"The Nightmare Dummies and... the Spectre"
The story opens on an open stretch of a New York highway. Pete and Frank, two delivery men who are hauling a load of the Monarch Mannikin Company’s mannequins in a truck, hear a noise in the back. Pete, the truck driver, stops the truck, and Frank gets out to see what has happened inside the van. He opens the doors and climbs into the back of the truck, and the door slams shut. Hearing the second noise, Pete the truck driver grabs a lug wrench and climbs out of the truck to investigate. When Pete swings open the doors, the mannequins in the van attack him. Although Pete knocks some of the arms and legs off a few of the mannequins, there are too many, and they overwhelm and kill Pete.
When the first responding police car arrives, the two policemen ponder what has happened. One of the policemen claims the crime scene looks like the mannequins, now lying sprawled on the ground around the dead truck driver, were involved in the killing. The other laughs it off. They agree that Lieutenant Jim Corrigan would like this type of case since it is so strange.
New York Police Detective Lieutenant Jim Corrigan has just returned to New York. While riding in a cab from the airport, he hears a police radio in the police car next door announce that multiple homicides just occurred at Hunt’s Department Store. Corrigan vanishes from the cab and flies as the Spectre to the department store. In the department store, the Spectre appears and burns up one mannequin, and the killing stops in the store. After transforming back into Jim Corrigan, he checks each mannequin; they each have Monarch markings, so Corrigan decides to continue the investigation at the Monarch Mannikin factory.
At the Monarch Mannikin Co., Mr. Monarch shows Corrigan the modern manufacturing techniques and then mentioned that Zeke Borosovitch, an old man, is still designing mannequins the old fashioned way. In reverence to his father‘s employment of Zeke, Mr. Monarch is unwilling to discharge the old man. Corrigan observes how Zeke treats his mannequins as if each one is real and has feelings.
Outside the Monarch factory, as Corrigan ponders the strange circumstances of the suddenly animated mannequins and the related killings, Gwen Sterling stops her convertible sports car beside Jim. She tells him that she called the precinct and knew where to find him. She tells him that it has been weeks since she has seen him and wants to be with him, even if he is the Spectre. Jim is disturbed by his own feelings for Gwen, but insists that she leave him alone. The scene causes a tear from Gwen, who refuses to give up her romantic interests in Jim Corrigan.
As Jim walks away, Zeke, the mannequin maker, calls out to Gwen. He tells Gwen that he can solve her problem with Jim, so Gwen follows him into the Monarch Mannikin Co. He offers Gwen a cup of tea, which is filled with a sedative.
That same night, Corrigan reviews how harsh had been with Gwen. The doorbell buzzes. He opens the door and admits he is glad to see her. She says nothing. He invites her inside. Jim apologizes for his behavior that afternoon and is recounting how he is nothing more than a dead man, when Gwen pulls a butcher’s cleaver from her purse and chops through the middle of Jim’s back. The cleaver does Jim no harm, but sticks in the wall. Thinking that Gwen is committing a murder of passion, Corrigan transforms into the Spectre. He uses the same cleaver to hack apart Gwen. Jim quickly realizes that the killer is not Gwen at all. The sliced body parts are those of a mannequin, which looks just like Gwen and even has Gwen’s clothes.
Back in Zeke’s design room, Zeke laughs as Gwen, now tied to a chair wearing only her bra and panties. She struggles to free herself. Zeke tells her that his Gwen Sterling mannequin should have killed Jim Corrigan by now. Then, the Spectre appears in Zeke’s design room. Zeke calls upon all mannequins in the room to attack the Spectre. The Spectre melts the plaster mannequins and then turns on Zeke. Zeke grabs a knife and puts it to the throat of Gwen with the intent to kill if the Spectre approaches. The Spectre transforms Zeke into a mannequin before he can do any harm.
The next day, Monarch Mannikin Co. workers are hauling all of their mannequins to a dump and burning every one. One of the workers laughs as he hauls out the Zeke Borosovitch mannequin, commenting that the look on the dummy’s face appeared as though he’d seen a ghost. The story closes with Jim and Gwen nearby who are onlookers while the Zeke mannequin burns in the bonfire.