It all started in Janyce Hill’s home in Salinas, California, in 1981. Hill and her six companions huddled together in a stuffy bedroom, unraveling the mystery of a family turned into rodent-like creatures by a terrible curse.
“It was hot, it was very claustrophobic,” Hill remembers. “And I think it was the second or third session. We had all these snacks and sodas and things. And right when I had given them some piece of really shocking information for their characters, one of the soda bottles blew [its lid] off and just went boom! And [the bottle] exploded and sprayed all over the room and they all shrieked and it was like duh duh duh!”
Back then, Hill spent her days working at an office supply store. But on the weekends, she ruled an alternate universe: one filled with terror and villains and magic. She and her companions were playing Call of Cthulhu, a table-top role-playing game, or RPG.