Yancy, Pahoo, and John are going to the club and discover that the streets are empty and all the shops and clubs are empty, while drums play in the background. When John wonders what's going on, Yancy explains that it's St. John's Eve and the dead walk He warns John that New Orleans takes the voodoo holiday seriously. Yancy wants John to meet with a committee at the club, and explains that some voodoo worshippers believe that women can turn into cats.
The three men arrive at the club and Francine greets them. There are no players because of St. John's Eve, and Pearl Girl tells John that she once saw a man die because of a voodoo curse. John dismisses it as supernatural mumbo jumbo, and Obadiah agrees. He and his committee are there to ask John to stop the voodoo. John refuses to dignify the voodoo by treating it as real, and another committee member--Lily Rose Beam--warns that someone is going to us the voodoo that night for a killing. No one knows who the victim is, even the high priest Dr. YaYa. Miss Emily Dubois of Longacres started the voodoo, and Yancy says that she's a friend and is innocent. Obadiah says that the meeting is on Emily's plantation, and Yancy admits that Emily has been unhappy since her twin brother died.
John demands to go to the meeting, just as Fry arrives and tells John that one of the guests at the King Louis Hotel was struck down by a devil doll. They go there and find the dead man clutching the doll in one hand. When Yancy pulls the pin out of its chest, the "dead man" comes back to life. The clerk explains that the man is Charles Hammond, a foundry owner from Natchez and just arrived. John insists that what he saw is impossible, and Yancy agrees.
Once he recovers, Charles tells them that he was going out when the clerk gave him a package with the doll. As soon as Charles took it out, he screamed and collapsed. Yancy points out that Charles recovered as soon as he took the pin out of the doll, and asks Charles why he's in New Orleans. Charles says that he came to marry Charlotte Dubois, Emily's sister. the clerk says that Emily sent the doll as a gift.
Yancy and the others go with Charles to Longacres and the horses stop. The group hears the voodoo cultists by the river dancing, and John insists on seeing it. Yancy and Pahoo go with him while Fry takes Charles to the estate by the long way. The three men watch from the shadows as Dr. YaYa leads the frenzied ceremony. The bell tower at Long Acres is on fire, and the devil dancer collapses. Dr. YaYa covers her with a leopard-skin cloak, and a big cat growls from the darkness. When Dr. YaYa removes the cloaks, the dancer is gone. A leopard emerges from the forest, and Yancy tells Pahoo that his shotgun will do no good against it. Instead he orders his comrades away.
When the three men get to Longacres, Emily greets them. Her workers have put the fire out, and she claims that she has no idea how it burst into flame. She admits that she isn't sure if voodoo is real, and says that Fry and Charles are at the house. John goes to join them, and Emily says that it's the end of her brother Phillip. The bell tower was the last thing he built before he went to war. The bell has no clapper, and when Phillip left he said there would be no clapper there until he came home or he was dead. He told Emily that whatever happens, she's to ring the bell. When Yancy points out that she never rang the bell, Emily says that she's dead but not buried. She and Phillip shares the same heart, and she felt her heart stop when Phillip was killed at Gettysburg.
At the house, John demands the truth from Charlotte. Charlotte insists that Emily wouldn't have started the voodoo, but John says that they have enough evidence to arrest her. Charles points out that they have nothing to charge Emily with, and reminds Charlotte that Emily said that he'd be dead before they were married. Emily and Yancy come in and Emily admits that she did say it. She denies sending the devil doll, and says that she didn't know the ceremony was on her land. Charlotte blurts out that Emily talked to Dr. YaYa, and insists that her sister hasn't been well.
Yancy wonders what Emily has against Charles, and he says that he's a fortune-hunting thief. John tells Emily that she's coming back to town, but Yancy warns that no one should leave the house until the leopard is captured. The administrator orders Fry to bring back a squad of soldiers and scour the countryside for the leopard. Once Fry departs, John orders Emily to confine herself to her own room. Yancy agrees and escorts her to her room. Once they're alone, Yancy tells her that he knows Charles' trance at the hotel was a fake and she didn't send the doll. Emily says that Charles wants her out of the way so that he can marry Charlotte.
Outside, Pahoo fires at the leopard. Yancy and John go outside as the leopard runs off, and Yancy reminds his blood brother that the gun won't work unless he's much closer. Pahoo signs that he found a man and they find the man lying next to a cage, shot. Judging from his clothing, Yancy figures that the man, Harry Kidd, is an animal tamer. With his dying breath, Harry says that Emily let the leopard out and then shot him when he objected. John figures that Emily set the whole thing up to cover her murder of Charles and they head back to the house.
As the group reaches the bell tower's remains. Dr. YaYa and the devil dancer approach them and say that the ceremony was a fake. Miss Dubois paid them to make the voodoo, but they saw the leopard and it's real. Someone fires at them from the dark and the group takes cover. A bullet glances off the bell, and Yancy sees what's underneath. He orders everyone inside, and a Charles approaches them holding the doll. he begs them for help and then collapses... a knife in his back. Yancy confirms that Charles is dead, and Emily comes down and stares at Charles' body in horror. John starts to place her under arrest, but Yancy says that he's wrong. Dr. YaYa tells them that Charlotte was the Miss Dubois that paid them. Yancy explains that the bell is solid gold, worth at least $50,000, and Emily knew about it. She says that Phillip did it to hide their wealth, and there was no clapper because it wouldn't have sounded like a real bell. Once Charles killed Emily, he would have married Charlotte and got the bell legally. Charles' father cast the bell at the foundry, and Charles found the records. He told Charlotte, and she killed Charles, tried to frame Emily, killed Harry, and loosed the leopard on the countryside.
Charlotte comes down, gun drawn, while Emily explains that Phillip realized that Charlotte was insane and Emily never told her about the bell so she would stay at Longacres. Her sister speaks up, saying that Emily has always hated her. She fires off two shots and runs out to the bell, while the others take cover. The leopard attacks her and by the time Yancy and Pahoo arrive and kill it, Charlotte is dead.
Emily calls Yancy back to the house, and he tells her what happened. John offers his condolences and apologies, and the drums stop as midnight strikes and the voodoo ends.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 30, 2017