History of Loathing
Thanks to reddit user u/Strict_Yam_1107 for this great sleuthing on the timeline of the shadow in Shadows over Loathing. See: https://www.reddit.com/r/ShadowsOverLoathing/comments/109ac8t/shadow_events_timeline_to_the_best_of_my_knowledge/
[All dates come from Ocean City Watchful Eye Archives, or are otherwise indicated, and marked in bold. Locations are also in bold. Pertinent information is drawn from archives, NPC dialogue, or items the PC finds.]
February 17, 1788 -- SIT Professors Gregory, Howe, Jeffy, and Milkwood build the cosmic radiation antenna.
March 25, 1808 -- Assistant Dean Benwald Jeffy uses the antenna to build a cosmic communication device, and insists on showing Dean Wormwood. Jeffy makes contact with the Shadow, resulting in the black fire explosion mentioned in Watchful Eye. Benwald Jeffy dies, and Dean Wormwood spends the next 151 years maintaining wards to keep the Shadow away.
September 8, 1870 -- Augustus Dooley, Margaret’s grandfather, reads poetry at S.I.T. and is fired for it.
1895~ -- West of Loathing takes place. Murray is already an adult in that game, and already looking for various mystic bits and bobs, as your character encounters him in the Lost Dutch Oven Mine, where he was briefly struck with Eldritch madness from Roberto. After being rescued, he opens Murray's Curiosity and Bean in Dirtwater, and later relocates his shop to Ocean City.
October 19, 1902 -- Margaret Dooley’s 9th birthday. Daisy I dies.
October 20, 1902 -- ‘A Disconcerting Dream’ Margaret talks about the previous day, her 9th birthday, and the passing of her dog. She says her papa talked about getting her a new dog soon, but she was still sad.
1906- -- West of Loathing describes the activation of the Hellcows.
April 8, 1906 -- Earthquake in Frisco, first mention of the Shadow
March 6, 1917 -- Black Gold Farm, Drilling supervisor mentions an explosion
March 6, 1917 -- Ocean City archives article of the barn explosion ^ Murray explains that this Shadow explosion created all the cursed artifacts. In Barker’s Crystaldream Animal Shelter Vignette, Barker talks about ‘Old Dog’ which we later learn is Daisy. ‘Old Dog’ says her human was in the barn at night, and there was a ‘BIG NOISE’ and a big black light. Daisy ran away and came to the animal shelter.
March 7, 1917 -- Funeral for Margaret’s family; Augustus (grandfather), Vernon (father), and Patricia Dooley (mother) at St. Polycarp’s Cathedral.
July 22, 1917 -- Underground Newspaper records Ocean City’s comptroller changing the city budget, and Watchful Eye goes out of business. ^ ‘A Disconcerting Dream’ suggests this is done by Margaret, to gain funds for her Shadow Presidency. This seems to indicate that Margaret was comptroller when her family died as Terrence calls her ‘Madam Comptroller,’ in the dream, and this budget cut is now Margaret beginning her Shadow President campaign.
- However, this does not line up with Uncle Murray’s story. In his retelling in The Black House Courtyard, Margaret becomes Comptroller five years after the explosion (1922, matching the rock shrine in Goldthwait Park).
- Crystaldream’s Dam was also built in 1917, according to the calendar in Valley Hardware (in the past), but there is no indication of what month. This date is somewhat irrelevant, as we learn later that Margaret travels back in time to initiate it. In ‘A Disconcerting Dream’ Margaret is showing signs of corruption (her hair is changing), and bribes Crystaldream Mayor Burbee to make the dam bigger and provide her with more power.
November 13, 1922 -- Margaret sets up the pointy rock shrine in Goldthwait Park**.** With shadow taint level 4, a rift appears in the center that contains the shadow knife (Woop, thanks Session!) (An important note: ‘A Disconcerting Dream’ is not a linear sequence of events. Margaret pardoning the sheep, for instance, shows her as less corrupted -and thus younger- than both the time travel before it, and the conversation with Noel about SIT in a more-Shadowed presidential office afterwards. Interestingly, it also comes before -technically- Margaret goes back to increase the dam, as there’s a note on her desk reminding her to do so. I’ve broken out the dream as it seems to flow in the timeline, not in the order your character sees the events.)
A Disconcerting Dream,’ Margaret gives a teen a fitness award. She introduces herself as ‘Shadow President’ and doesn’t even mention Coolidge, so it’s safe to say the Shadow is firmly in control of the federal government to the point where Coolidge isn’t even acting as public figurehead anymore. There is no date for this, but it likely happens in the relative present (meaning around 1926-1928). July 12~ ‘A Disconcerting Dream,’ A fully corrupted Margaret does paperwork for a holiday with General Bruise, and complains that Coolidge should be doing such menial tasks. This suggests Coolidge is involved in the government somewhat, but definitely not in any meaningful way, as even the little things are still passed through to Margaret. It is never revealed how Coolidge is displaced, or what his role becomes after Margaret’s Shadow Presidency is initiated.
Relative Present (1926-1928) ‘A Disconcerting Dream,’ Margaret gives Baron Hellstrom permission to expand the oil drilling into Gray County lots 210-240, for the purpose of converting it into shadow. Margaret hesitates, as her family’s farm is 223. She still allows Hellstrom to drill, though she apologizes to her grandfather under her breath.
Present (October 1928) Your character visits SIT, and Margaret is worried in ‘A Disconcerting Dream,’ about you ‘messing around in the library.’ Noel fails to stop you, of course, because Dean Wormwood keeps her out. This is corroborated in ‘Yet Another Fitful Dream’ when Dean Wormwood says Noel has been testing his wards.
^He also says “She… Is she the one? Or…the previous one?” (I don’t know what this means.)
Present (October 1928) In Alphonse's second Big Moist vignette, he is shocked that his family is ‘crazy,’ and there is no food in the fridge. In ‘A Disconcerting Dream’ it is revealed that the Gatorman King (does he have a name?) is forcing the gatormen to worship the Shadow obelisk, and is starving them, in return for riches. Alphonse's surprise shows that his family has not been tainted very long (or else that he has not visited them since it happened, but there is no evidence to indicate how long he has been away from them).
^Margaret never reveals what the Ziggurat was supposed to be for, or why she would need to use force in her Shadow Presidency . But the gatormen prayers, the increasing levels of Shadow in the lower levels, plus the giant altar suggest that the gatormen were participating in rituals in order to help the Shadow.
In Barker’s Gray County Vignette**,** he runs off to a farm labeled ‘the Dooley’s, est. 1867.’ This seems to be Margaret’s real last name, before it was corrupted by Shadow. He finds the remains of ‘Old Dog’ (Daisy), and takes her collar. He also finds the barn, which has been mostly swallowed by a shadowy wormhole.
^The collar says ‘Daisy III.’ This detail seems to suggest that Margaret named every dog she had ‘Daisy.’ There is no mention of Daisy II. We do know, however, that Daisy III was at least 11 years old, since she ran away from the explosion in 1917. She could potentially be 10, as Barker finds a skeleton, showing Daisy III had returned to the Dooley’s farm some time before his vignette (Sorry if that’s a bit dark to mention).
One last note: The prisoner in 3B tells you “...It’s coming for you. Not her.” This seems to refer to the Shadow. Why your character specifically would warrant the Shadow’s arrival is unexplained. But, according to the Yecchians, it is likely because you are “The One that determines the ending.”
(As an aside, the school paper in the 7th locker in the first night’s dream says your character is age 6 when they went to visit Uncle Murray. Later on, you can visit the Ford factory and claim you got an award- when you were 6 years old. So what on earth did you do with Murray that summer??? XD )