Monday, March 17, 2014

Case Study No. 1305: De Witt

Ghost Story Ep 00 The New House 2/3
The Pilot Staring Barbara Parkins

A young couple move into a home that is haunted by a girl who had been hanged there many years ago and vowed never to be evicted from the site.
Tags: Ghost Story
Added: 1 year ago
From: 70sHorrorRealm
Views: 1,564

[scene opens with Eileen knocking on someone's front door, and an elderly male librarian answers]
EILEEN: I-I hope I haven't disturbed you ...
DE WITT: You haven't disturbed me, child. Just napping a bit!
EILEEN: Oh, I'm sorry!
DE WITT: Oh, think nothing of it! Heh, I'll be having my eternal sleep soon enough!
[he motions for her to enter]
DE WITT: Come in, come in!
EILEEN: Thank you!
[cut to inside of his house]
DE WITT: To what do I owe this pleasure?
EILEEN: The, uh, librarian gave me your name and address.
DE WITT: Miss Taylor ... Nice girl. Doesn't know the stacks too well! Nice girl, though.
[he takes her by the arm]
DE WITT: Would you like some tea?
DE WITT: The kettle is on.
EILEEN: Thank you.
[he leads her to the living room]
EILEEN: She said you were an absolute fount of knowledge about local history.
DE WITT: Oh yes! That I am, that I am ... Heh, it's been years since a pretty girl has graced these walls.
[he takes several books off the couch and motions for her to sit down]
DE WITT: Please, get comfortable ... It will be only a moment.
[she sits down, as he puts the books away on the nearby shelf before grabbing the tea kettle]
DE WITT: Can't guarantee the quality of my tea, but the cookies will help to kill the taste.
EILEEN: Oh, you didn't have to go to any trouble.
DE WITT: No trouble at all! Absolute delight! Your dropping in has done for my prime old dear arteries than a decade of prescriptions, I assure you! So, what can I do to help you?
EILEEN: Well, y'see, um ... My husband and I had our house built on Pleasant Hill.
DE WITT: Oh ... did you?
DE WITT: [pause] Cream and sugar?
EILEEN: [quietly] Please.
DE WITT: Lovely spot, Pleasant Hill.
EILEEN: But ... um, didn't it used to be a cemetery?
DE WITT: A cemetery? Oh no ...
EILEEN: What ... What was it, then?
DE WITT: In the eighteenth century, they called it Gibbet Hill.
[she shakes her head, not understanding the significance]
DE WITT: "Gibbet" ... Gallows! It was a place of execution.
[her face falls, as the librarian (still smiling) brings her the tray of tea and cookies]
DE WITT: If your house is built on the crest of Pleasant Hill, and I assume it must be to take proper advantage of the view, then very likely it's constructed over the very spot on which the gallows stood.
[she freezes, unable to bring the tea cup to her lips]
DE WITT: You shouldn't let that disturb you, child ... All this happened almost two centuries ago! The gallows were dismantled in 1779, following heated public reaction to the hanging of a young girl.
EILEEN: A girl?
DE WITT: For the first and only time. Thomasina Barrows, nineteen ... A tragic incident. Her life was an endless series of calamities.
[he sits down with his own cup of tea]
DE WITT: Orphaned at seven ... I have a book here, somewhere.
[he gets up]
DE WITT: Ah, I remember!
[he opens a nearby cabinet and takes out a large book]
DE WITT: Married less than a year, when her husband was killed in the war. Losing her child at birth, shortly afterward.
[he sits back down and opens the book]
DE WITT: Finally, sentenced to hang for stealing a loaf of bread.
EILEEN: They really did things like that?
DE WITT: Oh, yes ...
[he smiles and motions for her to come look at the page in the book he's stopped at]
DE WITT: Ah, here we are! Would you please hand me that magnifying glass?
[she gets up and takes the magnifying glass on the table in front of him]
DE WITT: Thank you.
[he takes the magnifying glass and begins reading]
DE WITT: "Malefactor Thomasina Barrows, nineteen years old. Thief. At eleven o'clock in the forenoon, on Saturday the second day of March 1779, the condemned woman cried to the assembly that she was now to her final home from which no one could ever evict her again. After that, she only laughed. A laugh so terrible and mocking that those who heard it swore it was laughter from hell itself. She died unrepentant."
[he puts down the magnifying glass]
DE WITT: Little wonder.
EILEEN: Where was she buried?
DE WITT: It was customary in those days to bury victims of the gallows on the hilltop.
EILEEN: She's there, then. She's ... she's there where our house is.
DE WITT: Yes. Poor maddened thing that she was ... Finally at rest.
[the camera zooms in on Eileen's concerned face, then the scene fades to black]



Circle of Fear: Season 1
The New House (17 Mar. 1972)
"Ghost Story" The New House (original title)
TV Episode - 46 min - Horror | Thriller

John and Eileen are expecting their first child, and decide to purchase their first home. Unbeknownst to them, their house was built on the site of a gallows where an innocent girl was hanged two centuries before. Eileen starts having visions of the girl, and after her baby is born, the spirit of the girl returns with an unfortunate interest in the newborn baby.

Trivia: This episode served as a pilot film for the anthology TV series, "Ghost Story", which changed it's title to "Circle of Fear" in 1973.

David Birney ... John
Barbara Parkins ... Eileen Travis
Sam Jaffe ... De Witt



A surprise extra on this set is the 1972 pilot episode of the Castle executive-produced series, "Ghost Story". The episode, entitled "The New House" was written by Richard Matheson and directed by John Llewellyn Moxey (THE NIGHT STALKER). It concerns a young couple (David Birney and Barbara Parkins) buying a new house which was built over the grounds where a young woman was innocently hanged centuries ago. Sam Jaffe also stars as a retired librarian, and Sebastian Cabot of course is the on-screen host. If the excellent quality here is any indication of how the entire GHOST STORY series might look on DVD, then we're in for something special when that time comes.

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