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Episode Recap: The Fireplace

A single mother must battle the spirit of a witch that lives behind her boarded-up fireplace.


Linda lost her father when she was 21. She had been the baby of the family, and now had her own young daughter named Mandy and a second baby on the way. Her boyfriend was a trucker, and she would go for months without seeing him, effectively leaving her alone to raise Mandy. Linda's dad had left her a small inheritance, so she used it to invest in a home for her little family.

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Linda found an old apartment building that became the home for her, her daughter and her soon-to-be-born son. The strong if somewhat inexplicable familiarity was comforting, and for them, it was perfect. Linda especially loved the old fireplace and looked forward to having a little more money so she could work on getting the boards off and restoring it.

When she started working on the room that would be Mandy's bedroom, Linda found an unusual pendant still hanging in an otherwise empty closet. Concerned that someone might come back for it, Linda put it back where she'd found it and didn't give it another thought.

As she got settled in, Linda noticed something else: no matter how much she scrubbed the windows, whenever she opened the curtains in the morning, there just wasn't as much light in the room as she thought there should be. Was there some kind of shield over the apartment keeping the light out ... or was there some other reason the place was so gloomy? And it didn't stop there: during the evenings, Linda always got an uneasy feeling that something wasn't right. She chalked it up to settling in to a new place, and maybe she was a little lonely with her boyfriend on the road.

One night, as Linda was reading Mandy a story before bedtime, Linda got the strangest feeling of breathing right near her ear ... and then heard something like heavy breathing. She chalked it up to stress and didn't think any more of it.

Linda's cousin, Jeanie, came over to visit. While she and Linda sat in the kitchen talking, Mandy was in another room. Linda watched her daughter acting as though she were having a conversation with someone that neither woman could see. Linda thought that it was just Mandy's imagination, though Jeanie informed her cousin that none of her five children had ever behaved the way Mandy was behaving.

After Jeanie had left that evening, Linda realized that her bedroom door was shut. As Mandy's bed was in Linda's bedroom at that point, this worried her -- she always left that door a little bit open after putting Mandy to bed whenever there were guests. Linda tried to open the door, but it wouldn't budge. When Linda finally pushed the door open, she discovered that her own bed had been moved up against the bedroom door. There was no sign of an intruder ... what on earth had happened?

The next morning, Linda began hearing a strange cracking sound coming from the fireplace. She walked over and tried to look through the boards into the darkness, but as she did, the sounds stopped. Linda chalked it up to something mundane, like maybe a bird had fallen into the chimney.

A couple of days later, Linda's boyfriend finally called. She told him what was going on, though he just chalked it up to her having "baby blues." Linda knew it wasn't her imagination ... and it certainly wasn't her hormones.

As the baby's due date got closer, Linda worked more on unpacking Mandy's room and getting her accustomed to sleeping there. On Mandy's first night sleeping in her own room, Linda was sure to leave the doors to both of their rooms open so she could hear her if she called. In the wee hours of the morning, Linda heard a blood-curdling scream from her daughter. She ran to Mandy's room and saw her daughter on top of a bed that was bucking like a bronco at a rodeo. Linda grabbed Mandy and got her to the living room, where she began hearing more strange sounds coming from the fireplace ... where the wood looked as though something was trying to push out through it.

Linda rushed to the fireplace and could see a shadow that looked as though it were trying to push through ... a shadow far too big to be a bird. Linda grabbed Mandy and they retreated to Linda's bedroom.

Linda wanted to move but couldn't, as she had invested what money she had into the apartment. She hoped and prayed that the thing would just go away.

When Linda's sister Audrey came over for a visit, she soon noticed a slow breathing sound right by her ear. She jumped up and tried to bat the sound away with her hand. During Audrey's battle with the sound, something grabbed Linda's arm and began to drag her away. It was a tug of war with Linda as the rope, until whatever had grabbed Linda finally let go.

Alarmingly, that was also the moment that Linda began to go into labor. Audrey rushed her sister to the hospital, where little Aaron was born. In the immediate days after Linda brought the infant home from the hospital, the apartment was peaceful.

When the disturbances started again, Linda realized that the noises from the fireplace were much worse than before. Even though it was late, she called Jeanie and begged her to come over. Jeanie rushed over, and as soon as she was in the door, Linda told her the place was haunted. Jeanie took a look at the fireplace and thought that maybe multiple birds had gotten into the chimney. She began to take the screws out of the boards over the fireplace, but the more she worked, the worse a feeling she got that she shouldn't remove the boards. She quickly began putting the screws back into the boards, the sense of dread getting worse. When Jeanie heard the voice, it told her to get the children out of there.

Even though Jeanie begged Linda to leave, even suggesting that they come to stay at her own house, Linda wouldn't go. However, she did allow Jeanie to take Aaron and Mandy for the night.

Alone in the apartment, Linda tried to sleep, but she knew something wasn't right. Suddenly, her pillow was over her head -- whatever this thing was, it was trying to suffocate her. When it finally released her, Linda was so frightened that she was beginning to wonder if it was all a bad dream ... or maybe it really was all in her head.

With her boyfriend still out cross-country for a few more weeks, Linda began to wonder if she would ever wake up from this nightmare. She began to be angry with him for not being there for them.

In need of company, Linda invited her friend Becky over for dinner. Linda told Becky about the happenings in the apartment, but before she could get all of the stories out, they heard dishes breaking in the kitchen. It was as though a raging mad invisible person were throwing dishes in a tantrum.

Soon, Linda realized her bedroom door was shaking. Aaron was in his crib in her room. Once again, the door was closed tight, and Linda and Becky put all of their weight against it until it flung open. There was no furniture on the other side this time, but what Linda saw was just as alarming: Aaron was resting in his crib, but a circle of blood had been dripped on the sheet around him. Linda checked every inch of the infant, but there were no cuts on the baby and no indication of where the blood had come from.

Becky called the church and got a priest to come and perform an exorcism. Audrey was there with Linda for the ritual, and no sooner did the priest begin than the sounds started up again. It only took a few moments of the priest's words for whatever was on the other side of the boarded-up fireplace to break through and begin circling the room like an invisible tempest. Finally, it ran up the chimney.

As soon as all signs of the entity vanished, Linda noticed a lightness in the air. There was even more sun coming in through the windows. It was over.

Or was it? When the broken boards were fixed and everything felt almost normal, Linda got a call from the priest telling her she had to get the children out of there. Linda felt a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach as the sound of something fighting to get through the boards started again. She rushed to the bedroom to get the children, but Mandy was acting strangely ...

Mandy asked about someone she could see, but Linda saw nothing. When Mandy turned around, there was a look to her daughter that Linda had never seen before: her eyes had turned coal black, and her grin was grotesquely unnatural. Mandy was possessed!

Linda grabbed her daughter and held on until finally the thing released Mandy. At that moment, Linda decided she was done with the apartment.

As Jeanie was helping Linda get the last few things out of the apartment a couple of weeks later, she found the pendant in Mandy's closet. She asked Linda about it, but Linda told her that she figured it just belonged there. Jeanie recognized a dark pentacle in the pendant and knew it was not good.

That was when Linda recalled why the building had been so familiar: when Linda was a child, there had been an old woman who lived in that very apartment. She remembered people commenting that the woman was a mean old witch who did not like children.

Linda left the pendant -- and the building -- behind.