While Omega stayed back to guard the room (and probably run up the room service tab) I hit the local library to do some research. I discovered via their computer system that a library an hours drive away actually owns a copy of "The Nickerbocker's Tale" the short story that inspired Candle Cove. Needless to say I broke a few traffic laws and forty minutes latter I was holding it my hands. Unfortunately I couldn't bring it back to the hotel with me, they don't loan it out even to locals with a library card let alone to people from out of state. It was an interesting, if rather dark, read. The protagonist is Derry Caulkry, an eight year old boy who fell from his fathers fishing boat and was lost at sea. He was rescued from drowning by a pirate, I'm sure you can guess said pirates name. This pirates peg leg, crude prosthetic arm, and false nose (much like that of the real historical figure Tycho Brahe) may have been the inspiration for the modern Percy puppet's piecemeal appearance. He also displayed some of the modern Percy's cowardice, although he could be brave when it mattered like jumping into the ocean to save young Derry and relying on his crew to pull them both out again. His crew was running from another pirate vessel, captained by a man called Bones who, we are told, was in the habit of skinning captives alive, sewing their skins into clothing and eating their flesh. Percy swears to return Derry to his father once they outrun Bones and his men. Unfortunately both ships are wrecked in a storm and Percy, Derry, Bones, and an unnamed member of Bones' crew are the only survivors who wash up on an uncharted island where all four are enslaved by "the Witch of Wood". They make several escape attempts but are always thwarted by the witches powers and her minions. It ends with the four of them bound to her in the same manner as her minions and with her demanding that Percy leave on a new ship she is constructing to bring back a girl who can serve as her apprentice and heir. What happens to Derry in the end is unclear but she seemingly had no use for a boy and there is mention that she gifted Bones with a fine new hat and cape . . .
Not all of this fits with what I know of the Wooden Girl, but if someone had heard of her and her minions second hand this business of her being a witch in need of "an apprentice" makes sense as an interpretation of what Joseph Steward witnessed happening to Charlotte here. If I'm right about that being the same "Charlotte" who played Janice in the 90s version of the show then I'm more conceived than ever that I have to save Janice as soon as possible.
I turned up a few other tidbits as well, what may be valid contact information for Jodie Lewis (formerly Jodie Silver, the first girl to play Janice and the only one other than the girl I'm trying to save who is known to still be alive), and for Adrian Grimes (nephew of Emerson Grimes, director of the 70s version of Candle Cove). Emerson Grimes is missing and presumed dead, but no one found the body and the stage hand who claimed to the author of "Tales of the Laughingstock" that he buried Emersons corpse after the director had a nervous breakdown and accidentally killed himself was found dead days after his interview. Bizarrely the coroner ruled it a suicide, which makes no sense. The man was in a wheel chair, so how did he manage to hang himself with marionette strings? I hope Jodie and Adrian are able to be of some help to me, I'm going to try to contact them tomorrow.