How Old Is Our Very First “Ghost Story”? Here is one from Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (aka. “Pliny the Younger”)

The Gothic Tower

3bb3f5d50ff0c26b8be9dc8a0a1eb147“The Story of a Ghost”

From a “Letter to Sura”

Pliny, the Younger*, ca. 70s AD


Our leisure furnishes me with the opportunity of learning from you, and you with that of instructing me. Accordingly, I particularly wish to know whether you think there exist such things as phantoms, possessing an appearance peculiar to themselves, and a certain supernatural power, or that mere empty delusions receive a shape from our fears. For my part, I am led to believe in their existence, especially by what I hear happened to Curtius Rufus.

While still in humble circumstances and obscure, Curtius Rufus was a hanger-on in the suit of the Governor of Africa. While pacing the colonnade one afternoon, there appeared to him a female form of superhuman size and beauty. She informed the terrified man that she was “Africa,” and had come to foretell future events; for that he would go…

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