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In Paris in 1845, Pierre Dupin and his roommate Paul, accompanied by their respective girl friends, Camille L'Espanaye and Mignette, attend a carnival. They enter the tent of Doctor Mirakle, who claims he is a scientist and exhibits "Erik," his pet ape, to illustrate a lecture on evolution--proof of which can be found, he claims, by mixing the blood of a man and an ape. Believing Erik is attracted to Camille, Mirakle orders his servant Janos, The Black One, to follow her home and obtain her address. Later that night, after witnessing a violent quarrel between two men that ends in their deaths, Mirakle takes the woman of the street the men were fighting over into his carriage. In his laboratory, Mirakle extracts a specimen of the woman's blood, only to discover it is tainted, and the woman dies screaming on the rack. Mirakle disposes of her body in the river, and she becomes the third such victim to be discovered there in a week. Pierre, a medical student, bribes the Morgue Keeper for a sample of the woman's blood, and discovers that all three women died as a result of a foreign substance being injected into their blood. When Camille then receives a bonnet from Mirakle with a note attached asking her to return to the carnival tent, Pierre convinces her that Mirakle could be dangerous. Going in Camille's place, Pierre finds Mirakle uncommunicative about his experiments and secretly follows him to the lab. Later that evening, Mirakle observes Pierre leave Camille, and when he is unable to persuade her to accompany him, Mirakle orders Erik to abduct her. Meanwhile, Pierre deduces that the victims died from injections of ape blood and runs to Camille. Arriving too late, Pierre is detained by the police until he finds Camille's mother, Mme. L'Espanaye, strangled and stuffed up the chimney by the ape. The gendarmes follow Pierre to Mirakle's lab, where Erik's blood is about to be mixed into Camille's veins. The gendarmes then shoot Janos while Erik kills Mirakle. Erik climbs onto the rooftops, carrying Camille with him. Pierre ascends after Erik and, shooting him, rescues Camille, while Mirakle ends up as one more body in the morgue.