Head of Houndsditch (formerly)
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|“|| I'll set you free, Alice. Memory is a curse more often than a blessing.
Dr. Angus Bumby was Alice Liddell's manipulative psychiatrist and the head of the Houndsditch Home for Wayward Youth in London. Bumby appeared to help Alice, along with the other orphans who lived there, to forget about traumatic events in their past using hypnotherapy. However, it was revealed that he had much darker motives, and a greater role in Alice's past than she first realized.
Alice saw his image as part of the tentacle creature known as the Leviathan, but he disappeared after a while.
Interactions with the Liddells
In his younger years, Bumby was an undergraduate at Oxford University and was tutored by Dean Arthur Liddell. Like other undergraduates, he was a frequent guest for tea to the Liddell household. Despite this, he may have secretly resented them, or perhaps held some grudge against Arthur, as he was willing to kill Arthur and his family.
He soon became attracted to Arthur's eldest daughter, Elizabeth, or, as many called her, Lizzie. Lizzie had a poor opinion of all of the undergraduates and had no interest in him, as she called him and the other undergraduates a "bunch of toadies", but Bumby became completely obsessed with her, believing that Lizzie did want his advances and was being a "tease." Bumby's desire for her grew so out of hand that he would stalk and try to force her to perform sexual acts for him behind her family's back, even once entering the ladies' restroom at the London Waterloo station to follow her. However, she still denied him and threatened to tell her parents.
Assaulting Lizzie, murder and arson
One night, infuriated by Lizzie's "teasing," Bumby broke into the Liddell house and raped Lizzie. Because Lizzie's body was unharmed by the fire and there are no mentions of any wounds, it is possible he killed her by strangulation, although it's also possible that Lizzie died from smoke inhalation.
It's unknown why Lizzie didn't scream for her parents' help. It is also possible Bumby bribed Lizzie for sex, promising her something in return, or he may have asked or demanded she stay quiet. It is also possible that Bumby never entered the Liddell house with the intention of killing Lizzie and her family, and only decided to do so after a conversation with her (in which he may have been rejected). The details of what occurred between Bumby and Lizzie that night may forever remain a mystery.
Lizzie's sister, Alice, witnessed Bumby entering the house that night. However, Alice convinced herself that she saw a centaur instead, and that the sounds coming from her sister's room had been Lizzie talking in her sleep when it really was Bumby forcing himself upon her and raping her.
To cover up his crime, Bumby locked Lizzie's bedroom door, and possibly the rest of the doors, and used a lit oil-lamp to set the house on fire, with the intention of killing everyone inside. As a twisted memento, Bumby kept Lizzie's bedroom key, and would later use it as his pendant when hypnotizing his patients.
Bumby fled the house, but for a few moments, he stayed to watch the house burn in the inferno. Only the youngest Liddell, Alice, survived the blaze by jumping out a window on the second floor and cushioning herself on a pile of snow. Alice briefly saw Bumby in a nearby forest and she saw him holding Lizzie's key before he disappeared into the night. The fire resulted in Alice's fall into insanity, and she was committed into Rutledge Asylum for ten years.
Alice: Madness Returns
After Alice was deemed sane enough to leave Rutledge, her former nurse Pris Witless got her a place to stay in Houndsditch Home as a maid. Bumby also treated Alice to hypnotherapy in Houndsditch, promising to help her forget the memories of the fire so she could recover the remains of her sanity. However, this would also benefit him, as the last remnants of his crime would be completely erased with no evidence remaining.
His treatment seemed in vain, however, as Alice began descending into madness again, seeing Wonderland consumed by a strange black ooze and destroyed by a twisted train. Realizing that she had to face her problems her own way, she returned to her psyche to unravel the mystery of this new corruption. Along the way, she began recollecting her lost memories, including some of her therapy sessions with Bumby. Alice's collectable memories of Bumby are represented by a pearly image of his glasses.
Bumby also appeared to Alice during her hallucination of Rutledge, in which he asked for obedience and honor on the same level as the Queen of Hearts. He tells Alice he wanted what the Queen wanted and told Alice to "trade the tentacles for the train", and "it's that or back to Rutledge."
As Alice traveled deeper into Wonderland, she came to a realization that it was Bumby who killed her family and his hypnosis sessions were really an attempt to cover his tracks. She also realized another terrible truth: Bumby had been using Houndsditch Home as a front for turning its vulnerable children into mindless sex slaves, stripping away their memories, thus making them completely forget who they were. At the end of the Dollhouse, Alice met the Dollmaker, Bumby's Wonderland incarnation. The Dollmaker viewed children solely as commodities to be used, manipulated, and exploited. He even believed that he was doing nothing wrong and that by turning otherwise worthless children into "proud products" to be sold to interested buyers, he was providing a valuable service to the public.
After regaining her memories, Alice confronted Bumby at Moorgate Station for his crimes. Bumby said that he was waiting for Alice's "replacement", suggesting that he was planning on firing Alice for a new Houndsditch maid, which Bumby likely decided due to Alice's absence for the past few days. Alice called Bumby out on his actions, and for exploiting and abusing children and destroying their innocence, memories and identities for his own monetary gain. He casually confirmed her accusations, and admitted he was trying to break down Alice herself into a mindless sex slave too, but she proved too stubborn and too powerful, even in her insanity, to allow herself to forget. He even called Alice a "beauty", implying that he may have been attracted to her as well. Bumby claimed Alice was "mad" like her sister, claiming Lizzie was a tease who pretended to despise him, and that she got what she wanted in the end, hinting at his molestation of her.
As Alice's Wonderland self destroyed the Infernal Train and the Dollmaker, she threatened to tell the police and have Bumby hanged after being raped himself by "some halfwit bruiser" in prison. In spite of this, Bumby laughed at Alice, pointing out that no one would believe a former lunatic accusing a well-respected man of such a hideous crime, and he implies that he already covered up his tracks by destroying all evidence and traces of his crimes. Bumby called Alice a "psychotic silly bitch" and told her to leave. However, Alice snatched Lizzie's key from Bumby, stunning him, and after transforming into her Wonderland self, pushed him in front of an on-coming train, killing him instantly and avenging her family, as well as putting an end to his heinous crimes.
While underwater in the miniature version of the Nautilus, one of the Leviathan's tentacles were in front of the viewing window. Alice noticed the tentacle as it shifted into the image of Bumby and reflected on her relationship with the deceased doctor to Jules Verne, stating that she had come to learn not all men of science were driven by noble pursuits. She gripped her Vorpal Blade and almost drew it out, as if ready to attack, causing the tentacle's eyes to light up. The Bumby tentacle observed the Vorpal Blade for a short while before it returned to its normal appearance, and disappeared. Despite that Bumby was deceased, his memory still faintly haunted Alice.
Bumby appeared to be slightly middle-aged, with a slim figure and broad shoulders. His face was very long and thin, with a pointy chin and defined cheekbones. His nose and hands were also very bony, suggesting possible malnourishment. His hair was dark brown, and was cut to the nape of his neck, and combed into a side parting to his right-hand side. He also had a full beard and mustache. His eyes were small and pale in color.
Bumby dressed much more professionally compared to Alice and the other children who lived with him. His outfit consisted of black trousers, a white shirt, and a gray waistcoat with a red tie. When outside, he wore a brown coat and top-hat.
In Alice's hallucination of Bumby when she and Verne were underwater, she saw him as a part of the Leviathan tentacle that was pink and red in color. His head was elongated and contain several holes representing areas of his glasses, ears, and chin. His eyes were able to glow in yellow when she drew her Vorpal Blade out before returning to the actual appearance of the Leviathan's tentacle.
To the public, Bumby was an intelligent psychiatrist and appeared to be a respectable man of society. However, behind this well-mannered facade, he had carried out various cruel illegal acts of abuse, especially against young people and children, which included murder, rape, forced thought reform, and the commercial sexual exploitation. It is never entirely clarified what Bumby's motives were for this, but it could presumably be greed due to the monetary gain, or some "revenge against humanity" mentality that stems from possible unfortunate ordeals from his own past, perhaps wanting other children to suffer as much as he may have did as a child.
He seemed to have a poor view of children, as Alice remembered him stating that while children have purposes, "it is the beholden duty of knowing adults to fit every young person to her calling.", suggesting that children have no free-will and that children must have roles and purposes placed upon them by adults. He also told Alice that some insects eat their young and have much to teach us, implying he believes in a "dog-eat-dog" world with a "survival of the fittest" mentality. It also implies that his family was never that important to him, further raising the possibility that Bumby had poor relations with his family.
While Bumby appeared to be pure evil in nature, as well as a sociopath and/or psychopath, it was hinted that he might be mentally unstable, which had contributed to his behavior. For example, while it was obvious that Lizzie was disgusted and possibly scared by Bumby's advances towards her, Bumby shifted the responsibility of his violent actions onto Lizzie, claiming that she was acting to be revolted by him to be a "tease" and "she got what she wanted in the end", meaning that he could be in extreme denial about the reality of their relationship. He also saw his exploitation of the orphans as a valuable service to the community, claiming they are "proud to display their provenance", so he could have a condition similar to hero syndrome.
It is possible that Bumby has had his own share of tragic and painful experiences that shaped his pessimistic outlook of London, humanity, children, sociology, etc. Although Madness Returns does not go in-depth on this, it could be speculated that his character is a result of rejection or constant rejection by women throughout his life, and Lizzie may have been the final straw. Although this may seem nitpicky, it is worth noting that Bumby wears glasses which were seen as "unattractive" at the time instead of "stylish" and "fashionable", and insults such as "four eyes" were common for those who wore glasses. Regardless, Bumby shadowed Lizzie to the point of her fearing for her life, then later raping her in her own home and plotting to kill her and her entire family in a fire seen as a simple accident caused by the cat. It is possible Bumby may have been a misogynist, although it is just as possible he was a general misanthrope.
In his later years, he sold orphans as sex dolls for London's taking, and tried to do the same to Alice, Lizzie's younger sister. He tried hypnotizing Alice, trying to break down her psyche and memories until she forgot her family and her memories. When Alice confronted him, he showed no remorse. Instead, he was confident no one would believe her. He called her a "bitch" and told her to get lost, showing his arrogance. It is also possible Bumby was a narcissist, as he believed Lizzie wanted him, and he referred to himself as a "respectable social architect and scientist".
In spite of his own potential mental illnesses, and lack of solid evidence to support he himself being a pedophile, Bumby's mental abuse of the children and Alice, his complacency with pedophilia, and the fact that he appears to be proud of his actions - from Lizzie, to the fire, to the child trafficking business - does not excuse or explain his actions. Bumby could be interpreted as the most evil or malevolent antagonist in the series.
- Unused text in Madness Returns suggests that if Alice were to die in the game, an obituary would be shown for her. One includes Alice falling onto train-tracks and being hit by a train which Bumby claims was a "suicide." It is unknown if this really was a suicide or if Bumby killed Alice and claimed it was a suicide.
- Bumby is both a therapist and a rapist. In other words, Bumby could be seen as the "rapist" in "therapist".
- Pris Witless may have known of Bumby's intention to erase Alice's memories of the arson attack that killed her family, and been complicit in the execution of his plan. Pris was known to Bumby at the time of Alice's internment and catatonia in Rutledge Asylum, and it was Pris who found Alice employment at the Houndsditch Home for Wayward Youth when Bumby was the orphanage's sole director, making the two acquaintances at the time of Alice's release. Pris had placed Alice under duress and threatened to leak her false admission of responsibility for the fire to the public, but did provide Alice respite – a vow of silence subject to a daily fee. Bumby's hypnotherapy sessions, performed from the orphanage, would potentially render Alice permanently ignorant to her own innocence in the events of the fire, and thereby allow Pris to continuously extort the young woman for money. Thus, the fallout of Bumby's sessions would be beneficial to both conspirators, providing a motive for the two to collaborate.
- Bumby may have murdered the parents of the Houndsditch orphans to increase the scope of his child trafficking operations. However, there is no evidence in Madness Returns to suggest this. While Bumby is capable of murder, having killed Alice’s family by setting the Liddell household alight, he did so to silence Elizabeth Liddell after raping her, scorned after she rejected his advances. Therefore, there is no precedent for Bumby killing for monetary gain. Furthermore, the only orphan whose circumstances before arriving at Houndsditch are known are those of Charlie: "[his] Pa was hung for killing [his] Ma, who beat [him]." While Bumby himself is the source of this information, Charlie, who had not forgotten his past when the assertion was made, did not object to it. London itself is rife with poverty and social decay at the time of Bumby's operations – there are sources aplenty for unfortunate children, such that Bumby would have no need to murder and further risk imprisonment.
- Bumby has framed portraits of George Meredith, Kate Chopin and George Washington in his office, possibly implying he admired these figures.
- The name "Angus" is anglicized form of Aonghus, which means "one strength" or "one force," and "Bumby" is a name of Middle English origin with means "fortress," a heavily guarded place. The fortress could mean Houndsditch Home, the place that Bumby hid his secrets from outsiders. His first name could be in reference to the fact he is a "one-man power" controlling the children, or that he just used one way to capture his victims: hypnotherapy.
- In Wonderland, Bumby is represented by the Dollmaker, a monstrous incarnation of himself.
- Before Alice killed Bumby, she appeared to transform into her Wonderland form (both dress and physical features) before him and he appeared shocked by her sudden change. It is unlikely that Alice literally manifested a dress. It is more likely that Bumby was shocked by her sudden confidence. However, it can be theorized that since Bumby was close to his death, he received a spiritual vision or hallucination of Alice in her Wonderland form.
- It is extremely ironic and symbolic that Bumby is killed by a train, considering his Wonderland counterpart, the Dollmaker, was the operator of the Infernal Train.
- In her previous memories of the fire, Alice remembered Bumby as a centaur, a creature from Greek mythology which is part human and part horse. Although centaurs are presented as clever and honorable in modern culture, they originally symbolized chaos, unbridled passion, and lustful behavior. These descriptions fit Bumby, as he was the indirect source of Alice's insanity, and he had a lustful, uncontrollable passion for Lizzie. He was also perceived to be a great person in society.
- The drastically different appearances and mindsets of Wonderland's citizens in Madness Returns are the result of a metaphysical "hard reboot" imposed by Doctor Bumby's treatments for Alice.
- It is unknown if Alice was ever found out to be Bumby's murderer. In addition, since Alice is a freewoman in Alice: Otherlands, she likely covered up her murder of him since no one else was at the train station at the time of his death.
- It is unknown if Bumby was a pedophile and if he ever sexually assaulted any children. He did, however, sexually assault Lizzie, and once called Alice a "beauty", so he could be considered an ephebophile.
- It is possible that Bumby's attraction and predatory behavior towards Lizzie were inspired by controversies surrounding the behavior of Charles Dodgson, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Coined as the "Liddell Riddle", the exact nature of Dodgson's relationship with sisters Alice, Edith, and Lorina Liddell, which would culminate in the sudden suspension of amicable relations between Dodgson and the Liddell family at the behest of the children's mother in 1863, has been a subject of debate for many years. Though four of thirteen diaristic volumes written by Dodgson have been lost since his death, it is evident that Lorina, the eldest sister, was the primary subject of Dodgson's writings featuring the Liddells from 1862 onwards. This is reflected through Bumby's obsession with Elizabeth Liddell, who herself was the eldest daughter of the fictional Liddell family.
- Bumby could have been the anonymous sender of the Liddell family portrait Alice received after leaving Rutledge Asylum. While this act would stand at odds with Bumby's overall motive of wiping Alice's memories, he does exhibit contradictory behavior, using Elizabeth's room key to hypnotize Alice despite its significance to her past. Bumby was taught by Arthur Liddell as an undergraduate, and so he had the means to possess a portrait of the family.
- Bumby may have been a drug addict or user, as the Dollmaker has a coke nail. In the beginning of the game, he orders Alice to fetch him unspecified pills from a "chemist" which is an usual choice of wording instead of "pharmacist" or "doctor". It can be speculated that Bumby may have also been a drug maker and/or dealer.
- American McGee said, after killing Bumby in his Let's Play of Alice: Madness Returns: "Don't mess with Alice, motherfucker. That'll teach ya."