Charity / Religious Sect, based in the town of Bedford, England. The Panacea society has its origins in Joanna Southcott, a prophetess (sic) who was born around 1750, and died in 1814, after giving birth to an ethereal child (sic). Having been a virgin, and 64 by the time she became pregnant, it was proclaimed that she was giving birth to the new messiah, called Shiloh. However, despite finding evidence of a 'pregnancy' beforehand, her autopsy seemed to prove otherwise, hence the idea that she had given birth to the ghost child. Joanna left some of her writings in a box that her followers believed would have to be opened in the presence of the 24 most senior bishops of the Church of England.
In 1918 a movement based on Southcott's writings was started by Mabel Barltrop, who had recently been released by her lunatic asylum. This movement became the modern Panacea Society. Members had to give up their belongs to the society which invested in property around Bedford. Mabel was supposedly the reincarnation of Joanna and took the name Octavia, by which she is still known by cult members. The 'Panacea' is the healing water that is made by mixing water with sections of linen that were breathed upon by Joanna, and thus blessed, as she is regarded as highly as the Virgin Mary by believers. These linen sections are donated to people seeking a miracle cure because they are not meant to believe in making money.
The box, regarded by devotees as being like the ark of the covenant, was opened to much embarrassment in 1927, when instead of heralding the second coming, proved only to be full of junk, including a toy pistol. The Panaceans still deny that this was the real box, saying that this is hidden somewhere in England, waiting for the 24 Anglican bishops to open it. While Octavia was alive, she stayed in the vicinity of their cult compound, the Haven, believing that if she walked more than 77 steps away from the Haven, she would be taken by Satan himself. The haven is a large mansion in Bedford which was destined to become the centre of the new world after Christ’s resurrection. In the mean time, they continue to take out advertisements in national newspapers, appealing for those bishops to come forward.
Fundamentally, the Panacea Society consists of a bunch of fruitcakes. They believe that Bedford is both the new Garden of Eden and the new Bethlehem, and they keep a house empty for when their messiah, Shiloh, is finally born. They had attributed this date to the year 2000, and will be proven wrong again in 2004. Until then, dead members wait in their immortal bodies on the planet Uranus, which all of them will be on soon, since their members are slowly dying off. In the meantime though they have recently had to sell off some of their assets, although the members are still sitting on a great fortune.