The Story So Far

Johnny Dixon seriesProfessor Childermass has disappeared. And Johnny Dixon can find few clues: a haunted dollhouse and a lighted, menacing jack-o'-lantern. The dollhouse is a miniature replica of a room in the Childermass family home -- the same room where the professor's granduncle Lucius died in a very bizarre way. When Johnny takes a tiny skull from the dollhouse, demonic forces are unleashed -- forces that capture the professor and lead Johnny and his friends Fergie and Father Higgins on a harrowing chase to the deserted islands of Maine. There, waiting for them, is something far more terrifying than they could have imagined.

The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull (1984), by John Bellairs, is the third book in the Johnny Dixon series.



" book with haunted clocks, tiny skulls, snow, a priest, bushy beards and the word Phooey!" - Rodents Of Unusual Size



But he had also gone out for another reason. He had decided to do something about the tiny skull that he had stolen from the Childermass clock. All during the car trip Johnny had been haunted by the weird feeling that he had gotten when he saw the skull on Fergie's jacket. And he had finally decided that the skull was an evil thing, and that he'd better get rid of it. Earlier, he had made up a reason to borrow Father Higgin's car keys. He had opened the trunk of the Olds and dug out the watchcase with the skull inside it. Now the case was in the pocket of Johnny's raincoat. He could feel it pressing against his leg. But the time for action had come. After a quick look around, Johnny plunged his hand into the pocket. He pulled out the case and flipped it over the side. The boat's motor was roaring so loud that he did not even hear the splash.

Johnny heaved a sigh of relief. That was over with, anyway! It was possible, of course, that he had thrown away a good-luck charm, but...

A sound interrupted Johnny's thoughts -- a clashing, banging noise. Johnny peered around through the gathering darkness, and then he saw it: The door on the empty cabin had come open, and it was hitting against the cabin's metal wall as the ship rolled, making a nerve-racking noise. Quickly he padded across the deck and grabbed the steel door handle. He was about to slam the door shut when he peered into the lighted cabin.

There was somebody . . . no, rather, it seemed to be something . . . sitting in one of those seats. It looked like a scarecrow. Its back was to Johnny, so he couldn't tell if it had a face, but it was wearing an odd sort of carroty red wig, and it was dressed in some sort of white coarse shirt. Johnny was puzzled. Why on earth would anyone bring a scarecrow onto a ferryboat? And just then, while he stood there wondering, the ship rolled gently, and the scarecrow lurched to one side. Johnny looked down, and he saw the scarecrow's foot sticking out into the aisle.

It was a skeleton foot. A cluster of white bones.

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