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PATMOS – THE CORPSE IN A BASKET

I did not stay long at that Patmonian cocktail party. I was bored, but mostly I didn’t like the house. It was beautiful; old and tastefully decorated, adorned with charming objects, and surrounded by an enchanting garden. And yet, I felt uneasy there.

I returned home to find Maria still in the kitchen. I told her how I hated that house. “And for good reason,” she responded. My curiosity was peaked, and Maria had no difficulty in satisfying it.

Shortly after the second world war, in the 1950s, at a time when there were practically no foreigners in Patmos, the house was bought by an American couple. One fateful day, the couple welcomed a visitor, a man.

Then what happened? Did the man become the wife’s lover? Whatever the case, the husband shot him. What was to be done with the corpse? A simple call to the garbage collector would do.

At the time, waste in the village of Hora was collected by a man and his donkey carrying two enormous baskets in which the village bins were emptied. The American called the donkey-driver, and gave him a large sum of money. The corpse was to be transported in one of the baskets with haste. The American instructed the donkey-driver to throw the corpse over the top of a cliff and into the sea.

As no one knew the victim was in Patmos to begin with, the searches carried out after his disappearance never took place there. Shortly after, the American couple sold the house and were never to be seen again.

Sometime later, the house was purchased by the current owner, a distinguished collector and a man of refined taste. Yet it isn’t surprising that the house remains haunted by the murder. And it had an epilogue.

Two years ago, sameone dug up a beach on an island across from Patmos, and one day happened upon a skeleton. The age and sex corresponded to those of the victim. It turns out the donkey-driver didn’t throw the corpse into the sea, but instead gave it a Christian burial…


by  Prince Michael of Greece