Doctor John Abernathy
Dr John Abernathy was born to Dr Nathanial and Ms Cathleen Abernathy on November 12th, 1885 in Galveston, Texas. John was the last boy born to Cathleen out of seven children with only one sister younger. As a boy, John followed his father’s work being the only child interested in the medical field, often coming with him on house calls. His father instilled a belief that the root must be treated as well as the symptom, rather then the just symptom itself as was the prevailing thought of the day. Often during dinner, John would compete with his brothers and sisters to figure out the answer to a mystery of his father’s choosing. This gave John a unique perspective in diagnostic medicine and forensics. The family was a happy one until a fateful day in September of 1900.
The Great Storm of 1900
On 8 September, during the now infamous Hurricane of 1900, John had accompanied his father on a house call in response to a breached birth delivery. After assisting by boiling water and laying out his father’s medical instruments, he was banished from the room. The delivery was a long and difficult one; by the time that it was over, the storm had overrun the island and the rushing floodwaters were as high as a grown man’s knees.
After the delivery, John was told to stay close to his father as they rushed home to relocate his family higher ground. After much arguing between the two, young John remained behind and watched his father disappear into the night; wading through the turbulent waters. An hour later the floodwaters had risen to encompass the downstairs level with doors and windows opened wide to allow the majority of the water to flow though the building rather than allowing the water pressure to build to a point that would sweep the house away. The Carpenter family, in whose care young John remained, had sought refuse in the attic; waiting out the hurricane.
During the storm, a sizable portion of the building’s roof was ripped away and a stray piece of stout timber knocked the boy half-senseless. John found himself knocked out into the churning storm where he struggled to maintain his grip on an old oak tree that he had been fortunate enough to reach despite the churning waters. Sometime during the night, the young man lost consciousness.
When John awakened the next day, he found his wounds treated and resting in a relief tent. Later he was able to locate some of the members of his family. In the Aftermath of that terrible storm, only the bodies of his mother and two older siblings were found. In addition the Carpenters including the newly birthed unnamed son, had not survived the catastrophe. John, although lucky to have survived, suffered from a broken arm.
Despite his injury, the young man aided doctors that swarmed to the area offering medical aid to those victims most in need. A doctor by the name of Garrett Brown, a confirmed bachelor, took a liking to the intelligent articulate orphan and adopted him.
Education and Adult Life
At the age of seventeen, John was admitted into Oxford university and completed his medical degree by the age of twenty-four. He went to his adopted father’s town of Los Angeles, California and worked as a medical doctor’s intern at the prestigious Cedar-Sinai hospital.
There he met and became engaged to Clara Washington. The two were very much in love, and John left his position at the hospital to establish his own practice at the young age of twenty-six. That winter a wave of virulent influenza struck Los Angeles. John’s fiance contracted the illness and did not survive. John, still reeling from the tragic loss, abandoned his clinic and sank into a deep state of depression. In his desperation, he turned to morphine to assuage his feelings of guilt. When his abuse of morphine became public knowledge, his medical license was revoked.
San Francisco, the Unknown and SAVE
Desiring a new start, John packed up his few belongings and moved to San Francisco. There, he managed to finally break his destructive morphine habit and drifted about town. He became annoyed to see grieving family members being bilked by unscrupulous ‘table knockers’ that seemed to be all the rage about town. Resolved, he undertook a personal crusade to reveal these frauds for what they were.
He had already experienced some degree of success exposing numerous false displays of the supernatural, by the time that he had encountered the house. Rumor had percolated that the house in question resided upon the very gates of hell. One of the few structures that had remained intact after the great Earthquake of 1906, the property had been sold and traded several times, and according to legend, each owners of the property had came to a very bad end.
John entered the house with the belief that the house was nothing more than an elaborate hoax. His intention was to reveal the nature of the hoax and put the rumors surrounding the property to rest. John’s expectations were quickly dashed as the front door of the building disappeared shortly after he had entered the property.
Three days later, Dr Abernathy was found wondering through Chinatown without any recollection of the event. He knew only that there was something malign in that house and that it struck fear into his soul to try to think about it too strongly. When word of the bizarre incident spread, John found himself recruited by SAVE.
His first act as a member was to assist in the banishment of the entity residing within the house and to then destroy the structure in a fiery conflagration.