Still Valley

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"Still Valley"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 76
Directed by James Sheldon
Written by Rod Serling (adapted from the short story "The Valley Was Still" by Manly Wade Wellman)
Featured music Wilbur Hatch
Production code 4808
Original air date November 24, 1961
Guest actors

Gary Merrill: Paradine
Vaughn Taylor: Teague
Ben Cooper: Dauger

Episode chronology
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"The Midnight Sun"
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"The Jungle"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Still Valley" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Mr. Serling's Opening Narration[edit]

The time is 1863, the place the state of Virginia. The event is a mass blood-letting known as the Civil War, a tragic moment in time when a nation was split into two fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation. This is Joseph Paradine, Confederate cavalry, as he heads down toward a small town in the middle of a valley. But very shortly, Joseph Paradine will make contact with the enemy. He will also make contact with an outpost not found on a military map - an outpost called the Twilight Zone.

Plot[edit]

Set during the American Civil War, the episode opens with two Confederate soldiers. They have been assigned to scout on the Union army that is marching into the valley below. Sergeant Joseph Paradine hears the army approaching, but suddenly the sound stops. He decides to descend into the valley to see the cause for himself. His companion refuses to come.

When Paradine gets into town, he finds the army there, but all of them are motionless, as if frozen in time. He tries unsuccessfully to wake them. Finally he comes across an old man named Teague, who is unaffected by the strange phenomenon. Teague claims to be a "witchman" and says he used a magic spell to freeze the soldiers. Paradine does not believe him, so Teague casts the spell on Paradine, freezing him. When Teague lifts the spell on Paradine, he brags that he could stop the entire army in this manner, ensuring the success of the Confederacy. Paradine asks why he doesn't, and Teague replies that he is dying. He gives his book of spells (entitled Witchcraft) to Paradine, encouraging him to use it, but when Paradine looks in it, he realizes that using this magic requires one to align himself with Satan.

Teague dies, and Paradine returns to camp to tell his superior about what happened. The superior doesn't believe him and encourages him to get some rest. When another scout returns with the same story, the superior realizes Paradine is telling the truth. Paradine relates the story about the old man, the spell book, and making a deal with the devil. The superior officer decides that the devil is the only one who can help them and encourages Paradine to read from the book.

Paradine discovers that using the book's magic requires that he not only must he praise the name of the Devil, but he must renounce the name of God. Rather than do either, Paradine throws the book into the fire, saying that if the Confederacy is to die, let it be buried in hallowed ground. The next day, Paradine receives orders that the army is going to march to Gettysburg.

Mr. Serling's Closing Narration[edit]

On the following morning, Sergeant Paradine and the rest of these men were moved up north to a little town in Pennsylvania, an obscure little place where a battle was brewing, a town called Gettysburg, and this one was fought without the help of the Devil. Small historical note not to be found in any known books, but part of the records in the Twilight Zone.

Episode Notes[edit]

  • In the original story the spell is broken when the book is burned.
  • End Titles screen features the burning spellbook.

References[edit]

  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0

External links[edit]