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John Raden, scion of the wealthiest family in the town of Raden, returns home for his father's funeral with his new wife Elaine after an absence of twenty-five years. John is shocked to learn from the family physician, Dr. Ben Saunders, that Paul, John's twin brother, who he thought had died when he was ten, is actually still alive and lives at the old estate with his black caretaker Pompey. Ben explains that Paul went insane as a child after his father struck him severely when Paul saw him abusing his mother. His father, hoping to spare John, sent John away and Ben falsified Paul's death certificate. Paul now has become crazed by the thought of his father being buried next to his dear mother and murders Pompey in order to get away from the house, after which he exhumes his father's body. Although Paul seeks out Ben, he flees from him when he realizes that Ben intends to continue keeping him prisoner in the old Raden house. While Paul wanders into the city, Ben falsifies Pompey's death certificate, saying that he died of a heart attack. Paul uses a pseudonym at a boardinghouse where Millie Pickens, the landlady's daughter, flirts with him until he naïvely gives her money to buy a new dress. Paul then finds John and his wife at the hotel, but when John mentions Ben's name, Paul becomes irrational and strikes John. Disturbed, Paul later wanders into a café where Peggy Nolan, a slinky blonde, entices him into buying her a drink. When he starts to speak about Millie, however, with whom he is infatuated, Peggy becomes offended and dances with another man. The drink and the noise affect Paul, and he lurches outside, lurking in the shadows until Peggy leaves late at night. Paul follows Peggy and, at the end of a dark alley, strangles her to death. The next day, the newspaper links Peggy and Pompey's deaths because both bodies were found in the same position. Bill Oakley, a boarder and one of many citizens who are already angry because they have been unemployed since the Radens closed the textile mill, forms a vigilante group, which is incited to action when John, pressured by Ben, announces a $5,000 reward for the capture of the killer. Millie eagerly gets her father's pistol and takes the unwilling Paul to Raden House, which the townspeople think of as a haunted house, because she thinks it is the likeliest hiding place for the murderer. When Millie starts to go into Paul's mother's bedroom, he becomes unbalanced and tries to kill her. She is rescued by Bill and his friend, who have followed them there. A fight ensues between the three men, but when Paul is shot, he escapes, and John enters the house and is mistaken for his maniacal brother. News spreads that the killer has been captured, and the angry crowd forces the town judge to hold a hearing immediately. John is unable to convince the people of his identity until Ben, who has been convinced by Elaine to tell the truth, arrives and reveals the true history. Ben is arrested and Paul is found slumped over his mother's grave, dead.