Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: The Witch's Tale
Show: Spirits of the Lake
Date: Jan 02 1933

Written by Alonzo Dean Cole transcribed by Kevin Rimney Oct 2009

Old Nancy - An old cackling witch, her and her cat Satan host the show
Story characters
ROGER - Husband of Bernice
BERNICE - Wealthy invalid wife of Roger
NORMA - Old Native housekeeper
HILDA - young farmer's daughter
PORTER - male train porter

MUSIC:

Theme begins

ANNOUNCER:

We bring you the Witch's Tale, written and produced by Alonzo Dean Cole.

MUSIC:

Theme continues

ANNOUNCER:

And now let us join old Nancy, witch of Salem and Satan, her wise black cat.

MUSIC:

end theme

NANCY:

(cackling) Hehehe A 'undred an' seventeen I be today! Yessir 'undred an' seventeen year old. Well Satan.

SATAN:

Meow?

NANCY:

If these folks would just douse out thar lights we'll spin another o' our little bedtime stories ta ruin there nights rest. That's right, nice an' dark an' cheerful now. Draw up to tha fire and gaze into tha embers. Gaze into 'em deep and soon ye'll see an island in the center of a lake in Michigan. Not so long ago the red Injuns owned that land out there and worshipped the spirits of its waters and its skies. And they're what we're gonna hear about tonight, tha Spirits of the Lake, Hehehe tha Spirits of the Lake! Hehehehehe

SATAN:

Meow!

SFX:

(faded) Indian drums and chanting (fade even more to background noise all through out)

ROGER:

Do those filthy Indians intend to keep that racket going all night?

BERNICE:

Surely their chanting doesn't annoy you dear. I was just thinking how weirdly beautiful it sounded coming across the waters.

ROGER:

Beautiful? Hmmph.

BERNICE:

Oh I'm sorry you don't like it. You will hear it every evening while the new moon casts it's reflection on the lake.

ROGER:

That's a pleasant prospect.

BERNICE:

You're terribly bored here aren't you?

ROGER:

Naturally I'm bored. I'm not accustomed to living in the wilderness where I see no one but stupid savages all day. Now you tell me I'll have to listen to them all night.

BERNICE:

That's the reason I purchased this island so close to the Indian reservation. I thought you would find their customs interesting and picturesque.

ROGER:

Yeah.

BERNICE:

Roger, why don't you take a trip East, then come back to me when you're over your restlessness.

ROGER:

That's a fine idea that would be, our friends would crucify me for leaving you alone.

BERNICE:

Is that the only reason you stay here with me? You do love me don't you?

ROGER:

Husbands are supposed to love their wives. I'm in no mood for romance this evening.

BERNICE:

I don't suppose an invalid can expect her husband to be in the mood for romance, ever. But, but I won't be an invalid much longer dear. I'm getting better every day. (coughing) Oh its really very seldom I cough anymore like that, but in a little while I'll be completely well and we can return to New york together or travel in Europe. Anything you want to do. Oh I mean to give you such a good time, to make up for the dreary months you've spent out here because of me.

ROGER:

Thanks for reminding me that to have a good time I'm dependent on your money.

BERNICE:

I didn't mean that, you know I didn't mean that!

ROGER:

Oh alright, lets not talk anymore of you and me.

BERNICE:

No we don't seem able to talk of you and me.

ROGER:

God, if I have to listen to that savage caterwauling much longer I'll go stark raving mad.

BERNICE:

Perhaps, perhaps if you know the reason for the chanting it might interest you a little. Two Horses told me all about it this afternoon, you know he's the old Indian that comes and visits our housekeeper. She's his cousin I think and Roger it's the funniest thing but the call me White Goose. (amused)

ROGER:

And what about the chanting?

BERNICE:

(coughs) Oh yes, well it's a ceremony the tribes hold each year at this time to appease the spirits of the lake. The Neeba Nor Wegs they call them, this is a holy lake to the Indians you know. They say that if anyone affronts it or harms its friends the lake spirits takes terrible vengeance. Two Horses spoke so convincingly that I made a peace offering to the lake.

ROGER:

Peace offering? What do you mean?

BERNICE:

I cast a bouquet of flowers and said a prayer Two Horses taught me.

ROGER:

God! No wonder they call you White Goose, another month in this wilderness and you'll be going about in a clothed in a blanket!

BERNICE:

Roger?

ROGER:

Oh I'm going out. I'll paddle around in the canoe and work my nerves off. Norma can sit with you; you'll enjoy her Indian grunting more than my conversation anyway.

ROGER: Oh Norma! Come in here with Mrs. Benton, I'm going out.

NORMA:

Huh, me come.

BERNICE:

Roger, why not take me with you in the canoe; we haven't been together on the lake in over a week.

ROGER:

Ah, some other time not now. Er, don't wait up for me I may be later.

BERNICE:

Roger, wait.

ROGER:

Well?

BERNICE:

You're, you're not going to the Johansson's farm again?

ROGER:

What do you mean again?

BERNICE:

Oh I know its quite alright dear but there's been some talk of you and that girl there that...

ROGER:

Oh there has eh? I'm having an affair with Hilda Johansson I suppose.

BERNICE:

No dear, no.

ROGER:

No so that's what you have in your mind. It's isn't bad enough I have to be cooped up with you among these dirty Indians but now I mustn't even look at a decent looking white woman.

BERNICE:

Roger.

ROGER:

Oh how I hate it all! This beastly island, these filthy savages, this slimy lake... How I hate...

BERNICE:

Don't! (sobbing)

ROGER:

Oh. I didn't say I hated you. I'll see you later.

BERNICE:

Sobbing.

ROGER:

Goodnight.

SFX:

door closes.

BERNICE:

Sobbing

NORMA:

Poor white girl.

BERNICE:

My husband (sobs) doesn't mean anything when he speaks angry to me. (sobs) He's really a very good man underneath.

NORMA:

He better be good if he goes out on lake.

BERNICE:

What do you mean?

NORMA:

You give flower to lake, you say Indian prayer. Neeba Nor Wegs now your friend, if your man not good to you Neeba Nor Wegs punish. Neeba Nor Wegs punish hard.

SFX:

Indian drumming and chanting increase volume.

ROGER:

Hilda, I'm mad, insane about you. Why do you hold me off like this?

HILDA:

Because you haven't any right to be insane about me. You're a married man.

ROGER:

Oh we're not children. You know I don't care a hang about my wife. Besides its just a question of time before she, well...

HILDA:

Before she dies you mean?

ROGER:

Yes, she thinks she's getting better, the doctors don't tell her what they tell me. You know when I'm free I will marry you. I swear I will. I can't wait for you till then, I've got to have you Hilda, I've got to...

HILDA:

Let me go! You will only have me as your wife. I've told you that before.

ROGER:

Well if you really mean it why don't you stop making a fool of me? Why don't you stop meeting here by the lake every night? Playing with me like a cat does with a mouse.

HILDA:

Because I hope you will not always be a mouse but a man that takes what he wants,

ROGER:

What do you mean?

HILDA:

Simply that if you're so mad about me as you say you'll not let a woman that you hate stand between us any longer.

ROGER:

What can I do? Divorce is out of the question.

HILDA:

Of course her money would be taken from you.

ROGER:

Oh I'm not thinking only of money.

HILDA:

I'm not thinking only of divorce,

ROGER:

What are you thinking of?

HILDA:

Of how mistaken doctors are sometimes. Your wife might live for years, unless an accident should happen.

ROGER:

An accident?

HILDA:

On this lake for instance, it's very deep and there are sharp rocks near the surface that could rip a canoe to pieces. You might be paddling with her in the moonlight not knowing those rocks were near. You've told me your wife don't swim, she might drown before you could save her.

ROGER:

You're suggesting.

HILDA:

I'm only talking. But if such an accident should happen you'd inherit all her money and have me for your wife.

ROGER:

No, no. I won't. No I couldn't.

HILDA:

You are a mouse not a man. I'm going.

ROGER:

No Hilda wait, Hilda don't leave me.

HILDA:

I'm leaving you for good.

ROGER:

Hilda.

HILDA:

Oh listen you fool, I'm not satisfied being the daughter of a Swedish farmer. I want money. I want to live in a swell house like your wife has built in the middle of this lake. I want to be a lady and swell it over people who despise me now because I'm poor. All my life I've dreamed of that and I'm gonna have it cause I've got looks and youth and brains. If you don't give me what I want then somebody eles will. If you say I've played with you then I play no more. Goodbye.

ROGER:

No, no, no, no don't say that! Come back! Hilda, Hilda I can't loose you I'm mad about you.

HILDA:

Well.

ROGER:

As you say, an accident might happen.

HILDA:

Accidents are common.

ROGER:

You will marry me if my wife dies?

HILDA:

I will marry you when your wife is dead.

SFX:

Indian drums and chanting increases

SFX:

Indian drums and chanting decreases

BERNICE:

It's wonderful to be in the canoe with you again. It's been so long since we've been on the lake together I feel like we're on a second honeymoon. (coughing) Aren't you, aren't you enjoying it too dear?

ROGER:

Yes. Yes.

BERNICE:

Oh the world has never seemed so lovely as it does tonight. Isn't that distant chanting restful? You haven't complained about it this evening so it must make you feel as I do. It sounds like what it really is, a prayer for the dying.

ROGER:

Is that what they're singing? A death song.

BERNICE:

Yes, this is Indian summer. The moon of falling leaves, of dying things.

ROGER:

Moon of falling leaves, of dying things.

BERNICE:

Dear, why you're frightfully nervous tonight. Your hands are shaking as they work the paddles.

ROGER:

I'm, I'm alright.

BERNICE:

No you're not. You are so unhappy here, we will only come back for a day a year so that I can renew my offering to the spirits of the lake. I've taken the native belief quite seriously that I'm under the their protection according to Norma and Two Horses. Oh dear, oh be careful where you guide us. We are close to the sharp rocks the Indians call the spirits challenge. They say the road to the villages of the happy dead lead over such rocks as that. Rocks with a knife like edge on which only the good can keep their footing, the bad fall off into an abyss of eternal torment.

ROGER:

Stop talking that savage rot!

BERNICE: Dear!

ROGER:

I'm not afraid of spirits they can't hurt me. And they will say it was an accident.

BERNICE:

Roger you're mad!

ROGER:

An accident! That's what they will say, an accident.

BERNICE:

You are making for those rocks perfectly.

ROGER:

An accident.

BERNICE:

You mean to drown me. Roger don't, turn back, turn back. We're going to...

SFX:

wood crash/thud, splashing water

BERNICE:

Ahhh.

SFX: splashing

BERNICE:

Roger, save me. (gasp, sob) I'm sinking. Roger come back! Oh god I pray.. spirits of the lake! Punish!

SFX:

splashing

BERNICE:

Punish!

SFX: less splashing then none. Sound of bubbles

SFX:

Indian drums and chanting get louder

NANCY:

Hehehe.

SATAN:

Meooow.

NANCY:

Spirits of the lake is gonna punish that fellow alright. And when next you folks come and see me and Satan we'll tell you exactly how. Hehe. About a very frightful end to this little bedtime story.

Meow

SFX:

theme music

NANCY:

Well Satan,

SATAN:

Meow?

NANCY:

Suppose we get right down to business and finish our cheery little story we bugun when last these folks were here. Douse them lights, Old Nancy's yarns are best when heard in gloom and shadow. Let's see Satan, where'd we leave off?

SATAN:

Meooow!

NANCY:

Oh yes, we told about that couple who were living on an island in a spirit haunted lake a tribe of Indians worshipped. The wife who was an invalid was pretty friendly with the Indians and they taught her to make friends with the Neeba Nor Begs, which is the name for their water spirits. Well sir, her husband went a wandering and fell in love with a girl named Hilda. This Hilda gave him the idea of drowning his wife so he'd inherit her money and be free to marry again. And as we left off our story that's just what this no good fella went and done, making it look like her death was accidental. Now draw up to the fire and gave into tha embers. Two years have passed and now that fella killed his wife and now is married to the other woman. Gaze into the embers deep and soon you'll see them sitting in a state room on a railroad train. Soon you will hear more of The Spirits of the Lake. Hehehe The Spirits of the Lake. Hehehe

SATAN:

MEEEOOOOOW!

SFX:

Train whistle soft sound of a train

ROGER:

(quiet)Smithfield Crossing, only a few miles now.

HILDA:

(sternly) Anyone would think something was going to happen to you on the island the way you're whining about going back there.

ROGER:

Oh I don't want to go back there Hilda, if you were anything more than a human cake of ice you'd understand my feelings about the place.

HILDA:

What a durable conscious you have. After two long years the accidental death of your wife bothers you as much as ever.

ROGER:

Hilda for god's sake don't talk like that.

HILDA:

Don't worry. I hardly think anyone is listening outside our state room door. You fooled the law for so long they're not apt to get wise to you now.

ROGER:

Oh won't you ever let me forget. It was all your fault anyway. You planned it, you drove me too it.

HILDA:

I had nothing to do with it. I wasn't even there. In fact I know nothing about it.

ROGER:

(quietly)Oh God.

HILDA:

Snap out of this and get our bags together for the porter. If my folks are waiting at the station to meet us I don't want them seeing you looking like a frightened cur.

ROGER: Couldn't we stay with your family while we're here, instead of on the island?

HILDA:

Live in that dinky farmhouse when I can swell it over the neighbors in that big house on the island? I guess not!

ROGER:

But Hilda, I told you I'd buy you a nicer place somewhere else. Hilda, I'll buy you anything you want but don't make me go back there.

HILDA:

You could buy me the most expensive mansion on Park Avenue and it wouldn't give me the kick of living on that island, owning that big house there, swelling it over the people who knew me when I was poor. You've kept it from me for two years but now I'm going to have it.

ROGER:

You don't understand.

HILDA:

Oh yes I do. There isn't just conscious that troubles you, you're afraid of the place. Afraid of an Indian superstition

ROGER:

No, no.

HILDA:

Yes you are! Your other wife made you believe there were spirits in that lake. Some sort if Indian goblins who'd make you pay for what you did to her. You said she called upon them as she sank beneath the water.

ROGER:

Yes. With her last breath she called on them to... to...

HILDA:

Yeesh.

ROGER:

I'll go with you Hilda; just lets not talk anymore about it.

HILDA:

All right. Well come on in, if my family is waiting here they can drive us to Two Horse's place and he can row us to the island. Ok, get those bags together.

ROGER:

Coming back during Indian Summer, the moon of falling leaves.

HILDA:

What about it?

ROGER:

Its time to do the rest.

SFX:

knock at door

HILDA:

Who's there?

PORTER:

Porter maam, we've come to your station.

HILDA:

We're ready. Open the door and help him get the bags.

ROGER:

The moon of falling leaves, the time of dead things.

SFX:

Indian drums and chanting

HILDA:

The house looks simply great Norma, you'd never know it had been vacant for two years the way you've kept it. I've been over every inch Roger and its spotless. This squaw is worth a raise in wages. You'll like me for a boss old woman.

ROGER: Norma, your people are singing their prayer to the spirits of the lake.

NORMA:

Mmm, it's for the Moon of falling leaves.

ROGER: Yes I know, and of dying things.

NORMA:

Me go now.

HILDA:

Run along, Two Horse's is waiting in the rowboat. Mind you bring back everything I'm sending you for too.

ROGER:

Norma, wait a minute. Is, is the canoe in good shape, if we wanted to leave the island?

HILDA:

What do you mean if we want to leave the island?

NORMA:

The canoe alright...

HILDA:

Go on get out!

NORMA:

Me go.

HILDA:

Haven't you any sense at all? The way you 've acted since we've landed here even those stupid Indians know you're scared to death of the place. You want them to suspect the reason why?

ROGER:

I think they've always suspected. Now we're alone here, you and me.

HILDA:

And what of it? Lets get out of this kitchen; you'd best lay down a while, see if you can pull yourself together.

ROGER: I'll try. Wait till I put down this window. I, I can't stand the noise of those drums, that chanting.

SFX:

drums/chanting muffled now with window closed

HILDA:

Well I'm not crazy about it myself. Hmmm, Looks like a storm is blowing up. Come into the living room.

ROGER:

No, no Hilda I can't do it.

HILDA:

I forgot that's where they brought her when they found her in the lake.

ROGER:

Yes, they laid her on the duvan in there. I had to go in and look at her. Hilda, you think I'm mad to think there are spirits in these water as the Indians say, spirits who love Bernice, who would punish those who hurt her. There was something queer about the way they brought her from that lake.

HILDA:

What do you mean?

ROGER:

It was as though the lake had taken care of her.

HILDA:

Taken care of her?

ROGER:

Yes. You know the slime that coats the surface in this month of falling leaves. Green filthy slime that rises from the bottom and covers all it touches. Bernice's clothes were sodden, leaves were entangled in her matted hair, the ugly slime had never touched her. The lake had not defiled the one who loved it.

HILDA:

What a booby you are. Your mind is so filled with crazy notions about the place your only a step above a lunatic. Now that you're here and can see for yourself there is nothing to be afraid of you may come to your senses. Come on, we're going in that living room.

ROGER:

You, you must be right, there can't be anything to be afraid of.

HILDA:

Why of course there isn't, come on.

SFX:

woman coughing

ROGER:

Hilda wait!

HILDA:

What's the matter?

ROGER:

I thought I heard a cough.

HILDA:

A cough?

ROGER:

Yes.

SFX:

woman cough

ROGER:

There it is again.

HILDA:

There's someone in that room, now who's...

ROGER:

No, no don't open that door.

HILDA:

What's the matter with you, you're white as a sheet?

ROGER:

Hilda, that's the way she used to cough.

HILDA:

You're crazy, its probably Norma she's come in through the other door.

ROGER:

No, look out the window. Norma is with Two Horse's in the middle of the lake.

HILDA:

That's funny; I don't see how anyone else can be in the house. I inspected every room.

SFX: woman coughing

ROGER:

It's the cough again

HILDA:

I'll soon find out who's doing it.

ROGER: Hilda don't open that door!

HILDA:

Get out of my way you coward!

SFX:

door open

HILDA:

I thought so the room is empty.

ROGER:

Empty

ROGER:

There's the cough again.

HILDA:

It's from the next room.

ROGER:

Don't leave me Hilda.

SFX:

door open

HILDA:

No this room is empty too

ROGER:

Oh thank god.

HILDA:

Funny we both should hear that cough. You've talked so much you've got me imagining things.

ROGER:

Yeah, maybe we imagined it.

HILDA:

It's going to rain, you feel how damp its grown suddenly?

ROGER:

Very damp, suddenly.

HILDA:

Where did that come from?

ROGER:

What?

HILDA:

A moment ago this room was clean as a pin.

ROGER:

What do you see?

HILDA:

(disgusted) Look there on my rug a path of, ah, its slime.

ROGER:

(shocked/scared) Green slime, from the bottom of the lake!

HILDA:

That squaw didn't clean this.

ROGER:

No, no it wasn't there a minute ago. You said yourself.

HILDA:

I must have overlooked it.

ROGER:

Hilda, look there's more.

HILDA:

That spot wasn't there before. And there's another patch on the duvan...

ROGER:

Slime, green slime from the bottom of the lake. Hilda, the spot of the duvan is growing larger.

HILDA:

It is, what's causing it?

ROGER:

That duvan is where they laid her.

HILDA:

Oh stop that, there's a natural explanation for this and we've got to find it.

ROGER:

Ah! A patch of slime fell on my hand.

HILDA:

From where?

ROGER:

I don't know, it's crawling all around it. The spot on the duvan!

HILDA:

It's still growing.

ROGER:

There's water soaked all over. It's from the day she laid there.

HILDA:

She's dead and buried, its from something else!

SF:

woman cough

ROGER:

That cough again. She's here though we can't see her.

HILDA:

No I won't believe that.

ROGER:

Water is oozing from the walls and slime, slime, green slime!

HILDA:

Water is coming from the plumbing, from rain, something natural.

ROGER:

No, its from the lake. The lake is going to punish us. I knew it would if we came back.

HILDA:

I had nothing to do with it, it was you who killed her.

ROGER:

It was you who made me. Ah! On the couch!

HILDA:

(gasps) A woman's body.

ROGER:

Hers, as I saw it when they brought it in.

HILDA:

Let me out of her, let me out!

ROGER:

Yes run, run, run!

SFX:

door opens - drums/chanting louder - footsteps running

HILDA:

To the canoe, get me off this island.

ROGER:

This way. Oh god but if we leave the land the lake will get us.

HILDA:

It has nothing against me. I didn't do anything. No slime fell on me. Its dripping from the tree.

ROGER:

Its falling all against it, its falling on both of us, you as well as me. Slime, ugly slime from the bottom of the lake.

HILDA:

The canoe, the canoe at last. Shove off.

ROGER:

No, that's what it wants, to get me on the water.

HILDA:

Quick, don't stand here.

ROGER:

I won't go on that lake.

HILDA:

AHHH! Look behind you!

ROGER:

Bernice, the woman that we killed!

HILDA:

Shove off, get away, she's coming toward us.

ROGER:

Yes, yes! Her cold wet arms are reaching out for me.

HILDA:

Paddle, Paddle.

ROGER:

Yes!

HILDA: She's reached the water's edge.

ROGER:

With her hair all matted. The slime that covers us has not defiled her.

HILDA:

Get me away. Use all your strength. Paddle, paddle!

ROGER:

Ah, the paddle! It snapped in two. It was eaten through by worms, worms from the lake.

HILDA:

Now we're drifting. No, we're going too fast!

ROGER:

Something is pulling us through the water, something we can't see.

HILDA:

We're going towards the rocks!

ROGER:

Yes, the spirit's challenge. Hahaha! The road to death leads over rocks like that she told me. Only the good can keep their footing on them, the bad fall off into eternal torment.

HILDA:

I'm not going to be smashed against them; I'm going to swim.

SFX:

splash!

ROGER:

You can't save yourself. She bade the lake to punish us it won't let us go.

SFX:

swimming splashes

HILDA:

Ahhh, help, help something is dragging me down!

ROGER:

Spirits of the lake, the Neeba Nor Weg!

SFX:

Splashing

HILDA:

Help, help!

SFX:

wood thud/crash

ROGER:

The rocks! The road to death, eternal torment!

SFX:

splashing

ROGER:

I feel cold hands pulling me down to the slime at the bottom.

SFX: splashing

ROGER:

Bernice, you prayed the lake to punish. (sputtering) Slime, the slime that spared her will cover me forever more.

SFX:

last gulp for air and then bubbles

SFX:

Indian drums and chanting increase then dies out

NANCY:

Hehehe, Well Satan the moral of this story is crime don't pay. Especially if you live around an injun lake, for if the law don't get ya then tha spirits will. Hehe come see me next time I have a birthday and we'll have another purdy yarn to spin ye. Hehehe!

SATAN:

Meow!

SFX:

Theme music