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Miss Giddens, a minister's daughter, is engaged in London by the master of Bly House as governess for his niece, Flora, and his nephew, Miles. She is greeted by Flora, a seemingly adorable child, and Mrs. Grose, the housekeeper. The first ominous indication that all is not as it seems is a letter from Miles' school explaining that he is being expelled for attempting to corrupt his fellow students. But when Miss Giddens meets the apparently angelic, well-mannered little boy, her anxiety disappears. As the days pass, Miss Giddens discovers that "others" are prowling about the estate--first a man, then a woman. When she describes the two people to the housekeeper, Miss Giddens is horrified to hear that she has identified a former manager, Quint, and a governess, Miss Jessel, both now deceased. Furthermore, she learns that the two "intangibles" not only had licentious relations with each other but in some horrible way perverted the children. She then realizes, or thinks she realizes, that they have returned to take possession of the children's souls. Convinced that Flora and Miles also see the haunting visions, Miss Giddens attempts to make them admit it. The employment of shock treatment for Flora only results in an hysterical outburst, and Mrs. Grose takes the child away from Bly House. Consoling herself with the thought that she has saved little Flora's soul, Miss Giddens embarks upon saving Miles. When she sees the face of Quint in the garden, Miss Giddens demands that Miles say the name of the man she is confident they both can see. The child finally screams "Quint," and then falls lifeless to the ground. Shattered, she takes the dead child in her arms and kisses him.