A traveler's gold filled money belt is too much of a temptation for debt-ridden inn-keeper, Matthais. 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 Allen 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.