Massachusetts Colony - Winter 1696
A woman (Sarah Browning) is tied to a dunking device, being accused by Reverend Josiah Blood of selling a "graven image" (a cross). Apparently a man in the town named her on his deathbed as the person who sold him the cross for a silver coin. She vehemently denies the accusation and looks to her family for support that she is not a witch. The younger sister cries out that she is innocent, but her mother (probably afraid for her life) remains silent. Josiah decides that it is for God to decide if Sarah is innocent or not. As he places the cross around Sarah's neck, she curses him: "Then curse thee and thine, Josiah Blood, Damn thee unto the thirteenth generation. Whatever my fate, so be theirs." He moves her out over the pond claiming that if she lives, she's a witch and if she drowns, then it was God's will (a real no-win situation.) Josiah throws the silver coin into the pond as they lower Sarah into the water. When they raise the chair a few seconds later, she is gone. As Josiah praises God for their deliverance from evil, bubbles rise from the pond and a soft voice can be heard whispering, "Damn thee, Damn thee."
Boston Classroom - Present Day
Derek is lecturing to a college class about the drowning of Sarah Browning from Josiah Blood's diary. As he finishes, there is time for one question. A girl (Cora) wants to know if the bones recovered recently from Hells Gate Pond could be the bones of Sarah Browning. Derek concludes that it's not too likely as there were hundreds of bones recovered. The Luna Foundation has been asked to try to date and identify these bones using the advances made in genetic coding. Apparently the town wants to fill in Hells Gate Pond and Professor Slater is leading the crusade to stop this course of action. Derek suggests getting some of Josiah Blood's descendants to help preserve the pond and offers to create a genealogy to help locate them. Professor Slater asks to borrow Blood's journal to copy it, and Derek loans it to him.
Hells Gate Pond - Boston
Derek drives out to see Hells Gate Pond for himself. While he's there, he runs into Cora again. She's snapping pictures of the pond because doing her senior thesis on it. She tells Derek that her family has been in the area since before the revolution and the pond is supposedly haunted. By the witches who died there, he tells her. As Derek looks at the pond, he has a vision of a coin splashing in water and something striking a person's chest. He then spots something embedded in the soil at the edge of the pond. It's the cross that was around Sarah Browning's neck when she drowned. They think it's strange to find a crucifix there as Derek points out that it would be considered a graven image. Cora begins quoting Josiah Blood's journal. She tells Derek that the journal reminded her of a passage she read out of letters her grandmother collected and gave to her. As she takes Derek's picture, he warns her that some believe that a picture can steal your soul. She laughingly replies that it only works if the photographer is good enough. They each then return to town.
SF Legacy House
Nick has asked Rachel to come verify his results of some of the bones from Hells Gate Pond. He is worried because the his first dozen samples he tested all had the same genetic pattern. She agrees with him that the bones are from the same person, or at least the same family. They all seem to connect to the events listed in Blood's journal. He explains to her how they are trying to connect the bones to a known genealogy to prove the pond's historical significance. Alex is working on the genealogy for Josiah Blood.
Professor Slater's Darkroom
Cora is in the darkroom developing the film she shot earlier when she has a vision. Just before it happens, she glances at the clock: 10:34. In the vision she sees a man walking down an alley and hears a coin fall. The man stops to pick up the silver coin (an exact replica of the one Josiah Blood threw in the pond with Sarah Browning.). He collapses, screaming and clutching at his throat. Cora falls to the floor. She then sits up and looks at the clock again: 2:47. Dazed, she looks at the picture she was developing. It holds the image of the man whose death she just witnessed.
Cora finds Derek in the library researching the cross he has found, trying to date it. He places it around 1670 and they figure it was probably thrown into the pond by a follower of Blood as an act of faith. Cora tells him something happened as she was developing her pictures of the pond. As she says, working in a darkroom, you can lose track of time, but what she experienced was more like a dream. Derek asks her to describe it. She says she saw a strange man and an old coin she really didn't get a good look at. When the man touched the coin, he began to strangle. Derek wants to know why she thinks it was more than a dream . Cora shows him the picture she developed and a clipping from that morning's newspaper about a man dying from an attack in an alley. They are the same man. She can't figure out when she took the picture and thinks she might have witnessed or caused the man's death. She had this eerie feeling that he was running from her. Derek promises to look into it.
Boston Police Station
Derek asks Detective Longbow about last night's murder. Detective Longbow is uncooperative until Derek asks if they found an old silver coin near the body. The newspaper article didn't mention the coin, so the detective wants to talk to Derek in more detail and they go into the station. The coroner claims that Brian Chen died of congestive heart failure. The interesting part is that a silver shilling in mint condition, dated 1696, was found in his hand. As Derek picks up the coin he has the vision of the coin, something striking a person's chest and the person falling into water again. Detective Longbow wants to know how Derek knew about the coin and when Derek is not forthcoming with the information, demands a name. When Derek says it's confidential, the detective shows him three more identical coins. They were found on three other dead bodies, all with the same MO. Angrily, he tells Derek to have his friend think about it. Derek leaves.
SF Legacy House
Later that evening, Nick and Alex go out for a run and Rachel receives a call from Derek, who is supposed to be back that night. He has decided to stay a few days to help the police look into the unexplained deaths. He wants Rachel's opinion on Cora, as she can describe one of the deaths and doesn't know why. Rachel says it's possible that Cora has a disassociative disorder but it's hard to diagnose over the phone. She offers to fly out but Derek tells her to stay there for now. Rachel warns him to be careful because if Cora is undergoing a personality fracturing, she could drag him into her problems. Derek agrees.
Professor Slater's Office
Cora goes to Professor Slater's office and asks to use the darkroom earlier than planned because she's finding it spooky being there so late. She also asks for an extension on her thesis, which the professor denies. He goes off to class and Cora begins to develop her pictures. She is obviously nervous. As the picture begins to come into focus, she has another vision. Again the silver coin drops and this time, a woman at the top of a staircase picks it up. She begins to strangle and Sarah Browning's face is superimposed over Cora's. The woman falls down the stairs. An object strikes someone's chest and a journal page or letter flashes by. Cora awakens on the floor and hesitantly looks at the now developed picture. It is the image of the woman lying at the bottom of the staircase, dead.
Cora explains to Derek about her vision the night before. She has not found any mention of the death of the woman in the papers. Cora is concerned about what she is becoming, why it is happening to her. Derek says he's going to find out. He takes the picture to Detective Longbow.
SF Legacy House
Rachel is working in the study and Nick comes in with the latest information on the DNA. He doesn't know what to make of it. In the course of their conversation, Rachel asks him about why he left the Navy SEALS. At first he doesn't really want to discuss it, saying he just doesn't have anything to say. Then, as he's leaving, he tells her about one of his assignments. He was the newest member to this particular team and the team leader, Richter, enjoyed telling Nick how the man he was replacing had died in Desert Storm. They were supposed to go in and "collect" a drug lord. Nick was on point, when three helicopter gunships lit up the night, killing everyone. By the time Nick got back, everyone was dead except Richter, who was missing. It unsettled Nick, since being on point, he expected to die and he was the only one who survived. Nick suspected Richter betrayed them. He later heard rumors of a renegade American and tried to go back to find out if it was Richter, but never made it. He quit the SEALS soon after because in combat you have to trust the person covering your back and he no longer did. As he leaves, Rachel tells him she's glad he's the one covering her back.
Boston Police Station
Derek goes to Detective Longbow and asks where he found the body, showing him the picture of the woman. Detective Longbow is confused, as he has no report of a dead woman. He then receives a call that they found the woman in the picture. The detective is now extremely agitated and demands that Derek tells him who is providing the pictures. He feels he has a serial killer on his hands and is willing to put Derek in jail for the information. Derek says okay, but it won't stop the killings....a little cooperation and access to the case files will.
SF Legacy House
Alex is still working on the genealogy. Rachel tells Nick that Derek called and he wants the tissue samples from the Boston deaths examined and needs a gene sequence from them. The Boston police have been uncooperative though, and the sample had just arrived. Nick is still working on the bones from Hells Gate Pond. The results of the carbon dating of the bones surprises them. It shows that they are from many different time periods over the last three hundred years. In addition, the gene sequences repeat in over 85% of the bones. This means that more than 4 out of 5 victims that drowned in the pond over the last 300 years were related.
Professor Slater's Office
Derek goes into the office looking for Professor Slater. As he's reaching for something on the desk to write a note, he knocks the lid off a container, revealing lots of silver shillings inside (exactly matching the ones found on the murder scenes). Derek has another vision of a body flying into water and a page of a journal or letter. A voice is heard whispering "Damn thee." Professor Slater comes out of the darkroom and asks Derek what he is doing. Derek asks about the coins and Professor Slater says he found them in the pond. He then returns the journal to Derek. Derek asks about the letters that Cora mentioned, which she is storing in the professor's darkroom. He'd like to take a look at them. Professor Slater doesn't want to show them to Derek until they have Cora's permission. Derek leaves the office and Slater replaces the cover on the coins.
SF Legacy House
Alex is finally done with Josiah Blood's LONG genealogy and she is going to fax it to Derek along with Rachel's results of the murder victims gene sequences. Nick walks in and recognizes Rachel's sequences as the same patterns he has been working on for the last two weeks. Either they have a serious bug in their system or the murder victims are related to the bones found in the pond.
Professor Slater's Darkroom
Derek sneaks into the darkroom to get a look at Cora's grandmothers letters. It turns out that Cora's great-grandmother is Sarah's younger sister. In her letter, she says she believed Sarah to be innocent, but was ignored and could not get her mother to speak out. She heard her sister curse Josiah Blood and due to events that had come to pass, believed that the curse remains.
Hells Gate Pond
Derek walks up to the pond and finds Detective Longbow taking water samples. It seems the coroner has determined that pond water was found in each of the murder victims lungs. Suddenly a silver shilling clinks on the dock and Detective Longbow, ignoring Derek's warning cry, picks it up. He immediately begins strangling and falls into the pond. Derek pulls him out, calls 911, and begins CPR. The paramedics arrive and take Detective Longbow to the hospital. Derek calls Rachel; according to the genealogy, Detective Longbow is Josiah Blood's descendant, part of the thirteenth generation. So are all the recent victims, and most of the bones in Hells Gate Pond. Derek figures they are dealing with an angry spirit, out for revenge on Josiah Blood's descendants.
Later, Cora meets Derek at the pond. She's had another episode and shows him a picture of Detective Longbow. He tells her he was there when it happened. She wants to know who's doing it. Derek tells her he's read her letters and he knows she's related to Sarah Browning. Professor Slater drives up. Derek sent him a message. Derek tells Professor Slater they are discussing witchcraft. The professor hopes Derek isn't going to accuse Cora of being a witch and Derek says no, but her ancestor was tried as one three years ago and murdered. There was no justice in what happened to Sarah Browning or the victims in the three centuries since. Derek tells Professor Slater that the bones and the murder victims were all related to Josiah Blood. The Professor then believes it was witchcraft, but Derek says it was the spirit of Sarah Browning, carrying out her curse. The professor doesn't believe him and wants to know how. According to Derek, Sarah's spirit would kill Blood's descendants as they came too close to the pond. Then, when the destruction of the pond was proposed, she needed a host so she could leave the pond and search out her victims. Professor Slater turns out to be a descendant of Josiah Blood, and Derek surmises that the spirit killed him and took over his body, using him to kill the others. Professor Slater looks away, out over the pond, and when he turns around again, his eyes are glowing. There is an eclipse and everything grows dark. As Professor Slater advances toward Derek and Cora, Sarah's face is superimposed over the Professor's. Lightning destroys the dunking device behind them and Derek pushes Cora away, telling her to run. He confronts Sarah/Professor Slater - "Murder doesn't justify murder and she must stop." "Never!" shouts Sarah/Slater and Derek stabs her/him through the heart with the cross he found earlier. Sarah/Slater flies into the pond in a blaze of color and disappears. Daylight returns.
Later, Derek and Cora are walking along the pond. She wants to know if Professor Slater was just another victim. Derek says he was, along with the others. She is concerned about being related to something so awful. Derek says we all are. Man's injustice to man is always there in each generation. We must never forget. He then takes her home. Behind them - bubbles rise to the surface of the pond.
Description last revised: 17 January 1997