The Wraith Ringer Of Atlanta

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

A man was killed in Elliott Street, Atlanta, Georgia, by a cowardly

stroke from a stiletto. The assassin escaped. Strange what a humming

there was in the belfry of St. Michael's Church that night! Had the

murderer taken refuge there? Was it a knell for his lost soul, chasing

him through the empty streets and beginning already an eternal punishment

of terror? Perhaps the guilty one did not dare to leave Atlanta, for the

chimes sang in minor chords on several nights after. The old policeman

who kept ward in an antiquated guardhouse that stood opposite the

church--it was afterward shaken down by earthquake--said that he saw a

human form, which he would avouch to be that of the murdered man, though

it was wrapped in a cloak, stalk to the doors, enter without opening

them, glide up the winding stair, albeit he bent neither arm nor knee,

pass the ropes by which the chimes were rung, and mount to the belfry. He

could see the shrouded figure standing beneath the gloomy mouths of

metal. It extended its bony hands to the tongues of the bells and swung

them from side to side, but while they appeared to strike vigorously they

seemed as if muffled, and sent out only a low, musical roar, as if they

were rung by the wind. Was the murderer abroad on those nights? Did he,

too, see that black shadow of his victim in the belfry sounding an alarm

to the sleeping town and appealing to be avenged? It may be. At all

events, the apparition boded ill to others, for, whenever the chimes were

rung by spectral hands, mourners gathered at some bedside within hearing

of them and lamented that the friend they had loved would never know them

more on earth.