Father Ernest Glynn and St. Gall
Ernest was not an original member of Anthony's secret group. Anthony noticed that he was curious and invited him to join. Along with the others, Ernest took Anthony’s serum, entered the Veil, and saw “the eye of the bird.” Shortly thereafter, Ernest showed signs of mental illness. In early 1876, a student noticed that he was irritable, pale, and sweaty. A few weeks later, he stopped teaching. A month later, the school closed (Chapter 2). [Or maybe they just announced that it was going to close.]
It seems fairly clear that Ernest’s mentally instability was due to his experiences in the Veil, especially seeing the Simurg. Ernest was probably not ill before then, or else Anthony would not have invited him to join. Also, Anthony described Ernest as being “one of the most renowned theologists” (Chapter 2), which would seem to imply that he was very sharp and composed. I'm guessing that his illness was sudden and profound. It’s implied that another priest (Father Eugene) became ill at the same time. I wonder if the Simurg could somehow "see" Eugene because he was close to Ernest. (It’s also possible that Ernest stole the serum and used it on Eugene.) When the priests abandoned St. Gall, only Ernest remained behind. Perhaps the priests believed that Ernest and St. Gall had both become toxic.
Sometime later, maybe in the 1880s, an order of nuns turned St. Gall into a hospital. By that time, Ernest was a Monsignor. The nuns accepted Ernest as the head of the hospital, though they rarely saw him. Ernest instructed them to hire Frank Baldwin as a caretaker.
When Devitt investigated the hospital, he found records of six suspicious deaths that occurred in November and December 1891 (Chapter 2). Baldwin was eventually found guilty of murdering 14 hospital patients (Collector’s Edition). Since six of Baldwin’s murders occurred during the last two months of 1891, then most (or all) of the other eight murders might have occurred earlier in 1891. Devitt seemed to believe that the deaths had been occurring “lately” (Chapter 2). If the murders didn’t start until 1891, then maybe Ernest suddenly went completely mad in early 1891 (whereas before he had only been mentally ill). This is important because Anthony also went mad in early 1891.
The Serum at St. Gall
Baldwin almost certainly injected his victims with serum. One of the patients spoke of “the darkness of his eye,” which matches Devitt’s description of the Simurg (Chapter 2). Kaufmann said that the nuns had found a hypodermic needle in Devitt’s coffin, along with traces of an unknown substance (Chapter 4). Ms. Parnell was also at St. Gall, and she apparently also entered the Veil (Collector’s Edition). Ernest said that he was trying to send his victims to the Simurg (Chapter 2).
It’s unclear how Ernest came to possess the serum. Anthony might have left it behind when the boarding school closed in 1876. But Devitt remembered Anthony as being very careful during his boarding school days (Chapter 2). Also, I don’t know if the serum would work after sitting around for 15 years.
Ernest might have acquired the serum from Alexandre or another member of the Playwright. In St. Gall, there is a picture of Devitt’s graduating class, with one person scratched out. It doesn’t look like Alexandre is in the photo (Chapter 2). If Ernest scratched out Alexandre’s picture, maybe there’s some sort of connection between them. However, Alexandre had been in a trance since 1887 and Ernest probably did not use the serum until 1891. Also, the Playwright’s one rule is “see that no one knows” (Chapter 5). If they had given the serum to an unstable person like Ernest, they’d risk creating a public scandal (and Baldwin's actions did indeed become very public) (Chapter 4).
It’s possible that Ernest stole the serum or acquired it by accident. He might have gotten it from someone we haven’t seen yet. It’s fun to think that Devitt gave him the serum and then forgot about it.
Personally, I suspect that Ernest got the serum from Anthony. Some evidence suggests that they went mad at the same time. Also, Anthony explicitly told Devitt to go to St. Gall, where “they” would be waiting for him (Chapter 1). During Ernest’s autopsy, a pathologist found a piece of paper in his stomach. It was a list of names: Ernest Glynn, Jeremiah Devitt, Alexandre D., and Hugo Ashdown. Hugo’s name was crossed out (Collector’s Edition). This list may suggest a connection between Ernest and Anthony, since Ernest had the list and Anthony’s name wasn’t on it.
个人来说,我怀疑Ernest从Anthony那儿得到了血清。一些证据显示他们在同一时间段发了疯。同样的,Anthony明确地告诉Devitt去圣加尔,“他们”会在那儿等他(第1章)。在对Ernest验尸期间,一位殡丧业者在他的胃中发现了一张纸。上面有一串名字:Ernest Glynn, Jeremiah Devitt, Alexandre D.,和Hugo Ashdown。Hugo的名字被划掉了。(收藏集)。这份名单可能暗示Ernest和Anthony之间有联系,因为Ernest有这名单而Anthony的名字不在上面。
On the other hand, Ernest said, “I haven’t heard from any of you” (Chapter 2), which would seem to imply that he had no contact with anyone from Devitt's student group. It's possible that Ernest meant that he hadn't been in contact with the other three witnesses, but he *had* been in contact with Anthony, who was technically not a “witness.” In other words, maybe Ernest was trying to mislead Devitt without lying to him. Personally, I think a simpler explanation is that Ernest was unreliable. He might not have lied intentionally, but he was raving without thinking about what he was saying. In any event, whoever made the list knew to cross out Hugo’s name. Therefore, either Ernest knew about Hugo, or he was in contact with someone who knew about Hugo.
If Anthony gave Ernest the serum, why would he send Devitt to St. Gall? Maybe he didn't realize that people were being murdered there. Maybe Anthony was hoping that Devitt would use the serum to recover his memories and find a way to oppose the Simurg. Another, darker possibility is that Anthony was hoping Ernest would kill Devitt. Maybe Anthony believed that, if a person has seen the Simurg, then the Simurg could use that person to influence our world. Therefore, if Anthony killed everyone who had seen the Simurg, then maybe the Simurg would lose its influence over our world. Of course, according to Skidd, many people in the Playwright have also glimpsed the “horrors” beyond the Veil. Anthony may have been a member of the Playwright (he possessed a ceremonial robe and mask). Did he not realize how many people may have seen the Simurg? Or does it take more than a glimpse of the Simurg to be a “witness”?
Update: Or maybe Anthony was also killing people in the Playwright. He had those newspaper clippings for the judge, the Earl, and the actor, all of whom died suspiciously.
Anthony spoke regretfully about the people who died. I could be wrong, but I don’t have the impression that he killed them.
In Chapter 8, the Playwright did not seem to be particularly concerned about the Simurg.
When Devitt approached Ernest’s room, someone broke the windows in the hallway. It could have been just a jump scare that we shouldn’t think too much about. Or maybe someone (or something) was trying to discourage Devitt from making contact with Ernest. Could it have been Alexandre, working from within the veil? Could Alexandre have been trying to drive Devitt away, so that Baldwin wouldn't be able to kill him?