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In Greek mythology he was the son of Erebus (darkness) and Nyx (night). Charon ferried the shades (spirits) of the dead across the Styx or other rivers of the Underworld. The ancient Greeks buried their dead with a silver coin in their mouth as payment to Charon for this trip. Those who did not receive proper funeral rites were forced to wander along the riverbank for 100 years before obtaining passage from Charon.