Dickinson – S02E03 – The Only Ghost I Ever Saw [Transcript]

Torn about whether to allow Sam to publish her work, Emily hosts a séance in search of guidance.
Dickinson - Season 2

Original release date: January 8, 2021



When the devil comes into your life, do you recognize him?

Because he comes to us in many disguises.

He is the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

He may appear to you as an angel of light, or perhaps he masquerades in the shape of a woman.

Indeed, the devil’s greatest trick of all…

Don’t give the minister the finger.

…may be to persuade you that he doesn’t exist.

[no audible dialogue]



That sermon was kind of sexist, don’t you think?

[stammers] No. I thought it was a real wake-up call.

Yeah. Women possess black magic, and it needs to be controlled.



I don’t think I’m the right girl for you.

Of course you are.

You’re nothing like Lola.

Who’s Lola?

Just a girl I knew in Nevada.

Lola Montez.

Lola Montez?

She was a dancer. An actress. An adventuress.

One time, she shot me with a gun.

Whoa. She sounds awesome.

No. She was the devil. She couldn’t be trusted.

She was nothing like you.

You’re prim, proper, obedient.

I think I need some space.

Sue! Sue, wait.

What is it?

I went on a walk the other night with Sam.

I know. He told me.

He did? What did he say?

He said that you’re a brilliant poet, and he wants to publish you.

Oh, I was afraid of him saying that.

Why are you afraid?

Emily, this is an incredible opportunity.

A man like Sam Bowles has the power to completely change your life.

You should give him your poems now.

I’m scared.

What are you scared of?

Getting published.

Why? Isn’t that your greatest dream?

Imagine how good it would feel to be recognized.

I just… need a little time.

You don’t have time.

Sam isn’t going to stay focused on you for long.

He’s got a million things on his mind. His attention span is short.

Can I at least talk it over with you?

I’ve already told you what I think.

[sighs] I don’t have time to go down a rabbit hole with you.

I have to go get ready.

I promised I’d make an appearance at a ball tonight in Concord, and, uh, I don’t wanna flake.

Hey. Are you okay?

No. I need help.

[sighs] Me too.

Like… spiritual help.


Let’s have a séance.

[Mrs. Dickinson] Mm.

Oh, deary.

Thirty-two lost in a shipwreck off the coast of Norway.

That’s a lot of fish food.

How terrible. Let me see.


That’s just awful news.

Sometimes I wish we didn’t even get the newspaper so we wouldn’t have to read about every last shipwreck that happens in the–

Oh. Look at the captain.

Quite a looker, isn’t he?

“Captain Thomas Taylor.”

[inhales] My goodness, he is strapping.

That jawline could cut celery.

Celery’s a luxury now, you know.


Are you all right, madam?

Yes. I just had an odd sort of twinge.

Sadness, I suppose.

Such a tragic loss.

Maybe he’s not dead.

What do you mean? The ship sank in the storm.

Aye, but his body has not been found.

You know, one time in Ireland, a drowning seaman telepathically transmitted his coordinates to a housewife in Kilkenny.

Got a psychic message, she did, and don’t you know, she saved the entire crew.

That sounds like Irish nonsense.

Maybe so, but I’d keep my mind open for a message.

You could be saving a life.

Want me to scrub your back?

[Emily] Mom?

Mom, we need to use the parlor tonight. It’s an emergency.

What do you need it for?

Just to have a few girls over, talk about our feelings…

And seek wisdom from the dead.

Yeah, and that.


Yes, just be quiet.

[Clara and Anna screaming]

We have enough of a racket now that your father brought home those dreadful teens.

It’s crazy how young they are.

I know. Think about it. They don’t even remember a time before telegrams.

[chuckles] How the world has changed.

Look at me. I’m taking a lukewarm bath in the comfort of my own kitchen.

I never thought I’d have it so good.

I call shotgun on the next bath.

Last time, I had to wait till everyone took theirs already and the water was disgusting.

Oh, it’s already pretty disgusting.

We’re gonna need more candles.

This isn’t worth it. It’s too dangerous.

I already told you. I’m being careful.

I don’t want you to worry.

[Betty] How can I not be worried?

Henry, our lives are at stake. I don’t even know–

[Henry] Listen–

It’s not safe.

I’m sorry to– sorry to intrude.

I was just looking for some candles.

Oh, I don’t think we subscribe to this one.

“The Political Power of Slave Masters” by Anonymous.

Who’s Anonymous?

Henry? Is it you?

I didn’t know you were a writer.

No one can know.

Is this your newspaper?

The paper belongs to the people.

So this is what you and Betty were just arguing about.

No one can know.

I won’t tell a soul.

I promise.

Henry, can I ask you something?

All right.

If you could put your name on what you wrote, would you?

I guess I would.

Who wouldn’t?

[Emily] Oh, great spirits…

I bring to you… a poem.

I ask you to show me the way.

Tell me, spirits… if I should open the curtains and let the light shine on me, or if I should remain in the dark.


[“You Know What Time It Is” playing]

We’re here. Where’s the altar?

[Lavinia] Please be responsible for the energy that you bring into this home.

Please be responsible for the energy that you bring into this home.

Please be responsible for the– -We get it, Lavinia.

Good vibes only.

[knocking on door]


[woman] Uh, hi.

I just found these two in the backyard, lighting matches and chasing crows.

So thought you might want them back home.

Yeah, they’re definitely not supposed to be doing that.

Hey! I am your cousin.


Hattie. Oh, I thought I heard your voice.

Hi. Is there something that you need?

Yes. We’re having a séance.

Oh. Another one?


Can you stay?

Why do you want her to stay?

She’s a medium.

I thought she was the maid.


I’m a maid, a medium, a washerwoman and a seamstress.

I also write plays and autobiographical sketches, sing in a quartet, sell my own hair care products and create a unique line of floral centerpieces.

[Lavinia] Wow.

[chuckles] I’m just a freelancer.

Well, you’re a very powerful clairvoyant, and I need to commune with the spirits ASAP.

You were so amazing last time. We talked to so many ghosts.

Yeah, I don’t need to talk to any more dead white people.

Hattie, please.

We can pay you.


Well, then, yes. I would love to stay.

Great. You guys should join too.

You know, young women make the most effective channels, because they are deeply susceptible to otherworldly influences.

Emily, they might not be ready. They’re too young. They might get scared.

Mm. Getting scared is the whole point.

Please be responsible for the energy that you bring into this home.

[Emily] Palms down.

Let us hum.

[all humming]

[Emily] Witchcraft was hung in History

But History and I Find all the Witchcraft that we need

Around us, every day.

Tonight, we hold this gathering…

this ritual, this–

Moon circle.

Thank you, Vinnie.

As an opportunity to reflect…

to renew, reprogram our consciousness.

I personally have been feeling a lot of uncertainty recently.

Classic Sagittarius.

And I’m hoping that through tonight’s channeling of energy,

I will gain a higher clarity.


And I just hope I don’t lactate through my séance garments.


So, let us all start by planting an intention, like a seed within the earth, that may one day blossom into a flower of truth.

Oh, and if anyone has jewelry or crystals, feel free to charge them by the moonlight.

Jane, isn’t that my necklace?

Abby! Shh.

[Lavinia] Okay, can I start?

[Emily] Go for it.

So, first, I want to warn you all that my energy may be particularly potent tonight, as I just got my period.

Oh, my God. Me too. We’re synced.

Ideally, by the end of tonight, we will all be synced.

[all murmur] Mm.

So, this Saturn retrograde has got me questioning things with Ship.

I mean, I know he’s really hot, and he lives in my house, and that’s convenient, but I think he may have the wrong idea about me.

He thinks that it’s my dream to become some obedient housewife, but it’s not.

I wanna be free.

I wanna have adventures.

I wanna be like Lola Montez.

[Abby] What?


Look, I don’t even know if I believe in monogamy.

Why should I have to be with one person, and one person only, for the rest of my life?

You won’t be if your husband dies, so…

Yes, but it’s bigger than that.

[Jane] Huh?

[Abby] What?

I think marriage is just a patriarchal system designed to make women less autonomous.

You become your husband’s property. You have to bear his children.

You even have to take his name.


What if I don’t want a last name?

What if I just wanna be Vinnie? A symbol.

[Abby] Oh, wow.


These are such brave questions.

I learned from the best.

Does anybody else have any intentions?

I’m feeling blessed. I’m feeling activated.

I’m feeling thankful to the spirits for this fertile body.

But sometimes it’s hard being a hot young widow.

The time has come for me to finally deal with my intergenerational trauma.

My intention for tonight is to tell my dead uncle that he’s being inappropriate.

I’m trying to clear the clutter from my house, and I can’t decide what to do with all my swords.

I wanna find out if I’m allergic to anything.

I wanna make spooky shit happen and get paid.

[Jane] Oh, yes.

[Toshiaki] Yeah.


[all humming]

Tonight, I call upon the spirits to guide me… to light my way… and help me find the path that I must follow to reach my destiny.

Great spirits, tell me.

Please, tell me.

Should I seek fame?



Is there a spirit present that can answer us?



[Lavinia] What was that?

Goddess, you have the floor.

Ah. So cool that you guys have an indoor toilet.

[chuckles] Goals, man.

She’s right. It doesn’t go here.

Where is your wife?

I don’t know. She’s at some party.

Oh, you let her go without you?

[chuckles] I’m not gonna keep her from going.

I just don’t have the same appetite for social life.

That’s cool. You can do your own thing, I guess.

Yeah. Sue can go to parties, and I can stay at home and feel depressed about my bad taste in art.

Bad taste? Dude, that sheep painting is boss.

[chuckles] Thanks, bro.


One day, when my business ventures pay off, I’m gonna have a big house like this.


With mad paintings of livestock.

It’s gonna be like: Sheeps, boom! Cows, boom! Oxen, why not?

Framed in gold, frickin’ gleaming, man.

And my wife’s gonna decorate the whole joint.

Any idea who that wife will be?

Well, it’ll be Vinnie if she says yes.


If she says yes? [chuckles]

I think she will. She’s always been desperate to get married.

I don’t really get it.

I’m like, “We’re in our 20s. It’s time to settle down.”

I don’t wanna be that loser who’s 30 and doesn’t have a wife.

Plus, these business guys, they just take you more seriously if you have a wife.

And also, I want kids. Lots of kids.

Yeah, man. I hear you.

You guys been tryin’, or…

It’s complicated.

When we got married, Sue wasn’t ready, I guess.

And I keep waiting for the right time to come, but…

I don’t know.

What if it never does?

We have our hands full, don’t we?


These modern women.



[Emily] Everybody stay centered.

Witchcraft is no joke.

We must honor the ancestors who passed down their wisdom to us.

The witches of Salem walked so we could run.

Dark spirits, we await you.




[Edward snoring]

Edward, I had the most refreshing bath today.




[Mrs. Dickinson] “Captain Thomas Taylor.”

[man singing sea shanty]

Edward. Can you hear that?

[singing continues]

Captain, is that you?


[Emily] Look! Look, look, look, she’s possessed!

[Lavinia] She’s 1,000% possessed right now. This is wild!

Oh, my God. A musical medium. This is how the spirits present themselves.

There is no other way to explain this.

Oh, my God.

She’s classically trained. We have the same piano teacher.

She’s faking.

[gasps, cackles]

[Toshiaki] See?

I’m still not convinced.

You guys, this is– [grunts] You have to take this seriously.

I am trying to find the answer to a question that can change my life.

We’re leaving ’cause we’re bored.

[Toshiaki] Rude! [scoffs]

Let us hold hands.

Spirits, we welcome you.

[cat meows, echoing]

[cat meows]

Is that…

Millard Fillmore?

Yeah. It’s the ghost of Lavinia’s dead cat.

My familiar.

A familiar is, like, a pet a witch has.

Please stop.

Here, kitty, kitty. Here–

You guys, help me.

[all] Here, kitty, kitty. [meows]

[all shrieking]

[Emily] Oh, my God. Okay, okay. I’m fine. We’re fine.

[men singing sea shanty]

Captain, if you are still alive in the waves…

give me your location.

Tell me your latitude,

your longitude.

[singing continues]

[moans, sighs]



47 out of 100 degrees north.


[waves crashing]


Four hundred and sixty-eight [moaning] out of 1,000 degrees east.

You say something, dear?

[singing stops]


No, Edward.

Oh. Mm.

Someone spoke to me.



Mm-mmm. Mm-mmm.

What is happening?

There is a dark energy in the room.

[Abiah] I’m scared.

No, no, this is good. This is what we want. Keep focusing.


[Abiah] Oh, God.

What the–

[Abiah] Oh, my God. Oh.


[Hattie] What the–

[Toshiaki whimpering]

[piano playing]

[singing opera in Italian]

[baby crying]

Oh, shit. This is real.

[singing continues]

[Emily] Oh. Oh, shit!

[monstrous groaning]

Oh, my God! Spirits!

Show me the light!


[Abby] We’re scared.

[Abiah] I’m scared.

Me too.

Everybody stay calm.

Let me find some matches.

[Lavinia] Be careful.

[Abby whimpers]

[floorboards creaking]

Oh, come on. Okay.

[thunder rumbles]

[man coughing]

Help me.

What do you want from me?

I recognize you. I do. Just… tell me.

Who are you?

I’m nobody!

Who are you?

Are you – nobody – too?

Why do you keep asking me that?

Am I nobody?

You know, maybe I am.

Then there’s a pair of us!

don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!




[flies buzzing]

[knocking on door]

Sue! Sue, I need to talk to you.

[Hattie] Last night was crazy.

I know.

I think I gotta take a break from these séances.

Emily. You look exhausted.

Sue. I wanna be published.

You do?


I have to be published, or I’ll die.

This is quite a change from yesterday.

I had a vision.

A terrible… terrible vision of what it would mean to be anonymous.

I don’t want to disappear from this earth without anybody knowing who I am.

I have this demon in my mind that keeps trying to stop me, but I won’t let it.

I don’t want to be a nobody.

That is exactly what I have been trying to tell you.

I’m so glad you’re seeing this.

I want you to give my poem to Sam Bowles, to publish in The Springfield Republican.

Why don’t you give it to him yourself?

He’s right here in the parlor.


Hi, yourself.

Sam stayed at the inn last night after the ball in Concord.

You were at the ball?

Oh, I’m at all of the balls.

I’m a baller.

Sam, Emily has something that she wants to tell you.


I want to be published in your–

I think I overheard already.


It’s exciting.

Yes. Yes, I just– I want to put myself out there.


It’ll go straight to the top of my pile.

To the top of your pile?

Yeah. I’m just super underwater right now.

I’ve got a lot of submissions to go through, but I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

When will it be published?

Um, if it’s accepted, then… fairly soon.

And when will I know if it’s been accepted?

[laughs] I’ll, um…

I’ll keep you posted.



Okay, great.

It’s wonderful.



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