The Phantom Stranger confronts Broderick Rune. The Phantom Stranger, though, was expected. Rune traps, and seemingly kills, the Phantom Stranger, within a pentagram. Rune's manservant, Rashid, confirms that the Phantom Stranger is, indeed, dead. Rune's weak heart gives out. Rashid hurries the operation to save Rune's life. Rashid presses the reluctant heart surgeon, Doctor Ferret, into service. Ferret transplants the Phantom Stranger's heart into Rune's chest. The Phantom Stranger confronts Rune, in the twilight realm of death, and demands the return of his heart.
Rune bolts awake, the encounter seemingly a dream. Rune's men dispose of the Phantom Stranger's body, at the waterfront. However, upon opening the blanket to release the Phantom Stranger's body into the water, the corpse is no longer there. The Phantom Stranger confronts Rune's men, whose minds shatter at the mere sight of the Phantom Stranger. Rune sees a vision of the Phantom Stranger in his mirror, while shaving. The Phantom Stranger demands his heart back. For weeks, Rune is tormented, both in dreams and in his waking hours, by the Phantom Stranger, ever demanding the return of his stolen heart.
Finally, Rune flees the country. To no avail, as the Phantom Stranger again appears to Rune, in Europe. Rashid conjures up the spirit of the Phantom Stranger, to free Rune once and for all. Rashid battles against the Phantom Stranger, buying Rune time to flee. The Phantom Stranger pursues Rune, drawing ever closer, until Rune's heart finally gives out from the strain. When Ferret examines Rune, he finds the man has no heart. The Phantom Stranger has reclaimed what is rightfully his.
Elly Mae Mullins is abducted by the "Swampster", a legendary ghost of the bayou. The encounter leaves her boyfriend, Charlie, in a catatonic state. Sheriff Taylor contacts Doctor Terrance Thirteen, the famed Ghost-Breaker, to aid in the investigation. Thirteen immediately dismisses the supernatural, as a factor in the case. Thirteen ventures out, into the swamp, alone. Thirteen is attacked by the Swampster, and disappears. At the behest of Thirteen's wife, Maria, Sheriff Taylor takes her to the scene of the attack. Taylor and Maria continue to search the swamp.
Astonishingly, they discover a domed city, hidden away in the deepest part of the swamp. Taylor and Maria gain entry into the domed city, through an airlock. Inside the city, Taylor and Maria encounter strange flora, and seemingly mindless citizens. The Swampster is revealed to be Professor Zachary Nail, the city's founder. Nail murders Taylor, converting his body into flora. Nail's utopian society is in response to the polluted world mankind is creating outside the domed city. Nail takes Maria to see her husband. Thirteen has undergone Nail's conditioning, leaving him virtually mindless.
Nail orders Thirteen to take Maria away for conditioning. Thirteen's love for Maria causes him to rebel, and break his conditioning. Thirteen attacks Nails, as the swamp reclaims the domed city. Thirteen evacuates the city, leaving Nail to perish as the city falls to ruin. Thirteen attributes the rapid growth of the swamp around the city to Nail's atomic reactors. Maria, however, believes that nature itself took umbrage at Nail's so-called perfect society, and destroyed it.