(1941-07-31) Into the Mouth of Strangeness
Details for Into the Mouth of Strangeness
Summary: Norman enters the wizarding world for the first time.
Date: 31 July, 1941
Related: Stranger in a Strange Pub

It's taken years, but I've finally done it. I've infiltrated their world. My attire was a bit simple, as I am no great tailor, but it was a functional set of robes. I feel that I was able to blend in, at least at first.

I closed the shop early in preparation. I must have stood across the road from the Leaky Cauldron for ten minutes, second-guessing myself. The Leaky Cauldron is the pub I've mentioned in these pages before. Nobody else seems to go inside, or even notice it at all. Nobody except the Strangers.

Dressed as one of them, I entered the pub. I half expected it to be something else entirely on the inside, such as some sort of Satanic church or just a long, dark hallway leading to even darker mysteries. But it was a pub like any other, if a bit anachronistic; it probably would have been more suitable to a time some centuries past. That is the way of the Strangers. Most of them are like people stepping out of some fantastical version of history.

The blonde woman was there, working as a waitress. She greeted me warmly. I must be careful not to allow myself to forget how dangerous these people could be. Of course they'll be warm to me as long as they believe I'm one of them.

I tried to sit alone so I could observe the Strangers in their own surroundings. But one of them felt quite comfortable joining me. Clearly, the Strangers are lacking in basic manners. It makes me wonder just how far removed they are from civilised society.

As odd as the people were, that was insignificant compared to the other things I saw. There was a newspaper on a nearby table, but what was extraordinary about it was the photograph on the front page. It was moving. The image literally moved about like a cinema picture. I looked about for some sort of projector, but I saw none. I have no idea how the effect was accomplished, but it was beyond impressive.

Similarly, a woman at another table was folding paper animals to entertain the blonde woman's son. Like the photograph, the animals moved of their own volition. I can only imagine it was some kind of mechanical wonder, but I've never seen anything of the like at such a small size.

The woman at my table became rather nosy, and I realised that I couldn't risk her asking too many questions. I make my excuses and departed. But in my nervousness, I left through the back door. At least I believed it was the back door. It even opened into a small, plain patio enclosed by a high brick wall. Then, more wonders appeared, as the bricks of the wall shifted and moved to create an opening! Another Stranger came in from the other side, where I could see a zig-zagging road full of shops and businesses, and dozens more of the Strangers.

Fear gripped me, and I briefly considered turning back. But it was clear that I might not get such an opportunity again, so I dashed through the opening before the bricks moved back into place.

By the signage, I was able to determine that the road was called "Diagon Alley". I noticed the pun immediately, of course. At least the Strangers are not without a sense of humour.

I moved quickly down the "alley", just in case anyone from the pub decided to follow me. The Strangers took little heed of me, as I appeared to be one of them. There were all sorts, just like one might see on any street in London — posh Strangers, raggedy Strangers, Strange parents with their Strange children.

As I write these words, I am still too overwhelmed and excited to detail everything that I saw. Suffice to say that there were endless wonders that I shall catalogue in my research notes. But the most amazing of all must have been the brooms. Like witches, they rode around on brooms. Flying brooms. If anyone reads this, they will surely think me insane. I would too, if I had not seen it with my own eyes. These broomsticks levitated and ferried the Strangers about under their own power. At first I thought they must surely be on some elevated lift system with wires I could not see. But with the way the riders obviously directed the paths of flight, it was clear to me that I was witnessing something unnatural. There was an entire shop devoted to the crafting and selling of these brooms, whimsically called "Flights of Fancy". I did not dare attempt to purchase one, lest I expose myself, but the temptation was great.

There is more to tell, but in truth, much of it remains a blur to me. It was difficult to take in so much, so suddenly. I eventually discovered another way to leave this secret realm without passing through the Leaky Cauldron. I believe it will be the safer way to go when I return to investigate further.

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