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Literature / Ghost Beach

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"No haunting"? So unfair!

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:

  • Affably Evil: The ghost kids, who act like they just want to be friends. Turns out they want their friends to be dead like them.
  • 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.
  • Bat Scare: Thousands of bats erupt from the cave when Jerry and Terri first visit there. Naturally, they are freaked out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The kids find out their uncle and aunt are ghosts too.
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  • 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.
  • Dream Intro: A slight variation as the opening with them in a graveyard turns out to be a daydream of him reflecting on a dream he had a while ago.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Dogs are killed by ghosts because they reveal their nature, and in the ending the protagonists' dog gives it away that their aunt and uncle are ghosts too.
  • Finger Wag: 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.
  • Foreshadowing: 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.
  • Goth: Terri's hobby is making etchings to tombstones.
  • 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.
  • 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 whikle 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.
  • 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, 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. Indded, when the Sadler children arrive there, Jerry and Terri find out that what the man said about the three Sadler's is true.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wham Shot: The kids 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.

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