The Passerby

summer of ghosts

I’m having a very weird day, mental energy speaking. We went to Delaware Park this afternoon and found ourselves in the middle of Vegfest (a vegan/vegetarian festival) unexpectedly-and then went to a classic car show. I hadn’t seen the black gates of this summer’s Buffalo black gate controversy so Mid took me to see them-of course I can’t find a link now but there is a running battle going on near the park regarding a set of black wrought iron gates that are being installed. I’ve spent a large chunk of the day mulling over Zimbardo, the Stanford Prison Experiments, and the reality of the meaning of truth in social situations. What I’m saying is that you would end up with a very odd post from scratch today indeed, so here’s another Ghost Month post out of the drafts folder.

There are a great many episodes of The Twilight Zone that are classics; these episodes have become tropes in their own right.

Many of them I enjoy but don’t necessarily find creepy. There are a few that I find very, very creepy-some border on outright scary. I’ve decided that instead of Ghost Month I’m just going to have Ghost Summer instead this year and cover two months of ground (July and August) with ghost and haunting related material. Most of the episodes that I find truly unnerving relate to death and the afterlife. Serling and his writing team had a way of handling death and ghosts that truly put my teeth on edge.

The Passersby is episode 69 in the original series. The episode revolves around a woman in the American South waiting for her husband to return home from the Civil War. As the episode progresses, a stranger appears at the house to wait with her. That night, he watches as men walk the road into the mists of the unknown (the land past the house). As the episode progresses he comes to realize that the men he is watching is dead, that everyone who is walking the road is dead.

While I don’t feel right using the term spoiler for a show that’s been out for fifty years, I’ll avoid the twist of the plot. However, there is one scene in particular where the episode gets downright surreal and creepy-there is an interaction with a Yankee soldier wherein the characters realize that the people walking down the road are the war dead. Between the lighting and the plot action, it makes my skin crawl.

I wish I heard more about this episode. I find it very effective.


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