Beyond Midnight: The Phantom Coach (Episode Information and MP3 of the Show)

This episode of Beyond Midnight is a dramatization of Amelia B. Edward’s short story “The Phantom Coach”. The year is 1864. Barrister, James Murray, is out on the moors, making the most of the last day of the grouse shooting season. When the weather takes a turn for the worse Murray becomes lost in a snowstorm and ends up wandering around in circles, in the dark, while the wind howls around him and carries away his cries for help.

His prospects of survival look as grim as the weather, and he is just about to give up and lie down in the snow when he encounters a man named Jacob, who tells him the nearest village is 20 miles away. Relieved that he is no longer alone in the dark, Murray insists on accompanying Jacob to his home, even though Jacob is sure his reclusive master will not allow Murray entry.

Jacob was right, his master—a semi-retired scientist—is not happy to have a guest pressed upon him, but, when Murray explains that he will die if he is left out in the snow, the man of science relents and provides him with some food and a seat by the fire.

After the two men have been talking for quite some time Murray mentions he is concerned his wife will be worried about him. His host is very understanding and informs him the old coach road is only five miles away, and the night mail should be at the crossroads in a little over an hour’s time. He then gives Jacob instructions to guide their guest to the crossroads so that he can get a ride back to the village.

Not long after Murray and Jacob part company, Murray sees the twin lamps of an approaching coach. He hails it and climbs inside, only to find it is as cold inside the coach as it was outside and the smell is abominable. When he takes a closer look at his fellow passengers Murray can see the reason why. His travelling companions are corpses and the phantom coach that is carrying them is hurtling towards the edge of the cliff.

Beyond Midnight Radio Show: The Phantom Coach

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