The Stanleyville Mall Incident Myth in The Magic Multiverse | World Anvil
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The Stanleyville Mall Incident

Hey everyone, thanks for tuning into today's episode of America's Unexplained & Unsolved. I'm your host, Paul Daniels, and tonight we're delving into a particularly gruesome unexplained event that rocked the small Minnesota town of Stanleyville back in the 90's. This is Unexplained & Unsolved: The Stanleyville Mall Incident.
— America's Unexplained & Unsolved on YouTube
  Even the best divination and most powerful magical research can only discover so much. There are a few incidents in the history of The Seven that refuse any simple explanation, or any explanation at all, for that matter. The Stanleyville Mall Incident is one such event. A quarter of a century later, the incident continues to raise more questions than answers.  


Sometime in the early afternoon of July 29th, 1996, an altercation occurred in the parking lot of Stanleyville Mall in the town of the same name, near Duluth, Minnesota. An elderly man recalls seeing another man wearing ragged clothing trying to work a parking meter using brass-coloured coinage. The elderly man offered to help him pay for his parking with some bills, but the man simply took a look at the outstretched bills and shook his head, mumbling about "a waste of good paper." The stranger left without paying for parking, which wasn't a problem, as it was discovered that none of the vehicles in the parking lot were his anyway.   About half an hour later, a clerk at a tailor shop in the mall received a strange customer: a man in grey ragged clothing. The man was very polite, although the clerk later recalled him scratching often at his side and his elbow. He purchased a brown suit and a pair of light brown chino pants which he wore out of the store after having bought them. He then asked the clerk to dispose of his previous clothing, claiming that he had "no interest in the rags anymore." When later asked, the clerk turned the clothing over to the Seven.  
One of the mysteries is what happened to the rags the stranger had been wearing. The clerk claimed to have handed them over to the police, but the police never asked for them according to their reports. What was on them that meant someone needed to keep them? And where are they now?
— America's Unexplained & Unsolved on YouTube
  In addition, when the store staff later went through the cash box at the end of the night, they discovered that the man's payment - cash only - was made with counterfeit bills. Not only that, but they weren't even convincingly correct; one bill was for $25, which is not a proper unit of currency in American dollars, and all of the bills had George Washington on them despite their value.  


Shortly after the purchase, the man made his way to the mall's food court, presumably to get a bite to eat. He purchased a simple sandwich and milk from a vendor (again, with counterfeit currency) and ate it at a table near the centre of the food court. Again, the service staff member at the eatery recalled that he had been scratching vigorously at his side for much of the interaction.   Suddenly, after finishing his meal, he became very ill and fell out of his chair. He convulsed on the ground, attracting the attention of an older woman and her adult son from a nearby table. Just as the witness went to try and do first-aid, calling for someone to call an ambulance, the man suddenly stopped seizuring and attempted to collect himself off the ground. At this point, the mundane story and the real story diverge.  
You almost begin to wonder if the man did this to try and lure the poor old woman in. Seizures don't end that quickly and most aren't that lucid immediately afterwards. I'm not a doctor, but it is all quite odd.
— America's Unexplained & Unsolved on YouTube

Mundane Shooter...

  The mundane story is rather short and to the point. There was an altercation where the strange man shoved the lady or attacked her physically in some manner - the witnesses don't quite agree on how. The man then started rambling to himself in a low voice that only he could hear while the woman's son tried to keep her alive. A third man came up to them, and he tried to talk to the stranger. The stranger reacted angrily, and, producing a gun from nowhere, shot himself. Then the local police swarmed the food court, escorting people out and taking statements as needed.  

...And Magical Abomination

  The actual truth is much more viscerally horrifying. For the stranger suddenly became possessed by a rage that caused him to turn into a bloody creature of pure violence (see sidebar). The sudden magic flowing through him caused him to float into the air, mumbling and chanting curses to himself. The woman was forced to the ground by this display and became mortally injured when her head hit the tiled floor.   A local mage happened to be in the crowd and ran over to try and stop whatever this creature was. It gave off no demonic traces, he later recalled, but he was most certainly not Terran. Then the stranger, barely gesturing with one hand, caused the mage to freeze completely in his tracks, a paralysis so strong that force of it popped veins in his arms and legs. One of these broke skin, and the mage's blood was drawn out of the wound, into the air, and towards the stranger.   The sheer magical energy given off by the stranger at this point had gotten the attention of the local Sanctuary of Seven mages. They quickly arrived, disguised as police and creating a perimeter around the stranger. Not having any idea what they are up against, they could only watch in horror as he began to convulse in mid-air in a mist of blood.   Then the stranger died. He literally exploded on the spot, showering the entire area with blood and gore. The old woman, who had mysteriously not passed yet despite the immense blood loss, died at the same moment, and the paralyzed mage was unfrozen, passing out from anemia within moments. The remaining mages then quickly began the arduous and difficult process of memory-altering and cleaning up the mess, a process that took hours.  


Mundane theories regarding the incident usually fall into the realm of conspiracy theories or pure conjecture, as the Seven were extremely thorough in trying to cover up everything. Many claim that it was a government cover-up, a wild and suicidal gunman, aliens, or some other such half-baked idea.  
Many have tried to explain away the man's actions as those of a madman, or a criminal. I'm a man of science, and I simply believe that we don't have all the facts in this case. But with twenty years of time having passed, I doubt that we'll ever have concrete answers.
— America's Unexplained & Unsolved on YouTube
  The theories the Seven hold are only marginally better informed. The current belief is that this creature, whatever it was, is a new kind of demon. A few put forward the idea that it could be a sophont from an undiscovered world or semi-dimension. But with no similar incidents ever recorded and the creature itself long gone and destroyed, there is very little left to research or track down.
Content warnings: blood, gore, body horror, injury (all of these as text and as images), death, suicide and seizures (text only). 
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Identity of the perpetrator

One of the enduring mysteries of the incident is the identity of the man at the centre of the events. As the background indicates - and despite many researchers' attempts, mundane and magical alike, to learn more - the man is not seen coming from anywhere before the altercation in the parking lot. Before going to the clothing store, he also had been wearing clothing that was not normal to the time period.   In addition, after the incident took place, cleaners collected a sample of the perpetrator's blood for later study. This has only led to even more questions as the following was discovered:  
  • There was no sign of demonic possession, which is still the leading explanation;
  • The blood belonged to no known sophont, despite the man looking like a Terran; and
  • The blood still contains traces of magic that 1) prevents it from congealing and 2) should be, under current understandings of magic, impossible.
Further testing and research continues to be conducted by the Seven but there is very little new ground left in the investigation, especially so many years later.
  An artist's depiction of the stranger.  
It was like an unholy demon of death. It...he...lifted into the air like a puppet attached by strings, blood-red halos of something immensely powerful circling his hands, feet, and head. He was clearly bleeding from a wound in his side and under his arm, but the wounds seemed to bleed infinitely. Then the blood that dripped off of him began to move and shift as though this thing could control it and...well, you know what happened next.
— Account of an eyewitness mage
Greatsinger8344 replied: It's all a bunch of hogwash. I used to live in Duluth and I've passed through Stanleyville loads of times. I've never heard anything about this from anyone. This guy's inventing a wild goose chase and y'all are honking along to his tune.
One thing that confuses me about the eyewitness accounts of people who were present in the food court is that some of them seem to contradict one another. One says the stranger shot the lady, another says he merely shoved her, another says she was kicked. A couple of others say there was a young gentleman who was attacked too, but when asked what he looked like, suddenly couldn't recall...
— America's Unexplained & Unsolved on YouTube
  All images in this article were created by me, EmperorCharlesII, unless otherwise credited.

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Author's Notes

The YouTube channel mentioned in the quotes to this page is fictional and any similarity to any real-life YouTube channel or creator is purely coincidental.

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Jul 3, 2022 22:36 by Marjorie Ariel

This is one of my favorite articles you've done. I like how you grounded it so well in the Earth we know, which made me almost feel like I needed to look it up online.

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