Innsmouth is a place invented by Lovecraft for The Shadow over Innsmouth.
Canon summary by Raymond H. Rich
The town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts was founded in 1643 at the mouth of the Manuxet River. Its large harbor helped it grow into a thriving seaport and a major center of commerce on the Atlantic coast. Goods from around the world were brought back on its many sailing vessels.
During the War of 1812, the captains of Innsmouth became privateers preying upon the British fleet. The war cost Innsmouth at least half of its sailors, putting a nail in the coffin of the town’s early prosperity. Captain Obed Marsh continued to achieve success with trading ventures in the Indies. This, coupled with mills built upon the banks of the Manuxet, became Innsmouth’s primary source of revenue.
In 1838, Marsh found his Polynesian trading partners slaughtered by their neighbors and lost this source of gold. The town’s economy continued its downward spiral. Marsh founded the Esoteric Order of Dagon, combining Holy Scripture, Middle-Eastern fertility worship, and Polynesian rites.
In 1846, a strange disease wracked Innsmouth. When villagers from nearby communities investigated, they found half of the town’s people dead, and Obed Marsh and his Order in complete control. The town’s fortunes continued to decline, despite newfound wealth in fishing and gold refining.
Degenerative traits began to surface in the children of Innsmouth, blamed on the plague. These deformities kept Innsmouth from meeting its quota of draftees in the Civil War. The truth was that these deformities were caused by interbreeding with the nearby colony of Deep Ones, as dictated by Marsh’s Order. The town became shunned by the surrounding villages, and the Marsh family maintained its deathgrip.
In the winter of 1927-1928, a team of U.S. Treasury Department agents under the command of Special Agent Wade of the Secret Service conducted an investigation of the townsfolk of Innsmouth, Massachussetts. The investigation prompted President Calvin Coolidge to authorize a raid on the town under the code name Project COVENANT. The Department of the Navy, in the form of Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) agents, U.S. Marines, and U.S. Coast Guard troops, provided both firepower and manpower for the raid. The Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation, under director J. Edgar Hoover, was brought on board for its legal authority to seize “suspected aliens and seditionists” for deportation.
ONI captured approximately 200 Deep One hybrids; a copy of the log of the Sumatra Queen, the ship of Innsmouth’s most prominent merchant-captain and founder of the Esoteric Order of Dagon, Obed Marsh; a Marsh family history dated 1862; two copies (one badly burnt) of the Ponape Scripture; five conical stone tablets inscribed with glyphs (weighing about fifty pounds each); and incomplete translation notes for the strange glyphs, compiled over many years by Robert Marsh, who was killed by Marines while resisting arrest.
Rumors persist that a submarine fired torpedoes off of Devil’s Reef at an unknown target.
Accounts of Innsmouth after Project COVENANT describe it principally as a ghost town, but it may have become home to a software company poised to take the industry by storm.
from “The Black Island” by August Derleth, Delta Green material by Adam Scott Glancy with John Tynes, The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana by Daniel Harms, “Deepnet” by David Langford,
“The Shadow Over Innsmouth” by H.P. Lovecraft, The Transition of Titus Crow by Brian Lumley,
and Escape from Innsmouth by Kevin Ross
Ideas for modernization
A DGML discussion in early February, 2012.
I can't remember there being any mention of Lovecraft Country in the Delta Green fiction or gaming material. One reason for this may point to how the Delta Green sourcebook starts out, implying that many of the cults of 1920's CoC have gone underground or petered out. So it might not be that Mythos "infestation" is so prevalent that Lovecraft Country is no longer unusual but that it's become so hidden that DG has not (yet) realized its prevalence in New England.
I believe there are several mentions of a modern Innsmouth in non-DG Mythos fiction, but none in gaming material (DG or otherwise), as only Arkham has received that treatment (in both Arkham Now and A Resection of Time). The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia states that modern Innsmouth may be "a ghost town, the home of an innovative software company taking the industry by storm, an abandoned area under military quarantine, or a tourist trap filled with historical exhibits and ghastly museums."
I don't know what the modern real estate market is like in northeastern Massachusetts, but if it has been tight anytime over the past 85 years, it seems unlikely that a coastal community like Innsmouth has remained a ghost town. It could have remained so due to its one poor road, and official DG could've been around to make sure that the road wasn't developed until at least 1970. Even then, DG may be (mistakenly?) believing that Innsmouth is no longer a threat after their Operation RIPTIDE supposedly "finished the job" by blowing up Y'ha-nthlei in 1963, and has allowed Innsmouth to be redeveloped.
Note that both Ipswich and Rowley (the nearest neighbors to Innsmouth) are only about a 45 minute drive into Boston, meaning that (if they fixed the roads) Innsmouth could easily be redeveloped into a bedroom community servicing Boston commuters (and thereby a reasonable home for an "innovative software company"). I could see (after DG loses interest in Innsmouth) that Innsmouth is redeveloped into such a community for "white flight" suburbanites fleeing busing and other racial strife in Boston in the mid-1970s. The bored suburban white kids then rebel against their homogenous culture by drifting into weird customs taken on from the Esoteric Order of Dagon, so that, by the modern day, there is a generation of Deep One worshippers/hybrids once again in complete control of the town.
It would be odd for Innsmouth to still be under military quarantine. If that had happened, it would've likely dated back to 1928 (or maybe 1963, post-RIPTIDE), and no one even has COVENANT clearance anymore. Still, it might be interesting if the quarantine was maintained and forgotten after DG is deactivated in 1970. There could be a skeleton unit stationed there, soldiers lost in the military bureaucracy manning posts overgrown with weeds. Outside the eye of either military leadership (who doesn't even really know the post exists as the whole process is on auto-pilot) or Delta Green (I imagine a lot of knowledge was lost during the post-1970 transition from an official agency to an underground conspiracy), these soldiers could suddenly find themselves fighting a resurgent Y'ha-nthlei, or warp into a new Esoteric Order of Dagon, or both.
The tourist trap thing just sounds cheesy and lame.
I can think of a few ways that DG, er, the government, might have kept Innsmouth empty, and/or that an interested cult could keep anyone else from interfering with their use:
- Designate it as a Superfund site with every hazardous and expensive-to-remove material under the sun present, thus keeping people out and discouraging development of any sort.
- Buying up the development rights to the land, under the guise of a "historic trust" meant to preserve the area's fisheries by lowering the value of the land and thus making it uninteresting to potential commercial interests.
- Buying up all of the useful buildings and properties through a variety of shell companies and straw buyers that all just happen to go back to the same person, occasionally swapping owners around. ("Oh, the Marsh mansion? Yes, it's a beautiful property, but I'm afraid we got a much larger offer at the last minute. But I will be sure to let you know if it goes back on the market.")
- Encourage colonization by drifters and the disaffected, both to keep out commercial interests and as canaries in the coal mine to see what happens to them. Occupy Innsmouth! Or vice versa.
- Set up a shell company that wants to turn Innsmouth into a historic site, perhaps a museum or a 'living history' site a la Colonial Williamsburg, deliberately underfund the company and tie it up in slow-moving litigation with other shell companies regarding construction, property rights and so on.
An adventure hook for most of these options is that it generates boatloads of paperwork. DG agents carefully picking through suck paperwork may start to notice things that set off their alarms, such as the corporate structures looping back on each other or being owned by people who don't seem to exist, "testing" done by nonexistent companies, reports that don't really say what they claim to say when you dig into the data, "findings" about the site that appear to have been lifted wholesale from other reports ("Wait, this is Innsmouth. Why does this paragraph talk about Yucca Mountain?").