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Myths and Legends of our Own Land, by Charles M. Skinner, [1896], at


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.



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