The Haunting of Athenodorus

Written By Tripzibit on Jan 22, 2015 | 02:03

Perhaps the first record of the classic chain-clanking ghost is: the haunting of the rented house of the philosopher Athenodorus of Athens in the 1st century. The ghost dragged about the house in his leg chains, moaning and scaring away all tenants. Finally, having no other choice to live, Athenodorus moved in. When the ghost appeared Athenodorus was not afraid as others had been. The ghost led him outside and pointed to a spot on the ground. The next day Athenodorus had the ground dug up there. A human skeleton was found, stilll shackled to rusted chains.

Athenodorus was born in Canana, near Tarsus (in modern-day Turkey); his father was Sandon. He was a student of Posidonius of Rhodes, and the teacher of Octavian (the future Caesar Augustus) at Apollonia.
The Roman philosopher Pliny the Younger relayed the story in a letter to his patron, Lucias Sura. It is not known how much of the story was embellishment, but it makes for an interesting tale. 

Wrote Pliny:
There was formerly at Athens a large and handsome house which none the less had acquired a reputation of being badly haunted. The folk told how at the dead of night horrid noises were heard: the clanking of chains which grew louder and louder until there suddenly appeared the hideous phantom of an old man who seemed the very picture of abject filth and misery. His beard was long and matted, his white hair disheveled and unkempt. His thin legs were loaded with a weight of galling fetters that he dragged wearily along with a painful moaning; his wrists were shackled by long cruel links, while ever and anon he raised his arms and shook his shackles in a kind of impotent fury. Some few mocking skeptics who were once bold enough to watch all night in the house had been well-nigh scared from their senses at the sight of the apparition and what was worse, disease and even death itself proved the fate of those who after dusk had ventured within those accursed walls. The place was shunned. A placard “To Let” was posted but year succeeded year and the house fell almost to ruin and decay.

Even this state of affairs, however, did not deter Athenodorus, who had little money. When told the house was so cheap and in such deplorable condition because it was haunted, he rented it anyway. Not surprisingly, the first night there he was awoken by the  sound of chains rattling. The sound grew louder and louder until Athenodorus caught sight of the hideous phantom of the old man. The spirit beckoned with a bony finger and led Athenodorus to the garden where he pointed to the ground and then disappeared. Athenodorus marked the spot and then went inside and to bed. He slept undisturbed.

The next day, according to Pliny, he went to the local magistrates and told them what had happened. Digging commenced at the spot in the garden, and a human skeleton, with rusted chains still shackled to the bones, was uncovered lying close to the surface. The remains were
given a proper burial, and the house was ritually purified. According to Pliny, the haunting and the bad luck of the house then came to an end.

Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Ghosts and Haunted Places by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

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Empress Theatre

Written By Tripzibit on Jan 20, 2015 | 04:32

Empress Theatre which located on Main St. in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada has played its own part in ghost stories throughout the years. Theatre staff, patrons, and even performers have reported cases of what could be considered a haunting. Some of them have claimed that during rehearsals or performances, they see a hairy-armed character sitting in the balcony. At a second glance, the ghostly man whom they call “Ed, the Phantom of the Empress” suddenly disappears.

In 1910, J.S. Lambert began construction on the now-historic Main Street of Fort Macleod. The 450-seat brick-and-sandstone structure was built with an eye to the future, when the population of the community would be far greater. Completed in 1912 as an opera house, it soon became part of the Famous Players theatre franchise, which presented live concerts and vaudeville acts that toured North America. Eventually, silent films became part of the entertainment and, by the early 1930s, movies with sound were the main feature. In 1937, the theatre was sold to Daniel Boyle, who made some significant renovations to the building—adding a balcony and moving the projection booth above the new balcony. He also made decorative enhancements such as updated light fixtures, window covers, and light-up neon tulips on the pressed-tin ceiling in honor of his wife.

The ghostly legends of the theatre begin in the 1950s when a janitor who worked there as his second job died under mysterious circumstances at the local auction market. Locals say they smelled his phantom cigar smoke in the theatre for many years after his death. Stories circulated of seeing the hairy-armed man in the bathroom mirror only to turn around and find him gone.

After Boyle’s 1937 renovations, the
theatre wasn’t touched again until 1982, when the Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area Society took over the building.

Forty-five years of customers, performances, popcorn and candy fights, and sugary treat spillage wore heavily on the building. The Historic Area Society poured $1 million into renovating the
theatre back to its original splendor. The ghost encounters continued throughout the renovations and after they were completed.

A popular theory behind Ed, the theatre's resident ghost, is that of a former janitor of the Empress. He worked a second job at the local auction market and was known to enjoy a drink and a smoke now and then. This helps lead to the belief that the ghost is in fact this man, as often sightings, or experiences are accompanied by the scent of alcohol, tobacco and manure.

Other unexplained phenomena, such as footsteps or even hearing someone whistling a tune only to find no one there, almost became commonplace.

One incident that stands out occurred when one employee heard footsteps coming up from downstairs, while counting money in the concession. The employee attentively awaited a co-worker to appear, but the footsteps continued and no one appeared. They continued up the stairs, through the foyer and into the concession, stopping right beside her and still no body or person was visible.

Encyclopedia of Haunted Places: "Ghostly Locales From Around The World" compiled and edited by Jeff Belanger;

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Busby's Cursed Chair

Written By Tripzibit on Jan 14, 2015 | 04:50

Inside the Thirsk Museum in the tiny village of Thirsk, which located in North Yorkshire, England, there sits a valuable antique chair of Thomas Busby. The infamous chair also known as the 'Chair of Death'. According to local legend, the chair is cursed with an astonishing and lethal power and anyone who dares sit in it will meet an untimely end soon after. In 1978 the chair was ultimately hung from the ceiling of Thirsk Museum in order to prevent anyone from sitting on it.

The legend begins with a man named Thomas Busby who had been sentenced to die. In 1702, he was arrested, tried and condemned to death after he murdered his father-in-law Daniel Auty. On his way to the gallows, he asked to stop by the pub as his last request. When he finished, he said "May sudden death come to anyone who dare sit in my chair." The execution's site was also said to be haunted by Busby's ghost. 

The Chair of Death inside the Thirsk Museum

During World War II, airmen from an nearby base made the pub a hot spot, and the chair became a "hot seat" and people noticed that the ones who sat in it would never come back from war. In 1967, two Royal air force pilots sat in it, and while driving back, they crashed into a tree and died. A few years later, two brick layers decided to try it, and that afternoon, the one who sat in it fell to his death. In 1970s some fatal accidents were also linked with the chair. It is said that for some time prior to death, the person who sat in the chair experiences haunting experiences, including extreme itching, paranoia, hearing things, confusion, items being moved and written warnings on mirrors and walls about the persons imminent death in addition to many other strange happenings.

Finally in 1978 the landlord asked for the chair to be removed to the Thirsk Museum, and hung out of harm’s way. To this day the chair is mounted high up on the wall of the Thirsk Museum and no one has been allowed to sit in it, no matter how much they offer for the thrill.

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Codex Gigas The Devil's Bible

Written By Tripzibit on Jan 13, 2015 | 03:53

The Codex Gigas (means ‘giant book’) is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world. The 310 parchment leaves (620 pages) of the Devil’s Bible are made of vellum, from the processed skins of 160 animals, most probably donkeys. Some pages of the Devil’s Bible are thought to have been removed, and no one knows what happened to them. It is also known as the Devil's Bible because of a large illustration of the devil on the inside and the legend surrounding its creation. It is thought to have been created in the early 13th century in the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice in Bohemia (modern Czech Republic). It contains the Vulgate Bible as well as many historical documents all written in Latin and the calligraphy is lavishly luminated throughout. During the Thirty Years' War in 1648, the entire collection was stolen by the Swedish army as plunder, and now it is preserved at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm, on display for the general public.  
Codex Gigas
The Codex Gigas or the Devil’s Bible is famous for two features. First, it is reputed to be the biggest surviving European manuscript. Secondly, it's included the picture of the devil, and contain detailed instructions for the exorcism of demons or evil from people and objects. The origin of the Codex Gigas is unknown. A note written in the manuscript states that it was pawned in the monastery at Sedlec by its owners, the monks of Podlažice, in 1295. In 1594 Rudolf II removed the Codex Gigas to his castle in Prague where it remained until it was taken during the Thirty Years War, with many other treasures, by the army of Sweden to Stockholm. It then entered the collection of Queen Christina of Sweden and put into the royal library in the castle at Stockholm. There it remained until 1877 when it entered the newly built National Library of Sweden in Stockholm.

According to one version of a legend that was already recorded in the Middle Ages, the scribe was a monk who broke his monastic vows and was sentenced to be walled up alive. In order to forbear this harsh penalty he promised to create in one single night a book to glorify the monastery forever, including all human knowledge. Near midnight he became sure that he could not complete this task alone, so he made a special prayer, not addressed to God but to the fallen angel Lucifer, asking him to help him finish the book in exchange for his soul. The devil completed the manuscript and the monk added the devil's picture out of gratitude for his aid. In tests to recreate the work, it is estimated that reproducing only the calligraphy, without the illustrations or embellishments, would have taken 5 years of non-stop writing.

The Codex Gigas contains five long texts as well as a complete Bible. The manuscript begins with the Old Testament, and it is followed by two historical works by Flavius Josephus who lived in the first century AD. These are The Antiquities and The Jewish War. After Josephus is the most popular Encyclopaedia of the middle ages, by Isidore, who lived in the sixth century in Spain. This is followed by a collection of medical works, and these are followed by the New Testament. The last of the long works is a Chronicle of Bohemia by Cosmas from Prague (ca 1045-1125). This is the first history of Bohemia and important work.

There are also some short texts in the manuscript. The first, before the picture of the Heavenly City, is a work on penitence. The second, after the Devil portrait, is on exorcising evil spirits. The last important short work is a Calendar, containing a list of saints and local Bohemian persons on the days on which they were commemorated. There is also one lost work, on leaves that have been cut out of the manuscript, the Rule of St Benedict, the essential guide to monastic life written in the sixth century.


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