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Henry Stauf is the main character from the 7th Guest series and also serves as the games' main antagonist. Unlike most villains, Henry Stauf almost never engages with the protagonist of either games directly. A psychopath, Stauf uses puzzles and games to confuse his victims and offers them a twisted version of their "heart's most secret desire" should they subscribe to his demands.
Henry Stauf is very clearly an evil person. He is first depicted as a homeless drunkard who does not hesitate to murder a church choir woman to steal a twenty dollar bill. Psychotic, sadistic, cruel, unpleasant, manipulative and unclean, Stauf is almost never seen in a positive light, although one might say that he is remarkably witty.
It is implied in the first game that Stauf was sexually abused by his father, who he still holds malice feelings towards. Clearly disturbed, even from the beginning, Stauf was willing to murder a woman for only $20. It was during this time that Stauf started to hear "voices" which advised him to create a doll out of wood. Stauf complied and created the doll. He took the doll and his stolen $20 to a bar to squander his money on booze. The shop owner was so impressed with Stauf's doll that he offered him a roof over Stauf's head should he continue to make more dolls and toys for his daughter, an offer that Stauf excepted.
Eventually, Stauf received more visions which advised him to make more toys and eventually puzzles. Stauf was an instantly successful with every one of his creations, "a Stauf toy is a toy for life" and every body wanted one. Then, completely out of the blue, Stauf closed his toy shop unexpectedly indefinetly. Immediately afterwards, every single children who had a Stauf toy ended up dying from a strange virus. Most of the children died still clentching their Stauf doll close to their body.
Stauf closed his mansion door shut and was never seen again.
Fifteen years later, Stauf mysteriously sent out 6 invitiations out to selected unrelated guests—each of them with skeletons in their closet—for a dinner party at his mansion. He promises to provide for them "their heart's most secret desire" should they come to the mansion. Relunctedly, every guest showed up at the mansion.
Stauf rudely never played the role as host as the guests had expected him to do so. He instead, left a bowl of soup and a slice of cake for each designated guest in the dinning room. Included in the room where letters addreessed to each guest, which had Stauf privately delivering them a innocient yet disturbing introduction to their purpose.
Stauf was never seen until the second half of the game, although he uses his influences to kill off all the guests one by one. He pulled Martine through the bathroom drain, apparantly killing her, and used his magic to reanimate her corpse to have her seduce Edward. He taunted Ellinor by using her fear of blood against her and eventually transformed her into a manniquin and he indirectly manipulated Julia to murder Temple, who in turn murdered Edward, who in turn murdered Dutton, who was convinced by Stauf to stab Edward.
It was strongly implied that out of all the guests in the house, Stauf had the strongest connection with the protagonist of the game, who was delibertly kept a mystery until the last second of the game. This 7th guest turns out to be Tad, a young boy who was dared by his friends to crash the dinner party uninvited, although all he really wants to do is leave the house alive. Apparently, Stauf needed a soul, and not just anyone's soul but Tad's specific soul. The reason for this has never been specified, although it's implied that Hell itself will literally break loose.
In the scrapped bad ending of the game, Stauf manages to snatch Tad's soul for himself. He laughes maniacally as Tad's body withers and deteorates. The player (who was Tad's soul in adult form all along) would automatically turn and attempt to escape the attic and down the stairs, the walls will be pulsing and have an appearance that is similar to flesh. Although the player would never have gotten past the foyer stairs, as the screen would fade to black as Stauf's laughter increasingly gets louder.
In the canonical good ending, Stauf loses to Tad and as such loses his physical body. Stauf is now forced to apparate only in the proximity of his house as a ghost, as was seen in the sequal of the game which takes place over 50 years later.
45 years later from the events of 7th Guest, Stauf entices two young high school girls, Eileen and Samantha, to his haunted house. He captured, tortured, and raped them. When the distraught girls tried to flee, an angered Stauf brutally amputated Eileen's right hand by slamming his metal front gate shut on it. The police chief, Jim Martin, investigated the reports of the girls, but refused to accept the supernatural claims they've made and suggested that Eileen's hand looked more like a dog bite. This misconception of the events was subsequently accepted as truth to the point that the girls, in an attempt to move on from the events, delude themselves into accepting.
Fifteen years pass and the house continues to decay. A frustrated Stauf demands his staff to bring him random sacrifices for the house. (Stauf is convinced that the house is a physical entity, and as such needs to feed on the souls of the innocent. However, he is spiritually imprisioned in his own home due to Tad's events from the first game, and thus he cannot leave his house himself). This small staff includes, but probably is not limited to, Julia Heine, Edward Knox, Brian Dutton, Martine Burden, Chuck Testa, and his own daughter (from Eileen), Marie.
Of this staff of six, four of them (the former guests from the previous game) proved to be either incompetent, unmotivated, and even uninterested. Stauf curses them all to be severely confused as punishment. I.E., Martine is convinced that she is trying out for a play and Edward Knox panics, insisting that "they" are coming for him.
Marie proved to be the most competent by far, although she rarely gets her hands dirty via murder. She instead seduces her victims to a hotel room, where Chuck awaits to assassinate, then later deliver to the house itself. This agenda worked flawlessly, but Marie noted that Chuck was increasingly getting distant with Stauf and the house, focusing instead on his own business career. Further problems arrived when the reports of several people "missing" (for no one could find the bodies as they were delivered to the house), made headlines, and intrigued Robin Morales, a reporter from a neighborhood town. Stauf, not willing to tolerate the news media, ordered Marie to kill Robin. Marie, instead, offers the assassination task to Chuck, who at first declines, but later accepts when Marie hypocritically asks if he really wanted to reject her daddy's orders.
Chuck accidentally assassinated Jim Martin, the town's single police force and subsequently the town's chief, instead of Robin Morales. He carelessly drags Jim's body to the house anyway and offers him as a sacrafice. This infruriates Stauf, and he persuades the severely confused Julia Heine to make homemade soup out of Chuck, and to "chuck him into the soup". Julia, cleaver ready, gleefully complies.
It wasn't long afterwards that Robin herself, unconvincd of the "dog bite" report from long ago, seeks out the truth of the house and, after several different interviews from several people around town, decides to voluntarily enter the house herself. Stauf takes matters into his own hands at this point and manipulates Robin by promising her an entire network in her honor if she would be willing pledge her loyalty to Stauf. Robin reluctantly accepts, and her soul is sacraficed to Stauf (although she still retains her physical body and thus could walk in and out of the house, until after her death).
With the guest count now being at 6 (Marie is not considered a guest, since she is Stauf's daughter), Stauf encourages Robin to find one more innocent soul for the house to feed on, presumingly, the second 7th Guest. Robin plads a fake cry for help to Carl Denning, her recently broken-up boyfriend, for help and implies that she is trapped in the Stauf House. Carl arrives at the house to rescue her and, after the entire game, Stauf finally reveals himself to Carl Denning and tells Carl to "make a deal" between saving the soul of three females in front of him, two of which were not even lost to Stauf to begin with (unbenowst to Carl).
- Ending A: Samantha
If the player chooses the "television", which is actually a monitor that has Samantha on a webcam, Carl Denning would escape the evil house with the assistance of Samantha. The house is "starved" to death since it is passed the 11th hour and subsequently burns to the ground, all the trapped souls inside with it. This is considered the Best ending.
- Ending B: Robin
If the player chooses to save Robin, Carl will bring Robin back home with him. While Stauf himself is not seen at all in this ending, it is implied that he got what he wanted; The ending shows Robin watching over her apparent new broadcast station, which indeed is named in her honor. The news anchor reports of the disappearance of Carl Manning. Robin continues watching without much emotion. This strongly implies that Robin herself sacrificed Carl to Stauf. However, since Carl was a sacrifice, he is therefore not a guest, and thus the house continues to be in a "limbo" phase. Although this is typically not considered to be a good ending, Trilobyte has admitted that this ending was what was intended before the idea of "alternate endings" came into play. This implies that this ending is the most canonical of the three.
- Ending C: Marie
If the player chooses the clearly suspiciously evil Marie, the player would be shown what is undeniably considered to be the "Bad Ending". Marie entices the sexually frusterated Carl to her room. They have passionate sex...that is until Carl realizes that he's not having sex with Marie, but with a grinning Henry Stauf, who taunts Carl for his "wise" decision. Stauf helps himself to a tray of ribs on the night stand and offers a piece of rib to Carl. Seeing Carl's horrific disappointment, Stauf further mocks him by pointing out that "he's not half bad". He metaphorses into Marie and selects another rib from the tray. S/he again offers a rib to Carl. S/He is surprised that Carl doesn't like them because....after all...they're Carl's ribs. Afterwords, the duo laughs manically as lightning strikes outside. The laughter morphs into demonic hysterics and the screen fades to a bloody red mass. This implies that the House has not only been revived and restored to it's former glory, but that it now has enough power to unleash it's dark magic to the world.