The Legend of Rattling Chains

The Legend of Rattling Chains

Hey everyone, it's Lisa Morton here with this week's Ghost Report.

 What's that sound I hear, like rattling chains coming from behind me? Well, heck, that is pretty much the sound described in half the ghost stories from the last 200 years. So what is it about ghosts and Rattling Chains. You might be tempted to say that it all comes from Dickens and "A Christmas Carol," because, hey, who could forget Jacob Marley's ghost showing up covered in chains?

When Scrooge asked the ghost why it is fettered, it says this, "I wear the chain I forged in life, I made it link by link and yard by yard, I girded it on of my own free will and of my own free will I wore it." Now certainly the writers who came after Dickens were inspired by "A Christmas Carol," writers like Oscar Wilde in "The Canterville Ghost," but the fact is that Dickens was probably inspired by something he read, and that something is 2,000 years old.

We have to look back to ancient Greece for the first great story of a ghost in chains in a tale that was told by Pliny the Younger. This happened in Athens right around the time of the birth of Christ. Christ when the philosopher Athenodorus was looking for a house to rent. He saw a notice for this huge house that was dirt cheap and when he questioned why it was, he was warned that it was haunted and this is what he was told.

"In the silence of the night, the clank of iron, and if you listened with closer attention, the rattle of chains were heard, the sound coming first from a distance and afterwards Close at hand, then appeared the ghostly form of an old man, emaciated, filthy, decrepit, with a flowing beard and hair on end, with fetters around his legs and chain on his hands, which he kept shaking."

Well, Athenodorus being You know, our kind of guy wanted the house even more after hearing that. So he rented it and was visited by the ghost on his first night. But instead of quaking in his bed like everyone else, he followed it to a spot in the courtyard. When that spot was dug up the following morning, they found the corpse of a murdered man there, bound in chains.

When they gave the corpse a proper burial, the haunting stopped. So You know, if you ever hear that clanking sound at night, it could be your furnace. Or it could be that ghost trying to get a little recognition so he can stop dragging those chains around.

I'll leave you now to listen, but I will be back next week