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The True and Indisputable Facts in the Matter of the Ram's Skull was the first short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Zodiac. It was written by Mark Michalowski. It featured the First Doctor, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright.


Edgar Allan Poe has been invited by two friends, Doctors Parsons and Wolffson, to attend a séance at the house of Mr R. The other guests are the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, Colonel Caine, Mrs Allardyce and her ward Abigail.

After drinks, they enter the back room, which contains a table with a ram's skull on it. The skull has a pentagram carved in its forehead. The guests take their places at the table, and Mr R instructs them to watch the skull. He hopes to use Abigail as a medium to connect to another plane in order to get immortality.

Suddenly the guests find they cannot move. As they become transfixed by the skull, Abigail is possessed by evil forces attempting to enter the world. The skull begins to grow flesh, and Abigail starts to become gaunt. A voice issues from Abigail, saying, "The door is open".

Though he can barely move, the Doctor manages to spill Caine's cognac on the skull. The voice mocks him, but he urges Barbara to use the candle on the skull. She cannot move, so Poe knocks over the candle next to the skull. Abigail and it burst into flames. The guests are freed and Abigail dies.

As the Doctor leaves, Poe returns to his room to write his diary, but realises only as he finishes that in doing so he is opening another doorway to allow the evil force to re-enter the world. The next day Poe is found wandering deliriously in the streets of Baltimore and is taken to hospital where he dies. Following his funeral a mysterious figure leaves roses and cognac on his grave.



  • Miss G suggested to the Doctor that he attend this gathering.

Story notes[]

  • This story is told in the first person by Poe, who writes of the events in his journal.
  • The stories in Short Trips: Zodiac are inspired by the signs of the zodiac. This story's theme is Aries.


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