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The House by the Sea is an audio-book produced by Big Finish Productions. It was released in March 2012.
"Collinsport, it seems quiet. But it's like it's waiting for something to happen. Something bad.”
Gerald Conway has come to Collinsport in pursuit of a dream. For the last few months, he's been haunted by visions of the House By The Sea.
Now Gerald is staying at the House, he's beginning to uncover its dark past. Warlocks, vampires and murderers have all come here looking for something – and they've all died. What dark secret of the Collins family is hidden there?
Something terrible is waiting under the House By The Sea. Waiting for Gerald...
A man introduces himself as Gerald Conway. He is English, aged 47, hair blond going on silver, height 6 feet 2 inches, weight 180 pounds. He thinks himself to be going crazy and that’s why he’s come to Collinsport, to the house by the sea.
Outside the weather is thundering. Gerald explains that this is his audio diary. Dr. Bradley his psychiatrist suggested he had his ‘vacation’. It first started when saw the house in his dreams, night after night he’d wander the house trying to find the source of a terrible knocking sound. Someone knocks at the door, he goes to answer it, but no one’s there; he doesn’t seem fazed by this. He continues with his story, one night he saw the house from his dream on television in a documentary, exactly the same in every detail.
Midnight, it’s pounding it down with rain. Gerald stands outside listening to it.
Day two. Having explored Collinsport he observes that the place is quiet but it's like it’s waiting for something bad to happen. He is happy to report that he had a peaceful nights sleep and for once didn’t dream about the house. He says that the owner was only too happy for him to take the house for a few weeks. A basket of food was left waiting for him, along with a note written in spidery handwriting, it read:
- You’re here for a reason. We want something from you. Danielle Rogét.
Accompanying the letter is a single tooth. Someone knocks at the door, he goes to answer it.
Day two, afternoon. He’s just had a social call from his landlady, Mrs. Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. She asked him about the house and reveals to him that she’s been unable to sell it due to the will of Caleb Collins, who apparently had a morbid fear of strangers. His will stipulated that the house could not be sold to someone outside the family for 100 years, however that decree is coming to an end in a couple of weeks time. Gerald recalls that as Elizabeth stood up to leave he took her hand and as he did so he felt everything go cold as though someone had just walked over his grave. For an instant he could see so much detail about Elizabeth's life much more than she’d ever want him to know. Seemly without being able to control himself he asked her about what happened to her husband. Realizing her anger, he apologized. After she left, there was another knock at the door, this time no one there except a few teeth lying on the ground.
The sound of the plumbing echoes throughout the house almost drowning Gerald’s voice out. It stops. He announces he’s off out to a local bar called the Blue Whale.
Day two, late evening. He’s pleased to report that the Blue Whale was heaving with people, full of lost souls with nothing better to do, just watching him. There, he was approached by Carolyn Stoddard, who introduced herself as his landlady’s daughter, she was curious to know who he is. They were joined by Dr. Julia Hoffman. He asked them who Danielle Rogét is. Julia told him that she lived in the house by the sea a very long time ago. Much to his disbelief, they mention to him the bar is empty; that they three are the only people there. Reflecting on this revelation, he considers himself to have finally gone mad. Realizing they he was surrounded by the dead he ran out. He starts to get angry over the reason why he decided to come here.
The sound from earlier can be heard howling through the house, this time it’s more intense sounding, Gerald begs for it stop.
Day three, morning. Having reviewed last nights recording of the howling noise and found it present on the tape he is convinced he can’t be completely crazy. Although he’s not sure how much more of the house he can take. He decides to summarize on events so far:
- 1. The dream of the house; 2. The message from a dead woman; 3. A bar full of ghosts; 4. The teeth. There were more this morning; 5. A dreadful hammering noise in the night with no discernible, no human origin; 6. Am I mad?
He’s fairly sure he went mad last night; he’d been throwing things about. He then fell into a dead faint on the couch. Once he woke up he found the cleaner had been, everything had been tidied away and the air freshener used reeked of old cologne. He now feels fine, ready to face it all again. The only trace of something unusual was a neat little circle of teeth left on the kitchen table. He suspects that it might be the pills he’s been prescribed that causing all this:
- 7. Check leaflet that came with medication for list of possible side effects.
He considers going home, but concludes it's the mystery of the place that keeping him there.
Day three, afternoon. In the attic. He finds a long letter by Caleb Collins, he reads an extract:
- If the predictions of the house are to be believed then it is imperative that a stranger must not come into possession here.
Gerald wonders what Caleb knew. He suspects that it’s Caleb who is haunting him.
Day three, sunset. Outside atop Widows’ Hill. Gerald has just met Barnabas Collins. Barnabas revealed he’d been informed by Carolyn of Gerald’s fright at the Blue Whale. Gerald was offended, but didn’t let on, by the idea that he’s subject of gossip. They discussed the house, Barnabas described the house as having an ‘aura’ about it and advised him not to look into previous inhabitants of the house. They depart and as Gerald muses things over he decides that the secret of the house can only be told to an outsider. He is determined to found out what it is.
Day four, very early morning. Gerald is sitting in the dark; footsteps can be heard moving about the house. He is sure someone else is in the house. His bedside light won’t work. He attempts to make contact; a sinister laugh of a woman can be heard along with deep breathing. The door creeks open slightly. He can smell old cologne and sure something is in the room with him. The voice speaks; Gerald insists he’s not afraid of it. It contradicts him and goads him. It seems to approach him, he tells it to get away. He screams in terror and runs out of the room.
Day four, morning. He reveals he summoned up the courage to go back to his bedroom, but the door was locked. Sitting downstairs, he managed to sleep despite his terror. He’s just tried his bedroom door again and found it to be open again. Inside the bed was fleshly made; the only odd thing was a tooth under one pillow. He is certain that it wants to tell him something. He is determined to stay.
- I live in the valley of the shadow and it is coming for me. But I reach into the secret foundations of this house and there shall I find protection in slumber beneath
This leads Gerald to believe that the secret of the house is in the basement.
Day four, afternoon. In the basement he’s found a locked door; under the door he can feel a draft, it leads down somewhere. He’s been trying to break its padlock open, with no success. He suspects that he knows someone who he can ask about finding the key, if he leave now he can make their rendezvous at Widows’ Hill.
Gerald has just secretly recorded his conversation with Barnabas and much to his surprise Barnabas’ voice doesn’t show up on the tape. Gerald is terse with Barnabas as his replies to Gerald's questions apparently get more evasive. Barnabas revealed to him that there is no cleaner that comes to the house to tidy up. Gerald questions whether Barnabas is a figment of his imagination, or whether it's the spirits preventing Barnabas voice from showing up on the tape. He suspects Barnabas is protecting the secret of Caleb Collins.
Day four, evening. Gerald holds a séance, he leaves the tape running whilst he performs it. A knocking sound occurs, it grows in intensity and then comes to an abrupt halt. In a trance, Gerald apparently begins to speak with the voice of a man named Tom, who says he died three times and that he watches over the house. He mentions his affiliation with Nicholas Blair; finding a coffin with a female vampire in; finding himself rising hungry for blood; and finally being destroyed by Barnabas. Gerald voice changes to that of Caleb Collins who explains that a shadow fell across the house, a shadow that waits in the basement to be lifted. At that moment, Gerald comes out of the trance, he goes to check tape.
Gerald pours a drink. He tries to make sense of what he’s just heard on the tape. He is determined to get down into the basement. He notices something has changed.
He finds a mirror in the drawing room has been written on in blood. It reads:
- Follow the teeth.
When he looks down a trail of teeth can be found leading to a bookcase. He examines the bookcase suspecting it to be an alternate route into the basement. He actives mechanism, it opens up. He goes inside.
Underneath the house. He finds something that been buried. Upon seeing what it is he expresses disbelief.
He’s found a human skeleton. The skin has rotted away. It doesn’t have any teeth. He starts to feel a burning sensation on his hands as the corpse sinks back into the ground. A shadow starts to spread out from it. The bookcase slams shut, he’s trapped in. The light smashes, whispers can be heard, he got some matches he lights an old gas lamp. A faint chuckling is heard and then a voice is heard repeating, ‘pump, pump’ over and over again each time with more intensity. Gerald clutches his chest in pain; he seems to be experiencing a heart attack. He reaches for his pills, but the bottle now only contains teeth. Gerald, in a state of hysteria begs to be let out banging on the inside of bookcase. On the other side a voice can be heard. It’s a handyman sent by Carolyn. The handyman doesn’t hear Gerald and thinks he’s out. Gerald gasps and then becomes possessed:
- My name… My name is Nicholas Blair and I am free.
- Gerald: "What a place. This town, it's like a holiday home for Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Addams."
- Colin Baker as Gerald Conway
- Brigid Lohrey as Danielle Rogét
- David Johnson as Shadow
- James Unsworth as Caretaker
Background information and notes
- This story is told in its entirety as a series of audio recordings made by Gerald Conway. It features no opening or closing theme music.
- This format and tone of this play is somewhat inspired by the film The Blair Witch Project.
- The Caleb Collins referenced in this play was first referenced in 335. As was the stipulation in his will that Seaview cannot be sold to someone outside the Collins family for 100 years. In this play, Elizabeth mentions that this stipulation will expire in a couple of weeks time. This dates events occurring here to 1972 as there was five years left in 1967.
- This play would seem to confirm that Barnabas' vampire curse did return once he was back in 1971, after having had the curse lifted by Angelique during a journey in time to 1840.
- This is the first Big Finish audio not to feature any members of the original series' cast.
- It is revealed in Beneath the Veil that the Caretaker's name is Brett Hawker.
Bloopers and continuity errors
The house by the sea that Victoria Winters found in 1967 was a small primitive Cape Cod style house (294) known as Sea View, which had been owned by Caleb Collins. The house that Nicholas Blair rented in 1968 from the Collins Family was a three-story wooden shingled beach house in the Dutch Colonial style, with tall gambrel roof covering most of the second and third floors. It was perched on a steep sandy hill overlooking the beach, with balconies at second and third levels and a large porch across the ground floor (549). Blair House was frequently referred to as "a strange house by the sea." To reconcile Big Finish's House by the Sea audio drama with the show, perhaps Caleb Collins' estate contained both the original Sea View cottage as well as the newer beach house which became Blair House.
Although this story is described on the Big Finish site as "Part 1 of the '1973' Story Arc," various elements of the story tend to place it in the 1980s, i.e. references to cable TV, video tape (Conway obtains a tape from the TV station), and Diane Sawyer, who would attain fame in 1981 when she became co-anchor of CBS MORNING NEWS and again in 1984 when she became the first female correspondent on 60 MINUTES.