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The Tale of the Phantom Cab
Season 1, Episode 1
Phantom cab
Air date August 15, 1992
Written by Chloe Brown
Directed by Ron Oliver
Episode guide
The Tale of Laughing in the Dark

The Tale of the Phantom Cab is the First episode of the First season of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as well as the First episode in total.


Midnight Society Cast

Story Cast

  • Jason Tremblay as Denny Crocker
  • Sean Ryan as Buzz Crocker
  • Brian Dooley as Flynn
  • Aron Tager as Dr. Vink
  • T.O. Dillon as Ranger


We are introduced to The Midnight Society: Gary, Betty Ann, Kiki, Eric, Kristen, and David.

David presents a possible new member of the Midnight Society named Frank, who introduces his story entitled "The Tale of the Phantom Cab".


Frank tells a story about Denny Crocker and his little brother Buzz who get lost in the woods. After being misled by Buzz's compass (which was pointing to his belt buckle because it's magnetic), they encounter a man named Flynn. He takes them to the home of Dr. Vink, an odd backwoods scientist. Dr. Vink begins to ask them riddles, which Buzz easily solves. On the condition that he will let them call their parents, Dr. Vink asks a riddle that stumps both of them: "What's weightless, can be seen by the naked eye, and if put in a barrel, will make it lighter?". When Buzz can't solve it, he forces them to leave, telling them that a cab will soon arrive, and then drives them off by showing them a preserved amputated hand.

The story is interrupted by Kristen calling David for including a riddle that is impossible to solve but then Kiki realizes the impossible riddle and Gary starts to get the plot. Frank asks that he knows the answer but all it will take is finishing the story, to which they agree.

The boys run back into the woods and find the cab, of which Flynn is the driver. Flynn reveals Dr. Vink's plot: 40 years ago, he also encountered the scientist and was forced to cut his hand as a specimen. When he left, he was killed when the cab crashed into a tree. Now, his ghost lures people in to Dr. Vink's cabin so that they will relive the accident, killing all of them and giving the doctor new specimens. As they near the crash site, Denny and Buzz desperately try to solve the riddle before Buzz gets the answer: A hole! The cab disappears, and the two are rescued by a ranger. At the end of the story, Buzz and Denny take the police to the location of Vink's cabin, only to find an old stone foundation covered in weeds.


The group votes, and Frank is admitted into the Midnight Society.

  • Frank's first story.
  • This episode is also when Frank is introduced to The Midnight Society, at the same time the introduction of Dr. Vink, who would later appear in other stories told by Frank.
  • This is the only time a Midnight Society member's last name is mentioned (when he is first shown, Gary refers to the inductee as Frank Moore).
  • This is the only time a Midnight Society inductee (Frank) remains blindfolded throughout the entire storytelling (Tucker, Sam, and Stig had bags - and, later for Stig, a bandanna - placed over their heads for only a moment when taken directly to the fire.)
  • One of twenty-one episodes where the Midnight Society didn't leave and douse the fire with the water-bucket (Frank was being congratulated on joining).
  • One of five episodes to feature a different opening (a door appearing against a sky backdrop opening into a dark area with ghostly images rushing by to form the title) instead of the opening of various shots of a bay, a moving playground swing, an old house and attic, and a match lighting itself in the hand that held it.
  • Jason Tremblay would reappear a few episodes later as Bostick in "The Tale of the Twisted Claw".
  • Brian Dooley who played Flynn the cab driver, appeared again in the season 4 episode "The Tale of the Silent Servant" as Pete Peterson.
  • T.O. Dillon, who portrayed the Forest Ranger, made another appearance in the show. He next portrayed the coach, in the episode "The Tale of the Curious Camera". However, his name was credited as Teddy Lee Dillon.
  • This episode is Dr. Vink's first appearance. His second appearance would be in "The Tale of the Midnight Madness"
  • This was the first time a character had referred to Dr. Vink as a "nutbag" and the first time Dr. Vink said he wasn't.