Are You Afraid of the Dark Wiki
The Tale of Old Man Corcoran
Season 2 , Episode 13
Air date October 2, 1993
Written by Scott Peters
Directed by Ron Oliver
Episode guide
The Tale of the Hatching
The Tale of the Midnight Ride

The Tale of Old Man Corcoran is the Thirteenth episode of the Second season of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as well as the Twenty-Sixth episode in total. Also, this episode is the Season Two finale.


Midnight Society Cast[]

Story Cast[]


That evening, the group all comes in running. Frank arrives first, saying "Home free!", followed by Kristen, then Kiki, Gary and Betty Ann. David is annoyed, realizing he is last again, and therefore "it"; having been "it" three times in a row, he's getting fed up. Betty Ann gives him a break and decides to be "it" instead.

David wants to skip to telling the story. Kristen asks why they're all playing a dumb kids' game, and who is telling the story tonight. Kiki says it's her turn, and that it's not a dumb game; she had the group play hide-and-seek to get them all in the mood for the story. Hide-and-seek is not like any other game - you start in a group, but when you're out there alone in the dark, you have to hide and be very quiet because you never know when someone might catch you. This intrigues the group.

Then Kiki sits down on the storyteller's chair, and throws dust into the campfire to make it flash. Then she submits her story for the approval of The Midnight Society, calling it "The Tale of Old Man Corcoran", and begins.


Kiki tells the story. It is about Jack Harris and his younger brother Kenny. They have just moved to a new higher class neighborhood because their mom got a better paying job. But the boys haven't made any new friends yet, and it's not easy being the new kids around. They were willing to do anything to fit in. But they were about to learn that it's not always a good idea to fit in with everyone you meet.

One day, Jack and Kenny were having a water gun fight, when suddenly a group of six children around their age come by on their bikes. The group leader, Marshall McClain, approaches and introduces himself. The boys introduce themselves as being from a rough neighborhood. Marshall politely invites them to a game of hide-and-seek that night.

Jack wasn't so sure he wanted to join a dumb kids' game. But Marshall eggs him on by saying that they would probably be too scared to play where they did - at the end of Banker Street, behind the gate. When asked why, Marshall told them it gets pretty dark there at night. He then rides off with his friends, telling the boys to meet them there after sunset, if they weren't too scared.

That night, Jack and Kenny head over to meet Marshall and his friends, finding a graveyard beyond the gate. Kenny thought he was joking about going in, but Jack talks him into it. They climb the fence and go to find the others.

They pass by various gravestones and family plots, quickly getting lost. Then suddenly Marshall pops out from behind them and scares them before telling them the others are already hiding, because they all thought they boys weren't going to come. Marshall then calls "Olly Olly Oxen Free", prompting everyone to come out from hiding to start over. The five other kids all stand together in a line and Marshall introduces them all. Two other boys named: Ron Jacobson and Scott Wolden. Along with three girls. A dark hair girl named: Laura Ayers, a blonde girl named: Mary Alice Reardon, and a somewhat tomboy named: Cissy Vernon (who is sensitive to her name sounding funny. Ergo she prefers to just be called Vernon).

Cissy seems annoyed about new people being there, claiming they have enough people. Marshall explains he invited them because the more the better. Cissy tells them they better not scare easy. Jack asks, "If everyone in the graveyard is dead, what is there to be scared of?"

She tells Jack and Kenny about Old Man Corcoran, the graveyard groundskeeper. He worked hard, digging the graves with only a shovel. He thought he owned the place, so he would walk around the graveyard at night to make sure nobody was trespassing. When he wasn't doing his rounds, he would be camping out in the woods, playing his harmonica. Apparently he was crazy; he once caught a kid stealing from his shack, and chopped the kid's hand off. Then one day, he was digging a new grave, when the sides suddenly caved in, and he was buried alive. His ghost still haunts the graveyard, wandering around at night looking for trespassers. And if it's really quiet, off in the distance you might even hear him playing the harmonica.

The two brothers and Marshall don't believe her; the brothers tell her that living in their old neighborhood was scarier, and give her the nickname Vermin. Laura gets impatient and wants to start playing. Marshall starts a new game, with Rob being "it". Everyone else goes off to hide.

The graveyard is full of white rolling fog. Kenny finds a gravestone with a creepy message written on it. Jack finds a freshly dug grave and suggest that they hide in it, but Kenny points out that it could cave in at any time. Then they hear a harmonica playing, so they go off to investigate. They past through a bit of woods until they see an old-fashioned forest shack, which Kenny suspects is Old Man Corcoran's. They get closer to the shack and hide, sitting in front of a big chopped down tree stump. They get back up upon seeing that no one is there. Then they can see a harmonica on the tree stump nearby.

They run back to graveyard, when Laura pops up from behind a gravestone. She startles them, screaming "Olly olly oxen free". After they shake it off, they bump into a pale old man in blue overalls holding a tree ax, causing them to run off screaming. While trying to climb back over the fence, Kenny rips his pants, then they run back home. The next afternoon, their mom has them sweep and clean the garage as punishment for Kenny ripping his pants.

Marshall and the group stop by to invite them to play again that night. Kenny declines, prompting Cissy to taunt them about being scared. Marshall tells them she just told them that story to scare them, because she doesn't want anyone else joining their group. Jack said he would believe it when he saw it, and he did. Marshall still doesn't believe him, even though Kenny backs him up. Cissy doesn't believe them, either, and mocks them as being chickens. So Jack accepts the invitation to prove they are not scared.

That night it's very foggy again. Then, before the two brothers show up, Marshall and his friends are seen talking. Marshall is tired of always playing with the same people. Cissy claims he said that after she joined, there wasn't going to be anyone else. Jack and Kenny overhear them talking and come in. Marshall applauds them for showing up, Mary Alice teases them by asking if they're afraid that Old Man Corcoran is going to get them. Marshall is tired of hearing about Old Man Corcoran, who he still doesn't believe exists, so he tells her to give it a rest.

The group decides that since Jack and Kenny are such scared wimps, that they can be "it" together. To prove they're not scared, they go along with the game. After counting they venture out to find them, they almost find Mary Alice. She is hiding crouched down in front of a gravestone. Then suddenly after the fog blows away, she seems to have somehow vanished, but they didn't notice because they heard the harmonica again.

Jack decides to steal the harmonica and show it to the others to prove that he is real, but Kenny just wants to go get them to see him. Jack claims that by the time they get them, he could be gone, so they need something to prove it. They sneak around the outside of his shack trying to steal his harmonica, when he isn't looking. However they can't seem to swipe it from him, and almost get caught by him. Jack takes out his flashlight and decides to search for something belonging to the old man in the shack.

Inside the shack, it's very dark. Jack accidentally flips the switch on an old music player, and it begins to play. The room seems to be spinning, until he gets startled by Kenny. He reveals to his brother that he got the harmonica. Jack thinks it's great and asks for the flashlight, but Kenny says he's not holding it. They slowly turn to see that Old man Corcoran is holding it! He looks mad and snarls at them: "Give me back my harmonica!".

They ran away terrified at full speed back to the graveyard. Then they both fall into an open grave, which Cissy is hiding in. Cissy seems upset to see them and she demands for them to leave. Terrified, they tell her that Old Man Corcoran is after them, and they show her the harmonica as proof. She still doesn't listen to them or seem to care; she simply demands they get out of her hiding spot. Finally, they get out and when they leave, she tells them to get their own grave. Kenny tells her that he didn't see her name on it. Now the camera zooms up to her and she says: "Well, look a little closer next time".

Then suddenly Marshall pops up in the ground, scaring them. They tell him that they stole Old Man Corcoran's harmonica and he's chasing them. Marshall still doesn't believe them, and tries to convince them just to keep playing the game with them and hide in the grave with him. Kenny tries once again to convince him to believe them and forget about the game. Marshall tries a final time to convince them to hide in the grave with him. He looks at them with his eyes wide open. He asks them: "Don't you want to play? They can NEVER find you in here!". Then suddenly he climbs down deeper into the grave, as Jack and Kenny stare onwards.

Suddenly Old Man Corcoran appears behind them; he startles them, but doesn't hurt them, and merely retrieves his harmonica. Then he asks them what they're doing here. Very nervously, Jack explains to him, they were just playing a game of hide-and-seek. The old man seems stumped and says: "In a graveyard? Just the two of you?". Nervously, Kenny explains they were playing with their friends and he begins giving out three of their names. Then, before he can name the rest of them, they both trip and fall to the ground.

Old Man Corcoran tells them that's not possible, and it's not very funny to lie. Because all of those kids are dead and buried, and he dug the graves himself. Suddenly they realize the ground they're on is already covered and the grass has grown over it. They slowly look around and realize the gravestone belongs to Marshall the son of Jim and Denise, who died in 1978.

They both are staring in terrified shock, and the old man says it looks like they've seen a ghost. Above the grave are five other graves, belonging to the five other kids. They were trying to lure them to an early grave. Luckily the old man was a good person, and he showed up when he did, preventing them from being buried alive.

It's not explained to the viewers what happened to Marshall and his friends, but it's possible that they were only visible to other kids, or those they were trying to take with them. Also it's possible that their graves would only close and reopen in the fog.


Kiki ends the story and asks them all to play hide-and-seek again. First Kristen calls Not "it", followed by Betty Ann, Kiki, and David. Franks is last and is now "it". Reluctantly, Frank goes along with it and begins to count as they go off to hide. Gary isn't present when the story ends, but it's possible he was going to fill the water bucket to put out the campfire.

  • Tamar Kozlov who portrayed Cissy Vernon had previously appeared in the early Season One's episode "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark" as Kathy.
  • David Francis who portrayed Old Man Corcoran previously appeared in Season One's episode "The Tale of the Hungry Hounds" as Giles. He would later reappear one more time in the series as Daniel Carpenter in the episode "The Tale of Station 109.1".
  • This was the last appearances of both David and Kristen. The beginning of the next season, Gary announces that both of their families moved away.
  • Adam Bonneau (Jack) was in the Goosebumps episode Let's Get Invisible as Zack.
  • One of twenty-one episodes where the Midnight Society didn't leave and douse the fire with the water-bucket (Frank was counting for a game of hide-and-seek while the others hid).
  • One of the gravestones read "Ron Oil", as a reference to Ron Oliver, the director of this episode.
  • Marshall's year of birth and year of death, 1965-1978, as seen on his gravestone, would make him 13 years old at the time of his death.