The Phantasmal Four are a group that was formed by the eccentric and brilliant Sir Reid Richard after some sort of supernatural catastrophe that occurred at the Van Allen Estate in Britain. It appears that the noted spiritualist tried to journey beyond the earthly Veil via an elaborate seance ritual. The goal was nothing less than discovering a means by which to conquer death itself.
The aristocratic frenchman Jeanpierre Tempest contacted Sir Richard in an attempt to save his sister, Suzanne Tempest, from an incurable illness. Sir Richard agreed reluctantly, but when he met her, he fell deeply in love. He devoted all of his considerable knowledge and intellect to the task, at last devising a ritual by which to cross over into the aetherial plane. The summer of 1895, Sir Richard, the Tempests, and Ben Grimshaw (Richard’s faithful valet) met at the house of Richard’s old friend, Victor Van Allen, to conduct the seance.
The ritual would seem to have been a qualified success, Mme. Tempest survives to this day, but there was a terrible price. The survivors will say little of what transpired, but they were each granted a form of immortality— though “cursed” might be a better word. The fifth in their party was killed, they’ve mysteriously claimed, by some sort of daemonic force calling itself the “Baron of Doom”, though they refuse to say more.