Athenodoros Cananites finds the body of a murdered man
Type of Spiritual Experience
Lost souls and simple hallucinatory experiences generated by the person unwittingly tapping in to stored ‘perceptions’ are difficult to distinguish. I came across any number of observations where the ‘ghost’ was clearly a stored perception.
On the whole, if the apparition simply looks like an action replay of some past event, it is an action replay! But there are observations that show the soul to be interactive. The following I have picked out for its historical interest.
The story is interesting because it does bear the characteristic hallmarks of a true disembodied soul. The ‘ghost’ was still an hallucination BUT it was manufactured possibly by the disembodied soul’s composer and relayed to Athenodorus’ composer. The man died a violent and possibly terrifying death – there are hints he was buried alive so he was a genuine lost soul. Furthermore, the manufactured hallucination was interactive which lost souls usually are.
A description of the experience
One of the earliest known ghost sightings in the west took place in Athens, Greece. Pliny the Younger (c 50AD) described it in a letter to Licinius Surai.
Athenodoros Cananites, a Stoic philosopher (c 74BC – 7AD) decided to rent a large Athenian house, to investigate widespread rumours that it was haunted.
Athenodoros staked out the house that night and, sure enough, a dishevelled, aged spectre, bound at feet and hands with rattling chains, eventually appeared. The ghost then beckoned for Athenodoros to follow him; Athenodoros complied, but the ghost soon vanished.
The philosopher marked the spot where the old man had disappeared and on the next day advised the magistrates to dig there. The man’s shackled bones were reportedly uncovered three years later. After a proper burial the hauntings ceased.