I believe that the professor was framed for embezzling from Cornel. However he was committing real crimes. I should listen to my instincts more. In the visitation room he explained that he and his Ivy League country club party pals were up to no good. Aside from ripping people off with fake ghost exorcisms and trafficking in magical artifacts they’re always on the prowl for students with magic talent they can exploit.
The professor and his friends have amassed a lot of old crap, journals and papers and books via skullduggery and malfeasance. Junk that that may have magical knowledge but they’re too lazy to check. They use their potential magic recruits to look through the backlog for morsels of arcane power.
The professor’s current Ivy League magic apprentice, Kelly, came across the tale of Dale Lee. In 1869 Mr. Lee led two hundred freemen to settle in Lombardy. In 1872 a local sheriff, the town had changed names to Cowgillstown at this point, writes that Dale joined a posse in an attack again an Irish immigrant who was “de hominibus qui se vertunt in lupos”, a werewolf.
Dale Lee was helpful in this werewolf endeavor on account of his skill at magic, as the tale goes. The werewolf was defeated but in the battle Dale was bitten. Rather than turn into a werewolf himself he was bedridden with a wasting disease and merely died a few days later. The sheriff was pretty fucked up by what he witnessed, magic and werewolves. According to the professor he killed himself a year later.
Kelly thought that this sounded pretty magical so he did the logical thing and got his two buddies to take a trip to Maryland to do some graverobbing. They retrieved the skull of Kalvin McKay, the alleged werewolf, and they hit paydirt.
The skull whispered to them terrible promises of black magic, sacrifices, and summoning rituals if they would do its bidding. I wonder if it whispered to them to modern English or if they had trouble understanding it’s evil seductive old timey whispering.
Kelly and his pals tried to keep their magic talking skull on the DL but the professor and his friends found out about it and a brief power struggle ensued. I have to imagine that this kind of thing happens with dark magic people all the time.
Once everyone was on the same page and worshipping the skull of an old Irish werewolf it old them it was time to start decapitating people if they wanted to get the good magic secrets. Because it always comes down to that.
This again led to some internal strife, some of the group like the professor were into evil magic shit but they drew the line at murder. Others thought that murder was a great idea. In the end they cut the heads off three sex workers at the skull’s behest. Because of course they did.
That’s when the professor and most of his confederates were framed for other crimes by parties unknown. When I asked him why he was telling me all this he said that being locked up had given him time to reflect on what he had done. He described being addicted to magic and going through withdrawal. He also claimed that the skull had mental power over him. “I’m not making excuses” he said at one point while 100% making excuses.
“Let me guess” I said to him “someone, probably the person who framed you, still has the skull and you want me to destroy it.”
He was more than a little surprised “Yes, how did you know?”
“Do you know who has it?”
He did. An old student of his.