Rosabelle, Believe: The Death of Houdini and After

“Today is the ninety-second year anniversary of the punch that ended the life of Harry Houdini. Houdini, a legendary historical figure whose name has become the literal byword for illusion, stage magic, and daredevil acts of escape, actually died on HALLOWEEN night of 1926, of peritonitis. He had lingered for eight days after being sucker punched in the gut by an exuberant fan. Houdini, who was known to be able to withstand massive amounts of bodily damage, had not been prepared for the assault—and it killed him.”

Read this article at VOCAL:

All My Posts at Vocal

I’m doing most of my blog posting at Vocal now. A lot of articles, mostly in Horror, but also in Criminal, Futurism, Music, even Poetry.

Here is a link to my Vocal Horror articles:

Vocal Horror Community

Here is a link to my Vocal Criminal articles:

Vocal Criminal Community

Here is a link to Vocal Futurism articles:

Vocal Futurism Community

Here is a link to Vocal Poems I’ve done:

Vocal Poetry Community

My music article “Creep Tunes”:

“Creep Tunes” by Tom Baker

My article on Intermittent Fasting and Keto:

“The Joy of Hunger” by Tom Baker

Vocal Rejected This

Note: Clickbaity article on necrophiles for Criminal community on Vocal. Rejected. Apparently, there, true crime must also be “family friendly.” Bit of a contradiction?

Five Famous Necrophiles

Love and Romance in the Realm of the Rotting!


The subject of necrophilia is one that is near and dear to my sordid spirit; there is something in the obsessive love for an idealized (albeit dead) paramour that strikes us as the very height of deeply touching romantic love.

We have written not one, but TWO small books (our novel Buried, as well as The Men Who Loved the Dead, an unpublished monograph on the subject.) about romantic necrophilia; “romantic necrophilia” as distinguished from “opportunistic necrophilia,” or one of the other classifications given by Dr. Anil Aggrawal in his excellent text Necrophilia: Medico-Legal and Forensic Aspects. (Which, when I borrowed it through Interlibrary Loan, no doubt left the library staff even more leery of me than they previously had been.)

Necrophilia is a practice both odious and morbidly fascinating at the same stroke; mix in the idea of someone who simply cannot let go of their loved one at their passing; who will steal the body, painstakingly preserve it as it decays, build to it a shrine, speak for it, breathe for it, imbue it with a reanimated existence (in their psychopathic brain scape, of course) and you have the makings for a never ending slew of morbid gothic potboilers.

The practice was known in the ancient world. Greek tyrant Periander, Herod the Tetrarch (who had his wife Mariamne “preserved” in honey, where after he made love to her until the remains passed the point of being detestable) and other ancient world grotesques indulged in it. For our purposes, we will recount a small list of some of our personal faves.

So, without further adieu, let us recount the Wretched Romances of the Rotten, as we present for your edification and delectation, “Five Famous Necrophiles of Morgueland.” (All men recounted here, but the curious should also not discount the contributions made by such female necro- pioneers as Joan of Castile and Karen Greenlee. No chauvinists we.)

export1.jpgContemporary newspaper account of necrophile Henri Blot.

1. Henri Blot
We just like his name. Henri (Pronounced, we take it, “awnrey”) was a little man once quoted as saying to an examining magistrate: “Each man to his taste. Mine is for corpses.”

In 1886, the “pretty boy” dandy crept into a Parisian cemetery, unearthed the body of ballerina Ferdinand Mero, laid aside the bouquets of flowers, and upon a covering of paper, ravished the cold husk of flesh, thereafter falling to blissful, somnolent slumber. Upon awakening, it is said he barely had enough time to pull up his breeches and depart before risking discovery by the gendarmes. Alas, the next time he endeavored to molest a corpse (curiously, also that of a young ballerina) he would not be so lucky.

bertrandSgt. Francois Bertrand

2. Sergeant Francois Bertrand
A necrophile’s necrophile, Sergeant Bertrand was, quite apparently, a misfit his entire life–in the army, he was known to not even visit whores, as his erotic predilections prevented him from achieving a proper erection. Be that as it may, the “Vampire of Montparnasse” was more than adept at stealing into cemeteries at night, exhuming the bodies of young women (his preferred victims) and ravishing them. Thereafter, he would dismember them in a mad heat of passion. Your present author well remembers coming across a book as a child, wherein was related a scenario depicting Bertrand getting into a little boat, rowing across a river to the gates of a craggy, forgotten boneyard, and stealing inside. He had apparently been drawn by some psychic force of love too great for him to withstand. . There, finding a freshly buried beauty to unearth, he quickly commenced exhumation, and lay with her, a truly gruesome tableaux for anyone that would happen upon the scene, underneath the winking stars.

But, here we have a selection or two of his own confessions:

“…After a few days of rest, the sickness came back, more violent than ever.
We were staying in the Ivry Camp; at night, the guards were posted very near and their instructions were very severe, but nothing could stop me. I climbed out of the camp every night, to go to the Montparnasse Cemetery, where I satisfied my lust.

“…I covered it [i.e. the dead body] with kisses and pressed it wildly to my heart. All that one could enjoy with a living woman is nothing in comparison with the pleasure I experienced. After I had enjoyed it for about a quarter of an hour, I cut the body up, as usual, and tore out the entrails. Then I buried the cadaver again.”

Some fellows and their strange ways!

He was arrested and jailed in 1841.

ArdissonVictor Ardisson

3. Victor Ardisson
The French seem to have more than their fair share of famous necros. Such as Victor of the Heavenly Eyes.

The baby-faced, beatific “Vampire of Muy,” who spent his debased, debauched childhood licking the urine from the toilet stools at school, went, as naturally as a pig in manure, to the profession of sexton at a local cemetary. It was here that he robbed corpses of clothing and other valuables; even though, of course, the stuff was often rather wretched and noxious. Also, he stole a number of bodies, or pieces of them. Ardisson, who bore an almost weirdly holy look in his psychotic gaze, confessed himself at a genuine loss when the severed heads of his corpse-brides failed to answer him when he spoke.
Here again, we have some pointed confessions:

“…It was nearly midnight, when I left the graveyard carrying the body beneath my left arm, and pressing her against my face with my right arm. On my way home, I kissed my burden and told her, ‘I am bringing you back home. I will not hurt you. You will be fine.’ Quite luckily, I met no one back home. I laid down next to the corpse telling her, ‘I love you sweetie.’ I slept well. When I woke up in the morning I satisfied my lust once more. Before I left I told her, ‘I’m going to work. I will come back soon, if you want something to eat, just ask.’ She did not answer, so I guessed she was not hungry.”

Victor was caught and sentenced to confinement in a mental asylum in 1901.


4. Jean Baptiste
The legend of Jean Baptiste is one of Salt Lake City Utah’s most famous. In 1861, a man named Moroni Clawson, attempting the political assassination of a sitting Governor known to be unfriendly to Mormons, escaped from custody and was himself killed by lawman Henry Heath. Heath, sorrowful at having had to kill the man, later provided for the indigent Clawson a new burial suit. Days later, when the body was to be moved for reburial elsewhere, Clawson’s brother was intensely disturbed to find that the body was completely naked! Suspecting grave robbery, Heath confronted gravedigger Jean Baptiste at his home.

A crate of baby shoes and other articles of clothing, most boiled in lye to kill vermin, suggested that Baptiste had a long-standing practice of robbing HUNDREDS of graves. And, furthermore, given the condition in which Clawson’s body was found, it was likewise suspected that Baptiste might have been doing a little more to the corpses than merely robbing them of burial clothes and other valuable goods.

A howling mob, incensed and ready to lynch Baptiste, gathered outside the jail, and none other than Brigham Young himself was forced to come forward and reassure the believers that their relatives would rise from the graves wearing the clothes they were originally buried in come Judgement Day. Baptiste was exiled to prevent mob justice from seizing him: first to Antelope island, and later to Fremont Island, in the Great Salt Lake, where he was deposited either with or without a ball-and-chain, depending on which version you believe.
BUT, the story does not end there.

Cattle herders (what were they doing on the island? One wonders.) later visited, finding strips of leather and chopped wood, and no Jean Baptiste. They guessed, probably correctly, that he had built for himself a raft, and escaped his imprisonment. He was never seen again.

His ghost was, though. And, who knows, maybe he still walks lonely Fremont Island to this day, his soul at tormented among the lonely dead that he…loved.

Carl-Tanzler-Photos-788x510Count von Cosel

5. Count von Cosel
“The World Heavyweight Champion Necro” himself, Carl Otto Tanzler, a.k.a “Count von Cosel” (as he fancied himself), was an eccentric (some would even say mad) German immigrant who had spent time in an interment camp in Australia during WW1. Later moving to Havana, where a vision in the Campo de Santo cemetery, and a visit by his ancient, titled ancestor, Countess von Cosel, revealed to him the image of his “one undying love,” Carl finally ended up immigrating to Key West, Florida.

The quack “Doctor” would become a radiological technician at a military hospital in Key West, would endeavor to build his own airplane, and would become infatuated with a very much younger Cuban immigrant girl named Elena Milagro de Hoyos, who had contracted tuberculosis from working in a cigar factory. No matter, Carl assured her family, his quack nostrums (including puzzling experiments with electrical apparatus) could cure her. As he was undertaking this endeavor, he lavished gifts upon his Elena, becoming more and more obsessed.

Predictably, von Cosel’s nutty cures did NOT cure Elena, and she died in 1931. Carl then had constructed for her a special tomb, where he would sit, singing old Spanish songs to her casket, weeping and wailing; ultimately, psychologically unable to “just let go.”

He finally stole the body, living with it in his home for a period of five years. As it decayed, he patiently reconstructed the putrid flesh, using strips of silk dipped in paraffin, wiring the bones back together as they deteriorated and fell to pieces; of course, he bought large quantities of bug spray and perfume, to mask the putrid odor.

He was finally discovered by Elena’s sister, who, suspecting Elena was not in her tomb, confronted the amorous old lunatic. The result of all of his careful, patient care was a weirdly horrific monstrosity, a thing that looked like a giant porcelain doll. Nothing really human was left in the features, nothing “real.”

Maria-Elena-Milagro-de-HoyosElena de Hoyos and her remains.

The remains were put on display and thousands of people in Key West filed past to view them. (These folks were starved for entertainment, we take it.)

Carl was never prosecuted; the statute of limitations on his crime had run out years ago, and the prosecutor couldn’t properly define exactly what, if any, crime he had committed since. Carl was let go, having received many kind letters of sympathy from women admirers who were touched by his “undying love.”

Carl died in 1952. he was found clutching a plastic death mask of his Elena.

Undying love, indeed.

Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) Script

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

[a.k.a. “Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari”]

A cold, somber atmosphere pervades the opening scene of the film. Francis and
an older man are sitting on a bench by a high forbidding wall which curves
away into shadow. The leafless branches and twigs of a tree hang down above
the heads of the two men; dead leaves carpet a path in front of them,
emphasizing the lifeless, still quality of the setting.

On the opposite side of the path to the bench are a couple of stunted fir
trees: winter is in the air. Both of the men on the bench are dressed in
black; their eyes gape wildly from pale faces. The older man leans over
towards his young companion to speak to him; Francis, apparently not very
interested, responds by staring blankly skyward.

As he turns to speak to Francis, the eyes of the older man, beneath a pair of
bushy gray eyebrows, are dilated with horror or fear.

TITLE: ‘Everywhere there are spirits … They are all
around us … They have driven me from hearth
and home, from my wife and children.’

The older man continues his monologue, while the boughs from the overhanging
tree move about his face. We see that the wall behind him is painted with a
bizarre leaf and line pattern.

Francis turns suddenly to look down the path past his older friend. As he
turns he makes a sudden movement of surprise: the figure of a young woman,
Jane, has just emerged from the shadow at the end of the path. She walks down
the path towards camera; her hair is long and black, framing a pale, utterly
expressionless face; her long white décolleté gown trails about her as she
walks slowly forward.

Francis stares at the passing girl with a mixture of anxiety and admiration.

Jane draws closer to the two men; she is still staring blankly in front of
her. As she draws level with them Francis leans forward even further across
his companion, rises slightly from his seat and points towards the girl.

Francis’s face registers adulation and tenderness as the girl passes him by;
he is very excited and moved by her presence.

The girl walks straight past the men, giving no sign that she has seen them.
They continue to stare at her intently, a certain element of amazement in
their looks, but she passes without a flicker of recognition, parting the
trailing branches of an overhanging tree, and finally disappears. The men
stare after her, a dazed look on their faces.

Francis, still gazing after Jane inclines his head meaningfully towards his
companion, as though about to make a momentous announcement.

TITLE: ‘That is my fiancee.’

Francis’s face becomes very animated as he talks rapidly to his friend, still
gazing pathetically after the departed woman. The two men stare, fascinated,
after the departed girl.

The girl gazes vacantly upward and right, her white gown standing out
strongly against an indistinct dark background. She turns slowly to face the
camera and begins to move forward towards it. As she comes closer it is
possible to see that her face is dead white, with heavily made-up eyes.

Both the men now have expressions of surprise on their faces. Francis is
pointing in the direction in which Jane has vanished.

The heads of the two men have moved closer together as their conversation
becomes more intimate; Francis turns towards the older man.

TITLE: ‘What she and I have experienced is yet more
remarkable than the story you have told me. I
will tell you …’

The two men put their heads closer together; Francis continues talking.

Jane, her white gown flowing about her, is walking behind a screen of fir
tree branches, which are silhouetted against the whiteness of the garment.
Slowly and pensively, she continues her walk.

Francis stretches out his hand in front of him as if about to display
something to the older man.

TITLE: ‘Holstenwall, the small town where I was born.’

The two men, their heads close together, look right.

A painted townscape: the town is built all over a sharply pointed hill; we
have the impression of closely packed houses with pointed rooftops and gables
clinging precariously to the sides of the steeply rising hill. On the peak of
the hill is a large church with two steeples which lean crazily inwards
towards one another.

TITLE: ‘A traveling fair had arrived.’

Painted scene of tents and merry-go-rounds in the foreground; in the
background are the houses of the town on the hill. The tents are suggested by
a confusion of angled planes and surfaces on which scallop shapes have been
picked out in a lighter color to represent festoons and hangings. In front of
the tents is a flat white platform, behind which there is a line of railings
with a sloping banister rail, suggesting the top of a flight of steps.

Francis and his companion are still deep in conversation on the bench by the
wall. Francis continues talking, raising his hand in the grip of strong
emotion. An expression of horror and loathing begins to creep into his
already dilated eyes.

TITLE: ‘With it, came a scoundrel …’

The top-hatted figure of Dr. Caligari appears walking up the flight of steps
in the center of the fairground setting; he is clutching at the banister
rail. When he reaches the top of the steps, he turns towards camera. His
black cloak is tightly wrapped around him; he peers quizzically, irascibly,
around him through large round spectacles, then hobbles painfully forward,
leaning heavily on his stick with one hand and carrying a book in the other.
He is wearing white gloves, on the back of which are painted three broad
black stripes, extensions of the spaces between his fingers. Hobbling
forward, he looks a sinister, menacing cripple, capable of the utmost evil.
His lips are tightly pursed and he glares wildly ahead; his white hair
straggles out from beneath the brim of his hat. Iris out on Caligari’s face,
leaning back slightly as if sniffing the atmosphere.

We return to the two men sitting by the wall. Francis, hollow-eyed, is
staring dramatically heavenward.

TITLE: ‘Alan, my friend.’

Alan, a young man of aesthetic pursuits, lives in an attic, which is
suggested by sloping walls and a kite-shaped dormer window, giving on to
angular rooftops and crazily-leaning chimneys. Alan’s bed is half hidden in
shadow on right. In front of the bed in the center of the room is a high
ladder-back chair. Alan stands affectedly by his desk reading a book. Just
behind him is a star-shaped patch of light painted on the floor. He walks
forward, still deeply engrossed in his reading, and absentmindedly stretches
out his arm to lean on the back of the chair.

Alan’s face suggests a deeply-serious, well-intentioned young man — a man of
high ideals, though a jutting chin perhaps indicates a certain determination
in achieving them. He affects the style of the Nineties aesthete — a loosely-
tied, flopping bow-tie and hair parted in the center in the style of Aubrey
Beardsley. One arm rests on the back of the chair and he holds his book open
with the other. He suddenly looks up impatiently and turns towards the
window. Alan turns away from the chair, thoughtfully closing his book, and
walks towards the window in the rear wall of his room. He gazes out through
the window over the crazily angled rooftops and chimneys, then turns away,
face tilted slightly upwards and eyes lit up with a radiant smile.

He moves forward, away from the window, rubbing his hands together gleefully,
and suddenly leaves the room. Camera remains on the room for a few moments,
before Alan re-enters with his coat slung casually over one shoulder and his
hat in his hand. He crosses the room and leaves.

In the street, a man is energetically distributing handbills to passersby.
Alan, now wearing his hat and coat, enters from left and walks towards the
man who gives him one of the handbills. Behind the two men is a painted
facade of a house leaning at a crazy angle; in the left foreground a flight
of steps disappears upwards into shadow. Handbill in hand and reading avidly,
Alan turns towards camera.


Holstenwall Fair,
including sideshows of all kinds,
and marvels never before seen.

Alan, still reading his handbill walks slowly forward, then suddenly turns
and darts up the steps.

Alan dashes into Francis’s room brandishing the handbill. Francis is sitting
at his desk working quietly; a book-case stands just behind the desk against
the wall. There is a triangular-shaped window in the rear wall of the room;
in the foreground is a large leather sofa. As Alan runs in from the left,
Francis turns to see what all the commotion is about. Alan perches on the arm
of Francis’s chair and starts talking energetically and gesturing towards the
door with the handbill, as though urging Francis to come with him to the
fair. Francis takes the handbill and the two friends rise to their feet to
read it together.

Alan is pulling urgently at Francis’s arm; Francis smiles as he reads the
handbill, as though he feels he has to humor the caprices of his friend. They
stand outlined against the strangely shaped window, which we can now see is
surrounded by a pattern of pointed streaks.

TITLE: ‘Come on, Francis, let’s go to the Fair.’

Both men are grinning now, and Alan tugs even more vehemently at Francis’s

A painted street scene; camera points directly down a very narrow street. The
walls of the houses lining the street are suggested by flats painted with
stripes and angles. Two men dressed in dark clothes come down the street
towards camera and then disappear to left. A woman crosses the street behind
them, coming from an opening on the right between two houses and going out to
rear. Caligari, his cape wrapped tightly round him, enters at rear and comes
down the street at a strange jerky shuffle. As he comes towards camera he
peers constantly to the right, as though looking for a particular building.
Another man appears from left; when Caligari comes face to face with him, he
doffs his hat to the man with an exaggerated gesture of respect and deference,
an obsequious look on his face. They talk together animatedly for a few
seconds, then, with a sweep of his right hand, Caligari produces a card which
he shows to the man.

TITLE: ‘I shouldn’t go in if I were you. The Town
Clerk is in a very bad temper today.’

Caligari, undeterred by this rather cold reception, continues to talk to the
man and produces a second card which he gives the man with a mincing gesture,
looking very satisfied with himself. The man, visibly impressed, now accepts
both cards.

Close-up of a white card with ‘DR. CALIGARI’ written boldly on it.

Having accepted the cards the man goes out to left; Caligari shuffles after
him, still looking very pleased with himself.

The walls of the Town Clerk’s office are painted with fantastic spiked
shapes. The Town Clerk is sitting on a very high stool on right; an
autocratic-looking man, he is demanding explanations of items in a ledger
from two clerks who stand uneasily in front of his stool. At the rear of the
office a clerk sits working at a desk. The man with whom Caligari has been
talking outside enters on left and hands Caligari’s card to the Town Clerk,
then leaves again. Caligari himself has followed the man into the office and
after the presentation of his card, he doffs his hat and bows low to the Town
Clerk, rather overdoing an attempt at humility. The Town Clerk, after looking
closely at the card, turns to Caligari angrily.

TITLE: ‘Wait.’

Visibly put out by the Town Clerk’s summary treatment of him, Caligari turns
and sits down on the left. The Town Clerk gesticulates angrily at his two

Caligari stares malevolently over the top of his spectacles towards the Town
Clerk and grasps the top of his cane tightly. His mouth is tightly drawn and
his chin juts forward agressively. The two clerks exit on left. Caligari,
unable to contain his impatience, rises and makes his way towards the Town
Clerk with a curious sidelong shuffling movement. He stops just below the
Clerk on his high stool; the latter turns angrily to Caligari.

TITLE: ‘I told you to wait.’

Caligari, much chastened by this response, sidles back to the bench on left.
The Clerk turns back to the documents on his desk. Caligari, very
disgruntled, turns his face away and looks in the opposite direction to the

The Town Clerk gathers up the papers on his desk, which is painted with
strange cabbalistic symbols, and descends from his high stool. He straightens
his black frock-coat as he climbs down and comes towards camera. Caligari
watchfully follows his movements. Caligari glares intently at the Clerk, his
eyes dilated with hatred. He begins to speak, grasping his cane convulsively.

He rises to face the Clerk. The two men make a ludicrous pair together: the
very tall Town Clerk towering over the much shorter Caligari, who stands self-
effacingly before him, hat and cane in hand.

TITLE: ‘I want to apply for a permit to show my
exhibit at the fair.’

Caligari draws his cane along the floor, as though delineating the size of
something. The Town Clerk listens very unwillingly. Throughout this scene
Caligari’s face is the very picture of craft and cunning.

TITLE: ‘What sort of an exhibit is it?’

Caligari looks up assertively at the Town Clerk, holding his hat and cane
close to his face.

TITLE: ‘A somnambulist.’

The Town Clerk looks amused. He turns and beckons to the junior clerk who has
been sitting at a desk at the rear of the office, before marching pompously
out, very conscious of his power to order and influence. The junior clerk
comes forward and asks Caligari to follow him to his desk at the rear of the
room, which Caligari does, following the clerk in his strange shuffle — half
walk, half run.

An arm turning the crank of an organ appears in iris in upper right of
screen; on top of the organ a monkey is sitting, wearing a white blouse. The
iris opens to reveal the fairground set, with the town on the hill in the
background. The fair is now clearly in full swing and people are milling
about on the light-colored platform in the foreground. On the left is a cone-
shaped merry-go-round painted with broad stripes, which is revolving very
rapidly. There is another merry-go-round painted with broad stripes, which is
also revolving rapidly. There is another merry-go-round on the right behind
the organ grinder and the organ.

Three men in long dark capes and conical hats come from the left, stop in
front of the organ and place money in the little cup held by the monkey. They
are followed by a jovial looking couple who also make a contribution to the
monkey’s cup; then come a young man and a very prosperous-looking middle-aged
man. Caligari enters right, leaning heavily on his cane and hobbling
slightly. He turns his back to camera to look at the organ. More people cross
the open space in the foreground and place money in the monkey’s cup,
including a stunted figure, with dwarf’s legs but a normal torso, As the
figure stops at the organ Caligari turns to look at him, fascinated by the
sight, before going towards the rails at the top of the steps in center of
set and turning and glaring balefully around him. Finally, he turns away and
disappears from sight down the steps.

We are now in another part of the fairground. On either side of a central
alleyway are tents with scallop shapes painted on them to represent festoons.
A number of people are milling about in the space between the tents, among
whom we can recognize the jovial-looking couple who gave money to the organ-
grinder. To the right of the central passage is a large marquee with a
triangular opening in its side. In front of it is a low platform with
railings at each end. A group of small children run in from the right waving
pennants. The dwarf comes in from the left carrying a poster, painted with
faces and figures in grotesque positions, shaped like a kite and mounted on a
standard. He disappears from sight among the people in the alleyway.

Caligari emerges from the triangular opening to the large marquee on the
right and steps out on to the low platform. His round spectacles are pushed
up on his forehead and he carries a triangular wooden frame mounted on the
end of a pole; there is a roll of cloth strapped to the frame. He looks
around at the people in the open space in front of the platform of his
marquee. He is carrying a large bell in his right hand which he begins to
ring, swinging it up and down vigorously.

Attracted by the sound of the bell and the extraordinary sight of Caligari
brandishing it wildly, people begin to press round the platform. Caligari
unrolls the cloth which he has brought out of the tent to reveal a large
painting of an emaciated human figure with a disproportionately large head;
it has the manic, tragic face of a painting by Munch.

TITLE: ‘Step right up. Now showing for the first time:
Cesare, the somnambulist.’

Caligari harangues the rapidly growing crowd, urging them to come to his
show. He strikes the poster furiously with his cane to emphasize his words.

TITLE: ‘That night saw the first of a series of
mysterious crimes.’

Iris in from upper left on the head of two men; iris widens to reveal an
attic bedroom. Three men are bending over a bed on the left, looking at the
body of a murder victim, though our actual view of the body is blocked by
part of the bed. The sheets of the bed and the pillows are in complete
disorder and lie partly on the floor, as though a violent struggle had taken
place. The men draw back from the bed: two uniformed policemen and a plain-
clothes inspector. Their faces register horror and consternation.

TITLE: ‘Murder! The Town Clerk has been stabbed in the
side by some kind of sharp instrument.’

The inspector and the two policemen walk away from the bed towards the window
at the rear of the room. They gaze out through it, then the inspector turns
and speaks to his two subordinates. Iris out. Iris in on the organ-grinder’s
arm turning the organ crank and the monkey sitting on the organ. Alan and
Francis stagger in from right; their arms are round each other’s shoulders
and they are both smiling broadly, very happy with their visit to the fair.
They turn to face camera, look around them, turn and walk away. A group of
young women enter from behind the organ and stop in front of it; their arms
are linked and they are giggling happily. Meanwhile, Caligari is still
declaiming at the top of his voice from the platform in front of his tent,
swinging his bell with both hands. Finally, he puts down the bell, giving him
more freedom of movement to gesture towards the poster of the sinister,
staring figure. In the foreground are the hats of the crowd, many of them
conical, as more people press round the platform.

TITLE: ‘Step right up. Now showing for the first
time: Cesare, the miraculous, twenty-three
years of age, has for these three-and-twenty
years been sleeping — night and day — without
a break. Before your very eyes, Cesare will
awaken from his death-like rigidity. Step
right up. Step right up.’

Caligari picks the poster up in one hand and taps it vigorously with his cane
to lend weight to his words. Then he puts the poster down and, with a
theatrical sweep of his arm, draws back the flap of the tent opening behind
him, and invites the people to enter. A number of people climb on to the
platform to enter the tent, including the jovial couple we have previously

Caligari, not quite satisfied with the response to his showman’s cajoling,
now removes his hat and makes sweeping gestures with it to urge more people
to come to his show. A steady stream of people begin to enter the tent. The
faces of the people in front of the platform are slightly upturned.

In the center of the group, in angle shot, are Francis and Alan; the latter
is speaking eagerly, animatedly, to his friend, urging him to come with him
to see the somnambulist. Francis seems dubious and cynical, but Alan still
tugs insistently at his arm.

Fade in.

TITLE: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Fade out.

Inside Caligari’s tent a central aisle leads from foreground to a small
stage at rear. The audience for the show are sitting or standing on either
side of the aisle. Suddenly a curtain on the right of the stage is swept
aside and Caligari bounds on to the stage, ringing his bell and declaiming
excitedly. He swiftly gets carried away with the task of his show, casting
his bell away to the left. He removes his hat and makes a sweeping bow in
front of the curtain, then replaces it and continues his gesticulations with
the aid of his cane. Finally he lifts the curtain on the stage and a rope
tied round the curtain pulls it away out of sight. Caligari takes up a
position in the center of the stage.

A long narrow cabinet, closely resembling a coffin, is standing on end at the
right of the stage. Caligari points towards it vigorously, still shouting to
the audience. He reaches up on top of the cabinet and takes down a short
stick with which he gestures again towards the doors of the box. Then, with a
sudden movement, he flicks open the right door of the cabinet, then the left,
to reveal Cesare standing immobile inside. The somnambulist is wearing black
tights painted with random oblique stripes and a polo neck sweater. His
heavily made-up eyes, which are closed, stand out strongly against a dead
white face. Caligari, spectacles pushed up on forehead, gestures towards
Cesare with the short stick.

Caligari gazes maniacally towards the motionless figure of Cesare. He has
pulled his spectacles down before his eyes again and his white hair straggles
wildly from beneath his top hat. He turns towards Cesare, whose face,
surmounted by an unruly mop of dark hair, looks very pale above his dark
clothing. Caligari glares right towards Cesare.

Caligari’s excited expression shows that the climax of his show is drawing

TITLE: ‘Cesare! Do you hear me? It is I calling you:
I, Caligari, your master. Awaken for a brief
while from your dark night.’

Caligari looks up at Cesare expectantly.

Close-up of Cesare’s face. He is wearing very heavy white mat make-up, with
long eyelashes and thick black lines on his brow. His mouth is painted in the
shape of a compressed Cupid’s bow. Below each eye is a triangular patch of
black make-up. In response to his master’s command, the muscles around
Cesare’s mouth begin to twitch spasmodically, as with someone who is
reluctantly coming out of a very deep sleep. His mouth quivers and falls
slightly open; his eyelids flutter before parting slowly. Slowly the
somnambulist’s eyes open wide to a full manic glare, the iris almost entirely
surrounded by white.

Caligari makes another gesture towards Cesare, who slowly raises his hands in
front of him, fingers extended as though about to strangle someone. Slowly
Cesare moves forward, stepping down from the cabinet; as he does so, Caligari
shrinks away slightly, feigning apprehension. Cesare lowers his arms and
Caligari gestures across the middle with his cane. His spectacles are once
more pushed up on his forehead.

Alan and Francis are now in the audience, gazing upwards; their faces are
more brightly lit than those of the other people around them. Both of them
look somewhat disturbed and anxious about what is taking place on the stage
and Alan’s mouth has fallen slightly open. He still wears his hat with the
floppy brim. He turns and talks agitatedly to Francis.

Caligari, head thrown back and knees slightly bent, is speaking to the
audience again. Cesare stands motionless, one foot behind the other in a
ballet dancer’s pose, hands at his side.

Caligari has begun to grin triumphantly. His spectacles are pushed back on
his brow; his eyes gleam and his teeth show as he turns from from one side of
the audience to the other. His face lights up with a fiendish grin as he
begins to speak again.

TITLE: ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, Cesare will now answer
any question you like to put to him. Cesare
knows every secret. Cesare knows the past and
can see into the future. Come up and test him
for yourselves.’

Caligari bows again and looks admiringly at the wonderful Cesare. Then he
turns to the audience again, looking expectantly at them, waiting for their

Alan looks strangely disturbed by Caligari’s proposal; he seizes Francis’s
hands and seems in the grip of some strange impulsion, desperately wanting to
ask something. Clutching at Alan’s right arm, Francis pleads with him not to
ask a question. But Alan is absolutely determined to ask Cesare a question
and will not be restrained.

Caligari is still posturing on the stage; Cesare’s demoniac looks are
emphasized by low angle lighting. Alan appears in front of the stage on the
left, then crosses to the right of the stage and makes as though to climb on
it. Francis comes after him, tugging at his coat and still trying to prevent
him from asking his question. Finally, however, Alan manages to climb to the
edge of the stage and he addresses himself to Caligari and Cesare.

Alan’s face is brightly lit against a dark background — the open face of an
honest, naive young man. His eyebrows are raised questioningly as he prepares
to speak.

TITLE: ‘How long have I to live?’

Alan’s face is upturned and questioning, his brow furrowed. Francis looks on
with apparent horror as Alan asks his question and Cesare makes ready to

Cesare’s tousled hair falls over his brow and his eyes are staring wildly.
The whiteness of his teeth stands out startlingly in his heavily made-up
face. Behind him, a patch of the cabinet is brightly lit. He replies very

TITLE: ‘Until tomorrow’s dawn.’

Cesare purses his lips after this brief, sinister utterance. Alan draws back
shocked, then smiles, trying to put a good face on things, though clearly
very shaken. He draws back, panting as he does so.

Francis stares on, eyes and mouth open in simple-minded disbelief, head
tilted right.

A number of the people on either side of the central aisle have risen to
their feet. Alan is still standing to the right of the stage. Francis
succeeds in dragging him away, however, and the pair come down the aisle
towards camera. Alan looks utterly bewildered and he has to be firmly guided
by Francis. They go out right.

A street scene; there is a white area on the ground in the center and the
background is composed of house facades leaning at crazy angles. A lamp-
lighter emerges from rear right carrying a lamp-lighting pole. His cloak is
wrapped tightly round him and he wears a trilby-style hat pushed well back on
his head. He crosses the street with a strange lunging gait to light a street
lamp before disappearing from sight. Two men pass from left to right in front
of the houses in the background. Alan and Francis enter and walk to the
center of the space between the houses. Alan’s attention is suddenly drawn by
a poster on a wall on the left; he grasps his friend’s arm and starts towards


Holstenwall Murder. 1,000 marks reward.

Iris in on the poster; iris widens to reveal Alan and Francis gazing intently
at it. Alan still looks very upset and Francis has to lead him away from the
poster. The two men turn away; as they do so, Francis sees Jane enter in the
background and he hurries to greet her. Alan, after a last look at the
poster, goes back to join them, circling behind them and halting at Jane’s
side. Alan takes Jane’s hand and she in turn takes Francis’s hand. They
smile, seemingly very happy together. Jane’s brows and eyes are heavily made

The three friends move forwards towards camera, talking animatedly to each

Another street scene in long shot; there is a brightly lit patch in the
center and dark angular forms on either side. A dark alleyway leads off into
shadow in the background. A flight of stairs leads upwards at a peculiar
angle on the left. Alan, Francis and Jane enter from behind the dark form and
walk slowly across the street to the bright patch, pausing an instant and
turning to face camera before disappearing behind the form on left. Fast iris
down to shadow of a distorted figure painted on the wall. (Although this is
supposed to be a new locale, it can clearly be seen from the preceding frame
that it is shot approximately 20 feet to the rear and left of the last

Iris in on Caligari’s caravan; it is painted in flowing stripes and patches
and leans somewhat to the right. One wheel is partially visible on left and a
short flight of steps leads up to the door in the center of the end which is
visible; to the right of the door is a small slanting window. Caligari
emerges from the door, descends the steps and goes to peer round his caravan,
first on one side, then on the other. Looking about him expectantly, he
returns and pauses briefly in front of the door, then darts into the caravan
and swiftly closes the door behind him. Iris out.

TITLE: On the way home.

Resume on the street setting in which we last saw Alan, Francis and Jane,
(though the camera has now moved slightly to the right). Francis and Alan
enter from left and saunter towards camera. They stop in the shadow of a dark
form on the left and begin to talk. Francis makes as though to ascend the

Francis, who has now begun to climb the stairs, speaks over his shoulder to
Alan, who has a bemused expression on his face.

TITLE: ‘Alan, we both love her.’

The faces of the two friends are brightly lit by a street lamp hanging above
them. They both look full of good intentions, fully determined to behave as
nobly as possible in this difficult situation.

TITLE: ‘We must let her choose. But whatever her
choice, we shall always remain friends.’

They grip each other’s hand firmly in their determination to be fair-minded.

Francis disappears up the flight of stairs on the left, while Alan turns and
walks away in the opposite direction, his coat billowing around him. Iris out
on the street lamp.

TITLE: Night.

We are back in Alan’s room; the bed is in center of frame, parallel to the
right wall which is painted with black and white designs. In the background
is one of the ladder-back chairs, strongly lit. Alan is asleep, his head high
on the pillow, face upturned. A sinister-looking shadow slowly begins to
creep across Alan and up on to the wall, assuming the outline of a human form
greatly magnified. Alan suddenly awakes, utterly terrified as the person we
cannot see slowly approaches his bed. He waves his hands about in front of
him in a hysterical and fruitless attempt to fend the approaching person off.

Close-up of two hands with their fingers extended.

Alan is now sitting bolt upright in bed, thrashing about wildly in total
panic. On the wall is the shadow of a hand with a knife poised above his head.

Alan stares, his mouth open; he clutches at his throat in a feeble attempt to
defend himself.

The shadow on the wall raises the stiletto to strike and we see the shadow of
Alan’s hands raised to ward off the expected attack before the two close
together in a desperate struggle. The standing shadow seizes the wrists of
Alan’s shadow, then raises the stiletto again and plunges downward.

A woman dressed in black comes hurrying down the alley between two houses at
the rear of the street scene outside the house where Francis lives, almost
colliding with two men who pass in front of her. Her hurrying manner suggests
profound emotional disturbance and shock, as she goes towards the stairs at
left and begins to dart rapidly up them.

Francis is in his room standing by the large leather sofa; he is carefully
adjusting his bow-tie. The woman in black rushes into the room behind
Francis, who abruptly spins round to discover the cause of this sudden
intrusion. The woman moves towards him, her face registering extreme grief
and horror.

TITLE: ‘Mr. Francis! Mr. Francis! Mr. Alan is dead.

The woman is speaking passionately, her left hand clasped to her breast.
Francis’s hands are still raised at the horrible news, his face expresses a
mixture of sorrow and disbelief. The woman turns away to hide her face in her
hands, completely overcome by her grief. Francis holds his fingertips almost
together; his mouth has fallen partly open and he stares blankly away. He
turns to the woman, who looks up startled, and points to the rear of the
room. They both begin to move back past the sofa in the direction in which
Francis has pointed.

In Alan’s room, his disordered bed bears witness to the recent struggle,
though we cannot see Alan’s body from this angle. Francis and the woman rush
into the room. He gazes horror-struck in the direction of the bed, before
moving towards it; the woman looks away. Francis turns and comes slowly
towards camera, eyes switching from left to right; the woman remains in the
background by the window. A look of comprehension, which brings on a fit of
gasping and swallowing, suddenly flits across Francis’s face as he recalls

TITLE: ‘The prophecy of the somnambulist!’

Francis stands staring, wide-eyed, trying to grasp an idea which his mind
cannot quite entertain. The woman is almost lost in shadow at the rear of the
room. Francis raises the finger of his left hand to his cheek; his expression
is that of a man engagaed in the solution of a terrible problem. Iris out.

Diamond iris in, widening to reveal a staircase curving left and losing
itself in shadow. Francis enters right, arms waving, and disappears at a run
up the staircase.

Francis rushes into an office in the police-station. There is a table in the
center of the office and two policemen are perched on very high stools, one
on either side of the table. A number of papers are strewn on the floor in
the foreground. On the left is a range of pigeon-holes from which more papers
protrude; there is a triangular window in the back wall, on which a number of
triangular shapes are painted. Both policemen are crouching conscientiously
over their work when Francis enters, but his precipitous entrance causes them
to climb down from their stools and close round him. They are both wearing
flat round hats with chin straps and long jackets with double rows of shiny
buttons. Francis clutches the arm of one of them.

Francis, very close to hysteria, has now laid a hand on both policemen, whose
looks betray extreme concern as Francis talks wildly, eyes staring and chin
thrust forward. He removes a hand from one of the policemen and raises it to
the back of his neck, then slowly pantomimes the stabbing; he gasps and pants
as he thrusts upwards and downwards. The two policemen lean back slightly and
exchange a meaningful glance behind his back. Francis’s hand remains upraised
in a gesture of determination.

TITLE: ‘I will not rest until I have got to the bottom
of these terrible events.’

Francis, eyes rolling dramatically, stands with arm aloft. One of the
policemen dashes off left, while the other remains with Francis, who has now
started to make stabbing motions again. The other policeman re-enters,
closely followed by a youngish inspector wearing a short cape and a high
conical hat. The three policemen all cluster round Francis, who stands at the
front of the group with his right arm raised. The inspector confers with his
two subordinates behind Francis.

Francis descends the stairs from the police station slowly and hesitantly; he
is still very dazed and bewildered by events. At the foot of the stairs,
where low-angle lighting gives his face a macabre pallor, he comes towards
camera, then stops and raises his hand wearily to his brow. He pushes his
hair back, then lets his arm slowly fall over his face, before leaving right,
head bowed. Iris out.

The scene changes to that of a peaceful garden. On the left is a high wall
which curves gently to center rear and immediately beneath it is a path which
runs along the length of the wall. On the right of the path are a number of
cutouts representing trees and bushes. Jane, dressed in a flowing white gown,
comes down the few steps which lead from a doorway in the wall and hurries
along the path to meet Francis who is advancing towards her. When they meet,
the girl catches hold of his arm and turns to walk with him along the path.
Francis is staggering slightly from the effect of recent events. They stop
near the doorway and the girl gazes up into his face, trying to divine the
reason for his disturbed condition. Jane has to bend slightly forward to look
into Francis’s face, but as Francis reveals the reason for his grief, she
straightens up suddenly, eyes dilated with horror. Francis slumps left and
sinks down on a bench by the wall; shoulders bowed, he is the picture of
utter wretchedness. The girl asks him to tell her more of what has happened;
every detail that Francis adds to his story draws a further shudder of horror
from her, until, unable to bear any more, she turns away again, incapable of
containing her grief.

Jane enters a sitting room, the sides of which are curtained with broad
swathes of scrim. In the center of the room is a small occasional table on
which there is a vase containing three unnatural looking flowers; there is a
long curved sofa behind the table; the rear wall is painted with a scallop
pattern. Jane is followed in almost immediately by Francis and they both come
to the center of the room, standing between the table and sofa, where the
girl motions to Francis to remain before leaving the room. Francis stands
alone for a few seconds by the table and then an older man, Jane’s father,
very carefully dressed in dark suit and high white collar, enters and goes
swiftly towards the table to talk to Francis.

Dissolve to Francis and Jane’s father talking together. As Francis talks he
gestures downwards with his clenched fist; the other man, a very serious
expression on his face, listens carefully, looking over his spectacles at
Francis. He appears very concerned about what he hears but he manages all the
same to lay a reassuring hand on Francis’s wrist.

TITLE: ‘I will get a permit from the police to examine
the somnambulist.’

Jane’s father continues talking animatedly while Francis listens intently. He
nods in agreement as the other man points off left across him before they
both leave the room.

Night has fallen; we see a narrow street in the town, partly illuminated by a
bright lamp which is suspended above the street. The walls of the houses on
either side of the street lean crazily in all directions; there are slanting
windows in the walls on right and a shadowy doorway in the wall opposite. The
figure of a man emerges furtively from the shadows at rear and moves
cautiously forward, hugging the wall on right and remaining well concealed in
its shadow. His features and dress gradually become more visible as he moves
towards camera, and we see that he has a full black beard. He is wearing a
dark jacket and sweater, with trousers in a lighter material tucked into knee
boots. He moves, still furtive, out of the shadow and crosses to the other
side of the street, constantly glancing over his shoulder to make sure he is
still unobserved. Then, with a last swift movement, he darts into the doorway
on left. Iris out.

Iris in, upper left of screen, on a woman wearing a frilly night cap shouting
and screaming at a window.

TITLE: ‘Murder! … Help! … Murder!’

The woman screams frantically from the window.

The bearded man suddenly rushes out of the doorway and into the street, now
seen in high angle shot. A knife glints in his hand as he rushes down the
street in the direction from which he came. Suddenly, however, he is forced
to turn round as a group of townspeople, attracted by the woman’s cries, rush
into the street. The man turns and comes towards camera, one eye on his
pursuers and his knife raised defensively in front of him.

The bearded man is finally captured by his pursuers in another street — the
one from which the flight of steps lead up to Francis’s room. The man
struggles so violently that several townspeople are needed to hold him down;
they manage after a struggle to drag him away. Iris out.

Iris in on Caligari, dressed in his top hat and long dark coat; he is bending
low over something and making vigorous stirring motions. Iris widens to
reveal the interior of Caligari’s caravan and Caligari stirring a bowl of
porridge or similar mashed food. The interior is almost entirely bare of
furnishing or decoration; behind Caligari is the end of the caravan with the
door which we have already seen from the outside; to the left of the door is
a small window. There is a long chest on left which can be recognized as the
cabinet in which Cesare has been displayed at the fair; it is now lying
lengthways. By the cabinet is a low table on which Caligari sits while he
stirs the mashed food. Caligari rises to his feet, still stirring, walks
around the back of the table and places the bowl of food on it. He turns to
the cabinet and opens the doors to disclose Cesare lying absolutely prone and
stiff, seemingly in a very deep sleep. Caligari round to the head of the
cabinet, reaches in, places both hands under Cesare’s arms and raises him to
a sitting position; Cesare’s eyes are still closed. Caligari steadies the
somnambulist in his sitting position as Cesare looks as though he may very
well fall back into the cabinet. The Doctor turns and picks up the bowl of
food he has prepared and begins to feed the mash to Cesare, stirring the food
between each spoonful.

The scene changes to the outside of Caligari’s caravan. Francis, followed by
Jane’s father, comes in from left. Francis is wearing a flowing cape and a
hat with a rounded crown and brim; his companion is wearing a top hat. They
go towards the door of the caravan and Francis moves slightly to the right so
that he can look through the window before knocking on the door.

Inside the caravan, Caligari, who is still feeding Cesare, looks up suddenly
as he hears the knocking on his door. He hurriedly puts the bowl down and
pushes Cesare back into a recumbent position in the cabinet and quickly
closes the doors. He goes towards the door, but before he opens it, he
crouches slightly and turns to take one last look at the interior to make
certain everything is in order. He finally moves to open the door.

Francis and Jane’s father are still waiting outside the caravan; Francis
knocks urgently at the door. Caligari opens the door and sticks his head out
to look at Francis; the other man is excluded from his view because the door
opens outwards. Francis and Caligari exchange some words which seem to make
the latter very excited, for he suddenly jumps down the steps, slams the door
shut behind him and spreads out his arms to bar the two men from entering the

Caligari continues to bar the way of the others into his caravan, glaring
implacably at them through his round spectacles, shouting ‘Nein!’ in reply to
their entreaties to enter. The Doctor produces a piece of paper from his
pocket which he shows to Caligari, provoking Caligari to clench his fists in
fury and further shouts of ‘Nein!’ After further exchanges Caligari finally
relents, shuffles slightly forward, then turns and bows towards the caravan
with exaggerated politeness for Jane’s father to enter; he goes in, followed
by Francis and Caligari.

The stairs leading to the police station; four townspeople enter dragging the
bearded man, whom they half pull, half push up the stairs. A curl of smoke,
whose existence is unexplained, rises from left.

Three policemen in uniform are sitting round the table in the station office;
two are on high stools on either side of the table and the other is sitting
lower down behind the table. The group of men from the town enter at a run:
propelling their bearded captive into the room. The policemen climb down from
their stools and join the townspeople in the center of the room around the
criminal. The townsmen, all of whom are wearing capes and conical hats, point
accusingly at the man they have captured.

Camera pans over the faces of the men as they all try to give their evidence
simultaneously. They talk rapidly, excitedly. The captive has a hang-dog,
beaten look in the middle of his accusers.

Close-up of the criminal, hair disordered and chin covered with several days
stubble. He glares balefully at his captors. On the right the face of a
townsman is visible, serious, slightly worried. One of the men hands the
knife which has been confiscated from the criminal to the inspector. The
latter balances it thoughtfully in his hand, looks at the criminal and
gestures left, whereupon the policemen seize the captive and march him firmly
off. The four men from the town remain with the inspector; the man closest to
him points to the knife and speaks and the others move closer to offer their
opinion before finally leaving in a group. The Inspector remains gazing at
the knife and then turns and goes back to the desk behind him.

Meanwhile, inside Caligari’s caravan, Jane’s father, a doctor, is examining
Cesare who has been raised to a half-sitting position. Caligari is standing
right, fuming with rage, while Francis has taken up a position at the head of
the cabinet to see what Jane’s father is doing. The doctor looks up and
glances towards Caligari, before bending again to listen to Cesare’s
heartbeat. Cesare’s eyes are still closed.

Caligari slides his eyes craftily to left, followed by a movement of his
head. Then slowly he moves his head and eyes back right. Jane’s father
straightens up and turns towards Caligari, speaking sharply to him and
gesturing with both hands.

TITLE: ‘Wake him up.’

Caligari scowls malevolently at the doctor and firmly refuses to carry out
his request. Francis looks through the window, his attention suddenly
attracted by something outside. He dashes to the door and disappears through

Outside Caligari’s caravan; Francis bursts suddenly out of the door as
another man enters scene and promptly leaves again after handing Francis a
handbill, which Francis starts reading avidly. He turns and calls to Jane’s
father, who in turn comes dashing down the steps to read the handbill; the
two men stand bent over the document.


The killer of two recent victims
has been caught in his third attempt.

Francis and the doctor look closely at the document, then turn and look over
their shoulders as Caligari comes abruptly through his front door. They leave
hurriedly left and Caligari, standing on the steps of his caravan with his
hat in his hand, makes two exaggeratedly sweeping bows after their departing
figures. He grins slyly, then raises his hat to his face and peeps over it.
He cackles gaily, replaces the hat firmly on his head and goes back into the
caravan, turning momentarily to look in the direction which Francis and his
companion have taken.

TITLE: Worried by her father’s long absence …

Jane is sitting at the small table in the scrim-hung room in her house. She
is gazing abstractedly at an open book which she holds chest-high in front of
her. She turns her head to look left — anxiously, as though waiting for
someone — then turns back to her book again. Finally she shuts the book with
a gesture of impatience, rises, looks around worriedly and makes as though to
leave the room.

In the meantime, Francis and her father have arrived at the police station.
The bearded criminal is standing between two policemen, scowling horribly.
Jane’s father is sitting on the right of the room on a ladder-back chair and
Francis stands just behind him, his elbow resting on the back of the chair.

Francis’s face is very pale, registering deep anguish. Everyone is staring
intently at the criminal, whose bearded face shifts uneasily.

The criminal looks shiftily to one side and speaks through gritted teeth. His
eyes move from side to side as he infuses greater vehemence into what he is

TITLE: ‘I had nothing to do with the first two
murders, so help me God.’

The expression on the speaker’s face becomes slightly calmer. Jane’s father
barks something at the criminal, moving his head up and down emphatically.
The latter stares in front of him, head slightly bent.

Close-up of the criminal as he continues his account.

TITLE: ‘The old woman … yes; it’s true I wanted to
kill her … with a stab from the same kind of
dagger, to throw suspicion on to the mystery

The criminal begins to speak very emphatically.

Jane’s father and Francis listen intently as the criminal finishes his

Puzzlement registers on the faces of Jane’s father and Francis. The doctor
looks upwards over his spectacles and Francis looks down at the doctor,
before looking again in the direction of the criminal. Francis turns away
from the criminal towards the camera, puts his hand to his brow and leans on
the back of the doctor’s chair. His expression shows that he does not know
what to believe; iris out upper right on his head and hand.

Iris in on the merry-go-round in the upper right of the fairground scene; the
merry-go-round is no longer turning. Iris also includes Jane’s face. The iris
widens as Jane turns to look over her left shoulder, before walking across
the open space in front of the merry-go-round and the railings which mark the
top of the flight of steps. She is now wearing a long dress made of striped
material. She walks towards the rear of the open space, then turns and looks
around her. Finally she crosses to the head of the steps on the right and
goes down them, serpenting from one side to the other as she descends the
various flights and finally disappears from view.

Jane comes towards camera down the alleyway; between the fairground tents and
marquees. On the right is the platform in front of Caligari’s tent, with the
unrolled poster of Cesare still in position. Jane advances cautiously down
the alleyway, peering about her. When she reaches Caligari’s tent, she first
gazes at the poster, then begins to mount the steps to the platform. There is
some trepidation in her attitude, but she is determined to go on in spite of

Caligari’s head pokes out of the tent opening. He looks to right and left,
glaring through his spectacles.

Jane, who has now reached the top of the short flight of stairs leading on to
the platform, recoils slightly at the unnerving sight of the doctor, now
leaning forward out of the tent opening and gesturing towards her with the
head of his cane.

Jane’s face in close-up looks deadly pale, an effect accentuated by the dark
shadow around the eyes, which now register alarm at the sudden apparition of

Caligari comes completely out of the tent opening to speak to Jane; he is
still gesturing towards her with his cane. She leans forward to speak to him
from her position at the top of the stairs and he bends down to her level to
hear more clearly.

TITLE: ‘Is my father here — the doctor?’

Caligari smiles as Jane speaks to him, almost as though he were making a
special effort to be polite to her. He shakes his head. A crafty grin flits
across Caligari’s face and he looks away right. Then his eyes switch back
left; he looks extremely pleased with himself.

TITLE: ‘Oh yes — the doctor. Won’t you come in and
wait for him?’

As Caligari replies, Jane, still very ill at ease in the presence of this
bizarre individual, raises her hands across her chest and draws back.
Caligari gestures towards the tent opening, inviting her to come in. Her
hesitancy shows clearly and Caligari’s bowing and cajoling become more
frenetic. Eventually she steps forward reluctantly on to the platform and
Caligari disappears inside the tent though his hand is still visible
beckoning from the opening.

Inside the tent, Caligari enters left, followed by Jane to whom he turns with
a sinister smile, beckoning her to come forward as he moves towards the
cabinet now standing in its former position, upright on the tiny stage at the
rear of the tent. Jane looks extremely apprehensive as Caligari uses all his
gifts as a showman to increase the feeling of tension in the situation.
Standing to the left of the cabinet, he extends his forefinger and flips open
first one, then the other door of the cabinet, revealing Cesare standing
motionless, eyes closed. Caligari hops into a half crouch and springs round,
grinning unpleasantly, to see what effect this revelation has had on Jane.

Caligari’s eyes stare wickedly and brightly through his round spectacles.

Jane draws away from the sinister form of Cesare, but Caligari gestures with
his hand for her to come nearer and points jerkily towards Cesare with the
head of his cane. Jane moves slowly towards the still figure of the
somnambulist, fascinated in spite of herself. She moves to the right of the
cabinet and looks upwards towards the occupant making her face almost
invisible. Cesare suddenly inclines his head slightly towards the girl, opens
his eyes and glares at her. Jane is terrified; she backs away away and turns,
raising her hand to her throat. Caligari looks on, very satisfied with the
effect of his little exhibition. Jane, overcome with terror, screams and
rushes away. Caligari and Cesare move their heads slightly to follow her
departure. Iris out on Caligari’s face.

TITLE: After the funeral.

Iris in on the cemetery wall which runs from right foreground to a half-grill
gate at rear. Foliage forms are painted on the wall and branch and leaf forms
hang down from above. Jane, her father, and Francis enter through the gate
and walk forwards towards camera. They are all dressed in mourning and Jane
walks with her head slightly bowed. The trio walks solemnly forward and
disappears on right. Iris out.

TITLE: Night.

Francis has returned to the fairground, where we see him descending the steps
behind the railing of the balustrade, gradually disappearing from view as he
negotiates each successive flight.

Francis enters the alleyway between the tents and marquees from the rear. He
runs forward quickly yet stealthily, keeping close to the tents on the left,
the opposite side to Caligari’s tent. When he reaches a point immediately
opposite Caligari’s tent, he tries to peer through the opening, then swiftly
darts across the alleyway to the foot of the platform to get a closer look.
Still not satisfied, he pulls himself up on to the platform and creeps
forward on his hands and knees to the entrance of the tent. He raises the
flap slightly and looks inside, finally pushing his head completely through
the opening. Then, seemingly worried that someone should see him in this
strange posture, he looks furtively behind him. Not seeing what he was
looking for, he gets up and goes off down the alleyway, still hesitant, still
looking for something, Francis enters from the left outside Caligari’s
caravan and runs crouching across to the right where he sidles up to the

Francis peers curiously through the window of Caligari’s’ caravan. Through
the window Caligari can be seen sitting in a chair on the left, apparently
asleep, his hands folded under his chin and supported on the top of his cane.
By his side the upper half of the open cabinet is visible, revealing Cesare’s
upturned face seen from below. He also appears to be asleep.

Francis is still gazing through the window.

Jane’s bedroom in medium long shot; at the rear are very high narrow windows
with painted scroll work between them. In the foreground is Jane’s bed,
lavishly draped with white material. Jane is asleep, face upturned and her
right arm curling round the back of her head.

At the same time, just outside Jane’s house, Cesare advances stealthily down
the path by the garden wall, still dressed in his tight dark clothes. He
walks, with a strange stiff-legged gait, right arm extended above his head as
he feels his way along the wall with his hand. He finally comes to a lighted
doorway in the wall and he turns slowly and mounts the three steps which lead
up to it and disappears.

Jane is still sleeping in the same position as before. Behind one of the
windows at the rear of the room the sinister figure of Cesare slowly rises

The face and torso of Cesare appear more clearly through the window. A long
stiletto gleams in his hand.

Jane, however, continues to sleep peacefully, as Cesare begins to remove a
bar from the window.

Cesare has now completely detached the bar from the window; he quickly tosses
it away and steps over the window sill into the room. Cesare moves away
slowly from the window, sliding towards the bed like some graceful automaton.
As he comes to the edge of the bed, he raises the shining stiletto over the
sleeping form of the oblivious Jane. The whites of his eyes are brightly

Cesare stares forward, expressionless, the long dagger poised for the
downward plunge.

Cesare begins to stab downwards towards Jane’s body. Then suddenly he stops
and his shoulders move jerkily several times. An almost benevolent expression
spreads over his face, as he drops the knife and begins to bend forward
slowly again.

Gently, Cesare bends down towards Jane, slowly extending his fingers and
reaching out with his right arm until it touches the hair of the sleeping
girl. Jane wakes up immediately, absolutely beside herself with terror.
Cesare seizes her wrists.

Grinning grotesquely, Cesare struggles with the girl’s wrists and pulls her
face towards him. She holds her eyes tightly shut. Cesare, laughing, grasps
her by her chin and hair and pushes her down on the bed, where she continues
to struggle.

She fights with Cesare on the bed and manages to roll away from him for an
instant, but then he manages to grasp both wrists again as she hurls herself
forward in a determined effort to shake him off. In an effort to hold her
still, Cesare wraps his arm round the girl’s breast, whereupon she raises her
hands as though to scratch his face, so that he is forced to grab her wrists
again. Finally Cesare manages to set both his hands round the girl’s neck.

Cesare picks Jane up, his left arm passing round her waist. She is still
struggling so violently that Cesare is unable to detach her from a bundle of
bedclothes which he picks up with her.

Two men are asleep, in medium shot, heads pointing towards the center of the
frame. They suddenly sit up in bed, looking very alarmed, and point off left.
The older man turns to the younger and they both begin to get out of bed as
quickly as possible.

Cesare, in the meantime, has grasped the girl more firmly and is carrying her
towards the window through which he entered; the bedclothes fall to the floor
as Jane still struggles faintly under his arm.

The two men, now risen from their beds, move away from camera into darkness.

The two men rush into Jane’s bedroom from the rear and dash towards the empty
bed, waving their arms in consternation and confusion. A dark-haired woman,
wearing a white blouse and dark skirt, runs in after them. Another man
follows her into the room, pushes his way between the two others and throws
himself on the rumpled bed in a burst of grief and desperation. Then the
first two men and the woman notice the window open at the back of the room
and all three run back towards it.

The younger man points up through the window towards the rooftops. His
companion looks through the window in the same direction.

The man who prostrated himself on the bed now picks himself up and goes to
join the other three at the window.

He rudely pushes the woman out of his way in his anxiety to look out of the

Cesare comes from the left carrying the girl bundled under his arm; he makes
his way across very precipitous rooftops which lean towards each other at
crazy angles. Long, narrow chimney-pots pointing in all directions, stand out
against a brightly-lit sky. Cesare walks swiftly along the ridge of one of
the rooftops and then begins to disappear from sight behind the crest of a

Caligari, seen through the bars of his caravan window, is still apparently
asleep, hands folded on top of his cane. By his side, the figure of Cesare is
still lying in the open cabinet.

Outside the caravan, Francis gazes intently through the window.

Cesare, still carrying Jane, comes out of the brightly lit doorway in the
garden wall. He moves away quickly down the path towards the rear, keeping
close to the wall.

A second or two later, the young man, who has already been seen in the
bedroom, starts out of the doorway in hot pursuit of Cesare; he is followed
closely by the older man, still wearing pajama trousers. They run quickly
down the path and disappear.

Cesare, now staggering under his human burden, is approaching the crown of a
small hump-backed bridge, from which a tortuous path leads down. The bridge
is very abruptly arched and lamps and a balustrade are painted along its
parapet. In the foreground are a number of gaunt gothic tree forms, giving a
sinister air to the scene. The sides of the screen are blacked out. Cesare
staggers down the path from the crown of the bridge, turning his feet
outwards in an effort to preserve his balance. As he comes down from the
bridge, his two pursuers appear on the path on the other side of the bridge,
rapidly gaining on him. Cesare lets Jane fall to the ground and runs away
down the path. The two leading men pick up her prostrate body and, joined by
a third, carry her back up the path and over the bridge. As they pick her up,
a number of men dash past them to continue the pursuit of Cesare.

Cesare appears climbing up a steeply sloping path on a hillside covered with
coarse, spear-pointed grass. On the horizon are cut-out tree forms with weird
tapering branches; they stand out in silhouette against a brightly-lit sky.
As he mounts the path, Cesare shows all the signs of great exhaustion: his
shoulders are sagging, his arms are droopingly outstretched, as though he is
making a feeble attempt to retain his balance. He staggers, stops, turns,
crumples to the ground and rolls away out of sight down the hillside.

Francis is still standing looking through the window of Caligari’s caravan.
He turns away slightly from the window and half-faces camera; he seems
pensive, troubled.

He ducks away from the window and moves stealthily away; he comes towards
camera and exits center foreground.

Jane lies sprawled in a chair in the sitting room of her father’s house. Her
father, the doctor, is bending anxiously over her. A maidservant leaves the
room at rear as Francis rushes in from the left and throws himself
passionately at Jane’s feet, imploring her to show some sign of consciousness.

Dissolve to Francis and the doctor lifting Jane into an upright sitting
position. Her eyes, though open, are quite expressionless and the iris is
almost completely surrounded by white. Francis gazes imploringly into the
eyes of his beloved. Jane at last begins to look around her with signs of
increasing consciousness; but the muscles of her face freeze as a terrible
memory recurs to her.

TITLE: ‘Cesare …’

Jane shrieks again and raises her hands to her face. Francis shakes his head
negatively, almost pityingly, as he looks up into her terror stricken face.
Jane nods her head again, very certain she is correct about her attacker’s
identity. Francis, a worried expression on his face, rises to his feet and
joins Jane’s father standing behind his daughter’s chair. He takes the
doctor’s hand and places it emphatically on his chest.

TITLE: ‘It can’t have been Cesare. Cesare was asleep
all the time. I have been watching him for

Francis emphasizes what he has just said with a firm gesture of his clenched
hand. Jane, for her part, raises both hands and clenches her fists,
absolutely convinced she is right. The doctor bends forward to listen
intently to his daughter. Then he turns to look at Francis, who remains
equally firmly convinced by what he believes to be the evidence of his own

The doctor bends down to listen to what Jane has to say. She half-turns her
head to the left and raises it slightly towards her father. Iris out.

Back at the police-station; two policemen sit one on either side of the
central table. Francis dashes in from the left and stops in front of the
table, turning to the policeman at left with an excited movement. The
policeman climbs down from his stool, as does his companion. All three men
turn towards camera and Francis, now talking excitedly and looking wildly
about him, emphasizes his words with downward strokes of his right hand. He
is beginning to appear tired now, as though recent events are proving too
much for him. He raises his hand to his brow and stares hard at the policeman
on the left before speaking.

TITLE: ‘Is the prisoner safely in his cell?’

Francis looks at the one on the left who nods affirmatively, as does his
colleague. Francis looks utterly bewildered.

TITLE.: ‘I should like to see him.’

The two policemen confer briefly between themselves, then lead Francis away
between them.

Francis comes down the station stairs followed by the two policemen; the
three exit at left. Iris out.

Iris opens out to reveal an enclosed space with large inverted pyramidal
forms on either side, representing the outside of the jail. A figure ‘5’ is
printed boldly on the form at left. The policemen enter from the shadows at
the rear of the space, followed at a distance by Francis. He follows them as
they walk round the form, beckoning him to come and look at something with
them. The two policemen and Francis in close-up look right. The policemen are
in profile, while Francis has turned away from camera. The policemen’s faces,
very solemn, are strongly lit from below; one of them has a sweeping handle-
bar moustache, the other a tiny tooth-brush affair.

The bearded criminal is squatting on the floor of his cell in the center of a
white painted patch in the form of four trapezoids splayed out star-fashion.
Behind him the wall is painted in broad irregular bands of white and black;
there is a distorted window high in the wall behind him. His right leg is
attached by a length of chain with massive links to an irregular block at
left. The criminal raises his head, then slowly lets it sink down on his
chest again. Francis turns from the triangular-shaped peep-hole, through
which he has been looking at the criminal, to look at the policemen. Then he
turns to face camera, his face drawn and worried — is there nothing stable
or fixed in the world?

Back at Caligari’s caravan, Cesare’s master is looking anxiously through the
bars of his window. His eyes shift backwards and forwards uneasily as he
anxiously awaits the return of the somnambulist.

Caligari is apparently asleep again in the chair by the open cabinet, in
which the recumbent form of Cesare is still visible. Outside the caravan,
Francis enters from left and goes towards the window, closely followed by
the inspector and two policemen. Caligari can still be seen through the
window sitting beside Cesare’s cabinet.

The policemen hesitate briefly in front of the caravan door and the inspector
turns towards his two subordinates. Francis has taken up his old post by the
window. The inspector motions to the two policemen to position themselves on
either side of the caravan, while he raps sharply on the door. Caligari,
fully dressed in hat and coat and carrying his cane, bounces out angrily,
slams the door behind him and looks defiantly at the inspector.

TITLE: ‘He must not be disturbed.’

Caligari makes forbidding gestures with his cane, firmly resisting all
attempts to enter his caravan. The inspector steps quickly up from the left
and shoves Caligari roughly inside.

The inspector pushes Caligari to the right of the door which he then opens,
whereupon the two policemen climb up the steps and enter the caravan.

Caligari looks out of the corner of his eyes towards the open door, then he
closes his eyes and allows his head to fall slowly forward. His right hand is
clasped to his chest.

The policemen come out of the caravan and descend the steps carrying the
notorious cabinet between them. They set it down on the ground and the
inspector and Francis start forward expectantly. Caligari rolls his eyes in
panic as he looks downward towards the box. He raises his clenched fist to
his face and draws back.

The two policemen stand back and the inspector quickly bends forward and
opens the lid of the cabinet. None of the men can contain his curiosity and
they all bend over the box to look at the figure of Cesare which lies
revealed. The head of Cesare is seen from below the chin; below the chin is
the high neck of the polo neck sweater.

Francis bends forward to grasp the figure in the box by the shoulders. Behind
him, Caligari, wide-eyed with alarm, raises his hands in horror. He is not so
paralyzed by the situation, however, that he cannot make good his escape
while all the other men are preoccupied with the figure in the box. Francis
pulls the figure up to its full length, then flings it down disgustedly on
the box as he realizes he is holding a dummy.

Caligari appears running up a sloping path across a hillside very similar to
the one on which Cesare collapsed. It is also painted with jagged lines to
represent spearhead grass and there are the same gaunt silhouettes of trees
on the ridge of the hill. Caligari runs up the path to the top of the hill,
where he pauses briefly — a sinister cloaked and hatted figure silhouetted
against the bright sky — before disappearing from view over the crest. As he
drops from sight, Francis appears on the path in the foreground and also
dashes up to the crest of the hill before disappearing on the other side in
pursuit of the fugitive.

Caligari appears running over the small hump-backed bridge and down the
tortuous path where Cesare earlier let Jane fall; he sways wildly as he comes
at a strange shuffling run towards camera. The dark figure of Francis
materializes on the crown of the bridge, in hot pursuit. He chases Caligari
out in center foreground.

Caligari runs up from right along another path up a steep hillside. The scene
is very similar to the one in which Caligari has already crossed a hillside,
but the path he follows is broader and there are fewer tree silhouettes on
the crest of the hill. Francis follows Caligari closely up the path, gaining
on him steadily.

Caligari scuttles in at right of a street scene, which is brightly
illuminated from above by street lamps. The walls on either side of the
street disappear into shadow; a poster stands out prominently on one of the
walls. Caligari runs towards a gate at the rear which he opens and through
which he disappears. Francis enters right, pauses by the corner of the wall
to peer round it, then begins to move swiftly towards the gate through which
Caligari has disappeared.

But before Francis reaches the gate his attention is caught by the poster
which is prominently displayed on one of the walls. He stops to read it; we
note that there is a tiny arrow pointing from it towards the gate through
which Caligari has just passed. Francis starts back as he reads what is

Francis shrinks back from the poster, then turns towards the gate and opens
it gingerly.

Francis is escorted into a courtyard by a white-jacketed attendant. At the
rear of the courtyard is the light-colored facade of the main building of the
Institution, in which there are three large rounded arches with vaguely
oriental patterns painted round them. About eight feet above these, set in
the wall of the facade, is a row of eight smaller arched openings. The
courtyard itself is painted with alternate rays of light and dark which
spread out from a radial point close to the center of the yard. On the right
of the courtyard a number of deep leather armchairs are set out.

After escorting Francis to the center of the yard, the attendant walks
swiftly to the arch on right of the facade and disappears. Francis remains in
the courtyard gazing inquisitively about him. The attendant returns from the
archway accompanied by a youngish doctor wearing a long white coat. The two
men approach Francis and the doctor remains to talk to him, while the
attendant goes out past the leather armchairs on the right. Francis speaks
excitedly to the young doctor.

TITLE: ‘Have you a patient here named Dr. Caligari?’

The doctor shakes his head negatively and Francis becomes more frantic,
moving his hands excitedly to emphasize his words. The young doctor turns and
goes back towards the arch where an older man, gray-haired and also wearing a
long white coat, has appeared. The two doctors confer briefly together, while
Francis remains in foreground, back to camera. The two men walk forward to
join Francis and the older one listens carefully to Francis’s story, a
worried expression on his face. Francis, for his part, looks very puzzled and

TITLE: ‘The Director came back only today. Perhaps you
would like to talk to him yourself.’

Francis nods, signifying that he would like to see the Director, and he turns
to follow the older doctor through the archway. The younger man digs his
hands deeply into the pockets of his white coat and goes out right.

The old doctor appears on the left leading Francis down a hallway towards a
door on right. The floor of the hallway is painted with black tendril forms.
The doctor turns to Francis and opens the door in the wall of the hall and
then waits for Francis to precede him through it. Francis removes his hat as
he passes through the doorway, while the doctor remains in the hall and
closes the door after Francis and turns to retrace his steps down the hall.

Francis enters a strangely chaotic room. The walls are very irregular and
painted with curved shapes; the floor is painted with dark wavy lines. There
is a standing skeleton on left and at rear of room is a large irregularly
curved desk. In front of the desk are several high piles of books and there
are a further two piles on the desk. Between these two piles can be seen the
bent head of the Director as he works at his desk; we can see that he has
white, straggling hair. Francis advances slowly towards him.

Behind the head of the Director is the heavily upholstered leather back of
his armchair. Slowly the Director raises his head to reveal the madly staring
eyes, round spectacles and long white hair of Dr. Caligari.

Francis, unable to control his shock, stumbles over one of the piles of
books, then starts backwards under the basilisk gaze of Caligari. He spins
round as quickly as he can and flees to the door.

Francis backs out through the door into the hall, staring wildly into the
room he has just left. He manages, however, to gather himself together
sufficiently to slam the door shut before lurching unsteadily away down the

Still staggering, Francis appears coming down a flight of stairs and through
the central arch of the facade into the courtyard. Three men in white coats
rush after him through the arch and together half lift him, half drag him,
into one of the leather armchairs on right of the courtyard.

Francis’s face has turned a chalky-white with shock and contrasts sharply
with the more normal flesh tones of the faces of the three doctors who gather
in a semi-circle round his chair, bending forward eagerly to catch his words;
they exchange concerned glances. Francis speaks rapidly, turning from one to
another of the men.

TITLE: ‘He — he alone and none other — is Caligari.’

The three doctors look at one another, then bend forward towards Francis,
listening intently. Francis talks on, clasping his hands together, imploring
them to believe him. He raises his hands to his brow in utter despair at
their apparent disbelief. Fade out.

TITLE: While the Doctor is asleep at his house,
investigations are made.

High angle shot of a man lying asleep on a brightly lit bed; the room around
the bed is partly lost in shadow. The bedclothes are very disordered and the
head of the man tosses uneasily in his sleep, revealing the features of

Fade into an exterior scene: Francis is just approaching a door in an outside
wall of the Institution. A winding path leads away towards rear past a
silhouette tree with thorny branches. As Francis reaches the door, a doctor
dressed in a long coat comes out. He stops and speaks to Francis who seems
about to push his way past the man and go through the door.

TITLE: ‘He is asleep.’

The doctor and Francis move away from the door and walk away from camera down
the winding path.

Francis and three doctors in long white coats come down the hall towards the
door of the Director’s office. One of the men opens it and all four disappear

Once inside the Director’s office, the four men rush towards the large desk
at the rear and begin to examine excitedly the books which are piled on it,
looking closely at the titles. The older doctor towards the standing
skeleton, moves it aside and reaches behind it. The others look on curiously.

Francis and the other two doctors stare intently right. Behind the skeleton
is a small cupboard set deeply in the wall, from which the older man removes
two weighty-looking tomes. His triumphant expression plainly shows that he
has found what he has been looking for. He opens the first and smiles
affirmatively. The older doctor has rejoined the other three men who are
grouped around the desk. Francis opens the upper of the two volumes and the
other three gather round to read over his shoulder as he bends forwards over
the desk.

INSERT (printed in black-letter type):

A Compendium of the University of Uppsala.
Published in the year 1726.

Francis looks up at the other men, the light of understanding dawning in his

TITLE: ‘This has always been his special study.’

Francis looks at the other men, then down at the book again, which he begins
to leaf through excitedly, turning the pages with great rapidity.

Caligari, seen from a high angle, is still sleeping restlessly in his
disordered bed.

The four men are now bent very closely over one of the pages in the book.
Francis’s nose is only about a foot from the page.

INSERT (printed in black-letter type):

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
In the year 1703, a mystic by the name of Dr.
Caligari, together with a somnambulist called
Cesare, used to frequent the fairgrounds …

The doctor on left looks intently at the book over Francis’s shoulder. Camera
pans right over Francis’s face as he reads eagerly.

INSERT (in upper part of screen, the lower third being blacked out; text
continues from the preceding insert):

… and for months he kept town after town in a
state of panic by a series of murders, all of
them perpetrated in similar circumstances …

Camera pans from left to right over the men’s faces, fascinated by what they

The men continued to pore over the same page. Francis traces each line with
his right hand as he reads.

INSERT (black-letter type, following on from preceding insert):

… for he caused a somnambulist, whom he had
entirely subjected to his will, to carry out
his fantastic plans. By means of a puppet
figure, modeled in the exact likeness of
Cesare, which he laid in the chest when Cesare
was away, Dr. Caligari was able to allay any
suspicion which might fall on the somnambulist.

Francis leafs swiftly through the rest of the first book, then turns to the
second, which is lying on the desk.

INSERT (written in longhand on white; borders of screen are blacked out):

My Diary.

Francis looks round excitedly at his companions and opens the diary at what
must be an important passage, for he immediately crouches over it, chin
supported on hands. The other three men gather round again to read over his

INSERT (written in longhand on white in the same angular hand as the words
‘My Diary’ on the cover; the borders of the screen left and right blacked

March 12th,
At last — at last! Today I have been notified
of the case of a somnambulist.

INSERT (hand-written on white; left and right borders blacked out):

Now I shall be able to prove whether a
somnambulist can be compelled to do things of
which he knows nothing, things he would never
do himself and would abhor doing– whether it
is true that one in a trance can be driven to

Iris in on the four men reading the book in lower half of screen. Iris in at
the same time in upper right half of screen on Caligari sitting at his desk
in the Institution; iris widens to show the whole of Caligari’s office.
Caligari’s head is once again framed by the two piles of books on the desk;
on the top of the two piles his hands are tensed, claw-like.

A doctor in a long white coat enters from the left and marches quickly up to
Caligari’s desk, turning and gesturing in the direction from which he has
just come, Caligari rises imperiously from his chair, raises an autocratic
right hand and motions to the man, who turns towards camera and advances as
three other doctors, among whom we can recognize the men who have read
Caligari’s private books with Francis, wheel a bath-chair into the room
containing Cesare, deadly-pale and slumped to one side.

They stop the bath-chair in the center of the room; Caligari struts forward
turkey-toed from his desk, hands folded behind his back. He peers over Cesare
and brushes the somnambulist’s untidy hair back from his brow, bending right
over him and gazing almost lovingly into his face. With his other hand he
grasps Cesare’s wrist as though to feel his pulse. The four doctors gather
round the back of the chair as Caligari continues to gaze tenderly at the
sleeping form of Cesare. Finally he pulls himself up to his full height,
glares malevolently at the doctors and waves his hands about to dismiss them;
they troop out obediently.

After they have left he crouches over Cesare again, the very picture of
solicitous tenderness. Then he springs upright again, grinning wildly; his
head jerks back and he raises his left hand in a gesture of triumph. He whips
round and dashes back to his desk, picks up a book and begins leafing through
it feverishly. He carries the book towards Cesare, still thumbing through it
violently. He slaps the book when he finds the passage he wants, puts two
fingers on to the page, looks at Cesare again, flips through a few more
pages, then throws his head back, laughing hysterically. He holds the book
high above his head and rips it in half, still laughing, and drops the torn
sections on the floor and falls on his knees, grasping hold of Cesare’s head.

Iris in on Francis and the three doctors poring over Caligari’s diary.
Caligari stirs uneasily in his bed; his chest rises and falls heavily as
though he were fighting for breath.

The four men are still engrossed in reading the diary; iris out in lower left
of screen.

INSERT (written in longhand on white):

The desire of my life is fulfilled.
Now, at last can I unravel the secrets of this

Iris out in lower left of the four men still reading avidly. At the same time
iris in upper right on Caligari facing left, bent over his desk and reading
intently. He is wearing a heavy dark coat. Behind him is an untidily arranged
pile of books. He rises from his desk and glares towards camera.

TITLE: In the grip of hallucination.

Caligari, still standing at his desk, raises his left hand which is bunched
like a claw, above his head, then brings it down again behind his back as he
turns towards his book. He thrusts his nose between the pages and tucks his
left arm behind his back. There is a sudden, puppet-like quality about these
movements. He draws himself stiffly upright again, jerking horribly as though
in the grip of forces which he cannot control, clutching the book to his
chest and staring upward.

TITLE: ‘I must know everything … I must penetrate
into his innermost secrets … I must myself
become Caligari.’

Still holding the book tightly under his left arm, Caligari raises his other
hand to his brow and staggers from the room.

Iris in on the path outside the wall of the Institution. Caligari comes down
the path towards camera, lurching from side to side and still clasping his
precious book to his chest. He pauses and waves his hand wildly in the air,
before turning back and staggering a little way down the path in the
direction from which he has come. Then he turns again and walks back stiffly,
turkey-toed. Suddenly a line of white writing appears on the Institution wall:


Caligari stops dead. He lurches towards the writing, which promptly
disappears as he stretches out his hand to touch it. Shocked, he leaps back
on to the path. As he turns away from the wall the word ‘CALIGARI’ appears in
enormous letters above his head. ‘DU MUSST’ appears again on the wall and
‘CALIGARI’ is written twice in the branches of the bramble which stands next
to the wall. The words disappear and reappear with confusing rapidity, ending
again with the sentence, ‘DU MUSST CALIGARI WERDEN’, written in the air at
Caligari’s side.

At the sight of this last apparition, Caligari turns and flees down the path
and disappears from sight.

Iris in on Francis and the doctors of the Institution still reading the
diary. They look up and stare blankly at one another, stunned by what they
have just read. Francis looks up and begins to speak. While Francis and the
three doctors are conferring behind the director’s desk, a man dressed as a
peasant, with boots and cap, enters from the right. He respectfully removes
his cap as he enters and then marches quickly up to the desk and gestures
towards the left. What he says makes Francis rise swiftly up to his feet.

TITLE: ‘We have found the sleep-walker out in the

The peasant talks quickly for a moment to the four men behind the desk, then
turns and leaves the office. Francis comes out from behind the desk and leads
the three doctors after the man. Iris out.

Iris in on a hillside scene, with the gaunt silhouette of a tree on the left.
A group of men are standing over Cesare’s prostrate body. The peasant we have
just seen at the Institution joins the group, followed immediately by
Francis, who darts forward and bends down to examine Cesare’s body. After a
careful examination, he rises slowly to his feet, lost in thought. Then he
turns to the other members and indicates that he has finished with the body
and that they can remove it. The men hoist Cesare on to their shoulders and
follow Francis away down the hillside.

Francis enters the hall outside the Director’s office, followed by four
attendants bearing Cesare’s body on a stretcher. Behind them come the three
doctors in long white coats. Francis halts by the door to the office and
signals to the attendants to put down the body. He opens the office door,
pauses a moment, removes his hat and enters.

Inside the office Caligari is standing back to camera, his hands folded
behind him. Francis walks towards the desk and stands waiting for Caligari to
turn round.

As Caligari turns towards camera he seems to glare more intently than ever
through his round spectacles. He is very heavily made up, with a broad white
line over each brow. The wall behind him is covered with angular Cubist

Francis stands facing Caligari as the latter completes his turn towards

TITLE: ‘Mr. Director! Drop your pose. You are Caligari.’

Caligari glares evilly at Francis. Francis turns from the desk and calls to
the men waiting outside to bring in Cesare’s body. The men set the body down
on the floor and then move to positions on both sides of the office. Caligari
is framed between the two groups of men as he stands at his desk, aghast at
the sight of the black-draped body in front of him, to which Francis points
triumphantly. Caligari walks slowly forward with his stiff, turkey-toed gait.

Francis looks at him accusingly and then springs forward and whips the cloth
back from the face of the dead Cesare. Caligari staggers towards the body,
spreading his arms to signify his grief, and collapses over it.

There is a pause before Caligari slowly, terribly, rises to his feet again,
glowering murderously at the group of doctors and attendants. This, we sense,
is the lull before the storm. He hurls himself furiously at the older
doctor’s throat; the attendants manage to drag him back, but then he frees
himself and leaps again at the doctor. Again the attendants manage to
overpower and drag him back. An attendant rushes in with a straitjacket which
he succeeds in passing over Caligari’s head and shoulders while he is
restrained by the other attendants.

Finally Caligari is forced out of the room and Francis follows, his right arm
extended above his head.

Caligari, strait-jacketed, is dragged into a cell by four attendants. The
cell is seen through an archway in a wall painted with light and dark
patches; there are two high windows in the rear wall of the cell, which is
painted with amoeboid shapes.

In spite of his straitjacket, Caligari is still managing to put up a
considerable struggle with his attendants. He sinks to his knees and forces
the four men to drag him through the arch to the back of the cell, where they
push him down on to a bunk bed. When they have succeeded in getting him into
a sitting position, the four attendants leave the cell as two doctors enter
and walk over to look at Caligari writhing on the bed. Francis follows them
into the cell. We see the face and shoulders of Caligari as he writhes
impotently in the grip of the straitjacket; he is mouthing horribly as he
becomes progressively more and more exhausted.

The doctors leave the cell and close a great triangular door behind them
which swings shut slowly and inexorably, entirely fitting the archway which
leads into the cell. Francis is left standing by the wall outside the door,
very bewildered.

Iris in on Francis and the older man sitting on a bench by a wall, as in the
opening scene of the film. Francis leans confidentially towards his companion
and speaks to him.

TITLE: ‘And since that day the madman has never left
his cell.’

Francis looks down thoughtfully. The older man looks blankly in front of him,
then makes as though to rise, drawing his cloak tightly about him. He finally
rises completely and starts to move off, inviting Francis to come with him.
Francis gets up from the bench slowly and the two men walk away down the path.

Jane, wearing a flowing white gown, is sitting on the left of the courtyard
of the Institution, which looks exactly as it did during the previous
sequences: radial lines painted on the ground and the arched facade to the
rear. Now, however, numbers of people are moving about randomly and among a
group sitting in the leather armchairs on the right of the courtyard we
recognize the dark slim figure of Cesare, in the act of rising from his chair.

Jane, her long black hair surmounted by a tiara, sits absolutely immobile;
her lips are slightly pursed.

A woman in black enters the courtyard and curtsies respectfully to Jane, who
turns her head towards her in brief acknowledgement. Cesare slowly wanders
over from right; he is holding a white flower, the petals of which he is
gently stroking.

An old man with a mane of white hair and a thick beard orates and
gesticulates; he is dressed in a pin-stripe suit with a bright watch chain
across his middle.

The face of the old man, as he shouts dramatically, is creased with deep
lines; his eyes are almost Mongoloid.

The old man continues his passionate oration, waving his right arm up and
down dramatically.

In the meantime, Cesare, still engrossed in examining his flower, has moved
nearer camera. A man dressed in black scuttles furtively left to right across
the yard.

In one of the large leather armchairs, a woman in her late thirties, wearing
very heavy eye make-up, is playing an imaginary piano, her arms stretched out
in front of her.

Meanwhile, the woman in black has concluded her bow to Jane and Cesare has
turned away from camera. The older doctor — the one attacked by Caligari —
talks to a well-dressed young lady in the center of the courtyard, before
turning and leaving. Francis and his older companion enter right.

Suddenly Francis notices Cesare — leaning against the wall of the courtyard
behind the chairs and still engrossed in his flower — and recoils, falling
backwards against his friend.

Cesare’s face looks sad and melancholy as he gazes tenderly at his flower;
his hair is now tidily brushed back from his brow. Francis recovers his
balance and pulls his companion away from Cesare; he points towards the
latter across the older man and whispers urgently. Francis’s expression
throughout this exchange is wild and staring; he is not at all the bright,
intense young man of former scenes.

TITLE: ‘Look! There is Cesare. Never ask him to tell
your fortune; it will mean death for you.’

Francis continues to confide in the older man who has turned to stare at

Cesare, gaunt and melancholy, continues his examination of the flower,
supporting the bloom with his hand.

The older man stares in astonishment at Francis, then backs away, alarmed,
and hurries from the courtyard. Francis, shoulders bowed, remains, a hang-dog
expression on his face. Suddenly, however, his face breaks into a childish
grin as he sees someone off left. He stretches his arms in front of him and
totters towards whoever he has seen.

Francis comes up to Jane, who is still sitting down and staring blankly in
front of her; as he approaches her, his childish grin intensifies. He
advances on her with his arms outspread as though about to clasp her in a
passionate embrace. She, however, shows absolutely no response to his
advances and Francis is obliged to content himself with gripping the back of
her chair from which position he speaks passionately to her.

TITLE: ‘Jane! I love you. Won’t you ever marry me?’

Francis pleads with the girl.

His passionate entreaties elicit little response from Jane, who, bored and
condescending, turns her head slowly away from him.

TITLE: ‘We queens — we may never choose as our hearts

The girl slowly turns her head back again until she is facing camera, staring
blankly ahead.

Francis looks deeply hurt as he draws back from Jane’s chair. The girl
freezes into immobility and Francis turns to face the rear of the courtyard.

The inmates of the Institution are still milling about the courtyard; in one
corner, near the facade of the building at the rear of the courtyard, two
young women are deep in argument. Francis, moving away from Jane’s chair,
suddenly notices something under one of the arches which causes him to lurch
wildly across the yard to get a better view of what he has seen, before
dashing towards the arches.

The Director of the Institution, a neat, benevolent-looking man, walks down
the steps and under the arch into the courtyard. He is meticulously dressed
in a frock-coat, waistcoat and light-colored trousers. His face bears a very
vague resemblance to Caligari’s. The Director enters the courtyard through
the center arch. Francis, meanwhile, stands with the two young women who have
been arguing. They are restraining him from advancing closer to the Director.

The Director’s face bears a kindly smile.

The Director stops for a moment to talk to the bearded old man who has
previously been seen delivering a speech to an imaginary audience. Francis is
still being restrained by the two young women. The Director leaves the old
man and walks forward into the courtyard, hands still folded behind his back.
Francis jerks himself free from the restraining hands of the two young women.
Francis screams something out through clenched teeth. The two women on either
side of him draw back, their hands raised in fear.

TITLE: ‘You all believe I am mad. That is not true. It
is the Director who is mad.’

Francis clenches his fists above his head, screams and lurches forward.

The Director is continuing his walk forward, oblivious that Francis is
rushing towards him from behind. Francis grasps hold of the Director’s
shoulders, shouting loudly.

TITLE: ‘He is Caligari, Caligari, Caligari.’

A furious struggle develops in the courtyard. The older doctor rushes in to
the Director’s aid, while another attendant comes from another side of the
courtyard and grabs Francis round the waist. The two women who have held
Francis look on with extreme alarm.

Francis is surrounded by a crowd of attendants, one of whom is brandishing a
straitjacket. They succeed in subduing him and slip the straitjacket over
him, bundling him away out of the courtyard.

Francis is dragged into the same cell in which Caligari was earlier
incarcerated. The group of attendants around Francis is followed into the
cell by the Director and two white-coated doctors, who bend inquisitively
over Francis after he has been deposited on the bunk bed at the back of the
cell. The attendants leave the Director with Francis.

Francis is now half-sitting on the bed as the three men bend over him. The
Director straightens up and turns towards camera, fumbling in the inside
pocket of his frock coat from which he produces a pair of round spectacles.
He slowly pulls the spectacles over his ears, giving him an extraordinary
resemblance to Caligari. Francis, seeing this, stares at the Director like a
terrified child. The Director, however, takes his head gently in both hands
and lays it on the pillow. He turns towards camera, thoughtfully removes his
glasses and speaks.

TITLE: ‘At last I understand the nature of his madness.
He thinks I am that mystic Caligari. Now I see
how, he can be brought back to sanity again.’

The Director turns slightly right, brushes back a few stray wisps of hair,
and, looking well-pleased with himself, replaces his spectacles in his coat
pocket. Iris out on the Director’s face, a thoughtful, pleased expression on

Fade in.



There are causes and effects, actions and reactions. But “evil”? Evil is a chimera, a phantasm; it has about as much objective meaning as “hate,” which is another favorite term bandied about by politicians, media shills and other assorted pimps and whores of the establishment, all to their own purposes. What is “evil”? Is it predation? If so, then all of nature must therefore be a reeking quagmire of this metaphysical stuff, this “evil”; as all of nature is, essentially, predatory, locked in Darwinian struggle. When the State determines what is lawful, it determines what is “evil,” and thus, everything “evil” is only that which contravenes the interests of the State; which is only rooted in its own self-serving interests and need to propagate and maintain its power and coercion through brutality, force and violence. Thus, it will wield the very cudgel that, in another’s hands, it would decry as an instrument of “evil.” Hypocrites all.

Altered States

I posit that all of material existence is the grit that collects at the edge of “the Void.” I don’t understand, of course, what the Void is. Neither can any other sentient living being, their protestations to the contrary. Likewise, I’m certain an insect would have an impossible time understanding or attempting to communicate with me.

The Devils

The men of today are not substantially different than they were four hundred years ago, insomuch as they will foolishly swallow any lie or absurdity foisted upon them by those invested with “authority.” Anyone deviating from the popular delusion will be cast aside, isolated, persecuted, made to confess and summarily destroyed. Now, today, as in days of old, the heretic is made to seek penance in the eyes of the merciless populace; yet, many accused of witchcraft and other lunacies went to the scaffold or stake, in ancient times, spitting and wailing, cursing their tormentors and delivering hexes upon the heads of them and their generations to come. Today, we have, largely, acquiescence in the face of the barbarous stupidity of our “fellow citizens.” Pray to God that, if you are to be condemned anyway, march to the whipping post or death chamber with an unrepentant heart. Anything else is scurrilous, unseemly and, ultimately, a true disgrace.

Peter, Susie and the Tea That Ran Up the Wall!

Peter and Susie were walking along the weird, overgrown path, wondering at the purple plants and all the other strange things arrayed about them.

Since they had come to this enchanted place, this Valley of Kirk-Havens, or whatever the sign back there had said precisely (the letters seemed to keep shifting as they had tried to read them), they had seen no end to strange and unusual things; so many, in fact that, at one point, Susie had turned to Peter and said, “I do wish the rabbits wouldn’t babbit, and the snabbits wouldn’t crabbit, and the plants weren’t purple, and the grass would stand in one spot under your feet. For, the way everything around here is always shifting and snoozling, and sneezingly oozling, it fairly gives one a tummy ache trying to keep up with it all!”

Peter, who, under different circumstances, might have scolded his sister for coming up with nonsense words like “snoozling” and “oozling”, let the matter lie, as the world they had awoken to find themselves wandering (After falling asleep in the meadow reading a smashing great book of stories, all about knights and the like) seemed to be just the appropriate place for sneezing out a mouthful of nonsense words (like “snizzlepickle,” “snatbrat,” or “scrumcuddlyrumptious”…all of which, thought Peter, sounded like perfectly delicious words to him).

“It’s okay Sue. I suppose it’s something you just have to get use to if you find yourself lost here.”

Susan looked frightened suddenly.

“Then we are lost! Oh, whatever shall we do? It will be getting dark soon, and we’ll be hungry and cold, and Mother will miss us and be terribly worried and afraid!”

Peter frowned, leapt forward in front of her path, and wagged his finger.

“Don’t you go losing your head on me, Sue!”, he exclaimed, and then said, “We’ll find our way back out of this, soon. That is, if we aren’t simply having a huge, fantastic dream!” He stopped, put his finger to his bottom lip, and considered.

“Why, for all we know, right now, you or I are back home, cuddled up in bed, with visions of sugar plums and sweets taking a little break dancing around in our heads, waiting for Christmas morning and all the sugar plum cookies we ate last night to wear off. Pretty soon, we’ll be dreaming something merry and cheery, and forget all about this place, and it will be time to open our eyes–”
“And our presents?” Sue suddenly asked, brightening. Peter didn’t know if anything he just told his sister was true or not, but he thought it was better to have her cheery and smiling than gloomy and crying, and so he said, “Why, of course! You don’t think a bad dream can last forever, do you!”
Sue said, “Of course not!

And Peter replied, “Of course not!”

And then, as the wind shifted, and the woods grew darker, and the breeze seemed to carry odd laughter and tinkling music up and down the dark, twisting path, Peter peeped up and said, “Sue? Do you smell that?”

Sue raised her nose to the air and sniffed.

“Jam cake!” She said, her dark blue eyes brightening. “Why, I smell jam cake!”

Peter nodded his head, and agreed, saying, “Yea, and hot baked cross buns! And buttered scones!”

And Sue quickly added, “And lemon tarts!”

And Peter replied “And peach ice cream!”

And the children (who, if they weren’t merely dreaming, realized they had not had any food for hours) raced forward, following their noses.

Soon, they found themselves standing on the crest of a little hill, looking down into a hollow. At the bottom of the hollow nestled a little cottage.

“Hey, look! I bet you that’s where the delicious smell is coming from, Sue!”

And Sue said, “Sure enough! Why, I can smell it coming out in delicious waves of smell! I bet they’re cooking up a feast fit for a king inside. Say, Peter: do you think they would overmind so very much if we happened in on them, two little kids like us, and maybe, well, we COULD do the dishes or something in exchange for whatever we eat…”

Peter looked at his sister, half annoyed, and half frightened at the prospect of going up to a strange door, in a strange land, and begging to be let in for dinner. Plus, “overmind” was another of the little words she was always making up, so that following what she said often became a spot of bother. Little wonder her nickname was “Miss Malaprops.”

“Well, well I suppose you’re right, Sue! But, at any rate, if we don’t at least ask them, we’ll starve to death out here! Of course, they could be crazy people, or even hideous trolls or monsters–”

And Sue, upon hearing this, put her hands to her mouth and exclaimed, “Oh no, don’t say that!”
Peter frowned. “Well,” he stated matter-of-factly, “it’s true. We don’t know that they are, but they COULD be!” He paused for a moment, shuffled his feet, puffed out his lower lip, and said, “Well, I guess since I’m the oldest one, and a boy, it falls on me to go up and knock! You wait here, just in case–”
And Sue almost squeaked out, “Just in case WHAT?” in mounting fear and terror; but, somehow, she found her voice catching in her throat.

Peter went up to the door, his little heart hammering in his throat. He was amused to note that the door was perfectly round, and green, with all sorts of lovely and weird flowers painted on it in bright colors. In the center, of course, was a little round brass knob.

Above this was a knocker, designed to look like a ring in a boar’s snout. He put his fingers to it (they were shaking a bit, to be perfectly honest), and he made three stout raps and then waited. It seemed as if he waited there a long, long time, shifting nervously from foot to foot.

Finally, after what seemed like a terribly long, long period of time, he could hear some shuffling and wheezing from behind the door. His heart began to race a little in anticipation. Then, the wooden door began to squeak and squeal open, with a shuddering shriek of rusted hinges and creaking wood, and, standing there, half hidden in the dark, was the form of a bent, crooked old crone, with a long crooked nose. (And, of course, with a wart on the tip.)
She stood in the doorway wheezing and puffing for awhile, her seamed, wrinkled and warty face working in consternation and puzzlement. Hoarsely, she spat out, “Well? What in the world do you want?”

Peter fidgeted, his hands in his pockets. Behind him, Sue looked as if she might burst out bawling. Peter then worked up the courage to speak.

“Oh, Missus, you must help us! My sister and I have taken a wrong turn somewhere, and gotten ever-so-lost in this strange, wonderful country. We smelled the delicious smell of tea and blackberry jam as we were walking past, and we thought that you might see fit to give a slice of bread and jam to us!”

At this, the old woman fidgeted and fadgeted, and scratched her noggin, and shook her head a little warily, rolling her eyes and twisting her face up into a look that rendered it almost inscrutable. (And, as ugly as it was, it was a darn hard thing to try and make out, really, just what in the world was going on beneath the flowing mop of greyish hair atop her head, to be perfectly honest.)

“Oh, well, come on in, the both of you! But, be quick about it! It’s sundown, soon…”

Peter didn’t know what she meant by that, but he and Susie went, a little cautiously, through the round little door and into the kitchen, which was rather clean and neat, but which, weirdly seemed to lean one way, and then another, the walls seeming…off somehow. In fact, a person really couldn’t tell, exactly, just how the walls intersected or held together.

“Oh Missus,” said Peter, his thumb on his lower lip. “These walls are so very peculiar!”

And the old woman said, “Why, what on earth could you possibly mean?”

And Peter scratched his head, and fidgeted around, tossing the weight of his body on one foot and then the other. Finally he said, “Well, Missus, it’s just that the walls seem…funny to me. It seems they are off, somehow.”

“Off,” said the old woman, her voice a rasping croak. “How do you mean off?”

“Well,” said Peter, scratching his chin, “it’s just that, they don’t seem to join together at proper angles, and it confuses the eyes. I mean, one wall seems to join up with the other over here, which is ALL wrong, and then when you blink or get a different perspective, it seems to join up with that one over there. And, at first, it seems to lean this-a-way, and that wall, fer instance, seems to lean that-a-way; but then you blink again, or shift around a bit and find out that you were completely wrong. Wrong. Wrong.”

And Peter thrust his hands into his pockets with a little “humph” of consternation.

The old woman considered a moment, casting her gaze about the crazily leaning walls and doors, and the dipping and rolling ceiling, before blowing air through her puffed-up cheeks and exclaiming, “Stuffin’ nonsense!”

Susie came up behind Peter cautiously, but then, sliding one of the kitchen chairs across the rickety, uneven wooden floor, she exclaimed, “Oh, whatever you’re baking smells so frightfully, frightfully good, Missus! Why, it smells like gooseberry pie! Why, it’s been so dreadfully long since we’ve had supper, and it’s almost time for tea, and, my gosh!” Susie scrunched her little face up into a pitiful state, managed a tear or two, and said, “Might we not have a taste of your so-delicious pie?”

The ugly old woman cogitated a moment before slapping her open palms against her apron, smiling a toothless smile, and exclaiming, “Oh, my yes! Missy! My, where are my manners! Here, I’ll just be a moment.”

And, before either of them knew it, the old woman had opened a creaking round door into the kitchen, revealing a quaint little sideboard stacked with tea kettle, saucers and cups, and a truly MASSIVE iron stove, so big it seemed to almost fill the entire little room. The front of the stove looked, for all the world, like an angry iron face.

The old woman rustled around a few moments, her bum stuck in the air, before emerging again with a silver tea service and setting it carefully on the table.
Then, she went back through the creaking door. Peter and Susie could hear her huff and puff and strain, but, soon, she emerged from the kitchen with the most ENORMOUS gooseberry pie either Peter or Susie had EVER seen in their lives. The two kids goggled at each other in stupefied wonderment.

The old woman carried the thing over her head with two hands, heaving and straining and sweating before setting it down on the little table (which, on the whole didn’t look large enough to hold it, or even sturdy enough); she then took out two comically little plates and forks, asking Peter and Sue if they wanted a slice of cheese on top–but then, putting her finger to her chin in a quizzical manner, she said to herself, “Oh, oh my no. I guess not. I fed it all to the mouse of the house. He gets so dreadfully hungry and fed-up just nibbling away at the cheese crumbs, old bits of stale bread and the woodwork and whatnot, I felt rather bad for him. So I gave him some of the smelly cheese. Oh, never fear: you wouldn’t have liked it anyway; it stank to high heaven…Phew!”

And, as if to demonstrate, the old woman put her fingertips to her nose and squeezed. Peter and Sue both began to devour their square sections of gooseberry pie, ravenously hungry both.

The two kids both tried to fill their tea cups. But, to their shock and amazement, the little things quite quickly took legs and skittered up the wall! The tea itself went gushing after, trying as best as it could to land its wet bottom in the terrified porcelain cups. Peter and Sue looked at the old woman quizzically.

She laughed, and waved her hand as if to shoo away their doubts and wonder.
“Oh, don’t mind them, children. Happens around here all the time. Why, them cups is scared half to death of that hot burbling tea! Afraid it will burn them good and proper. And it would!

“So the tea kettle and tea goes chasing the cups, and the saucers join in because they must, simply MUST have someone sit on them to keep them company.

Don’t you pay it no nevermind!” Lacking anything to say to that, Sue and Peter looked at each other like baffled little orphans before turning to their food again.

It was not long after that a weird, snorting and scuffling sound could be heard coming from the overgrown yard outside.

Sue looked up from her plate through one of the weird, crooked windows that looked out on the dark, weed-choked backyard. She patted brother Peter on the arm.

“Oh Peter! Lookity-look-look-look!”

There were a troop of weird little men marching, single file, across the wide expanse of yard. Each seemed to be wearing an identical little suit, each had their perfectly slicked, black hair parted down the middle and combed over side to side, and each had a terribly ugly, gnome-like little face. As a matter of fact, thought Susie to herself, they quite look like gnomes if one gets right down to it!


These were the sounds that seemed to be emerging from outside, as the strange little line of dwarfs came up to the crazily-leaning backdoor. The door was then thrust open (it seemed to hang precariously from the hinges), and the little troop of strange men came pounding in with their terrible heavy-soled, hobnailed boots banging on the floor.

“Hi Ma!” said the first.

“Hi Ma!” croaked the second.

“Hi Ma!” wheezed the third, and on and on as they entered.

There were maybe two dozen of them, all remarkably similar, all very small and grunting and wheezing and stamping and snorting as they went. They all came through the door, still single-file, like a troupe of overgrown infants; and, as each of them entered, they all said, in the same croaking grunt, “Hi Ma!” one after another.

Ma nodded pleasently, a toothless smile crossing her face. Seemingly from out of nowhere, a huge table and chairs was produced, and the place where Sue and Peter was sitting eating was swept out of sight. The boys, all of them, sat down their grubby mits at the table, while Ma went around, scolding them, calling them “Damned little piglets!” and wiping behind their ears with a damp sponge.

“Look at them! Will you just look at them? D-mned little piglets every one! Think they’d bother washing their filthy little hands before they come in to dinner? Think so? Why, of course they don’t! D-mned little oinkers!”

Suddenly, Ma threw up her hands in the air, causing her apron to flutter up to her surprised face. “Oh! The soup is burning!” she exclaimed.

As she rushed into the kitchen. her strange little sons soon began to pass out the plates from a strange little cupboard which Peter and Sue hadn’t seen before. They set the table, and Ma set the huge soup kettle on the table, which sent the plates and spoons rattle-clattering, and the table skittering a bit.

She ladled out heaping hot bowls full, passing each bowl back across the line of her weird, dwarfish little troupe. She then went to retrieve a loaf. Peter and Sue were also offered a bowl, but Peter was woozy and full from all the gooseberry pie, and Sue didn’t quite like the smell of the stuff. So they both said no.

The piggish sons bent their noses into their bowls, and each began to slurp and slurp, with soup running down their chins, and some snorted as they sucked soup up through their nostrils occasionally; and some stopped to belch, long and loud and free, and rather rudely, considering they were all still sitting at the table.

The old woman bounded back into the kitchen for the bread and jam. She brought both out, heaving and puffing and huffing under the weight of the heaviest and largest jam pot either Peter or Susie had ever seen.

“There, you little piggies,” she said, wiping her greasy jam hands, dripping with butter, on her apron. “Now, I hope you and your filthy fingers are all satisfied!”

The boys fell upon the bread, not bothering to use the knife, but pulling sweet handfuls of the huge loaf (Peter and Sue could not yet see how such an immense pot of jam, loaf of bread, and kettle of soup could all fit on such a tiny table; but, as the walls and floors also seemed curiously out-of-whack, they should probably not have wondered too much.) out and stuffing it in their gobs.

Soon, the boys were belching and rubbing their big bellies in contentment. One boy piped up, “Shnat! Shnat! do something what entertains us as we let our food crawl around our guts!”

To which was replied: “Shprat, I’m too derned stuffed to even get up out of my seat! Bolger, Bolger ain’t there a song ye keed sing, or a tune whistle, to keep us all entertained while the soup sloshes around in out bellies?”

To which Bolger replied: “Nah, Molger! Tis too early for whistling and too late to sing! Anyway, I’m fair fit to be tied! Fit to be tied, I tells ya! Duffle, can’t you come up with something to keeps our guesteses entertained?”
To which Duffle replied, “Aye, Fluffle, I think I’ve got just the thing. Oh, Willwee! Williewee, my dear…”

And he approached the littlest brother, and put his arm on his back, and said, “Why don’t you show ’em that gooseberry pie trick you showed us at three-thirty on the a and ’em yesterday? Fair kept us in stitches for forty-five minutes, twelve seconds…” and, considering a moment, he raised one finger and added, “and a hair and a click!”

And with that Williwee got up, and, dusting off his trousers, swooped over to Sue’s half full plate of gooseberry pie; and, greasing his hands and feet down with the delicious filling, and blossoming up his puffy cheeks with the stuff, began to skate around on the wooden floor, trailing a slug trail of black gooseberry filling behind him.

He’d skate by on one foot, and skate by on another, holding his leg behind him as he went, doing circles and somersaults and leaving a sluggish gooseberry trail of slime in his wake. This spectacle was greeted by shouts and claps and cheers from the other sons, and wonderment from Peter and Sue, who each stared at the spectacle other with faces agoggle.

“Why it gets madder and madder every minute here!” exclaimed Sue.

“Yes, most curious, isn’t it? As if we’ve really fallen down the rabbit hole, like Alice.” Peter tsk-tsked like a grownup, almost in disapproval.

“Yes,” retorted Sue again. “A real life, Alice in Wonderland hole in the ground!”

Ma came blundering, with her big, huffy bulk, out of the kitchen; and, when she saw the sort of mess that Williewee was making of the floor, threw her hands in the air and exclaimed, “Tarnations, boy, look what you’re doing to my nice clean floors! Why, I’ve a mind to make you scrub it all up with your tie! Now, stop that! Stop it right now!”

But no sooner had she taken a step forward when, her heavy feet caught in the slug-like trail of gooseberry innards, she began to slip and slide.

She jerked this-a-way, and that-a-way, flailing her arms out and sending black splatters of gooseberry all over everything, and saying to herself, “Oh dear!”
and “Oh my!”, and even, “How arfully, bleedin’ undignified!” But, wonder of wonders, the woman and her great bulk managed to keep their balance (although, truth be told, a few of her sons surrounded her, their arms out thrust, in terror of her falling and not being able to get back up!).

Soon, she righted herself, and managed to say, “Well, it’s too messy is all. Going to take all day and night to clean these floors!” And she snapped her fingers imperiously.

“You, Fadget! Fetch the mop! And you, Dadget! get the bucket!”

She held her old crooked fingers out, then turned her attention back to Peter and Sue.

“As for you two…well…” She rubbed her hairy chin. “I suppose we DO have to make sure you’re nice and entertained until it is time for you to leave. Now, anyone have any idea how we should go about doing that?”

The sons ambled around for a moment, muttering amongst themselves, scratching their oily headed, slicked-down hair, seemingly without a solid idea of how this could be done. Finally, one of them piped up, exclaiming, “I know, I know!”

Ma put her fists on her hips and, leaning over to meet his gaze, asked, “What?”

“Well gussie up the gander and lay claim of the goose!”

And Ma considered this a moment, her face twisting up into a pretzel of consternation. After a few moments, she replied: “No. No, I don’t think that will do at all.”

Another son then piped up, “We’ll mollify the Mock Turtle as it meanders in the mire!”

To which Ma retorted: “Oh! Do come on! Can’t any of you think of any better ideas than that?”

And then yet another son piped up and said, “We’ll scrutinize the scrutable! We’ll dutify the dutiful! We’ll magnify the beautiful! We’ll multiply the fruitable! We’ll…”

Ma threw up her hands in exasperation, her apron fluttering upaward as she did so.

“Oh, now I’ve heard everything! None of these darned ideas are worth a plug nickel in a brass bucket. Oh, my, I thought I raised all of you better than that!”

Then she considered, putting one knobby old finger to her chin. She turned to Peter and Sue, who were sitting at table still, a little sleepy, but quite amused for all of that.

“I suppose we’ll ask you two. Now, Petey and Susie, what sort of things do you two like to do? What do you think of as fun?”

And Sue and Peter both scrunched up their faces in consideration. Why, they seemed to say to each other with their eyes, we enjoy all sorts of things and find them to be fun; but, seeing as how we don’t have our jump rope, or toy soldiers, our jacks or badmitton set handy, we certainly are at a loss as to how we could manage to have fun right here, right now.

And then Peter said, “Well, Sue and I, sometimes, when we’re alone in the treehouse, and the wind is blowing, and the sky is darkling, and the lark is larkling, we like to…we like to…”

“Tell fairy tales!” Sue suddenly chimed in.

Peter’s face brightened.

“Yeah, that’s the ticket! Why, Sue and I just love to tell those old stories. ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ ‘Cinderella.’ Mum use to lull us to sleep with them when we were wee little tots!”

A huge grin stretched across Ma’s face at hearing this, and she clasped her gnarled old hands together and exclaimed, “Why, what a wonderful Idea! And, you know: my boys are just chock-full of old tales to tell, great stories they share with each other on those long, hot days when they are down in the peppermint mines!”
Sue exclaimed, “Peppermint mines?”

“Yes,” answered Ma. “They’re very near the butterscotch lakes. Now, all of my boys know a tale or two, so if you’ll just settle in by the fire…”

And, before Peter or Sue could even be surprised by this, they saw, as if by magic, a crackling fire and a pleasant hearth in the far wall of that very strange house; though, said Sue later, she was certain it had not been there before.

Regardless, everyone settled around the fire, and Ma said:
“Now, I’m off to the kitchen to make tea and scones. You chaps keep our little guests entertained while I’m away. Ahem.”

And with that she disappeared. There was a long moment of silence, as if, silently, the sons were communicating who was to go first at storytelling. Then, one slowly opened his mouth and began to speak.