Byng was a highly esteemed anthropologist, having written many books, including "The Intriguing Customs of Deepest Africa", in which he chronicled many customs and ceremonies of a tribe he personally discovered in the African Congo.
In 1868, his son Emmett was engaged to Virginia, an assistant at the university. However, Byng suspected that the young woman was merely after the money Emmett would inherit upon Byng's death, and wrote a letter to his attorney to have his will amended so that, if they were to be married, Emmett would not receive his inheritance.
Shortly after, Professor Byng received an anonymous gift - an African sculpture. Unbeknownst to him, the sculpture had been hollowed out, allowing a venomous spider to be hidden within. Upon being bitten by the arachnid, Byng entered a comatose state. His family, believing him to have died from a heart attack, buried him in the family plot.
Several days later, Byng awoke from his come in an abandoned house. His colleague and acolyte, Professor Silas, wearing a jackal-mask, was attempting to cut his skull open so that he could eat Byng's brains - a ceremony practiced by the natives Byng discovered in Africa. Despite his injuries, Byng managed to escape, barely making it to his own home, where he collapsed in the parlor and died.