A knock at the door when I’m not expecting anyone. I check the peephole and see: no one. I open the door in time to catch the mailman practically sprinting back to his vehicle; it’s like he can’t get away fast enough. But from what?
And then I see the package.
Sent USPS Priority, nothing about it looks out of the ordinary. Still, I get a fleeting sense of excitement and danger. I bring it inside. And I open it.
Find out what’s inside after the jump…
On top of the tightly packed stuffing sits a signed Certificate of Authenticity that attests to the craftsmanship and value of the content: etched brass and mahogany. Beneath that: a sealed envelope of dense and distinguished stock and inside of that: a letter that reads, in part:
Thank you for your purchase of the Lemarchand Configuration. We hope you will take much pleasure from your puzzle box. The box is a rare item built in the 18th century by a French toymaker named Phillip Lemarchand. Mr. Lemarchand built many fabulous toys in his life but this puzzle box was his one great obsession.”
The letter goes on to describe its construction, made “not just from wood and metal but also from human fat of bodies that Mr. Lemarchand supposedly murdered himself”. The artisan “is said to have built over 270 boxes, many of which have never been seen.”
You can read more about Mr. Lemarchand fascinating boxes: HERE
The letter then continues with some dubious details of a Goth Rock group who made an artistic connection with Lemarchand’s boxes. It’s an interesting read, but…
Most fascinating is the backstory of this antique’s previous owner: English-born Captain Elliot Spenser, a World War I veteran, who is “said to have purchased this box while on a trip to India in 1921.”
Some closing pleasantries and finally, it closes: “Sincerely, [Signature] The Puzzle Box Maker”.
The envelope also contains a quality photo of Capitan Spenser. His gaze is distant… and haunted.
I fling the remaining wads of newspaper aside and pull out object itself, a solid cube wrapped in brown paper and twine. Carefully I peel it. And then, at last: I hold it.
I’d been on the hunt for one of Lemarchand’s boxes (also known as Lament Configurations) for years. The web is awash with cheap knock-offs and imitations. But once I stumbled on The Puzzle Box Maker’s site, I knew I’d found the real thing—or as close as I’m ever likely to get. Suddenly, an imitation would simply never do.
The Puzzle Box Maker sells more than just curious antiquities: he sells an experience. An immersion into the disturbing and beautiful world of Clive Barker. A physical connection to Kristy Cotton and Tiffany… and Frank. And the Cenobites.
The package also contains a laminated bookmarker with a picture of Pinhead and a genuine frame of film. It’s nice but it’s the only detail breaking the illusion that I’ve actually just received a potential portal (when in fact, I spent $160 on a piece of ‘80’s Horror memorabilia). Yet I’m pleased, even without the illusion, with what remains: A solid, high quality replica. Best I’ve ever seen.
I’m sure I’ll return to The Puzzle Box Maker’s website soon for the display stand and glass dome. And I’ll probably even frame my Captain Spenser photo.
Because I am one satisfied customer.
And you can be one too, at The Puzzle Box Maker’s Website: HERE
As I sit mesmerized, rubbing the box’s edges and surfaces, admiring the near flawless intricacies, the Lovely Lady beside me coyly advises: “Be careful”. And for another fleeting moment, I return to that darker dimension—and I can almost imagine invisible seams are—moving!