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Augustus Cribben

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Cribben
"She's mine.." ~ Cribben's threat (as he seeks to kill the daughter of the current residents)

Augustus Cribben is the main antagonist of the British supernatural 2 part-series The Secret of Crickley Hall as well as the original novel, he was an active antagonist during World War II but also continued to haunt the world (quite literally) in the modern age as a malevolent force in the house and his actions both present and past were instrumental in the evils of the show.

Augustus Cribben was the head of the Cribben Orphanage during World War II and was in charge of caring for many children.

He suffered a head injury in the Blitz which destroyed his peace of mind. As his mental health deteriorated, he became increasingly strict with the orphans in his care and often beat them with canes, he was especially fixated on a young boy who had ran away during the time the bomb hit, blaming him for what happened - the boy was horribly abused and had his mind broken by Cribben, who used to take him to the basement and hold him over a well, telling him the well was akin to Hell and that if the boy did not "amend his ways" he would go to Hell (a common fear-tactic, known as spiritual-abuse).

Cribben's actions prompted a member of his staff to rebel as she began to take actions to rescue the children under his care but he continually thwarted her plans, managing to have her removed from service as he continued to beat the children mercilessly and kept records of it in his ledger, he even managed to convince authorities at the time that the children had inflicted the injuries on themselves (showing how flawed the system was at the time).

However Cribben's psychosis worsened and his treatment of the orphans was in danger of being exposed, which climaxed in Cribben killing many of the orphans by taking them to the basement and gassing them, he then began to flood the manor - however in the aftermath he realized he had forgotten one child, the same boy he continually beat.

The young boy tried to hide but was captured by Cribben, who threatened him once again with the cane - however the boy proceeded to toss Cribben over the railings and struck his hands with the cane in vengeance, causing the head to fall to the ground as the water rose, paralysed yet still alive Cribben threatened his young victim one last time with the chilling vow "I'll find you!" and the boy ran away, Cribben proceeded to drown.

The Secret of Crickley Hall trailer - BBC One01:38

The Secret of Crickley Hall trailer - BBC One

Yet even in death Cribben's oppressive presence would remain as he became a poltergeist who frequently struck at children with his cane and his malevolent presence would terrorize the new family of the home, manipulating the now elderly boy who he had terrorized in the past into trying to kill one of the protagonist's daughters via tossing her down the well in the basement but ultimately failing as the family manage to stop the would-be-murderer and exposing the truth of the manor's past - causing Cribben to lose control over the area.

In the end of the story the ghosts of Cribben's young victims are set free but Cribben refuses to go with them despite being offered a chance to redeem himself (one of the ghosts holds out a hand to guide him to the light and asks him to change), instead he heads back towards the basement in solemn silence - presumably a metaphore for Cribben's dark soul finally going to Hell (or Purgatory).

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