We secured the hallway after the ghouls ambushed us so that we could take a short rest before moving on. A strange (and perhaps delirious) man wandering the dungeon hallways stumbled upon us. Without much in the way of explaining his goals or what he was doing there, he took it upon himself to join in on our efforts to escape the house.
We then moved to an adjoining room containing a long wooden table along with evidence of some kind of cannibalistic banquet. Rolen went to investigate a darkened alcove at the far end of the room, but as soon as she approached a huge worm-like monstrosity viciously lashed out at her. The rest of the party moved to her defense, but the fight was quickly ended by the strange man now accompanying us. With a strength he seemingly should not possess, he seized up the wooden table and charged the alcove, crushing and killing the worm creature. Thankfully Cora was able to jump out of harm's way as the crazed man didn't seem to notice she was in his intended path.
We then came upon a large room festooned with moldy skeletons hanging from rusty shackles. This room appeared to be some kind of shrine and featured a wooden statue, painted to resemble a gaunt pale-faced man, in a wide alcove along the south wall.
While inspecting the room we found the secret door leading up to the first floor, as had been revealed by our examination of the doll house in the children's room. All was quiet until we disturbed the statue, causing five dark entities composed of living shadow to rise up from the floor surrounding us.
Mara had keen insight into the nature of these dark creatures and quickly took action to brightly illuminate the room, by way of setting the wooden statue aflame. The effect on the creatures was immediate, and while they persisted in their attacks, we were able to dispatch them in short order.
We saw a short hallway with a heavy door right off the shrine room, but as soon as Mara touched the handle, it's true nature was revealed. The "door" roared to life opening a gaping maw, and trapping Mara's arm with its' forceful bite. We fell the deceptive beast and moved on to explorer what looked like the quarters of the cult's leaders, Gustav and Elisabeth Durst.
In the leader's quarters was a footlocker containing several valuable treasures, but as soon as we disturbed them, the ghasts of the former cult leaders clawed their way from out of the earthen walls to attack. The stench of the undead creatures was overwhelming, nearly causing some members of the party to falter, but we managed to persevere.
Having fully explored this level, there is only one remaining option… a stairwell descending further down into the darkness. Hopefully we will find a way out of this damnable house soon.