At Falcroft Manor at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, Clara Reid is trying to sleep and hears something moving in the house. She discovers that her husband Emmett is no longer in bed with her, and goes to investigate. Walking through the hallways, Clara finds her husband... dead, impaled to the wall by several swords.
The next day, Constable McKellar questions Clara bout what happened. She says that the poltergeist in the house killed Emmett, and says that she’s been taking a tonic to help her sleep. McKellar accuses her of killing Emmett and puts her under arrest.
On a ship crossing the Atlantic, Adelaide complains about seasickness. Arthur joins her and suggests that they stop at Falcroft Manor on their way to Buffalo to talk to the hardware store owner, Walbridge, about why Benjamin bought guns from him. Adelaide insists that Clara’s case is their first priority. Harry joins them after checking on Cecelia’s coffin in the hold, and assures them that he’ll be fine at the funeral. He tells Adelaide to discredit all of Arthur’s theories in his absence. Arthur says that the Turners originally owned Falcroft and all died tragically there. He figures that Thomas Edison is participating in the investigation because he believes the manor is haunted, but Harry figures Thomas is a liar and a cheat, taking the work of Tesla. The escape artist disputes whether Thomas’s necrophone allows communication with the dead, but is taken aback when Arthur points out that the necrophone would let people talk with their loved ones beyond the grave.
When Arthur and Adelaide arrive at Niagara-on-the-Lake, they meet with Clara. She says that she has experienced supernatural phenomena before, when a ghostly force paralyzed her in the bed. Arthur points out that Clara recently lost her son Maxwell, and asks if there was anything unusual in his death. Clara says that he died of influenza a month old. McKellar has learned that Emmett struck Clara in front of witnesses, and Clara says that her husband had a temper and could do as he pleased. Adelaide suggests that some women believe that killing is the only way out, and Clara fervently insists that the poltergeist killed Emmett.
At Falcroft, Arthur and Adelaide meet with the gathered experts. Among them are Roland Carson, an amateur paranormal investigator. He introduces Mille Pasternak, an empathy from Toronto;Thomas Edison; and Thomas’ assistant Rustom Avari. Roland says that ten years ago, Mr. Turner went on a rampage and killed his wife, two sons, and daughter. Once he was done, he leaped to his death off the cliff at the edge of the property.
Roland suggests that Turner’s spirit killed Emmett. Millie says that she can feel the pain of the victims, and Thomas unveils his necrophone. He refuses to explain at first until Rustom nods at him. Thomas explains that Marconi heard spirits on his radio, and believes that with the right frequency they can open a door to the other side. The scientist warms to his subject, and Millie warns that she’s afraid the living might abuse the necrophone. Thomas notes that it would put her out of a job, and Rustom notes that advances in technology often cause fear. Adelaide wonders if opening a portal to the afterlife is part of God’s plan, but Thomas figures that God granted man the knowledge to advance as part of His plan. Thomas turns on the device, saying that with it he will conquer death.
In Queens County, a rabbi conducts a service for Cecelia. Harry glances over the crowd and sees a woman watching him. Houdini’s brother Theodore tosses in the first shovel full of dirt and offers the tool to Harry, but Harry walks away . Theodore goes after him and reminds Harry that they kept kosher, but Harry insists that Cecelia wasn’t religious despite their father’s insistence. He says that the mourners are people who hadn’t seen Cecelia in years, and Theodore points out that Cecelia followed Harry to Europe. Harry says that Cecelia believed that life was meant to be lived and walks away.
That night, Adelaide finds Rustom making coffee for Thomas. Rustom apologizes for Thomas’ lack of social graces, but insists that his employer works eighteen hours a day and won’t stop until he gets his project right. As for the necrophone, Rustom describes the advantages of talking to anyone who has ever lived. Adelaide realizes that he wants to speak with his wife Krishna, who passed away four years ago. She talks about losing her husband, Benjamin, and Rustom figures that they’re there for the same reason. He has recently met someone new and wants Krishna’s blessing, and needs to hear it from her. Rustom asks if Adelaide has met anyone knew, and she says that she doesn’t think so. She explains that Benjamin was murdered, and Rustom says that the necrophone will let her get answers and move on. Adelaide wonders how they can move on if they know their loved ones are on the other side waiting.
Thomas is working on the necrophone and calls everyone in. Meanwhile, Millie is in the dining room sensing a presence. The candles blow out and she calls on the spirit to show itself. She looks in a nearby mirror and sees Turner’s image in it.
The others hear Millie scream and run to the dining room. A Bible on the table opens by itself and the pages are flipped by an invisible hand. The statues fall off the mantle and Millie says that Turner is there. She says that the spirit was filled with rage. The Bible is turned to a passage about the multiplying of sorrow, and Arthur suggests that Mrs. Turner was there because her husband killed her in the dining room. Adelaide notices an open window and suggests that the breeze was responsible.
Thomas checks to see what the necrophone recorded, and Roland says that he can hear a voice. They play it again and Thomas amplifies it. Harry comes in and impersonates Turner’s voice, and Arthur immediately realizes who it is. The escape artist congratulates Adelaide on deducing the breeze was responsible, and tells Thomas that Tesla sends his regards. Thomas dismisses Tesla as a sad man prone to wild delusions, and Harry dismisses the necrophone as a glorified Ouija board. He then says that he angled the chimney cap to create a wind tunnel. He dismisses Millie’s sighting of Turner as a delusion brought on by the power of suggestion. Millie insists that someone in the room is filled with rage, and Harry quickly says that everyone there is filled with rage at being fooled.
Later, Arthur and Adelaide escort Harry to his room. They’re surprised that he’s not grieving, and Harry says that it’s time to focus on living. He shows them a newspaper article confirming that Walbridge closed his hardware store a week ago, but has a forwarding address. When they suggest that Adelaide set up a meeting with Walbridge, she appears hesitant to embrace the idea.
Adelaide goes to bed in the daughter’s room and tries to sleep. She hears someone whispering over the necrophone. She goes to it and Benjamin apparently speaks to her, telling her not to cry. Adelaide asks who murdered him, and Benjamin says that she was not meant to know. There’s no response... and Adelaide wakes up from her dream. She takes a photo of Benjamin out and looks at it, and a chair slides across the room to the door.
Furious, Adelaide goes to Harry’s room and accuses him of playing another trick. He denies it, and they go to the daughter’s room with Arthur. As they watch, the chair moves again. Harry figures that someone rigged it again, but there’s no sign of wires and the floor is level. A noise comes from the necrophone and they go to investigate. Thomas is playing back a recording and a voice mentions Falcroft Point: the cliff where Turned took his life. The group goes to the cliff and find Rustom’s corpse at the bottom.
The next day, McKellar suspects suicide. While Arthur finds some mud on Rustom’s shoes, Thomas insists that Rustom wasn’t suicidal. McKellar suggests that it was suicide since there was only one set of footprints leading to the cliff. Arthur finds bruises on Rustom’s wrists, suggesting that he was in a struggle. There are scratches on the corpse’s chest but no cuts in the shirt, and Roland points out that it’s a classic sign of a poltergeist case. He figures that Turner lured Rustom to the cliff and then pushed him over, and Millie wonders who is next. Thomas says that the necrophone led them there, but McKellar isn’t interested.
Harry and Arthur go up to examine the cliff, and Arthur suggests that they use the necrophone to contact Rustom’s spirit. He figures the same person who killed Rustom tampered with the necrophone. Arthur points out that there was only one set of footprints, and confirms that the mud on Rustom’s shoe doesn’t match that on the cliff edge.
The woman Harry saw earlier at the funeral pulls up on the coroner’s wagon. Arthur is skeptical that the same woman was in Buffalo and now in Canada, and suggests that Harry hasn’t recovered from Cecelia’s death. Harry says that he’s fine, but Arthur figures that he’s running fromhis grief. He figures that Harry came for the necrophone to contact Cecelia, and insists that the necrophone will keep Touie in their family forever. Harry tells him to fight for Touie if he loves her and walks away.
In Falcroft, Harry confronts Thomas. Thomas insists that he would never falsify data, but Harry figures that Thomas killed Rustom so the assistant wouldn’t reveal that the necrophone is a fraud. The scientist says that he’s trying to give people closure, and explains that he was 24 when his mother died. She died before she saw Thomas’ success, and he wants her to know that her faith in him was not misplaced. The necrophone turns on by itself and Cecelia’s voice seemingly speaks Harry’s name. Thomas says that it’s no joke and demands to know what Cecelia said.
That night, Harry sits with the necrophone. He goes to his room and looks at a photo of Cecelia. When Adelaide arrives, Harry puts the photo away and lets her in. She realizes that he’s drinking, and Harry figures that it was the power of suggestion. Adelaide says that she changed her name and became a policewoman to get answers, and Harry realizes that she never contacted Walbridge because she’s afraid to find answers. He assures her that she’ll deal with the truth, even if Benjamin was an anarchist, and says that she’s the strongest person he knows. Adelaide says that Harry is but he doesn’t have to be strong all the time, and Harry talks about how Cecelia wanted to go to Coney Island again. After a moment, they kiss and then Harry draws back.
Arthur comes in and says that he has something to show them. He takes them to the cellar and shows them mud like what was on Rustom’s shoes. The place smells damp due to water leakage from the pipes. As they look around, Harry apologizes for what happened between them and says that it won’t happen again. As Adelaide agrees, Arthur calls them over to half a drop of blood against a wall. Harry breaks down the door and on the other side is a workshop and a pool of blood. Arthur figures that the killer planted the footprints and put Rustom’s body at the base of the cliff to make it look like a poltergeist was responsible. The killer then rigged the necrophone to take them to the body.
Looking around, Harry finds an electromagnet and points out that the chair in Adelaide’s room had metal fittings. Arthur suggests that Rustom discovered it and that’s why he was killed. In one corner is a small grave with the name “Maxwell” on the cross and fresh flowers. Maxwell was the Reid’s baby, and Arthur exhumes the corpse. There are contusions on the back of the skull, suggesting that he was murdered. Harry figures that Claire is having an affair with the accomplice, and Maxwell is the man’s baby.
The next day, the trio confront Claire with what they’ve found. She says that Emmett found a love letter to her, flew into a rage, and killed the baby. He threatened to kill Claire as well if she went to the police. Claire denies killing Emmett for revenge, and is surprised when Harry says the haunting is faked. Adelaide asks if her lover killed Emmett and Rustom. When Claire doesn’t answer, Arthur suggests that perhaps Emmett will give them the answers.
Back at Falcroft, Thomas tunes in the necrophone. A male voice says that “you” killed him. They figure that it’s Emmett’s voice, and Roland accuses Thomas of setting the whole thing up. A mirror behind Roland shatters, and the voice demands that Roland confess. Arthur A knife flies across the room, hitting the wall next to Roland’s head, and he says that he killed Emmett. He says that Emmett came at him with a knife, and he killed Emmett in self defense. Claire called him to investigate when strange things happened, and Roland thought that if he could convince people Falcroft was haunted then the police would free Claire. Adelaide puts Roland under arrest , and Harry points out to Arthur that the knife trick worked.
Cecelia speaks through the necrophone and the machine spins out of control. Millie says that she can feel all the lost souls and collapses, and Thomas realizes that they’re listening to the residents of Hell. He shoves the necrophone on the floor, shattering it, and Harry stares at it in shock.
Later, Harry is in his room drinking when Arthur comes in. The escape artist figures that Thomas manufactured the voices, and created an elaborate show to cover up his failure. He tells Arthur not to quit on Touie, and tells the writer to consult with the doctors in New York. Arthur says that he has to face reality, and Harry tells him that he’s not capable of giving up on hope. Touie is still alive and it may be a nightmare, but it’s Arthur’s reality. Arthur wonders what Harry’s reality is, and Harry doesn’t have an answer.
Adelaide finally sends a telegram to Walbridge arranging a meeting.
Harry looks at the shattered necrophone.
Adelaide goes to the mill where she’s arranged to meet Walbridge. A figure emerges from the shadows: Benjamin. Adelaide stares at him in shock, and says that he “hung” himself with a rope trick and had a friend faked the coroner’s report. She slaps him, and Benjamin says that his cousin in the Home Office asked him to help investigate an anarchist group. The group found him out and Benjamin had to disappear. He couldn’t tell Adelaide because she needed deniability, and warns that the anarchists are dangerous people. Benjamin knows about the threatening note and their ransacking her flat, and points out that she and Harry have become good friends. Adelaide wonders what happens now, and Benjamin says that once the group is arrested then he’ll come home. Until then , he insists that Adelaide has to stop pursing the matter. The anarchists killed Nigel and will kill Adelaide as well if they suspect she knows anything. The couple kisses and Benjamin says that it’s not safe for them, and walks away.
Harry goes to Cecelia’s grave and places a photo of her. He says a prayer in Hebrew, crying, and looks up to see the woman from before. After a moment, she disappears into the mist.
Written by Gadfly on May 7, 2016