As millionaire Jason Phillips carries his new bride, Wanda, over the threshold, he spies the Phantom Stranger. Wanda sees nothing, and Jason shakes off the vision as mere imagination. As the wedding guests file into the vast dining room, they are taken aback by the coffin in the center of the room. The coffin contains Phillips' first wife, Irina. On Irina's death bed, Phillips vowed to keep her close to him forever. Phillips met, and fell in love with, Irina, while working as a ski instructor. Irina suffered from a weak heart, and passed away four years after they married, leaving Phillips a very wealthy man. At the dining table, Phillips once more sees the Phantom Stranger.
Wanda points out that Phillips is actually looking at his own best man, Carl Trent. After the guests have departed, and Wanda has gone to sleep, Phillips steals down to the dining room, to be with Irina. The Phantom Stranger is waiting for Phillips. The casket begins to open, and Phillips hears Irina's voice. Phillips' screams bring Wanda down to the dining room. In a flash of lightning, Phillips again sees Irina, and the Phantom Stranger. Phillips lashes out, striking the Phantom Stranger, knocking him off the balcony. Near hysteria, Wanda tries to convince Phillips that the presence of Irina, in the coffin, is slowly driving him mad.
The next day, Phillips and Wanda spend some time on the lake. Suddenly, the Phantom Stranger's hand grabs Phillips' oar. Phillips goes berserk, and begins violently beating the water with his oar. He sees Irina behind Wanda, but Wanda sees nothing. After finally calming Phillips down, Wanda has Irina's coffin placed in storage. Upon awakening, Phillips rushes down to the storage room. Grasping an axe off the wall, Phillips prepares to break into the coffin. The Phantom Stranger appears to Phillips once more. Finally, Phillips breaks down and confesses to murdering Irina, to inherit her wealth. Phillips begins swinging the axe at the Phantom Stranger. In his mad obsession, Phillips blindly stumbles into the road, and is struck, and killed, by an oncoming car.
At the stroke of midnight, a man named McKay is struck dead in the street. On hand to bear witness, to McKay's strange death, are Doctor Terrence Thirteen, the famed Ghost-Breaker, and his wife, Maria. The townsfolk blame McKay's death on the curse of the Black Friar. Thirteen dismisses any supernatural element in McKay's death. Speaking with Doctor Hall, the man who sent for Thirteen, the Ghost-Breaker learns the Black Friar's history. Now, if any man sees the ghost of the Black Friar, at midnight, he is struck dead.
Thirteen encounters the ghost of the Black Friar, in the local cemetery. Seeing, though, is not believing for the Ghost-Breaker. Thirteen assembles a group of townspeople, a dozen strong, to lay in wait for the ghost of the Black Friar, at the abbey. Only the ghost of the Black Friar's voice is heard, demanding the townsfolk drive Thirteen off. Giving in to their superstition and fear, the tonsfolk do just as the ghost of the Black Friar demands. After driving out of town, Thirteen doubles back. Thirteen conducts his investigation throughout the night, and most of the following day.
Once more he assembles the townsfolk, near the base of the great clock tower. This time when the Ghost of the Black Friar's voice is heard, Thirteen lunges for a tombstone, and activates a hidden mechanism that reveals the true location of the "ghost" of the Black Friar. The "ghost" is taken into custody and revealed to be Hall. Out of vanity, Hall engineered a sonic weapon that allowed him to kill anyone in close proximity to the clock tower. Hall felt spiteful towards the town, for having him replaced with a younger doctor. Thirteen explains how he was able to thwart Hall's schemes. Hall is taken away.