When the Strangecraft Lighthouse was sold to the Metrobay Port Authority in 1949, they were surprised to find hundreds of relics and artifacts inside. Amongst the curious items was a black top hat locked inside a small safe.
Little did they know that Old Man Strangecraft himself had locked the Black Hat in the safe because he believed it was a danger to society. The old man believed the Black Hat was possessed by a wicked spirit. But by the 1940s, the escapades of Woodrow Atticus Strangecraft seemed like fables of old.
Even though the safe had a sign on it warning “Never Open!”, the admonishment was ignored and the safe was opened. The Black Hat was then taken to the Metrobay Museum where all the lighthouse artifacts were donated.
Little did they know just how correct Strangecraft’s hunch was.
The Black Hat was stolen from the museum one day by a thief named Alfred Hughes. Alfred subsequently put on the legendary Hat but was slightly disappointed when nothing appeared to happen right away.
The truth was that much began to happen, though without Alfred’s awareness. The true history of the Hat is that it exists as an evil counterpart to the legendary Cloak of the Nightengale with a history stretching back thousands upon thousands of years. It once belonged to a powerful sorcerer who was the brother of the legendary heroine Avia, who eventually was seen as a goddess. Unlike his heroic sister, the brother was a truly evil man and eventually and inevitably the two had their final battle where they destroyed one another.
When some brave adventurers eventually dared to enter the wasteland that resulted from the battle, they found the only remnants of the two powerful magic users; the Cowl of the sorcerer, the cloak of Avia, and a Wand that pulsed with magical energy. The two siblings had destroyed their physical forms, but their power was impossible to destroy completely. While Avia had cast her spirit within her cloak at the moment of her physical death, her brother had likewise done so and his spirit had ended up within his cowl, which changed its physical form over the centuries as times and fashions changed and eventually took the form of a top hat.
Unlike the Nightengale Cloak, where the wearer’s spirit merges with that of Avia, the Hat’s influence was subtle, subversive, and more effective in its careful manipulation of its puppets.
Rather than imbuing its host with all its power at once, the Black Hat instead began to slowly twist and morph Alfred’s ideals and mindset, warping his mind down darker and more sinister paths of evil. Alfred eventually formed his own gang, the Klown Krew, and began scamming audience and feeding his perverse pleasures with a touring Carnival of Sin. This continued for some time until Pink Pussycat shut down his operation and Alfred was incarcerated at Metrobay State Penitentiary.
Alfred was eventually freed and the Hat was confiscated and discarded. Its current whereabouts is unknown.
Known properties of the Black Hat include its ability to assert greater control over its host, to leave lingering feelings of lust and desire within the individual, to imbue them with limited magical abilities such as super strength or supernatural powers, and its ability to change forms and shapes to blend in and hide when necessary.