8 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show that dabble with the supernatural
Get into the spooky seasonal spirit with these hilariously eerie episodes.
Mayberry is the quiet kind of town where a community parade or a fishing mishap makes the front page of the newspaper. It's a peaceful place to raise a family. Heck, there are only two police officers. That being said, even the all-American Andy Griffith Show did dabble with the supernatural and superstition from time to time.
In seasons four and five, in particular, talk of ghosts, witches, hexes and curses frequently popped up. If you think about the competition at that time, it makes sense. Bewitched, The Addams Family and The Munsters all kicked off in 1964. Perhaps it was inevitable that a little black magic would work its way down to Mayberry.
Of course, nothing on The Andy Griffith Show was truly eerie or unexplained. Even the sitcom's most Halloween-y episode was more of a Scooby-Doo scenario.
Here are eight episodes of Andy for fans of the spooky.
1. The Haunted House
Where else to begin? With cobwebs, moving eyeballs in paintings, and floating hatchets, "The Haunted House" is the closest The Andy Griffith Show came to horror. Comedy-horror, of course. This Halloween tale (it originally aired in October 1963) would go on to heavily inspire the Don Knotts motion picture The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, which featured not only a similar plot, but many familiar Mayberry faces.
2. Three Wishes for Opie
The seance scene, seen here, is perhaps the darkest moment in the happy-go-lucky series. Literally. Look how dimly lit this moment it. Barney attempts to reach the spirit of Count Istvan Teleky, a dead nobleman from Transylvania. You know, like Dracula. Goober seems rather spooked by the mystic arts. "It sure is dark in here," the cowering Floyd the Barber notes. It reminds us of when we brought out the Ouija board at slumber parties.
3. The Jinx
It's no surprise that Barney is the most superstitious fellow in Mayberry. Some of his biggest laughs come from his old-fashioned beliefs. In this episode, we see the deputy read from a dusty volume titled Signs, Omens, Portents and Charms to Ward Off Bad Luck. It's a book of spells, from his grandmother. Which means Fife has a little witchery in his blood. That's why he chants goofy incantations like "Sam’s at the gate, with a frosted cake… Fly away buzzard, fly away crow, way down South where the winds don’t blow" and "Wynkum, Pynkum, Nodimus Rex." He also rubs Opie's head for luck.
4. Back to Nature
What is a campfire without a solid ghost story? (And s'mores.) Sheriff Andy tells a whopper. Bug-eyed Barney and Gomer shiver more than the kids. In Andy's spooky tale, a man gets a golden arm after losing his appendage to a bear. Upon his death, bandits steal his golden arm, cursing him to wander the woods, moaning, "Where is my a-a-a-arm!"
5. The Darling Baby
If anyone is more superstitious than ol' Barney it's the Darling clan. Here, Andy uses "witchcraft" (well, Opie's disappearing ink) to scare the heck out of the hillbillies. "Eebum-shoobum-shoobum-shoobum," the sheriff mutters in his best mumbo-jumbo. "You got witchery in your house!" Briscoe hollers before shooing away his brood.
6. A Warning from Warren
Once Barney bolted at the end of season five, a new deputy took over. Warren carried many of the same superstitions. In "A Warning from Warren," he even claims to have the powers of ESP (extra-sensitive perception, his predecessor would say). A sinister vision comes to Warren — Andy and Helen are doomed for a dark outing at the lake. Of course, these goofballs end up causing the havok.
7. The Lucky Letter
"You call it superstition," Barney corrects his boss. "I call it caution." Barney is convinced ill fate will befall him if he does not respond to a chain letter. Barney trashes the letter… which leads to a series of misfortune. He bumps his head, cuts himself shaving, gets his foot run over by a truck, and nicks himself shaving. Don't mess with the power of the chain letter!
8. The Cow Thief
Ok, this is a stretch, as it does illustrate how gullible Barney is for all things supernatural. He would certainly be into googling skinwalkers and aliens today. In a way, both cryptids and abduction play into this plot. A cow mysterious disappears with only human footprints left as evidence. In the final scene, we see the prints of some kind of "bigfoot" beast. Turns out, as we quickly learn, it's just a cow with boots and Opie with an elephant foot. This plot also foreshadows how Ernest T. Bass tricks townspeople in Return to Mayberry when he makes "monster" footprints with plaster.