Lost in thought, Claire stood by the window of her father’s study watching the torrential rain soaking the grounds of her family’s country estate in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Still trying to come to terms with the reality that just ten year ago, on a night very much like this, her parents had died in that horrific car crash. Until that fateful night she’d lived a sheltered life, a life steeped in Manhattan’s upper class privileged elite. Still, Claire was proud of the way she’d risen to the challenge, dropping out of graduate school, she’d taken over the family’s investment firm and not only succeeded but excelled at running the family business.

And yet, as she stared out into the pouring rain, Claire thought of all those darkly adolescent desires that had haunted her teenage years. Even now with the study’s roaring fireplace, Claire felt a sudden cold chill of ominous foreboding as she recalled all those hauntingly erotic nightmares. Often, it was Freddy Krueger with his razor-sharp finger blades ripping her body into a dozen bloody screaming shreds, or Jason Voorhees’s brutal butcher knife opening her belly from her crotch to her sternum as she helplessly watched her guts spilling onto the floor as she died. Still, it wasn’t those classic slasher movies that held her most terrifying memories it was a little known movie entitled “The Virgin of Nuremberg”, a diabolical fifteenth century instrument of torturous death. Intrigued by the actual Virgin’s blood-soaked history, Claire often fantasied about what it would be like to die a slow agonizing death trapped within the Virgin’s spiked-lined interior.

The first iron maiden, Nuremberg’s ruling Baron commissioned construction of the Virgin for the execution of his adulterous third wife. Legend has it that the horrific screams of his dying wife drove the Baron to madness and over the years that followed the Baron condemned hundreds of women to die within the Virgin until the church finally stepped in and outlawed its diabolical use in the late fifteenth century.

Today, the fate of the Virgin of Nuremberg is a mystery. Some people believe it never actually existed, that it’s just an urban myth. Others, that it was lost in a museum fire long ago. However, as unlikely as it might seem, Claire actually uncovered the incredibly bizarre truth.

The Bishop of Nuremberg discovered that many of the women sent to their deaths within the Virgin appeared innocent of the charge of adultery. And while the Bishop was never able to prove it, he believed many of the local nobility paid the Baron handsomely to condemn their wives in order to remarry. Outraged, and to forever protect those innocent of adulterous behavior, the Bishop placed a curse upon the Virgin. And that, as the Bishop uttered his curse, the Virgin’s spike-lined body vanished from its stone pedestal in swirling cloud of fog.

It had taken Claire years, and a considerable amount of money to uncover the truth. A few well-placed bribes to a certain Vatican official allowed one of her researchers to “acquire” the Bishop’s journal from the Vatican archives. Upon discovering the true nature of the Virgin’s ancient stone pedestal, Claire set about locating it. The fruitless search for the stone pedestal had taken Claire years and cost a small fortune. Ironically, after all the work she’d invested in her attempts to locate it, it wasn’t until it ended up as part of an estate auction in England, that her agents finally acquired the Virgin’s pedestal.

Pausing to take a sip of wine, Claire stared out into the rain swept darkness. Soon she would reverse the Bishop’s curse and finally discover the blood-soaked mystery that was the infamous Virgin of Nuremberg...