"Ghost Dance": Two couples in San Miguel, California come to the deserted, six-acre mansion of Amy Cambridge, long-dead family member of the designer of the Cambridge Repeater Rifle. According to David, legend has it that the house is haunted by the ghosts of all who were slain by the rifle. Ro

Quote1.png See, as it happens, I've got a couple of front row tickets for the end of the universe. I thought it'd be best to use them now. I mean, you never know... There may not be a second performance. Quote2.png
John Constantine

Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #45 is an issue of the series Swamp Thing (Volume 2) with a cover date of February, 1986.

Synopsis for "Ghost Dance"

Two couples in San Miguel, California come to the deserted, six-acre mansion of Amy Cambridge, long-dead family member of the designer of the Cambridge Repeater Rifle. According to David, legend has it that the house is haunted by the ghosts of all who were slain by the rifle. Rod, a bit of a bully flirts openly with David's girlfriend Linda, right in front of his own girlfriend Judy. They've all come to the mansion for a thrill that movies don't give.

Inside, Linda wanders off and Rod follows, despite the maze-like structure of the mansion. Upstairs, Rod encounters a nude woman that he believes is Linda, who begins making love to him. Suddenly, though, it is revealed that the woman is actually the ghost of Franny Mitchell, a woman killed by a gunshot wound to the head. He discovers that the woman isn't Linda when he accidentally pulls out part of her wig. Horrified, he runs away, and opens a door that opens leading outside. As a result, he falls three stories to his death.

Elsewhere, Linda wanders into a room where the ghosts of cowboys Ed Clutty and the Dutchman have been shooting each other to pieces for almost an hour, arguing over marked cards. She backs into the hallway in horror, only to be surrounded by a gang of firing squad victims. Not long after, she loses consciousness.

After getting separated from David in the house, Judy wandered aimlessly, without finding any other people. She looks into a free-standing wardrobe, and inside it, she sees an oncoming stampede of buffalo killed by repeater rifles. Believing it to be a hallucination, she laughs. Moments later, though, the stampede crashes through the door, and crushes her underfoot.

As the mansion rapidly fills with more and more ghosts, David prays for some kind of help. When he encounters the Swamp Thing, he realizes that his prayer was answered. David explains the history of the house, and his friends' predicament, and then collapses into a sobbing mess. Swamp Thing leaves him, in search of a solution.

He finds Linda, still alive, but unconscious outside the Séance room. Remembering that David had said that the ghosts had commanded that the sound of hammers never stop when the mansion was built, Swamp Thing understands what he must do. He begins pounding his fists on the table, so that the sound resonates throughout the mansion. Hearing the sound, the ghosts begin running into the 13 fireplaces. He pounds and pounds until the table is destroyed. Afterwards, the spirits of all the ghosts are released through 47 chimneys. He grabs Linda, and leaves her outside for David to find, and then disappears.

When David finds Linda, he is taken aback when she seems more concerned about Rod. She reveals that she's been sleeping with Rod for months. She then proceeds to seek out rescue for Judy and Rod. Sadly, he just follows her.

Swamp Thing encounters John Constantine in the forest, and demands the truth. Constantine introduces him to his companions Frank North and Benjamin Cox, who are going to help them with the final stages. He states that he has "front row tickets for the end of the universe," and they wander off into the fog.

Later, David visits a gun shop, and buys a Cambridge Repeater Rifle. He plans to kill Linda.

Appearing in "Ghost Dance"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • Ghosts

Other Characters:

  • Dave
  • Rod (Dies)
  • Linda
  • Judy (Dies)





  • The issue title is a reference to the Ghost Dance Native American new religious movement of 1889-1890. Its adoption by the Lakota (Sioux) nation's pockets of resistance to white expansion played a part in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre of 153 Lakota people, hence its relevance to this story which includes Native Americans among the ghosts of rifle victims.
  • The Cambridge Mansion and the story's premise is based on the real life Winchester Mystery House, a giant mansion begun in 1884 by Sarah L. Winchester, and under construction continuously until her death thirty-eight years later. It features hundreds of false doors, dead ends, stairways to nowhere, and closets that open into five-bedroom suites in an attempt to confuse the alleged ghosts of people who were shot to death by the Winchester rifles her family made. Also, the Cambridge Repeater is discussed by the characters to be a cheap derivative of the Winchester.
  • Rod makes light of the Haunted House legend by telling Linda "You be Shelley Duvall, I'll be Jack Nicholson!", then saying "Heeeeeere's Roddeeee!" as he chases her inside. The reference is to Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, with Nicholson's famous "Here's Johnny!" line taken in turn from Ed McMahon's signature introduction of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.
  • When Judy convinces herself that the stampeding buffalo were a hallucination, she thinks of a Porky Pig cartoon and begins to laugh. That cartoon is the 1952 Fool Coverage, toward the end of which a parade of elephants unexpectedly charges through Porky's house.

See Also

Links and References

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