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Bride of Death

Season 4
Mar 6, 1938

Major Characters:

  • The Shadow/Lamont Cranston
  • Prophet of the Ancient One: The leader of a cult.
  • Mrs. Ackley: A wealthy woman who lives in Casa Mani, the house on the cliff above the village.
  • Reverend Colby: The spiritual leader of the village.
  • Isabelle Colby: Reverend Colby's daughter and Mrs. Ackley's companion and secretary.
  • Captain Seth: A retired seaman who lives in the village.

Featured Agents:

  • Margo Lane

Minor Characters:

  • Aka and Matawa, the Prophet's henchmen and followers
  • Marthy, Captain Seth's Wife
  • Residents of the village

Synopsis: (Warning! Contains spoilers!)

On a stormy night, someone is heard pounding on the door of Casa Mani, the house on the cliff. It is none other than Reverend Colby from the fishing village. He tells the man who answers the door that he wants to see Mrs. Ackley, the mistress of the house. The man replies that she has retired for the night. The reverend is insistent, and tells him that he has come for his daughter, Isabelle, Mrs. Ackley's assistant. He wants to take her home, but is shocked when the man tells him that Isabelle does not want to leave. Refusing to believe him, he demands to see her. The man bangs on a gong, summoning the servants. They seize him and are about to throw him out when Mrs. Ackley appears and asks to see him. She is not happy that the reverend is here.

Reverend Colby demands that he will not have his daughter stay in a house that is inhabited by evil-doers. He has a right to be concerned; ever since Mrs. Ackley brought home a man who calls himself "Prophet of the Ancient One", there have been rumours in the village about heathen rites being performed. Offended, Mrs. Ackley warns the reverend not to speak in the presence of the "Prophet". To his amazement, he realizes that the man who answered the door is the Prophet himself! Once more, the reverend asks for his daughter back, but the Prophet tells him that she does not want to go home. He coerces Mrs. Ackley to say the same. She repeats his words in a faltering voice. It is evident that the Prophet has some sort of hold over her. The reverend refuses to believe her, and demands to see Isabelle. The Prophet replies that she refuses to see him, and warns him that if he does not leave, he will order his servants to release his trained "guardians" — the panthers of his native land.

Reverend Colby is forced to leave, but vows to return. Shortly after his departure, the panthers begin to scream. The Prophet tells Mrs. Ackley that it is an omen of death. He has a vision of the reverend turning the villagers against her. She suddenly realizes that the omen is meant for the reverend, and asks how he will die. The Prophet predicts that the "wrath of the Ancient One will strike him down with the voice of thunder and the tongue of fire". As if spurred on by the Prophet's words, the storm outside increases in its intensity as the panthers continue their screaming....

A few days pass, and Reverend Colby now stands before his congregation in the village church. He starts off his sermon by telling them of the events three days ago, when he went up to the house on the cliff to bring his daughter, Isabelle, home. He is resigned to the fact that she is lost to him, and warns the villagers about their children going to that "house of the devil". The villagers agree with him. The reverend then offers a prayer for Mrs. Ackley who, in his words, was once kind and generous, but is now ailing in mind and spirit.

His prayer is in vain. A thunderous explosion rips through the church, killing him and a number of his congregation. The Prophet's prediction has come true.

On a foggy night, some time later, Lamont and Margo drive into the village. Lamont informs her that this is the place where Reverend Colby and ten of his parishioners were killed in a mysterious explosion. The lack of motive and the unwillingness of the villagers to cooperate have impeded the investigation by authorities. But Lamont has a theory that Mrs. Ackley is somehow behind all this. Three months ago, she returned from the Far East with a man who calls himself "Prophet". It seems he i's the head of a cult that worships a deity known as the Ancient One. Apparently, there was such a cult in existence, but it was eradicated five centuries ago because its ceremonies and rituals involved human sacrifice. Lamont is not quite sure if there is a connection, so he decides to visit one of the villagers to find out more. Margo, a little frightened by the creepy atmosphere, decides to wait in the car for him.

It turns out that Margo is not the only one who is nervous. The loud banging on the door of their cottage makes Marthy a bit jumpy. She tells her husband, Captain Seth, not to open the door, in fear of what may be behind it. Seth does not seem to be bothered. He calls out to the man knocking on his door. Lamont answers that he is a stranger who has lost his way in the thick fog. Seth decides to open the door to him. When Lamont asks him for directions to Mrs. Ackley's house, he becomes suspicious and refuses to answer. Lamont convinces Seth not to turn him away, and that he has a few questions for him. The captain is unmoved, but Lamont tells him not to be afraid. Upon hearing that, he scoffs at him; he has been a sea captain for fifty years, and has no fear of any man, devil, or the sea itself.

Lamont tells him that he is here to stop the evil in this village. Without warning, they hear the cries of the panthers. Seth quickly tells Lamont to come inside where he will be safe. Lamont soon learns that the panthers belong to the Prophet, and that they have come down to the village before. Marthy screams; she has seen a blue light coming through their gate. She tells him that The Prophet always carries a blue light. Seth asks Lamont again to come inside, but there is no answer. Lamont is gone. In fact, Seth could not see Lamont the minute he opened the door, and he believes that the fog had hidden him all along.

The Prophet arrives at the cottage and demands to know about the stranger who visited Seth and Marthy. The Ancient One, he says, told him of the stranger's arrival. Seth refuses to answer and threatens the Prophet. Unamused, the Prophet warns him about his behaviour, but Seth only mocks him, saying that the Prophet will need all the powers he can get to find a man in this fog. With that, he slams the door in the Prophet's face.

Angry and insulted, the Prophet vows to find this stranger, but he is met with the mocking laughter of The Shadow. The Shadow tells him that he is looking for a man with blood on his hands, specifically the blood of Reverend Colby and the ten villagers who were murdered. The Prophet tries to find The Shadow in the fog, but The Shadow knows that he will fail to do so. The Prophet quickly recognizes The Shadow's mind-clouding power, since it is known in his native India. The Shadow reveals that "the powers of mesmerism has spread beyond the grey monastic walls of the Yogi priests", and that modern science has advanced their ancient art. The Prophet boldly tells him that his "borrowed powers" will not stop him. Just then, Aka, one of his henchmen, arrives to tell him about Lamont's car and Margo. The Prophet realizes that the stranger who visited Captain Seth and The Shadow are one and the same. He tells Aka to capture Margo and taunts The Shadow to go save her. If The Shadow is truly a man, his panthers will smell him out. He orders Aka to take Margo to Mrs. Ackley's house where she will be tortured until she reveals what she knows.

Margo soon finds herself locked up in a room with a young girl. It is Isabelle. As they converse, Margo learns that Isabelle knows about her father's death by the hands of the Prophet and his henchmen. Isabelle was once Mrs. Ackley's companion and secretary. Then the Prophet came and took over Mrs. Ackley's mind. He calls her his "High Priestess" and made her lock Isabelle up. Day after day, the Prophet and Mrs. Ackley would go over a ritual in her private chapel (now transformed into the Temple of the Ancient One). Isabelle had no idea what that ritual was for, until this morning when she was told by the Prophet that she is to be the "Bride of Death". Tonight, she will be taking part in a ritualistic human sacrifice, to performed by the High Priestess herself!

As Margo wonders where Lamont is, the door opens revealing the Prophet and another henchman, Matawa. The time has come for Isabelle to go. Matawa is ordered to take her to the shrine to be prepared by the High Priestess for the "wedding". Horrified, Isabelle begs Margo not to let them take her. Margo tries in vain to stop Matawa, but is roughly pulled away. Matawa asks if he can kill her, but the Prophet spares her life. He tells Matawa once again to bring Isabelle to the shrine, prepare the sacred fires, and purify the Sword of the Ancient One. "The sacrificial altar is ready, and Death is waiting for his bride," he says. Isabelle is dragged away screaming.

The Prophet closes the door and prepares to deal with Margo. Eerie laughter fills the room; it is The Shadow who will deal with him! The Prophet is shocked at how The Shadow managed to evade his panther guardians that were chained at every door. The Shadow replies that it was easy. Margo quickly tells him about Isabelle. The Prophet, however, believes that The Shadow is too late to stop the sacrifice.

The Shadow confronts the Prophet with the truth: he is not the leader of a cult, but a con artist. He had used drugs to bring Mrs. Ackley under his control, and made her sign her fortune over to him. He would then turn her over to the police, blaming her for the death of Reverend Colby and the others. Once she is out of the way, he would simply drop his "prophet" disguise and disappear with the money.

The Prophet does not deny the truth. He is not worried, for in an hour after the sacrifice, a tank of gasoline in the house would explode and bring a fiery end to The Shadow and Margo. Triumphant, he turns to leave, but The Shadow warns him that the door is locked and that he has the key. Realizing that The Shadow is not bluffing, he calls for his henchmen to help him, but they are at the temple waiting for him to arrive. Desperate to escape, the Prophet puts a gun to Margo's head and threatens to kill her at the count of three if The Shadow does not give him the key. When the Prophet reaches "three", a key falls onto the table. But when he reaches for the key, he is knocked out cold by The Shadow.

The Shadow tells Margo to take the key, leave the house and tell Captain Seth to rally the villagers. Within a few minutes she returns, her mission complete. The Shadow then asks her to put on the Prophet's robe and hide her face with the hood. Disguised, she must make her way to the temple, located at the top of the stairs behind a closed door. Once there, she must keep close to Isabelle, and not show her face or speak. The Shadow will handle the rest.

At the temple, the ceremony has begun as the henchmen chant. They see Margo in the robe and mistake her for the Prophet. They tell her that all is ready. Mrs. Ackley too mistakes her for the Prophet and tells her that she is also ready. The henchmen notice that the Prophet is oddly silent and watch as he (she) goes to the shrine and removes the hood of the robe. To their amazement, it is not the Prophet but the woman they had captured earlier. They demand to know what is going on. The Shadow's voice answers them, saying that the man they believe to be the Prophet is in reality a fraud, and that they have been tricked.

Mrs. Ackley, still under the Prophet's power, is about to run Isabelle through with the sword. The Shadow repeatedly orders her to drop the weapon. Eventually, the hold over her is broken, and she complies. She is free from the Prophet's power, but deeply regrets what she has done. Seeing that The Shadow's power is stronger then the Prophet's, the henchmen decide to flee. Just then, the now concious Prophet bursts into the temple and commands them to kill. The henchmen refuse to obey him and confront him about his lies. In anger, they stab him to death. His spilled blood is evidence that he is not the immortal he claimed to be.

With the Prophet dead, the henchmen flee the house, only to meet their fate with the angry villagers outside.

Isabelle thanks The Shadow for saving her life and asks him who he really is. The Shadow declines her request; he must remain anonymous until his work is finished. Until then, he will continue to b known as The Shadow.


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