De’Vo was just starting to take off.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: