Beyond the Veil

Creator: Alex Hendler
Age rating: 13 and older
During a seance, the ghost of Harry Houdini enlists the aid of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to find the malevolent spirit Houdini believes was responsible for his untimely death. Inspired by true events and characters.
Synopsis: On the verge of flying a bombing mission over Germany in the early days of World War II, RAF officer ANDREW JENKINS, 33, begins a letter to his wife about a strange event in his life that he has never shared with her...

Flashback to 1929 and SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, 69, invites his ne'er-do-well grand-nephew, Andrew, 22, to America where Doyle is due to present a lecture at Carnegie Hall. On the ocean voyage over to the States, Doyle reveals the true nature of their journey: to sit at a seance where the recently deceased HARRY HOUDINI is due to deliver an important message to Doyle. Andrew, whose father was killed in World War I and who doesn't believe in the hereafter, believes his grand-uncle is "voyaging on a strange sea of thought."

At a seance held at MRS. HOUDINI's townhouse, Houdini reveals through the medium, ARTHUR FORD, that he believes his "accidental death" caused by a blow to the stomach by a student, J. GORDON WHITEHEAD, was actually the work of a vengeful spirit named Walter. Andrew and Doyle head to Montreal to track down Whitehead. The reclusive denies he was possessed by a spirit, but soon after their departure, he leaps to his death. A search of his room turns up a diary in which Whitehead admits his knowledge of Walter.

Andrew and Doyle travel to Boston and the home of DR. CRANDON, where they witness his mysterious wife, MARGERY, put on a fantastic seance featuring the spirit, WALTER. Andrew is not convinced that Walter is real, but another sitter at the seance, CATHERINE O'NEILL, claims that Margery and Walter certainly had motive for revenge against Houdini, because the magician did everything in his power to discredit Margery. Andrew and Doyle sit for another Margery seance, and Doyle accuses Walter of being involved in Houdini's murder. He denies it and responds by producing an ectoplasmic image of Andrew's father that shakes Andrew up.

While on their way back to New York for Doyle's lecture, a possessed LUGGAGE PORTER tries to run down Doyle and Andrew in a tractor. Andrew saves them by leaping into the path of an oncoming train, but Doyle suffers a heart attack and falls into a coma at the hospital. Doyle has an out-of-body experience, and Houdini's spirit meets Doyle's doppelganger and takes him to meet Walter. Walter overwhelms Houdini and Doyle with ectoplasm, leaving them to an unknown fate.

Meanwhile, back in the physical world, Catherine comforts a distraught Andrew at a speakeasy. Andrew is beginning to believe that maybe there is something to this spiritualism nonsense. Maybe Walter through Margery was responsible for the Luggage Porter attack. Maybe they were responsible for Houdini's murder. And maybe that really was his father coming back from beyond the veil to provide comfort.

Andrew returns to the hospital the next day and is shocked to find Margery by Doyle's bedside. She tries to get away, but Andrew chases her down in Boston Commons. Margery says she has been trying to marginalize Catherine from the seance group, and thinks Catherine is trying to get back at her by by setting up Walter. She suggests Andrew follow up with Arthur Ford.

Back in New York, Andrew discovers that Arthur Ford may have received some of Houdini's intimate knowledge from a former Houdini assistant. He denies that, but he does acknowledge receiving an anonymous telegram from Boston saying Margery/Walter may have been responsible for Houdini's death. On the train back to Boston, Andrew realizes there is a link between Ford and Catherine.

Thinking Catherine did lure Doyle to Boston in an effort to discredit Margery, he is shocked to find that Doyle emerged from his coma and was checked out of the hospital by Catherine. He tracks them down to Marblehead and tries to attack her - but she is saved by Doyle, who knocks him out with a fireplace iron. When Andrew comes to, Doyle explains that Dr. Crandon is behind the hypnotizing and brainwashing scheme, and had hypnotized Andrew to kill Catherine. They confront Crandon, who claims they could never prove their claims, then he escapes through the secret lab where he conducts mind control experiments.

On the return to England, Andrew suggests that Crandon used his brainwashing techniques to create Walter, but Doyle claims that while he was having his out-of-body experience Walter revealed the truth to him about Crandon, and that indeed he brainwashed Whitehead to attack Houdini.

Back in 1940, Andrew reports on the fate of all the major characters in his letter to his wife. He's still not sure about life after death, but, while leading his squadron on a bombing raid, he promises that "his love for her will survive anything that should ever befall him."

Latest Work

All Work

  • Script 1 - Alex's Original Draft
    11/19/13
    Creative Notes:
    During the 1920's, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini maintained a cordial, if somewhat strained friendship that stemmed from their mutual interest in Spiritualism. Doyle firmly believed in it, while Houdini actively tried to discredit it.

    Many of the characters depicted herein actually existed and many of the events actually occurred, but what follows is an entirely fictional account.