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Chapter 5 Recap

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about the Shaker Mansion built by Edward Philippe Mott. She says that there was plenty of suffering there.

At an auction of artwork, Polk comes in and stares at one of the paintings. He then tells everyone that he's buying the whole lot and there's no point in bidding against him because of his wealth. Edward, who suffers from social anxiety, moves as far away from people as possible and had a home built in North Carolina. He takes the paintings there and insists that the underground work must be done to provide an escape route in case thieves come for the artwork. A scaffold breaks and a worker falls to the ground, breaking his legs. In the nearby woods, a pig squeals. Before Edward goes inside, he kisses his butler and lover Guinness, having left his wife and daughter in Philadelphia.

Edward places each painting carefully in the house, often rotating them from room to room. While he and Guinness make love, Edward says that he loves the paintings even more than he loves Guinness. Two days later while he sleeps, Edwards hears glass break and goes to investigate. He discovers that someone has tilted all of the paintings askew and cut his newly acquired Peale up, and Edward screams in horror. When the servants are summoned, Edward demands to know which of them did it. One servant says that she saw a white woman and a young man in the yard just before Edward screamed. He doesn't believe them, has them thrown into the cellar, and says that they will stay until the "murderer" confesses. Edward tosses them a single apple and has Guinness close and lock the doors. When he glances at Edward, Edward tells him not to judge him and reminds him that he is just a servant, and Guinness walks away. Alone in the night, Edward looks up at the blood-red moon.

After that night, men break into Edward's bedroom and pull the canopy down. When he tear free, the men are gone. The settlers are out on the lawn, and men grab Edward and drag him there to where Thomasin and Ambrose are waiting. When Edward insists that he owns the land, Thomasin says that is hers and she will consecrate it with his blood. They run a stake through Edward's chest and shove him into the fire.

Guinness rides off but when he tells people what happened, there is no evidence of Edward or the fire. They arrest him for the murder of Edward, and Guinness doesn't tell anyone about the servant in the cellar. When someone eventually reopens it, they find their corpses.

Doris explains that the last Mott died in 1952, and nobody ever stayed for long. The producer asks Doris if she believes it was haunted, and she says that no one will convince her to stay in the house.


In the present, Matt calls 911 and says that there's a mob outside his house. Once he hangs up, he and Shelby look out the window and Thomasin offers them a mercifully death if they surrender. Ambrose announces that the Blood Moon is upon them and they must honor their covenant with the ancient gods and consecrate the ground. Matt gives Shelby the car keys and says that he'll lead them away while Shelby drives off with Flora. As they go down the stairs, a ghost girl attacks and knocks Flora down the stairs. It skitters off, taking Flora with her, and Matt looks out the window and sees the ghosts setting his truck on fire.

Shelby and Matt finally find Flora and Shelby goes to the girl. Piggy Man steps out into the hallway behind Matt, and the three ghost hunters herd them toward the front door. Ambrose breaks in using an axe, and the couple hides in the basement with Flora. Shelby warns that they're trapped, and the ghost of Edward steps out and says that he plans to save them. He points out the escape tunnel that he had built and leads them in.

As they move through the tunnels, Edward explains that he's a ghost and will keep Thomasin from killing them. When Shelby wonders if he came there to save them, Edward says that he has one last sliver of grace: his solitude. He doesn't want three more souls trapped in the house and leads them on. Finally they emerge into the forest a mile away. Edward stops and says that he can no further, tells them that it is best to die in peace, and disappears.

The Millers continue on and hear pigs snorting in the distance. Men attack and knock Matt out, and toss hoods over their captives' heads. When the hoods are moved, the Millers realize that they're in the house they found earlier. Elias is strapped to a table, and the Polks are there with guns. The father, Ishamel, says that they found Elias filled with holes and Mama kept him alive, and he was of no use to nobody but them so they kept him. Matt goes over to Elias and discovers that he's missing an arm and a leg. Elias says that they have to go before Mama comes back and begs Matt to kill him.

Mama comes in and says that she has fresh jerky. She offers it to the Millers, and Elias warns them not to eat it. When the Millers refuse, Mama says that they're no better her and eats it to show that it's not poisoned. She spits it out after a moment and says that it's rancid, and Ishamel blames it on Elias because he's bad meat. One of the brothers smashes in Elias' head with a hammer, and the Millers say that they'll sell the house to them. Mama explains that they wanted to keep the house empty for Thomasin, and her kin made a deal with the Butcher over 200 years ago. As long as she can consecrate the land with fresh blood each year, she'll leave the Polks alone. In return, nobody disturbs their cannabis crop. Mama says that they're not going to tell anyone, and Ishmael reminds them that they took his boys from them. The elder woman says that they made a deal with the Butcher and she's going to get the Millers back.

Lee says that the police were holding her because Shelby called them and accused her of killing Mason.

At the sheriff's station, the officer continues questioning Lee and reminds her that she took Flora from school without permission. She tells him to charge her or let her go, and they have no choice but to let her go. Outside, Lee checks her phone and reads Matt's messages... including the one where they found Flora.

The Polks drive off with the Millers and Mat finally jumps the Polk brother holding the shotgun. It goes off, killing the driver, and Shelby kicks the Polk off the back. The truck rolls to a halt, and the Millers grab Flora and run into the woods. They hide but Matt's phone rings as Lee calls him. The surviving Polk finds them and considers shooting them.

Lee figures that Matt wouldn't ignore her call, and asks the officer for a ride.

The Polk brother takes the Millers back to the truck where Mama is examining her son's corpse. She says that they won't run again, grabs a sledge hammer, and breaks Shelby's ankle. The Polks then drive back with the Millers in the bed of the truck. Shelby tells Matt to save Flora, and he kisses her figuring that they're dead when the truck stops.

The Polks drive to the house and drag the Millers and Flora forward. Thomasin offers her condolences to Mama on the death of her son, and the Polks drive off. The ghosts bring their captives forward and Thomasin prepares to kill Flora first. When Priscilla reminds her that she said Flora would go last, Thomasin says that now she'll go first.

Lee and the officer arrive and see the fire, and Lee tells the officer to call for backup. Once she gets out, he drives off. Lee hears Flora screaming and runs forward.

Thomasin declares sentence but Ambrose screams in defiance and clubs her down. He refuses to let her shed another drop of innocent blood, and then goes into the fire while holding his mother. The flames consume both of them, and Edward runs up and frees Shelby and Matt. Piggy Man grabs Thomasin's cleaver and prepares to kill Flora... and Lee runs him over with the charred truck. Matt and Shelby get Flora and go in, and they drive off as Thomasin climbs out of the fire and tries to run after them.

Once they visit an ER and get Shelby's ankle tended to, the Millers check into a cheap motel and contact Shelby's sister to wire them money to get back to LA. Shelby goes into the bathroom to take a shower and sees steam coming out from underneath the door. She opens it and Piggy Man drives a cleaver into her head... and Shelby wakes up from her nightmare.

Shelby figures that she'll never get over her experience at the house.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 13, 2016

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