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May 2-6, 2013
October 31, 2013
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Beyond the Grave is an audio drama produced by Big Finish Productions. It was released on October 31st, 2013.
Publisher's summary Edit
“Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize again for the difficulties we’ve been having. If you’ll excuse the expression, it seems we have a ghost in the machine...”
Forty years ago, the paranormal television show Beyond the Grave broadcast a very special Halloween episode - live from Collinsport, Maine. Presenters Tom Lacey and Kate Ripperton introduced the nation to the legend of 'Mad Jack,' the local fisherman who had reportedly haunted the town's cemetery for over six decades.
The terrifying events that followed have become infamous. Suppressed and denied by the authorities, the episode was thought lost forever... until now.
Now, for the first time in forty years, you can hear the true horror of that fateful night in Collinsport...
The theme tune for the 'Beyond the Grave' program plays.
Tom Lacey, reporting from the location, is currently situated at the gates of Eagle Hill Cemetery. Kate invites viewers at home to telephone in with observations and to share any spooky stories they have of their own. The main purpose of the broadcast is to investigate the legend of Jack Hutchinson, also known as 'Mad Jack', who died at the cemetery along with his wife and daughters in mysterious circumstances over 60 years ago. Research into the history of the town reveals reports of witchcraft and vampiric activity having taken place, and statistics show that violent death in more common than anywhere else in America. An interview with the local police authority is played:
- Sheriff Jim Hardy shows Tom the original police report filed at the time of the Jack Hutchinson incident. It documents the violent deaths of the Hutchinson family.
Tom reveals that since Jack's death there has been numerous reports of strange and violent incidents having taken place at the cemetery. Extracts from sereval interviews with townsfolk are played:
- Maggie Evans is skeptical that Jack's ghost haunts the cemetery; Carolyn Stoddard is aware of Jack's legend, but keeps away from the cemetery; Emma Finney and Alfie Chapman are familiar with the murders that have taken place over the years at Eagle Hill including 'The Delwith Murders'; Jonah Rooney tells of how it is believed that Hayden Delwith, who was sectioned at Windcliff Sanitarium, became possessed by Jack's spirit; Eve warns a flustered Tom to leave Collinsport.
Kate speaks to phone callers: Amy Jennings who suggests that the graveyard acts as a focal point for potential spirits; and Angela who claims she heard a woman screaming in the background of the broadcast.
As Tom reassures viewers worried the production is desecrating hallowed ground, the cameraman notices a car heading straight for them at speed, which crashes into them. Kate begins to panic as confusion breaks out, who decides to cut to an intermission.
A commercial for a detergent known as 'Washaway's' plays.
Kate reconnects with Tom, who confirms no one was seriously injured in the accident. A hysterical Maggie urges for the broadcast to stop, she can sense something evil happening in the cemetery – she's been having nightmares about it – and the car she was driving was deliberately crashed by an external force. The cameraman informs them that equipment motioning the temperature indicated a sudden drop just before the crash occurred, a typical sign of poltergeist activity. In Maggie's recurring dream, she is inside the cemetery wearing an old fashioned dress, and somebody is singing the nursery rhyme One, Two, Three, Four, Five. She becomes distraught as she recalls how 'it' is coming to get her. She is certain someone is going to die tonight. As Sheriff Jim arrives on the scene, transmission breaks up and a sinister voice singing One, Two, Three, Four, Five can be heard.
An unsettled Kate attempts to reassure viewers. Whilst transmission to Collinsport is reconnected, another phone call is taken: Rory quotes from an interview with a nurse from Windcliff Sanitarium who looked after Hayden Delwith:
- We would hear him when doing our rounds, if he wasn't screaming and singing away to himself: 1... 2...
A sinister voice momentarily intrudes upon the call.
- ...fish alive. Over and over again. She must have been very bad that's all I have to say.
The call suddenly terminates. With transmission to Collinsport restored, Maggie is adamant that they stay away from the graveyard. Sheriff Jim attempts to stop the investigation, and in the process lets slip news of a recent spate of murders. Despite the Sheriff's protests, Tom and Kate insist the broadcast continue. Maggie can hear a woman screaming in the distance. Kate interrupts with a call from a mysterious French lady who claims Maggie is mentally unstable evidenced by frequent stays at Windcliff Sanitarium. Kate presses Maggie over her time spent at the institution, who is annoyed at the suggestion that she is crazy. The screaming in the distance becomes louder. Tom becomes aggressive with Maggie, claiming she is attempting to ridicule the investigation. Suddenly he snaps out of, much to his own shock. Jim reveals news of strange and violent behavior breaking out across town. Feedback interferes with the sound equipment. Maggie is certain of the cause and rushes off. Transmission breaks up.
Kate once again apologies to viewers, more phone calls are taken: Mary, in a distressed state, says her Douglas Ruislip husband is attacking her, the husband is heard screaming manically and the call cuts out; Amy Jennings calls back, she recommends Eagle Hill be evacuated immediately. She believes something much older than 'Mad Jack' is being awakened at the site. Suddenly, the call ends and a camera monitor explodes.
The transmission with Eagle Hill returns. Maggie has been attacked, there is bruising on her neck. The caretaker appears ranting hysterically about the presence of evil spirits. A sinister voice scares the old man away. Maggie recovers, Jim comforts her. Tom becomes possessed and attempts to strangle to Maggie and then runs off into the Collins Mausoleum. The cameraman follows and catches up with him. He screams. Transmission with Collinsport terminates.
Back at the studio, a distraught Kate is informed the program is still broadcasting. A phone call comes through, seemingly by itself: Gerald Conway reflects on the beauty of the ancient power that they have unleashed though their meddling. Kate angrily insists the program be taken of air.
A transmission from Maggie and Sheriff Jim comes though who, trapped in the Mausoleum, call urgently for help. Tom, still possessed, wants Maggie. He says that over the centuries they have all been claimed by it. He attacks but Sheriff Jim fights him off, killing him in the process. Contact with Kate returns, who attempts to reassure them. The floor assistant, who is unable to work out how they are still broadcasting, momentarily becomes possessed.
Jumbled up snippets broadcast earlier play, including lines from One, Two, Three, Four, Five.
Sheriff Jim, now possessed, aims his gun at Maggie, but instead shoots himself dead. Maggie angrily berates Kate for the chaos her television show has unleashed.
Memorable quotes Edit
Dramatis personae Edit
(in order of appearance)
- Craig Daniel Adams as Bob Somerton
- Asta Parry as Kate Ripperton
- Stephen Kelly as Tom Lacey
- Jonathon Marx as Jim Hardy
- Kathryn Leigh Scott as Maggie Evans
- Nancy Barrett as Carolyn Stoddard
- James Unsworth as Brett Hawker / Douglas Ruislip
- Brigid Lohrey as Emma Finney / Danielle Rogét
- Simon Kent as Alfie Chapman
- Christopher Ragland as Jonah Rooney
- Marie Wallace as Eve
- Stephanie Ellyne as Amy Jennings
- Aaron Lamont as Andy Gardner
- Kymberly Ashman as Angela Platt
- Jade Sowersby as 'Washaway' Daughter
- Jen Sowersby as 'Washaway' Mum
- Jack Chapman as Jack Hutchinson
- Alan Flanagan as Rory McCrory
- Evelyn Adams as Mary Ruislip
- Jerry Lacy as Reverend Hartswood
- Colin Baker as Gerald Conway
Background information and notes Edit
- This story takes the form of a live television broadcast. It features no opening or closing theme music, although the broadcast of Beyond the Grave, which has it own theme music, is reminiscent of the Dark Shadows theme.
- The format and tone of this play is somewhat inspired by the British reality–horror/mockumentary television movie Ghostwatch. Writer Aaron Lamont also cites Special Bulletin as an influence.
- The opening dialogue for the Beyond the Grave program was also played over the end credits of the previous release The Flip Side, this time it is read in character by Kate Ripperton instead of Christopher Ragland.
- Eagle Hill Cemetery is said to be the largest graveyard in Collinsport and one of the most haunted locations in America. The Collins Mausoleum is situated at its center.
- The switchboard, associated with the Beyond the Grave program, is known as 'The Coffin'.
- On the October 29th, 1907, Jack Hutchinson, a fisherman with the Collins Cannery, took his wife and three daughters to Eagle Hill Cemetery. By the next morning they were all dead. It is believed Jack had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. he has since been nicknamed 'Mad Jack'. His wife was named Annie. Her body was found dismembered near the Collins Mausoleum. The children had been strangled by hand alone. Police records indicate that Jack had had no previous criminal record for acts of violence.
- According to murder statistics, there is a 10% greater risk of violent death in Collinsport compared to the rest of America, and 32% higher than anywhere else in the state of Maine.
- Tom Lacey and Jim Hardy mention that a number of unsolved deaths have occurred in Collinsport during the last couple of weeks:
- In 1957, reports of a strong smell of rotting fish at Eagle Hill Cemetery prompted a heath inspection. Similar reports have occurred over the years, all made in late October.
- The interview with Emma Finney and Alfie Chapman occurred during the events of Beneath the Veil.
- A magazine titled American Psycho's, Issue 93: The Eagle Hill Murders detailed the murders that had taken place at the site over the years, including the 'Delwith Murders', which took place in October 1939 involving a chief petty officer named Hayden Delwith who went insane and murdered his wife at the site. Up to 1973, Delwith was confined to Windcliff Sanitarium. He died of a heart attack on October 31st, 1973.
- The Collins Family declined the 'Beyond the Grave' program access to the Collins Mausoleum.
- Amy Jennings phones from Salem, Massachusetts. In The Flip Side she was soon to begin a university course there studying
- The nursery rhyme One, Two, Three, Four, Five previously appeared several times in Beneath the Veil, The Lucifer Gambit
- The 'ghost jars' featured in The Ghost Watcher.
- Jim Hardy's deputy is Verne Haggerty. By the time of Kingdom of the Dead Haggarty has become the Sheriff.
- Reverend Hartswood previously appeared in Kingdom of the Dead.
- Gerald Conway previously appeared in The House by the Sea.
- A snippet of the song The Better Side is heard towards the end of the play, which featured in The Flip Side.
- A working title for this play was Broadcast Critical.