The first character I was thinking of was a mobster, so I obviously support the idea of at least one of those blokes/she blokes surviving long enough to be considered a resident.
Minor story or story flavoring idea. Copied here after posting in the involvment thread.
'Now arriving at New Arkham'
New arrivals (I wouldn't call them all people or human, who knows where he gets some of the residents) getting onto the bus out of town note that the driver seems to be in a trance, sometimes laughing and smiling while other times stern or vacant. He will rarely speak more than the destination when asked anything out of town, "New, Arkham. To Arkham... Ooooh Arkham." Once we arrive in N/A the driver is himself once again, no longer trance like and opens the doors saying, "We've reached the main station, all for the pleasant small town of New Arkham please disembark." (sounding routine and well practiced, not the slurred speech of the madman who had made wild sharp turns on the highway here. Little do the passengers know that trance and rapid accelerations/braking and turning is the only reason they made it through the highway alive for the distorted reality could have done worse than what the bus wreak would have done.) When stepping off of the bus for the first time arrivals can see the very well maintained and strangely modern (for the roaring twenties, and for a small town) bus service station greeting them after their shaky bus ordeal. The friendly staff of the main service station will happily recite the history surrounding the building's construction in May and July of 1920 and even go so far as to point out it is now the newest building in town. A blonde tourist checker/hostess greets customers with a white smile while saying things like, "The service building is ideal for gathering together with others you've met off the bus and organizing your thoughts and belongings. Be sure to buy any needed travel amenities from our clerks before hitting the town. Have a pleasant visit, the end is near."
Let's say there is a bus station, only the building that serviced the station isn't where is should now be. Upon taking a step outside the service center it utterly vanishes for that person. If they noticed and wheeled around they see that it's gone but the lovely greenery decorating the front is still there, though it too -bit by bit- decomposes and withers into dust the further they get from where the building should be. Grass browning and drying up, whole trees sand blasted into ghostly shapes standing on undisturbed ground. One young lady picked a flower on her way out, it decorates her hat now, having yet to vanish if it ever will. Instead the ground where the main building used to be is unbroken. It is as though the station is as it was at the start of the year 1919, with just the metal and wood bus stop shack with it's little blue and gold sign. It and the distorted images of phantom trees are the only thing sitting next to that bus, driven by that man, waiting on the edge of town next to a building that never was. Maybe buildings need a history to survive here, they need memories of life before to weather whatever has happened.
When taking the bus out of town, if it is possible to leave, it is one of the preferred methods when chiefly concerned with safety. If it isn't possible to leave by the bus when you attempt to ride it out you find yourself arriving back in town to the sound of the doors opening and the driver saying, "We've reached the main station, all for the pleasant small town of New Arkham please disembark."
Culmination of information, 'New Arkham Arriving'
I have further explanations but I feel they reduce the quality of the events by trying to rationalize everything. Ignore or embrace the following as needed. People who can leave the town have not reached the end of their stories out of town yet (their life isn't 'over') but people who have reached the end are stuck in N/A and when trying to leave they have to fight off the same kind of trance which afflicts the driver when he leaves. They find themselves returning to town after errands they don't quite remember doing. In this way people trying to escape N/A are actually doing the opposite, spreading it's influence.