Name That Trauma :: Reader Kieran W. on a Victorian Skeleton Sick Bed


LOVE your site. I’ve got a NTT I’m hoping someone can help me with…

I remember seeing this on television when I was just a little kid. I was born in 1972, so this would probably have been in the late seventies, early eighties. If memory serves (no guarantee!) this felt more like a TV show than a film. Possibly even something from the U.K., since my parents watched a lot of PBS – particularly Masterpiece Theatre

The setting, I think, is Victorian England. The bit I remember took place at night and I’m pretty sure I remember fog and gas lighting. There’s this young man wearing a black cloak. He’s going to visit someone.

Young man in the black cloak enters a house. He addresses an old man lying in bed (his father?) Clearly, the old man is in the last stages of sickness. He barely moves and his voice is weak… There may or may not be a third man in the room..

Suddenly, for some reason, the young man becomes alarmed. He reaches out and grabs the blanket covering the old man. Young man yanks off the blanket-

– and reveals that the old man’s body has already decayed, leaving nothing but a skeleton covered in cobwebs!

Horrified, the young man bolts out of the house and into the night – pursued only by maniacal laughter…

Not too surprisingly, this memory scarred me for life. If anyone can offer me any clues as to what the hell this was, I’ll be forever grateful.


Kieran W.

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Jami JoAnne Russell
10 years ago

I feel like I’ve seen this myself and I want to say it was one of those little short stories you would see on Night Gallery, but I could be wrong.

10 years ago

This sounds like a scene from Poe’s ‘The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”… and more specifically, perhaps the episode ‘Nightmare’ from the series ‘Dickens of London’ where Charles Dickens meets Poe and the plot of Poe’s fictional story plays out.

As a kid it really got me because the series was otherwise played straight… so it seemed to be presented as historical fact.

10 years ago

Dear knobgobbler,

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You absolutely nailed it – solving a mystery that’s plagued me for nearly forty years!

Please provide name, address, etc. The basket of mini-muffins will be dispatched immediately.