Episode Summary

Mulder and Scully suspect that hexcraft is the source of threat against a doctor's family.

Episode Details


Guest Cast


Mulder: What do you think, Scully, is this a name, possibly? Or a code, or an anagram?

Scully: T-H-E-E-F. I assume it's supposed to be T-H-I-E-F — thief.

Mulder: Insert your own Dan Quayle joke here. Lousy spelling aside, what do you think it refers to? Who's the thief?

Scully: Well, that's certainly one question. I've got many.

Mulder: Mulder, why are we here?

Scully: To be fair, I might have used the words Mulder, how is this an X-File?

Mulder: You see that, Scully, you always keep me guessing. This is Dr Irving Thalbro, age 66. Found hanged with his throat cut. His family tucked away and in bed not 40 feet from here didn't see or hear anything.

Scully: Which would certainly shine the light of suspicion on them.

Mulder: Except they're the ones that called it in and there's no evidence whatsoever to link them to the crime.

Scully: Which is why the police are rightly wondering if Dr Thalbro killed himself.

Mulder: Except who, then, did this? [Wrote TheeF on the wall] "Blood pattern doesn't indicate that the good doctor did it, who I am assuming could read and write above a fourth-grade level.

Scully: I'll admit, Mulder, this is not an open and shut case. But, uh... it doesn't make it an X-File.

Mulder: Oh, there is one detail that does.

[Mulder shows Scully the smeared dirt on the bed in the guest room]

Mulder: This.

Scully: Dirt?

Mulder: Dirt. It's a very powerful component of hexcraft. As well as the pattern in which it was originally arranged. Check this out. Looks like a human form.

Scully: Hexcraft, as in, uh, putting a curse on someone? Murdering them magically?

Mulder: Yeah, that's what it looks like to me. Now, I know what you're going to say, Scully.

Scully: No, hexcraft. I mean, I'll buy that as the intent here. It certainly jibes with the evidence. I say we talk to the family. [She walks away from Mulder, then turns back] I'll always keep you guessing. [Mulder laughs]

Dr Wieder: It was probably the greatest night of my life. Until...

Scully: Sir, can you think of any enemies that your father-in-law might have made? Maybe inadvertently through his medical practice or a business dealing, perhaps?

Dr Wieder: Everybody loved Irving. Everyone who knew him. He was... No. I can't conceive of it.

Mulder: Dr Wieder, do you have any enemies? I'm sorry, I have to ask. There was a message left behind. If it doesn't refer to your father-in-law, it may refer to you.

Lucy Wieder: Theef? Are you asking if my Dad's a thief? He saves people's lives. He's a good man.

Dr Wieder: Honey... [to Mulder and Scully] If I have any enemies I don't know them.

Mulder: Hey, Scully.

Scully: Uh-huh.

Mulder: This dirt we found? Gas chromatograph shows pronounced spikes of methane and sulphur compounds — the signature of decay. It's graveyard dirt. Also known as conjure dust. It's one of the most powerful hexing elements, whether for good or evil, not the kind of stuff you want to be on the wrong end of.

Scully: Uh-huh.

Mulder: Go ahead, Scully, keep me guessing.

Scully: Kuru.

Mulder: The, uh... the disease that New Guinea tribesmen get?

Scully: From eating the brains of their relatives.

Mulder: I thought my grandpa slurping his soup was bad.

Scully: Practically speaking, Mulder, Kuru doesn't even exist any more. Not in New Guinea and certainly not in the US. But this man's cerebellum and his striatum clearly show signs of it, Mulder. I mean, these... these anyloid plaques? His brain is riddled with them.

Mulder: Kuru makes you crazy, right?

Scully: Yeah, stark raving, among other things, but in this case, stark raving mad enough to slit his own throat and hang himself. Mulder, that's what his autopsy shows. From the wound pattern, to the blood spray... this man did it to himself, there's no question.

Mulder: Unless... it was inflicted upon him. The graveyard dirt, the hex. He was given this disease so that he would kill himself.

Mulder: Dr Wieder?

Scully: We understand you've made a diagnosis.

Dr Wieder: Diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis. Old world type.

Mulder: I take it that's rare.

Scully: In San Francisco? It's unheard of. Maybe in... in Central Africa...

Mulder: Maybe the rarer, the better.

Dr Wieder: What do you mean by that?

Mulder: Someone directed this to happen to your wife, just as someone directed what happened at your father-in-law.

Dr Wieder: My enemy, you were talking about. The one who thinks I'm a thief. Agent, you're a doctor. Explain to your partner that no one can direct a person to get sick.

Mulder: The dirt you found in your bed drawn in the shape of a body. That's indicative of folk magic. That's what I believe is being used against you.

Dr Wieder: Folk magic. You mean like Baba Yaga... Gypsies.

Mulder: I was actually thinking less Eastern and more Celtic. Maybe... Scots-Irish or Appalachian, even.

Dr Wieder: I'm supposed to take this seriously?

Scully: Sir, regardless of the particulars, I think it's clear that there was an intruder in your home, and I think it would be prudent for you to... accept our protection and help us to identify this person.

Dr Wieder: Prudent for me would be to continue treating my wife.

Mulder: If we don't stop who's causing this, your treatments won't matter.

Dr Wieder: So... modern medicine, and all it encompasses — artificial hearts, laser surgery, gene therapy, to name a few — all of that arrayed against a pile of magic dirt... and you tell me I'll lose. I have MRIs to look at. [He leaves]

Scully: Oh, yeah, Mulder, win him over.

Mulder: Oh, he will lose unless we can find a way to stop it.

Scully: What do you suggest?

Mulder: A second opinion.

[Dr Wieder looking at MRIs of his wife's brain, all the images have the word TheeF visible on the image]

Oral Peattie: Truth always hurts, don't it, Doc?

Dr Wieder: Who are you? Is this you? You did this? What do you want from me?

Oral Peattie: Oh, don't you be fretting none about that. I getting my nickel's worth. You doing a fine job so far.

Dr Wieder: What the hell are you talking about? What is this all about?

Oral Peattie: Lynette Peattie. And don't you be saying you don't recollect her, uh-uh! No, no, no.

Dr Wieder: Look, if I've done anything to upset you, I... It's no use trying to intimidate me if I don't know how I've offended you. Tell me! What makes me a thief?

Oral Peattie: You be a smart man. I figure... you ponder it a while, it going to come to you.

Dr Wieder: Wait!

Proprietor: Good afternoon. Can I help you?

Mulder: Yeah, we're looking for some alternative medical advice.

Proprietor: Oh, well, you've come to the right place. I get a lot of folks fed up with their HMOs.

Scully: Well, actually, we're not here for us. [Mulder produces the evidence bag containing the dirt collected from the Wieder house]

Proprietor: Whoa, Chief... back in pocket.

Scully: It's dirt.

Proprietor: It's goofer dust is what it is. I don't know what your intentions are with that.

Scully: Goofer dust?

Mulder: Conjure dust... Goofer dust. How would you go about making somebody sick using that? We're investigating a murder. That's why I'm asking.

Proprietor: Oh... Speaking strictly in the academic sense, you'd spread it on or near your victim to direct misfortune.

Mulder: So you could give them any illness you wanted? One that you chose specifically for them?

Proprietor: Oh... that's a lot trickier. It requires something special. [She gets out a packaged small red cloth doll figure]

Scully: A voodoo doll.

Proprietor: No, they're called poppets. Inside you place three thorns of a blood red rose, a strand of hair and a photo of your victim. Maybe other items as well. It depends on the operator. You sew it up, say your spell.

Mulder: How would you counteract one of these?

Proprietor: It depends on who you're dealing with. But if the person you're looking for is powerful enough to bring about a murder he's probably charmed.

Scully: Which would mean what?

Proprietor: It means just that. He's drawing on the energy of a charm. A source of magic power... It could be any item, provided that it's very important to him. Something that holds great meaning for him and... unless you can separate him from his charm, you're out of luck.

Dr Wieder: How could somebody orchestrate all of this?

Scully: You believe that your wife was murdered?

Dr Wieder: It was no accident. There was no malfunction of the machine. Yes, I believe she was murdered.

Mulder: And you still have no idea why? [Mulder has a photograph of Nan Wieder's burnt corpse, the word TheeF is branded into the chest] The pathologist found this branded into your wife's chest.

Scully: Sir, we can't help you if you withhold information from us.

Dr Wieder: A man came to see me yesterday. My age, older, maybe. Tall. He mentioned someone named Lynette Peattie. I didn't know who she was at first. Turns out she was a Jane Doe I treated last October. She was in a bus rollover. Came in amid a wave of victims. She was the worst off. I could barely put fluids in fast enough to keep up with the blood loss. We were rushing around, triaging people. Everybody knew she was dying. It was only a matter of time. And she was in agony. [He gets the chart on the girl] This was my course of treatment.

Scully: You gave her morphine. Lots of it.

Dr Wieder: I pushed it myself. She kept screaming... and her heart rate kept climbing. So... I kept pushing. I took maybe the last 20 minutes of her life. It was a fair trade to make for the pain.

Mulder: Her father doesn't agree.

Scully: What makes you think it's her father?

Mulder: He thinks you robbed him of his family, and that's why he's systematically robbing you of yours.

Dr Wieder: What am I supposed to do? My daughter Lucy.

Mulder: You don't do anything. You let us find a way to protect you.

Dr Wieder: How?

Mulder: I have an idea where to start.

Scully: If Lynette Peattie was Carlos the Jackal I would've had an easier time tracking her down. There's no birth certificate, no social security number, nothing.

Mulder: Better known to the world as Jane Doe 6149.

Scully: Her name shows up once in the records of a Vista inoculation program — 1981. The Allegheny mountains of West Virginia.

Mulder: Deepest Appalachia.

Scully: That's when her father, one Oral Peattie refused to allow her to be inoculated against polio. But there's... no address for him. There's no record of him whatsoever. So, Mulder, why are we exhuming this girl?

Mulder: Well, I'm thinking of her dear old backwoods Dad and where he gets all his graveyard dirt.

Scully: Here? His daughter's grave?

Mulder: The occultist we spoke to said that the person casting these magic spells was charmed. That he had a source of power that was very meaningful to him and he kept it close by.

Scully: Lynette Peattie's body.

Mulder: That's my guess. So as long as her body remains here resting in peace in the Bay Area, he remains powerful. But if we were to ship it off to Quantico... [Handing his umbrella to Scully] Hold that. [He opens the coffin, only to find it empty]

Mulder: You all set?

Dr Wieder: We still don't know where it is we're going?

Mulder: We rented a cabin for you. It's important that you get out of town.

Dr Wieder: And you believe by our leaving we'll somehow weaken him?

Scully: Well, what's important is that he believes that. At any rate, if he can't find you he can't hurt you.

Dr Wieder: How do you know he'll come forward?

Mulder: Because he hasn't gotten everything he wants.

Scully: [answering phone] Scully.

Mulder: Peattie may be on to us.

Scully: What happened?

Mulder: I found out where he lives, only he's cleared out, and he's taken his magic charm with him. At least as much of it as he can carry. My guess is he's looking for you.

Scully: I didn't see anybody following us.

Mulder: Just keep an eye out, Scully. I'm on my way.

Scully: Okay.

Dr Wieder: Get back. Get back! Don't make me hurt you!

Oral Peattie: Can't hurt the man who ain't got nothing left. You know who I be now? Maybe you can recollect my daughter.

Dr Wieder: I remember! I never forgot! I'm... I'm sorry for your loss but I did everything humanly possible to save her.

Oral Peattie: You arrogant little man.

Dr Wieder: I did everything I could! And when I couldn't do any more I eased her suffering!

Oral Peattie: By killing her. If I be there... I save her!


Oral Peattie: Buried her... in some field. Got no name. Far away from her people. That don't be right. So now, little man... I going to show you what be possible. I going to show you... an eye for an eye.

Dr Wieder: You're not going to hurt my daughter!

Lucy Wieder: Daddy!

Oral Peattie: Maybe. [He sticks the tip of the knife into the poppet's chest and begins twisting. Dr Wieder collapses, groaning in pain]

Lucy Wieder: Daddy! Daddy!

Mulder: Lynette Peattie's body is on its way back home to Indiola, West Virginia.

Scully: She's going back to her people after all. You know, Mulder, I would've made the same call... as a doctor... if I was certain that I couldn't save her life and she was in that much pain... I would've done what Wieder did.

Mulder: Mm-hmm. It seems pretty clear-cut.

Scully: Except maybe it's not.

Mulder: You're wondering if maybe Peattie could've saved her life? You do keep me guessing.