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The Phantom Lullaby


The caring parents of a young woman rent her a luxurious house to recuperate from a bitter affair and an abortion. But trouble seems to shadow her footsteps as a resident spirit in the apartment haunts her.



Air Dates

  • First Run - May 29, 1974
  • Repeat - August 18, 1974





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17 Responses to Episode 0098

Considering how tortured the woman was by the spirits, having "lullaby" in the title is somewhat misleading. Ghost story.


A couple and their adult daughter move to a home which has been known to host a ghost. The daughter has recently made a very difficult decision and her much older boyfriend is not present. She begins to speak French and we learn the reason in the concluding moments.


A mother and father rent an expensive apartment for their daughter who is coming out of a bad relationship and an abortion. She is soon consumed by the spirit that inhabits the apartment.

Kathy Wulla

A young girl falls into a strange trance-like state after returning home from having an abortion to a new penthouse apartment her parents arranged for in an effort to make her happy. In the trance she talks of caring for a little boy, and speaks only in French! Mon Dieu!!!


Story:A woman returns to her parents new apartment immediately after an abortion. Mom and Dad are worried about her zombie like appearance and her new ability to speak French. Also disturbing is her fascination with caring for the "little boy". While the building maintenance man relates the story to Mom about how the apartment is haunted, Dad goes off to find her boyfriend and bring him to the apartment. When they arrive, they find that the daughter has lapsed into a coma. Amazingly, after summoning the doctor, she snaps out of it and acts as if nothing has happened. The boyfriend relates that he used to live in this very apartment, and that his first wife jumped to her death while holding his son from this very balcony. Of course he met his wife during his service in the war - she was French you see. Comment: I listened to this while on a short trip the other day, and I haven't had time to review the episode for character names and in-depth details. I remember reading a review of this episode years ago where the author posited that this tale was a statement against abortion. I'm not so sure. Although I agree that the psychological trauma of the daughter could have been achieved using other methods, including childbirth, I think abortion was used because it was on the lips of most news discussions at the time. My belief is based on my inability to find a true moral to this story. The father character is fairly well played, with the emotion believable, but the other characters are bland and not well "fleshed out." I thought the storyline quite mediocre, and the dialogue uninspiring - merely words between conceptual storyline points. I expressed some reservations about Elspeth Eric's work in other comments.


Quite the disturbing episode! The worst part was there seemed to be no ending. So, this girl was channelling the ghost of the dead wife of the man who had gotten her pregnant. But then what? I was hoping for an ENDING. I didn't get one. A creepy mother's day choice


In terms of plot this story is fairly slight, but I like it for the same reason I like a number of the much-maligned Elspeth Eric's scripts: It's unconventional. Her stories rarely follow a standard "dramatic arc," and as a result they develop in truly unexpected ways. Also notable is the fact that in many of her scripts there is an attempt at some psychological depth. Finally, her tales tend to be ambiguous, with endings that individual listeners seem to find either evocative (as I do) or irritating (as many more seem to!). All these qualities, if qualities they are, are present in this episode. Anyway, this was an interesting, quiet ghost story, as indeed E.G. Marshall promises us at the beginning.


this was such a peculiar tale, that it seemed a good opportunity to be heard on a day such as mother's day. one characteristic of elspeth eric's writing is that she leaves a bounty of character development up to the audience. by having mason's character tell brief but crucial details, she has opened up numerous possibilities to that character's own story. for me, it's a very interesting style of writing. i liked this episode for a few reasons, but mainly i chose it for the holiday because it dealt with three different mothers, each whom experienced a different respect of motherhood: 1. the girl's mother - protective, nurturing, and loving; she even goes so far as to decorate the apartment for her daughter. 2. the girl (daughter) - for some reason, decided that abortion was the only resort to her situation. she was being deprived, at this point in her life, of being a protective, nurturing, and loving mother. she was making a painful decision in which many consider abominable. 3. the ghost mother - another nurturing, protective, loving mother (we assume), until her depression overwhelms her (again, we assume), and she does the unthinkable, not only to herself, but to her helpless child. all the women in this tale are suffering. it's actually pretty horrible! and while the father is stricken, mason's character is just plain weird... i was a bit surprised when he responded to the father's questions saying "never... NEVER... NEVER!!" all in all, it was a very peculiar episode. because of the tragic events befallen to the three mothers, i thought this might make an interesting show of the week for the holiday. i look forward to reading the other comments!

Jason Praeter

In the intro to this show, an unusually effusive EG Marshall suggests an old-fashioned ghost story. But the show ends up being something quite different, and more real. The Mason Adams character (John) begins as a minor character, unusual for Adams' roles in the RMT, and there is a disturbing angst in the protrayal. There is a good understated role for Bob Dryden. There is the controversial issue of abortion ("ending an incipient life") and the uncomfortable fact that John is as old as his girlfriend's father. The opening scene was a very long take and built a good tension. The plot thickened and I was drawn in and involved in the story. Only the end seemed anticlimactic. With all the other, powerful issues involved, the ghost story was overshadowed, then brought back in at the end to close the show with a supernatural overtone. Despite this, I gave this show a 5. This was a real drama and the writing and acting were outstanding. At each change of Act, I was reminded that I was listening to RMT. During the Acts themselves I was focused on the character dialogue.


This episode was fascinating. A young lady has an abortion as a result of a relationship with an older, abusive man. Following her abortion, she seems out of sorts--shouldn't she be. Abortions are traumatic experiences. The story seems to weave the pasts of three people together--the young lady who had the abortion, her older boyfriend, and a maintenance man of the apartment that the young lady shares with her parents. The three are bound together by ghosts of the past, and present. I am normally not an Elspeth Eric fan. Her writing is normally more feminine in taste. This episode is no different. Lots of emotion brought out by all characters. As far as a ghost tail, the supernatural elements were subtle which added to the dialogue of the characters. Overall, a great episode that probably connects with female listeners. 4 stars. If this episode were acted out today I could see/hear Julia Roberts and George Cloony playing the parents, Bruce Willis playing the part of John Draper, Steve Busceme acting as the creepy maintenance man, and an innocent Ellen Paige playing the part of the young lady.


Typical Elspeth Eric nonsense, and the only thing keeping it from being the worst CBSRMT I've ever heard was that there was at least a merciful lack of screaming in it. It's like she had a two-minute sketch for a ghost story and turned it into a 40 minute radio play in an attempt to let her characters explain that, no, really, it was a good idea. The only intriguing takeaway was the fun coincidence of a character named "Draper" in this episode, followed the next day by a star turn by Mad Men actor Robert Morse.


Not a great episode. A girl recovering from an abortion just happens to be possessed/haunted by the father's dead wife who happened to live in the same apartment. No reason given as to why the lady haunts the apartment nor why she specifically possessed the daughter for a while and no real resolution to the story either.


@Alec, Well, the ghost woman haunted the apartment because she killed herself there. That part makes sense. Ghosts usually haunt the place they died in, especially if they died a violent or unusual death, or have unresolved issues from their lives, etc. Also, it makes sense that she would take possession of her (former) husband's new girlfriend, because of the connection she had with the husband, and also because the girlfriend had been carrying a child. I think the girl was grieving the loss of her aborted child, so the ghost baby was kind of like a substitute child that she could mother. The girlfriend made a good vessel to posses, because of her latent motherly instincts (that needed to be expressed due to the abortion). Just one more attempt from Elspeth Eric to create a psychological drama, using abortion as an issue to be explored. It's true that the ending went nowhere, but one problem with Elspeth Eric's writing is that often she does leave the ending unresolved, or it just doens't make any sense. I really do like some of her episodes, but most of her scripts follow along the same pattern. They start out okay, and then they slip into something weird, and the ending either crashes and burns, or it just meanders around and ends up going nowhere.


Why would the Mother rent out a penthouse that the ex boyfriend, who got her pregnant and later was aborted? And ex boyfriend had a wife, who killed herself and his baby. Now that is FAR OUT!

Scooter D & no Greens

A very depressive episode. While it is understandable that it explores controversial topics of the time period, the story is lacking true direction. It's very vague and disjointed. This is definitely not one i would listen to again. The parents are at one moment concerned and caring but so accepting of what the ex boyfriend is age wise and bringing him back into the daughters life after an abortion? Makes no sense. Not impressed by this attempt at a radio episode. I don't think even commercials and news would have helped.


Lot of filler in this one where there could’ve been plot development. The weirdest part for me was the nonchalant attitude of the parents during their daughter’s ‘lack of vital signs’. Very strange and kind of dull. I thought this was one of the weakest of the cbsrmt’s I’ve heard so far.


The worst written story I've heard so far. The storyline is completely ludicrous. None of the characters react like any normal person would. Every sequence of events moves to the next with an eye rolling decsion that makes the story more ridiculously played out.

Eric Gilbert

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