|“||Let them call me a crackpot! Something is happening to the stars, and I am not imagining it.||„|
Years ago, when respected astronomer Norman Withers noticed that the little slice of the sky which he had been studying was somehow missing six of its stars, his associates at Miskatonic University simply believed that he had been overdoing things, and dismissed the claim out of hand.
Norman knew, however, that his findings were correct and, after destroying his career in the process of trying to bring this fact to public attention, found a clue in an ancient book of occult knowledge. This tome stated the order in which those stars would disappear and the dates on which it would happen, dates which coincided exactly with Norman's findings. Furthermore, the text contained within prophesied that this event would herald the coming of a great evil to Earth, one which would wipe out Mankind and all of his achievements.
When noted physicist Professor Claus Schmidt visited Arkham on a field research trip, Norman made acquaintance with the fellow and struck a deal with him: in exchange for Withers' assistance in his work, Schmidt would in turn aid him with his own problem, that of the vanished stars.
After the two investigated a series of locations which Schmidt believed to be the sites of gravitational anomalies, Schmidt was abducted by a Hound of Tindalos and carried off to another dimension.
Withers, unwilling to leave his new friend to his fate, did some research of his own into the anomalies, and learned of a man who he believed to have some knowledge on the subject, one Jonathon Hobart Stane. Visiting, Stane, he learned that he had been the victim of an attack by the Hounds in 1917 which had claimed his fiancée. Whilst Stane had survived the attack, it had left him both physically and mentally scarred, and he had sought out all the information he could find on the beasts, while kidnapping Arkham citizens and transients to sacrifice to the Hounds in his stead. He intended to make Withers his next victim, but the Professor was able to turn the tables on his attacker, and the summoned Hound devoured Stane.
Searching Stane's property, he discovered a trove of arcane knowledge, amongst it instructions on how to open a portal to the Hounds home dimension and, after suitably arming himself, set about attempting to rescue Schmidt.
Upon travelling to Tindalos, Withers was able to locate his colleague, and the pair made their escape, narrowly avoiding the attentions of more Hounds and a Dhole, and managed to return to Earth before destroying the portal which they used to claim their victims.
Unfortunately for Withers however, despite Schmidt’s gratitude, the physicist was wholly unable to assist with the enigma of the missing stars.
Behind the Mythos
Originally designed as an Investigator character for the Innsmouth Horror Deluxe Expansion to the Second Edition of Arkham Horror, Norman Withers has since made appearances in several of their other Mythos lines, including Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror: The Card Game, and their series of novels, Arkham Horror Fiction. In 2010, a pre-painted plastic miniature of the character, designed to replace the cardboard token included in Innsmouth Horror, was also released under their Arkham Horror Premium Figures label, but this is no longer in production (all EXP).