|The Tale of the Dead Man's Float|
|Season 5 , Episode 1|
|Air date||October 7, 1995|
|Written by||Will Dixon|
|Directed by||D.J. MacHale|
The Tale of Train Magic
The Tale of the Jagged Sign
The Tale of the Dead Man's Float is the First episode and season premiere of the Fifth season of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as well as the Fifty-Third episode in total.
Midnight Society Cast
- Codie Wilbee as Stig
- Ross Hull as Gary
- Joanna Garcia as Sam
- Raine Pare-Coull as Betty Ann
- Jodie Resther as Kiki
- Daniel DeSanto as Tucker
- Kaj-Erik Eriksen (Credited as Kaj Eriksen) as Zeke Matthews
- Margot Finley as Clorice
- Aimée Castle as Greta
- Michael Ayoub as Charlie Dempster
- Byron Johnson as Young Charlie
- Jessica McKenzie as Cindy
- Arthur Holden as Mr. Brooks
- Marcel Jeannin as The Corpse
Special Guest Star
- Jay Baruchel as Joe
The night begins with Gary lighting a match to get the campfire going. He mentions that tonight is one of those meetings he always has mixed feelings about. He says that it's sad because Frank's family moved away, and now they've lost one of their members. Also it's exciting because now the Midnight Society must find a new member.
Hearing this Betty Ann is very excited and asks Gary who he brought, Tucker says he's the one who brought someone and comes in with a person in burlap sack bag on their head, saying that he's a friend of his. Kiki a little intrigued comes over to them up close to ask who the new guy is. Tucker takes off the burlap sack and a guy with greasy black hair named Stig says to Kiki "Hi babe!" and kisses her on the cheek.
Kiki backs away in absolute disgust and annoyance, just as all the other members do, too. Repulsed by him, she says; “No, no, anyone but stig.”. Sam is also disgusted and turned off by him. So she asks Kiki if she already knows the guy. Kiki says yes she does and that he’s “a total virus and if he gets to close to the fire he will explode”. Gary, considering how the girls are all feeling, expresses his concern to Tucker telling him he is not so sure about him. Tucker stands up for him and asks them all to give him a chance. Stig asks him if this is about telling a good story or winning a popularity contest.
All of them realizing he has a point, decides to let him take his chance. When Stig sits down next to Tucker, he is about to use Sam's sweater on the log to keep his bottom dry, but she protests and stops him. He defends himself saying the log was wet. She calls him grungy boy and tells him not to push it. Then she, Kiki and Betty Ann are all disgusted.
Stig says that since he figures he must impress them, he will take his best shot at it with his story. Stig says that many people do not like the way he is, and they always tell him to clean up his act, but that sometimes things are the way they are for a reason, and that making changes that shouldn't be made can lead to a whole mess of trouble.
Tucker takes the Non-Dairy Creamer dust and throws it into the fire to make the fire more intense, while Stig submits his story for approval of The Midnight Society. Calling the story "The Tale of the Dead Man's Float", and begins.
Stig tells the story. The story first takes place in 1954. One afternoon a young boy named Joe is about to go swimming in the school pool. Before he does, he asks the lifeguard Charlie Dempster if the pool is safe. Charlie says that is, and to call him if he needs anything. Charlie instead is more focused on making out with his girlfriend Cindy, who happens to be Joe's older sister. Joe is having a fun and relaxing time swimming. Then at the bottom of the pool, something unseen notices Joe swimming above. So it immediately comes after him.
Joe suddenly smells the most disgusting and unpleasant smell in the air. Then suddenly the unseen creature grabs him underwater to drown and kill him. Joe panics and keeps trying to swim back up. He coughs and chokes. Then he begins screaming at the top of his lungs for Charlie to help him. Hearing him screaming for help, Charlie and Cindy rush right over to the pool. Cindy is horrified to see her brother in the process of being drowned. Charlie grabs a lifebuoy and jumps in to rescue him. But it is already too late. The unseen creature has pulled Joe under and it drowned him.
The story then goes forward in time to about 1994. in a science class, the school's smartest loser Zeke Matthews has just made a mess. His experimental volcano has exploded. Now there is foul smelling smoke and slime everywhere. The teacher Mr. Brooks asks him what went wrong. Zeke says he miscalculated his experiment. Mr. Brooks goes to get the Custodian. Two girls in his class Greta and Clorice who are both on the school's swim team, have a little crush on him. Greta says he's cute like a little puppy. Although Clorice sort of does too, she also thinks he's a geek and annoying. She tells Greta: "Yeah like a puppy you need to clean up after". As if to say: "He's a pain in the neck". Also Zeke had a crush on Clorice too.
Greta and Clorice go over to him, and ask him what went wrong with volcano experiment. He tells them that if you mix Manganite with water the reaction is always same: you get lava surprise. As in a really big exploding mess. He just made a mistake, and put in too much at one time. Clorice coldly leaves him and takes off with Greta back to their seats. Mr. Brooks comes back and dismisses the class. Then the custodian comes in to clean the mess Zeke made. The Custodian is none other than Charlie Dempster. He grew up to become the school's custodian. He gives Zeke a response as if to say: "Really Zeke, another mess?". As the class is being dismissed. Zeke waits for Clorice. Now he tells her that since she is on the swim team, he has a surprise to show her. One that she might finding really interesting. She asks him to just tell her. He says he can't just tell her. Then it wouldn't be any fun. Feeling intrigued, she agrees to let him show her the surprise, the next morning before school starts.
The next morning before school starts, Zeke and Clorice meet. Now he leads her to the Boys' Change room. Feeling a little annoyed about where they are, she just wants to leave. Then Zeke is shown trying to open a panel at the corner of the lockers on the opposite wall. Clorice asks him what he is doing. He tells her that a week ago he calculated the entire mass of the school. Then he found out that there are more rooms in the school then there appear to be. Then Zeke pulls the wall of lockers away from the wall. It is almost like a false wall, and there is a door hidden behind where the lockers where. The inscription on the door says: "To Pool". Clorice is just amazed. Then she and Zeke enter the Pool House. The Pool House is a mess. There are old boxes and clutter everywhere. Also the pool is drained and covered by huge black tarps.
Clorice says that she never knew it was there. Zeke tells her he read up about it. The pool was used shortly in the 1950s. Then it was closed off for some reason, and he doesn't know why it was closed. Clorice thinks that she can get the school to open it up again. Because there is no point for her team having to take a one hour bus ride to another town, if there is a pool right in the school. She thanks him for the really cool thing he did. Now he asks her maybe if they can go out sometime. But she tells him not to push it. Then after they leave, Charlie passes by. Here he can see at the bottom of the pool the form of a human body rising into part of the tarp. This makes him really nervous. Because he just knows that history is going repeat itself, if the pool reopens.
Clorice wasn't kidding, she spoke to everyone at school. Then in a few weeks time the pool was good as new and reopened. One afternoon, Clorice and Greta were practicing. They stopped at the end of the pool to catch their breath. There they reflected on how great it was, that she got the school to have reopen the pool. As Clorice and Greta are talking, at the bottom of the pool something unseen is shown quickly closing in on them. As whatever it is gets closer, it lets off a terrible smell. Greta covers her nose. Then she complains asking her what the horrible smell is. Clorice thinks it might just be from the pipes still being dirty. Luckily Clorice and Greta get out of the swimming pool. Right before the whatever it is can grab them.
Then later in Mr. Brooks' science class, Clorice is pretty down in the dumps. Since she just got a C- on her exam. Zeke asks her what the problem is. She says if she doesn't get her science grades up, she will be kicked off the swim team. He decides to help tutor her. And in return if she'll teach him how to swim. They meet later at the pool to relax, study and swim. Zeke is afraid to get into the water. So she goes through it slowly with him. They float in the pool in an inflatable raft. Then she tells him slowly to first try putting his hand into the water. Zeke is too nervous to even do this. She asks him what it is that scares him so much about being in the water.
He tells her that when he was a kid, he was swimming in a pond. Then he got his foot tangled in some underwater plants, and he couldn't get loose. The harder he tried, the worse it got, and he almost drowned. Thankfully, his brother saw him and cut him loose. But ever since then, he has had a feeling like there is something down in the water waiting to get him. Because he cheated death once, and it wants another chance at him. Clorice strips down to her swimsuit, then jumps into the pool. This is to show him that a pool is safe, and that there is nothing in it that will harm him. Then she encourages him to put his hand into the water and he does. Then Suddenly she panics and something starts pulling her under the water. She swims back up gasping for air and coughing. Then on the other side of the raft, Greta pops up from the water yelling BOO! She pulled Clorice under the water as joke. She madly snapped at her, telling her that her joke wasn't funny.
As Greta swam out and exited the Pool. Greta said to Clorice: "I though you didn't like puppies?". This is as if to say that she is jealous. Since she liked Zeke, but Clorice took her chance before she could. She tells Greta that he's just helping her with science. She doesn't believe her, and says: "Yeah right" and leaves. Zeke wants to know what she meant by puppies. She tells him to never mind. Now she wants to continue to try and help him overcome his fear. She once again tells him that that nothing is down there. Just as Clorice says this, the presence of something at the bottom of pool closes in on their raft. Then as Zeke puts his hand into the water, a horrible smell fills the Pool House. According to Zeke; it smells like acid.
Then suddenly Zeke is pulled by the hand. Then he falls head first into the water. Clorice panics and screams his name over and over again. Zeke swims back up and Clorice grabs him by the hand and helps him back into the raft. This time they know for sure something is done there and it is no joke! They have no paddles and they can't row. So they'll need to wait for someone else to come and help them. Suddenly the acid smell is back. The suddenly, something begins shaking their raft. Now they're both dunked into the pool. Something begins drowning the both of them. Until Charlie hurries over. He hands them a long net and they grab onto it. Then he pulls them both out.
Then a little later in the locker room, they're both drying off and having warm drinks. Zeke asks Charlie what it is. With a look of guilt and upset on his face, he tells them both the history of the school pool: When the school's pool first opened he was the lifeguard. One day during his watch, his girlfriend Cindy's little brother Joe drowned. But it was not an accident. He says he tried to save the boy, but the creature wouldn't let him. He pulled him away. Then it drowned him and he was gone. Charlie is really upset and just about to cry now, when he says that nobody believed him. Until three more people drowned. Then finally, they shut down the swimming pool. Soon afterwards, it was all forgotten.. until now.
Clorice asks Charlie what it is. Charlie says that in order to build the pool, they first had to remove an old cemetery, and move all of the bodies. So he figures that they forgot one of the bodies. Therefore the spirit is angry. So it wants revenge on anyone who dares to disturb its eternal sleep. Clorice thinks that the same thing is going to happen all over again. And no one will believe them. Until someone is hurt. Zeke has a plan to defeat the creature. The three of them head to the science room. Zeke explains that since it's invisible, so no one is ever going to believe them. But if they can see it, then maybe they can stop it. Since it's part acid, Zeke plans to douse it with Methyl Orange. Because when methyl orange reacts to something acidic; it will turn it red.
Zeke puts on gloves and safety goggles. Then he pours some Methyl Orange into the pool. The red ooze slowly begins to take shape. Suddenly emerging from the water. is a hideous and terrifying red zombie corpse. The corpse is a slowly decomposing skeleton. Clorice screams, and Charlie seeing it for the first time after all this years begins to go into shook. The corpse comes towards them. So Zeke tries to whack it with the handle of the net. But it just splashes right through it like it's nothing. Zeke runs off to the change room where Clorice is treating Charlie, who is lying down in shook. Zeke explains that since The Corpse is now visible, it can't hide anymore and now it roams freely. Also since it is made of water, it can travel through pipes and drains. Then it instantly appears in the change room. It came in right through the drain on the floor. They run off screaming.
Zeke doesn't know how to stop it, but Clorice has an idea. Since The Corpse is water based, She says she'll douse it with Manganite. Since it is water based it will explode. Zeke applauds her for remembering his experimental volcano, saying that she is brilliant. Clorice is about to open the container, when Zeke slaps it away and it sinks to the bottom of the pool. Zeke did this because her hands were wet. So if she opened it, the chemical would burn her skin.
Clorice decides to swim in after it, she swims to the bottom of the pool to retrieve it. Then The Corpse slimes back into the pool and begins to move towards her. Zeke screams her name to her and warns her to get out. She sees it moving in on her and she is frozen in fear and shock and cannot move. Zeke jumps in to save her, and when he does she snaps out of it. The Corpse is now after him. So he begins to swim away, but not very quickly. Since he isn't an experienced swimmer. Clorice makes it out if the pool with the chemical. Then she puts on the safety gloves.
Zeke is about to get out, but seeing The Corpse he almost goes into shock and cannot move. Then Charlie returns and pulls him out of the pool. Then Clorice calls out to The Corpse and douses it with the Manganite. The Corpse loudly and violently screams and moans as it bubbles, oozes, sizzles, smokes, steams and evaporates away into nothing. Zeke applauds her for defeating it. Then they smile in their victory as Charlie looks on in relief. Because finally after all these year, the nightmare is finally over. Then he gratefully thanks them.
As the story ends, Stig tells the viewers that the evil spirit never bothered anyone ever again. Also Charlie was no longer tortured by his memories. Also Zeke and Clorice do end up together. They are seen cuddling together lying down on the raft in the pool. Clorice figured it was okay to be science geek after all. Also Clorice showed Zeke that there were a lot more fun things to do besides study all the time such as spending time with a girlfriend. Although Zeke still didn't care much for the water.
Tucker asks if that wasn't the best, and the group huddles together to vote. While they do this, Stig takes some of the Non-Dairy Creamer dust, and tastes it to the disgust of the society. Sam then says that he told a great story, but that the vote must be unanimous, and that it wasn't. Tucker declares that it isn't fair, Stig then thanks them for the shot, and starts to walk way, but Betty Ann tells him to wait, and says they are giving him another chance. Gary then says that if he comes to couple more meetings and tells another story, and Kiki interrupts and says "If we don't think you're a total puke", and Gary finishes saying that he will be in. Stig says he can handle that, and Kiki tells him to handle a shower and puts the burlap sack back on his head so he doesn't know where the place is yet. Gary extinguishes the fire, and the group walks away.
- Stig's first story.
- This was the only time an initiation story (Stig's) failed to give the storyteller a membership for the Midnight Society.
- This story is believed to be one of the most scariest stories in the entire show.
- The first episode where a narrator was heard mid-story since "The Tale of the Dangerous Soup" and the last until "The Tale of the Gruesome Gourmets" in the show's later continuation, making it the last in the show's initial run.
- The exterior shot of the school reveals that it's the same one as shown in "The Tale of the Midnight Ride".
- Jay Baruchel who portrayed Joe would later reappear in the series revival, three more times. The second time he appeared as Alex in the episode "The Tale of the Zombie Dice". The third time he appeared as Ross Doyle in the episode "The Tale of the Walking Shadow". The fourth time he appeared as Jason Midas in the episode "The Tale of the Time Trap"
- Jessica McKenzie who portrayed Cindy, later reappeared in the series revival. She next appeared as Candy in the episode "The Tale of the Gruesome Gourmets".
- Arthur Holden who portrayed Mr. Brooks previously appeared in series before. He first portrayed Ichabod Crane, in the "The Tale of the Midnight Ride". His third and last appearance would be in the series revival as The Court Jester in "The Tale of the Wisdom Glass".
- Marcel Jeannin who portrayed The Corpse, later reappeared in the series revival as Adrian in the episode "The Tale of the Walking Shadow".
- Aimée Castle portrayed a minor role as her character Greta. But a few years later she would become much better known for her roles in "Back to Sherwood" as Robyn Hood and Lori Baxter in "Big Wolf on Campus".
- Second time for showing the lighting of fire when Gary lit a match to start the campfire.
- If the pungent, acidic odor smelled of 'rotten eggs' as the janitor described, the only acid that comes close to smelling as such is sulfuric acid: H2SO4, and would need a stronger base than methyl-orange to dilute the pH of the being down to ~7.0 which is supposed to be pure water's pH.