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As we are approaching Hallowe’en, I wanted to immerse myself in seasonally appropriate television. In particular, I wanted to create a playlist of Hallowe’en-themed episodes of my favorite show: Murder, She Wrote. However, I found that, unlike many other American series produced in the 80s and 90s, Murder, She Wrote didn’t specifically produce episodes to match the season. For example, many episodes set in the summer often aired in the middle of winter.
Nevertheless, if you look beyond the episodes that originally aired in October, you will find several that featured ghosts and witches and other supernatural elements. Below, I have put together a list of six spooky Murder, She Wrote episodes that would make for perfect viewing on Hallowe’en.
“Reflections of the Mind” (Season 2 Episode 6)
This episode features a friend of Jessica’s who thinks she is being haunted by the spirit of her first husband.
This episode originally aired quite close to Hallowe’en—on November 3rd 1985–so it was likely purposefully scheduled for the season.
“Night of the Headless Horseman” (Season 3 Episode 11)
In this episode, Jessica visits her literary protégé, a poet working as a teaching at a boarding school in Vermont. The protégé witnesses what appears to be a headless horseman riding through town on the same night that a murder happens. The episode is a reference to Washington Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and the protagonist schoolmaster Ichabod Crane.
“Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble” (Season 5 Episode 13)
Set in Cabot Cove, this episode centers on the supposed appearance of the ghost of a long-dead witch, who had been burned at the stake. The appearance of this witch coincides with the release of a book published on the subject, which initially leads Jessica to suspect this is just a publicity stunt.
“The Witch’s Curse” (Season 8 Episode 12)
Several seasons after an episode featuring a witch, we get yet another episode where a supposed witch visits Cabot Cove. In this episode, the supposed witch arrives while the town is staging a play based on a historical witch trial.
“The Legacy of Borbey House” (Season 10 Episode 3)
In this Cabot Cove episode, a newcomer is suspected of being a vampire. Jessica investigates after his body is found with a wooden stake driven through his heart.
This episode also originally aired quite close to Hallowe’en—on October 3rd 1993–so it was likely purposefully scheduled for the season.
“Nan’s Ghost” (Season 12 Episodes 6 and 7)
In this two-part episode, Jessica Fletcher travels to Ireland to visit Ballynook Castle, where the apparition of a young wailing woman in a white shroud has been witnessed.
This episode also originally aired quite close to Hallowe’en. Part 1 aired on November 2nd 1995 and Part 2 aired November 9th 1995.
EDIT: October 2021
There are a couple of additional episodes that I was reminded of recently (thanks to a discussion over on Reddit) that fit the spooky/supernatural theme, and which you might also enjoy watching at this time of year. They are:
- “Curse of the Daanav” (S4E14), which involves a curse and magic.
- “Day of the Dead” (S8E19), which takes place on Día de los Muertos, which is a festival that takes place on November 2nd to honor the dead.
- “Angel of Death” (S8E20), which is similar to Season 2’s “Reflections of the Mind” by featuring someone who thinks they are being haunted by a dead spouse.
If there are any other episodes you find particularly spooky, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Murder, She Wrote books set during Hallowe’en
This post would not be complete without mentioning the Murder, She Wrote spin-off novels that also fit the season. To date, there have been two published so far.
Trick or Treachery by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain
In this 14th book in the series, Jessica Fletcher is in Cabot Cove, a newcomer that was suspected of being a witch is later found dead in the graveyard!
The Ghost and Mrs Fletcher by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain, & Renee Paley-Bain
In this 44th book in the series, Jessica’s friend and local real estate agent, Eve Simpson, is tasked with selling a Cabot Cove house that is rumored to be haunted.