You get nothing for nothing. Listen, mother. You believe in the supernatural. I've shown you some of its power and some of its danger.
Well, believe this also. You get nothing for nothing. This house, the land, the way we live. Nothing for nothing. My followers who pay for this do it out of fear. And I do what I do out of fear also. It's part of the price.
But if it makes you unhappy. Stop it. Give it back.
How can you give back life? I can't stop it. I can't give it back. I can't let anyone destroy this thing. I must protect myself. Because if it's not someone else's life, it'll be mine. Do you understand, mother?
It'll be mine.
This mum-and-son chat reveals how much he's stepped in it, too, but willingly. Under that calm and commanding veneer lies a man trapped into doing what he must to keep from being stepped on by something far nastier and even more powerful. And that something is coming closer and closer toward Holden every day. After Karswell surreptitiously passes along the Runic spell, Holden starts feeling cold all the time, keeps hearing an odd and mournful tune playing in his head, and smokes and drinks like a fish (albeit a different kind of curse here) while Harrington's niece, Joanna (the stiff Peggy Cummins), berates him for being such a non-believing, and smug, chowder-head. She knows how and why her uncle died from reading his journal, and now she's trying to save Holden from the same fate before it's too late. Even Mrs. Karswell, against her son's will, wants to help.
In what some critics consider a weakening sidestep from the mounting tension, she has Joanna bring Holden to a seance she's arranged. The incredulous psychologist reluctantly joins the proceedings as the medium, Mr. Meek (Reginald Beckwith), humorously channels his spirit guides until he is taken over by Joanna's uncle. Harrington's voice frantically warns of the coming danger, ending in a shriek of fear as he relives the night of the demon attack "It's in the trees! It's coming!" Holden, not impressed by the proceedings, ignores the warning; but uneasiness is beginning to chink his scientific armor more and more.
Tourneur turns down the light and lengthens the shadows for the revelation of the little slip of paper in Holden's possession, exactly as Harrington describes it in his journal. Is it the wind from an open window that whips the paper from Holden's hands and sends it flying toward the fire on the hearth, only to be stopped from bursting into flame by the ember screen? Or does it have a life of its own and desperately tries to reach the fire, even after he closes the window? Joanna insists it's alive and is trying to seal his fate by burning, but Holden tells her it's the draft going up the chimney keeping it tight against the screen; but as he says that it suddenly drops motionless to the floor, draft or not. "What made it stop?" asks Joanna. "I don't know," says Holden, deep in thought, for once without a rational explanation. He carefully tucks the paper into his wallet for safekeeping.