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Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die


Not a supernatural, but a psychological horror story is revealed as Ellen Muir recounts her trip to Malvern Grange to take care of its aged matron.



Air Dates

  • First Run - April 23, 1975
  • Repeat - July 29, 1975





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15 Responses to Episode 0261

I was a regular listener to RMT, and after all these years, this one episode has stayed with me. It truly did have me "cowering beneath the sheets!" When I listened to it recently, I was amazed at how well I remembered it.


I too was an avid listener back then. But alas my memory isn't what it used to be. This is a good story nonetheless.

Randy Mc

Very engaging story, my fave! The old woman cackle like voice gave me nightmares. Well put together, I felt like I went back in time. I swear If I looked outside there would be a horse and buggy in the drive way instead of an SUV


Ellen Muir tells her story of going to Malvern Grange to help care for its elderly matron who is quite insane. This is a case where the house is not haunted by the spirit of the dead, but the conscience of the living.

Ghelo Diesta

A young woman leaves her home to take up a job as a maid with her aunt at an elderly woman who the stableman describes as half alive, half ghost, and all mystery. The young woman is intrigued, terrified, but reassured by her stern aunt who puts everything and everyone in their place. Her sense of order and control seems to calm her, until strange noises come from the upstairs and her aunt scurries away to tend to the old woman’s needs. As the story unfolds, the mystery of the old woman is compounded by the old woman’s behaviour, and the mystery of the old woman’s life.


I didn't think I'd like this story at the beginning, but it was very good. When you get to the end you understand more of what was happening at the beginning. I thought it silly that allegedly all the bones turned to dust except for the skull, though.


Like this one too. I try to make out exactly what the old woman is actually screeching, but can't figure it out. Anyone know what she is saying?


The old woman is ranting about not wanting to go to hell because of what she has done, etc. No one listened to her or took her seriously at the time.


I really liked this episode. The recording is very clear. I still can't get the picture of the old lady in her wig and ball gown lying in her bed out of my mind.


I listened to it last night and I think as the story started to become clearer I thought it was more psychologically taunting then scary. Marvelous episode!


The ONLY thing I dislike about RMT is that crazy, HIGH pitched old lady voice! I've heard it in a few episodes but now in "Afraid to Live, Afraid to Die" She just gets under my skin; I'm not sure who it is.


@Desiree, The old lady is played by one of the three actresses listed above. You're right that she has a creepy voice. In fact, she's one of the creepiest characters on CBSRMT! I totally dislike her, especially when we get to the end of the story and find out her horrid history. @Cathy, The old lady is yelling about the crime she committed in her past, and saying things like, "Don't let the Devil get me!" It turns out she isn't as crazy as people think because she really did commit a horrible murder that makes her guilty, and she is afraid she will go to Hell when she dies.


I rate this episode ★★★★☆ for GOOD. What’s great about this mystery tale, written by Sam Dann, is that it’s a psychological horror story where curiosity builds up and moves towards to a shocking discovery. Plus, the characters were easy to understand. There are 2 downsides in this episode. ONE: No Resolution. We’ve got the Climactic scene on what was hiding inside the house, but no outcome on what happened to the remaining characters afterwards. TWO: The main character narrates in the beginning with an elderly voice, but doesn’t narrate again in the finale. It would make sense to bring that particular voice back and hear what she had learned and wonder if she’s still emotionally scarred from that experience. The Title is perfect. Other ways to title this would be “Memory Of Terror,” “The Matter Of Conscience,” “The Secret At Malvern Grange,” or “Curious Ellen.” Our Cast in this was Jada Rowland (as Ellen Muir), Ann Pitoniak (as Aunt Hester Milgrim), Joan Shay (as Meg O’Meara and Madame Lytton), and Ian Martin (as Joe Wellman and Dr. Lytton). Jada Rowland is still my all-time favorite actress on CBSRMT and these 4 were terrific. However, Joan Shay’s performance as the 99-year-old Madame Lytton was excruciating. CBSRMT should’ve picked Evie Juster or Mercedes McCambridge to play that role. In our Host’s Prologue, E.G. Marshall begins with quotes about Conscience from William Shakespeare and Oliver Goldsmith. In ACT-1, know that the terror is yet to come to Ellen Muir. Our Host made an error here at the 14:16 mark where he said Meg O’Meara’s name wrong and called her “Peg.” In ACT-2, the terror for Ellen Muir finally arrived. In ACT-3, the Title speaks for itself; the old woman was afraid to live and afraid to die. In his Epilogue, E.G. Marshall talks about neglected objects. But from what we’ve heard in the final scene, it was actually a neglected Subject. 2 things that were phenomenal in this episode: Sound Effects & Music. Sounds of the Railroad Station, horse neighing, crickets, wagon wheeling, howling wind, doors, tableware clinking, teapot pouring, birds chirping, cups clinking, the key lock, and bones falling were essential. The music during Ellen Muir’s narrations were suitable while the rest of the music tracks were chilling and alarming! Perfect tunes for a good horror tale. Fans of Jada Rowland’s work should check this one out. Until next time…pleasant dreams. =0)


Good comments. Thanks for the thoughtful notes. Correction: Ian Martin wrote the episode.


The Madams voice is grating, hard to understanf, and most annoying ... but I suppose that’s all to the good given her deed. Tremendous story with a chilling ending!


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