The Goosebumps book where ghosts haunt a beach.
Jerry Sadler and his sister Terri are visiting their distant cousins in New England for the summer. However, they soon meet some other kids and hear a story about a ghost that haunts the beach, and lives in the cave nearby. They think it's just a story. They're dead wrong.
It was adapted into the ninth episode of the second season of the TV series, with a novelization based on the episode being released as book 13 of the Goosebumps Presents series.
It was also adapted into an installment of the Goosebumps Graphix series, included in the Scary Summer and Slappy's Tales of Horror collections.
It was later reissued in the Classic Goosebumps line in 2010 as a companion to Heads, You Lose!.
The book provides examples of:
- Alas, Poor Villain: The ghost kids, who only qualified as evil because they killed several dogs to protect their secret and tried to force their living cousins to join them. They end up sealed away forever in a cave.
- Anger Born of Worry: Upon arriving back at the cottage after they were nearly killed by the cave-in that killed the rest of the characters, Jerry and Terri were greeted by Agatha, who asked them where they were and exclaimed that Brad and her were worried sick.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: After encountering Harrison in the cave, Jerry and Terri run back to the cottage, to which Agatha confronts them and asks if they found it. The two are stunned, and believe that she is referring to the ghost. But she was actually asking about the beach towel (which the two had left earlier and went outside in the first place to retrieve it). This causes Jerry and Terri to laugh in relief, much to Agatha's bewilderment.
- Bat Scare: Thousands of bats erupt from the cave when Jerry and Terri first visit there. Naturally, they are freaked out. Earlier, Jerry and Terri are freaked out by what appears to be a bat swooping down on them, but was actually paper kite that was designed like a bat.
- Big "NO!": Jerry lets out two in a row when he believes that the cave his sister and him are in is about to collapse on them. Luckily, it doesn't.
- Bolivian Army Ending: The book ends with the only characters left alive (aside from Harrison's dog) being cornered by Brad and Agatha with no way out.
- Covers Always Lie: While there are several ghost characters in the story, none of them resemble the hooded blue ghost seen on the front cover.
- Creepy Cave: The dwelling of the elderly man, which Jerry and Terri explore. It features a dim flickering light in the dark, and lurking bats. However, the person who lives there is quite creepy, but not evil.
- Cruel Twist Ending: The kids find out their uncle and aunt are ghosts too.
- Darker and Edgier: Immediately following the more campy Go Eat Worms, this book is far bleaker with a gloomy setting and outlook of tragedy, as well as a truly dire ending for everyone, with Jerry and Terri betrayed and cornered by their undead relatives, the ghostly Sadlers sealed away in a cave, and Old Harrison dying in a vain attempt to trap them.
- Dead All Along: Jerry and Terri's new friends Sam, Louisa and Nat turn out to be ghosts. And so are the pair's aunt and uncle.
- Downer Ending: It sure isn't a happy one. Nat, Sam and Louisa are sealed away forever, desperately begging their cousins to stay with them. Harrison is killed in the cave-in protecting the living kids. And he died for nothing, because Jerry and Terri's aunt and uncle are ghosts too, who close in to off the kids for discovering their nature.
- Dream Intro: A slight variation as the opening in a graveyard turns out to be a daydream of Jerry reflecting on a dream he had a while ago.
- "Everybody Dies" Ending: Yes, most likely. The Sadler cousins have been Dead All Along, Harrison is buried in the cave along with them, Agatha and Brad are ghosts as well, and the ending strongly implies that Jerry and Terri are about to join them. Additionally, in the TV adaptation, the dog is planned to be cooked up.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Dogs are killed by ghosts because they reveal their nature, and in the ending the Harrison's dog gives it away that their aunt and uncle are ghosts too.
- Exact Words: The Sadler cousins confront Jerry and Terri over if they killed the ghost in the cave. They tell them they didn't, to which Sam suspiciously asks them how they got away. Terri replies that she and him ran away. Jerry notes that was almost the truth, omitting the fact that they only did so because Harrison actually let them run away without attacking them and revealing the truth about the Sadler ghost.
- Finger Wag: Two examples that are drastically different.
- Brad does this to Jerry every time he messes up at trying to learn whist (an old playing game). As he got better, the finger wagging happened less.
- And in the ending, Agatha does this to Harrison's dog that is barking at them, scolding the animal for revealing that she and Brad are actually ghosts.
- Brad and Agatha tell Jerry and Terri that if they look hard enough, they can find graves with their own names. Sure enough, they do. Standing over fresh graves that are prepared for Jerry and Terri.
- When telling them about the things that he's seen around the beach, Jerry brings up to Brad and Agatha about the dog skeleton he encountered, and the two elders are notably uneasy in their reaction. That's because dogs can tell that they're really dead, and the ending has Harrison's dog give away their secret in front of Jerry and Terri.
- In the cemetery, Jerry and Terri find gravestones with the names of Sam, Louisa, and Nat, which are the same three names of the other Sadler kids that the two constantly encounter on the beach. They are naturally unnerved, and ask Brad and Agatha about it. Agatha explains that those kids must be named after their ancestors that the graves depict. She even adds that there are also gravestones for an Agatha and Bradford Sadler as well, and they were named for those specific ancestors, yet they aren't quite dead yet. It turns out that Agatha was most likely lying, as just like those three Sadler children were, Brad and Agatha have died and were really the people that were referred to on those gravestones.
- Gone Horribly Right: The young Sadler cousins ask Jerry and Terri to collapse the cave that Harrison lives in, saying that in doing so, the ghost will remain trapped. However, by the end of the story, the ghost does get trapped, yet Harrison was not actually said ghost. The cousins were, and they ironically became trapped inside.
- Gray-and-Grey Morality: The ghosts are indeed murderous, willing to kill both dogs and people, but they're really just three scared kids who want to be left alone and desire their cousins' companionship. The man trying to catch them is determined to stop the terror, but he's also a fanatic whose willing to endanger innocent lives and refuses to see the spirits as anything less than vile monsters deserving of destruction.
- Human Ladder: The three Sadler children do this to help each other to sneak in and out of the cottage at night.
- It's a Long Story: After their adventure in the cave, Jerry and Terri go back to the cottage, where Brad and Agatha are demanding an explanation for their abscence. Jerry replies with this trope, and he adds that he doesn't know where to start. Brad replies to start from the beginning, as that's usually the best place. So Jerry and Terri then explain the events that occurred beforehand.
- Kill the Lights: When the jig is up, the ghost Sadler children gang up on Jerry, Terri, and Harrison and knock over the cave torch, extinguishing them and leaving the cave in darkness. And in the darkness, Jerry and Terri barely escape while the rest of the Sadler clan get buried under cave rubble.
- Lunacy: The story goes that the ghost comes out on the night of the full moon.
- Madness Mantra: When the cave is about to collapse, Terri takes Jerry by the hand and leads him outside while repeating "Run!" to him.
- Mandatory Twist Ending: The identites of the ghosts aren't much of a surprise, but then on the last page Brad and Agatha turn out to have been ghosts all along.
- Nightmare Sequence: The first chapter is Jerry's nightmare, and has nothing to do with the rest of the book.
- Ominous Fog: This occurs in Jerry's nightmare as he and Terri look around the beach graveyard.
- One-Steve Limit: Averted, every single character in the book both alive and dead shares the surname, Sadler. This turns out to be an important plot point later in the story.
- Possessive Wrist Grab: Terri does this with Jerry in the beginning, indicating that she is the more adventurous of the siblings.
- Posthumous Narration: A retroactive example. The book is written in past tense first person perspective. Despite this, Stine confirms in the "Behind the screams" section of the Graphix adaptation that Jerry did not survive the ending.
- Red Herring: The creepy old man in the cave is just a local eccentric, who the actual ghosts are tormenting.
- Secret Test of Character: When the man in the cave insists to Jerry and Terri that he's not the ghost, and that the three Sadler children are really the ghosts, Terri decides to find out if he's telling the truth. So when she and Jerry find the Sadlers, she insists that they come with her and Jerry to the cave, which is a place that the old man claims can trap ghosts. Indeed, when the Sadler children arrive there, Jerry and Terri find out that what the man said about the three Sadler's is true as the dog that Harrison has barks at the dead children.
- Skewed Priorities: Jerry and Terri are attacked by what appeared to be a bat, and the former goes to check it out after it lands on the ground. Terri warns him that it might have rabies, and if he catches it, he'll get her into trouble. She seems more worried about that instead of, you know, her brother getting infected by a life-threatening disease. This is lampshaded by him.Jerry: Thanks for your concern.
- Sssssnaketalk: Sam delves into this when begging Jerry and Terri to join him and the rest of their cousins after he sheds his human skin and his fleshless jaw snaps up and down whilst speaking.
- Take My Hand!: Jerry does this to Terri when she is about to be pulled into a grave.
- Tickle Torture: Terri does this to Jerry one night as part of teasing him. He manages to restrain her and give her the same treatment, and he actually wins.
The TV episode provides examples of:
- Adapted Out: Nat is removed.
- Dutch Angle: The TV episode uses this filming method extensively, notably towards the ending when Brad and Agatha reveal themselves to be ghosts.
- Jacob Marley Apparel / Antiquated Linguistics: Both averted. Sam and Louisa were dead for 300-some years but they wear contemporary 1990s-style attire rather than whatever they wore while they were alive. They also speak contemporary English, too. Perhaps they learned to blend in by observing other kids who had visited over the years.
- Wham Shot: Jerry and Terri saw something creepy while walking up a beach, with the camera closing in on Jerry's Reaction Shot, before panning down to reveal a half-buried dog skeleton in the sand.