MOSTELLARIA – A ROMAN PLAY ABOUT GHOSTS AND PARTIES
- Written by Plautus
- A young man called Philolaches is having a great time while his father is overseas on business. Philolaches has also borrowed a lot of money to buy the freedom of the slave-girl he loves.
- One day he is having a house party with many friends, when his slave Tranio interrupts the merry-making to announce that Philolaches’ father has returned unexpectedly and will arrive from the harbour at any minute.
- Amid the general panic, Tranio has an idea.
- He hustles Philolaches and his friends into the house and locks the door.
- The father now arrives.
- Tranio greets him respectfully but pretends that it is dangerous to enter the house because it is haunted.
- Unfortunately, at this moment a money-lender turns up to claim the money that Philolaches borrowed.
- Tranio thinks quickly and pretends that the money was borrowed to buy the house next door.
- Even when Philolaches’ father meets the real owner of the house, Tranio manages to hide the truth for some time, but he is found out at last and jumps onto the top of an altar to escape punishment.
- All ends happily, however, when one of Philolaches’ friends offers to repay the debt, thus allowing the father to forgive his son. Even Tranio is forgiven.
- Inspired Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”.
Must be a rule in the ghost handbook—if in danger of evaporating, make sure you’re in the middle of a dire pronouncement.
― Kelley Armstrong
You get what anybody gets – you get a lifetime.
― Neil Gaiman
THE “FIRST” HAUNTED HOUSE – ROME
- Pliny the Younger wrote one of the first “haunted house” stories ever recorded around 50 AD.
- In the story, Pliny describes a house in which the apparition of an old man, emaciated, bearded, and burdened with heavy chains plagues the inhabitants therein.
- Those who bought or rented the house became so frightened that they evacuated the property.
- Finally, a philosopher, who was identified as Athendorus, takes up residence there.
- Familiar with tales of the ghost, Athendorus decides to immerse himself in his writing, in the hopes of distracting himself when the ghost appears.
- However, the sound of the rattling chains and moaning becomes so dreadfully loud and terrifying that Athendorus follows the ghost to a spot outside the house, whereupon the figure disappears.
- Athendorus marks the spot with grass and leaves and in the morning orders the spot to be dug up.
- The excavation produced the corpse of a man wrapped in heavy chains.
- Athendorus promptly ordered a proper burial for the man, and his ghost was never seen in the house again.
Nature is a Haunted House – but Art – a House that tries to be haunted.
— Emily Dickinson
Behind every man now alive stand 30 ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.
― Arthur C. Clarke
There are a few of the open-air spirits; the more domestic of their tribe gather within-doors, plentiful as swallows under southern eaves.
― William Butler Yeats
Houses are not haunted. We are haunted, and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.
― Dean Koontz
GOBLINS OF MALAYSIA AND INDONESIA
- Toyols are tiny green-skinned goblins with glowing red eyes
- Toyols are dead fetuses or stillborn babies reanimated by black magic.
- Masters are said to keep their toyols in jars, feeding them milk and candy and—on special occasions—drops of blood drawn from the toe of the lady of the house.
- When bidden, toyols will steal money for their masters or commit other acts of petty crime and sabotage.