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Beyond Belief


The owners of a small coffee shop take pity on an amnesiac young woman roaming the streets of New York City. As they get to know her better, they find that beneath her smiling countenance lies a terrible secret.



Air Dates

  • First Run - December 17, 1979
  • Repeat - April 8, 1980





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8 Responses to Episode 1039

I liked this one quite a lot. Although it only had a wisp of a plot and the ending was a bit abrupt and anti-climactic, the three main characters somehow "rang true". They were likable, engaging, and their dialog was well-written. I guess you'd call it a character piece. Elspeth Eric seems to have written countless stories about child abuse, so I can only assume that it must've been something she either experienced personally or was very close to. A number of her stories, in my opinion, are very maudlin and have a self-pitying tone. [i:8026739407]Beyond Belief[/i:8026739407], however, is successful because it avoids self-pity----it's about survival, as illustrated through the past tragedies of two of our main characters. "Do you want to live, or do you want to die?" My feeling at the end is that, now that Helen has regained her memory, she'll be OK. She'll live. Maybe she'll even stay in New York with these kind people, two strangers who've been a better family to her within the space of a month or so than her own mother ever was.


I can't exactly call this a "mystery" tale, though finding out who Helen was could qualify it. This is more of an audio biopic-style tale about four characters. Each one lending their personal story to bridge a relationship to not only one another, but perhaps the audience as well. Each one is a survivor and each one deals with their survival differently. A suspicious, older woman, who endured Auschwitz and the loss of her family; a kindly worn gentleman whose heart collapsed after his family tragedy, yet was able to rise from the ashes into a seat of wisdom; a young girl whose tragic life led to her own collapse and eventual dispossession from identity; and finally, a beaten and forgotten mother whose unknown tragic life led her to hide herself and her child behind a locked door of abuse and neglect. Survival is something we rarely talk about, but we ask each other about every day in saying, "How's it going?" or "How was your weekend?" We all cringe when the response we get to these questions is "Not so good..." because it awakens us from our living slumber of existence in a world where we want everything to be "okay." The truth is, the real world is merely a fish tank and we are all swimming to survive. "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." is what Dory says in Finding Nemo. We are all surviving and I can bet buttons to bacon that we have all survived "something" that has molded us into whom we are right now. Our flesh is our armor and we wear our battle scars on the inside and out. We all have them and we all survive. I think that's the point of this tale and most of the tales of Elspith Eric. While this is not my favorite RMT show of all time, it certainly struck a cord with me enough to remember it. I even remember where I was when I listened to it (driving along a New England shoreline among trees, boats, and beaches trying to find my way back to Route 495). I gave this show a pretty solid 4.7 as the production was great, acting was superb (though the actress playing Helen always seems to grind my ears after a while). However, the story was a bit thin in some areas. A good story, but a little thin. I blame this on the 45-minute time frame. I hope it was a decent pick! Best wishes,


I enjoyed this episode, but it wasn't in the vein that I remember of the mystery shows. I was hoping for something scary or creepy and this was a real mystery. Who was the girl? What did she do to lose her memory? Although I did enjoy listening as always. Now that I've listened to it, I want to know what she will do next. What happened to her off-kilter mother? This one left me with questions instead of the creepy-crawly feeling in my neck.

Joey Dona

This one seemed more short story like to me as well. It didn't have the normal mystery theater twist to it. It did keep me listening, and was easy to follow. I got the feeling that things were better as a child...her mother said things were okay until she was interested in boys, and I can see mother teaching her how to make "chicken fried steak" at home. I think her mother had serious issues that she couldn't deal with her daughter growing up, although it is hard to believe she would turn so emotionally and physically abusive overnight. Maybe she was scared of Helen repeating mistakes she made...don't know what happened because the father was already gone. Was is me, or did "Helen" have a more northern accent until after the scene with her mother, then I started hearing more of the southern influence? They leave us hanging, but I doubt they would just send Helen back. Her mother didn't seem interested in having her. Helen was so upset she wanted to kill her mother :shock: and she finally dissociated herself from her identity probably to avoid that. They threw in that she was valedictorian of her high school...possibly to hint that she was able to rise above her less than ideal situation and would be okay. Some children from abusive homes turn out troubled and possibly violent. Others seem to be more sympathetic and try even harder to be productive members of society. I have never caught on to the formula for which way they will go. Helen seems intelligent and polite, and nothing like her mother.

Will Summers

The reason her accent changed is because her memory returned and she reverted back to her original personality, which included the southern accent.


I don't think the girl was a bad, murderous person in general. She was just reacting violently to the shock of seeing her mother, who she had successfully blocked out, until that idiot brought her mother back to her. I think she only wanted to kill her mother in that moment of shock, because she went temporarily insane. If she had been able to kill her mother, she would probably have been found not guilty by reason of insanity, and she would have felt really guilty afterward.


Only Elspeth Eric would write an episode about reuniting someone with their abuser! Good grief! What is the point of this story? Are we supposed to want the girl and her tormentor back together? Why did the man who rescued the girl bring her mother to her AFTER the mother talked about beating the girl until her arm was tired?!?!? Couldn't he figure out that her mother was abusive? It's stupid that he wouldn't change his mind about reuniting them after hearing that! What was he thinking?!?!? It's obvious that the girl blanked out her memory to forget the trauma that her mother caused, so why did that jerk of a man try to REUNITE them?!?!? This is another example of the weird writing of Elspeth Eric. Her stories are often full of very unrealistic characters who do absolutely stupid things.


I thought this story was well written and engaging, but the end was somehow lame compared to the rest of the writing. It needed a little more fleshing out of the transition to the final denouement.

David fanfhauser

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