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The Sources:

John Cuthbert Lawson :
"Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion" [1910]
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1910

The Case:

Lawson informs us that he has found this story elsewhere. His source is: Francois Richard, a Jesuit priest stationed on Santorini. And Richard tells us that he heard the story from the Abbot of Amorgos.

"I heard, continues the holy father, from the Abbé of the famous monastery of Amorgos, that a certain merchant of Patmos, having gone abroad on business, died. His widow sent a boat to bring his body home. Now it so happened that one of the sailors sat down by accident upon the coffin and to his horror felt the body move. They opened the coffin therefore and found the body intact. Their fears being thus confirmed, they nailed up the coffin again and handed it over to the widow without a word and it was buried. But soon the dead man began to appear at night in the houses, violent and turbulent to such a degree that more than fifteen persons died of fright or of injuries inflicted by it. The exorcisms of priests and monks proved useless, and they thought best to send back the body whence it had been brought. The sailors however unshipped it at the first desert island^ and burnt it there, after which it was seen no more".

The Date:

Sadly, no date is given. So we must assume that the events have taken place before the publication of Richard's book in 1657.

The Place:

Patmos is one of the Dodecanese islands of Greece.

Possible Follow-Up:

Find and read Lawson's "Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion". Then find yourself a copy of Richard's "Relation de ce qui s'est passé de plus remarquable a Sant-Erini Isle de l'Archipel, depuis l'establissement des Peres de la compagnie de Jesus en icelle".

© 2011 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed December 2011

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