Ghosts In History
Tales of ghosts are not new, and in fact date back into the shadowy beginnings of history, as we do it.
A ghost story survives from 1200 BC ancient Egypt, translated from hieroglyphics found on shards of pottery.
There is also the legend of Tu-Po, who served as a minister to Chinese Emperor Hsuan (lived 827-783 B.C.). After a disagreement with the emperor, Tu-Po was put to death, but he did much more than just haunt his former boss. It is said that Hsuan was killed by an arrow, fired by a shadowy figure that resembled his former minister.
And then there is this, from Ancient Rome:
Roman senator Pliny the Younger, who died in A.D. 113, told a ghost tale so haunting that it survives to this day. “There was at Athens a large and roomy house, which had a bad name, so that no one could live there. In the dead of the night, a noise — resembling the clashing of iron — was frequently heard, which, if you listened more attentively, sounded like the rattling of chains,” disturbances that led to the appearance of a specter “form of an old man, of extremely emaciated and squalid appearance, with a long beard and dishevelled, hair, rattling the chains on his feet and hands.”
Needless to say, the house was abandoned and had to be rented out for a cheap price. When a philosopher named Athenodorus heard the story, he reportedly rented the house and confronted the ghost. The ghost appeared, and rattled around before vanishing. Athenodorus calmly marked the spot where the ghost vanished and, in the morning, ordered that the spot be dug up, the story goes.
“This was accordingly done, and the skeleton of a man in chains was found there, for the body, having lain a considerable time in the ground was putrefied and mouldered away from the (chains). ” After being given a proper burial, the ghost departed, and the house was haunted no more, according to Pliny’s tale. (Translation from Pliny the Younger, The Harvard Classics, 1909-1914.)
So as shocking as it is to encounter a spirit, don’t think you are the first – or only one – to do so. You are just the latest.