June 22: A short post for a short reading

Ghosts are strange things, but they are not more strange than the past.

My springboard for this is the ghost stories we have today via Pliny the Younger (and when are we going to start referring to the Bushes as Younger and Elder?). I'm not on a particular mission to de- or re-bunk, so Athenodorus the philosopher spending a night in a haunted house (perhaps the first appearance of that trope, although it's not for a million dollars), seems kind of ho-hum, but this caught my eye:

A young lad of my family was sleeping in his apartment with the rest of his companions, when two persons clad in white came in, as he says, through the windows, cut off his hair as he lay, and then returned the same way they entered. The next morning ... there was the hair again, spread about the room.

Nothing remarkable indeed followed these events, unless perhaps that I escaped a prosecution, in which, if Domitian (during whose reign this happened) had lived some time longer, I should certainly have been involved. For after the death of that emperor, articles of impeachment against me were found in his scrutore, which had been exhibited by Carus. It may therefore be conjectured, since it is customary for persons under any public accusation to let their hair grow, this cutting off the hair of my servants was a sign I should escape the imminent danger that threatened me.
Wait, what? "It is customary for persons under public accusation to let their hair grow?" I think of Washington, and imagine a long-locked Scooter Libby doing a perp walk to his trial, and I find it bizarre. Do they have to grow it long, to show that they're under the gun? Or do they choose to grow it long, to appear brazen and innocent? How long does the impeachment process take, anyhow -- do they look like David Crosby at the trial, or just guys who need a trim?

I don't get it at all. I guess they would find neckties to be similarly weird.

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