5 eerie episodes of The Waltons that are not like the rest
Yes, even the Waltons had a poltergeist.
The Waltons is wholesome family entertainment, known for its generational drama and American values. After all, the most familiar catchphrase from the series is "Good night, John-Boy."
That being said, The Waltons is also a product of the 1970s, a decade that gave us The Exorcist and Stephen King. The horror genre dominated pop culture that decade. Remember, scary flicks like The Night Stalker, When Michael Calls, Bad Ronald and Trilogy of Terror were made-for-TV movies shown on networks. ABC aired a film called Satan's School for Girls featuring two soon-to-be Charlie's Angels.
Fans of the genre and those nostalgic for moody '70s stories will find some gems scattered about in the nine seasons of The Waltons. Watch the video above for proof. Ghosts, nightmares, fires, Ouija boards… look for the following on The Waltons.
1. "The Fire"
Season 1, episode 16
Series creator Earl Hamner did not wait long to write his first dark script. This early tale centers around religious fanatics who threaten the school over its teaching of evolution. "My pa says if you go on teaching it, you're going to burn in the fires of hell," a girl threatens the teacher. Sure enough, an arsonist hits the schoolhouse.
2. "The Ghost Story"
Season 2, Episode 22
John-Boy receives a "spirit board" — essentially a Ouija board. Meanwhile, the Waltons have taken in a boy named Luke, who recently lost his mother. The kids then try to commune with the dead, as a message comes back: "Luke… must not…" Spooky!
3. "The Ferris Wheel"
Season 5, Episode 15
Two of the most sinister stories center around little Elizabeth. In this one, the young redhead keeps having recurring nightmares in which she falls from the top of a shadowy carnival Ferris wheel. She plummets to the ground — only to wake up in the real world, having fallen, as well. The director, who also helmed the classic Star Trek episode "Charlie X," filmed the nightmare scenes at psychedelic angles, added to the unsettling mood.
4. "The Changeling"
Season 7, Episode 6
Elizabeth again. This time, the Waltons girl is turning 13, which is giving her anxiety. Is what's causing the strange happenings around the house — or is there a poltergeist? The piano plays itself, a vase floats off the mantel, and — eeriest yet — her Raggedy-Ann doll creeps towards her bed. Ah!
5. "The Whirlwind" / "The Tempest"
Season 9, Episodes 9 & 10
These back-to-back episodes, late in the series, tell one story. Mary Ellen believes that her husband died at Pearl Harbor, in the prior season. Just as she is ready to move on, she learns of a doppelganger for her ex-husband living in Florida. Mary Ellen heads south to confront the man, who feigns amnesia. He finally fesses and admits he is, indeed, her former lover. But what's quite strange is that The Waltons recast the part with a different actor. So it's her old husband — but a totally different guy!