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 H O M  E :: p:tl episode guide :: season four :: episode description

83. Gaslight

Season: 4
First Air Date: 24 September 1999 (Sci Fi Channel)
Alternate Title(s): Das Geisterhaus (German)
MGM/Sci Fi Photos: see Season Four photos page
Derek Rayne Photos: 9 photos (some w/ Rachel)

One of Rachel's long-time patients inherits the family mansion and is menaced by the "ghosts" that inhabit the house, which results in life-threatening asthma attacks.



Derek de Lint

"Dr. Derek Rayne, Ph D"

Helen Shaver "Dr. Rachel Corrigan, MD"
Guest Actors


Ocean Hellman "Sandy Spiro"
Brandy Ledford
(Martin Cummin's wife)
"Vicky" (Sandy's cousin)
Brennan Elliott "Tom Claremont"
Co-Executive Producer Garner Simmons
CO-Executive Producer Grant Rosenberg
Producer -

Story by
Richard Barton Lewis & Grant Rosenberg
Teleplay by Grant Rosenberg

Director Martin Cummins
This description by:

Tracey -



Spiro Estate

Three young boys, Jake, Tony and Andrew, approach the abandoned Spiro mansion. Tony and Jake are teasing Andrew about the ghosts in the house, but he doesn't believe them. They dare Andrew to go inside alone. Andrew clambers inside an open window and shines his torch around in the darkness. He spots a photo of a young girl and picks it up, studying it closely. Sensing someone behind him, Andrew whirls around to see the young woman from the photo standing before him with blood running down the side of her head. Startled, Andrew moves backwards only to bump into an older woman with slashed wrists. Andrew scrambles away, but encounters a man with a bullet wound to his head. Andrew screams and darts out the window, calling for his friends.

Inside, Andrew's torch continues to shine on the now smashed photograph of the young girl.

Rachel's House

A young woman, Sandy Spiro, sobs as she tells Rachel she received a letter from her family lawyer stating that she inherited her father's estate on her 21st birthday. As she tells Rachel she starts to have trouble breathing and searches for an inhaler. An excited Rachel tells Sandy that the estate is beautiful, but Sandy wishes it had been burnt to the ground. Rachel sympathizes with her, understanding that the deaths of her family have left her traumatized; however burning down the house is not the answer. Sandy informs Rachel that the house has been empty for eight years since the death of her father. It is said to be haunted by the spirits of her dead parents and sister, Patricia. Rachel urges Sandy to take a positive approach by going back there and confronting her fears. Sandy doesn't think it is a good idea, but Rachel insists it will bring her closure and peace of mind. When she offers to accompany Sandy, Sandy gives in.

Legacy Library

Derek is seated at the table, cleaning a gun, when Rachel walks in. She makes a comment about "boys and their toys". Derek tells her it is hardly a toy. Rachel adds that Nick told her and Alex about the last time Derek and Nick shot through a month's supply of ammo within a couple of hours. Derek smiles and says they have to stay sharp. Rachel starts laughing and starts to make the obvious comment about sexual frustrations but Derek stops her in her tracks, saying that their work can be dangerous and she should think about carrying a weapon herself. Rachel makes a face, saying it's not her style and she can take care of herself. She notices a print of a newspaper article entitled "Family Tragedy Continues" and picks it up. Derek tells her that he printed it after their previous conversation and comments that the family have been through a lot, wondering if the Legacy should really be involved. Rachel states that she wants to know all the facts so that she can help Sandy. Derek tells her that after Patricia died, Sandy's mother committed suicide and her father shot himself a few weeks later. He comments that it is remarkable that Sandy has managed to lead any kind of life. Rachel asks Derek if he managed to find out anything about the family other than what appeared in the newspapers. Derek tells her he asked Detective Royce to pull the police file on Patricia's death, however the case was open and shut. Patricia fell and cracked open her skull - a tragic accident. However the investigating detective felt that something was amiss but couldn't prove anything and Derek has arranged to meet with him the following day. Rachel asks Derek if he would like to accompany them on a visit to the Spiro Estate and Derek replies that he wouldn't miss it.


Sandy is having lunch with her cousin, Vicky and they discuss Sandy's inheritance. Vicky is very excited and comments that the estate must be worth a fortune. Sandy admits it is worth a few million, but doesn't seem impressed. Vicky points out that Sandy is barely existing on a secretary's salary and lives in a one bedroom apartment; now she has the chance to go back to a life with money. She tries to persuade Sandy that she deserves it, but Sandy disagrees. Vicky confesses that she always dreamed of living at the house and being Sandy's sister. Horrified, Sandy says she's glad that Vicky isn't her sister. Vicky apologizes for bringing up old memories of Patricia as Sandy begins to have trouble breathing. Sandy says she can't escape the memories. Vicky tells her that she can't just give the house away and she has a lawyer friend who can help. Sandy agrees to talk to him.

Spiro Estate

Derek, Rachel and Sandy enter the house and Sandy comments that she hasn't stood there for a long time. Derek tries a light switch, but the power is off. Sandy thanks them for accompanying her, but asks to tour the house on her own. Suddenly Sandy is startled by a creaking sound, but Derek assures her that it is probably just settling noises and goes off in search of the fuse box. Sandy changes her mind and asks Rachel to stay with her and they move throughout the house. As they move down a dark hallway, Sandy becomes increasingly frightened and tells Rachel that the house smells of death. Rachel warns her to stay calm and not to let her imagination run riot. They hear noises and Rachel tries to reassure Sandy that it's probably nothing.

Derek descends into the basement and finds the fuse box.

Rachel and Sandy enter her father's den and find nothing untoward. Rachel asks if Sandy has any pleasant memories of this room, but Sandy states she has no pleasant memories of the house.

Derek goes into the kitchen and opens a drawer. He is startled when it pulls out of his hand and begins to open and close on its own.

Rachel and Sandy move down the hallway towards the ballroom where Patricia died. Sandy hesitates outside and Rachel tells her she doesn't have to go in.

A gust of wind blows through the kitchen and the blinds start to open and close. The stove turns itself on and flames erupt from the gas rings.

Sandy and Rachel hear the commotion from the kitchen. Rachel hesitates, torn between staying with Sandy and going to help Derek. Noticing her dilemma, Sandy tells her that she will be fine and Rachel leaves. Music begins to play from the ballroom.

Rachel rushes into the kitchen, but the door slams shut behind her, trapping both of them inside.

Sandy enters the ballroom, as Derek and Rachel try to break open the kitchen door, Sandy hears laughter and hears Patricia's voice. She screams as she sees her sister in front of her. Derek and Rachel rush in, as she collapses, sobbing, to the floor.

Legacy House

Derek shows Detective O'Brian into the house and he comments that he has heard a lot about the Luna Foundation but never managed to get an invite to one of the soirees. He shows Derek the file on the Spiro case and comments that there isn't a lot there. He tells Derek that the accident took place on 3 December 1991 at Patricia's sixteenth birthday party. Patricia's father was a major player in the overseas bond market and they were very wealthy. Mrs. Spiro was a socialite who did a lot of charity work, especially if it got her noticed in the society columns. Everything changed after Patricia died. Derek asks O'Brian why he felt there was something more to the accident. O'Brian replies that it didn't add up. It was a birthday party attended by sixteen year-old girls, yet one of them ended up 'accidentally' falling through a trap door and cracking her head open. He couldn't figure out why one of them wanted Patricia dead. Derek suggests it may have been a prank that went too far, and O'Brian says they'll never know. He was discouraged from pursuing the case since a lot of the guests were from wealthy families. He shows Derek a list of the guests and asks if he intends reopening the case. Derek just says he's doing some consulting work for a friend.


Sandy tells Vicky about her experience in the house as Vicky's lawyer friend, Tom Claremont, arrives. Sandy admits that she has been so stressed out lately that she may have imagined the whole thing. Vicky asks her if she has made a decision about the house yet. Sandy admits that she is thinking about donating the entire estate to charity. Tom suggests she sell the property herself and give the money away to several charities of her choice. She could also place a portion of it into a portfolio for herself. Sandy says that sounds good, but she can't be bothered dealing with realtors. Vicky offers to help and Sandy agrees.

Sandy's Apartment

Sandy is having dreams about her sister's birthday party. She remembers seeing Patricia speaking to Vicky, before turning away to see their mother enter the ballroom. The sound of a trapdoor opening can be heard, followed by Vicky's screams. Patricia is seen lying on the basement floor, her head in a pool of blood.

Sandy awakens, unable to breathe. She switches on the bedside lamp, searching for her inhaler, when she sees Patricia's bloody dress hanging on the door. She screams.

Rachel's House

Rachel is talking to Derek on the phone and he tells her he has located all the girls on the guest list, except one who is currently in Paris. He informs Rachel that he is meeting with one of the girls the following day - a Jennifer Fearing. Someone knocks at the door and Rachel hangs up to answer it. It is Sandy -very distraught. She throws herself into Rachel's arms, sobbing.

Sandy's Apartment

Rachel enters, switching on the light. She closes the door and looks at it, but there is no sign that the dress has ever been there. Sandy gets upset and insists that it was really there. She starts to have an asthmatic attack.

Jennifer Fearing's House

Jennifer tells Derek that Patricia's party was the social event of the year and everything was normal until the accident made it front page news. She confides that she was interviewed by reporters and found the whole thing thrilling. A bemused Derek asks if she got the impression it was not an accident. Jennifer reveals that Sandy was jealous of her sister's popularity. Derek presses her, asking if she felt Sandy could have been involved in Patricia's death. Jennifer says all she knows was that Sandy was jealous of them all.

Rachel's House

Rachel talks to Derek on the phone, insisting that Sandy could not have been involved in her sister's death. Derek asks her to explain the sudden haunting that Sandy has experienced. Rachel states that inheriting the house brought out latent emotions about her family and her fragile psyche have made her susceptible to hallucinations. Rachel won't rule out that Sandy imagined everything. Derek reminds Rachel about their experience in the kitchen and Rachel tells him she doesn't know all the answers.

Sandy appears in the doorway and Rachel tells Derek she'll talk to him later. Sandy thanks Rachel for letting her stay overnight and tells her she's leaving to meet Vicky and Tom. Rachel urges Sandy to be cautious in her dealings with the lawyer, but an annoyed Sandy says Tom's a friend of Vicky's and she trusts her. Rachel tries to set an appointment with Sandy, but Sandy brushes her off.

Vicky's Apartment

Tom places some documents in front of Sandy and begins to explain the content, saying that the papers give Vicky legal proxy to conduct the sale of the house on Sandy's behalf. Sandy looks at the rest of the thick document and asks what it means. Tom tells her it is just legal stuff about probates and title transfers. Vicky assures Sandy that if she is feeling uncomfortable she doesn't have to sign anything. Sandy says legal documents intimidate her and starts to sign but stops. She tells them about Rachel's warnings to be careful. Tom grins and promises not to give Rachel medical advice if she won't give him legal advice. Point taken, Sandy signs the papers.

Sandy's Apartment

The phone rings - it's Rachel asking Sandy how she is doing. Sandy tells her she is fine and opens the bathroom door. She begins to tell Rachel about signing the papers, when she sees her mother's dead body in the bathtub. Sandy drops the phone and then passes out.

Later in the apartment, Rachel calls Sandy's name and she regains consciousness. Rachel asks her what happened and Sandy remembers seeing her mother in the bathtub. Rachel goes over to the bathroom and switches on the light. The bathtub is empty. Sandy is very upset and insists her mother was there. Rachel tries to calm her down, but Sandy sobs that she can't take anymore of this.

Vicky's Apartment

Vicky sits in front of her dressing table, putting in earrings. She comments that Sandy must feel like she is going crazy. Tom tells her that he saw Sheila's make-up before she went over to Sandy's apartment and she was the double of Sandy's mother. Vicky is delighted and says she wants to wring Sandy's neck. Tom tells her they are almost there. Vicky switches on a recording of the song played in the ballroom and tells Tom they should play it at their wedding. They kiss and Vicky adds that Sandy would make a cute bridesmaid, but unfortunately she won't be around for the wedding.

Legacy House Control Room

Derek asks Rachel why she has suspicions about Vicky. Rachel puts it down to instinct and the fact that Vicky seems to be around so much since Sandy's inheritance. Derek reveals that Vicky is only 24 but already has two failed marriages - to a paralegal and a stockbroker. After her second husband was arrested for fraud, they lost everything. Rachel asks if Vicky has a job. Derek says no but that hasn't affected her lifestyle - her credit cards are maxed, her rent is 3 months behind and her car is about to be repossessed. Rachel deduces that Vicky may be looking for an easy solution to her problems and wants the house for herself. She tells Derek that she has to speak to Sandy about it. Derek tells her he's going back to the house to see if he can sense anything that may help them.

Sandy's Apartment

Sandy is sitting on the bed, listening to music on the radio. The song from the ballroom comes on and Sandy begins wheezing. She grabs the radio and smashes it to the floor. She sobs uncontrollably.

Spiro Estate

Derek enters the ballroom and looks around. The furniture is covered with dust covers. He makes his way to the trap door in the floor and places his hand over it. He sees a vision of Patricia being pushed to her death and Vicky screaming.

Rachel's House

Rachel pours Sandy tea, as Sandy tells her that everything is in her head but it feels so real. Rachel tells her that the inheritance must have triggered it. Sandy says she has to get rid of the house as fast as possible and reveals that she has already signed papers, entrusting the sale to her lawyer. Rachel warns that she is trusting someone she hardly even knows, but Sandy states he's a friend of Vicky's. Rachel sits down and asks her how well she knows Vicky. Sandy gets upset and asks Rachel what she means. Rachel assures her that she doesn't want anyone taking advantage of Sandy since Vicky is in such bad financial shape. Sandy tells her that Vicky is her only family and she won't let anyone take that from her. She walks out.


Sandy apologizes to Vicky and says Rachel had no right. Vicky shrugs and tells Sandy that people run credit checks all the time and it's no big deal. Tom tells Sandy that he filed the papers and Sandy is relieved it will all be over soon. The waitress arrives at the table and accidentally spills a drink over Vicky's bag. Furious, Vicky yells at the waitress that it is a Gucci bag. Sandy watches thoughtfully. Vicky covers up her outburst by saying the service can be so bad at times, but Sandy decides to leave. Once she has left, Vicky and Tom decide to accelerate their plans before Rachel's interference spoils everything.

Sandy's Apartment

Sandy is getting ready for bed, but decides to leave on the light. As she settles into bed and closes her eyes, she hears her father's voice telling her it is her fault. Opening her eyes, Sandy sees her father standing at the foot of her bed. He continues to ask her why and Sandy denies everything. She curls up in bed, sobbing, as her father asks why she killed her sister.

Vicky's Apartment

Vicky is reading a magazine when there's a knock at the door; smiling smugly she gets up to answer it. It is Sandy, very upset and wheezing.  Vicky immediately becomes sympathetic and comforts Sandy. Sandy tells her she saw her father and her parents think she killed her sister. Vicky advises her to go back to the house to talk to them and to sort things out. She assures Sandy she'll go with her and that it is the only thing to do.


As Rachel leaves the building, carrying a shopping bag, Derek calls her on the phone to tell her about the vision he experienced of Patricia being pushed to her death. Rachel asks if he saw a face, but Derek says no, warning her to be careful. Rachel assures him she'll be fine and hangs up.

A masked man comes out of the shadows towards her, armed with a steel bar. Rachel swings the shopping bag into his body, knocking him down. She gets out a can of mace and sprays it in his face. The masked man struggles to his feet and flees. Rachel picks up the steel bar very carefully.

Legacy House Control Room

Rachel and Derek run a fingerprint analysis on the steel bar and discover they belong to Tom Claremont - a paralegal and Vicky's first husband. Rachel realizes that he is posing as Sandy's lawyer and they are setting her up. He attacked Rachel because she warned Sandy and wanted her out of the picture. Rachel realizes they intend to incapacitate Sandy to get the house. She grabs the phone to warn Sandy, but there's no answer. Derek and Rachel conclude that Vicky and Tom will take Sandy to the house.

Spiro Estate

Tom tries to put on the lights, but Sandy tells him there's something wrong with the fuses. Music starts to play from the ballroom and Sandy gets upset. Vicky tells her they should leave, but Sandy is determined to go through with the plan. She heads for the ballroom, closely followed by Tom and Vicky.

Inside, the ballroom is decorated with balloons and a mirror ball; Vicky comments that it is just like the night of the party. The trapdoor pops open and Sandy has a flashback to the accident, hearing Vicky scream and seeing Patricia's dead body. Unseen, Tom presses a remote control and an image of Patricia appears, accusing Sandy of killing her. Distraught, Sandy denies it and tells Patricia that she loved her, as she falls to her knees. Sandy's inhaler falls to the floor and Vicky deliberately stands on it. Sandy begins to wheeze painfully and begs Vicky to help her. Vicky asks Sandy why she killed her sister and tells her she is beyond help now.

The front door opens and Vicky orders Tom to turn Patricia's image off. She suddenly drops down beside Sandy and pretends to be concerned, as Rachel and Derek come in. Vicky tells Rachel that Sandy got frightened and started having trouble breathing. Rachel grabs Sandy and tries to calm her down, as Derek asks for the inhaler. Vicky denies knowing its whereabouts, as Rachel and Derek accuse her of trying to scare Sandy to death. Vicky tells them they are crazy. Tom tries to escape, but Derek grabs him. Vicky pulls a gun and tells them she won't be cheated out of what's hers. She had to sit by and watch her rich cousins get everything they wanted. Derek tries to reason with her, but Vicky insists she's waited years for this chance and won't be stopped.

There is a flash of light and Patricia's spirit appears, asking Vicky why she did this. Terrified, Vicky steps backwards away from Patricia, yelling that she'll kill Patricia again if necessary. She fires the gun, as her feet catch on the edge of the trapdoor and she falls backwards into the basement. Derek looks over the edge - she is dead.

Patricia walks over to Sandy who is suffocating. She tells Sandy that she misses her, but it is not her time. She places a hand on Sandy's throat and as it glows, Sandy begins to breathe normally again. Patricia tells Sandy that she loves her and will always be there for her, as she fades away.

"Sandy decided to keep the house after all, by doing so she finally made peace with herself and with her family."

Description last revised: 04 AUG 2002