In 1840, Gerard Stiles, possessed by the warlock Judah Zachary, wants revenge against the Collins family since a Collins was among the judges who condemned Zachary 150 years earlier. He’s setting up Quentin Collins to be accused, convicted, and beheaded for witchcraft, just as Zachary was himself executed.
To start with, Gerard throttles Quentin’s cousin and best friend, Desmond, using Desmond’s cravat and one of those voodoo dolls so popular with the Dark Shadows witch community.
Gerard leaves the “strangled” doll on the trans-dimensional stairway that Quentin is constructing in his basement workshop / laboratory at Collinwood. Quentin displayed the stairs to his supposed friend earlier and tried to explain his theories about the mutable properties of time and space–ideas which would sound more like magic than science to people who aren’t Time Lords.
Lamar Trask finds the voodoo doll on the stairs in time to untie the knot and save Desmond from choking to death, but the location makes him highly suspicious that Quentin’s work is satanic.
Lamar has also been extremely suspicious of Barnabas since the girl they were both in love with, Roxanne Drew, became a vampire, but whether he believes that Barnabas is a vampire himself or allied in witchcraft with Quentin fluctuates. Lamar’s the kind of guy who thinks that anybody he doesn’t like simply must be evil.
To pile up the evidence against Quentin, Gerard has made a neighboring farmer’s cattle die; after the neighbor blames the Collinses, he is stalked and threatened in the woods.
Quentin’s wife Samantha’s and the vampiric Roxanne’s brother Randall is also attacked and killed in the woods. A note left beside Randall’s body bears the same circle-and-cross symbol as Quentin’s signet ring. Since Quentin is the one who stumbles over the body, he’s arrested for the murder.
When it comes to the inquest, Quentin is cleared of this murder charge, but it seems that the great state of Maine still has laws against witchcraft on its books as late as 1840. Lamar brings his accusations to the court and instead of laughing in his face and sending this looney on his way, the judge has Quentin bound over to be tried as a warlock.