Monday, November 5, 2018

Ghosts have been Clanking Chains for a Long Time

Pliny the Younger (61-113 AD), Epistles 7.27.5-12
There was a house at Athens that was large and roomy, but infamous for its pernicious atmosphere. Through the silence of the night the sound of iron would come, and, if you listened more keenly, the clanking of chains would echo, first at a distance, then near at hand. Soon a phantom would appear- an old man worn away with starvation and squalor, his beard long, his hair bristling; he bore fetters on his feet and chains on his hands, which he would shake. Then the inhabitants would spend gloomy, ill-omened nights awake in fear; sickness would follow on their wakefulness, and then, as their dread swelled, finally death would come. For even during the day, although the apparition had departed, the memory of it would pass before their eyes, and their fear lasted longer than the fear’s causes.

Subsequently the house was deserted and condemned to emptiness, given over entirely to that monstrous apparition; nevertheless it was advertised, in case someone ignorant of so great an evil should wish to purchase or rent it.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

I would imagine anywhere that people were literally chained up, such as with slaves, you'll find such ghost stories.

Ghost sightings always draw from the psychology of the person experiencing them. People see what they are aware of having existed, but never see things they didn't already know about.

If someone sees ghosts while visiting Flanders Field, they're almost certainly going to claim that they saw soldiers in WW2 uniforms - but almost certainly NOT soldiers in 13th century armor who died there in The War of the Flemish Succession, nor 16th century casualties of The Dutch Revolt.

Moreover, more recent events aren't always the ones people will claim to have seen ghosts from. Visitors to The Great Wall of China are quite likely to report seeing the ghosts of ancient Chinese warriors armed with polearms, but absolutely NOT modern Japanese soldiers armed with rifles who died at The Defense of The Great Wall during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.

If you've never heard of The Defense of The Great Wall, and have no notion that Japanese soldiers ever died there, then quite naturally you will never report seeing ghosts of such figures, because such visions are always drawn from the mind of the person having them.