So people keep asking me why the Department even exists and I thought I’d tackle one possible origin. I say one possible because there are as may origin theories as there are Department Historians.
The Department in it’s current form appears to date from 1942. Or possibly 1941. Or 1938. But the name ‘Department Y’ definitely dates from June 1941.
It was in that month that the British Government began a program of disinformation to conceal the secret codenamed Ultra, the secret that the code breakers at Station X had broken the Enigma code. They needed a cover if the Germans ever started to question how the British knew so much. It was known that Hitler had a personal Astronomer and that Himmler was a practising occultist. And so was created Department Y the masters of the occult who knew what lurked in the minds of the Nazi commanders.
In the beginning it was a couple of rooms in the heart of Whitehall. Various celebrity occultists were contacted and asked to perform in the service of their county. News went out to witches and mystics and druids that their country needed them. No-one in Whitehall expected it to work. No-one told the recruits that.
So when a German submarine put ashore a small force near the Village of Worth Matravers the local witch, Miss Price, and a thaumaturge and retired stage magician, Mr Jones, drove the invaders back. They re-animated royal suits of armour which had been evacuated from the Tower of London to the catacomb beneath the parish church to escape the bombing. The German force fled, screaming, into the sea.
When they reported their success to HQ they were not believed. But then Station X passed on the transcript of the German report of the incident. And that was the beginning of the Threshold Project.