The Belphegor Pocketwatch

Out of all the trinkets, this one was the hardest to find, we only came into possession of it six months ago. This was partially due to the ambiguous description we had to go off of, but mostly because it was never in a single person’s hands for long before the owner expired.

Pearlie, again being incredibly helpful, was the one who figured out what the trinket was through an urban legend forum. The story went that a man in the early 1900’s committed suicide and his eldest son inherited his fortune. Shortly after though he also died, the fortune going to the next brother. The pattern repeated until all four sons were dead and the estate was sold off. The urban legend said that a particular watch belonging to the father was cursed.  

I didn’t understand how this was connected to the other trinkets, but Pearlie was kind enough to explain:

“These trinkets, they’re the seven deadly sins. Gluttony was the spoon, greed was the cuff, yadda yadda yadda. The only ones we’re missing are sloth and pride. Sloth typically means being a lazy bastard, but the literal meaning? ‘Without care’. I have depression, and I have to say on my bad days… I definitely feel ‘without care’.”

It seemed this trinket doesn’t offer any benefit to its owner, similar to the Beelzebub Spoon. But instead of causing it to lash out at others, it caused one to lash out at themselves.  

The first thing I did was try to find any grain of truth in that urban legend. Of course it didn’t nearly go as the story told, but it was quite close. The man’s name was Robert Green. He was a man of considerable wealth and he had two sons and a daughter- Robert Junior, George, and Florence. He was considered rather distant but friendly enough, and was exceptionally close to his eldest son.  

A month before his untimely passing in 1943, Robert had commissioned a pocketwatch, silver with his name inscribed on the back. He was apparently quite proud of the watch and showed it off proudly to all his neighbors and friends the following week. However, after that, Robert’s naturally distant demeanor became entire isolation. His wife chose to stay at a sister’s, saying that Robert was feeling unwell and needed some rest. Family servants would bring him all his meals in bed. In more time, those meals would go untouched.  

Then one morning the maid came in with breakfast and found Robert hanging in the bedroom, having killed himself early that morning. His note simply said, ‘I feel nothing. God bless my children, I love them all.’  

Robert Jr. did take control of the estate, which resulted in a falling out between him and his brother George. It was sadly Florence who came into possession of the pocketwatch next, and it was only in her hands a week before she was sent to the asylum after attempting to swallow poison. The unfortunately prescribed lobotomy turned her permanently catatonic, unable to do anything for herself. For the rest of her days she remained in the care of hired nurses until her passing at age fifty-eight. George and Robert Jr. ended up making amends though, and it was clearly neither of them owned the watch as both men lived happy, fulfilling lives.

I was stumped until I found out that one of Florence’s nurses died by her own hand.

Considering Florence couldn’t even go to the bathroom on her own, I imagine the nurse in question decided to just take the watch when the woman was resting. Ms. Sheryl Doss was a single mother and struggling to care for her three children on her own, I believe she probably took it with intent to pawn it off. Maybe she forgot about it, or perhaps she just kept putting it off until it was too late. One day she dropped her children at her sister’s house, in the eldest’s hand was what little savings they had in an envelope. Then Sheryl went to the train tracks and stepped in front of a fast moving train. She was killed almost immediately.

This is truly the one trinket I considered giving up on before I realized how desperately important I find it- in the wrong hands, it would spell certain doom. I had to find it, to stop anyone else from dying.

I followed the path of blood from Sheryl to a bachelor named Jerome. Sheryl and Jerome had gone on a few dates and Jerome was known to stop by the house every now and then. Perhaps he pocketed it, maybe Sheryl even gave it to him as a gift. Either way, it wasn’t long before Jerome purchased a gun and proceeded to blow his brains out right in the shop. That poor store owner spent several years in therapy before sadly choosing to also end his life, but that only turned out to be a dead end and unfortunately completely unrelated to the pocketwatch.  

From Jerome was Mack, a close friend of his who also shot himself with little warning. From Mack to Marie, his twin sister who cut open her wrists. Louisa overdosed on heroin. Jeff leaped off a building, although his attempt failed and left him paralyzed from the neck down. Victor starved himself to death. Priscilla took her entire bottle of antidepressants in a single dose. The list goes on and on.  

It doesn’t help that some of these people had no connection to the previous victim. I still have no idea how wealthy socialite Marie passed the pocketwatch to impoverished waitress Louisa, or how staunch religious minister Jeff who preached the dangers of homosexuality got the trinket to out-and-proud Victor. Perhaps I missed a few victims while trailing this trinket. All in total, I’ve found forty-nine victims that can be attributed to the Belphegor Pocketwatch.

I finally tracked it down to another property auction of an unlucky Virginia Murphy, who got the watch as a birthday gift. Virginia had been quite the antiques buff, collecting all the old and bizarre knickknacks she could. And in probably one of the most agonizing deaths one could imagine, Virginia took a canister of gasoline, poured it over herself, and proceeded to light herself on fire. It took her three days to die from the horrific burns.  

I bought the pocketwatch for two hundred and fifty dollars. A worth it price to finally capture this trinket. When I opened it up to take a better look, I saw there was a pale blue pearl set in the lid. The final confirmation I needed to say this was truly another strange and deadly trinket.

Pearlie was the one who carried it home and placed it in the safe. The entire drive home I could see how badly it affected her, her back slowly bending as if she was carrying a terrible burden. But she made it, and afterwards I asked her why she insisted on being the one to carry it. The answer reminds me of why I consider Pearlie to be one of my closest friends and truly like a daughter.

“Because I could take it. I’ve been through worse.”

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