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"The Field Where I Died" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of The X-Files. It premiered in the United States on the Fox network on November 3, 1996. Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, the episode was directed by Rob Bowman, and is a "Monster-of-the-week" story, independent of the series' mythology arc.


While investigating a cult compound, Mulder and Scully meet a female member who seems to have access to her past lives and uncover a startling personal revelation.


In Apison, Tennessee, authorities receive a tip from someone named Sidney alleging child abuse and weapons possession by a local cult called the Temple of the Seven Stars. The FBI and BATF stage a raid on the Temple's compound, but are unable to find its leader, Vernon Ephesian (Michael Massee). Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) experiences déjà vu and walks into a field on the compound, where he finds a trapdoor. Inside, Mulder and Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) find Ephesian preparing to drink a red liquid with his six wives. Mulder stops them and handcuffs Ephesian, but he feels a strange connection to one of the wives, Melissa Rydell Ephesian (Kristen Cloke).

Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) warns the FBI and BATF that Ephesian and his wives will be released in a day unless they can track down Sidney and the Temple's reported weapons cache. The agents question Ephesian, who states that there is no member of the temple named Sidney. When they interview Melissa, she suddenly begins to talk like Sidney, claiming that Harry Truman is president. Scully believes Melissa is exhibiting multiple personality disorder, but Mulder thinks she is recalling a past life. The agents take her back to the temple, where she takes on the personality of a woman from the Civil War period and says that the weapons were hidden in another secret bunker in the field. She also states that Mulder, in a past life, was in the field with her, and she watched him die.

Mulder has Melissa undergo regression hypnosis for her to recount her past lives. She implies that she and Mulder have met over their past lives, but only in passing. To confirm her events, Mulder has himself hypnotized and recalls a time when he was a Jewish woman with a son, who had the same soul as his sister Samantha; his deceased father, who was Scully, is dead, was taken to a Nazi concentration camp by a Gestapo officer who was The Smoking Man. Mulder also recalls his past life from the Civil War, when he was a man named Sullivan Biddle, while Melissa was Sarah Kavanaugh; Scully, Mulder claims, was his sergeant in the Union Army. Scully finds pictures of Biddle and Kavanaugh in the county's hall of records and gives them to Mulder.

The FBI and BATF plan to make another search of the compound. Ephesian, realizing that he will not survive another siege, passes out poison to the cult members and all but he and Melissa die, Melissa having feigned drinking it. As Mulder rushes into the temple, Ephesian forces Melissa to drink the poison, and when Mulder arrives he finds both of them dead. Mulder caresses Melissa, looking out into the field.


Tennessee; Flukeman; Temple of the Seven Stars; cult; American Civil War; World War II

Background Information[]


  • There are also similarities between the Waco massacre, with the leader named Vernon, amongst other similarities. Vernon was David Koresh's birth name before he changed it.[1]
  • When Mulder asks Scully if she would redo their four years together, Scully answers that she would do everything the same - except for the Flukeman case.
  • The poem recited by Mulder at the beginning and end is taken from the poem "Paracelsus" by Robert Browning.
  • Sometimes I remember... The words Mulder pronounces at the end belong to Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "Prometheus Unbound."
  • The American Civil War battles described through the cult member were the Battle of Missionary Ridge during the Chattanooga Campaign and the Battle of Ringgold Gap.
  • Two personalities of Melissa were cut due to time constraints.
  • Parts of the set were reused in "Tunguska." You can see the same distinctive leaded window in Marita Covarrubias's apartment. Interesting because the window was so prominently featured.
  • Michael Massee co-starred with David Duchovny in the 1997 movie Playing God.
  • Kristen Cloke, playing Melissa Ephesian, is the wife of Glen Morgan, co-writer of this episode. She would later play the recurring role of Lara Means on Millennium and star as Capt. Shane Vansen in Space: Above and Beyond, the show Glen Morgan and James Wong left The X-Files in the third season to create.
  • Mulder and Melissa's Civil War personas Sullivan Biddle and Sarah Kavanaugh were taken from real life Civil War soldier Sullivan Ballou who wrote a now-famous (and very moving) letter to his wife, Sarah, in which he assured her that his love for her was 'deathless' and that even though he might be killed in the war, he would always be with her, he would wait for her, and that 'we shall meet again'. One week after writing the letter, Sullivan Ballou was killed in the First Battle of Bull Run. Although his references probably refer to being together in heaven, they can also be interpreted as meeting in another life, much like the X-Files episode.


  • When Mulder gives Melissa the picture from the Civil War he is caressing her hand. When her husband barges through the door the camera shows the shot with Mulder and Melissa with his hand on the tape recorder. When it cuts back to the previous shot he is still touching her hand.
  • When Melissa starts channeling the person from the Civil War she says that they hid out in bunkers for protection; but during the Civil War they weren't called bunkers yet, they were called shelters or bombproofs.

Cast and Characters[]



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