A traveler's gold-filled money belt is too much of a temptation for debt-ridden inn-keeper, Matthias. After sharing a bottle of wine with the wealthy Polish merchant, a drunken Matthias attacks the man with an axe. Mortally wounded, the dying man shakes his fist, still clutching a band of sleigh bells, at his murderer. Matthias steals the gold and disposes of the body, but as questions and suspicions mount, he is haunted by the victim's ghost and the sound of constantly ringing bells.Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem about obsession and madness, this artistic silent film adaptation features a powerful performance by Lionel Barrymore, patriarch of the famed acting dynasty. The Bells also boasts the presence of Boris Karloff, who plays the mysterious mesmerist.