One Step Beyond was a groundbreaking TV show that long before Hollywood ever got a sniff of the paranormal this series directed and hosted by John Newland explored realms that were yet to be touched upon. The unthinkable became real, but not due to fantasy but to "Human Record" as John Newland often commented. These tales of the unknown were based upon fact corroborated by eye witness accounts and even police reports. This was not a show that relied upon fiction to thrill its audiences!
In the late 19th Century when global travel was relegated to ships, a weird but true story emerges! A man and woman are swept out to sea when their ship is caught in a storm and sinks. They manage to grapple for a rescue skiff in the middle of the storm as their passenger boat sinks! They are then set adrift for several days at the mercy of the sea and the elements. Luckily as gloomy as it is they are in the midst of Autumn seas that are wet and cloudy but not hot and insufferable. They drift for a time until they encounter a cargo ship with sales, wooden hulls, and strangely silent, devoid of the crew. They are starving, thirsty, and desperate.
They paddle alongside the huge ship calling for help but there is no answer. Finally, the man manages to grab some netting that hangs over the deck and alongside the hull and climbs aboard! He finds the ship completely abandoned! He then pulls his female partner onto the deck and they begin searching for fresh water and provisions as they are weak from hunger and almost dead from dehydration. Soon they are elated to find fresh water and canned food. Some of the containers have a strange moss clinging to them that has to be scrubbed away, but everything is edible. Yet, as they eat and drink they are completely baffled by the fact that a perfectly seaworthy freighter is abandoned! What could possibly cause the crew and the captain to leave a perfectly good boat? The only odd thing is the appearance of moss clinging to parts of the deck.
For days the couple enjoys access to the food and fresh water of the crew. Still, they wonder what drove the men away from their ship? Thankful for the sustenance from their silent ship still they wonder what really happened. Then one morning the woman finds a type of moss growing on her skin! They are quick to remove it by scrubbing and using soap and water! Yet, the next day the woman notices a cluster of moss on the back of the neck of her man and she works hard to scrape it off! As the days go by the couple find that more and more as they eat and survive there is a bizarre fate that accompanies them! This green malignancy continues to grow all over them!
So, as time goes on they run out of provisions. They need to find a way of receiving aid! So as the depth of the night encompasses the Atlantic shipping lanes the couple desperately take control of their little boat and locate another cargo ship venturing through the dark foggy mist of the nocturnal waters. It is there that the crew are startled by the calling of a voice from the nighttime waters! It requests not to shine a lantern upon the little boat but pitifully pleads for fresh water and provisions! The crew are baffled! Who are they speaking with? Why should they help this enigmatic couple who speak to them from the sea level? Who requests not to be illuminated by searchlight? Kindly, the supplies are conveyed to the mysterious couple who oddly request not to be pinpointed by a lantern in the darkened seas.
The couple tell the crew of the assisting ship of their terrible discovery, but after being supplied with food and water gratefully loading the supplies aboard their little rescue boat a curious sailor becomes too impatient and aims the searchlight at the faceless people of the night who asked for help and requested not to be revealed in the rays of the ship's torch lights! The couple is betrayed and suddenly the crew is now aware of who or what told them the ghost story of the seas as a beam of light into the darkness of the Atlantic reveals 2 hulking figures covered with a thick moss clinging to their bodies. They don't even appear human anymore! The sailors are aghast and the captain orders the spotlight shut off!
The two beggars adrift in the darkened waters have been transformed into strange unearthly beings that only vaguely resemble people! The crew gasps as the searchlight abruptly shut off allowing the blackness to envelop the Atlantic again in the depth of a ghostly night. Not all things that occur are either natural or explanatory on human terms! However, now that the light no longer illuminates the horrible images the restored darkness cannot wipe away the memory of what they have seen. The sailors wish they had never uncovered the terrible secret. The story is true. Verified by several eyewitnesses it will linger in the pages of history as an anecdote to the unknown and macabre, and yet as real as the darkness that cloaked the voices who called out to the ship that responded to their plea for help.
This particular episode is rare and hard to find, but I 've seen it and I believe it. I've taken that One Step Beyond.