Nathan Hayes is a religious man trying to hold onto his farm and keep his family in line. A real estate developer is trying to buy most of the farm property in the area, including Mr. Hayes family farm, in the hope that the Tennesse Valley Authority will choose the town for the site of a new dam and recreational area. The night of a terrible storm, an unidentified, glowing object crashes on the Hayes farm and with it comes a horrible curse for the Hayes family and the members of the community.
A newspaper publisher listens to the personal tapes of investigative reporter David Norliss, who has disappeared during an investigation. The tapes tell the story of that investigation, involving a recent widow whose late husband has been seen working in his private studio. As Norliss and the widow investigate, they unravel a plot involving Voodoo and the walking dead.
This is the story is based on an actual incident. Claude Dallas is a man who loves to be free, so he lives in the mountains where he hunts for his food. However, Bill Pogue is a driven game warden, who abhors anyone who hunts out of season. When he catches Claude Dallas doing that; he's about to arrest him when Claude kills him and the other warden with him. When the man who was with Dallas tells the police what happened, a nationwide manhunt ensues. And there are people who didn't like Pogue and they hope Dallas is never caught.
After several people and a dog are found dead in their closets a "mild-mannered" reporter, a college professor, her son and a befuddled professor band together to uncover the mystery but not without involving the U.S. Army and mass panic.