There is a church in the small town just outside of Avignon, France known as the La Dames Blanche Cathedral. The cathedral is the largest building in town, and due to the well-kept regal appearance, it has become a must-see for tourist passing through. The attraction remains very popular, despite the townspeople’s fears surrounding the pipe organ on the second floor, and the organist who plays it.
The second floor isn’t used, and not much is up there. Not long after the church was built, a priest noticed that there was only one window on the second floor, and it was the only one in the whole church that wasn’t stained glass. It was an old, dirty round window, about three feet around, and was near enough to the dusty and dilapidated organ that one could sit to play the organ and see out of the window. One of the priest went towards the window to see if it could be easy to remove and replaced. As he got close to the organ, the wood below him broke and he fell through the floor, and the heavy cushioning of the pews below him broke his fall. He survived, but was paralyzed from the neck down. They sealed up the room, boarded up the floor, and left everything on the second floor as it was. The priest insists that the organ not be left up there, as it was dangerous to leave something that big and heavy in such a high place, with risk of the weight of the instrument causing the wooden floor it rests on to break and crush church-goers below. He requested this too late, however, as it was made nearly impossible to get back in to get to the instrument.
It was three years after the church was built that the small town started to grow in population. More and more people attended service at the cathedral. Weddings were held there twice a month. This is also the same time that nuns would claim to hear organ music being played in the middle of the night.
The priests dismissed it, as the second floor where the organ stay had been sealed off for long enough that it should be too covered in dust and grime to work properly. The nuns stuck with their claims, and it wasn’t until that Sunday’s service that the priest believed them.
There was the body of a man found near the church, within earshot of the window on the second floor. His eardrums had burst, and his ears were bloody. He had marks down the side of his face that look as though he was trying to tear out his own ears, which were overstuffed with cloth. The coroner at the scene assumed the death was probably accidental. It had been raining the night before, and the man probably tripped and hit his head on the pavement. The sudden impact is what caused his eardrums to burst, and in a last stitch effort, he plugged his ears due to try and stop the bleeding.
Many of the townspeople were not satisfied with this, but did not question it. The following night, a similar death happened to a woman on her way home from the store. She died in a similar spot, near the church, within earshot of the window on the second floor. As it did not rain that night, they could not claim this one to be an accident. The third night, an old beggar woman, unkempt and unsightly, made a huge fuss, getting the attention of anyone who would listen, that there was someone in the second story window, sitting at the organ and playing music. No one else could hear the music but the woman. She danced in the street to the song. The police told her if she wanted to make a fool of herself to do so elsewhere. She told them she would stop dancing when the pretty music stopped playing.
The music did not stop. The woman had stopped dancing hours ago, exhausted. The song still rang in her ears. She covered them with her hands and moved herself to the far end of town. If she were away from the church, she couldn’t hear the tune, she thought to herself. Three more days she heard it, never stopping. She returned to the church, and went inside. She begged the priest and the nuns to make the organist stop playing the song. They told her there was no organ player. She pleaded with them a bit more before they had to escort her out. She was in tears at this point, ripping out clumps of her hair.
The following morning, the police found the poor old woman, still on the grounds of the cathedral, directly below the window on the second store. There was a patch of blood staining the grey bricks on the wall. It looked as though she had smashed her head against the wall, numerous times. One of the priests says he heard her there, yelling at the window upstairs, but he disregarded her as it was the middle of the night and that her angry rant stopped by the time he had gotten outside.
The body was cleaned up and the police started to worry about the threat of a serial killer. They requested the cathedral be closed off for today so it could be investigated. The head priest agreed. When they investigated the stairs leading up to the second floor, they found them loose, and able to be pried off with a crowbar. Officers Altier, Martine, and Rosamunde were chosen to investigate the upper floors. They said the floorboards were too worn down for someone to be walking around. Everything was covered in dust. Officer Altier pressed a few keys on the organ sitting alone in the room. Dust spewed from the pipe related to that note, but no sound came out. The window beside the organ was very dirty and the officers could barely see out of it. They left the second story and said there was nothing suspicious about it, aside from the loose boards blocking off the stairs.
The following day, the wife of Officer Altier awoke to find her husband’s body in the bed with her, his eardrums burst and bloody, staining the pillow his head rested on. His eyes were rolled back in his head, and his hands were pressed against his ears.
People were afraid to go to church. The nuns stayed in the inn nearby, refusing to sleep in the hotel. The priests stayed in a smaller church the next town over. Police blocked off the entrance to the church, and had covered the window on the second floor. Alternate routes were made so nobody had to walk in front of the gates. They questioned anyone in town that knew how to play an organ. One man broke into the church and smashed up the organ. Children threw rocks at the window. They did everything in their power to make sure this stopped.
It did not stop. In fact, it got worse. One person dying outside the gates of the cathedral grew to five. Three shop owners near the church jumped from the roofs of their stores. Eight people were driven mad, one even almost drowned trying to block her ears out with river rocks.
Each new person who said they heard the music no one else did stated that the man in the window was angry. They said he could see them, even without the window. He filled their thoughts. They could only think of organist, playing his tune, staring not at his sheet music, but directly at them. His eyes, cold and uncaring, did not blink, and lacked any hint of remorse or sympathy for the people begging at his feet. His fingers were thin and skeleton like. He did not speak to them. He would not stop playing.
The song plays on.