Class VII Corporeal Entity
Jacob Marley (1764-December 24, 1836) was a spirit who appeared to Ebenezer Scrooge in order to warn him of his three impending encounters with The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future on December 24, 1842. Scrooge’s account was told to his good friend, the author Charles Dickens, who then fictionalized the experience into the best-selling novella A Christmas Carol.
In particular, he belongs to a particular class know as Presages. These entities essentially serve as spiritual carriers, either conveying a particular message, or serving as a herald to more powerful spirits to announce their impending arrival. Another particularly well known example of this type of spirit is the Irish Banshee.
His appearance was more or less similar to his appearance in life, though with the addition of a kerchief tied around his face as though he had a toothache. However, this actually served to keep Marley’s jaw in place in accordance with standard British burial procedures at the time. Aside from the kerchief, Marley also dragged an exceptionally long chain of moneyboxes with him wherever he went as a form of punishment. We know that this particular form of eternal punishment was tailored to the specter, as Marley remarked to Scrooge that his chain would be longer than the Ghost’s considering he had worked on it for more years.
In regards to physical manifestations and his ability to interact with his environment, Jacob Marley had a myriad of abilities. He could float, as most spirits, but he could also physically move objects, such as bells and door knobs. In addition, he could influence the shape of physical objects temporarily, as he was able to momentarily shape the door knocker of Scrooge’s lodgings to resemble his face.
It appears that a major weakness of Marley’s ghost was the physical limitations placed upon him by his punishment. These include the confinement in chains to limit his movement. Given that there are no further known reports of the specter, it may be the case that spirits in this situation may only appear to those who knew them intimately. This is a somewhat disturbing thought considering that a spirit may be in the immediate vicinity of an individual, but still be unable to interact due to the inability to communicate. It may also be noted that Marley was only able to appear to Scrooge for a short interval. It may be that the energy required for a spirit to make their presence know is simply too much to bring about except under special circumstances.
The case between Scrooge and Marley is also notable as it is one of the first times modern investigative techniques were applied to a haunting. In particular, Scrooge eliminated a number of variables before determining that it was indeed a ghost he was dealing with. Due to the weak nature of the ghost, he should be considered relatively harmless, although care should be taken, as is the case with all presages, to pay attention to the warning that they offer.