Normington New World of Darkness
Since 1980 or so, Normington had been growing at an aggressive rate. At this point the size of Normington is second only to Chicago in Illinois. The early growth rate had many contributing social and economic factors, but of late the primary growth has been attributed to the various academic finds at the relatively new university in town.
In the mid-90s, there was an outbreak involving a hallucinogenic gas that affected a great deal of the population. Most effects were minor with people seeing things that were not real, like bigfoot, flying saucers, Vampires, werewolves, and the like, but some suffered deeper effects. Some delusions led individuals to harm themselves or others and the most severely affected became very aggressive, which led to a violent crime outbreak over the course of a year. The source of the gas was finally found and neutralized, and the effects wore off of the populace over the course of the next several months.
A year or so after the New Millennium there was another surge in local violence that had residents worried about another gas outbreak. This violent crime wave only lasted a couple of weeks and was ultimately attributed to gang activity.
Less than 10 years ago, the University, and its connected Hospital, sprang up virtually overnight. About 5 years ago the President of the University held a historic press conference where he and his head Faculty revealed that they had designed a cure for AIDS. After exactly 30 minutes of fielding questions about the cure and it distribution plans, he abruptly ended questioning with a second announcement: that they had uncovered what the school considered proof of God or a higher power. They had found a statuette of the Virgin Mary that would occasionally cry tears. Further these tears could heal most ailments by touch or ingestion. This second announcement was met with a myriad of responses; shock, disbelief, cynicism, awe, and joy. In the years since the discovery was made, the statuette has passed every test that it has been given and has yet to be debunked. Stalwart cynics and atheists still deny that this oddity offers proof of a higher power but are forced to admit that they cannot explain the restorative properties of the statuette. Religious leaders from around the world originally argued the provenance and the statuette and where it should be housed, and even which religion it actually represents (as the statuette’s likeness is merely a robed female and could be argued to be a female figure from other religions). This stalemate was ultimately broken by the university when they offered to build the Multi-Faith Cathedral with the statuette as its centerpiece. Now people from around the world make pilgrimages to worship at the Cathedral and to visit the statuette. The statuette itself is closely guarded and actual contact with it or it’s tears must be made through the Cathedral and the statuette’s custodian Sister Mary Margaret Catherine Janine who oversees the statuette’s caretaking.
These two announcements cause an population and travel influx to the city that warranted the expansion of the local regional airport to that of a full international airport.