Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Death Toll

In the popular movie The Boondock Saints, the main characters ( Connor and Murphy McManus) cover their victims' eyes with coins after they have been shot. This action is actually a Greek Myth and some people around the world follow it. The Greek mythology states that for a dead spirit to cross over the River Styx in the afterlife, the spirit must pay a toll to Charon, the ferryman of the River Styx. If the dead spirit did not pay the toll, they would wander around restlessly in the Underworld. To prevent that from happening, families or those around the dead person, would place coins over both eyes to help the spirit pay the toll so that they can rest in peace in the afterlife.
There are other ideas related to the coin myth: In a Magyar custom, they place coins over the eyes of the dead "with silver because, if they remain open, we would see our own death captured in their eyes." ( and also, the Catholics believe that since eyes naturally stay open after death, the weight of the coins will keep them closed, so that the person can get a restful sleep.

* Since pictures arn't working on this site for me, here is the picture I wanted to post along with the text.


  1. This is definately a superstition that I never heard of before. I find it interesting that a person would have to pay a toll to enter death and crossover. Isn't dying bad enough and now you have to pay a toll to do so.

  2. I enjoyed this post. I'm really into Greek mythology. It's very interesting. I also heard of another superstition where people would put the coin under the person's tongue. Also, to Lisa, the Greek idea of death was different than today's ideas. Both the people who were good in life and those who were bad in life still went to the underworld together, crossing the river Styx. It was after that when they were separated, with the good people going to the Elysian Fields, the Greek equivalent to heaven.

  3. I like hearing Greek mth stories even though most seem so unrealistic it's hard to believe these were ever truly believed.