Real Ghost Stories by Stead, W. T. (William Thomas)
REAL GHOST STORIES
Collected and Edited
WILLIAM T. STEAD
Re-arranged and Introduced
ESTELLE W. STEAD
NEW YORK: GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY
During the last few years I have been urged by people in all parts of the world to re-issue some of the wonderful stories of genuine psychic experiences collected by my Father several years ago.
These stories were published by him in two volumes in 1891-92; the first, entitled _Real Ghost Stories_, created so much interest and brought in so large a number of other stories of genuine experiences that the first volume was soon followed by a second, entitled _More Ghost Stories_.
The contents of the two volumes, slightly curtailed, were, a few years later, brought out as one book; but the three volumes have long been out of print and are practically unknown to the present generation.
I remember when I was a child my Father read some of these stories aloud to us as he was making his collection; and I remember, too, how thrilled and awed we were, and how at times they brought a creepy feeling when at night I had to mount many flights of stairs to my bedroom at the top of the house.
Reading these stories again, after many years' study of the subject, I have realised what a wealth of interesting facts my Father had gathered together, and that not only the gathered facts, but his own contributions, his chapter on "The Ghost That Dwelleth in Each One of Us" and his comments on the stories, show what an insight he had into and what an understanding he had of this vast and wonderful subject.
I felt as I read that those who urged re-publication were right, that if not a "classic," as some have called it, it at least merits a place on the shelves of all who study psychic literature and are interested in psychic experiences.
I demurred long as to whether I should change the title. The word "Ghost" has to a great extent in modern times lost its true meaning to the majority and is generally associated in many minds with something uncanny--with haunted houses and weird apparitions filling with terror those who come into contact with them.
"Stories from the Borderland," "Psychic Experiences," were among the titles which suggested themselves to me; but in the end I decided to keep the old title, and in so doing help to bring the word "ghost" back to its proper and true place and meaning.
"Ghost," according to the dictionary, means "the soul of man; the soul of a deceased person; the soul or spirit separate from the body; apparition, spectre, shadow":--it comprises, in fact, all we mean when we think or speak of "Spirit." We still say "The Holy Ghost" as naturally and as reverently as we say "The Holy Spirit." So for the sake of the word itself, and because it covers everything we speak of as Spirit to-day; these two considerations take away all reason why the word should not be used, and it gives me great pleasure in re-issuing these stories to carry on the title originally chosen by my Father.
There is a large collection of stories to be drawn upon, for besides those given in the two volumes mentioned, many of equal interest and value appeared in _Borderland_, a psychic quarterly edited and published by my Father for a period of four years in the nineties and now long out of print.
If this first volume proves that those who advised me were right in thinking that these experiences will be a valuable addition to psychic literature, I propose to bring out two further volumes of stories from my Father's collection, and I hope to add to these a volume of stories of a later date, of which I already have a goodly store. For this purpose I invite those who have had experiences which they consider will be of interest and value for such a collection, to send them to me so that, if suitable and appropriate, they may be placed on record.
In bringing this Introduction to a close I should like to quote what my Father wrote in his Preface to the last edition published by him, as it embodies what many people are realising to-day. To them, as to him, the reality of the "Invisibles" is no longer a speculation. Therefore I feel that these thoughts of his should have a place in this new edition of his collection of _Real Ghost Stories_.
"The reality," he wrote, "of the Invisibles has long since ceased to be for me a matter of speculation. It is one of the things about which I feel as certain as I do, for instance, of the existence of the people of Tierra del Fuego; and while it is of no importance to me to know that Tierra del Fuego is inhabited, it is of vital importance to know that the spirits of the departed, and also of those still occupying for a time the moveable biped telephone which we call our body, can, and given the right conditions _do_, communicate with the physical unconsciousness of the man in the street. It is a fact which properly apprehended would go far to remedy some of the worst evils from which we have to complain. For our conception of life has got out of form, owing to our constant habit of mistaking a part for the whole, and everything looks awry."
Estelle W. Stead
Bank Buildings, Kingsway, London, W.C.2.
A PREFATORY WORD.
Many people will object--some have already objected--to the subject of this book. It is an offence to some to take a ghost too seriously; with others it is a still greater offence not to take ghosts seriously enough. One set of objections can be paired off against the other; neither objection has very solid foundation. The time has surely come when the fair claim of ghosts to the impartial attention and careful observation of mankind should no longer be ignored. In earlier times people believed in them so much that they cut their acquaintance; in later times people believe in them so little that they will not even admit their existence. Thus these mysterious visitants have hitherto failed to enter into that friendly relation with mankind which many of them seem sincerely to desire.
But what with the superstitious credulity of the one age and the equally superstitious unbelief of another, it is necessary to begin from the beginning and to convince a sceptical world that apparitions really appear. In order to do this it is necessary to insist that your ghost should no longer be ignored as a phenomenon of Nature. He has a right, equal to that of any other natural phenomenon, to be examined and observed, studied and defined. It is true that he is a rather difficult phenomenon; his comings and goings are rather intermittent and fitful, his substance is too shadowy to be handled, and he has avoided hitherto equally the obtrusive inquisitiveness of the microscope and telescope.
A phenomenon which you can neither handle nor weigh, analyse nor dissect, is naturally regarded as intractable and troublesome; nevertheless, however intractable and troublesome he may be to reduce to any of the existing scientific categories, we have no right to allow his idiosyncrasies to deprive him of his innate right to be regarded as a phenomenon. As such he will be treated in the following pages, with all the respect due to phenomena whose reality is attested by a sufficient number of witnesses. There will be no attempt in this book to build up a theory of apparitions, or to define the true inwardness of a ghost. There will be as many explanations as there are minds of the significance of the extraordinary narratives which I have collated from correspondence and from accessible records. Leaving it to my readers to discuss the rival hypotheses, I will stick to the humbler mission of recording facts, from which they can form their own judgment.
The ordinary temper of the ordinary man in dealing with ghosts is supremely unscientific, but it is less objectionable than that of the pseudo-scientist. The Inquisitor who forbade free inquiry into matters of religion because of human depravity, was the natural precursor of the Scientist who forbids the exercise of the reason on the subject of ghosts, on account of inherited tendencies to attribute such phenomena to causes outside the established order of nature. What difference there is, is altogether in favour of the Inquisitor, who at least had what he regarded as a divinely constituted authority, competent and willing to pronounce final decision upon any subject that might trouble the human mind. Science has no such tribunal, and when she forbids others to observe and to reflect she is no better than a blind fetish.
Eclipses in old days used to drive whole nations half mad with fright. To this day the black disc of the moon no sooner begins to eat into the shining surface of the sun than millions of savage men feel "creepy," and begin to tremble at the thought of the approaching end of the world. But in civilised lands even the most ignorant regard an eclipse with imperturbable composure. Eclipses are scientific phenomena observed and understood. It is our object to reduce ghosts to the same level, or rather to establish the claim of ghosts to be regarded as belonging as much to the order of Nature as the eclipse. At present they are disfranchised of their natural birthright, and those who treat them with this injustice need not wonder if they take their revenge in "creeps."
The third class of objection takes the ground that there is something irreligious and contrary to Christianity in the chronicling of such phenomena. It is fortunate that Mary Magdalene and the early disciples did not hold that theory. So far from its being irreligious to ascertain facts, there is a subtle impiety in the refusal to face phenomena, whether natural or supernatural. Either these things exist or they do not. If they do not exist, then obviously there can be no harm in a searching examination of the delusion which possessed the mind of almost every worthy in the Old Testament, and which was constantly affirmed by the authors of the New. If, on the other hand, they do exist, and are perceptible under certain conditions to our senses, it will be difficult to affirm the impiety of endeavouring to ascertain what is their nature, and what light they are able to throw upon the kingdom of the Unseen. We have no right to shut our eyes to facts and close our ears to evidence merely because Moses forbade the Hebrews to allow witches to live, or because some of the phenomena carry with them suggestions that do not altogether harmonise with the conventional orthodox theories of future life. The whole question that lies at bottom is whether this world is divine or diabolic. Those who believe it divine are bound by that belief to regard every phenomenon as a window through which man may gain fresh glimpses of the wonder and the glory of the Infinite. In this region, as in all others, faith and fear go ill together.
It is impossible for any impartial man to read the narratives of which the present book is composed without feeling that we have at least one hint or suggestion of quite incalculable possibilities in telepathy or thought transference. If there be, as many of these stories seem to suggest, a latent capacity in the human mind to communicate with other minds, entirely regardless of the conditions of time and space, it is undeniable that this would be a fact of the very first magnitude. It is quite possible that the telegraph may be to telepathy what the stage coach is to the steam engine. Neither can we afford to overlook the fact that these phenomena have in these latter days signally vindicated their power over the minds of men. Some of the acutest minds of our time have learned to recognise in them scientific demonstration of the existence of the fact that personal individuality survives death.
If it can be proved that it is occasionally possible for persons at the uttermost ends of the world to communicate instantaneously with each other, and even in some cases to make a vivid picture of themselves stand before the eyes of those to whom they speak, no prejudice as to the unhealthy nature of the inquiry should be allowed to stand in the way of the examination of such a fact with a view to ascertaining whether or not this latent capacity of the human mind can be utilised for the benefit of mankind. Wild as this suggestion may seem to-day, it is less fantastic than our grandfathers a hundred years ago would have deemed a statement that at the end of the nineteenth century portraits would be taken by the sun, that audible conversation would be carried on instantaneously across a distance of a thousand miles, that a ray of light could be made the agent for transmitting the human voice across an abyss which no wire had ever spanned, and that by a simple mechanical arrangement, which a man can carry in his hand, it would be possible to reproduce the words, voice, and accent of the dead. The photograph, the telegraph, the telephone, and the phonograph were all more or less latent in what seemed to our ancestors the kite-flying folly of Benjamin Franklin. Who knows but that in Telepathy we may have the faint foreshadowing of another latent force, which may yet be destined to cast into the shade even the marvels of electrical science!
There is a growing interest in all the occult phenomena to which this work is devoted. It is in evidence on every hand. The topic is in the air, and will be discussed and is being discussed, whether we take notice of it or not. That it has its dangers those who have studied it most closely are most aware, but these dangers will exist in any case, and if those who ought to guide are silent, these perils will be encountered without the safeguards which experience would dictate and prudence suggest. It seems to me that it would be difficult to do better service in this direction than to strengthen the hands of those who have for many years past been trying to rationalise the consideration of the Science of Ghosts.
It is idle to say that this should be left for experts. We live in a democratic age and we democratise everything. It is too late in the day to propose to place the whole of this department under the care of any Brahmin caste; the subject is one which every common man and woman can understand. It is one which comes home to every human being, for it adds a new interest to life, and vivifies the sombre but all-pervading problem of death.
W. T. Stead.
Part I.--The Ghost That Dwells in Each of Us.
Chapter I. The Unconscious Personality 17
" II. Louis V. and His Two Souls 32
" III. Madame B. and Her Three Souls 45
" IV. Some Suggested Theories 52
Part II.--The Thought Body, or the Double.
Chapter I. Aerial Journeyings 56
" II. The Evidence of the Psychical Research Society 72
" III. Aimless Doubles 86
" IV. The Hypnotic Key 101
Part III.--Clairvoyance.--The Vision of the Out of Sight.
Chapter I. The Astral Camera 108
" II. Tragic Happenings Seen in Dreams 127
" III. My Own Experience 141
Part IV.--Premonitions and Second Sight.
Chapter I. My Own Extraordinary Premonitions 145
" II. Warnings Given in Dreams 160
" III. Premonitory Warnings 179
" IV. Some Historical and Other Cases 192
Part V.--Ghosts of the Living on Business.
Chapter I. Warnings of Peril and Death 199
" II. A Dying Double Demands its Portraits! 211
Part VI.--Ghosts Keeping Promise.
Chapter I. My Irish Friend 222
" II. Lord Brougham's Testimony 231
Appendix.--Some Historical Ghosts 240
REAL GHOST STORIES.
THE GHOST THAT DWELLS IN EACH OF US.
The Unconscious Personality.
"Real Ghost Stories!--How can there be real ghost stories when there are no real ghosts?"
But are there no real ghosts? You may not have seen one, but it does not follow that therefore they do not exist. How many of us have seen the microbe that kills? There are at least as many persons who testify they have seen apparitions as there are men of science who have examined the microbe. You and I, who have seen neither, must perforce take the testimony of others. The evidence for the microbe may be conclusive, the evidence as to apparitions may be worthless; but in both cases it is a case of testimony, not of personal experience.
The first thing to be done, therefore, is to collect testimony, and by way of generally widening the mind and shaking down the walls of prejudice which lead so many to refuse to admit the clearest possible evidence as to facts which have not occurred within their personal experience, I preface the report of my "Census of Hallucinations" or personal experiences of the so-called supernatural by a preliminary chapter on the perplexing subject of "Personality." This is the question that lies at the root of all the controversy as to ghosts. Before disputing about whether or not there are ghosts outside of us, let us face the preliminary question, whether we have not each of us a veritable ghost within our own skin?
Thrilling as are some of the stories of the apparitions of the living and the dead, they are less sensational than the suggestion made by hypnotists and psychical researchers of England and France, that each of us has a ghost inside him. They say that we are all haunted by a Spiritual Presence, of whose existence we are only fitfully and sometimes never conscious, but which nevertheless inhabits the innermost recesses of our personality. The theory of these researchers is that besides the body and the mind, meaning by the mind the Conscious Personality, there is also within our material frame the soul or Unconscious Personality, the nature of which is shrouded in unfathomable mystery. The latest word of advanced science has thus landed us back to the apostolic assertion that man is composed of body, soul and spirit; and there are some who see in the scientific doctrine of the Unconscious Personality a welcome confirmation from an unexpected quarter of the existence of the soul.
The fairy tales of science are innumerable, and, like the fairy tales of old romance, they are not lacking in the grim, the tragic, and even the horrible. Of recent years nothing has so fascinated the imagination even of the least imaginative of men as the theory of disease which transforms every drop of blood in our bodies into the lists in which phagocyte and microbe wage the mortal strife on which our health depends. Every white corpuscle that swims in our veins is now declared to be the armed Knight of Life for ever on the look-out for the microbe Fiend of Death. Day and night, sleeping and waking, the white knights of life are constantly on the alert, for on their vigilance hangs our existence. Sometimes, however, the invading microbes come in, not in companies but in platoons, innumerable as Xerxes' Persians, and then "e'en Roderick's best are backward borne," and we die. For our life is the prize of the combat in these novel lists which science has revealed to our view through the microscope, and health is but the token of the triumphant victory of the phagocyte over the microbe.
But far more enthralling is the suggestion which psychical science has made as to the existence of a combat not less grave in the very inmost centre of our own mental or spiritual existence. The strife between the infinitely minute bacilli that swarm in our blood has only the interest which attaches to the conflict of inarticulate and apparently unconscious animalculæ. The strife to which researches into the nature and constitution of our mental processes call attention concerns our conscious selves. It suggests almost inconceivable possibilities as to our own nature, and leaves us appalled on the brink of a new world of being of which until recently most of us were unaware.
There are no papers of such absorbing interest in the whole of the "Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research" as those which deal with the question of the Personality of Man. "I," what am I? What is our Ego? Is this Conscious Personality which receives impressions through the five senses, and through them alone, is it the only dweller in this mortal tabernacle? May there not be other personalities, or at least one other that is not conscious, when we are awake, and alert, and about, but which comes into semi-consciousness when we sleep, and can be developed into complete consciousness when the other personality is thrown into a state of hypnotic trance? In other words, am I one personality or two? Is my nature dual? As I have two hemispheres in my brain, have I two minds or two souls?
The question will, no doubt, appear fantastic in its absurdity to those who hear it asked for the first time; but those who are at all familiar with the mysterious but undisputed phenomena of hypnotism will realize how naturally this question arises, and how difficult it is to answer it otherwise than in the affirmative. Every one knows Mr. Louis Stevenson's wonderful story of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." The dual nature of man, the warfare between this body of sin and death, and the spiritual aspirations of the soul, forms part of the common stock of our orthodox belief. But the facts which recent researches have brought to light seem to point not to the old theological doctrine of the conflict between good and evil in one soul, but to the existence in each of us of at least two distinct selfs, two personalities, standing to each other somewhat in the relation of man and wife, according to the old ideal when the man is everything and the woman is almost entirely suppressed.
Every one is familiar with the phenomenon of occasional loss of memory. Men are constantly losing consciousness, from disease, violence, or violent emotion, and emerging again into active life with a gap in their memory. Nay, every night we become unconscious in sleep, and rarely, if ever, remember anything that we think of during slumber. Sometimes in rare cases there is a distinct memory of all that passes in the sleeping and the waking states, and we have read of one young man whose sleeping consciousness was so continuous that he led, to all intents and purposes, two lives. When he slept he resumed his dream existence at the point when he waked, just as we resume our consciousness at the point when we fall asleep. It was just as real to him as the life which he lived when awake. It was actual, progressive, continuous, but entirely different, holding no relation whatever to his waking life. Of his two existences he preferred that which was spent in sleep, as more vivid, more varied, and more pleasurable. This was no doubt an extreme and very unusual case. But it is not impossible to conceive the possibility of a continuous series of connected dreams, which would result in giving us a realizing sense of leading two existences. That we fail to realize this now is due to the fact that our memory is practically inert or non-existent during sleep. The part of our mind which dreams seldom registers its impressions in regions to which on waking our conscious personality has access.
The conception of a dual or even a multiple personality is worked out in a series of papers by Mr. F. W. H. Myers, to which I refer all those who wish to make a serious study of this novel and startling hypothesis. But I may at least attempt to explain the theory, and to give some outline of the evidence on which it is based.
 "Human Personality" (Longmans, Green & Co.)
If I were free to use the simplest illustration without any pretence at scientific exactitude, I should say that the new theory supposes that there are inside each of us not one personality but two, and that these two correspond to husband and wife. There is the Conscious Personality, which stands for the husband. It is vigorous, alert, active, positive, monopolising all the means of communication and production. So intense is its consciousness that it ignores the very existence of its partner, excepting as a mere appendage and convenience to itself. Then there is the Unconscious Personality, which corresponds to the wife who keeps cupboard and storehouse, and the old stocking which treasures up the accumulated wealth of impressions acquired by the Conscious Personality, but who is never able to assert any right to anything, or to the use of sense or limb except when her lord and master is asleep or entranced. When the Conscious Personality has acquired any habit or faculty so completely that it becomes instinctive, it is handed on to the Unconscious Personality to keep and use, the Conscious Ego giving it no longer any attention. Deprived, like the wife in countries where the subjection of woman is the universal law, of all right to an independent existence, or to the use of the senses or of the limbs, the Unconscious Personality has discovered ways and means of communicating other than through the recognised organs of sense.
How vast and powerful are those hidden organs of the Unconscious Personality we can only dimly see. It is through them that Divine revelation is vouchsafed to man. The visions of the mystic, the prophecies of the seer, the inspiration of the sibyl, all come through this Unconscious Soul. It is through this dumb and suppressed Ego that we communicate by telepathy,--that thought is transferred without using the five senses. This under-soul is in touch with the over-soul, which, in Emerson's noble phrase, "abolishes time and space." "This influence of the senses has," he says, "in most men, overpowered their mind to that degree that the walls of time and space have come to look real and insurmountable; and to speak with levity of these limits is in the world the sign of insanity. Yet time and space are but inverse measures of the force of the soul." It is this Unconscious Personality which sees the _Strathmore_ foundering in mid-ocean, which hears a whisper spoken hundreds of miles off upon the battlefield, and which witnesses, as if it happened before the eyes, a tragedy occurring at the Antipodes.
In proportion as the active, domineering Conscious Personality extinguishes his submissive unconscious partner, materialism flourishes, and man becomes blind to the Divinity that underlies all things. Hence in all religions the first step is to silence the noisy, bustling master of our earthly tabernacle, who, having monopolised the five senses, will listen to no voice which it cannot hear, and to allow the silent mistress to be open-souled to God. Hence the stress which all spiritual religions have laid upon contemplation, upon prayer and fasting. Whether it is an Indian Yogi, or a Trappist Monk, or one of our own Quakers, it is all the same. In the words of the Revivalist hymn, "We must lay our deadly doing down," and in receptive silence wait for the inspiration from on high. The Conscious Personality has usurped the visible world; but the Invisible, with its immeasurable expanse, is the domain of the Sub-conscious. Hence we read in the Scriptures of losing life that we may find it; for things of time and sense are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
It is extraordinary how close is the analogy when we come to work it out. The impressions stored up by the Conscious Personality and entrusted to the care of the Unconscious are often, much to our disgust, not forthcoming when wanted. It is as if we had given a memorandum to our wife and we could not discover where she had put it. But night comes; our Conscious Self sleeps, our Unconscious Housewife wakes, and turning over her stores produces the missing impression; and when our other self wakes it finds the mislaid memorandum, so to speak, ready to its hand. Sometimes, as in the case of somnambulism, the Sub-conscious Personality stealthily endeavours to use the body and limbs, from all direct control over which it is shut out as absolutely as the inmate of a Hindu zenana is forbidden to mount the charger of her warrior spouse. But it is only when the Conscious Personality is thrown into a state of hypnotic trance that the Unconscious Personality is emancipated from the marital despotism of her partner. Then for the first time she is allowed to help herself to the faculties and senses usually monopolised by the Conscious Self. But like the timid and submissive inmate of the zenana suddenly delivered from the thraldom of her life-long partner, she immediately falls under the control of another. The Conscious Personality of another person exercises over her the same supreme authority that her own Conscious Personality did formerly.
There is nothing of sex in the ordinary material sense about the two personalities. But their union is so close as to suggest that the intrusion of the hypnotist is equivalent to an intrigue with a married woman. The Sub-conscious Personality is no longer faithful exclusively to its natural partner; it is under the control of the Conscious Personality of another; and in the latter case the dictator seems to be irresistibly over-riding for a time all the efforts of the Conscious Personality to recover its authority in its own domain.
What proof, it will be asked impatiently, is there for the splitting of our personality? The question is a just one, and I proceed to answer it.
There are often to be found in the records of lunatic asylums strange instances of a dual personality, in which there appear to be two minds in one body, as there are sometimes two yolks in one egg.
In the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, M. Jules Janet records the following experiment which, although simplicity itself, gives us a very vivid glimpse of a most appalling complex problem:--
"An hysterical subject with an insensitive limb is put to sleep, and is told, 'After you wake you will raise your finger when you mean Yes, and you will put it down when you mean No, in answer to the questions which I shall ask you.' The subject is then wakened, and M. Janet pricks the insensitive limb in several places. He asks, 'Do you feel anything?' The conscious-awakened person replies with the lips, 'No,' but at the same time, in accordance with the signal that has been agreed upon during the state of hypnotisation, the finger is raised to signify 'Yes.' It has been found that the finger will even indicate exactly the number of times that the apparently insensitive limb has been wounded."
_The Double-Souled Irishman._
Dr. Robinson, of Lewisham, who has bestowed much attention on this subject, sends me the following delightful story about an Irishman who seems to have incarnated the Irish nationality in his own unhappy person:--
"An old colleague of mine at the Darlington Hospital told me that he once had an Irish lunatic under his care who imagined that his body was the dwelling-place of two individuals, one of whom was a Catholic, with Nationalist--not to say Fenian--proclivities, and the other was a Protestant and an Orangeman. The host of these incompatibles said he made it a fixed rule that the Protestant should occupy the right side of his body and the Catholic the left, 'so that he would not be annoyed wid them quarrelling in his inside.' The sympathies of the host were with the green and against the orange, and he tried to weaken the latter by starving him, and for months would only chew his food on the left side of his mouth. The lunatic was not very troublesome, as a rule, but the attendants generally had to straight-waistcoat him on certain critical days--such as St. Patrick's Day and the anniversary of the battle of the Boyne; because the Orange fist would punch the Fenian head unmercifully, and occasionally he and the Fenian leagued together against the Orangeman and banged him against the wall. This lunatic, when questioned, said he did his best to keep the peace between his troublesome guests, but that sometimes they got out of hand."
_Ansel Bourne and A. J. Brown._
A similar case, although not so violent or chronic in its manifestation, is recorded in Vol. VII. (Part xix.) of the Psychical Research Society's Proceedings, as having occurred on Rhode Island some years ago. An excellent citizen, and a very religious lay preacher, of the name of Ansel Bourne, was the subject:--
On January 17th, 1887, he went from his home in Coventry, R.I., to Providence, in order to get money to pay for a farm which he had arranged to buy, leaving his horse at Greene Station, in a stable, expecting to return the same afternoon from the city. He drew out of the bank 551 dollars, and paid several small bills, after which he went to his nephew's store, 121, Broad Street, and then started to go to his sister's house on Westminster Street. This was the last that was known of his doings at that time. He did not appear at his sister's house, and did not return to Greene.
Nothing was heard of him until March the 14th, when a telegram came from a doctor in Norristown, Philadelphia, stating that he had just been discovered there. He was entirely unconscious of having been absent from home, or of the lapse of time between January 17th and March 14th. He was brought home by his relatives, who, by diligent inquiry were able to make out that Mr. Ansel Bourne, five weeks after leaving Rhode Island, opened a shop in Norristown, and stocked it with toys and confectionery which he purchased in Philadelphia. He called himself A. J. Brown, and lived and did business, and went to meeting, like any ordinary mortal, giving no one any suspicion that he was any other than A. J. Brown.
On the morning of Monday, March 14th, about five o'clock, he heard, he says, an explosion like the report of a gun or a pistol, and, waking, he noticed that there was a ridge in his bed not like the bed he had been accustomed to sleep in. He noticed the electric light opposite his windows. He rose and pulled away the curtains and looked out on the street. He felt very weak, and thought that he had been drugged. His next sensation was that of fear, knowing that he was in a place where he had no business to be. He feared arrest as a burglar, or possibly injury. He says this is the only time in his life he ever feared a policeman.
The last thing he could remember before waking was seeing the Adams express wagons at the corner of Dorrance and Broad Streets, in Providence, on his way from the store of his nephew in Broad Street to his sister's residence in Westminster Street, on January 17th.
The memory of Ansel Bourne retained absolutely nothing of the doings of A. J. Brown, whose life he had lived for nearly two months. Professor William James hypnotised him, and no sooner was he put into the trance and was told to remember what happened January 17th, 1887, than he became A. J. Brown again, and gave a clear and connected narrative of all his doings in the Brown state. He did not remember ever having met Ansel Bourne. Everything, however, in his past life, he said, was "mixed up." He only remembered that he was confused, wanted to get somewhere and have rest. He did not remember how he left Norristown. His mind was confused, and since then it was a blank. He had no memory whatever of his name or of his second marriage and the place of his birth. He remembered, however, the date of his birth, and of his first wife's death, and his trade. But between January 17th, 1887, and March 14th he was not himself but another, and that other one Albert J. Brown, who ceased to exist consciously on March 14th, but who promptly returned four years afterwards, when Ansel Bourne was hypnotised, and showed that he remembered perfectly all that happened to him between these two dates. The confusion of his two memories in his earlier life is puzzling, but it in no way impairs the value of this illustration of the existence of two independent memories--two selfs, so to speak, within a single skin.
The phenomenon is not uncommon, especially with epileptic patients. Every mad-doctor knows cases in which there are what may be described as alternating consciousnesses with alternating memories. But the experiments of the French hypnotists carry us much further. In their hands this Sub-conscious Personality is capable of development, of tuition, and of emancipation. In this little suspected region lies a great resource. For when the Conscious Personality is hopeless, diseased, or demoralised the Unconscious Personality can be employed to renovate and restore the patient, and then when its work is done it can become unconscious once more and practically cease to exist.
Louis V. and His Two Souls.
There is at present a patient in France whose case is so extraordinary that I cannot do better than transcribe the report of it here, especially because it tends to show not only that we have two personalities, but that each may use by preference a separate lobe of the brain. The Conscious Personality occupies the left and controls the right hand, the Unconscious the right side of the head and controls the left hand. It also brings to light a very curious, not to say appalling, fact, viz., the immense moral difference there may be between the Conscious and the Unconscious Personalities. In the American case Bourne was a character practically identical with Brown. In this French case the character of each self is entirely different. What makes the case still more interesting is that, besides the two personalities which we all seem to possess, this patient had an arrested personality, which was only fourteen years old when the age of his body was over forty. Here is the report, however, make of it what you will.
"Louis V. began life (in 1863) as the neglected child of a turbulent mother. He was sent to a reformatory at ten years of age, and there showed himself, as he has always done when his organization had given him a chance, quiet, well-behaved, and obedient. Then at fourteen years old he had a great fright from a viper--a fright which threw him off his balance, and started the series of psychical oscillations on which he has been tossed ever since. At first the symptoms were only physical, epilepsy and hysterical paralysis of the legs; and at the asylum of Bonneval, whither he was next sent, he worked at tailoring steadily for a couple of months. Then suddenly he had a hystero-epileptic attack--fifty hours of convulsions and ecstasy--and when he awoke from it he was no longer paralysed, no longer acquainted with tailoring, and no longer virtuous. His memory was set back, so to say, to the moment of the viper's appearance, and he could remember nothing since. His character had become violent, greedy, quarrelsome, and his tastes were radically changed. For instance, though he had before the attack been a total abstainer, he now not only drank his own wine, but stole the wine of the other patients. He escaped from Bonneval, and after a few turbulent years, tracked by his occasional relapses into hospital or madhouse, he turned up once more at the Rochefort asylum in the character of a private of marines, convicted of theft, but considered to be of unsound mind. And at Rochefort and La Rochelle, by great good fortune, he fell into the hands of three physicians--Professors Bourru and Burot, and Dr. Mabille--able and willing to continue and extend the observations which Dr. Camuset at Bonneval, and Dr. Jules Voisin at Bicetre, had already made on this most precious of _mauvais sujets_ at earlier points in his chequered career.
"He is now no longer at Rochefort, and Dr. Burot informs me that his health has much improved, and that his peculiarities have in great part disappeared. I must, however, for clearness sake, use the present tense in briefly describing his condition at the time when the long series of experiments were made.
"The state into which he has gravitated is a very unpleasing one. There is paralysis and insensibility of the right side, and, as is often the case in right hemiplegia, the speech is indistinct and difficult. Nevertheless he is constantly haranguing any one who will listen to him, abusing his physicians, or preaching--with a monkey-like impudence rather than with reasoned clearness--radicalism in politics and atheism in religion. He makes bad jokes, and if any one pleases him he endeavours to caress him. He remembers recent events during his residence at Rochefort asylum, but only two scraps of his life before that date, namely, his vicious period at Bonneval and a part of his stay at Bicetre.
"Except this strange fragmentary memory, there is nothing very unusual in this condition, and in many asylums no experiments on it would have been attempted. Fortunately the physicians at Rochefort were familiar with the efficacy of the contact of metals in provoking transfer of hysterical hemiplegia from one side to the other. They tried various metals in turn on Louis V. Lead, silver, and zinc had no effect. Copper produced a slight return of sensibility in the paralysed arm, but steel applied to the right arm transferred the whole insensibility to the left side of the body.
"Inexplicable as such a phenomenon is, it is sufficiently common, as French physicians hold, in hysterical cases to excite little surprise. What puzzled the doctors was the change of character which accompanied the change of sensibility. When Louis V. issued from the crisis of transfer with its minute of anxious expression and panting breath, he might fairly be called a new man. The restless insolence, the savage impulsiveness, have wholly disappeared. The patient is now gentle, respectful, and modest, can speak clearly, but he only speaks when he is spoken to. If he is asked his views on religion and politics, he prefers to leave such matters to wiser heads than his own. It might seem that morally and mentally the patient's cure had been complete.
"But now ask what he thinks of Rochefort; how he liked his regiment of marines. He will blankly answer that he knows nothing of Rochefort, and was never a soldier in his life. 'Where are you then, and what is the date of to-day?' 'I am at Bicetre; it is January 2nd, 1884, and I hope to see M. Voisin, as I did yesterday.'
"It is found, in fact, that he has now the memory of two short periods of life (different from those which he remembers when his right side is paralysed), periods during which, so far as now can be ascertained, his character was of this same decorous type, and his paralysis was on his left side.
"These two conditions are what are called his first and his second, out of a series of six or more through which he can be made to pass. For brevity's sake I will further describe his fifth state only.
"If he is placed in an electric bath, or if a magnet is placed on his head, it looks at first sight as though a complete physical cure had been effected. All paralysis, all defect of sensibility, has disappeared. His movements are light and active, his expression gentle and timid, but ask him where he is, and you will find that he has gone back to a boy of fourteen, that he is at St. Urbain, his first reformatory, and that his memory embraces his years of childhood, and stops short on the very day on which he had the fright from the viper. If he is pressed to recollect the incident of the viper, a violent epileptiform crisis puts a sudden end to this phase of his personality." (Vol. IV. pp. 497, 498, 499, "Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research").
This carries us a good deal further. Here we have not only two distinct personalities, but two distinct characters, if not three, in one body. According to the side which is paralysed, the man is a savage reprobate or a decent modest citizen. The man seems born again when the steel touches his right side. Yet all that has happened has been that the Sub-conscious Personality has superseded his Conscious Personality in the control of Louis V.
_Lucie and Adrienne._
The next case, although not marked by the same violent contrast, is quite as remarkable, because it illustrates the extent to which the Sub-conscious Self can be utilized in curing the Conscious Personality.
The subject was a girl of nineteen, called Lucie, who was highly hysterical, having daily attacks of several hours' duration. She was also devoid of the sense of pain or the sense of contact, so that she "lost her legs in bed," as she put it.
On her fifth hypnotisation, however, Lucie underwent a kind of catalepsy, after which she returned to the somnambulic state; but that state was deeper than before. She no longer made any sign whether of assent or refusal when she received the hypnotic commands, but she executed them infallibly, whether they were to take effect immediately, or after waking.
In Lucie's case this went further, and the suggested actions became absolutely a portion of the trance-life. She executed them without apparently knowing what she was doing. If, for instance, in her waking state she was told (in the tone which in her hypnotic state signified command) to get up and walk about, she walked about, but to judge from her conversation she supposed herself to be still sitting quiet. She would weep violently when commanded, but while she wept she continued to talk as gaily and unconcernedly as if the tears had been turned on by a stop-cock.
Any suggestion uttered by M. Janet in a brusque tone of command reached the Unconscious Self alone; and other remarks reached the subject--awake or somnambulic--in the ordinary way. The next step was to test the intelligence of this hidden "slave of the lamp," if I may so term it--this sub-conscious and indifferent executor of all that was bidden. How far was its attention alert? How far was it capable of reasoning and judgment? M. Janet began with a simple experiment. "When I shall have clapped my hands together twelve times," he said to the entranced subject before awakening her, "you will go to sleep again." There was no sign that the sleeper understood or heard; and when she was awakened the events of the trance were a blank to her as usual. She began talking to other persons. M. Janet, at some little distance, clapped his hands feebly together five times. Seeing that she did not seem to be attending to him, he went up to her and said, "Did you hear what I did just now?" "No; what?" "Do you hear this?" and he clapped his hands once more. "Yes, you clapped your hands." "How often?" "Once." M. Janet again withdrew and clapped his hands six times gently, with pauses between the claps. Lucie paid no apparent attention, but when the sixth clap of this second series--making the twelfth altogether--was reached, she fell instantly into the trance again. It seemed, then, that the "slave of the lamp" had counted the claps through all, and had obeyed the order much as a clock strikes after a certain number of swings of the pendulum, however often you stop it between hour and hour.
Thus far, the knowledge gained as to the unconscious element in Lucie was not direct, but inferential. The nature of the command which it could execute showed it to be capable of attention and memory; but there was no way of learning its own conception of itself, if such existed, or of determining its relation to other phenomena of Lucie's trance. And here it was that automatic writing was successfully invoked; here we have, as I may say, the first fruits in France of the new attention directed to this seldom-trodden field. M. Janet began by the following simple command: "When I clap my hands you will write Bonjour." This was done in the usual scrawling script of automatism, and Lucie, though fully awake, was not aware that she had written anything at all.
M. Janet simply ordered the entranced girl to write answers to all questions of his after her waking. The command thus given had a persistent effect, and while the awakened Lucie continued to chatter as usual with other persons, her Unconscious Self wrote brief and scrawling responses to M. Janet's questions. This was the moment at which, in many cases, a new and invading separate personality is assumed.
A singular conversation gave to this limited creation, this statutory intelligence, an identity sufficient for practical convenience. "Do you hear me?" asked Professor Janet. Answer (by writing), "No." "But in order to answer one must hear." "Certainly." "Then how do you manage?" "I don't know." "There must be somebody that hears me." "Yes." "Who is it?" "Not Lucie." "Oh, some one else? Shall we call her Blanche?" "Yes, Blanche." Blanche, however, had to be changed. Another name had to be chosen. "What name will you have?" "No name." "You must, it will be more convenient." "Well, then, Adrienne." Never, perhaps, has a personality had less spontaneity about it.
Yet Adrienne was in some respects deeper down than Lucie. She could get at the genesis of certain psychical manifestations of which Lucie experienced only the results. A striking instance of this was afforded by the phenomena of the hystero-epileptic attacks to which this patient was subject.
Lucie's special terror, which recurred in wild exclamation in her hysterical fits, was in some way connected with hidden men. She could not, however, recollect the incident to which her cries referred; she only knew that she had had a severe fright at seven years old, and an illness in consequence. Now, during these "crises" Lucie (except, presumably, in the periods of unconsciousness which form a pretty constant element in such attacks) could hear what Prof. Janet said to her. Adrienne, on the contrary, was hard to get at; could no longer obey orders, and if she wrote, wrote only "J'ai peur, j'ai peur."
M. Janet, however, waited until the attack was over, and then questioned Adrienne as to the true meaning of the agitated scene. Adrienne was able to describe to him the terrifying incident in her childish life which had originated the confused hallucinations which recurred during the attack. She could not explain the recrudescence of the hallucinations; but she knew what Lucie saw, and why she saw it; nay, indeed, it was Adrienne, rather than Lucie, to whom the hallucination was directly visible.
Lucie, it will be remembered, was a hysterical patient very seriously amiss. One conspicuous symptom was an almost absolute defect of sensibility, whether to pain, to heat, or to contact, which persisted both when she was awake and entranced. There was, as already mentioned, an entire defect of the muscular sense also, so that when her eyes were shut she did not know the position of her limbs. Nevertheless it was remarked as an anomaly that when she was thrown into a cataleptic state, not only did the movements impressed upon her continue to be made, but the corresponding or complimentary movements, the corresponding facial expression, followed just as they usually follow in such experiments. Thus, if M. Janet clenched her fist in the cataleptic state, her arm began to deal blows, and her face assumed a look of anger. The suggestion which was given through the so-called muscular sense had operated in a subject to whom the muscular sense, as tested in other ways, seemed to be wholly lacking. As soon as Adrienne could be communicated with, it was possible to get somewhat nearer to a solution of this puzzle. Lucie was thrown into catalepsy; then M. Janet clenched her left hand (she began at once to strike out), put a pencil in her right, and said, "Adrienne, what are you doing?" The left hand continued to strike, and the face to bear the look of rage, while the right hand wrote, "I am furious." "With whom?" "With F." "Why?" "I don't know, but I am very angry." M. Janet then unclenched the subject's left hand, and put it gently to her lips. It began to "blow kisses," and the face smiled. "Adrienne, are you still angry?" "No, that's over." "And now?" "Oh, I am happy!" "And Lucie?" "She knows nothing; she is asleep."
In Lucie's case, indeed, these odd manifestations were--as the pure experimentalist might say--only too sanative, only too rapidly tending to normality. M. Janet accompanied his psychological inquiries with therapeutic suggestion, telling Adrienne not only to go to sleep when he clapped his hands, or to answer his questions in writing, but to cease having headaches, to cease having convulsive attacks, to recover normal sensibility, and so on. Adrienne obeyed, and even as she obeyed the rational command, her own Undine-like identity vanished away. The day came when M. Janet called on Adrienne, and Lucie laughed and asked him who he was talking to. Lucie was now a healthy young woman, but Adrienne, who had risen out of the unconscious, had sunk into the unconscious again--must I say?--for ever more.
Few lives so brief have taught so many lessons. For us who are busied with automatic writing the lesson is clear. We have here demonstrably what we can find in other cases only inferentially, an intelligence manifesting itself continuously by written answers, of purport quite outside the normal subject's conscious mind, while yet that intelligence was but a part, a fraction, an aspect, of the normal subject's own identity.
And we must remember that Adrienne--while she was, if I may say so, the Unconscious Self reduced to its simplest expression--did, nevertheless, manifest certain differences from Lucie, which, if slightly exaggerated, might have been very perplexing. Her handwriting was slightly different, though only in the loose and scrawling character so frequent in automatic script. Again, Adrienne remembered certain incidents in Lucie's childhood which Lucie had wholly forgotten. Once more--and this last suggestion points to positive rather than to negative conclusions--Adrienne possessed a faculty, the muscular sense, of which Lucie was devoid. I am anxious that this point especially should be firmly grasped, for I wish the reader's mind to be perfectly open as regards the relative faculties of the Conscious and the Unconscious Self. It is plain that we must be on the watch for completion, for evolution, as well as for partition, for dissolution, of the corporate being.
_Félida X. and her Submerged Soul._
Side by side with this case we have another in which the Conscious Personality, instead of being cured, has been superseded by the Sub-conscious. It was as if instead of "Adrienne" being submerged by Lucie, "Adrienne" became Lucie and dethroned her former master. The woman in question, Félida X., has been transformed.
In her case the somnambulic life has become the normal life; the "second state," which appeared at first only in short, dream-like accesses, has gradually replaced the "first state," which now recurs but for a few hours at long intervals. Félida's second state is altogether superior to the first--physically superior, since the nervous pains which had troubled her from childhood had disappeared; and morally superior, inasmuch as her morose, self-centred disposition is exchanged for a cheerful activity which enables her to attend to her children and to her shop much more effectively than when she was in the _état béte_, as she now calls what was once the only personality that she knew. In this case, then, which is now of nearly thirty years' standing, the spontaneous readjustment of nervous activities--the second state, no memory of which remains in the first state--has resulted in an improvement profounder than could have been anticipated from any moral or medical treatment that we know. The case shows us how often the word "normal" means nothing more than "what happens to exist." For Félida's normal state was in fact her morbid state; and the new condition which seemed at first a mere hysterical abnormality, has brought her to a life of bodily and mental sanity, which makes her fully the equal of average women of her class. (Vol. IV. p. 503.)
Madame B. and Her Three Souls.
Marvellous as the cases cited in the last chapter appear, they are thrown entirely into the shade by the case of Madame B., in which the two personalities not only exist side by side, but in the case of the Sub-conscious self knowingly co-exist, while over or beneath both there is a third personality which is aware of both the other two, and apparently superior to both. The possibilities which this case opens up are bewildering indeed. But it is better to state the case first and discuss it afterwards. Madame B., who is still under Prof. Richet's observations, is one of the favourite subjects of the French hypnotiser. She can be put to sleep at almost any distance, and when hypnotised completely changes her character. There are two well-defined personalities in her, and a third of a more mysterious nature than either of the two first. The normal waking state of the woman is called Léonie I., the hypnotic state Léonie II. The third occult Unconscious Personality of the lowest depth is called Léonie III.
"This poor peasant," says Professor Janet, "is in her normal state a serious and somewhat melancholy woman, calm and slow, very gentle and extremely timid. No one would suspect the existence of the person whom she includes within her. Hardly is she entranced when she is metamorphosed; her face is no longer the same; her eyes, indeed, remain closed, but the acuteness of the other senses compensates for the loss of sight. She becomes gay, noisy, and restless to an insupportable degree; she continues good-natured, but she has acquired a singular tendency to irony and bitter jests.... In this state she does not recognise her identity with her waking self. 'That good woman is not I,' she says; 'she is too stupid!'"
Madame B. has been so often hypnotised, and during so many years (for she was hypnotised by other physicians as long ago as 1860), that Léonie II. has by this time acquired a considerable stock of memories which Madame B. does not share. Léonie II., therefore, counts as properly belonging to her own history and not to Madame B.'s all the events which have taken place while Madame B.'s normal self was hypnotised into unconsciousness. It was not always easy at first to understand this partition of past experiences.
"Madame B. in the normal state," says Professor Janet, "has a husband and children. Léonie II., speaking in the somnambulistic trance, attributes the husband to the 'other' (Madame B.), but attributes the children to herself.... At last I learnt that her former mesmerisers, as bold in their practice as certain hypnotisers of to-day, had induced somnambulism at the time of her accouchements. Léonie II., therefore, was quite right in attributing the children to herself; the rule of partition was unbroken, and the somnambulism was characterised by a duplication of the subject's existence" (p. 391).
Still more extraordinary are Léonie II.'s attempts to make use of Léonie I.'s limbs without her knowledge or against her will. She will write postscripts to Léonie I.'s letters, of the nature of which poor Léonie I. is unconscious.
It seems, however, that when once set up this new personality can occasionally assume the initiative, and can say what it wants to say without any prompting. This is curiously illustrated by what may be termed a conjoint epistle addressed to Professor Janet by Madame B. and her secondary self, Léonie II. "She had," he says, "left Havre more than two months when I received from her a very curious letter. On the first page was a short note written in a serious and respectful style. She was unwell, she said--worse on some days than on others--and she signed her true name, Madame B. But over the page began another letter in quite a different style, and which I may quote as a curiosity:--'My dear good sir,--I must tell you that B. really makes me suffer very much; she cannot sleep, she spits blood, she hurts me. I am going to demolish her, she bores me. I am ill also. This is from your devoted Leontine' (the name first given to Léonie II).
"When Madame B. returned to Havre I naturally questioned her concerning this curious missive. She remembered the first letter very distinctly, but she had not the slightest recollection of the second. I at first thought there must have been an attack of spontaneous somnambulism between the moment when she finished the first letter and the moment when she closed the envelope. But afterwards these unconscious, spontaneous letters became common, and I was better able to study the mode of their production. I was fortunately able to watch Madame B. on one occasion while she went through this curious performance. She was seated at a table, and held in the left hand the piece of knitting at which she had been working. Her face was calm, her eyes looked into space with a certain fixity, but she was not cataleptic, for she was humming a rustic tune; her right hand wrote quickly, and, as it were, surreptitiously. I removed the paper without her noticing me, and then spoke to her; she turned round wide-awake but was surprised to see me, for in her state of distraction she had not noticed my approach. Of the letter which she was writing she knew nothing whatever.
"Léonie II.'s independent action is not entirely confined to writing letters. She observed (apparently) that when her primary self, Léonie I., discovered these letters she (Léonie I.) tore them up. So Léonie II. hit upon a plan of placing them in a photographic album into which Léonie I. could not look without falling into catalepsy (on account of an association of ideas with Dr. Gibert, whose portrait had been in the album). In order to accomplish an act like this Léonie II. has to wait for a moment when Léonie I. is distracted, or, as we say, absent-minded. If she can catch her in this state Léonie II. can direct Léonie I.'s walks, for instance, or start on a long railway journey without baggage, in order to get to Havre as quickly as possible."
In the whole realm of imaginative literature, is there anything to compare to this actual fact of three selves in one body, each struggling to get possession of it? Léonie I., or the Conscious Personality, is in possession normally, but is constantly being ousted by Léonie II., or the Subconscious Personality. It is the old, old case of the wife trying to wear the breeches. But there is a fresh terror beyond. For behind both Léonie I. and Léonie II. stands the mysterious Léonie III.
"The spontaneous acts of the Unconscious Self," says M. Janet, here meaning by _l'inconscient_ the entity to which he has given the name of Léonie III., "may also assume a very reasonable form--a form which, were it better understood, might perhaps serve to explain certain cases of insanity. Mme. B., during her somnambulism (_i.e._ Léonie II.) had had a sort of hysterical crisis; she was restless and noisy and I could not quiet her. Suddenly she stopped and said to me with terror. 'Oh, who is talking to me like that? It frightens me.' 'No one is talking to you.' 'Yes! there on the left!' And she got up and tried to open a wardrobe on her left hand, to see if some one was hidden there. 'What is that you hear?' I asked. 'I hear on the left a voice which repeats, "Enough, enough, be quiet, you are a nuisance."' Assuredly the voice which thus spoke was a reasonable one, for Léonie II. was insupportable; but I had suggested nothing of the kind, and had no idea of inspiring a hallucination of hearing. Another day Léonie II. was quite calm, but obstinately refused to answer a question which I asked. Again she heard with terror the same voice to the left, saying, 'Come, be sensible, you must answer.' Thus the Unconscious sometimes gave her excellent advice."
And in effect, as soon as Léonie III. was summoned into communication, she accepted the responsibility of this counsel. "What was it that happened?" asked M. Janet, "when Léonie II. was so frightened?" "Oh! nothing. It was I who told her to keep quiet; I saw she was annoying you; I don't know why she was so frightened."
Note the significance of this incident. Here we have got at the root of a hallucination. We have not merely inferential but direct evidence that the imaginary voice which terrified Léonie II. proceeded from a profounder stratum of consciousness in the same individual. In what way, by the aid of what nervous mechanism, was the startling monition conveyed?
Just as Mme. B. was sent, by means of passes, into a state of lethargy, from which she emerged as Léonie II., so Léonie II., in her turn, was reduced by renewed passes to a state of lethargy from which she emerged no longer as Léonie II. but as Léonie III. This second waking is slow and gradual, but the personality which emerges is, in one important point, superior to either Léonie I. or Léonie II. Although one among the subject's phases, this phase possesses the memory of every phase. Léonie III., like Léonie II., knows the normal life of Léonie I., but distinguishes herself from Léonie I., in whom, it must be said, these subjacent personalities appear to take little interest. But Léonie III. also remembers the life of Léonie II.--condemns her as noisy and frivolous, and is anxious not to be confounded with her either. "Vous voyez bien que je ne suis pas cette bavarde, cette folle; nous ne nous ressemblons pas du tout."
We ask, in amazement, how many more personalities may there not be hidden in the human frame? Here is simple Madame B., who is not one person but three--first her commonplace self; secondly, the clever, chattering Léonie II., who is bored by B., and who therefore wants to demolish her; and thirdly, the lordly Léonie III., who issues commands that strike terror into Léonie II., and disdains to be identified with either of the partners in Madame B.'s body.
It is evident, if the hypnotists are right, that the human body is more like a tenement house than a single cell, and that the inmates love each other no more than the ordinary occupants of tenemented property. But how many are there of us within each skin who can say?
Some Suggested Theories.
Of theories to account for these strange phenomena there are enough and to spare. I do not for a moment venture to claim for the man and wife illustration the slightest scientific value. It is only a figure of speech which brings out very clearly one aspect of the problem of personality. The theory that there are two independent personalities within the human skin is condemned by all orthodox psychologists. There is one personality manifesting itself, usually consciously, but occasionally unconsciously, and the different method of manifestation differs so widely as to give the impression that there could not be the same personality behind both. A man who is ambidextrous will sign his name differently with his right or left hand, but it is the same signature. Mr. Myers thinks that the Secondary Personality of Subliminal Consciousness is merely a phase of the essential Unity of the Ego. Some time ago he expressed himself on this subject as follows:--
"I hold that hypnotism (itself a word covering a vast variety of different states) may be regarded as constituting one special case which falls under a far wider category--the category, namely, of developments of a Secondary Personality. I hold that we each of us contain the potentialities of many different arrangements of the elements of our personality, each arrangement being distinguishable from the rest by differences in the chain of memories which pertain to it. The arrangement with which we habitually identify ourselves--what we call the normal or primary self--consists, in my view, of elements selected for us in the struggle for existence with special reference to the maintenance of ordinary physical needs, and is not necessarily superior in any other respect to the latent personalities which lie alongside of it--the fresh combinations of our personal elements which may be evoked by accident or design, in a variety to which we at present can assign no limit. I consider that dreams, with natural somnambulism, automatic writing, with so-called mediumistic trance, as well as certain intoxications, epilepsies, hysterias, and recurrent insanities, afford examples of the development of what I have called secondary mnemonic chains; fresh personalities, more or less complete, alongside the normal state. And I would add that hypnotism is only the name given to a group of empirical methods of inducing these fresh personalities."
A doctor in philosophy, to whom I submitted these pages, writes me as follows:--"There can be no doubt that every man lives a sub-conscious as well as a conscious life. One side of him is closed against examination by himself (_i.e._ unconscious); the other is conscious of itself. The former carries on processes of separation, combination, and distribution, of the thought-stuff handed over to it, corresponding almost exactly to the processes carried on by the stomach, which, as compared with those of eating, etc., go on in the dark automatically."
Another doctor, not of philosophy but of medicine, who has devoted special attention to the phenomenon of sleep, suggests a new illustration which is graphic and suggestive. He writes:--
"With regard to dual or multiple consciousness, my own feeling has always been that the _individuals_ stand one behind the other in the chambers of the mind, or else, as it were, in concentric circles. You may compare it to the Jewish tabernacle. First, there is the court of the Gentiles, where Ego No. 1 chaffers about trifles with the outer world. While he is so doing Ego No. 2 watches him from the court of the Levites, but does not go forth on small occasions. When we 'open out' to a friend the Levite comes forth, and is in turn watched by the priest from the inner court. Let our emotions be stirred in sincere converse and out strides the priest, and takes precedence of the other two, they falling obediently and submissively behind him. But the priest is still watched by the high priest from the tabernacle itself, and only on great and solemn occasions does he make himself manifest by action. When he does, the other three yield to his authority, and then we say the man 'speaks with his whole soul' and 'from the bottom of his heart.' But even now the Shekinah is upon the mercy-seat within the Holy of holies, and the high priest knows it."
The latest word of the French psychologists is thus stated by M. Foüillée:--
"Contemporary psychology deprives us of the illusion of a definitely limited, impenetrable, and absolutely autonomous I. The conception of individual consciousness must be of an idea rather than of a substance. Though separate _in_ the universe, we are not separate _from_ the universe. Continuity and reciprocity of action exist everywhere. This is the great law and the great mystery. There is no such thing as an isolated and veritably monad being, any more than there is such a thing as an indivisible point, except in the abstractions of geometry."
Whatever may be the true theory, it is evident that there is enough mystery about personality to make us very diffident about dogmatising, especially as to what is possible and what is not.
Whether we have one mind or two, let us, at least, keep it (or them) open.
THE THOUGHT BODY, OR THE DOUBLE.
"And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter's voice, she ran in and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel (or double)."--Acts xil. 13-15.
I began to write this in the autumn of 1891 in a small country-house among the Surrey hills, whither I had retreated in order to find undisturbed leisure in which to arrange my ideas and array my facts. It was a pleasant place enough, perched on the brow of a heath-covered slope that dipped down to a ravine, at the head of which stands Professor Tyndall's house with its famous screen. Hardly a mile away northward lies the Devil's Punch Bowl, with its memorial stone erected in abhorrence of the detestable murder perpetrated on its rim by ruffians whose corpses slowly rotted as they swung on the gibbet overhead; far to the south spreads the glorious amphitheatre of hills which constitute the Highlands of the South.
The Portsmouth road, along which for hundreds of years rolled to and fro the tide of martial life between London and the great Sea Gate of the Realm, lies near by, silent and almost disused. Mr. Balfour's land, on the brow of Hindhead, is enclosed but not yet built upon, although a whole archipelago of cottages and villas is springing up amid the heather as the ground slopes towards Selborne--White's Selborne--that can dimly be descried to the westward beyond Liphook Common. Memories there are, enough and to spare, of the famous days of old, and of the not less famous men of our own time; but the ghosts have fled. "There used to be a ghost in the mill," said my driver, "and another in a comparatively new house over in Lord Tennyson's direction, but we hear nothing about them now." "Not even at the Murder Stone of the Devil's Punch Bowl?" "Not even at the Murder Stone. I have driven past it at all hours, and never saw anything--but the stone, of course."
Yet a more suitable spot for a ghost could hardly be conceived than the rim of the Devil's Punch Bowl, where the sailor was murdered, and where afterwards his murderers were hanged. I visited it late at night, when the young moon was beginning to struggle through the cloudy sky, and looked down into the ravine which Cobbett declared was the most horrid place God ever made; but no sign of ghostly visitant could be caught among the bracken, no sound of the dead voices was audible in the air. It is the way with ghosts--they seldom appear where they might be looked for. It is the unexpected in the world of shadows, as in the workaday world, which always happens.
Of this I had soon a very curious illustration. For, although there were no ghosts in the Devil's Punch Bowl by the Murder Stone, I found that there had been a ghost in the trim new little villa in which I was quartered! It didn't appear to me--at least, it has not done so as yet. But it appeared to some friends of mine whose statement is explicit enough. Here was a find indeed. I spent most of my boyhood within a mile of the famous haunted house or mill at Willington, but I had never slept before in a place which ghosts used as a trysting place. I asked my hostess about it. She replied, "Yes, it is quite true; but, although you may not believe it, I am the ghost." "You? How?" "Yes," she replied, quite seriously; "it is quite true what your friends have told you. They did see what you would correctly describe as an apparition. That is to say, they saw a more or less shadowy figure, which they at once identified, and which then gradually faded away. It was an apparition in the true sense of the word. It entered the room without using the door or window, it was visibly manifested before them, and then it vanished. All that is quite true. But it is also true that the ghost, as you call it, was my ghost." "Your ghost, but----" "I am not dead, you are going to say. Precisely. But surely you must be well aware of the fact that the ghosts of the living are much better authenticated than ghosts of the dead."
My hostess was the daughter of a well-known London solicitor, who, after spending her early youth in dancing and riding and other diversions of young ladies in society who have the advantage of a house in Park Lane, suddenly became possessed by a strange, almost savage, fascination for the occult lore of the ancient East. Abandoning the frivolities of Mayfair, she went to Girton, where she plunged into the study of Sanscrit. After leaving Girton, she applied herself to the study of the occult side of Theosophy. Then she married a black magician in the platonic fashion common to Occultists, early Christians, and Russian Nihilists, and since then she has prosecuted her studies into the invisible world with ever-increasing interest.
_The Thought Body._
"I see you are incredulous," she replied; "but, if you like, I will some time afford you an opportunity of proving that I am simply speaking the truth. Tell me, will you speak to me if I appear to you in my thought body?" "Certainly," I replied, "unless I am struck dumb. Nothing would please me better. But, of course, I have never seen a ghost, and no one can say how any utterly unaccustomed experience may affect him." "Unfortunately," she replied, "that is too often the case. All those to whom I have hitherto appeared have been so scared they could not speak." "But, my dear friend, do you actually mean to say that you have the faculty of----" "Going about in my Thought Body? Most certainly. It is not a very uncommon faculty, but it is one which needs cultivation and development." "But what is a Thought Body?" My hostess smiled: "It is difficult to explain truths on the plane of thought to those who are immersed body and soul in matter. I can only tell you that every person has, in addition to this natural body of flesh, bones, and blood, a Thought Body, the exact counterpart in every respect of this material frame. It is contained within the material body, as air is contained in the lungs and in the blood. It is of finer matter than the gross fabric of our outward body. It is capable of motion with the rapidity of thought. The laws of space and time do not exist for the mind, and the Thought Envelope of which we are speaking moves with the swiftness of the mind."
"Then when your thought body appears?"
"My mind goes with it. I see, I hear, and my consciousness is with my Thought Envelope. But I want to have a proper interview while on my thought journeys. That is why I ask you if you would try to speak to me if I appear."
"But," I objected, "do you really mean that you hope to appear before me, in my office, as immaterial as gas, as visible as light, and yet to speak, to touch?"
"That is just what I mean," she replied, laughing, "that and nothing less. I was in your office the other morning at six o'clock, but no one was there. I have not got this curious power as yet under complete control. But when once we are able to direct it at will, imagine what possibilities it unfolds!"
"But," said I, "if you can be seen and touched, you ought to be photographed!"
"I wish to be photographed, but no one can say as yet whether such thought bodies can be photographed. When next I make the experiment I want you to try. It would be very useful."
Useful indeed! It does not require very vivid imagination to see that if you can come and go to the uttermost parts of the world in your thought shape, such Thought Bodies will be indispensable henceforth on every enterprising newspaper. It would be a great saving on telegraphy. When my ideal paper comes along, I mentally vowed I would have my hostess as first member of my staff. But of course it had got to be proved, and that not only once but a dozen times, before any reliance could be placed on it.
"I often come down here," said my hostess cheerfully, "after breakfast. I just lie down in my bedroom in town, and in a moment I find myself here at Hindhead. Sometimes I am seen, sometimes I am not. But I am here; seen or unseen, I see. It is a curious gift, and one which I am studying hard to develop and to control."
"And what about clothes?" I asked. "Oh," replied my hostess airily, "I go in whatever clothes I like. There are astral counterparts to all our garments. It by no means follows that I appear in the same dress as that which is worn by my material body. I remember, when I appeared to your friend, I wore the astral counterpart of a white silk shawl, which was at the time folded away in the wardrobe."
At this point, however, in order to anticipate the inevitable observation that my hostess was insane, I think I had better introduce the declarations of my two friends, who are quite clear and explicit as to their recollection of what they saw.
My witnesses are mother and daughter. The daughter I have seen and interviewed; the mother I could not see, but took a statement down from her husband, who subsequently submitted it in proof to her for correction. I print the daughter's statement first.
"About eighteen months ago (in May, 1890) I was staying at the house of my friend in M---- Mansions. Mrs. M. had gone to her country house at Hindhead for a fortnight and was not expected back for a week. I was sitting in the kitchen reading Edna Lyall's 'Donovan.' About half-past nine o'clock I distinctly heard Mrs. M. walk up and down the passage which ran from the front door past the open door of the room in which I was sitting. I was not thinking of Mrs. M. and did not at the time realize that she was not in the flat, when suddenly I heard her voice and saw her standing at the open door. I saw her quite distinctly, and saw that she was dressed in the dress in which I had usually seen her in an evening, without bonnet or hat, her hair being plaited low down close to the back of her head. The dress, I said, was the same, but there were two differences which I noticed at once. In her usual dress, the silk front was grey; this time the grey colour had given place to a curious amber, and over her shoulders she wore a shawl of white Indian silk. I noticed it particularly, because the roses embroidered on it at its ends did not correspond with each other. All this I saw as I looked up and heard her say, 'T----, give me that book.' I answered, half mechanically, 'Yes, Mrs. M.,' but felt somewhat startled. I had hardly spoken when Mrs. M. turned, opened the door leading into the main building, and went out. I instantly got up and followed her to the door. It was closed. I opened it and looked out, but could see nobody. It was not until then that I fully realised that there was something uncanny in what I had seen. I was very frightened, and after having satisfied myself that Mrs. M. was not in the flat, I fastened the door, put out the lights, and went to bed, burying my head under the bedclothes.
"The post next day brought a letter from Mrs. M. saying that she was coming by eleven o'clock. I was too frightened to stay in the house, and I went to my father and told him what I had seen. He told me to go back and hear what Mrs. M. had to say about the matter. When Mrs. M. arrived I told her what I had seen on the preceding evening. She laughed, and said, 'Oh! I was here then, was I? I did not expect to come here.' With that exception I have seen no apparition whatever, or had any hallucination of any kind, neither have I seen the apparition of Mrs. M. again."
After hearing this statement I asked Mrs. M. what she meant by the remark she had made on hearing Miss C.'s explanation of what she had witnessed. My hostess replied, "That night when I passed into the trance state, and lay down on the couch in the sitting-room at Hindhead, I did so with the desire of visiting my husband, who was in his retreat at Wimbledon. That, I should say, was between nine and half-past. After I came out of the trance I was conscious that I had been somewhere, but I did not know where. I started from Hindhead for Wimbledon, but landed at M---- Mansions, where, no doubt, I was more at home." "Then you had no memory of where you had been?" "Not the least." "And what about the shawl?" "The shawl was one that Miss C. had never seen. I had not worn it for two years, and the fact that she saw it and described it, is conclusive evidence against the subjective character of the vision. The originals of all the phantom clothes were at M---- Mansions at the time Miss C. saw me wearing them. I was not wearing the shawl. At the time when she saw it on my Thought Body it was folded up and put away in a wardrobe in an adjoining room. She had never seen it." I asked Miss C. what was the appearance of Mrs. M. She replied, "She just looked as she does always, only much more beautiful." "How do you account," said I to my hostess, "for the change in colour of the silk front from grey to amber?" She replied, "It was a freak."
I then asked Mr. C., the father of the last witness, what had occurred in his wife's experience. Here is the statement which his wife made to him, and which he says is absolutely reliable. "I was staying at Hindhead, in the lodge connected with the house in which you are staying. I was in some trouble, and Mrs. M. had been somewhat anxious about me. I had gone to sleep, but was suddenly aroused by the consciousness that some one was bending over me. When I opened my eyes I saw in shimmering outline a figure which I recognised at once as that of Mrs. M. She was bending over me, and her great lustrous eyes seemed to pierce my very soul. For a time I lay still, as if paralysed, being unable either to speak or to move, but at last gaining courage with time I ventured to strike a match. As soon as I did so the figure of Mrs. M. disappeared. Feeling reassured and persuaded that I had been deluded by my senses, I at last put out the light and composed myself to sleep. To my horror, no sooner was the room dark than I saw the spectral, shimmering form of Mrs. M. moving about the room, and always turning towards me those wonderful, piercing eyes. I again struck a match, and again the apparition vanished from the room.
"By this time I was in a mortal terror, and it was some time before I ventured to put out the light again, when a third time I saw the familiar presence which had evidently never left the room, but simply been invisible in the light. In the dark it shone by its own radiance. I was taken seriously ill with a violent palpitation of the heart, and kept my light burning. I felt so utterly upset that I could not remain any longer in the place and insisted next morning on going home. I did not touch the phantom, I simply saw it--saw it three times, and its haunting persistency rendered it quite impossible for me to mistake it for any mere nightmare."
Neither Mrs. nor Miss C. have had any other hallucinations, and Mrs. C. is strongly sceptical. She does not deny the accuracy of the above statement, but scouts the theory of a Thought Body, or of any supernatural or occult explanation. On hearing Mrs. C.'s evidence I asked my hostess whether she was conscious of haunting her guest in this way. "I knew nothing about it," she replied; "all that I know was that I had been much troubled about her and was anxious to help her. I went into a very heavy, deep sleep; but until next morning, when I heard of it from Mrs. C. I had no idea that my double had left my room." I said, "This power is rather gruesome, for you might take to haunting me." "I do not think so, unless there was something to be gained which could not be otherwise secured, some benefit to be conferred upon you." "That is to say, if I were in trouble or dangerously ill, and you were anxious about me, your double might come and attend my sick-bed." "That is quite possible," she said imperturbably. "Well," said I, "when are you coming to be photographed?" "Not for many months yet," she replied, with a laugh. "For the Thought Body to leave its corporeal tenement it needs a considerable concentration of thought, and an absence of all disturbing conditions or absorbing preoccupations at the time. I see no reason why I should not be photographed when the circumstances are propitious. I shall be very glad to furnish you with that evidence of the reality of the Thought Body, but such things cannot be fixed up to order."
This, indeed, was a ghost to some purpose--a ghost free from all the weird associations of death and the grave--a healthy, utilisable ghost, and a ghost, above all, which wanted to be photographed. It seemed too good to be true. Yet how strange it was! Here we have just been discussing whether or not we have each of us two souls, and, behold! my good hostess tells me quite calmly that it is beyond all doubt that we have two bodies.
_Three Other Aerial Wanderers._
A short time after hearing from my hostess this incredible account of her aerial journeyings, I received first hand from three other ladies statements that they had also enjoyed this faculty of bodily duplication. All four ladies are between twenty and forty years of age. Three of them are married. The first says she has almost complete control over her movements, but for the most part her phantasmal envelope is invisible to those whom she visits.
This, it may be said, is mere conscious clairvoyance, in which the faculty of sight was accompanied by the consciousness of bodily presence, although it is invisible to other eyes. It is, besides, purely subjective and therefore beside the mark. Still, it is interesting as embodying the impressions of a mind, presumably sane, as to the experiences through which it has consciously passed. On the same ground I may refer to the experience of Miss X., the second lady referred to, who, when lying, as it was believed, at the point of death, declares that she was quite conscious of coming out of her body and looking at it as it lay in the bed. In all the cases I have yet mentioned the departure of the phantasmal body is accompanied by a state of trance on the part of the material body. There is not dual consciousness, but only a dual body, the consciousness being confined to the immaterial body.
It is otherwise with the experience of the fourth wanderer in my text. Mrs. Wedgwood, the daughter-in-law of Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, the well-known philologist, who was Charles Darwin's cousin, declares that she had once a very extraordinary experience. She was lying on a couch in an upper room one wintry morning at Shorncliffe, when she felt her Thought Body leave her and, passing through the window, alight on the snowy ground. She was distinctly conscious both in her material body and in its immaterial counterpart. She lay on the couch watching the movements of the second self, which at the same moment felt the snow cold under its feet. The second self met a labourer and spoke to him. He replied as if somewhat scared. The second self walked down the road and entered an officer's hut, which was standing empty. She noted the number of guns. There were a score or more of all kinds in all manner of places; remarked upon the quaint looking-glass; took a mental inventory of the furniture; and then, coming out as she went in, she regained her material body, which all the while lay perfectly conscious on the couch. Then, when the two selves were reunited, she went down to breakfast, and described where she had been. "Bless me," said an officer, who was one of the party, "if you have not been in Major ----'s hut. You have described it exactly, especially the guns, which he has a perfect mania for collecting."
Here the immaterial body was not only visible but audible, and that not merely to the casual passer-by, but also to the material body which had for the moment parted with one of its vital constituents without losing consciousness.
It must, of course, be admitted that, with the exception of the statement by my two friends as to the apparition of Mrs. M.'s immaterial body, none of the other statements can pretend to the slightest evidential value. They may be worth as much as the confessions of the witches who swore they were dancing with Satan while their husbands held their material bodies clasped in their arms; but any explanation of subjective hallucination or of downright lying would be preferred by the majority of people to the acceptance of the simple accuracy of these statements. The phenomenon of the aerial flight is, however, not unfamiliar to those who are interested in this subject.
_Mrs. Besant's Theory._
I asked Mrs. Besant whether she thought my hostess was romancing, and whether my friend had not been the victim of some illusion. "Oh, no," said Mrs. Besant cheerfully. "There is nothing improbable about it. Very possibly she has this faculty. It is not so uncommon as you think. But its exercise is rather dangerous, and I hope she is well instructed." "How?" I asked. "Oh," Mrs. Besant replied, "it is all right if she knows what she is about, but it is just as dangerous to go waltzing about on the astral plane as it is for a girl to go skylarking down a dark slum when roughs are about. Elementals, with the desire to live, greedily appropriating the vitality and the passions of men, are not the pleasantest companions. Nor can other astrals of the dead, who have met with sudden or violent ends, and whose passions are unslaked, be regarded as desirable acquaintances. If she knows what she is about, well and good. But otherwise she is like a child playing with dynamite."
"But what is an astral body?"
Mrs. Besant replied, "There are several astrals, each with its own characteristics. The lowest astral body taken in itself is without conscience, will, or intelligence. It exists as a mere shadowy phantasm only as long as the material body lasts." "Then the mummies in the Museum?" "No doubt a clairvoyant could see their astrals keeping their silent watch by the dead. As the body decays so the astral fades away." "But that implies the possibility of a decaying ghost?" "Certainly. An old friend of mine, a lady who bears a well-known name, was once haunted for months by an astral. She was a strong-minded girl, and she didn't worry. But it was rather ghastly when the astral began to decay. As the corpse decomposed the astral shrank, until at last, to her great relief, it entirely disappeared."
Mrs. Besant mentioned the name of the lady, who is well known to many of my readers, and one of the last to be suspected of such haunting.
The Evidence of the Psychical Research Society.
In that great text-book on the subject, "The Phantasms of the Living," by Messrs. Gurney, Myers, and Podmore, the phenomenon of the Thought Body is shown to be comparatively frequent, and the Psychical Research Society have about a hundred recorded instances. I will only quote here two or three of the more remarkable cases mentioned in these imposing volumes.
The best case of the projection of the Thought Body at will is that described, under the initials of "S. H. B.," in the first volume of the "Phantasms," pp. 104-109. Mr. B. is a member of the Stock Exchange, who is well known to many intimate friends of mine as a man of high character. The narrative, which is verified by the Psychical Research Society, places beyond doubt the existence of powers in certain individuals which open up an almost illimitable field of mystery and speculation. Mr. B.'s story, in brief, is this:--
"One Sunday night in November, 1881, I was in Kildare Gardens, when I willed very strongly that I would visit in spirit two lady friends, the Misses V., who were living three miles off in Hogarth Road. I willed that I should do this at one o'clock in the morning, and having willed it I went to sleep. Next Thursday, when I first met my friends, the elder lady told me she woke up and saw my apparition advancing to her bedside. She screamed and woke her sister, who also saw me." (A signed statement by both sisters accompanies this narrative. They fix the time at one o'clock, and say that Mr. B. wore evening dress.)
"On December 1st, 1882, I was at Southall. At half-past nine I sat down to endeavour to fix my mind so strongly upon the interior of a house at Kew, where Miss V. and her sister lived, that I seemed to be actually in the house. I was conscious, but I was in a kind of mesmeric sleep. When I went to bed that night I willed to be in the front bedroom of that house at Kew at twelve, and make my presence felt by the inmates. Next day I went to Kew. Miss V.'s married sister told me, without any prompting from me, that she had seen me in the passage going from one room to another at half-past nine o'clock, and that at twelve, when she was wide awake, she saw me come into the front bedroom where she slept and take her hair, which is very long, into my hand. She said I then took her hand and gazed into the palm intently. She said, 'You need not look at the lines, for I never had any trouble.' She then woke her sister. When Mrs. L. told me this I took out the entry I had made the previous night and read it to her. Mrs. L. is quite sure she was not dreaming. She had only seen me once before, two years previously, at a fancy ball.
"On March 22nd, 1884, I wrote to Mr. Gurney, of the Psychical Research Society, telling him I was going to make my presence felt by Miss V., at 44, Norland Square, at mid-night. Ten days afterwards I saw Miss V., when she voluntarily told me that on Saturday at midnight she distinctly saw me, when she was quite wide awake. I came towards her and stroked her hair. She adds in her written statement, 'The appearance in my room was most vivid and quite unmistakable.' I was then at Ealing."
Here there is the thrice-repeated projection at will of the Thought Body through space so as to make it both visible to, and tangible by, friends. But the Conscious Personality which willed the visit has not yet unlocked the memory of his unconscious partner, and Mr. B., although able to go and see and touch, could bring back no memory of his aerial flight. All that he knew was that he willed and then he slept. The fact that he appeared is attested not by his consciousness, but by the evidence of those who saw him.
_A Visitor from Burmah._
Here is a report of the apparition of a Thought Body, the material original of which was at the time in Burmah. The case is important, because the Thought Body was not recognised at the time, showing that it could not have been a subjective revival of the memory of a face. It is sent me by a gentleman in South Kensington, who wishes to be mentioned only by his initials, R.S.S.
"Towards the close of 1888 my son, who had obtained an appointment in the Indian Civil Service, left England for Burmah.
"A few days after his arrival in Rangoon he was sent up the country to join the District Commissioner of a district still at that period much harassed by Dacoits.
"After this two mails passed by without news of him, and as, up to this period, his letters had reached us with unfailing regularity, we had a natural feeling of anxiety for his safety. As the day for the arrival of the third mail drew near I became quite unreasonably apprehensive of bad news, and in this state of mind I retired one evening to bed, and lay awake till long past the middle of the night, when suddenly, close to my bedside, appeared very distinctly the figure of a young man. The face had a worn and rather sad expression; but in the few seconds during which it was visible the impression was borne in upon me that the vision was intended to be reassuring.
"I cannot explain why I did not at once associate this form with my son, but it was so unlike the hale, fresh-looking youth we had parted from only four or five months previously that I supposed it must be his chief, whom I knew to be his senior by some five years only.
"I retailed this incident to my son by the next mail, and was perplexed when I got his reply to hear that his chief was a man with a beard and moustache, whereas the apparition was devoid of either. A little later came a portrait of himself recently taken. It was the subject of my vision, of which the traits had remained, and still remain, in every detail, perfectly distinct in my recollection."
_Thought Visits Seen and Remembered._
Here is an account of a visit paid at will, which is reported at first hand in the "Proceedings of the Psychical Research Society." The narrator, Mr. John Moule, tells how he determined to make an experiment of the kind now under discussion:--
"I chose for this purpose a young lady, a Miss Drasey, and stated that some day I intended to visit her, wherever the place might be, although the place might be unknown to me; and told her if anything particular should occur to note the time, and when she called at my house again to state if anything had occurred. One day, about two months after (I not having seen her in the interval), I was by myself in my chemical factory, Redman Row, Mile End, London, all alone, and I determined to try the experiment, the lady being in Dalston, about three miles off. I stood, raised my hands, and willed to act on the lady. I soon felt that I had expended energy. I immediately sat down in a chair and went to sleep. I then saw in a dream my friend coming down the kitchen stairs where I dreamt I was. She saw me, and exclaimed suddenly, 'Oh! Mr. Moule,' and fainted away. This I dreamt and then awoke. I thought very little about it, supposing I had had an ordinary dream; but about three weeks after she came to my house and related to my wife the singular occurrence of her seeing me sitting in the kitchen where she then was, and she fainted away and nearly dropped some dishes she had in her hands. All this I saw exactly in my dream, so that I described the kitchen furniture and where I sat as perfectly as if I had been there, though I had never been in the house. I gave many details, and she said, 'It is just as if you had been there.'" (Vol. III. pp. 420, 421.)
Mr. W. A. S., to quote another case, in April, 1871, at two o'clock in the afternoon, was sitting in a house in Pall Mall. He saw a lady glide in backwards at the door of the room, as if she had been slid in on a slide, each part of her dress keeping its proper place without disturbance. She glided in until the whole of her could be seen, except the tip of her nose, her lips, and the tip of her chin, which were hidden by the edge of the door. She was an old acquaintance of his, whom he had not seen for twenty or twenty-five years. He observed her closely until his brother entered the house, and coming into the room passed completely through the phantasm, which shortly afterwards faded away. Another person in the room could not see it. Some years afterwards he learned that she had died the same year, six months afterwards, from a painful cancer of the face. It was curious that the phantasm never showed him the front of its face, which was always hidden by the door. (Vol. II. p. 517.)
Sometimes, however, the Thought Body is both conscious and visible, although in most cases when visible it is not conscious, and retains no memory of what has passed. When it remembers it is usually not visible. In Mr. Dale Owen's remarkable volume, "Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World," there is a narrative, entitled "The Visionary Excursion," in which a lady, whom he calls Mrs. A., whose husband was a brigadier-general in India, describes an aerial flight so explicitly that I venture to reprint her story here, as illustrating the possibility of being visible and at the same time remembering where you had been:--
In June of the year 1857, a lady, whom I shall designate as Mrs. A., was residing with her husband, a colonel in the British army, and their infant child, on Woolwich Common, near London.
One night in the early part of that month, suddenly awaking to consciousness, she felt herself as if standing by the bedside and looking down upon her own body, which lay there by the side of her sleeping husband. Her first impression was that she had died suddenly, and the idea was confirmed by the pale and lifeless look of the body, the face void of expression, and the whole appearance showing no sign of vitality. She gazed at it with curiosity for some time, comparing its dead look with that of the fresh countenances of her husband and of her slumbering infant in the cradle hard by. For a moment she experienced a feeling of relief that she had escaped the pangs of death; but the next she reflected what a grief her death would be to the survivors, and then came the wish that she had broken the news to them gradually.
While engaged in these thoughts she felt herself carried to the wall of her room, with a feeling that it must arrest her further progress. But no, she seemed to pass through it into the open air. Outside the house was a tree; and this also she seemed to traverse as if it interposed no obstacle. All this occurred without any desire on her part.
She crossed Woolwich Common, visited the Arsenal, returned to the barracks, and then found herself in the bed-chamber of an intimate friend, Miss L. M., who lived at Greenwich. She began to talk; but she remembered no more until she waked by her husband's side. Her first words were, "So I am not dead after all." She told her husband of her excursion, and they agreed to say nothing about it until they heard from Miss L. M.
When they met that lady, two days after, she volunteered the statement that Mrs. A. had appeared to her about three o'clock in the morning of the night before last, robed in violet, and had a conversation with her ("Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World," p. 256.)
_A Doctor's Experience of the Dual Body._
Whatever may be thought of the Psychic's description of her experiences in her thought journey, they are vivid and realistic. Here is the description given by a medical man in a well-known watering-place on the south coast of his experience in getting into his material body after an aerial excursion:--
"I was engaged to a young lady whom I very much loved. During the early part of this engagement I visited the Hall in the village, not far from the Vicarage, where the young lady resided. I was in the habit of spending from Sunday to Monday at the Hall. On one of these mornings of my departure I found myself standing between the two closed windows in the lady's bedroom. It was about five o'clock on a bright summer morning. Her room looked eastward, mine directly west, and the church stood between the two houses, which were about five hundred yards apart. I have no impression whatever how I became transplanted from the house. The lady was in a camp bedstead, directly opposite to me, looking at and reaching out her arms towards me, when my disembodied spirit instantly disappeared to join the material body which it had left in some mysterious way. As I returned and was fitting in to my body on my left side, when half united I could see within me the ununited spiritual part on glow like an electric light, while the other united half was hidden in total darkness, looking black as through a thunder cloud, when, like the shutting of a drawer, the whole body became united, and I awoke in great alarm, with a belief that if any one had entered my room and moved my body from the position in which it lay on its back, the returning spirit could not have joined its material case, and that death, as it is vulgarly called, would have been inevitable."
In the morning at the breakfast-table the young lady said she had a strange experience. She saw M.D. in her bedroom, looking at her as she sat up in bed, and that he disappeared after a short stay; but how he got there she could not say, as she was positive she had locked her bedroom door. So one experience corroborated the other.
 Quoted from a remarkable work by James Gillingham, surgical mechanist, Chard, Somerset. Mr. Gillingham sent me the name of the doctor, and assures me that the narrative is quite authentic.
While discussing the subject, some friends called at Mowbray House, and were, as usual, asked to pay toll in the shape of communicating any experience they had had of the so-called supernatural. One of my visitors gave me the following narrative, the details of which are in the possession of the Psychical Research Society:--
"Some years ago my father and another son were crossing the Channel at night. My mother, who was living in England, was roused up in the middle of the night by the apparition of my father. She declares that she saw him quite distinctly standing by her bedside, looking anxious and distraught. Knowing that at that moment he was in mid-Channel, she augured that some disaster had overtaken him or the boy. She said, 'Is there some trouble?' He said, 'There is; the boy----' and then he faded from her sight. The curious part of the story is that my father at that very time had been thinking on board the steamer of having to tell his wife of the loss of the boy. The lad had been missed, and for a short time father feared he had fallen overboard. Shortly afterwards he was discovered to be quite safe. But during the period of suspense father was vividly conscious of the pain of having to break the news to his wife. It was subsequently proved by a comparison of the hour that his double had not only appeared but had spoken at the very moment he was thinking of how to tell her the news midway between France and England."
Another case in which the double appeared was that of Dr. F. R. Lees, the well-known temperance controversialist. On communicating with the Doctor, the following is his reply:--
"The little story or incident of which you have heard occurred above thirty years ago, and may be related in very few words. Whether it was coincidence, or transference of vivid thought, I leave to the judgment of others.
"I had left Leeds for the Isle of Jersey (though my dear wife was only just recovering from a nervous fever) to fulfil an important engagement. On a Good Friday, myself and a party of friends in several carriages drove round a large portion of the island, coming back to St. Heliers from Bouley Bay, taking tea about seven o'clock at Captain ----'s villa. The party broke up about ten o'clock, and the weather being fine and warm, I walked to the house of a banker who entertained me. Naturally, my evening thoughts reverted to my home, and after reading a few verses in my Testament, I walked about the room until nearly eleven, thinking of my wife, and breathing the prayer, 'God bless you.'
"I might not have recalled all the circumstances, save for the letter I received by the next post from her, with the query put in: 'Tell me what you were _doing within a few minutes of eleven o'clock_ on Friday evening? I will tell you in my next why I ask; for something happened to me.' In the middle of the week the letter came, and these words in it:--'I had just awoke from a slight repose, when I saw you in your night-dress bend over me, and utter the words, "God bless you!" I seemed also to feel your breath as you kissed me. I felt no alarm, but comforted, went off into a gentle sleep, and have been better ever since.' I replied that this was an exact representation of my mind and words."
Here there was apparently the instantaneous reproduction in Leeds of the image, and not only of the image but of the words spoken in Jersey, a hundred miles away. The theory that the phantasmal body is occasionally detachable from the material frame accounts for this in a fashion, and that is more than can be said for any other hypothesis that has yet been stated. In neither of these cases did an early death follow the apparition of the dual body.
_An Unknown Double Identified._
Neither of these stories, however, is so wonderful as the following narrative, which is forwarded to me by a correspondent in North Britain, who received the statement from a Colonel now serving in India on the Bengal Staff, whose name is communicated on the understanding that it is not to be made public:--
"In the year 1860 I was stationed at Banda, in Bundelcund, India. There was a good deal of sickness there at the time, and I was deputed along with a medical officer to proceed to the nearest railway station at that time Allahabad, in charge of a sick officer. I will call myself Brown, the medical officer Jones, and the sick officer Robertson. We had to travel very slowly, Robertson being carried by coolies in a doolie, and on this account we had to halt at a rest-house, or pitch our camp every evening. One evening, when three marches out of Banda, I had just come into Robertson's room about midnight to relieve Jones, for Robertson was so ill that we took it by turns to watch him, when Jones took me aside and whispered that he was afraid our friend was dying, that he did not expect him to live through the night, and though I urged him to go and lie down, and that I would call him on any change taking place, he would not leave. We both sat down and watched. We had been there about an hour when the sick man moved and called out. We both went to his bedside, and even my inexperienced eyes saw that the end was near. We were both standing on the same side of the bed, furthest away from the door.
"Whilst we were standing there the door opened, and an elderly lady entered, went straight up to the bed, bent over it, wrung her hands and wept bitterly. After a few minutes she left; we both saw her face. We were so astonished that neither of us thought of speaking to her, but as soon as she passed out of the door I recovered myself and, as quickly as possible, followed her, but could not find a trace of her. Robertson died that night. We were then about thirty miles from the nearest cantonment, and except the rest-house in which we were, and of which we were the only occupants, there was not a house near us. Next morning we started back to Banda, taking the corpse with us for burial.
"Three months after this Jones went to England on leave, and took with him the sword, watch, and a few other things which had belonged to the deceased to deliver to his family. On arrival at Robertson's home, he was shown into the drawing-room. After waiting a few minutes, a lady entered--the same who had appeared to both of us in the jungle in India; it was Robertson's mother. She told Jones that she had had a vision that her son was dangerously ill, and had written the date, etc., down, and on comparing notes they found that the date, time, etc., agreed in every respect.
"People to whom I have told the story laugh at me, and tell me that I must have been asleep and dreamed it, but I know I was not, for I remember perfectly well standing by the bedside when the lady appeared."
The following curious experience is sent me by a commercial traveller, who gives his name and address in support of his testimony. Writing from Nottingham, he says:--
"On Tuesday, the 6th October, I had a very singular experience. I am a commercial traveller, and represent a firm of cigar manufacturers. I left my hotel about four o'clock on the above date to call upon a customer, a Mr. Southam, Myton Gate, Hull. I met this gentleman in the street, nearly opposite his office; he shook hands, and said, 'How are you? I am waiting to see a friend; I don't think I shall want any cigars this journey, but look in before eight o'clock.' I called at 7.30, and spoke to the clerk in the office. He said, 'Mr. Southam has made out your cheque and there is also a small order.' I said, 'Thanks, I should have liked to have seen him; he made an appointment this afternoon for about eight.' The clerk said, 'Where?' I said, 'Just outside.' He said, 'That is impossible, as both Mr. and Mrs. Southam have been confined to their room for a fortnight and have never been out.' I said, 'How strange. I said to Mr. S----, "You look different to your usual; what's the matter with you?" Mr. S---- said, "Don't you see I am in my _deshabille_?"' The clerk remarked, 'You must have seen his second self, for he has not been up to-day.' I came away feeling very strange.
"J. P. Brooks.
"Sydney Villa, Ratcliffe Road, Bridgeford."
Mrs. Eliz. G. L----, of H---- House, sends me the following report of her experience of the double. She writes:--
"The only time I ever saw an apparition was on the evening of the last day of May, 1860. The impression then made is most vivid, and the day seldom recurs without my thinking of what happened then.
"It was a little after seven o'clock, the time for my husband's return from business. I was passing through the hall into the dining-room, where tea was laid, when (the front door being open) I saw my husband coming up the garden path, which was in a direct line with the hall. It was broad daylight, and nothing obstructed my view of him, and he was not more than nine or ten yards from me. Instead of going to him, I turned back, and said to the servant in the kitchen, 'Take tea in immediately, your master is come.' I then went into the dining-room, expecting him to be there. To my great surprise the room was empty, and there was no one in the garden. As my father was very ill in the next house but one to ours, I concluded that Mr. L---- had suddenly determined to turn back and enquire how he was before having tea. In half an hour he came into the room to me, and I asked how my father was, when, to my astonishment, he told me that he had not called, but had come home direct from the town. I said, '_You were in the garden half an hour ago_, I saw you as distinctly as I see you now; if you were not there _then_, you are not here _now_,' and I grasped his arm as I spoke to convince myself that it was really he. I thought that my husband was teasing me by his repeated denials, and that he would at last confess he was really there; and it was only when he assured me in the most positive and serious manner that he was a mile away at the time I saw him in the garden, that I could believe him. I have never been able to account for the appearance. There was no one I could possibly have mistaken for Mr. L----. I was in good health at the time, and had no illness for long afterwards. My mother is still living, and she can corroborate my statement, and bear witness to the deep impression the occurrence made upon me. I _saw_ my husband as plainly as I have ever seen him since during the many years we have lived together."
_Two Dundee Doubles._
Mr. Robert Kidd, of Gray Street, Broughty Ferry, who has filled many offices in Dundee, having been twenty-five years a police commissioner and five years a magistrate there, sends me the following report of two cases of the double:--
"A few years ago I had a shop on the High Street of Dundee--one door and one window, a cellar underneath, the entrance to which was at one corner of the shop. There was no way of getting in or out of the cellar but by that stair in the corner. It was lighted from the street by glass, but to protect that there was an iron grating, which was fixed down. Well, I had an old man, a servant, named Robert Chester. I sent him a message one forenoon about 12 o'clock; he was in no hurry returning. I remarked to my daughter, who was a book-keeper, whose desk was just by the trap-door, that he was stopping long. Just as I spoke he passed the window, came in at the door, carrying a large dish under his arm, went right past me, past my daughter, who looked at him, and went down into the cellar. After a few minutes, as I heard no noise, I wondered what he could be about, and went down to see. There was no Robert there. I cannot tell what my sensations were when I realized this; there was no possibility of his getting out, and we both of us saw and heard him go down. Well, in about twenty minutes he re-passed the window, crossed the floor, and went downstairs, exactly as he had the first time. There was no hallucination on our part. My daughter is a clever, highly-gifted woman; I am seventy-eight years of age, and have seen a great deal of the world, a great reader, etc., etc., and not easily deceived or apt to be led away by fancy, and I can declare that his first appearance to us was a reality as much as the second; We concluded, and so did all his relations, that it portended his death, but he is still alive, over eighty years of age. I give this just as it occurred, without any varnish or exaggeration whatever. The following narrative I firmly believe, as I knew the parties well, and that every means were used to prove its truthfulness.
"Mr. Alexander Drummond was a painter, who had a big business and a large staff of men. His clerk was Walter Souter, his brother-in-law, whose business it was to be at the shop (in Northgate, Dundee) sharp at six o'clock in the morning, to take an account of where the men were going, quantity of material, etc. In this he was assisted by Miss Drummond. One morning he did not turn up at the hour, but at twenty past six he came in at the door and appeared very much excited; but instead of stepping to the desk, where Mr. and Miss Drummond were awaiting him, he went right through the front shop and out at a side door. This in sight of Mr. and Miss D----, and also in sight of a whole squad of workmen. Well, exactly in another twenty minutes he came in, also very much excited, and explained that it was twenty minutes past six when he awakened, and that he had run all the way from his house (he lived a mile from the place of business). He was a very exemplary, punctual man, and when Mr. Drummond asked him where he went to when he came first, he was dumbfounded, and could not comprehend what was meant. To test his truthfulness, Mr. D---- went out to his wife that afternoon, when she told him the same story; that it was twenty past six o'clock when he awoke, and that he was very much excited about it, as it was the first time he had slept in. This story I believe as firmly as in my own case, as it was much talked about at the time, and I have just told it as it was told to me by all the parties. Of course I am a total stranger to you, and you may require to know something about me before believing my somewhat singular stories. I am well known about here, have filled many offices in Dundee, and have been twenty-five years a police commissioner, and five years a magistrate in this place, am very well known to the Right Honourable C. Ritchie, and also to our county member, Mr. Barclay. If this little story throws any light upon our wondrous being I shall be glad."
_A Manchester Parallel._
The following narrative, supplied by Mr. R. P. Roberts, 10, Exchange Street, Manchester, appears in the "Proceedings of the Psychical Research Society." It is a fitting pendant to Mr. Kidd's story:--
"The shop stood at the corner of Castle Street and Rating Row, Beaumaris, and I lived in the latter street. One day I went home to dinner at the usual hour. When I had partly finished I looked at the clock. To my astonishment it appeared that the time by the clock was 12.30. I gave an unusual start. I certainly thought that it was most extraordinary. I had only half-finished my dinner, and it was time for me to be at the shop. I felt dubious, so in a few seconds had another look, when to my agreeable surprise I found that I had been mistaken. It was only just turned 12.15. I could never explain how it was I made the mistake. The error gave me such a shock for a few minutes as if something had happened, and I had to make an effort to shake off the sensation. I finished my dinner, and returned to business at 12.30. On entering the shop I was accosted by Mrs. Owen, my employer's wife, who used to assist in the business. She asked me rather sternly where I had been since my return from dinner. I replied that I had come straight from dinner. A long discussion followed, which brought out the following facts. About a quarter of an hour previous to my actual entering the shop (_i.e._ about 12.15), I was seen by Mr. and Mrs. Owen and a well-known customer, Mrs. Jones, to walk into the shop, go behind the counter, and place my hat upon the peg. As I was going behind the counter, Mrs. Owen remarked, with the intention that I should hear, 'that I had arrived now that I was not wanted.' This remark was prompted by the fact that a few minutes previous a customer was in the shop in want of an article which belonged to the stock under my charge, and which could not be found in my absence. As soon as this customer left I was seen to enter the shop. It was observed by Mr. and Mrs. Owen and Mrs. Jones that I did not appear to notice the remark made. In fact, I looked quite absent-minded and vague. Immediately after putting my hat on the peg I returned to the same spot, put my hat on again, and walked out of the shop, still looking in a mysterious manner, which induced one of the parties, I think Mrs. Owen, to say that my behaviour was very odd, and she wondered where I was off to.
"I, of course, contradicted these statements, and endeavoured to prove that I could not have eaten my dinner and returned in a quarter of an hour. This, however, availed nothing, and during our discussion the above-mentioned Mrs. Jones came into the shop again, and was appealed to at once by Mr. and Mrs. Owen. She corroborated every word of their account, and added that she saw me coming down Rating Row when within a few yards of the shop; that she was only a step or two behind me, and entered the shop in time to hear Mrs. Owen's remarks about my coming too late. These three persons gave their statement of the affair quite independently of each other. There was no other person near my age in the Owens' establishment, and there could be no reasonable doubt that my form had been seen by them and by Mrs. Jones. They would not believe my story until my aunt, who had dined with me, said positively that I had not left the table before my time was up. You will, no doubt, notice the coincidence. At the moment when I felt, with a startling sensation, that I ought to be at the shop, and when Mr. and Mrs. Owen were extremely anxious that I should be there, I appeared to them looking, as they said, 'as if in a dream or in a state of somnambulism.'" ("Proceedings of the Psychical Research Society," Vol. I. p. 135-6.)
_A Very Visible Double._
A correspondent, writing from a Yorkshire village, sends me the following account of an apparition of a Thought Body in circumstances when there was nothing more serious than a yearning desire on the part of a person whose phantasm appeared to occupy his old bed. My correspondent, Mr. J. G. ----, says that he took it down from the lips of one of the most truthful men he ever knew, and a sensible person to boot. This person is still living, and I am told he has confirmed Mr. G----'s story, which is as follows:--
"Sixty years ago I was a farm servant at a place in Pembrokeshire (I can give the name, but don't wish it to be published). I was about fifteen years old. I, along with three other men-servants, slept in a granary in the yard. Our bedchamber was reached by means of ten broad stone steps. It was soon after Allhallows time, when all farm servants change places in that part of the country. A good and faithful foreman, who had been years on the farm, had this time desired a change, and had engaged to service some fifteen miles off, a change which he afterwards much regretted.
"One night I woke up in my bed some time during the small hours of the morning, and obedient to the call of nature, I got up, opened the door, and stood on the upper step of the stairs. It was a beautiful moonlight night. I surveyed the yard and the fields about. To my surprise, but without the least apprehension, I noticed a man coming down a field, jump over a low wall, and walk straight towards me. He stepped the three first steps one by one, then he took two or three steps at a stride. I knew the man well and recognised him perfectly. I knew all the clothes he wore, particularly a light waistcoat which he put on on great occasions. As he drew near me I receded to the doorway, and as he lifted up his two hands, as in the act of opening the door, which was open already, I fled in screaming, and passing my own bed jumped in between two older men in the next bed. And neither time nor the sympathy of my comrades could pacify me for hours.
"I told my tale, which, after searching and seeing nobody, they disbelieved and put down to my timidity.
"Next morning, however, just as we were coming out from breakfast, in the presence of all of us the discharged foreman was seen coming down the same field, jumping the wall, walking toward the sleeping chamber, ascending the steps, lifting up his two hands to open the door in the self-same manner in every particular as I had described, and went straight to the same bed as I got into.
"I asked him, 'Were you here last night, John?'
"'No, my boy,' was the answer; 'my body was not here, but my mind was. I have run away from that horrid place, travelled most of the night, and every step I took my mind was fixed on this old bed, where my weary bones might be at rest.'"
I can supply names and all particulars, but do not wish them to be published.
_Seeing Your Own Thought Body._
In his "Footfalls" Mr. Owen records a still more remarkable case of the duplication of the body. A gentleman in Ohio, in 1833, had built a new house, seventy or eighty yards distant from his old residence on the other side of a small ravine. One afternoon, about five o'clock, his wife saw his eldest daughter, Rhoda, aged sixteen, holding the youngest, Lucy, aged four, in her arm, sitting in a rocking-chair, just within the kitchen door of the new residence. She called the attention of another sister to what she saw, and was startled to hear that Rhoda and Lucy were upstairs in the old house. They were at once sent for, and on coming downstairs they saw, to their amazement, their exact doubles sitting on the doorstep of the new house. All the family collected--twelve in all--and they all saw the phantasmal Rhoda and Lucy, the real Rhoda and Lucy standing beside them. The figures seated at the hall door, and the two children now actually in their midst, were absolutely identical in appearance, even to each minute particular of dress. After watching them for five minutes, the father started to cross the ravine and solve the mystery. Hardly had he descended the ravine when the phantasmal Rhoda rose from the rocking chair, with the child in her arms, and lay down on the threshold. There she remained a moment or two, and then apparently sank into the earth. When the father reached the house no trace could be found of any human being. Both died within a year.
A correspondent of my own, a dressmaker in the North of England, sends me the following circumstantial account of how she saw her own double without any mischief following:--
"I have a sewing-machine, with a desk at one side and carved legs supporting the desk part; on the opposite side the machine part is. The lid of the machine rests on the desk part when open, so that it forms a high back. I had this machine across the corner of a room, so that the desk part formed a triangle with the corner of the room. I sat at the machine with my face towards the corner. To my left was the window, to my right the fire; at each side of my chair the doors of the machine walled me in as I sat working the treadles. Down each side of the machine are imitations of drawers. The wood is a beautiful walnut. I was sewing a long piece of material which passed from left to right. It was dinnertime, so I looked down to see how much more I had to do. It was almost finished, but there, in the space near the window, between the wall and the machine, was a full-sized figure of myself from the waist upwards. The image was lower than myself, but clear enough, with brown hair and eyes. How earnestly the eyes regarded me; how thoughtfully! I laughed and nodded at the image, but still it gazed earnestly at me. At its neck was a bright red bow, coming unpinned. Its white linen collar was turned up at the right-hand corner.
"When I got down to dinner I told my brother George I had seen Pepper's Ghost, and it was a distinct image of myself, clear enough, and yet I could see the wall and the side of the machine through the image, and George said, 'Had it a red bow and white collar on?' 'Oh, yes,' I said. 'It was just like me, only nicer, and when I laughed and nodded, it looked grave.' 'Very likely,' said George. 'It would think you very silly. And was its bow coming unpinned?' 'Yes,' I replied; 'and the right point of its collar was turned up.' He reached me a hand-mirror, and I saw that my bow was coming unpinned and the right point of my collar was turned up. So it could not have been a reflection, or it would not have been the right point, but the left of my collar that was turned up."
_The Wraith as a Portent._
In the North country it is of popular belief that to see the ghost of a living man portends his approaching decease. The Rev. Henry Kendall, of Darlington, from whose diary (unpublished) I have the liberty to quote, notes the following illustration of this belief, under date August 16th, 1870:--
"Mrs. W. mentioned a curious incident that happened in Darlington: how Mrs. Percy, upholsterer, and known to several of us, was walking along the street one day when her husband was living, and she saw him walking a little way before her; then he left the causeway and turned in at a public-house. When she spoke to him of this, he said he had not been near the place, and she was so little satisfied with his statement that she called in at the 'public,' and asked them if her husband had been there, but they told her 'No.' In a very short period after this happened he died."
The phenomenon of a dual body haunted the imagination of poor Shelley. Shortly before his death he believed he had seen his wraith:--
"On the 23rd of June," says one of his biographers, "he was heard screaming at midnight in the saloon. The Williamses ran in and found him staring on vacancy. He had had a vision of a cloaked figure which came to his bedside and beckoned him to follow. He did so, and when they had reached the sitting-room, the figure lifted the hood of his cloak and disclosed Shelley's own features, and saying, 'Siete soddisfatto?' vanished. This vision is accounted for on the ground that Shelley had been reading a drama attributed to Calderon, named 'El Embozado o El Encapotado,' in which a mysterious personage who had been haunting and thwarting the hero all his life, and is at last about to give him satisfaction in a duel, finally unmasks and proves to be the hero's own wraith. He also asks, 'Art thou satisfied?' and the haunted man dies of horror."
On the 29th of June some friends distinctly saw Shelley walk into a little wood near Lerici, when in fact he was in a wholly different direction. This was related by Byron to Mr. Cowell.
It is difficult to frame any theory that will account for this double apparition, except, of course, the hypothesis of downright lying on the part of the witnesses. But the hypothesis of the duplication of the body in this extraordinary fashion is one which cannot be accepted until the immaterial body is photographed under test conditions at the same time that the material body is under safe custody in another place. Of course, it is well to bear in mind that to all those who profess to know anything of occult lore, and also to those who have the gift of clairvoyance, there is nothing new or strange in the doctrine of the immaterial body. Many clairvoyants declare that they constantly see the apparitions of the living mingling with the apparitions of the dead. They are easily distinguishable. The ghost of a living person is said to be opaque, whereas the ghost of one from whom life has departed is diaphanous as gossamer.
All this, of course, only causes the unbeliever to blaspheme. It is to him every whit as monstrous as the old stories of the witches riding on broomsticks. But the question is not to be settled by blasphemy on one side or credulity on the other. There is something behind these phantasmal apparitions; there is a real substratum of truth, if we could but get at it. There seems to be some faculty latent in the human mind, by which it can in some cases impress upon the eye and ear of a person at almost any distance the image and the voice. We may call it telepathy or what we please. It is a marvellous power, the mere hint of which indefinitely expands the horizon of the imagination. The telephone is but a mere child's toy compared with the gift to transmit not only the sound of the voice but the actual visible image of the speaker for hundreds of miles without any conductor known to man.
The Hypnotic Key.
Hypnotism is the key which will enable us to unlock most of these mysteries, and so far as hypnotism has spoken it does not tend to encourage the belief that the immaterial body has any substance other than the hallucination of the person who sees it. Various cases are reported by hypnotist practitioners which suggest that there is an almost illimitable capacity of the human mind to see visions and to hear voices. One very remarkable case was that of a girl who was told at midsummer by the hypnotist, when in the hypnotic state, that he would come to see her on New Year's Day. When she awoke from the trance she knew nothing about the conversation. One hundred and seventy-one days passed without any reference to it. But on the 172nd day, being New Year's Day, she positively declared that the doctor had entered her room, greeted her, and then departed. Curiously enough, as showing the purely subjective character of the vision, the doctor appeared to her in the depth of winter, wearing the light summer apparel he had on when he made the appointment in July. In this case there can be no question as to the apparition being purely subjective. The doctor did not make any attempt to visit her in his immaterial body, but she saw him and heard him as if he were there.
The late Mr. Gurney conducted some experiments with a hypnotic subject which seem to confirm the opinion that the phantasmal body is a merely subjective hallucination, although, of course, this would not explain how information had been actually imparted to the phantasmal visitant by the person who saw, or imagined they saw, his wraith. Mr. Gurney's cases are, however, very interesting, if only as indicating the absolute certainty which a hypnotised patient can be made to feel as to the objectivity of sights and sounds:--
"S. hypnotised Zillah, and told her that she would see him standing in the room at three o'clock next afternoon, and that she would hear him call her twice by name. She was told that he would not stop many seconds. On waking she had no notion of the ideas impressed upon her.
"Next day, however, she came upstairs about five minutes past three, looking ghastly and startled. She said, 'I have seen a ghost.' I assumed intense amazement, and she said she was in the kitchen cleaning some silver, and suddenly she heard her name called sharply twice over, 'Zillah!' in Mr. Smith's voice. She said, 'And I dropped the spoon I was rubbing, and turned and saw Mr. S., without his hat, standing at the foot of the kitchen stairs. I saw him as plain as I see you,' she said, and looked very wild and vacant.
"The next experiment took place on Wednesday evening, July 13th, 1887, when S., told her, when hypnotised, that the next afternoon, at three o'clock, she would see me (Mr. Gurney) come into the room to her. She was further told that I would keep my hat on and say, 'Good-morning,' and that I would remark, 'It is very warm,' and would then turn round and walk out.
"Next day this is what Zillah reported. She said, 'I was in the kitchen washing up, and had just looked at the clock, and was startled to see how late it was (five minutes to three) when I heard footsteps coming down the stairs--rather a quick, light step--and I thought it was Mr. Sleep' (the dentist whose rooms are in the house), 'but as I turned round, with a dish mop in one hand and a plate in the other, I saw some one with a hat on who had to stoop as he came down the last step, and there was Mr. Gurney. He was dressed just as I saw him last night, black coat and grey trousers, his hat on, and a roll of paper like manuscript in his hand, and he said, "Oh! good-afternoon;" and then he glanced all round the kitchen and he glanced at me with an awful look, as if he was going to murder me, and said, "Warm afternoon, isn't it?" and then "Good-afternoon," or "Good-day," I am not sure which, and then turned and went up the stairs again; and after standing thunderstruck a minute, I ran to the foot of the stairs and saw just like a boot disappearing on the top step.' She said, 'I think I must be going crazy. Why should I always see something at three o'clock each day after the seance?'" (Vol. V. pp. 11-13.)
Whatever hypothesis we select to explain these mysteries, they do not become less marvellous. Even if we grant that it is mere telepathy, or mind affecting mind at a distance without the use of the recognised organs of sense or of any of the ordinary conducting mediums, what an enormous extension it gives to the ordinary conception of the limits of the human mind! To be able instantaneously to paint upon the retina of a friend's eye the life-like image of ourselves, to make our voice sound in his ears at a distance of many miles, and to communicate to his mind information which he had never before heard of, all this is, it may be admitted, as tremendous a draft upon the credulity of mankind as the favourite Theosophical formula of the astral body. Yet who is there who, in face of the facts and experiences recorded above, will venture to deny that one or other of these hypotheses alone can account for the phenomena under consideration?
It is obvious that when once the possibility of the Double is admitted, many mysteries could be cleared up, although it is also true that a great many inconveniences would immediately follow; the establishment of the reality of the double would invalidate every plea of _alibi_. If a man can really be in two places at one time, there is an end to the plea which is most frequently resorted to by the accused to prove their innocence. There are other inconveniences, which are alluded to in the following letter from a lady correspondent, who believes that she has the faculty in frequent, although uncertain and unconscious, use:--
"'I saw you yesterday, and you cut me.' Such was the remark I frequently heard from my friends: in the broad daylight they saw me in street or tram, etc. Once a personal friend followed me into church on Christmas Day in a city at least 100 miles from where I really was. Another time I sat two pews in front of a friend at a cathedral service. When I denied having been there, she said, 'It's no good talking: I saw you, and you didn't want to wait for me.' 'But,' I said, 'you have my word that I was not there.' 'Yes,' she said, 'but I have my sight, and I saw you.' Of course, I naturally thought it was some one like me, and said, perhaps rather sarcastically, 'Would it be very strange if any one else bore some resemblance to me?' 'No,' said my friend, 'it would not; but someone else doesn't wear your clothes.' On one occasion I remember three people saw me where I certainly was not physically present the same day; all knew me personally. I often bought books of a man who kept a second-hand bookstall. One day he told me that he had a somewhat rare edition of a book I wanted, but that it was at the shop. I said, 'I'll come across to-morrow for it if I make up my mind to give the price.' The next day I was prevented from going, and went the day after, to hear it was sold. 'Why didn't you keep it?' I asked. 'I thought you did not want it when you came yesterday and did not buy it.' 'But I didn't come yesterday.' 'Why, excuse me, you did, and took the book up and laid it down again while I was serving Mr. M., and you went away before I could ask you about it; Mr. M. remarked that it was strange you did not answer him when he spoke.' When I asked the gentleman referred to, he confirmed the story. Mrs. B. also saw me lower down the same street that morning.
"Still it never struck me that it was anything strange; I was only rather curious to see the woman who was so like me. I saw her in an unexpected manner. Going into my room one night, I happened to glance down at my bed, and saw a form there. I thought it strange, yet was not startled. I bent over it, and recognised my own features distinctly. I was in perfect health at the time, and no disaster followed."
_Queen Elizabeth's Double._
In a volume published by Macmillan & Co., entitled "Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celt," I find the following references to the Double:--
"If this phantom be seen in the morning it betokens good fortune and long life to its prototype; if in the evening a near death awaits him. This superstition was known and felt in England even in the reign of Elizabeth. We quote a passage from Miss Strickland's account of her last illness:--
"'As her mortal illness drew towards a close, the superstitious fears of her simple ladies were excited almost to mania, even to conjuring up a spectral apparition of the Queen while she was yet alive. Lady Guildford, who was then in waiting on the Queen, leaving her in an almost breathless sleep in her privy chamber, went out to take a little air, and met her Majesty, as she thought, three or four chambers off. Alarmed at the thought of being discovered in the act of leaving the Royal patient alone, she hurried forward in some trepidation in order to excuse herself, when the apparition vanished away. She returned terrified to the chamber, but there lay the Queen still in the same lethargic slumber in which she left her.'"
CLAIRVOYANCE--THE VISION OF THE OUT OF SIGHT.
"Moreover, the spirit lifted me up and brought me unto the East gate, and, behold, at the door of the gate five-and-twenty men, among whom I saw," etc.--Ezekiel xi. 1.
The Astral Camera.
When I was staying at Orchard Lea, in Windsor Forest, I did most of my writing in a spacious window on the first floor looking out over the garden. It opened French fashion, and thereby occasioned a curious optical illusion, which may perhaps help to shed some light upon the phenomena now under consideration. For when the sun was high in the sky and the French window was set at a certain angle, the whole of the flowers, figures, etc., on my right hand appeared reflected upon the lawn on the left hand as vividly as if they actually existed in duplicate. So real was the illusion that for some hours I was under the impression that a broad yellow gravel path actually stretched across the lawn on my left. It was only when a little dog ran along the spectral path and suddenly vanished into thin air that I discovered the illusion. Nothing could be more complete, more life-like. The real persons who walked up the gravel to the house walked across the spectral gravel, apparently in duplicate. Both could be seen at one and the same time. I instantly thought that they could be photographed, so as to show the duplication produced by the illusion. Unfortunately, although the spectral path was distinctly visible through the glass to the eye, no impression whatever was left on the sensitive plate. My friend writes:--
"I have tried the phantom path, and I am sorry to say it is too phantom to make any impression on the plate. All that you get is the blaze of light from the glass window, some very faint trees, and no path at all. Possibly, with a June sun, it might have been different; but I doubt it, as one is told never to put the camera facing a window. It is having to take through the glass window which is fatal."
This set me thinking. It was a simple optical illusion, no doubt, similar to that which enabled Pepper to produce his ghosts at the Polytechnic. But what was the agency which enabled me to see the figures and flowers, and trees and gravel, all transferred, as by the cunning act of some magician, from the right to the left? Simply a swinging pane of perfectly transparent glass. To those who have neither studied the laws of optics nor seen the phenomenon in question, it must seem impossible that a pellucid window-pane could transfer so faithfully that which happened at one end of the garden to the other as to cause it to be mistaken for reality. Yet there was the phenomenon before my eyes. The dog ran double--the real dog to the right, the spectral dog to the left--and no one could tell at first sight "t'other from which." Now, may it not be that this supplies a suggestion as to the cause of the phenomenon of clairvoyance? Is it not possible that there may exist in Nature some as yet undiscovered analogue to the swinging windowpane which may enable us to see before our eyes here and now events which are transpiring at the other end of the world? In the mysterious, subconscious world in which the clairvoyant lives, may there not be some subtle, sympathetic lens, fashioned out of strong affection or some other relation, which may enable some of us to see that which is quite invisible to the ordinary eye?
_A Surrey Laundry Seen in Cornwall._
Such thoughts came to my mind when I asked the Housekeeper whether she had ever seen any of the phantasmal apparitions of her mistress, my hostess, Mrs. M. The housekeeper, a comfortable, buxom Cornish woman, smiled incredulously. No, she had seen nothing, heard nothing, believed nothing. "As to phantasmal bodies, she would prefer to see them first." "Had she ever seen a ghost?" "No, never." "Had ever had any hallucinations?" "No." But one thing had happened, "rather curious" now that she came to think of it. Last year, when living on the coast far down in the west country, she had suddenly seen as in a dream the house in Hindhead where we were now standing. She had never been in Surrey in her life. She had no idea that she would ever go there, nor did she know that it was in Surrey. What she saw was the laundry. She was standing inside it, and remarked to her husband how strange and large it looked. She looked out at the windows and saw the house and the surroundings with strange distinctness. Then the vision faded away, leaving no other impress on the mind than that she had seen an exceptionally large laundry close to a small country-house in a place where she had never been in before.
Six months passed; she and her husband had decided to leave the west country and take a housekeeper and gardener's post elsewhere. They replied to an advertisement, were appointed by my hostess; they transferred themselves to Hindhead, where they arrived in the dead of winter. When they reached their new quarters she saw, to her infinite astonishment, the precise place she had seen six months before. The laundry was unmistakable. There is not such another laundry in the county of Surrey. There it was, sure enough, and there was the house, and there were all the surroundings exactly as she had seen them down on the south-west coast. She did not believe in ghosts or phantasmal bodies or such like things, but one thing she knew beyond all possibility of doubt. She had seen her new home and laundry on the top of Hindhead, when living in the west country six months before she ever set foot in Surrey, or even knew of the existence of Mrs. M. "The moment I saw it I recognised it and told my husband that it was the identical place I had seen when in our old home."
_William Howitt's Vision._
The Housekeeper's story is very simple, and almost too commonplace. But its significance lies in those very characteristics. Here was no consuming passion, no bond of sympathy, nothing whatever material or sentimental to act as the refracting medium by which the Hindhead laundry could have been made visible in South Devon. Yet similar phenomena are of constant occurrence. A very remarkable case in point is that of William Howitt who, when on a voyage out to Australia, saw his brother's house at Melbourne so plainly that he described it on board ship, and recognised it the moment he landed. Here is his own version of this remarkable instance of clairvoyance:--
"Some weeks ago, while yet at sea, I had a dream of being at my brother's at Melbourne, and found his house on a hill at the further end of the town, and next to the open forest. His garden sloped a little down the hill to some brick buildings below; and there were greenhouses on the right hand by the wall, as you look down the hill from the house. As I looked out of the window in my dream, I saw a wood of dusky-foliaged trees having a somewhat segregated appearance in their heads--that is, their heads did not make that dense mass like our trees. 'There,' I said to some one in my dream, 'I see your native forest of eucalyptus!'
"This dream I told to my sons and to two of my fellow-passengers at the time, and on landing, as we walked over the meadows, long before we reached the town, I saw this very wood. 'There,' I said, 'is the very wood of my dream. We shall see my brother's house there! And so we did. It stands exactly as I saw it, only looking newer; but there, over the wall of the garden, is the wood, precisely as I saw it and now see it as I sit at the dining-room window writing. When I looked on this scene I seem to look into my dream." (Owen's "Footfalls," p. 118.)
The usual explanation of these things is that the vision is the revival of some forgotten impressions on the brain. But in neither of the foregoing cases will that explanation suffice, for in neither case had the person who saw ever been in the place of which they had a vision. One desperate resource, the convenient theory of pre-existence, is useless here. The fact seems to be that there is a kind of invisible camera obscura in Nature, which at odd times gives us glimpses of things happening or existing far beyond the range of our ordinary vision. The other day when in Edinburgh I climbed up to the Camera Obscura that stands near the castle, and admired the simple device by which, in a darkened room upon a white, paper-covered table, the whole panorama of Edinburgh life was displayed before me. There were the "recruities" drilling on the Castle Esplanade; there were the passers-by hurrying along High Street; there were the birds on the housetops, and the landscape of chimneys and steeples, all revealed as if in the crystal of a wizard's cave. The coloured shadows chased each other across the paper, leaving no trace behind. Five hundred years ago the owner of that camera would have been burned as a wizard; now he makes a comfortable living out of the threepennypieces of inquisitive visitors. Is it possible to account for the phenomena of clairvoyance other than by the supposition that there exists somewhere in Nature a gigantic camera obscura which reflects everything, and to which clairvoyants habitually, and other mortals occasionally, have access?
_Seen and Heard at 150 Miles Range._
The preceding incidents simply record a prevision of places subsequently visited. The following are instances in which not only places, but occurrences, were seen as in a camera by persons at a distance varying from 150 to several thousand miles. Space seems to have no existence for the clairvoyant. They are quoted from the published "Proceedings of the Psychical Research Society":
On September 9th, 1848, at the siege of Mooltan, Major-General R----, C.B., then adjutant of his regiment, was most severely and dangerously wounded; and supposing himself to be dying, asked one of the officers with him to take the ring off his finger and send it to his wife, who at the time was fully 150 miles distant, at Ferozepore.
"On the night of September 9th, 1848," writes his wife, "I was lying on my bed between sleeping and waking, when I distinctly saw my husband being carried off the field, seriously wounded, and heard his voice saying, 'Take this ring off my finger and send it to my wife.' All the next day I could not get the sight or the voice out of my mind. In due time I heard of General R---- having been severely wounded in the assault of Mooltan. He survived, however, and is still living. It was not for some time after the siege that I heard from General L----, the officer who helped to carry General R---- off the field, that the request as to the ring was actually made to him, just as I heard it at Ferozepore at that very time." (Vol. I. p. 30.)
_A Royal Deathbed in France seen in Scotland._
The above case is remarkable because the voice was transmitted as well as the spectacle. In the next story the ear heard nothing, but the scene itself was very remarkable. A correspondent of the Psychical Research Society writes that whilst staying with her mother's cousin, Mrs. Elizabeth Broughton, wife of Mr. Edward Broughton, Edinburgh, and daughter of the late Colonel Blanckley, in the year 1844, she told her the following strange story:--
"She awoke one night and aroused her husband, telling him that something dreadful had happened in France. He begged her to go to sleep again and not to trouble him. She assured him that she was not asleep when she saw what she insisted on then telling him--what she saw, in fact, was; First, a carriage accident--which she did not actually see, but what she saw was the result--a broken carriage, a crowd collected, a figure gently raised and carried into the nearest house, then a figure lying on a bed, which she then recognised as the Duke of Orleans. Gradually friends collecting round the bed--among them several members of the French royal family--the queen, then the king, all silently, tearfully watching the evidently dying duke. One man (she could see his back, but did not know who he was) was a doctor. He stood bending over the duke, feeling his pulse, his watch in the other hand. And then all passed away; she saw no more. As soon as it was daylight she wrote down in her journal all that she had seen. From that journal she read this to me. It was before the days of electric telegraph, and two or more days passed before the _Times_ announced 'The Death of the Duke of Orleans.' Visiting Paris a short time afterwards, she saw and recognised the place of the accident and received the explanation of her impression. The doctor who attended the dying duke was an old friend of hers, and as he watched by the bed his mind had been constantly occupied with her and her family." (Vol. II. p. 160.)
* * *
The doctor's sympathy may have been the key to the secret camera of Nature, but it in no wise "explains" how a lady in Edinburgh could see what went on inside a house in Paris so clearly as to know what had happened two days before the intelligence reached the _Times_.
_An African Event Seen in England._
Here is another story where the event occurred in Africa and was seen in England. A correspondent from Wadhurst, West Dulwich, S.E., says:--
"My late husband dreamt a certain curious dream about his brother, Mr. Ralph Holden, who was at that time travelling in the interior of Africa. One morning, in June or July, 1861, my husband woke me with the announcement, 'Ralph is dead.' I said, 'You must be dreaming.' 'No, I am not dreaming now; but I dreamt twice over that I saw Ralph lying on the ground supported by a man.' They learnt afterwards that Ralph must have died about the time when his brother dreamt about him and that he had died in the arms of his faithful native servant, lying under a large tree, where he was afterwards buried. The Holden family have sketches of the tree and the surroundings, and, on seeing it, my husband said, 'Yes, that is exactly the place where I saw Ralph in my dream, dying or dead.'" (Vol. I. p. 141.)
_A Vision Which Saved Many Lives._
Dr. Horace Bushnell, in his "Nature and the Supernatural," tells a story, on the authority of Captain Yonnt, which differs from the foregoing in having a definite purpose, which, fortunately, was attained. Captain Yonnt, a patriarch in the Napa valley of California, told Dr. Bushnell that six or seven years before their conversation he had seen a vision which saved several lives. Here is his story:--
"About six or seven years previous, in a mid-winter's night, he had a dream, in which he saw what appeared to be a company of emigrants arrested by the snows of the mountains and perishing rapidly by cold and hunger. He noted the very cast of the scenery, marked by a huge, perpendicular front of white rock cliff; he saw the men cutting off what appeared to be tree-tops rising out of deep gulfs of snow; he distinguished the very features of the persons and the look of their particular distress. He awoke profoundly impressed by the distinctness and apparent reality of the dream. He at length fell asleep, and dreamed exactly the same dream over again. In the morning he could not expel it from his mind. Falling in shortly after with an old hunter comrade, he told his story, and was only the more deeply impressed by his recognising without hesitation the scenery of the dream. This comrade came over the Sierra, by the Carson Valley Pass, and declared that a spot in the Pass answered exactly his description. By this the unsophistical patriarch was decided. He immediately collected a company of men, with mules and blankets and all necessary provisions. The neighbours were laughing meantime at his credulity. 'No matter,' he said, 'I am able to do this, and I will; for I verily believe that the fact is according to my dream.' The men were sent into the mountains one hundred and fifty miles distant, directly to the Carson Valley Pass. And there they found the company exactly in the condition of the dream, and brought in the remnant alive." ("Nature and the Supernatural," p. 14.)
_The Vision of a Fire._
The wife of a Dean of the Episcopal Church in one of the Southern States of America was visiting at my house while I was busy collecting materials for this work. Asking her the usual question as to whether she had ever experienced anything of the phenomena usually called supernatural, apparently because it is not the habitual experience of every twenty-four hours, she ridiculed the idea. Ghosts? not she. She was a severely practical, matter-of-fact person, who used her natural senses, and had nothing to do with spirits. But was she quite sure; had nothing ever occurred to her which she could not explain? Then she hesitated and said, "Well, yes; but there is nothing supernatural about it. I was staying away down in Virginia, some hundred miles from home, when one morning, about eleven o'clock, I felt an over-powering sleepiness. I never sleep in the daytime, and that drowsiness was, I think, almost my only experience of that kind. I was so sleepy I went to my room and lay down. In my sleep I saw quite distinctly my home at Richmond in flames. The fire had broken out in one wing of the house, which I saw with dismay was where I kept all my best dresses. The people were all about trying to check the flames, but it was of no use. My husband was there, walking about before the burning house, carrying a portrait in his hand. Everything was quite clear and distinct, exactly as if I had actually been present and seen everything. After a time I woke up, and, going downstairs, told my friends the strange dream I had had. They laughed at me, and made such game of my vision that I did my best to think no more about it. I was travelling about, a day or two passed, and when Sunday came I found myself in a church where some relatives were worshipping. When I entered the pew they looked rather strange, and as soon as the service was over I asked them what was the matter. 'Don't be alarmed,' they said, 'there is nothing serious.' They then handed me a postcard from my husband, which simply said, 'House burned out; covered by insurance.' The date was the day on which my dream occurred. I hastened home, and then I learned that everything had happened exactly as I had seen it. The fire had broken out in the wing which I had seen blazing. My clothes were all burnt, and the oddest thing about it was that my husband, having rescued a favourite picture from the burning building, had carried it about among the crowd for some time before he could find a place in which to put it safely." Swedenborg, it will be remembered, also had a clairvoyant vision of a fire at a great distance.
_The Loss of the "Strathmore."_
A classic instance of the exercise of this faculty is the story of the wreck of the _Strathmore_. In brief the story is as follows:--The father of a son who had sailed in the _Strathmore_, an emigrant ship outward bound from the Clyde, saw one night the ship foundering amid the waves, and saw that his son, with some others, had escaped safely to a desert island near which the wreck had taken place. He was so much impressed by this vision that he wrote to the owner of the _Strathmore_, telling him what he had seen. His information was scouted; but after awhile the _Strathmore_ was overdue and the owner got uneasy. Day followed day, and still no tidings of the missing ship. Then, like Pharaoh's butler, the owner remembered his sins one day and hunted up the letter describing the vision. It supplied at least a theory to account for the vessel's disappearance. All outward bound ships were requested to look out for any survivors on the island indicated in the vision. These orders being obeyed, the survivors of the _Strathmore_ were found exactly where the father had seen them. In itself this is sufficient to confound all accepted hypotheses. Taken in connection with other instances of a similar nature, what can be said of it excepting that it almost necessitates the supposition of the existence of the invisible camera obscura which the Theosophists describe as the astral light?
_The Analogy of the Camera Obscura._
Clairvoyance can often be explained by telepathy, especially when there is strong sympathy between the person who sees and the person who is seen. Mr. Edward R. Lipsitt, of Tralee, sends me the following narrative, which illustrates this fact:--
"I beg to narrate a curious case of telepathy I experienced when quite a boy. Some ten years ago I happened to sleep one night in the same room with a young friend of about my own age. There existed a very strong sympathy between us. I got up early and went out for a short walk, leaving my friend fast asleep in his bed. I went in the direction of a well-known lake in that district. After gazing for some moments at the silent waters, I espied a large black dog making towards me. I turned my back and fled, the dog following me for some distance. My boots then being in a bad condition, one of the soles came off in the flight; however, I came away unmolested by the dog. But how amazed was I when upon entering the room my friend, who was just rubbing his eyes and yawning, related to me my adventure word by word, describing even the colour of the dog and the very boot (the right one) the sole of which gave way!"
There is often no motive whatever to be discovered in the apparition. A remarkable instance of this is recorded by Mr. Myers in an article in the _Arena_, where the analogy to a camera obscura is very close. The camera reflects everything that happens. Nothing is either great or small to its impartial lens. But if you do not happen to be in the right place, or if the room is not properly darkened, or if the white paper is taken off the table, you see nothing. We have not yet mastered the conditions of the astral camera. Here, however, is Mr. Myers' story, which he owes to the kindness of Dr. Elliott Coues, who happened to call on Mrs. C---- the very day on which that lady received the following letter from her friend Mrs. B----.
"'Monday evening, January 14th, 1889.
"'My Dear Friend,--I know you will be surprised to receive a note from me so soon, but not more so than I was to-day, when you were shown to me clairvoyantly, in a somewhat embarrassed position. I doubt very much if there was any truth in it; nevertheless, I will relate it, and leave you to laugh at the idea of it.
"'I was sitting in my room sewing this afternoon, about two o'clock, when what should I see but your own dear self; but, heavens! in what a position. Now, I don't want to excite your curiosity too much, or try your patience too long, so will come to the point at once. You were falling up the front steps in the yard. You had on your black skirt and velvet waist, your little straw bonnet, and in your hand were some papers. When you fell, your hat went in one direction, and the papers in another. You got up very quickly, put on your bonnet, picked up the papers, and lost no time getting into the house. You did not appear to be hurt, but looked somewhat mortified. It was all so plain to me that I had ten to one notions to dress myself and come over and see if it were true, but finally concluded that a sober, industrious woman like yourself would not be stumbling around at that rate, and thought I'd best not go on a wild goose chase. Now, what do you think of such a vision as that? Is there any possible truth in it? I feel almost ready to scream with laughter whenever I think of it; you did look _too_ funny, spreading yourself out in the front yard. "Great was the fall thereof."'
"This letter came to us in an envelope addressed: Mrs. E. A. C----, 217 Del. Ave., N.E., Washington, D.C., and with the postmarks, Washington, D.C., Jan. 15, 7 a.m., 1889, and Washington, N.E.C.S., Jan. 15, 8 a.m.
"Now the point is that every detail in this telepathic vision was correct. Mrs. C---- had actually (as she tells me in a letter dated March 7th, 1889) fallen in this way, at this place, in the dress described, at 2.41, on January 14th. The coincidence can hardly have been due to chance. If we suppose that the vision preceded the accident, we shall have an additional marvel, which, however, I do not think we need here face. 'About 2,' in a letter of this kind, may quite conceivably have meant 2.41."
The exceeding triviality of the incident often destroys the possibility of belief in the ordinary superstition that it was a direct Divine revelation. This may be plausible in cases of the _Strathmore_, where the intelligence was communicated of the loss of an English ship, but no one can seriously hold it when the only information to be communicated was a stumble on the stairs.
Considering the enormous advantages which such an astral camera would place in the hands of the detective police, I was not surprised to be told that the officers of the Criminal Investigation Department in London and Chicago occasionally consult clairvoyants as to the place where stolen goods are to be found, or where the missing criminals may be lurking.
_Mr. Burt's Dream._
When I was in Newcastle I availed myself of the opportunity to call upon Mr. Burt, M.P. On questioning him as to whether he had ever seen a ghost, he replied in the negative, but remarked that he had had one experience which had made a deep impression upon his mind, which partook more of the nature of clairvoyance than the apparition of a phantom. "I suppose it was a dream," said Mr. Burt. "The dream or vision, or whatever else you call it, made a deep impression upon my mind. You remember Mr. Crawford, the Durham miners' agent, was ill for a long time before his death. Just before his death he rallied, and we all hoped he was going to get better. I had heard nothing to the contrary, when one morning early I had a very vivid dream. I dreamed that I was standing by the bedside of my old friend. I passed my hand over his brow, and he spoke to me with great tenderness, with much greater tenderness than he had ever spoken before. He said he was going to die, and that he was comforted by the long and close friendship that had existed between us. I was much touched by the feeling with which he spoke, and felt awed as if I were in the presence of death. When I woke up the impression was still strong in my mind, and I could not resist the feeling that Crawford was dying. In a few hours I received a telegram stating that he was dead. This is more remarkable because I fully expected he was going to get better, and at the moment of my dream he seems to have died. I cannot give any explanation of how it came about. It is a mystery to me, and likely to remain so."
This astral camera, to which "future things unfolded lie," also retains the imperishable image of all past events. Mr. Browning's great uncle's studs brought vividly to the mind of the clairvoyant a smell of blood, and recalled all the particulars of the crime of which they had been silent witnesses. Any article or relic may serve as a key to unlock the chamber of this hidden camera.
Tragic Happenings Seen in Dreams.
_An Irish Outrage Seen in a Dream._
One of the best stories of clairvoyance as a means of throwing light on crime is thus told by a correspondent of the Psychical Research Society:
One morning in December, 1836, he had the following dream, or, he would prefer to call it, revelation. He found himself suddenly at the gate of Major N. M.'s avenue, many miles from his home. Close to him was a group of persons, one of whom was a woman with a basket on her arm, the rest men, four of whom were tenants of his own, while the others were unknown to him. Some of the strangers seemed to be murderously assaulting H. W., one of his tenants, and he interfered. "I struck violently at the man on my left, and then with greater violence at the man's face on my right. Finding, to my surprise, that I had not knocked down either, I struck again and again with all the violence of a man frenzied at the sight of my poor friend's murder. To my great amazement I saw my arms, although visible to my eye, were without substance, and the bodies of the men I struck at and my own came close together after each blow through the shadowy arms I struck with. My blows were delivered with more extreme violence than I ever think I exerted, but I became painfully convinced of my incompetency. I have no consciousness of what happened after this feeling of unsubstantiality came upon me." Next morning he experienced the stiffness and soreness of violent bodily exercise, and was informed by his wife that in the course of the night he had much alarmed her by striking out again and again with his arms in a terrific manner, 'as if fighting for his life.' He, in turn, informed her of his dream, and begged her to remember the names of those actors in it who were known to him. On the morning of the following day (Wednesday) he received a letter from his agent, who resided in the town close to the scene of the dream, informing him that his tenant had been found on Tuesday morning at Major N. M.'s gate, speechless and apparently dying from a fracture of the skull, and that there was no trace of the murderers. That night he started for the town, and arrived there on Thursday morning. On his way to a meeting of magistrates he met the senior magistrate of that part of the country, and requested him to give orders for the arrest of the three men whom, besides H. W., he had recognised in his dream, and to have them examined separately. This was at once done. The three men gave identical accounts of the occurrence, and all named the woman who was with them. She was then arrested, and gave precisely similar testimony. They said that between eleven and twelve on the Monday night they had been walking homewards along the road, when they were overtaken by three strangers, two of whom savagely assaulted H. W., while the other prevented his friends from interfering. H. W. did not die, but was never the same man afterwards; he subsequently emigrated. (Vol. I. p. 142.)
The advantage which would accrue from the universal establishment of this instantaneous vision would not be unmixed. That it is occasionally very useful is obvious.
_A Clairvoyant Vision of a Murder._
The most remarkable experiment in clairvoyant detection that I have ever come across is told by Dr. Backman, of Kalmar, in a recent number of the "Psychical Research Society's Proceedings." It is as follows:--
"In the month of October, 1888, the neighbourhood of Kalmar was shocked by a horrible murder committed in the parish of Wissefjerda, which was about fifty kilometres from Kalmar as the crow flies. What happened was that a farmer named P. J. Gustafsson had been killed by a shot when driving, having been forced to stop by stones having been placed on the road. The murder had been committed in the evening, and a certain tramp was suspected, because Gustafsson, in his capacity of under bailiff, had arrested him, and he had then undergone several years' penal servitude.
"This was all that I or the public knew about the case on November 1st of the same year. The place where the murder was committed and the persons implicated in it were quite unknown to me and the clairvoyant.
"On the same day, November 1st, having some reason to believe that such a trial would be at least partially successful, I experimented with a clairvoyant, Miss Agda Olsen, to try if it was possible to get some information in this way about such an event.
"The judge of the neighbourhood, who had promised to be present, was unfortunately prevented from coming. The clairvoyant was hypnotised in my wife's presence, and was then ordered 'to look for the place where the murder had been committed and see the whole scene, follow the murderer in his flight, and describe him and his home and the motive for the murder.' Miss Olsen then spoke as follows, in great agitation, sometimes using violent gestures. I took notes of her exact words and reproduce them here fully.
"'It is between two villages--I see a road--in a wood--now it is coming--the gun--now he is coming along, driving--the horse is afraid of the stones--hold the horse! hold the horse! now! now he is killing him--he was kneeling when he fired--blood! blood!--now he is running in the wood--seize him!--he is running in an opposite direction to the horse in many circuits--not on any footpaths. He wears a cap and grey clothes--light--has long coarse brown hair, which has not been cut for a long time--grey-blue eyes--treacherous looks--great dark brown beard--he is accustomed to work on the land. I believe he has cut his right hand. He has a scar or a streak between his thumb and forefinger. He is suspicious and a coward.
"'The murderer's home is a red wooden house, standing a little way back from the road. On the ground-floor is a room which leads into the kitchen, and from that again into the passage. There is also a larger room which does not communicate with the kitchen. The church of Wissefjerda is situated obliquely to your right when you are standing in the passage.
"'His motive was enmity; it seems as if he had bought something--taken something--a paper. He went away from home at daybreak, and the murder was committed in the evening.'
"Miss Olsen was then awakened, and like all my subjects, she remembered perfectly what she had been seeing, which had made a very profound impression on her; she added several things which I did not write down.
"On November 6th (Monday) I met Miss Olsen, and she told me in great agitation that she had met the murderer from Wissefjerda in the street. He was accompanied by a younger person and followed by two policemen, and was walking from the police office to the gaol. I at once expressed my doubts of her being right, partly because country people are generally arrested by the country police, partly because they are always taken directly to gaol. But when she insisted on it, and maintained that it was the person she had seen when asleep, I went to the police office.
"I inquired if any one had been arrested on suspicion of the crime in question, and a police-constable answered that such was the case, and that, as they had been taken to the town on Sunday, they had been kept in the police-station over night, and after that had been obliged to go on foot to gaol, accompanied by two constables." (The police-constable, T. A. Ljung, states that Dr. Backman described quite accurately the appearance of the house, its furniture, how the rooms were situated, where the suspected man lived, and gave a very correct account of Niklas Jonnasson's personal appearance. The doctor also asked him if he had observed that Jonnasson had a scar on his right hand. He said he had not then observed it, but ascertained later that it really was so, and Jonnasson said that he got it from an abscess).
"The trial was a long one, and showed that Gustafsson had agreed to buy for Jonnasson, but in his own name, the latter's farm, which was sold by auction on account of Jonnasson's debts. This is what is called a thief's bargain. Gustafsson bought the farm, but kept it for himself. The statements of the accused men were very vague; the father had prepared an _alibi_ with much care, but it failed to account for just the length of time that was probably enough to commit the murder in. The son tried to prove an _alibi_ by means of two witnesses, but these confessed that they had given false evidence, which he had bribed them to do when they were in prison with him on account of another matter.
"But though the evidence against the defendants was very strong, it was not considered that there was sufficient legal evidence, and, there being no jury in Sweden, they were left to the verdict of posterity." (pp. 213-216.)
_A Terrible Vision of Torture at Sea._
The following marvellous story of a vision reaches me from Scotland. The Rev. D. McQueen writes me from 165, Dalkeith-road, Edinburgh, December 14th, as follows:--
"I have been much interested in your Ghost Stories. I wish to inform you of one I have heard, and which I think eclipses in interest, minuteness of detail, and tragical pathos anything I have ever known, and which, if published and edited by your graphic pen, would cause a sensation in every scientific society in Great Britain.
"It is not in my power to write the whole story, as it is nearly sufficient for a pamphlet by itself, but its accuracy can be vouched for by many of the most respectable and intelligent people in the neighbourhood of Old Cumnock. I heard the story some years ago, and would have written you sooner, only I wished to make inquiries as to the whereabouts of the subject of the remarkable vision.
"About twenty years ago a young man belonging to Ayrshire embarked from an Australian port to re-visit his friends in this country. His mother and father still live. The former saw all that befell her son from the moment he set foot on the deck till he was consigned to the sea. She can describe the port from which he sailed, the crew of the ship, his fellow passengers. It was a weird story, for her son, by name George, was done to death by the brutality of the officers. This was partially corroborated by a passenger named Gilmour, who called on her after his arrival in London. When he entered the house she said, 'Why did you allow them to ill-use my son.' He started, and said, 'Who told you?' She related all that happened during the weeks her son was ill, and when she finished her guest fainted. According to her, her son was ill-used from the time he started till his death. For example, she saw her son struck by a ball of ropes, as she said (a cork fender). He said that was so. She saw him put into a strait jacket and lowered into the hold of the ship, which actually took place. She saw them playing cards on deck and putting the counters into her son's pocket, which were actually found in his clothes when they came back. She can describe the berth her son occupied, the various parts of the ship, with an accuracy that is surprising to one that never has been on board ship. And last of all she tells the manner of his burial, the dress, the service that was read, the body moving, the protest of one passenger that he was not dead. She had a succession of trances by day and night which are unparalleled. She saw some of the painful scenes in church, and has been known to cry out in horror and agony. If you could only get some one to take it down from her own lips--she alone can tell it--you would make a narrative that would thrill the heart of every reader in the kingdom. The woman is reliable. She is the wife of a well-to-do farmer. Her name is Mrs. Arthur, Benston Farm, Old Cumnock.
"I have written an incoherent letter, as I am hurried at present, but I hope you will see your way to investigate it. I say again, I have never heard so weird and true a tale. But get the lady to tell her own story. It is wonderful! wonderful!"
On January 9th, 1892, the Rev. A. Macdonald, of the U.P. Manse, Old Cumnock, wrote to me as follows:--
"I have much pleasure in replying to the questions you put to me, whether I am aware of the clairvoyant experiences of Mrs. Arthur (Benston, New Cumnock), and whether I consider her a reliable witness.
"It is many years since I heard Mrs. Arthur relate her strange visions, and there are other friends, beside myself, who have heard the same narrative from her own lips.
"Mrs. Arthur, I hold, is incapable of inventing the story which she tells, for she is a truthful, conscientious, and Christian woman. She herself believes in the reality of the vision as firmly as she believes in her own existence. The death of her son on his way back from Australia was the cause of a sorrow too deep for the mother to weave such a romance around it. Further, her statements are not the accretions of after years, but were told, and told freely, at the time when her son was known to have died. This is about twenty years ago. During these twenty years she has not varied in her statements, and repeats them still with all the faith and with all the circumstantial details of the first narration.
"I consider her vision--extending as it does from the time the homeward-bound vessel left the harbour, over many days, until the burial of her son's body at sea--worthy of a place alongside the best of the Ghost Stories you have given to the world."
Mr. Arthur, the son of the percipient in this strange story, wrote to me as follows from Loch-side, New Cumnock, Ayrshire, on the 14th January, 1892:--
"My mother, Mrs. Arthur, of Benston, New Cumnock, Ayrshire, received your valued favour of 8th inst., together with a copy of the Christmas Number of the _Review of Reviews_. The circumstances you refer to happened twenty-one years ago, a short account of which appeared in a Scotch paper, and a much fuller one appeared in an Australian paper, but, unfortunately, no copy has been preserved, even the diary in which the particulars were written has been destroyed.
"It would not serve any good purpose for you to send a shorthand writer to interview my mother, as she is approaching fourscore years, and her memory is rapidly failing. I believe I can get a very full account (barring _minutiæ_) from a younger brother. But if the young man who was a fellow-passenger with my brother (when my brother died at sea off the Cape of Good Hope) is still alive, he is the proper party to give a full and minute account. He was the party who informed my parents of my brother's death. My mother lost no time in visiting him for particulars. I think the young man's name was Gilmour. He was then in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh. When he began to narrate what had taken place, my mother stopped him and asked him to listen to her. She then went on to say that on a certain date, while she was about her usual household duties, her son came into the room where she was, said so and so and so and so, and walked out. Mr. Gilmour said that what she had said was exactly what had occurred during his illness, and the date he had visited her was the day of his death.
"I was at this time living in Belize, British Honduras. On my mentioning this circumstance to some of my friends there, Mr. Cockburn, who was Police Magistrate in Belize, said that his daughter, Miss Cockburn, had a similar experience. He lived at that time in Grenada, and Miss Cockburn was at school in England. One day she was out walking with the other school girls; suddenly she saw her mother walking along the street in front of her. Miss C. ran off to speak to her, but before she caught her up, her mother turned down a side street. When the daughter reached the corner the mother was nowhere to be seen. Miss Cockburn wrote to her mother, telling her what she had seen, by the outgoing mail. Her letter crossed one from her father, telling her that her mother had died that day."
Clairvoyance is closely related to the phenomenon of the Double, for the clairvoyant seems to have either the faculty of transporting herself to distant places, or of bringing the places within range of her sight. Here is a narrative sent me by Mr. Masey, Fellow of the Geological Society, writing to me from 8, Gloucester Road, Kew, which illustrates the connection between clairvoyance and the Double:--
"Mrs. Mary Masey, who resided on Redcliffe Hill, Bristol, at the beginning of this century, was a member of the Society of Friends, and was held in high esteem for piety.
"A memorable incident in her life was that one night she dreamt that a Mr. John Henderson, a noted man of the same community, had gone to Oxford, and that he had died there. In the course of the next day, Mr. Henderson called to take leave of her, saying he was going to Oxford to study a subject concerning which he could not obtain the information he wanted in Bristol. Mrs. Masey said to him, 'John Henderson, thou wilt die there.'
"Some time afterwards, Mrs. Masey woke her husband one night, saying, 'Remember, John Henderson died at Oxford at two o'clock this morning, and it is now three.' Her husband, Philip Masey, made light of it; but she told him that while asleep she had been transported to Oxford, where she had never been before, and that she had entered a room there, in which she saw Mr. John Henderson in bed, the landlady supporting his head, and the landlord with several other persons standing around. While gazing at him some one gave him medicine, and the patient, turning round, perceived her, and exclaimed, 'Oh, Mrs. Masey, I am going to die; I am so glad you are come, for I want to tell you that my father is going to be very ill, and you must go and see him.' He then proceeded to describe a room in his father's house, and a bureau in it, 'in which is a box containing a remedy; give it him, and he will recover.' Her impression and recollection of all the persons in the room at Oxford was most vivid, and she even described the appearance of the house on the opposite side of the street. The only person she appeared not to have seen in the room was a clergyman who was present. The husband of Mrs. Masey accompanied Mr. Henderson's father to the funeral, and on their journey from Bristol to Oxford by coach (the period being before railways and telegraphs existed), Mr. Philip Masey related to him the particulars of his son's death, as described by his wife, which, on arrival, they found to have been exactly as told by Mrs. Masey.
"Mrs. Masey was so much concerned about the death of Mr. Henderson, jun., that she forgot all about the directions he had given her respecting the approaching illness of his father, but some time afterwards she was sent for by the father, who was very ill. She then remembered the directions given her by the son on his death-bed at Oxford. She immediately proceeded to the residence of Mr. Henderson, and on arrival at the house she found the room, the bureau, the box, and the medicine exactly as had been foretold to her. She administered the remedy as directed, and had the pleasure of witnessing the beneficial effect by the complete recovery of Mr. Henderson from a serious illness."
Here we have almost every variety of psychic experience. First of all there is second sight pure and simple; second, there is the aerial journey of the Double, with the memory of everything that had been seen and heard at the scene which it had witnessed; third, there is communication of information which at that moment was not known to the percipient; fourth, we have another prediction; and finally, we have a complete verification and fulfilment of everything that was witnessed. It is idle to attempt to prove the accuracy of statements made concerning one who has been dead nearly a hundred years, but the story, although possessing no evidential value, is interesting as an almost unique specimen of the comprehensive and complicated prophetic ghost and clairvoyant story.
These facts, which are well accredited, would seem to show that in the book of Job Elihu was not far wrong when he said, "In slumberings upon the bed God openeth the ears of men and sealeth their destruction." Or, to quote from an author who uses more modern dialect, it justifies Abercromby's remark that "the subject of dreaming appears to be worthy of careful investigation, and there is much reason to believe that an extensive collection of authentic facts, carefully analysed, would unfold principles of very great interest in reference to the philosophy of the mental powers."
Clairvoyance is a gift, and a comparatively rare gift. It is a gift which requires to be much more carefully studied and scientifically examined than it has been hitherto. It is a by-path to many secrets. It may hold in it the clue to the acquisition of great faculties, hitherto regarded as forbidden to mere mortals.
My Own Experience.
It is difficult for those who are not clairvoyant to understand what those who are clairvoyant describe, often with the most extraordinary precision and detail. Unfortunately for myself I am not a clairvoyant, but on one occasion I had an experience which enabled me to understand something of clairvoyant vision. I had been working late at night, and had gone to bed at about two o'clock in the morning somewhat tired, having spent several hours in preparing "Real Ghost Stories" for the press. I got into bed, but was not able to go to sleep, as usual, as soon as my head touched the pillow. I suppose my mind had been too much excited by hard work right up to the moment of going to bed for me readily to go to sleep. I shut my eyes and waited for sleep to come; instead of sleep, however, there came to me a succession of curiously vivid clairvoyant pictures. There was no light in the room, and it was perfectly dark; I had my eyes shut also. But, notwithstanding the darkness, I suddenly was conscious of looking at a scene of singular beauty. It was as if I saw a living miniature about the size of a magic-lantern slide. At this moment I can recall the scene as if I saw it again. It was a seaside piece. The moon was shining upon the water, which rippled slowly on to the beach. Right before me a long mole ran out into the water. On either side of the mole irregular rocks stood up above the sea-level. On the shore stood several houses, square and rude, which resembled nothing that I had ever seen in house architecture. No one was stirring, but the moon was there, and the sea and the gleam of the moonlight on the rippling waters was just as if I had been looking out upon the actual scene. It was so beautiful that I remember thinking that if it continued I should be so interested in looking at it that I should never go to sleep. I was wide awake, and at the same time that I saw the scene I distinctly heard the dripping of the rain outside the window. Then suddenly, without any apparent object or reason, the scene changed. The moonlit sea vanished, and in its place I was looking right into the interior of a reading-room. It seemed as if it had been used as a schoolroom in the daytime and was employed as a reading-room in the evening. I remember seeing one reader, who had a curious resemblance to Tim Harrington, although it was not he, hold up a magazine or book in his hand and laugh. It was not a picture--it was there. The scene was just as if you were looking through an opera-glass; you saw the play of the muscles, the gleaming of the eye, every movement of the unknown persons in the unnamed place into which you were gazing. I saw all that without opening my eyes, nor did my eyes have anything to do with it. You see such things as these, as it were, with another sense, which is more inside your head than in your eyes. This was a very poor and paltry experience, but it enabled me to understand better than any amount of disquisition how it is that clairvoyants see. The pictures were _apropos_ of nothing; they had been suggested by nothing I had been reading or talking of, they simply came as if I had been able to look through a glass at what was occurring somewhere else in the world. I had my peep and then it passed, nor have I had a recurrence of a similar experience.
Crystal-gazing is somewhat akin to clairvoyance. There are some people who cannot look into an ordinary globular bottle without seeing pictures form themselves, without any effort or will on their part, in the crystal globe. This is an experience which I have never been able to enjoy. But I have seen crystal-gazing going on at a table at which I have been sitting on one or two occasions with rather remarkable results. The experiences of Miss X. in crystal-gazing have been told at length and in detail in the "Proceedings of the Psychical Research Society." On looking into the crystal on two occasions as a test, to see if she could see me when she was several miles off, she saw, not me, but a different friend of mine on each occasion, whom she had never seen, but whom she immediately identified on seeing them afterwards at my office.
Crystal-gazing seems to be the least dangerous and most simple of all methods of experimenting. You simply look into a crystal globe the size of a five-shilling piece, or a water-bottle which is full of clear water, and is placed so that too much light does not fall upon it, and then simply look at it. You make no incantations and engage in no mumbo-jumbo business; you simply look at it for two or three minutes, taking care not to tire yourself, winking as much as you please, but fixing your thought upon whoever it is you wish to see. Then, if you have the faculty, the glass will cloud over with a milky mist, and in the centre the image is gradually precipitated in just the same way as a photograph forms on the sensitive plate. At least, the description given by crystal-gazers as to the way in which the picture appears reminded me of nothing so much as what I saw when I stood inside the largest camera in the world, in which the Ordnance Survey photographs its maps at Southampton.
PREMONITIONS AND SECOND SIGHT.
"But there are many such things in Nature, though we have not the right key to them. We all walk in mysteries. We are surrounded by an atmosphere of which we do not know what is stirring in it, or how it is connected with our own spirit. So much is certain--that in particular cases we can put out the feelers of our soul beyond its bodily limits, and that a presentiment, nay, an actual insight into, the immediate future is accorded to it."--Goethe's "Conversations with Eckermann."
My Own Extraordinary Premonitions.
If clairvoyance partakes of the nature of the camera obscura, by which persons can see at a distance that which is going on beyond the direct range of their vision, it is less easy to suggest an analogy to explain the phenomena of premonition or second sight. Although I have never seen a ghost--for none of my hallucinations are scenic--I may fairly claim to have a place in this census on the ground of the extraordinary premonitions I have had at various times of coming events. The second sight of the Highlander is always scenic; he does not hear so much as he sees. If death is foreshadowed, the circumstances preceding and following the event pass as in dramatic scene before the eyes of the seer. It is much as if the seers had access to a camera obscura which enabled them not only to see that which was occurring at the same moment in various parts of the world, but in its magic mirror could reflect events which have not yet been as if they were already existent.
The phenomena of premonition, combined with the faculties of clairvoyance by which the percipient is able to reproduce the past, make a great breach in our conceptions of both time and space. To the Deity, in the familiar line of the hymn, "future things unfolded lie"; but from time to time future things, sometimes most trivial, sometimes most important, are unfolded to the eye of mortal man. Why or how one does not know. All that he can say is that the vision came and went in obedience to some power over which he had no conscious control. The faculty of foreseeing, which in its higher forms constitutes no small part of a prophet's power, is said to exist among certain families, and to vary according to the locality in which they are living. Men who have second sight in Skye are said to lose it on the mainland. But residence in Skye itself is not sufficient to give the Englishman the faculty once said to be possessed by its natives. In England it is rare, and when it exists it is often mixed up with curious and somewhat bewildering superstitions, signs and omens portending death and disaster, which can hardly be regarded as being more than seventh cousins of the true faculty.
I can make no claim to the proud prerogative of the seer, but upon several occasions I have had some extraordinary premonitions of what was about to happen. I can give no explanation as to how they came, all that I know is they arrived, and when they arrived I recognised them beyond all possibility of mistake. I have had three or four very striking and vivid premonitions in my life which have been fulfilled to the letter. I have others which await fulfilment. Of the latter I will not speak here--although I have them duly recorded--for were I to do so I should be accused of being party to bringing about the fulfilment of my own predictions. Those which have already been fulfilled, although of no general importance to any one else, were of considerable importance to me, as will be seen by the brief outline concerning three of them.
_Leaving Darlington Fore-seen._
The first occasion on which I had an absolutely unmistakable intimation of the change about to occur in my own circumstances was in 1880, the year in which I left the editorship of the _Northern Echo_ to become the assistant of Mr. John Morley on the _Pall Mall Gazette_.
 Now Lord Morley.
On New Year's Day, 1880, it was forcibly impressed upon my mind that I was to leave Darlington in the course of that year. I remember on the 1st of January meeting a journalistic confrère on my way from Darlington station to the _Northern Echo_ office. After wishing him a Happy New Year, I said, "This is the last New Year's Day I shall ever spend in Darlington; I shall leave the _Northern Echo_ this year." My friend looked at me in some amazement, and said, "And where are you going to?" "To London," I replied, "because it is the only place which could tempt me from my present position, which is very comfortable, and where I have perfect freedom to say my say." "But," said my friend, somewhat dubiously, "what paper are you going to?" "I have no idea in the world," I said; "neither do I know a single London paper which would offer me a position on their staff of any kind, let alone one on which I would have any liberty of utterance. I see no prospect of any opening anywhere. But I know for certain that before the year is out I shall be on the staff of a London paper." "Come," said my friend, "this is superstition, and with a wife and family I hope you will do nothing rashly." "You need not fear as to that," I said; "I shall not seek any position elsewhere, it will have to come to me if I have to go to it. I am not going to throw myself out of a berth until I know where my next place is to be. Humanly speaking, I see no chance of my leaving Darlington, yet I have no more doubt than of my own existence that I shall be gone by this time next year." We parted.
The General Election soon came upon us, and when the time came for renewing my engagement on the _Northern Echo_, I had no option but to renew my contract and bind myself to remain at Darlington until July, 1880. Although I signed the contract, when the day arrived on which I had either to give notice or renew my engagement, I could not shake from me the conviction that I was destined to leave Darlington at least six months before my engagement expired. At that time the _Pall Mall Gazette_ was edited by Mr. Greenwood, and was, of all the papers in the land, the most antipathetic to the principles upon which I had conducted the _Northern Echo_.
The possibility of my becoming assistant editor to the editor of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ seemed at that time about as remote as that of the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland receiving a cardinal's hat from the Pope of Rome. Nevertheless, no sooner had Mr. Gladstone been seated in power than Mr. George Smith handed over the _Pall Mall Gazette_ to his son-in-law, Mr. Henry Yates Thompson. Mr. Greenwood departed to found and edit the _St. James' Gazette_, and Mr. Morley became editor. Even then I never dreamed of going to the _Pall Mall_. Two other North-country editors and I, thinking that Mr. Morley was left in rather a difficulty by the secession of several of the _Pall Mall_ staff, agreed to send up occasional contributions solely for the purpose of enabling Mr. Morley to get through the temporary difficulty in which he was placed by being suddenly summoned to edit a daily paper under such circumstances.
Midsummer had hardly passed before Mr. Thompson came down to Darlington and offered me the assistant editorship. The proprietor of the _Northern Echo_ kindly waived his right to my services in deference to the request of Mr. Morley. As a result I left the _Northern Echo_ in September, 1880, and my presentiment was fulfilled. At the time when it was first impressed upon my mind, no living being probably anticipated the possibility of such a change occurring in the _Pall Mall Gazette_ as would render it possible for me to become assistant editor, so that the presentiment could in no way have been due to any possible calculation of chances on my part.
_The Editorship of the "Pall Mall Gazette."_
The second presentiment to which I shall refer was also connected with the _Pall Mall Gazette_, and was equally clear and without any suggestion from outward circumstances. It was in October, 1883. My wife and I were spending a brief holiday in the Isle of Wight, and I remember that the great troopers, which had just brought back Lord Wolseley's army from the first Egyptian campaign, were lying in the Solent when we crossed. One morning about noon we were walking in the drizzling rain round St. Catherine's Point. It was a miserable day, the ground slippery and the footpath here and there rather difficult to follow. Just as we were at about the ugliest part of our climb I felt distinctly, as it were, a voice within myself saying: You will have to look sharp and make ready, because by a certain date (which as near as I can recollect was the 16th of March next year) you will have sole charge of the _Pall Mall Gazette_.
I was just a little startled and rather awed because, as Mr. Morley was then in full command and there was no expectation on his part of abandoning his post, the inference which I immediately drew was that he was going to die. So firmly was this impressed upon my mind that for two hours I did not like to speak about it to my wife. We took shelter for a time from the rain, but afterwards, on going home, I spoke on the subject which filled me with sadness, not without reluctance, and said to my wife, "Something has happened to me which has made a great impression upon my mind. When we were beside St. Catherine's Lighthouse I got into my head that Mr. Morley was going to die." "Nonsense," she said, "what made you think that?" "Only this," said I, "that I received an intimation as clear and unmistakable as that which I had when I was going to leave Darlington, that I had to look sharp and prepare for taking the sole charge of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ on March 16th next. That is all, and I do not see how that is likely to happen unless Mr. Morley is going to die." "Nonsense," said my wife, "he is not going to die; he is going to get into Parliament, that is what is going to happen." "Well," said I, "that may be. Whether he dies or whether he gets into Parliament, the one thing certain to me is that I shall have sole charge of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ next year, and I am so convinced of that that when we return to London I shall make all my plans on the basis of that certainty." And so I did. I do not hedge and hesitate at burning my boats.
As soon as I arrived at the _Pall Mall Gazette_ office, I announced to Mr. Thompson, to Mr. Morley, and to Mr. Milner, who was then on the staff, that Mr. Morley was going to be in Parliament before March next year, for I need hardly say that I never mentioned my first sinister intimation. I told Mr. Morley and the others exactly what had happened, namely, that I had received notice to be ready to take sole charge of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ by March 16th next. They shrugged their shoulders, and Mr. Morley scouted the idea. He said he had almost given up the idea of entering Parliament, all preceding negotiations had fallen through, and he had come to the conclusion that he would stick to the _Pall Mall Gazette_. I said that he might come to what conclusion he liked, the fact remained that he was going to go.
 Now Lord Milner.
I remember having a talk at the time with Mr. Milner about it. I remarked that the worst of people having premonitions is that they carefully hide up their prophecies until after the event, and then no one believed in them. "This time no one shall have the least doubt as to the fact that I have had my premonition well in advance of the fact. It is now October. I have told everybody whom it concerns whom I know. If it happens not to come to pass I will never have faith in my premonitions any more, and you may chaff me as much as you please as to the superstition. But if it turns up trumps, then please remember that I have played doubles or quits and won."
Nobody at the office paid much attention to my vision, and a couple of months later Mr. Morley came to consult me as to some slight change which he proposed to make in the terms of his engagement which he was renewing for another year. As this change affected me slightly he came, with that courtesy and consideration which he always displayed in his dealings with his staff, to ask whether I should have any objection to this alteration. As he was beginning to explain what this alteration would be I interrupted him. "Excuse me, Mr. Morley," said I, "when will this new arrangement come into effect?" "In May, I think," was the reply. "Then," said I, "you do not need to discuss it with me. I shall have sole charge of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ before that time. You will not be here then, you will be in Parliament." "But," said Mr. Morley, "that is only your idea. What I want to know is whether you agree to the changes which I propose to make and which will somewhat affect your work in the office?" "But," I replied, "it is no use talking about that matter to me. You will not be here, and I shall be carrying on the _Pall Mall Gazette_; then what is the use of talking about it." Then Mr. Morley lifted his chin slightly in the air, and looking at me with somewhat natural disdain, he asked, "And, pray, do you mean to tell me that I have not to make a business arrangement because you have had a vision?" "Not at all," said I; "you, of course, will make what business arrangements you please,--I cannot expect you to govern your conduct by my vision;--but as I shall have charge of the paper it is no use discussing the question with me. You can make what arrangements you please so far as I am concerned. They are so much waste paper. I ask you nothing about the arrangement, because I know it will never come into effect so far as relates to my work on the paper." Finding that I was impracticable, Mr. Morley left and concluded his arrangement without consultation. One month later Mr. Ashton Dilke sickened with his fatal illness, and Mr. Morley was elected on February 24th, 1884, as Liberal candidate for Newcastle-on-Tyne. I remember that when the news came to Northumberland Street, the first remark which Mr. Thompson made was, "Well, Stead's presentiment is coming right after all."
I remember all through that contest, when the issue was for some time somewhat in doubt, feeling quite certain that if Mr. Morley did not get in he would die, or he would find some other constituency. I had no vision as to the success of his candidature at Newcastle. The one thing certain was that I was to have charge of the paper, and that he was to be out of it. When he was elected the question came as to what should be done? The control of the paper passed almost entirely into my hands at once, and Mr. Morley would have left altogether on the day mentioned in my vision, had not Mr. Thompson kindly interfered to secure me a holiday before saddling me with the sole responsibility. Mr. Morley, therefore, remained till midsummer; but his connection with the paper was very slight, parliamentary duties, as he understood them, being incompatible with close day-to-day editing of an evening paper.
Here, again, it could not possibly have been said that my premonition had any share in bringing about its realisation. It was not known by Mr. Ashton Dilke's most intimate friends in October that he would not be able to face another session. I did not even know that he was ill, and my vision, so far from being based on any calculation of Mr. Morley's chances of securing a seat in Parliament, was quite independent of all electoral changes. My vision, my message, my premonition, or whatever you please to call it, was strictly limited to one point, Mr. Morley only coming into it indirectly. I was to have charge of certain duties which necessitated his disappearance from Northumberland Street. Note also that my message did not say that I was to be _editor_ of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ on Mr. Morley's departure, nor was I ever in strict title editor of that paper. I edited it, but Mr. Yates Thompson was nominally editor-in-chief, nor did I ever admit that I was editor until I was in the dock at the Old Bailey, when it would have been cowardly to have seemed to evade the responsibility of a position which I practically occupied, although, as a matter of fact, the post was never really conferred upon me.
The third instance which I will quote is even more remarkable, and entirely precluded any possibility of my premonition having any influence whatever in bringing about its realization. During what is known as the Armstrong trial it became evident from the judge's ruling that a conviction must necessarily follow. I was accused of having conspired to take Eliza Armstrong from her parents without their consent. My defence was that her mother had sold the child through a neighbour for immoral purposes. I never alleged that the father had consented, and the judge ruled with unmistakable emphasis that her mother's consent, even if proved, was not sufficient. Here I may interpolate a remark to the effect that if Mrs. Armstrong had been asked to produce her marriage lines the sheet anchor of the prosecution would have given way, for long after the trial it was discovered that from a point of law Mr. Armstrong had no legal rights over Eliza, as she was born out of wedlock. The council in the case, however, said we had no right to suggest this, however much we suspected it, unless we were prepared with evidence to justify the suggestion. As at that time we could not find the register of marriage at Somerset House the question was not put, and we were condemned largely on the false assumption that her father had legal rights as custodian of his daughter. And this, as it happened, was not the case. This, however, by the way.
When the trial was drawing to a close, conviction being certain, the question was naturally discussed as to what the sentence would be. Many of my friends, including those actively engaged in the trial on both sides, were strongly of opinion that under the circumstances it was certain I should only be bound over in my own recognisance to come up for judgment when called for. The circumstances were almost unprecedented; the judge, and the Attorney-General, who prosecuted, had in the strongest manner asserted that they recognised the excellence of the motives which had led me to take the course which had landed me in the dock. The Attorney-General himself was perfectly aware that his Government could never have passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act--would never even have attempted to do so--but for what I had done. The jury had found me guilty, but strongly recommended me to mercy on the ground, as they said, that I had been deceived by my agent. The conviction was very general that no sentence of imprisonment would be inflicted.
I was never a moment in doubt. I knew I was going to gaol from the moment Rebecca Jarrett broke down in the witness-box. This may be said to be nothing extraordinary; but what was extraordinary was that I had the most absolute conviction that I was going to gaol for two months. I was told by those who considered themselves in a position to speak with authority that I was perfectly safe, that I should not be imprisoned, and that I should make preparations to go abroad for a holiday as soon as the trial was over.
To all such representations I always replied by asserting with the most implicit confidence that I was certain to go to gaol, and that my sentence would be two months. When, however, on November, 10th, 1885, I stood in the dock to receive sentence, and received from the judge a sentence of three months, I was very considerably taken aback. I remember distinctly that I had to remember where I was in order to restrain the almost irresistible impulse to interrupt the judge and say, "I beg your pardon, my lord, you have made a mistake, the sentence ought to have been _two_ months." But mark what followed. When I had been duly confined in Coldbath-on-the-Fields Prison, I looked at the little card which is fastened on the door of every cell giving the name of the prisoner, his offence, and the duration of his sentence. I found to my great relief that my presentiment had not been wrong after all. I had, it is true, been sentenced to three months' imprisonment, but the sentence was dated from the first day of the sessions. Our trial had been a very long one, and there had been other cases before it. The consequence was that the judge's sentence was as near two months as he possibly could have passed. My actual sojourn in gaol was two months and seven days. Had he sentenced me to two months' imprisonment I should only have been in gaol one month and seven days.
These three presentiments were quite unmistakable, and were not in the least to be confounded with the ordinary uneasy forebodings which come and go like clouds in a summer sky. Of the premonitions which still remain unfulfilled I will say nothing, excepting that they govern my action, and more or less colour the whole of my life. No person can have had three or four premonitions such as those which I have described without feeling that such premonitions are the only certainties of the future. They will be fulfilled, no matter how incredible they may appear; and amid the endless shifting circumstances of our life, these fixed points, towards which we are inevitably tending, help to give steadiness to a career, and a feeling of security to which the majority of men are strangers. Premonitions are distinct from dreams, although many times they are communicated in sleep. Whether in the sleeping or waking stage there are times when mortal men gain, as it were, chance glimpses behind the veil which conceals the future. Sometimes this premonition takes the shape of a deep indwelling consciousness, based not on reason or on observation, that for us awaits some great work to be done, which we know but dimly, but which is, nevertheless, the one reality of life.
 One of the premonitions referred to by my Father was fulfilled on that fatal night in April, 1912, when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sunk with 1,600 souls, and his life on this plane ended.
He had known for years and stated the fact to many that he would not die in his bed and that his "passing" would be sudden and dramatic--that he would, as he put it, "die in his boots."
As to the actual cause or place of his "passing" he had no premonition--but rather inclined to the idea that he would be kicked to death in the streets by an angry mob whilst defending some unpopular cause. E. W. Stead.
Warnings Given in Dreams.
In my case each of my premonitions related to an important crisis in my life, but often premonitions are of a very different nature. One which was told me when I was in Glasgow came in a dream, but it is so peculiar that it is worthy of mention in this connection. The Rev. William Ross, minister of the Church of Cowcaddens, in Glasgow, is a Highlander. On the Sunday evening after I had addressed his congregation, the conversation turned on premonitions and second sight, and he told me the following extraordinary dream:--When he was a lad, living in the Highlands, at a time when he had never seen a game of football, or knew anything about it, he awoke in the morning with a sharp pain in his ankle. This pain, which was very acute, and which continued with him throughout the whole day, was caused, he said, by an experience which he had gone through in a dream. He found himself in a strange place and playing at a game which he did not understand, and which resembled nothing that he had seen played among his native hills. He was running rapidly, carrying a big black thing in his arms, when suddenly another youth ran at him and kicked him violently on the ankle, causing such intense pain that he woke. The pain, instead of passing away, as is usual when we happen anything in dreamland, was very acute, and he continued to feel it throughout the day.
Time passed, and six months after his dream he found himself on the playing fields at Edinburgh, engaged in his first game of football. He was a long-legged country youth and a swift runner, and he soon found that he could rush a goal better by taking the ball and carrying it than by kicking it. After having made one or two goals in this way, he was endeavouring to make a third, when, exactly as he had seen in his dream, a player on the opposite side swooped upon him and kicked him heavily upon the ankle. The blow was so severe that he was confined to the house for a fortnight. The whole scene was exactly that which he had witnessed in his dream. The playing fields, the game, the black round ball in his arms, and finally the kick on the ankle. It would be difficult to account for this on any ground of mere coincidence, the chances against it are so enormous. It is a very unusual thing for any one to suffer physical pain in the waking state from incidents which take place in dreams.
_A Premonition of a Bad Debt._
When in Edinburgh I had the good fortune to meet a gentleman, who had held an important position of trust in connection with the Indian railways. Speaking on the subject of premonitions, he said that on two occasions he had had very curious premonitions of coming events in dreams. One was very trivial, the other more serious, but both are quite inexplicable on the theory of coincidence. The evidential value is enhanced by the fact that each time he mentioned his dreams to his wife before the realisation came about. I saw his wife and she confirmed his stories. The first was curious from its simplicity. A certain debtor owed Mr. T. an amount of some £30. One morning he woke up and informed his wife that he had had a very disagreeable dream, to the effect that the money would never be paid, and that all he would recover of the debt was seven pounds odd shillings and sixpence. The number of shillings he had forgotten, but he remembered distinctly the pounds and the sixpence. A few days later he received an intimation that something had gone wrong with the debtor, and the total sum which he ultimately recovered was the exact amount which he had heard in his dream and had mentioned on the following morning to his wife.
_A Dream of Death._
His other dream was more curious. An acquaintance of his in India was compelled to return home on furlough on account of the ill-health of his wife, and he agreed to let his bungalow to Mr. T. One morning Mr. T. woke up and told his wife of what he had dreamt. He had gone to Lucknow railway station to take possession of Mr. C's. bungalow, but when stepping on the platform the stationmaster had told him that Mr. C. was dead, and that he hoped it would not make any difficulties about the bungalow. So deeply impressed was he with the dream that he telegraphed to his friend C. to ask when he was going to start for England, feeling by no means sure that the reply telegram might not announce that he was dead. The telegram, however, came back in due course. Mr. C. stated that he was going to leave on such and such a date. Reassured, therefore, Mr. T. dismissed the idea of the dream as a subjective delusion. At the appointed time he departed for Lucknow. When he alighted he was struck by the strange resemblance of the scene to that in his dream, and this was further recalled to his mind when the stationmaster came up to him and said, not that Mr. C. was dead but that he was seriously ill, and that he hoped it would not make any difference about the bungalow. Mr. T. began to be uneasy. The next morning, when he entered the office, his chief said to him, "You will be very sorry to hear that Mr. C. died last night." Mr. T. has never had any other hallucinations, nor has he any theory to account for his dreams. All that he knows is that they occurred, and that in both cases what he saw was realised--in one case to the very letter, and in the other with a curious deviation which adds strong confirmatory evidence to the _bonâ fides_ of the narrator. Both stories are capable of ample verification if sufficient trouble were taken, as the telegram in one case could be traced, the death proved, and in the other the receipt might probably be found.
Dreams which give timely notice of coming accidents are, unfortunately, quite as often useless as they are efficacious for the protection of those to whom they are sent. Mr. Kendall, from whose psychical diary I have often quoted, sends me the following story of a dream which occurred, but which failed to save the dreamer's leg, although he struggled against it, and did his best to avert his evil fate:--
"Taking tea at a friend's house in the road where I live, I met with the Rev. Mr. Johnson, superintendent of the South Shields Circuit among the Primitive Methodists. He spoke with great confidence of the authenticity of a remarkable dream which he related. He used to reside at Shipley, near Bradford. His class-leader there had lost a leg, and he had heard direct from himself the circumstances under which the loss took place and the dream that accompanied. This class-leader was a blacksmith at a manufacturing mill which was driven by a water-wheel. He knew the wheel to be out of repair, when one night he dreamed that at the close of the day's work the manager detained him to repair it, that his foot slipped and became entangled between the two wheels, and was injured and afterwards amputated. In consequence he told his wife the dream in the morning, and made up his mind to be out of the way that evening, if he was wanted to repair the wheel. During the day the manager announced that the wheel must be repaired when the workpeople left that evening, but the blacksmith determined to make himself scarce before the hour arrived. He fled to a wood in the vicinity, and thought to hide himself there in its recesses. He came to a spot where some timber lay which belonged to the mill, and detected a lad stealing some pieces of wood from the heap. He pursued him in order to rescue the stolen property, became excited, and forgot all about his resolution. He found himself ere he was aware of it back at the mill just as the workpeople were being dismissed. He could not escape, and as he was principal smith he had to go upon the wheel, but he resolved to be very careful. In spite of his care, however, his foot slipped and got entangled between the two wheels just as he had dreamed. It was crushed so badly that he had to be carried to the Bradford Infirmary, where the leg was amputated above the knee. The premonitory dream was thus fulfilled throughout."
_A Death Warning._
A much more painful story and far more detailed is contained in the fifth volume of the "Proceedings of the Psychical Research Society," on the authority of C. F. Fleet, of 26, Grosvenor Road, Gainsborough. He swears to the authenticity of the facts. The detailed story is full of the tragic fascination which attaches to the struggle of a brave man, repeatedly warned of his coming death, struggling in vain to avert the event which was to prove fatal, and ultimately perishing within the sight of those to whom he had revealed the vision. The story in brief is as follows: Mr. Fleet was third mate on the sailing ship _Persian Empire_, which left Adelaide for London in 1868. One of the crew, Cleary by name, dreamed before starting that on Christmas morning, as the _Persian Empire_ was passing Cape Horn in a heavy gale, he was ordered, with the rest of his watch, to secure a boat hanging in davits over the side. He and another got into the boat, when a fearful sea broke over the ship, washing them both out of the boat into the sea, where they were both drowned. The dream made such an impression upon him that he was most reluctant to join the ship, but he overcame his scruples and sailed. On Christmas Eve, when they were nearing Cape Horn, Cleary had a repetition of his dream, exact in all particulars. He uttered a terrible cry, and kept muttering, "I know it will come true." On Christmas Day, exactly as he had foreseen, Cleary and the rest of the watch were ordered to secure a boat hanging in the davits. Cleary flatly refused. He said he refused because he knew he would be drowned, that all the circumstances of his dream had come true up to that moment, and if he went into that boat he would die. He was taken below to the captain, and his refusal to discharge duty was entered in the log. Then the chief officer, Douglas, took the pen to sign his name. Cleary suddenly looked at him and exclaimed, "I will go to my duty for now I know the other man in my dream." He told Douglas, as they were on deck, of his dream. They got into the boat, and when they were all making tight a heavy sea struck the vessel with such force that the crew would have been washed overboard had they not clung to the mast. The boat was turned over, and Douglas and Cleary were flung into the sea. They swam for a little time, and then went down. It was just three months after he had dreamed of it before leaving Adelaide.
Here we have inexorable destiny fulfilling itself in spite of the struggles of its destined victim. It reminds me of a well-known Oriental story, which tells how a friend who was with Solomon saw the Angel of Death looking at him very intently. On learning from Solomon whom the strange visitor was, he felt very uncomfortable under his gaze, and asked Solomon to transport him on his magic carpet to Damascus. No sooner said than done. Then said the Angel of Death to Solomon, "The reason why I looked so intently at your friend was because I had orders to take him at Damascus, and, behold, I found him at Jerusalem. Now, therefore, that he has transported himself thither I shall be able to obey my orders."
_A Life Saved by a Dream._
The Rev. Alexander Stewart, LL.D., F.S.A., etc., Nether Lochaber, sends me the following instance of a profitable premonition:--
"It was in the winter of 1853 that my brother-in-law, Mr. Kenneth Morrison, came on a visit to us here at the Manse of Nether Lochaber. Mr. Morrison was at that time chief officer of the steamship _City of Manchester_, of the Inman line, one of the ocean 'greyhounds' of her day, sailing between Liverpool and Philadelphia.
"In my service here, at the time of Mr. Morrison's visit, was a native of Lochaber, Angus MacMaster by name, an active, intelligent man, of about thirty years of age, a most useful man, a capital shot, an expert angler, and one of the best violinists in the West Highlands. No great wonder, therefore, that Morrison took a liking for Angus, and that the end of it was that Morrison invited Angus to join him on board the _City of Manchester_, where, it was arranged, he should act as one of the steerage stewards, and, at the same time, as Mr. Morrison's valet. To this Angus very willingly agreed, and so it was that when Mr. Morrison's leave of absence expired, he and Angus joined the _City of Manchester_ at Liverpool.
"Within a twelvemonth afterwards, Mr. Morrison wrote to say that he was about to be promoted to the command of the new Inman Steamship _City of Glasgow_--at that time, of her class and kind, the finest ship afloat--and that having got a few weeks' holiday, he was coming down to visit his friends in Lochaber, bringing Angus MacMaster along with him, for he had proved so good and faithful a servant that he was resolved not to part with him.
"Sooner than was expected, and when his leave had only extended to some twenty days, Captain Morrison was summoned to Liverpool to take charge of his ship, which had already booked her full complement of passengers, and taken in most of her cargo, and only required some little putting to rights, which had better be done under her commander's supervision, before she sailed on her maiden trip to Philadelphia. 'I must be off the day after to-morrow,' said Morrison, as he handed the letter to me across the table. 'Please send for Angus,' he continued, 'I wish him to come at once, that we may be ready to start by Wednesday morning.' This was at the breakfast table on a Monday morning; and that same evening Angus, summoned by a special messenger from the glen in which he was staying with his friends, arrived at the Manse, but in so grave and cheerless a mood that I noticed it at once, and wondered what could be the matter with him. Taking him into a private room, I said, 'Angus, Captain Morrison leaves the day after to-morrow. You had better get his things packed at once. And, by the way, what a lucky fellow you are! If you did so well on the _City of Manchester_, you will in a year or two make quite a fortune in the _City of Glasgow_.' To my astonishment Angus replied, 'I am not going in the _City of Glasgow_--at least, not on this voyage--and I wish you could persuade Captain Morrison--the best and kindest master ever man had--not to go either.' 'Not going? What in the world do you mean, Angus?' was my very natural exclamation of surprise. 'Well, sir,' said Angus (the reader will please understand that our talk was in Gaelic). 'Well, sir,' said Angus, 'You must not be angry with me if I tell you that on the last three nights my father, who has been dead nine years, as you know, has appeared to me and warned me not to go on this voyage, for that it will prove disastrous. Whether in dream or waking vision of the night, I cannot say; but I saw him, sir, as distinctly as I now see you; clothed exactly as I remember him in life; and he stood by my bedside, and with up-lifted hand and warning finger, and with a most solemn and earnest expression of countenance, he said, "Angus, my beloved son, don't go on this voyage. It will not be a prosperous one." On three nights running has my father appeared to me in this form, and with the same words of warning; and although much against my will, I have made up my mind that in the face of such warning, thrice repeated, it would be wrong in me to go on this voyage. It does not become me to do it, but I wish you, sir, would tell Captain Morrison what I have now told you; and persuade him if possible to make the best excuse he can, and on no account to go on this voyage in the _City of Glasgow_.' I said all I could, of course, and when Captain Morrison was told of it, he, too, said all he could to shake Angus from his resolution; but all in vain. And so it was that Morrison left without him; poor Angus actually weeping as he bade his master good-bye.
"Early in March of that year, the _City of Glasgow_, with a valuable cargo and upwards of five hundred passengers on board, sailed under Morrison's command for Philadelphia; and all that was good and prosperous was confidently predicted of the voyage of so fine a ship under charge of so capable a commander. When sufficient time had expired, and there was still no word of the ship's arrival at Philadelphia, Angus came to enquire if we had heard anything about her. I could only reply that there was as yet no word of her, but that the owners, in reply to my inquiries, were confident of her safety--their theory being that something had gone wrong with her engines, and that she was probably proceeding under sail. 'Pray God it may be so!' said Angus, with the tears in his eyes; and then in his own emphatic language--_ach s'eagal leam, aon chuid dhuibhse na dhomhsa nach tig fios na forfhais oiree gu brath_--(but great is my fear that neither to you, sir, nor to me shall word of her safety, or message from her at all ever arrive). And it was even so: from the day she left the Mersey until this day no word of the _City of Glasgow_ has ever been heard. It was the opinion of those best able to offer a probable conjecture at the time, that she must have come into contact with an iceberg, and instantly gone down with all on board.
"I may add that Angus was a Catholic, and that Father Macdonald, his priest, told me shortly afterwards that Angus, before my messenger calling him to the Manse could have reached him, had communicated the thrice-repeated dream or vision to him in confession, and precisely in the same terms he used in describing it to me. When no hope of the safety of the _City of Glasgow_ could any longer be entertained, Angus emigrated to Australia, whence after the lapse of several years, he wrote me to say that he was well and doing well. Whether he is still in life, or gone over to the majority, I do not know."
_A Highlander's Dream of his Drowning._
Another story, which was sent me by my old friend the housekeeper of the Hon. Auberon Herbert's Highland retreat on the shores of Loch Awe, is an awful tale of destiny, the premonition of which only renders it more tragic.
They were all sitting round the fire one winter night each relating his best story. Each had told his story of the most wonderful things he had heard or seen in the Ghost line except Martin Barraw from Uist who sat silently listening to all.
"Come, Martin," said the man of the house "are you not going to tell a story, I am sure you know many?"
"Well yes," said Martin. "I know some and there is one strange one, running in my mind all this night, that I have never told to anyone yet, but I think I must tell it to-night."
"Oh, yes, do, Martin," cried all present.
"Well," said Martin, "you all I am sure remember the night of the fatal boat accident at Portroch ferry, when Murdoch McLane, big David the Gamekeeper, and Donald McRae, the ferryman were drowned and I was the only one saved of the four."
"Yes we do that Martin, remember it well," said the good man, "that was the night the Taybridge was blown down, it was a Sunday night the 28th of Dec. '79."
"Yes you are right that was the very night. Well you know Murdoch and I were Salmon watching down the other side of the Loch that winter. Well one night about the middle of November we were sitting by the side of Altanlarich, it would be about midnight, we had sat for some time without speaking I thought Murdoch was asleep and I was very nearly so, when suddenly Murdoch sprung to his feet with a jump that brought me to mine in a second.
"Goodness what is wrong with you," said I, looking round in every direction to see what startled him but could see nothing.
"'O dear, dear! what a horrid dream I have had,' said he. 'A dream,' said I. 'My' I thought you had seen a ghost or something by the spring you gave.'
"'Well! you would spring too if you could and you drowning.' Then he told me that he thought it was the 28th of December and there was such a storm he had never seen anything like it in his life before. 'We were crossing the loch at the ferry,' said he. 'We had the big white boat and four oars on her. Big David the keeper Donald the ferryman you and I. And man but it was awful. The boat right up on end at times every wave washing over us and filling the boat more and more, and no way of bailing her, because no one could let go his oar, you and I were on the weather side, and Big David and Donald on the other, they of course had the worst of it, we got on until we were near the other side, the waves were getting bigger and the boat getting heavier, we were going to run for the creek, when she was struck by a huge wave that filled her up to the seats and sent David and Donald on their backs, they lost their oars, and the next wave came right over her and down she went. The other two never were seen, you and I came up and tried to swim to the shore, you got near enough to catch a rope that was thrown you, but I could not get through the tremendous waves and was just going down when I awoke with such a start.'
"'My what a frightful dream,' said I. 'I should not like to have such a dream although I do not believe in dreams or Ghosts or these things it was the rain falling on your face did it.'
"'Well! maybe it was' said he, but all the same I could see he was thinking a good deal about it all night, although I tried to laugh him out of it. Well time passed until about the beginning of December there was heavy rain. Murdoch went home to see his wife and family as all the rivers were flooded and there was no need of watching. He was on his way back to his work on the evening of the next day, when he got to the ferry, it was raining and blowing like to blow the breeks off a Hieland man as they say. 'Dear me Murdoch,' said Donald the ferryman, 'you surely, don't mean to go out to-night.'
"'It is very stormy,' said Murdoch, 'if you would be so kind as come over for me at six o'clock in the morning I would go home again I must be down passed the Governor's before he gets up you know.'
"'Oh! I'll do that for you Murdoch,' said Donald. So Murdoch went home again that night and next morning by six o'clock he was at the ferry again. 'Well done, Donald. You are a man of your word,' said he, as he saw what he thought was Donald on the pier waiting him with his boat along side,--the morning was calm and fair though pretty dark, he thought it strange Donald did not answer him, but hurrying down the pier was about to step into the boat, when he felt someone strike him a violent blow on the ear with the open hand. Looking sharply round he was astonished to find no one near, but he thought as he turned round he had seen a dark shadow disappear in the distance.
"'God be with us,' said he, turning to Donald, 'what was that?' He was horror struck to see a most hideous object for what he had taken to be Donald, glaring at him with eyes of fire. 'God have mercy on my soul,' said he, as he turned to run, but he had no sooner done so than he was seized by a grasp of iron and pressed down towards the boat, then began a struggle for life. He wrestled and struggled with all his strength and you know he was a very strong man, but he could do nothing in the iron grasp of his foe, and that foe a mere shadow, he was surely and steadily forced towards the boat, he was being forced over the side of the pier and into the boat through which he could see the waves rolling quite clearly, it was a mere shadow also.
"'Oh God help me,' he cried from the depth of his heart as he gave himself up for lost. Suddenly as though forced by some unseen power the grasp that held him ceased and Murdoch fell back upon the pier unconscious.
"How long he lay he could not say, but it was Donald throwing water in his face that brought him round, they went into the Hotel where the people were just getting up, and he got a glass of brandy to steady his nerves, and after a short time they started and Murdoch got back to his work sometime during the day, where he told me the whole affair.
"Poor Murdoch was much changed after that, for the few days that he lived you could easily see the thing was pressing upon his mind a good deal.
"I need not tell you of the boat accident, you all know that well enough already, how Murdoch's dream became true even to the very letter. Mr. Ross the Minister was preaching in the little church up here we went to put him across the Loch and it was while coming back that we were caught in the storm and the boat was swamped. Big David and Donald never were seen. Murdoch and I tried to swim to the shore but he only got a short way when he also sank and was drowned. I got near enough to catch a rope that they threw out to me and they pulled me in although I was just about dead too."
There are many cases of this unavailing warning. Mr. T. A. Hamilton, of Ryedale Terrace, Maxwelltown, Dumfries, writes:--
"Thirty years ago I had the misfortune to lose my right eye under peculiar circumstances, and the night previous to the day on which it happened my sister dreamt that it had happened under precisely the same circumstances to which it did, and related her dream to the household before it had occurred. The distance between the scene of the accident and the house in which she slept was eight miles."
_How a Betting Man was Converted._
One of the most interesting cases of premonitions occurring in a dream is that which I have received from the Rev. Mr. Champness, who is very well known in the Wesleyan denomination, and whose reputation for sterling philanthropy and fervent evangelical Christianity is much wider than his denomination. Here is the story, as Mr. Champness sends it me:--
"Some years ago, when working as an Evangelist, it was arranged that I should conduct a Mission in a town which I had never visited before, and where, so far as I remember, I did not know a single person, though I ought to say I was very much interested in what I had heard about the place, and had been led to think with some anxiety about the Mission. It would appear that on the Saturday night preceding the Mission a man in the town dreamed that he was standing opposite the chapel where the Mission was to be held, and that while he was standing there watching the people leave the chapel, a minister, whom he had never seen before, came up to him and spoke to him with great earnestness about religious matters. He was so much impressed by the dream that he awoke his wife, and told her how excited he was. On the Sunday morning he went to the chapel, and greatly to his astonishment, when I came into the pulpit he saw that I was the man whom he had seen in his dream. I need not say that he was very much impressed, and took notice of everything that the preacher said and did. When he got home he reminded his wife of the dream he had had, and said, 'The man I saw in my dream was the preacher this morning, and preaches again to-night.' This interested his wife so much that she went to chapel with him in the evening. He attended on Monday and Tuesday evenings. On the Tuesday evening after the service he waited outside the chapel. To his great surprise, when I came out of the chapel I walked straight up to him, and spoke to him energetically, just as he had seen on the Saturday night. The whole thing was gone over again in reality, just as it had been done in the vision. On the Wednesday evening he was there again, and I remonstrated with those who had not yielded to the claims of Jesus Christ. I pushed them very hard, and was led to say, without premeditation, 'What hinders you? Why do you not yield yourself to Christ? Have you something on a horse?' Strange to say, there was a race to be run next day, and he had backed the favourite, and stood to win 8 to 1. As he said afterwards, 'I could not lug a racehorse to the penitent form.' After the service, he went straight to the man with whom he had made the bet, and said, 'That bet's off,' at which the man was very glad, as he expected to lose the bet. Sure enough, when the race was run the one that had been backed did win, but he had given up any intention of winning money in that way, and that night decided to become a Christian. He has since then died, and I have good hope of seeing him in the country where we may perhaps understand these things better than we do now."
One of the most curiously detailed premonitory dreams that I have ever seen is one mentioned in Mr. Kendall's "Strange Footsteps." It is supplied by the Rev. Mr. Lupton, Primitive Methodist minister, a man of high standing in his Connection, whose mind is much more that of the lawyer than that of poet or dreamer:--
"By the District Meeting (Hull District) of 1833, I was restationed for the Malton Circuit, with the late Rev. T. Batty. I was then superintendent of the Lincoln Circuit; and, up to a few days before the change, Mrs. Lupton and myself were full of anticipation of the pleasures we should enjoy among our old friends on being so much nearer home. But some time before we got the news of our destination, one night--I cannot now give the date, but it was during the sittings of the Conference--I had a dream, and next morning I said to my wife, 'We shall not go to Malton, as we expect, but to some large town: I do not know its name, but it is a very large town. The house we shall occupy is up a flight of stairs, three stories high. We shall have three rooms on one level: the first--the kitchen--will have a closed bed in the right corner, a large wooden box in another corner, and the window will look down upon a small grass plot. The room adjoining will be the best room: it will have a dark carpet, with six hair-seated mahogany chairs. The other will be a small bed-room. We shall not worship in a chapel, but in a large hall, which will be formed like a gallery. There will be a pulpit in it, and a large circular table before it. The entrance to it will be by a flight of stairs, like those in a church tower. After we have ascended so far, the stairs will divide--one way leading up to the left, to the top of the place. This will be the principal entrance, and it leads to the top of the gallery, which is entered by a door covered with green baize fastened with brass nails. The other stairs lead to the floor of the place; and, between the door and the hall, on the right-hand side, in a corner, is a little room or vestry: in that vestry there will be three men accustomed to meet that will cause us much trouble; but I shall know them as soon as ever I see them, and we shall ultimately overcome them, and do well.'
"By reason of some mishap or misadventure, the letter from Conference was delayed, so that only some week or ten days prior to the change I got a letter that informed me my station was Glasgow. You may judge our surprise and great disappointment; however, after much pain for mind, and much fatigue of body and expense (for there were no railways then, and coaching was coaching in those days), we arrived at No. 6, Rotten Row, Glasgow, on the Saturday, about half-past three. To our surprise we found the entrance to our house up a flight of stairs (called in Scotland _turnpike stairs_) such as I saw in my dream. The house was three stories high also, and when we entered the kitchen door, lo, there was the closed bed, and there the box (in Scotland called a _bunker_). I said to Mrs. Lupton, 'Look out of the window,' and she said, 'Here is the plot of grass.' I then said, 'Look into the other rooms,' and she replied, 'Yes, they are as you said.' My colleague, Mr. J. Johnson, said, 'We preach in the Mechanics' Institution Hall, North Hanover Street, George Street, and you will have to preach there in the morning.' Well, morning came; and, accompanied by Mr. Johnson, I found the place. The entrance was as I had seen in my dream. But we entered the hall by the right; there was the little room in the corner. We entered it, and one of the men I had seen in my dream, J. M'M----, was standing in it. We next entered the hall; there was the pulpit and the circular table before it. The hall was galleried to the top; and, lo, the entrance door at the top was covered with green baize and brass nails. Only one man was seated, J. P----; he was another of the men I saw in my dream. I did not wait long before J. Y----, the other man, entered. My dream was thus so far fulfilled. Well, we soon had very large, overflowing congregations. The three men above named got into loose, dissipated habits; and, intriguing for some months, caused us very much trouble, seeking, in conjunction with my colleague, to form a division and make a party and church for him. But, by God's help, their schemes were frustrated, and I left the station in a healthy and prosperous state."
Mrs. Dean, of 44, Oxford Street, writes as follows:--
"Early this summer, in sleep, I saw my mother very ill in agony, and woke, repeating the words, 'Mother is dying.' I looked anxiously for a letter in the morning, but no sign of one; and to several at breakfast I told my dream, and still felt anxious as the day wore on. In the afternoon, about three o'clock, a telegram came, saying, 'Mother a little better; wait another wire.' About an hour afterwards came a letter with a cheque enclosed for my fare, urging me to come home at once, 'for mother, we fear, is dying.' My mother recovered; but upon going home a short time after, I saw my mother just as she then was at that time, and my stepfather used the words just as I received them--'Mother is dying.' They live in Liverpool, and I am in London."
The following is from the diary of the Rev. Henry Kendall, from which I have frequently quoted:--
"Mr. Marley related this evening a curious incident that occurred to himself long ago. When he was a young man at home with his parents, residing at Aycliffe, he was lying wide awake one morning at early dawn in the height of summer when his father came into his bedroom dressed just as he was accustomed to dress--red waistcoat, etc.--but with the addition of a tasselled nightcap which he sometimes kept on during the day. His father had been ailing for some time, and said to him, 'Crawford, I want you to make me a promise before I die.' His son replied, 'I will, father; what is it?' 'That you will take care of your mother.' 'Father, I promise you.' 'Then,' said the father, 'I can die happy,' and went out at the window. This struck Mr. M. as an exceedingly odd thing; he got out of bed and looked about the room and satisfied himself that he had made no mistake, but that he had really talked with his father and seen him go out at the window. In the morning, when he entered his father's room, the first words he heard were, 'Crawford, I want you to make me a promise before I die.' Mr. M. replied, 'Father, I will; what is it?' 'That you will take care of your mother.' 'Father, I promise you.' 'Then I can die happy.' Thus the conversation that took place during the night under such singular circumstances was repeated verbatim in the morning; and while it implied that the father had been previously brooding over the subject of his wife's comfort after he should be taken away, it also supplied important evidence that the strange affair of the night was not mere imagination on the part of the son. The father died soon afterwards."
_A Spectral Postman._
Of a somewhat similar nature, although in this case it was visible and not audible, is that told me by the Rev. J. A. Dalane, of West Hartlepool, who, on August 14th, 1886, about three o'clock in the morning, saw a hand very distinctly, as in daylight, holding a letter addressed in the handwriting of an eminent Swedish divine. Both the hand and the letter appeared very distinctly for the space of about two minutes. Then he saw a similar hand holding a sheet of foolscap paper on which he saw some writing, which he, however, was not able to read. After a few minutes this gradually faded and vanished away. This was repeated three different times. As soon as it had disappeared the third time he got up, lighted the gas, and wrote down the facts. Six hours afterwards, at nine o'clock, the post brought a letter which in every particular corresponded to the spectral letter which had been three times shown to him in the early morning.
_An Examination Paper Seen in Dream._
The Rev. D. Morris, chaplain of Walton Gaol, near Liverpool, had a similar, although more useful experience, as follows:--
"In December, 1853, I sat for a schoolmaster's certificate at an examination held in the Normal College, Cheltenham. The questions in the various subjects were arranged in sections according to their value, and printed on the margin of stiff blue-coloured foolscap, to which the answers were limited. It had been the custom at similar examinations in previous years for the presiding examiners to announce beforehand the daily subjects of examinations, but on this occasion the usual notice was omitted.
"After sitting all day on Monday, my brain was further excited by anxious guessings of the morrow's subjects, and perusals of my note-books. That night I had little restful sleep, for I dreamt that I was busy at work in the examination hall, I had in my dream vividly before me the Geometry (Euclid) paper. I was so impressed with what I had seen that I told my intimate friends to get up the bottom question in each section (that being the bearer of most marks), and, it is needless to say, I did the same myself. When the geometry paper was distributed in the hall by the examiners, to my wonder it was really in every respect, questions and sections, the paper that I had seen in my dream on the Monday night.
"Nothing similar to it happened to me before or since. The above fact has never been recorded in any publication."
_Forebodings and Dreams._
An instance in which a dream was useful in preventing an impending catastrophe is recorded of a daughter of Mrs. Rutherford, the granddaughter of Sir Walter Scott. This lady dreamed more than once that her mother had been murdered by a black servant. She was so much upset by this that she returned home, and to her great astonishment, and not a little to her dismay, she met on entering the house the very black servant she had met in her dream. He had been engaged in her absence. She prevailed upon a gentleman to watch in an adjoining room during the following night. About three o'clock in the morning the gentleman hearing footsteps on the stairs, came out and met the servant carrying a quantity of coals. Being questioned as to where he was going, he answered confusedly that he was going to mend the mistress's fire, which at three o'clock in the morning in the middle of summer was evidently impossible. On further investigation, a strong knife was found hidden in the coals. The lady escaped, but the man was subsequently hanged for murder, and before his execution he confessed that he intended to have assassinated Mrs. Rutherford.
A correspondent in Dalston sends me an account of an experience which befell him in 1871, when a lady strongly advised him against going from Liverpool to a place near Wigan, where he had an appointment on a certain day. As he could not put off the appointment, she implored him not to go by the first train. In deference to her foreboding, he went by the third train, and on arriving at his destination found that the first train had been thrown off the line and had rolled down an embankment into the fields below. The warning in this case, he thinks, probably saved his life.
Another correspondent, Mr. A. N. Browne, of 19, Wellington Avenue, Liverpool, communicates another instance of a premonitory dream, which unfortunately did not avail to prevent the disaster:
"My sister-in-law was complaining to me on a warm August day, in 1882, of being out of sorts, upset and altogether depressed. I took her a bit to task, asked her why she was depressed, and elicited that she was troubled by dreaming the preceding night that her son Frank, who was spending his holidays with his uncle near Preston, was drowned. Of course I ridiculed the idea of a dream troubling any one. But she only answered that her dreams often proved more than mere sleep-disturbers. That was told to me at 2 p.m. or about. At 6.30 we dined, and all thought of the dream had vanished out of my mind and my sister-in-law seemed to have overcome her depression. We were sitting in the drawing-room, say 8 p.m., when a telegram arrived. My sister-in-law received it, turned to her husband and said, 'It is for you, Tom.' He opened it and cried, 'My God! My God!' and fell into a chair. My sister-in-law snatched the telegram from her husband, looked at it, screamed, and fell prostrate. I in turn took the telegram, and read, 'Frank fell in the river here to-day, and was drowned.' It was a telegram from the youth's uncle, with whom he had been staying."
Dr. H. Grosvenor Shaw, M.R.C.S., medical officer to one of the asylums under the London County Council, sends me the following brief but striking story, which bears upon the subject under discussion:--
"Four men were playing whist. The man dealing stopped to drink, and whilst drinking the man next to him poked him in the side, telling him to hurry up. Some of the fluid he was drinking entered the larynx, and before he could recover his breath he fell back, hitting his head against the door post, and lay on the ground stunned for something under a minute. When he came to he was naturally dazed, and for the moment surprised at his surroundings. He said he had been at the bedside of his friend--mentioning his name--who was dying. The next morning a telegram came to say the friend was dead, and he died, it was ascertained at the exact time the accident at the card table took place. I would remark the dead man had been enjoying perfect health, and no one had received any information that he was ill, which illness was sudden."
_A Vision of Coming Death._
One familiar and very uncanny form of premonition, or of foreseeing, is that in which a coffin is seen before the death of some member of the household. The following narrative is communicated to me by Mrs. Crofts, of 22, Blurton Road, Clapton. She is quite clear that she actually saw what she describes:--
"A week prior to the death of my husband, when he and I had retired to rest, I lay for a long while endeavouring to go to sleep, but failed; and after tossing about for some time I sat up in bed, and having sat thus for some time was surprised to see the front door open, I could see the door plainly from where I was, our bedroom door being always kept open. I was astonished but not afraid when, immediately after the door opened, two men entered bearing a coffin which they carried upstairs, right into the room where I was, and laid it down on the hearth-rug by the side of the bed, and then went away shutting the front door after them. I was of course somewhat troubled over the matter, and mentioned it to my husband when having breakfast the following morning. He insisted that I had been dreaming, and I did not again let the matter trouble my mind. A week that day my husband died very suddenly. I was engaged in one of the rooms upstairs the evening afterwards, when a knock came to the door, which was answered by my mother, and I did not take any notice until I heard the footsteps of those coming up the stairs, when I looked out, and lo! I beheld the two men whom I had seen but a week previously carry and put the coffin in exactly the same place that they had done on their previous visit. I cannot describe to you my feelings, but from that time until the present I am convinced that, call them what you like--apparitions, ghosts, or forewarnings--they are a reality."
There are, however, cases in which a premonition has been useful to those who have received timely warning of disaster. The ill-fated _Pegasus_, that went down carrying with it the well-known Rev. J. Morell Mackenzie, an uncle of the well-known physician, who preserves a portrait of the distinguished divine among his heirlooms, is associated with a premonition which saved the life of a lady and her cousin, the wives of two Church of England ministers. They had intended to sail in the _Pegasus_ on Wednesday, but a mysterious and unaccountable impression compelled one of the ladies to insist that they should leave on the Saturday. They had just time to get on board, and so escaped going by the _Pegasus_ which sailed on the following Wednesday and was wrecked, only two on board being saved.
Like to this story, in so far as it records her avoidance of an accident by the warning of a dream, but fortunately not resembling it in its more ghostly detail, is the story told in Mrs. Sidgwick's paper on the Evidence for Premonitions, on the authority of Mrs. Raey, of 99, Holland Road, Kensington. She dreamed that she was driving from Mortlake to Roehampton. She was upset in her carriage close to her sister's house. She forgot about her dream, and drove in her carriage from Mortlake to her sister's house. But just as they were driving up the lane the horse became very restive. Three times the groom had to get down to see what was the matter, but the third time the dream suddenly occurred to her memory. She got out and insisted on walking to the house. He drove off by himself, the horse became unmanageable, and in a few moments she came upon carriage, horse, and groom, all in a confused mass, just as she had seen the night before, but not in the same spot. But for the dream she would certainly not have alighted from the carriage.
_The Visions of an Engine-Driver._
In the same paper there is an account of a remarkable series of dreams which occurred to Mr. J. W. Skelton, an American engine-driver, which were first published in Chicago in 1886. Six times his locomotive had been upset at high speed, and each time he had dreamed of it two nights before, and each time he had seen exactly the place and the side on which the engine turned over. The odd thing in his reminiscences is that on one occasion he dreamed that after he had been thrown off the line a person in white came down from the sky with a span of white horses and a black chariot, who picked him off the engine and drove him up to the sky in a south-easterly direction. In telling the story he says that every point was fulfilled excepting that--and he seems to regard it quite as a grievance--the chariot of his vision never arrived. On one occasion only his dream was not fulfilled, and in that case he believed the accident was averted solely through the extra precaution that he used in consequence of his vision.
_Wanted a Dream Diary._
Of premonitions, especially of premonitions in dreams, it is easy to have too much. The best antidote for an excessive surfeit of such things is to note them down when they occur. When you have noted down 100 dreams, and find that one has come true, you may effectively destroy the superstitious dread that is apt to be engendered by stories such as the foregoing. It would be one excellent result of the publication of this volume if all those who are scared about dreams and forebodings would take the trouble to keep a dream diary, noting the dream and the fulfilment or falsification following. By these means they can not only confound sceptics, who accuse them of prophesying after the event, but what is much more important, they can most speedily rid themselves of the preposterous delusion that all dreams alike, whether they issue from the ivory gate or the gate of horn, are equally to be held in reverence. A quantitative estimate of the value of dreams is one of those things for which psychical science still sighs in vain.
Some Historical and Other Cases.
Of the premonitions of history there are many, too familiar to need more than a passing allusion here. The leading case is, of course, the dream of Pilate's wife, which, if it had been attended to, might have averted the crucifixion. But there again foreknowledge was impotent against fate. Calphurnia, Cæsar's wife, in like manner strove in vain to avert the doom of her lord. There is no story more trite than that which tells of the apparition which warned Brutus that Cæsar would make Philippi his trysting-place. In these cases the dreams occurred to those closely associated with the doomed. One of the best known of dream presentiments in English history occurred to a person who had no connection with the victim. The assassination of Mr. Perceval in the Lobby of the House of Commons was foreseen in the minutest detail by John Williams, a Cornish mine manager, eight or nine days before the assassination took place. Three times over he dreamed that he saw a small man, dressed in a blue coat and white waistcoat, enter the Lobby of the House of Commons, when immediately another person, dressed in a snuff-coloured coat, took a pistol from under his coat and shot the little man in his left breast. On asking who the sufferer was he was informed that it was Mr. Perceval, Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was so much impressed by the dream that he consulted his friends as to whether he should not go up to London and warn Mr. Perceval. Unfortunately they dissuaded him, and on May 13th the news arrived that Mr. Perceval had been killed on the 11th. Some time afterwards, when he saw a picture of the scene of the assassination, it reproduced all the details of the thrice-dreamed vision. There does not seem to have been any connection between Mr. Williams and Mr. Perceval, nor does there seem to have been any reason why it should have been revealed to him rather than to any one else.
_The Inner Light of the Quakers._
The Quakers, whether it is because they allow their Unconscious Personality to have more say in their lives than others who do not practise quietism as a religion, or whether it be from any other cause, it is difficult to say, seem to have more than their fair share of premonitions. Every one remembers how George Fox saw a "waft" of death go out against Oliver Cromwell when he met him riding at Hampton Court the day before he was prostrated with his fatal illness. Fox was full of visions. He foresaw the expulsion of the "Rump", the restoration of Charles II., and the Fire of London. Stephen Grellet is another notable Friend who was constantly foreseeing things. He not only foresaw things himself, but his faculty seemed to bring him into contact with others who foresaw things; and in his Life there is an excellent instance of a premonitory dream, told by Countess Tontschkoff three months before Napoleon's Invasion. The countess, whose husband was a general in the Russian army, dreamed that her father came to the room, holding her only son by the hand, and, in a tone of great sadness, said, "All thy comforts are gone; thy husband has fallen at Borodino."
As her husband at that time was sleeping beside her she dismissed the matter as a mere dream. But when it was repeated a second and a third time, she awoke her husband and asked him where Borodino was. She told him her dream, and they searched through the maps with the greatest care, but could not discover any such place. Three months later Napoleon entered Russia, and fought the bloody battle which opened the way to Moscow near the river Borodino, from which an obscure village takes its name. Her father holding her son by the hand, announced her husband's death, in the exact terms that she had heard him use in her dream three months before. She instantly recognised the inn in which she was then staying as the place that she had seen in her dream.
Goethe, in his Autobiography, records the fact that his maternal grandfather had a premonition of his election to the aldermanic dignity, not unlike that which I had about my premotion to the _Pall Mall_. Goethe writes:--
"We knew well enough that he was often informed, in remarkable dreams, of things which were to happen. For example, he assured his wife, at a time when he was still one of the youngest magistrates, that at the very next vacancy he should be appointed to a seat on the board of aldermen. And when, very soon after, one of the aldermen was struck with a fatal stroke of apoplexy, he ordered that on the day when the choice was to be made by lot the house should be arranged and everything prepared to receive the guests coming to congratulate him on his elevation; and, sure enough, it was for him that the golden ball was drawn which decides the choice of aldermen in Frankfort. The dream which foreshadowed to him this event he confided to his wife as follows: He found himself in session with his colleagues, and everything was going on as usual, when an alderman, the same who afterwards died, descended from his seat, came to my grandfather, politely begged him to take his place, and then left the chamber. Something similar happened on the provost's death. It was usual in such cases to make great haste to fill the vacancy, seeing that there was always ground to fear that the Emperor, who used to nominate the provost, would some day or other reassert his ancient privilege. On this particular occasion the sheriff received orders at midnight to call an extra session for the next morning. When in his rounds the officer reached my grandfather's house, he begged for another bit of candle to replace that which had just burned down in his lantern. 'Give him a whole candle,' said my grandfather to the woman; 'it is for me he is taking all this trouble.' The event justified his words. He was actually chosen provost. And it is worthy of notice that the person who drew in his stead, having the third and last chance, the two silver balls were drawn first, and thus the golden one remained for him at the bottom of the bag." (Quoted by Owen, in "Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World.")
_Miss X.'s Dogcart._
Some people have this gift of seeing in advance very much developed. There is, for instance, Miss X----, of the Psychical Research Society, whose exploits in seeing a dogcart and its passengers half an hour before they really arrived, has taken its place as the classical illustration of this fantastic faculty of intermittent foresight. As the story is so well authenticated, and has become a leading case in the discussion, I reprint the passage in which it occurs from the "Proceedings of the Psychical Research Society."
The narrative is by a friend of the recipient:--
"About eight years ago (April, 1882), X. and I were staying in a country house, in a neighbourhood quite strange to us both. One morning, soon after our arrival, we drove with a party of four or five others in a waggonette to the neighbouring town, and, on our return, as we came in sight of the house, X. remarked to our hostess, 'You have very early visitors; who are your friends?'
"We all turned to find the cause of the question, but could see no one, and as we were still in view of the front door on which Miss X.'s eyes were fixed, we asked her what she could possibly be dreaming of. She then described to us, the more minutely that we all joined in absolute denial of the existence of anything at all, the appearance of a dog-cart standing at the door of the house with a white horse and two men, one of whom had got down and was talking to a terrier; she even commented upon the dress of one of the gentlemen, who was wearing an ulster, she said, a detail which we certainly should not have supposed it possible for her to recognise at such a distance from the spot. As we drove up the drive X. drew attention to the fresh wheel marks, but here also we were all unable to see as she did, and when we arrived at the house and found no sign of cart and visitors, and on inquiry learned that no one had been near in our absence, we naturally treated the whole story as a mistake, caused by X.'s somewhat short sight.
"Shortly after she and I were in an upstairs room in the front of the house, when the sound of wheels was heard, and I went to the window to see what it might be. 'There's your dog-cart, after all!' I exclaimed; for there before the door was the identical dog-cart as X. had described it, correct in every detail, one of the gentlemen--having got down to ring the bell--being at the moment engaged in playing with a small fox-terrier. The visitors were strangers to our friends--officers from the barracks near, who had driven over with an invitation to a ball.
"C. having read over D.'s account, had added, 'This is substantially the same account as I heard from one of the party in the carriage.' Mr. Myers adds, 'I heard C., an old family servant, tell the story independently with the same details.'
"Both D. and I were surprised at her accurate knowledge of the story, which she had not learnt from us, but from another lady present on the occasion." ("Proceedings of the Psychical Research Society," Vol. VI. p. 374.)
GHOSTS OF THE LIVING ON BUSINESS.
"'A strange coincidence,' to use a phrase By which such things are settled nowadays."--Byron.
Warnings of Peril and Death.
It is said that every family has a skeleton in its cupboard. It would be equally true to say that every family has a ghost in its records. Sometimes it is a ghost of the living, sometimes of the dead; but there are few who, if they inquire among their relatives, will not find one or more instances of apparitions, which, however small their evidential credentials, are implicitly accepted as genuine by those who witnessed them. In taking the Census of Hallucinations I made inquiry of an old schoolfellow of mine, who, after I came to Wimbledon, was minister of the Congregational Church in that suburb. He subsequently removed to Portsmouth, where I found him with his father one morning, on the occasion of the laying of the foundation-stone of the new Sunday school. On mentioning the subject of the Census of Ghosts, the Rev. Mr. Talbot, senior, mentioned a very remarkable apparition which, unlike most apparitions, appeared in time to save the life of its owner.
_How a Double Saved a Life._
The Rev. Mr. Talbot, the father of my late pastor, gave me the following account of the apparition:--
"My mother had an extraordinary power of foreseeing and also of seeing visions. Of her premonitions and dreams I could give you many instances; but as that is not the point at present, I will give you the narrative of her other faculty, that of seeing spiritual or phantasmal forms which were not visible to others. We were sitting at tea one evening when my mother suddenly exclaimed, 'Dear me, Mrs. Lister is coming up the path, with her handkerchief to her eyes as if crying, on her way to the door. What can have brought her out at this time? There seems to be something the matter with her head. I will go to the door and let her in.' So saying, my mother arose and went to the front door, where she firmly expected to find Mrs. Lister. None of the rest of us had seen Mrs. Lister come up the path, but as our attention might have been occupied in another direction we did not think anything of it. To my mother's astonishment, when she reached the door Mrs. Lister was not visible. She came back into the room much disturbed. 'There is something the matter with Mrs. Lister,' she said. 'I am certain there is. Yoke the horse and we will drive over at once to the Listers' house'--which stood about one mile from our place--'and see what is the matter.'
"My father, knowing from of old that mother had reason for what she said, yoked the horse and drove off with my mother as rapidly as possible to Lister's house. When they arrived there they knocked at the door; there was no answer. Opening the door they found no one downstairs. My mother then went to Mrs. Lister's bedroom and found the unfortunate lady, apparently breathing her last, lying in a pool of blood. Her husband, in a fit of insanity, had severely beaten her and left her for dead, and then went and drowned himself in a pond.
"My father immediately went off for a doctor, who was able to stitch up Mrs. Lister's worst wounds and arrest the bleeding. In the end Mrs. Lister recovered, owing her life entirely to the fortunate circumstance that at the moment of losing consciousness she had apparently been able to project a visual phantasm of herself before the window of our tea-room. She was a friend of my mother's, and no doubt in her dire extremity had longed for her company. This longing in Mrs. Lister, in some way unknown to us, probably produced the appearance which startled my mother and led to her prompt appearance on the scene of the tragedy."
This story was told me by Mr. Talbot, who was then a boy, seated at the table at which his mother witnessed the apparition, and was regarded by him as absolutely true. Evidence in support of it now will be somewhat difficult to get, as almost all the witnesses have passed over to the majority, but I have no reason to doubt the truth of the story.
_More Doubles Seeking Help._
The story of Mrs. Lister's double appearing to Mrs. Talbot when in imminent peril of death, however it may be scouted by the sceptics, is at least entirely in accord with many other narratives of the kind.
A member of the Psychical Research Society in Southport sends me the following account of an apparition of a severely wounded man, which bears considerable resemblance to Mr. Talbot's, although its evidential value is nothing like so good. Its importance rests solely in the fact that the apparition appeared as the result, not of death, but of a very serious injury which might have had fatal consequences:--
"Some years ago, a lady named L. B. was staying with relations at Beckenham, her husband being away at a shooting party in Essex. On a certain afternoon, when she had, as she says, no especial reason for her husband being recalled to her mind, she was somewhat surprised, on looking out of her bedroom window, to see him, as she imagined, entering the front garden gate. Wondering what could have been the cause of the unexpected arrival, she exclaimed to her sister-in-law, 'Why, there's Tom!' and went downstairs thinking to meet him entering the house. He was nowhere to be seen. Not long afterwards there arrived the news that her husband had been shot accidentally and considerably injured. Directly they met she related to him her curious vision, and on comparing notes it was discovered that it had certainly taken place more or less at the same hour as the accident, the husband declaring that as he fainted away his wife was most distinctly present in his thoughts. There was, unfortunately, no means of exactly fixing the hour, but there was no doubt at the time that the two occurrences--viz. the hallucination and the accident--must have anyhow taken place within a short time of one another, if not simultaneously."
Here we have an incident not unlike that which occurred to Mrs. Talbot--the unexpected apparition of the phantasm or dual body of one who at the moment was in imminent danger of death. Tales of this class are somewhat rare, but when they do occur they indicate conclusively that there is no connection between the apparition of the wraith and the decease of the person to whom it belongs.
Here is another story that is sent me by a correspondent in Belsize Park Gardens, who vouches for the _bona fides_ of the lady on whose authority he tells the tale:--
"A Scotch waitress in my employ, whilst laying the cloth for dinner one day, was startled by perceiving her father's face looking at her through the window. She rushed out of the room and opened the front door, expecting to see him. Greatly surprised at finding no trace of him, after carefully searching the front garden, and looking up and down the road, she came in, and sitting down in the hall nearly fainted with fright. On inquiring for particulars she told me she had distinctly seen her father's face, with a distressed expression upon it, looking earnestly at her. She seemed much troubled, and felt sure something was wrong. A few days after this vision a letter came, saying that her father (a Scotch gamekeeper) had been thrown from a dog-cart and nearly killed. She left my employ to go and nurse him."
_Two Doubles Summon a Priest to Their Deathbeds._
The next narrative should rather have come under the head of premonitions, but as the premonition in this case was accompanied by an apparition, I include it in the present chapter. It is, in its way, even more remarkable than Mr. Talbot's story. It is more recent, it is prophetic, and the apparitions of two living men appeared together to predict the day of their death. The narrative rests on the excellent authority of the Rev. Father Fleming, the hard-working Catholic priest of Slindon, in Sussex. I heard of it from one of his parishioners who is a friend of mine, and on applying to Father Fleming, he was kind enough to write out the following account of his strange experience, for the truth of every word of which he is prepared to vouch. In all the wide range of spectral literature I know no story that is quite like this:--
"I was spending my usual vacation in Dublin in the year 1868, I may add very pleasantly, since I was staying at the house of an old friend of my father's, and whilst there was treated with the attention which is claimed by an honoured guest, and with as much kindness and heartiness as if I were a member of his family. I was perfectly comfortable, perfectly at home. As to my professional engagements, I was free for the whole time of my holiday, and could not in any manner admit a scruple or doubt as to the manner in which my work was done in my absence, for a fully qualified and earnest clergyman was supplying for me. Perhaps this preamble is necessary to show that my mind was at rest, and that nothing in the ordinary course of events would have recalled me so suddenly and abruptly to the scene of my labours at Woolwich. I had about a week of my unexpired leave of absence yet to run when what I am about to relate occurred to me. No comment or explanation is offered. It is simply a narrative.
"I had retired to rest at night, my mind perfectly at rest, and slept, as young men do in robust health, until about four o'clock in the morning. It appeared to me about that hour that I was conscious of a knock at the door. Thinking it to be the man-servant who was accustomed to call me in the morning, I at once said, 'Come in.' To my surprise there appeared at the foot of the bed two figures, one a man of medium height, fair and well fleshed, the other tall, dark, and spare, both dressed as artisans belonging to Woolwich Arsenal. On asking them what they wanted, the shorter man replied, 'My name is C----s. I belong to Woolwich. I died on ---- of ----, and you must attend me.'
"Probably the novelty of the situation and feelings attendant upon it, prevented me from noticing that he had used the past tense. The reply which I received to my question from the other man was like in form, 'My name is M----ll, I belong to Woolwich, I died on ---- of ----, and you must attend me.' I then remarked that the past tense had been used, and cried out, 'Stop! You said "died," and the day you mentioned has not come yet?' at which they both smiled, and added, 'We know this very well; it was done to fix your attention, but'--and they seemed to say very earnestly and in a marked manner--'you must attend us!' at which they disappeared, leaving me awe-stricken, surprised, and thoroughly aroused from sleep. Whether what I narrate was seen during sleep, or when wholly awake, I do not pretend to say. It appeared to me that I was perfectly awake and perfectly conscious. Of this I had no doubt at the time, and I can scarcely summon up a doubt as to what I heard and saw whilst I am telling it. As I had lighted my lamp, I rose, dressed, and seating myself at a table in the room, read and thought, and, I need hardly say, from time to time prayed, and fervently, until day came. When I was called in the morning, I sent a message to the lady of the house to say that I should not go to the University Chapel to say Mass that morning, and should be present at the usual family breakfast at nine.
"On entering the dining-room my hostess very kindly inquired after my health, naturally surmising that I had omitted Mass from illness, or at least want of rest and consequent indisposition. I merely answered that I had not slept well, and that there was something weighing heavily upon my mind which obliged me to return at once to Woolwich. After the usual regrets and leave-takings, I started by the mid-day boat for England. As the first date mentioned by my visitors gave me time, I travelled by easy stages, and spent more than two days on the road, although I could not remain in Dublin after I had received what appeared to me then, and appears to me still, as a solemn warning.
"On my arrival at Woolwich, as may be easily imagined, my brother clergy were very puzzled at my sudden and unlooked-for return, and concluded that I had lost my reckoning, thinking that I had to resume my duties a week earlier than I was expected to do. The other assistant priest was waiting for my return to start on his vacation--and he did so the very evening of my return. Scarcely, however, had he left the town when the first of my visitors sent in a request for me to go at once to attend him. You may, perhaps, imagine my feelings at that moment. I am sure you cannot realise them as I do even now after the lapse of so many years. Well, I lost no time. I had, in truth, been prepared, except hat and umbrella, from the first hour after my return. I went to consult the books in which all the sick-calls were entered and to speak to our aged, respected sacristan who kept them. He remarked at once, 'You do not know this man, father; his children come to our school, but he is, or has always been, considered as a Protestant.' Expressing my surprise, less at the fact than at his statement, I hurried to the bedside of the sufferer. After the first few words of introduction were over he said, 'I sent for you, father, on Friday morning early and they told me that you were away from home, but that you were expected back in a few days, and I said I would wait.' I found the sick man had been stricken down by inflammation of the lungs, and that the doctor gave no hope of his recovery, yet that he would probably linger some days. I applied myself very earnestly indeed to prepare the poor man for death. Again the next day, and every day until he departed this life, did I visit him and spent not minutes but hours by his bedside.
"A few days after the first summons came the second. The man had previously been a stranger to me, but I recognised him by his name and appearance. As I sat by his bedside he told me, as the former had already done, that he had sent for me, had been told that I was absent, and had declared that he would wait for me. Thus far their cases were alike. In each case there was a great wrong to be undone, a conscience to be set right that had erred and erred deeply--and not merely that, it is probable, from the circumstances of their lives, that it was necessary that their spiritual adviser should have been solemnly warned. They made their peace with God, and I have seldom assisted at a deathbed and felt greater consolation than I did in each and both of these. Even now, after the lapse of many years, I cannot help feeling that I received a very solemn warning in Dublin, and am not far wrong in calling it, the Shadow of Death.--T. O. Fleming."
_A Double From Shipboard._
During my visit to Scotland in the month of October the subject of Ghosts naturally formed the constant topic of conversation, and many stories were told of all degrees of value bearing upon the subject. The following narrative came to me as follows: We had been visiting the Forth Bridge, driving down from Edinburgh in the public conveyance. Shortly before our visit three men had fallen from one of the piers of the bridge and been killed. The question was mooted as to whether or not they would haunt the locality, and from this the conversation naturally turned to apparitions of all kinds.
As we reached Edinburgh on our return a middle-aged passenger who had been seated on a seat in front turned round and said, "What do you make of this story, for the truth of which I can vouch:--A young sailor, whose vessel at that moment was lying at Limerick Harbour, appeared to his father, who at that time was at home with the rest of his family in Dublin. He appeared to him in the early morning. At breakfast his father told the rest of his family that he had seen his son, who had said to him: 'In my locker you will find a Bible in the pocket of my coat. In that Bible you will find a place-keeper which was given me by my sweetheart after I left home, and on it are the words, "Remember me."' That day at noon the young sailor, after making ready dinner for the crew, went up aloft, missed his footing, fell, and was killed. His effects were fastened up in his locker and sent through the Customs House to his father. When they arrived the locker was opened, and exactly as the apparition had described the Bible was found in the pocket of the coat, and in the Bible a place-keeper, which none of the family had seen, on which were the words 'Remember me.'" "But," said I to my fellow-passenger, "how do you know that the story is true?" "Because," he said, "the sailor was my brother, and I remember my father telling us about the vision at the breakfast-table."
Unfortunately I did not ask for the name and address of my informant. We were just alighting from the drag, and I contented myself with giving him my name and address, and asking him to write out an account with full particulars, dates, etc. with verification. This he promised to do, but, unfortunately, he seems to have forgotten his promise, and a story which, if fully verified, would be very valuable, can only be mentioned as a sample of the narratives which are reported on every hand if people show any disposition to receive them with interest, or, in fact, with anything but scornful contempt.
A Dying Double Demands its Portraits!
Perhaps the most remarkable and most authentic ghost is a ghost which appeared at Newcastle, for the purpose of demanding its photographs! The story was first told me by the late secretary of the Bradford Association of Helpers, Mr. Snowden Ward. I subsequently obtained it first hand from the man who saw the ghost. Running from the central railway station at Newcastle, a broad busy thoroughfare connects Neville Street with Grainger Street. On one side stands St. John's Church, on the other the Savings Bank, and a little past the Savings Bank, proceeding from the station, stand the shops and offices of Grainger Street. It is a comparatively new street, and is quite one of the last places in the world where one would expect to find visitants of a ghostly nature. Nevertheless, it was in one of the places of business in this busy and bustling thoroughfare that the ghost in question appeared, for that it did appear there can be no manner of doubt. Even if all the other cases published in this book were discarded as lacking in evidential value, this would of itself suffice to establish the fact that apparitions appear, for the circumstances are such as to preclude the adoption of any of the usual hypotheses to account for the apparition. I called upon Mr. Dickinson at 43, Grainger Street, on October 14th, examined his premises, was shown the entry in his book, and cross-examined himself and Miss Simon, the lady clerk, who figures in the subsequent narrative. It will probably be best to reprint the statement, which originally appeared in the _Practical Photographer_, merely filling in names and supplementing it here and there with a little more detail:--
"On Saturday, the 3rd of January this year," said Mr. Dickinson, "I arrived at my place of business, 43, Grainger Street, Newcastle, a few minutes before 8 a.m. The outer door is protected by an iron gate in which is a smaller lock-up gate, through which I passed into the premises. Having opened the office and turned the gas on at the meter, and lit the gas fire, I stood at the office counter for a few minutes waiting for the lad who takes down the iron gate at the front door."
Mr. Dickinson told me that the reason he was down so early was because the lad who usually brought the keys was ill, and he had come earlier than usual on that account. The place is lit with electric light. Mr. Dickinson does not remember turning on the light, although, as it was only eight o'clock on the 3rd of January, he must have done so in order to read the entry in the book.
Before the lad came, a gentleman called to inquire if his photographs were finished.
He was a stranger to him. He came into the room and came up to the counter in the ordinary way. He was wearing a hat and overcoat, and there was nothing unusual about his appearance excepting that he did not seem very well. "He said to me, 'Are my photographs ready?' I said, 'Who are you? We are not opened yet.' He said his name was Thompson. I asked him if he had the receipt (which usually accompanies any inquiry), and he replied that he had no receipt, but his photograph was taken on December 6th and that the prints were promised to be sent to him before this call.
"I then asked him whether it was a cash order or a subscription one. The reason for asking this is because we have two books in which orders are entered. He said he had paid for them at the time; his name would therefore be in the cash orders. Having got the date and his name, I referred to my book, and found the order as he stated. I read out to him the name and address, to which he replied, 'That is right.'
"Here is an exact copy of the entry in the order book:--
7976. Sat., Dec. 6th, /90.
Mr. J. S. Thompson, 154, William Street, Hebburn Quay.
6 cabinets. 7/- pd.
"The above was written in pencil; on the margin was written in ink, 'Dec. 16,' which, Mr. Dickinson explained, is the date on which the negative came to the office, named and numbered, and ready to go to the printers.
"Below this again was written in ink.
5th.--3 Cabinets gratis, neg. broken, letter sent asking to re-sit.
"In my book I found a date given, on which the negative was ready to be put into the printer's hands; and the date being seventeen days previous, I had no hesitation in saying, 'Well, if you call later on you will get some;' and I called his attention to the fact that it was very early, and explained to him that the employés would not be at work until nine o'clock, and if he could call after that time he would be certain to get some of his photographs. He said 'I have been travelling all night, and cannot call again.'
"Some short time before I had been at a hydropathic establishment in Yorkshire, and had travelled home at night. When he said he had been travelling all night, I remembered my own journey, and I thought perhaps he had been to some hydropathic establishment to benefit his health; and finding that he was getting no better, he had come back, perhaps to die, for he looked wretchedly ill. He spoke weariedly and rather impatiently, when he said he could not call again.
"With that, he turned abruptly and went out. Anxious to retain his good-will, I shouted after him, 'Can I post what may be done?' but I got no answer. I turned once more to the book, looked at the number, and on a slip of paper wrote _No. 7976, Thompson, post_. (This I wrote with pen and ink, and have the paper yet.)."
Mr. Dickinson said he had handed over this piece of paper to a representative of the Psychical Research Society who had lost it. It was, however, a mere memorandum written on the back of a traveller's card.
"At nine o'clock, when Miss Simon (clerk and reception room attendant, a bright, intelligent young lady) came, I handed the slip of paper to her, and asked her to have it attended to, telling her that the man had called for them, and seemed much disappointed that he had not received them before. Miss Simon, with considerable surprise, exclaimed, 'Why, an old man called about these photographs yesterday (Friday), and I told him they could not be ready this week owing to the bad weather, and that we were nearly three weeks behind with our work.' I suggested that it was quite time Mr. Thompson's were ready, and inquired who was printing the order. I was told that it was not in print, and, pointing to a pile of negatives, Miss Simon said 'Thompson's is amongst that lot, and they have been waiting quite a fortnight.' I asked to be shown the negative, and about half an hour later Miss S. called me saying 'This is Thompson's negative.'
"I took it in my hands and looked at it carefully, remarking, 'Yes, that is it; that is the chap who called this morning.'"
Mr. Dickinson said he had no difficulty in recognising it, although the man wore a hat and top-coat when he called, whereas in the portrait the sitter wore neither hat nor top-coat.
"Miss Simon again referred to the fact that she had told the man who had called on the previous day that none were done, or could be done that week. 'Well,' I said, 'put this to one side, and I will see to it myself on Monday, and endeavour to hurry it forward.' On the Monday (January 5th) I was in one of the printing-rooms, and about 10.30 a.m., having one or two printing-frames empty, I thought of Thompson's negative, and accordingly went down to the office and asked Miss S. for it. 'Oh! yes,' she replied, 'and here are a few more equally urgent, you may take them as well.' I said, 'That cannot be, as I have only two or three frames at liberty' (she had about twenty negatives in her hand, holding them out to me); 'give me Thompson's first, and let me get my mind at rest about it.' To which she answered, 'His is amongst this lot, I will have to pick it out.' (Each negative was in a paper bag.)
"I offered to help her, and she commenced at one end of the batch and I at the other; and before we got halfway through I came across one which I knew was very urgent, and turned away to look up the date of taking it, when crash! went part of the negatives on the floor. This accident seemed so serious that I was almost afraid to pick up the fallen negatives, but on doing so, one by one, I was greatly relieved to find _only one_ was broken; but, judge of my horror to find that that one was Thompson's!
"I muttered something (not loud, but deep), and would fain have relieved my feelings, but the presence of ladies restrained me (this accident being witnessed also by my head printer, Miss L.).
"I could not honestly blame Miss Simon for this--each thought the other was holding the lot, and between us we let them drop.
"The negative was broken in two, right across the forehead of figure. I put the pieces carefully away, and taking out a memo. form, wrote to Mr. Thompson, asking him to kindly give another sitting, and offering to recoup him for his trouble and loss of time. This letter was posted five minutes after the negative was broken, and the affair was forgotten by me for the time.
"However, on Friday, January 9th, I was in the printing-room upstairs, when I was signalled by the whistle which communicates with the office, and Miss Simon asked if I could go down, as the gentleman had called about the negative. I asked 'What negative?' 'Well,' she replied, 'the one we broke.'
"'Mr. Thompson's,' I answered. 'I am very busy and cannot come down, but you know the terms I offered him; send him up to be taken at once.'
"'But he is _dead_!' said Miss Simon.
"'Dead!' I exclaimed, and without another word I hastened down the stairs to my office. Here I saw an elderly gentleman, who seemed in great trouble.
"'Surely,' said I to him, 'you don't mean to say that this man is dead?'
"'It is only too true,' he replied.
"'Well, it must have been dreadfully sudden,' I said, sympathetically, 'because I saw him only last Saturday.'
"The old gentleman shook his head sadly, and said, 'You are mistaken, for he died last Saturday.'
"'Nay,' I returned, 'I am not mistaken, for I recognised him by the negative.'
"However, the father (for such was his relationship to my sitter) persisted in saying I was mistaken, and that it was he who called on the Friday and not his son, and, he said, 'I saw that young lady (pointing to Miss Simon), and she told me the photographs would not be ready that week.'
"'That is quite right,' said Miss Simon, 'but Mr. Dickinson also saw a gentleman on the Saturday morning, and, when I showed Mr. Dickinson the negative, he said, "Yes, that's the man who called." I told Mr. Dickinson _then_ of your having called on the Friday.'
"Still Mr. Thompson, sen., seemed to think that we were wrong, and many questions and cross-questions I put to him only served to confirm him in his opinion that I had got mixed; but this he said--no one was authorised to call, nor had they any friend or relative who would know of the portraits being ordered, neither was there any one likely to impersonate the man who had sat for his portrait.
"I had no further interview with the old gentleman until a week later, when he was much calmer in his appearance and conversation, and at this interview he told me that his son died on Saturday, January 3rd, at about 2.30 p.m.; he also stated that at the time I saw him (the sitter) he was unconscious, and remained so up to the time of his death. I have not had any explanation of this mysterious visit up to present date, February 26th, 1891.
"It is curious to me that I have no recollection of hearing the man come upstairs, or of him going down. In appearance he was pale and careworn, and looked as though he had been very ill. This thought occurred to me when he said he had been travelling all night.
"43, Grainger Street, Newcastle."
Miss Simon, in further conversation with me, stated that when the father called on Friday night and asked for the photographs, he came late, at least after the electric light was lit. He seemed disappointed, but made no further remark when he was told they were not ready. Mr. Dickinson stated that in conversation with the father afterwards, he told him that his son, on the Friday, had been delirious and had cried out for his photographs so frequently that they had tried to get them, and that was why he had called on Friday night. Hebburn is on the south side of the Tyne, about four miles from Newcastle. The father was absolutely certain that it was physically impossible for his son to have left the house. He did not leave it. They knew the end was approaching, and he and his wife were in constant attendance at the death-bed. He also stated that it was impossible, from the position of the bedroom, for him to have left the house, even if he had been able to get out of bed without their hearing him. As a matter of fact, he did not get out of bed, and at the moment when his Double was talking to Mr. Dickinson in Grainger Street he was lying unconscious at Hebburn.
It is impossible to explain this on the theory that Mr. Dickinson visualised the impression left upon his mind by Mr. Thompson, for Mr. Dickinson had never seen Mr. Thompson in his life. Neither could he have given apparent objectivity to a photograph which he might possibly have seen, although Mr. Dickinson asserts that he had never seen the photograph until it was brought him on the Saturday morning. If he had done so by any chance he would not have fitted his man with a top-coat and hat. It cannot, therefore, be regarded as a subjective hallucination; besides, the evidence afforded by the looking up of the book, the making an entry of what occurred, and the conversation which took place, in which the visitor mentioned facts which were not present in Mr. Dickinson's own mind, but which he verified there and then by looking up his books, bring it as near certainty as it is possible to arrive in a case such as this. Whoever the visitor was, it was not a subjective hallucination on the part of Mr. Dickinson.
It is equally impossible to believe that it was the actual Mr. Thompson, because he was at that moment within six hours of death, and the evidence of his father is that his son at that moment was physically incapable of getting out of bed, and that he was actually lying unconscious before their eyes at Hebburn at the moment when his apparition was talking to Mr. Dickinson at Newcastle. The only other hypothesis that can be brought forward is that some one personated Thompson. Against this we have the fact that Mr. Dickinson, who had never seen Thompson, recognised him immediately as soon as he saw the negative of his portrait.
Further, if any one had come from Hebburn on behalf of Thompson, he would not have asserted that he was Thompson himself, knowing, as he would, that he was speaking to a photographer, who, if the photographs had been ready, would at once have compared the photographs with the person standing before him, when the attempted personation would at once have been detected. Besides, no one was likely to have been so anxious about the photographs as to come up to Newcastle an hour before the studio opened in order to get them.
We may turn it which way we please, there is no hypothesis which will fit the facts except the assumption that there is such a thing as a Thought Body, capable of locomotion and speech, which can transfer itself wherever it pleases, clothing itself with whatever clothes it desires to wear, which are phantasmal like itself. Short of that hypothesis, I do not see any explanation possible; and yet, if we admit that hypothesis, what an immense vista of possibilities is opened up to our view!
GHOSTS KEEPING PROMISE.
"There is something in that ancient superstition Which erring as it is, our fancy loves."--Scott.
My Irish Friend.
Many of the apparitions that are reported are of phantasms that appear in fulfilment of a promise made to survivors during life. Of this class I came, in the course of my census, upon a very remarkable case.
Among my acquaintances is an Irish lady, the widow of an official who held a responsible position in the Dublin Post Office. She is Celt to her back-bone, with all the qualities of her race. After her husband's death she contracted an unfortunate marriage--which really was no marriage legally--with an engineer of remarkable character and no small native talent. He, however, did not add to his other qualities the saving virtues of principle and honesty. Owing to these defects my friend woke up one fine morning to find that her new husband had been married previously, and that his wife was still living.
On making this discovery she left her partner and came to London, where I met her. She is a woman of very strong character, and of some considerable although irregular ability. She has many superstitions, and her dreams were something wonderful to hear. After she had been in London two years her bigamist lover found out where she was, and leaving his home in Italy followed her to London. There was no doubt as to the sincerity of his attachment to the woman whom he had betrayed, and the scenes which took place between them were painful, and at one time threatened to have a very tragic ending.
Fortunately, although she never ceased to cherish a very passionate affection for her lover, she refused to resume her old relations with him, and after many stormy scenes he departed for Italy, loading her with reproaches. Some months after his departure she came to me and told me she was afraid something had happened to him. She had heard him calling her outside her window, and shortly afterwards saw him quite distinctly in her room. She was much upset about it.
I pooh-poohed the story, and put it down to a hallucination caused by the revival of the stormy and painful scenes of the parting. Shortly afterwards she received news from Italy that her late husband, if we may so call him, had died about the same time she heard him calling her by her name under her window in East London.
I only learnt when the above was passing through the press that the unfortunate man, whose phantasm appeared to my friend, died suddenly either by his own hand or by accident. On leaving London he drank on steadily, hardly being sober for a single day. After a prolonged period of intoxication he went out of the house, and was subsequently found dead, either having thrown himself or fallen over a considerable height, at the foot of which he was found dead.
I asked Mrs. G. F.--to write out for me, as carefully as she could remember it after the lapse of two years, exactly what she saw and heard. Here is her report:--
"In the end of the summer of 1886 it happened one morning that Irwin and myself were awake at 5.30 a.m., and as we could not go to sleep again, we lay talking of our future possible happiness and present troubles. We were at the time sleeping in Room No. 16, Hotel Washington, overlooking the Bay of Naples. We agreed that nothing would force us to separate in this life--neither poverty nor persecution from his family, nor any other thing on earth. (I believed myself his wife then.) We each agreed that we would die together rather than separate. We spoke a great deal that morning about our views of what was or was not likely to be the condition of souls after death, and whether it was likely that spirits could communicate, by any transmitted feeling or apparition, the fact that they had died to their surviving friends. Finally, we made a solemn promise to each other that whichever of us died first would appear to the other after death if such was permitted.
"Well, after the fact of his being already married came to light, we parted. I left him, and he followed me to London on December '87. During his stay here I once asked if he had ever thought about our agreement as to who should die first appealing to the other; and he said, 'Oh, Georgie, you do not need to remind me; my spirit is a part of yours, and can never be separated nor dissolved even through all eternity; _no, not even_ though you treat me as you do; even though you became the wife of another you cannot divorce our spirits. And whenever my spirit leaves this earth I will appear to you.'
"Well, in the beginning of August '88 he left England for Naples; his last words were that I would never again see him; I should _see_ him, but not alive, for he would put an end to his life and heart-break. After that he never wrote to me; still I did not altogether think he would kill himself. On the 22nd or 23rd of the following November ('88), I posted a note to him at Sarno post office. No reply came, and I thought it might be he was not at Sarno, or was sick, or travelling, and so did not call at the post office, and so never dreamed of his being dead."
"Time went on and nothing occurred till November 27th (or I should say 28th, for it occurred at 12.30, or between 12 and 1 a.m., I forget the exact time). It was just at that period when I used to sit up night after night till 1, 2, and 3 o'clock a.m. at home doing the class books; on this occasion I was sitting close to the fire, with the table beside me, sorting cuttings. Looking up from the papers my eyes chanced to fall on the door, which stood about a foot and a half open, and right inside, but not so far in but that his clothes touched the edge of the door, stood Irwin; he was dressed as I last had seen him--overcoat, tall hat, and his arms were down by his sides in his natural, usual way. He stood in his exact own perfectly upright attitude, and held his head and face up in a sort of dignified way, which he used generally to adopt on all occasions of importance or during a controversy or dispute. He had his face turned towards me, and looked at me with a terribly meaning expression, very pale, and as if pained by being deprived of the power of speech or of local movements.
"I got a shocking fright, for I thought at first sight he was living, and had got in unknown to me to surprise me. I felt my heart jump with fright, and I said, 'Oh!' but before I had hardly finished the exclamation, his figure was fading way, and, horrible to relate, it faded in such a way that the flesh seemed to fade out of the clothes, or at all events the hat and coat were longer visible than the whole man. I turned white and cold, felt an awful dread; I was too much afraid to go near enough to shut the door when he had vanished. I was so shaken and confused, and half paralysed, I felt I could not even cry out; it was as if something had a grip on my spirit, I feared to stir, and sat up all night, fearing to take my eyes off the door, not daring to go and shut it. Later on I got an umbrella and walked tremblingly, and pushed the door close without fastening it. I feared to touch it with my hand. I felt such a relief when I saw daylight and heard the landlady moving about.
"Now, though I was frightened, I did not for a moment think he was dead, nor did it enter my mind then about our agreement. I tried to shake off the nervousness, and quite thought it must be something in my sight caused by imagination, and nerves being overdone by sitting up so late for so many nights together. Still, I thought it dreadfully strange, it was _so real_."
_A Ghost's Cough._
"Well, about three days passed, and then I was startled by hearing his voice outside my window, as plain as a voice could be, calling, 'Georgie! Are you there, Georgie?' I felt certain it was really him come back to England. I could not mistake his voice. I felt quite flurried, and ran out to the hall door, but no one in sight. I went back in, and felt rather upset and disappointed, for I would have been glad if he had come back again, and began to wish he really would turn up. I then thought to myself, 'Well, that was so queer. Oh, it _must_ be Irwin, and perhaps he is just hiding in some hall door to see if I _will_ go out and let him in, or what I will do. So out I went again. This time I put my hat on, and ran along and peeped into hall doors where he might be hiding, but with no result. Later on that night I could have sworn I heard him cough twice right at the window, as if he did it to attract attention. Out I went again. No result.
"Well, to make a long story short, from that night till about nine weeks after that voice called to me, and coughed, and coughed, sometimes every night for a week, then three nights a week, then miss a night and call on two nights, miss three or four days, and keep calling me the whole night long, on and off, up till 12 midnight or later. One time it would be, 'Georgie! It's _me_! Ah, Georgie!' Or, '_Georgie_, are you in? Will you _speak_ to Irwin?' Then a long pause, and at the end of, say, ten minutes, a most strange, unearthly _sigh_, or a cough--a perfectly intentional, forced cough, other times nothing but, 'Ah, Georgie!' On one night there was a dreadful fog. He called me so plain, I got up and said, 'Oh, really! that man _must_ be here; he must be lodging somewhere near, as sure as life; if he is not outside I must be going mad in my mind or imagination.' I went and stood outside the hall door steps in the thick black fog. No lights could be seen that night. I called out, 'Irwin! Irwin! here, come on. I _know_ you're there, trying to humbug me, I _saw_ you in _town_; come on in, and don't be making a fool of yourself.'
"Well, I declare to you, a voice that seemed _within three yards_ of me, replied out of the fog, 'It's _only Irwin_,' and a most awful, and great, and supernatural sort of sigh faded away in the distance. I went in, feeling quite unhinged and nervous, and could not sleep. After that night it was chiefly sighs and coughing, and it was kept up until one day, at the end of about nine weeks, my letter was returned marked, 'Signor O'Neill e morto,' together with a letter from the Consul to say he had died on November 28th, 1888, _the day on which he appeared to me_."
_The Question of Dates._
On inquiring as to dates and verification Mrs. F---- replied:--
"I don't know the _hour_ of his death, but if you write to Mr. Turner, Vice Consul, Naples, he can get it for you. He appeared to me at the hour I say; of course there is a difference of time between here and Naples. The strange part is that once I was informed of his death by human means (the letter), his spirit seemed to be satisfied, for no voice ever came again after; it was as if he wanted to inform and make me know he had died, and as if he _knew_ I had not been informed by human agency.
"I was so struck with the apparition of November 28th, that I made a note of the date at the time so as to tell him of it when next I wrote. My letter reached Sarno a day or two after he died. There is no possible doubt about the voice being his, for he had a peculiar and uncommon voice, one such as I never heard any exactly like, or like at all in any other person. And in life he used to call me through the window as he passed, so I would know who it was knocked at the door, and open it. When he said, '_Ah!_' after death, it was so awfully sad and long drawn out, and as if expressing that now all was over and our separation and his being dead was all so very, very pitiful and unutterable; the sigh was so real, so almost _solid_, and discernible and unmistakable, till at the end it seemed to have such a supernatural, strange, awful dying-away sound, a sort of fading, retreating into distance sound, that gave the impression that it was not _quite all_ spirit, but that the spirit had some sort of visible and half-material being or condition. This was especially so the night of the fog, when the voice seemed nearer to me as I stood there, and as if it was able to come or stay nearer to me because there _was_ a fog to hide its materialism. On each of the other occasions it seemed to keep a good deal further off than on that night, and always sounded as if at an elevation of about 10ft. or 11ft. from the ground, except the night of the fog, when it came down on a _level_ with me as well as nearer.
Lord Brougham's Testimony.
When we come to the question of the apparition pure and simple, one of the best-known leading cases is that recorded by Lord Brougham, who was certainly one of the hardest-headed persons that ever lived, a Lord Chancellor, trained from his youth up to weigh evidence. The story is given as follows in the first volume of "Lord Brougham's Memoirs":--
"A most remarkable thing happened to me, so remarkable that I must tell the story from the beginning. After I left the High School I went with G----, my most intimate friend, to attend the classes in the University. There was no divinity class, but we frequently in our walks discussed many grave subjects--among others, the immortality of the soul and a future state. This question, and the possibility of the dead appearing to the living, were subjects of much speculation, and we actually committed the folly of drawing up an agreement, written with our blood, to the effect that whichever of us died the first should appear to the other, and thus solve any doubts we had entertained of the 'life after death.'
"After we had finished our classes at the college, G---- went to India, having got an appointment there in the Civil Service. He seldom wrote to me, and after the lapse of a few years I had nearly forgotten his existence.... One day I had taken, as I have said, a warm bath; and, while lying in it and enjoying the comfort of the heat, I turned my head round, looking towards the chair on which I had deposited my clothes, as I was about to get out of the bath. On the chair sat G----, looking calmly at me. How I got out of the bath I know not; but on recovering my senses I found myself sprawling on the floor. The apparition, or whatever it was that had taken the likeness of G----, had disappeared.
"This vision had produced such a shock that I had no inclination to talk about it, or to speak about it even to Stewart, but the impression it made upon me was too vivid to be easily forgotten, and so strongly was I affected by it that I have here written down the whole history, with the date, December 19th, and all the particulars, as they are now fresh before me. No doubt I had fallen asleep, and that the appearance presented so distinctly before my eyes was a dream I cannot for a moment doubt; yet for years I had had no communication with G----, nor had there been anything to recall him to my recollection. Nothing had taken place concerning our Swedish travels connected with G----, or with India, or with anything relating to him, or to any member of his family. I recollected quickly enough our old discussion, and the bargain we had made. I could not discharge from my mind the impression that G---- must have died, and that his appearance to me was to be received by me as a proof of a future state. This was on December 19th, 1799.
"In October, 1862, Lord Brougham added as a postscript:--'I have just been copying out from my journal the account of this strange dream, "Certissima mortis imago!" And now to finish the story begun about sixty years since. Soon after my return to Edinburgh there arrived a letter from India announcing G----'s death, and stating that he died on December 19th.'"
_A Vow Fulfilled._
Very many of the apparitions of this description appear in connection with a promise made during lifetime to do so. A lady correspondent sends me the following narrative, which she declares she had from the sister of a student at the Royal Academy who was personally known to her. He told the story first to his mother, who is dead, so that all chance of verifying the story is impossible. It may be quoted, however, as a pendant to Lord Brougham's vision, and is much more remarkable than his, inasmuch as the phantom was seen by several persons at the same time:--
"I think it was about the year 1856 as nearly as I can remember, that a party of young men, students of the Royal Academy, and some of them members also, used to meet in a certain room in London, so many evenings in the week, to smoke and chat. One of them--the son of a colonel in the army, long since dead--this only son kept yet a remnant, if no more, of the faith of his childhood, cherished in him by his widowed mother with jealous care, as he detailed to her from time to time fragments of the nightly discussions against the immortality of the soul.
"On one particular evening the conversation drifted into theological matters--this young Academician taking up the positive side, and asserting his belief in a hereafter of weal or woe for all _human_ life.
"Two or three of the others endeavoured to put him down, but he, maintaining his position quietly, provoked a suggestion, half in earnest and half in jest, from one of their number, that the first among them who should die, should appear to the rest of their assembly afterwards in that room at the usual hour of meeting. The suggestion was received with jests and laughter by some, and with graver faces by others--but at last each man solemnly entered into a pledge that if he were the first to die amongst them, he would, if permitted, return for a few brief seconds to this earth and appear to the rest to certify to the truth.
"Before very long one young man's place was empty. No mention being made of the vow that they had taken, probably time enough had elapsed for it to have been more or less, for the present, forgotten.
"The meetings continued. One evening when they were sitting smoking round the fire, one of the party uttered an exclamation, causing the rest to look up. Following the direction of his gaze, each man saw distinctly for himself a _shadowy_ figure, in the likeness of the only absent one of their number, distinctly facing them on the other side of the room. The eyes looked earnestly, with a yearning, sad expression in them, slowly upon each member there assembled, and then vanished as a rainbow fades out of existence from the evening sky.
"For a few seconds no one spoke, then the most confirmed unbeliever among them tried to explain it all away, but his words fell flat, and no one echoed his sentiments; and then the widow's son spoke. 'Poor ---- is dead' he said, 'and has appeared to us according to his vow.' Then followed a comparison of their sensations during the visitation, and all agreed in stating that they felt a cold chill similar to the entrance of a winter fog at door or window of a room which has been warm, and when the appearance had faded from their view the cold breath also passed away.
"I _think_, but will not be positive on _this_, the son of the widow lady died long after this event, but how long or how short a time I never heard; but the facts of the above story were told me by the sister of this young man. I also knew their mother well. She was of a gentle, placid disposition, by no means excitable or likely to credit any superstitious tales. Her son returned home on that memorable evening looking very white and subdued, and, sinking into a chair, he told her he should never doubt again the truths that she had taught him, and a little reluctantly he told her the above, bit by bit, as it were, as she drew it from him."
A similar story to the foregoing one was supplied me by the wife of the Rev. Bloomfield James, Congregational minister at Wimbledon. (1891). It is as follows:--
"My mother, aunt, and Miss E., of Bideford, North Devon, were at school together at Teignmouth. The two latter girls formed a great friendship, and promised whichever died first would come to the other. About the year 1815 or 1816 my aunt Charlotte was on the stair coming from her room when she saw Miss E. walking up. Aunt was not at all frightened, as she was expecting her friend on a visit, and called out, 'Oh, how glad I am to see you, but why did you not write!' A few days afterwards news came of Miss E.'s death on that evening."
It is very rare that the apparition speaks; usually it simply appears, and leaves those who see it to draw their own inferences. But sometimes the apparition shows signs of the wound which caused its death. The most remarkable case of this description is that in which Lieutenant Colt, of the Fusiliers, reported his death at Sebastopol to his brother in Scotland more than a fortnight before the news of the casualty arrived in this country.
_The Case of Lieutenant Colt._
Captain G. F. Russell Colt, of Gartsherrie, Coatbridge, N.B., reports the case as follows to the Psychical Society (Vol. i. page 125):--
"I had a very dear brother (my eldest brother), Oliver, lieutenant in the 7th Royal Fusiliers. He was about nineteen years old, and had at that time been some months before Sebastopol. I corresponded frequently with him, and once when he wrote in low spirits, not being well, I said in answer that he was to cheer up, but that if anything did happen to him he was to let me know by appearing to me in my room. This letter, I found subsequently, he received as he was starting to receive the sacrament from a clergyman who has since related the fact to me.
"Having done this he went to the entrenchments and never returned, as in a few hours afterwards the storming of the Redan commenced. He, on the captain of his company falling, took his place and led his men bravely on. He had just led them within the walls, though already wounded in several places, when a bullet struck him in the right temple and he fell amongst heaps of others, where he was found in a sort of kneeling posture (being propped up by the other dead bodies) thirty-six hours afterwards. His death took place, or rather he fell, though he may not have died immediately, on September 8th, 1855.
"That night I awoke suddenly and saw facing the window of my room by my bedside, surrounded by a light sort of phosphorescent mist, as it were, my brother kneeling. I tried to speak but could not. I buried my head in the bedclothes, not at all afraid (because we had all been brought up not to believe in ghosts and apparitions), but simply to collect my ideas, because I had not been thinking or dreaming of him, and indeed had forgotten all about what I had written to him a fortnight before. I decided that it must be fancy and the moonlight playing on a towel, or something out of place; but on looking up again there he was, looking lovingly, imploringly, and sadly at me. I tried again to speak, but found myself tongue-tied. I could not utter a sound. I sprang out of bed, glanced through the window, and saw that there was no moon, but it was very dark and raining hard, by the sound against the panes. I turned and still saw poor Oliver. I shut my eyes, walked through it, and reached the door of the room. As I turned the handle, before leaving the room, I looked once more back. The apparition turned round his head slowly, and again looked anxiously and lovingly at me, and I saw then for the first time a wound on the right temple with a red stream from it. His face was of a waxy pale tint, but transparent looking, and so was the reddish mark. But it was almost impossible to describe his appearance. I only know I shall never forget it. I left the room and went into a friend's room, and lay on the sofa the rest of the night. I told him why, I also told others in the house, but when I told my father he ordered me not to repeat such nonsense, and especially not to let my mother know.
"On the Monday following I received a note from Sir Alexander Milne to say that the Redan was stormed, but no particulars. I told my friend to let me know if he saw the name among the killed and wounded before me. About a fortnight later he came to my bedroom in his mother's house in Athole Crescent in Edinburgh, with a very grave face. I said, 'I suppose it is to tell me the sad news I expect,' and he said, 'Yes.' Both the colonel of the regiment and one or two officers who saw the body confirmed the fact that the appearance was much according to my description, and the death-wound was exactly where I had seen it. His appearance, if so, must have been some hours after death, as he appeared to me a few minutes after two in the morning.
"Months later his little Prayer-book and the letter I had written to him were returned to Inveresk, found in the inner breast pocket of the tunic which he wore at his death. I have them now."
SOME HISTORICAL GHOSTS.
The following collection presents a list of names--more or less well known--with which ghost stories of some kind are associated. The authority for these stories, though in many cases good, is so varied in quality that they are not offered as evidential of anything except the wide diversity of the circles in which such things find acceptance.
Henry IV., of France, told d'Aubigné (see d'Aubigné Histoire Universelle) that in presence of himself, the Archbishop of Lyons, and three ladies of the Court, the Queen (Margaret of Valois) saw the apparition of a certain cardinal afterwards found to have died at the moment. Also he (Henry IV.) was warned of his approaching end, not long before he was murdered by Ravaillac, by meeting an apparition in a thicket in Fontainebleau. ("Sully's Memoirs.")
Abel the Fratricide, King of Denmark was buried in unconsecrated ground, and still haunts the wood of Poole, near the city of Sleswig.
Valdemar IV. haunts Gurre Wood, near Elsinore.
Charles XI., of Sweden, accompanied by his chamberlain and state physician, witnessed the trial of the assassin of Gustavus III., which occurred nearly a century later.
James IV., of Scotland, after vespers in the chapel at Linlithgow, was warned by an apparition against his intended expedition into England. He, however, proceeded, and was warned again at Jedburgh, but, persisting, fell at Flodden Field.
Charles I., of England, when resting at Daventree on the Eve of the battle of Naseby, was twice visited by the apparition of Strafford, warning him not to meet the Parliamentary Army, then quartered at Northampton. Being persuaded by Prince Rupert to disregard the warning, the King set off to march northward, but was surprised on the route, and a disastrous defeat followed.
Orleans, Duke of, brother of Louis XIV., called his eldest son (afterwards Regent) by his second title, Duc de Chartres, in preference to the more usual one of Duc de Valois. This change is said to have been in consequence of a communication made before his birth by the apparition of his father's first wife, Henrietta of England, reported to have been poisoned.
Elizabeth, Queen is said to have been warned of her death by the apparition of her own double. (So, too, Sir Robert Napier and Lady Diana Rich.)
Catherine de Medicis saw, in a vision, the battle of Jarnac, and cried out, "Do you not see the Prince of Condé dead in the hedge?" This and many similar stories are told by Margaret of Valois in her Memoirs.
Philippa, Wife of the Duke of Lorraine, when a girl in a convent, saw in vision the battle of Pavia, then in progress, and the captivity of the king her cousin, and called on the nuns about her to pray.
Joan of Arc was visited and directed by various Saints, including the Archangel Michael, S. Catherine, S. Margaret, etc.
Erskine, Lord, himself relates (Lady Morgan's "Book of the Boudoir," 1829, vol. i. 123) that the spectre of his father's butler, whom he did not know to be dead, appeared to him in broad daylight, "to meet your honour," so it explained, "and to solicit your interference with my lord to recover a sum due to me which the steward at the last settlement did not pay," which proved to be the fact.
Buckingham, Duke of, was exhorted to amendment and warned of approaching assassination by apparition of his father, Sir George Villiers, who was seen by Mr. Towers, surveyor of works at Windsor. All occurred as foretold.
Castlereagh, Lord (who succeeded the above as Foreign Secretary), when a young man, quartered with his regiment in Ireland, saw the apparition of "The Radiant Boy," said to be an omen of good. Sir Walter Scott speaks of him as one of two persons "of sense and credibility, who both attested supernatural appearances on their own evidence."
Peel, Sir Robert, and his brother, both saw Lord Byron in London in 1810, while he was, in fact, lying dangerously ill at Patras. During the same fever, he also appeared to others, and was even seen to write down his name among the inquirers after the King's health.
Trajan, Emperor, was extricated from Antioch during an earthquake, by a spectre which drove him out of a window. (Dio Cassius, lib. lxviii.)
Caracalla, Emperor, was visited by the ghost of his father Severus.
Julian the Apostate, Emperor, (1) when hesitating to accept the Empire, saw a female figure, "The Genius of the Empire," who said she would remain with him, but not for long. (2) Shortly before his death, he saw his genius leave him with a dejected air. (3) He saw a phantom prognosticating the death of the Emperor Constans. (See S. Basil.)
Theodosius, Emperor, when on the eve of a battle, was reassured of the issue by the apparition of two men; also seen independently by one of his soldiers.
Curtius Rufus (pro-consul of Africa) is reported by Pliny to have been visited, while still young and unknown, by a gigantic female--the Genius of Africa--who foretold his career. (Pliny, b. vii. letter 26.)
Julius Cæsar was marshalled across the Rubicon by a spectre, which seized a trumpet from one of the soldiers and sounded an alarm.
Xerxes, after giving up the idea of carrying war into Greece, was persuaded to the expedition by the apparition of a young man, who also visited Artabanus, uncle to the king, when, upon Xerxes' request, Artabanus assumed his robe and occupied his place. (Herodotus, vii.)
Brutus was visited by a spectre, supposed to be that of Julius Cæsar, who announced that they would meet again at Philippi, where he was defeated in battle, and put an end to his own life.
Drusus, when seeking to cross the Elbe, was deterred by a female spectre, who told him to turn back and meet his approaching end. He died before reaching the Rhine.
Pausanius, General of the Lacedæmonians, inadvertently caused the death of a young lady of good family, who haunted him day and night, urging him to give himself up to justice. (Plutarch in Simone.)
Dio, General, of Syracuse, saw a female apparition sweeping furiously in his house, to denote that his family would shortly be swept out of Syracuse, which, through various accidents was shortly the case.
Napoleon, at S. Helena, saw and conversed with the apparition of Josephine, who warned him of his approaching death. The story is narrated by Count Montholon, to whom he told it.
Blucher, on the very day of his decease, related to the King of Prussia that he had been warned by the apparition of his entire family, of his approaching end.
Fox, General, went to Flanders with the Duke of York shortly before the birth of his son. Two years later he had a vision of the child--dead--and correctly described its appearance and surroundings, though the death occurred in a house unknown to him.
Garfield, General, when a child of six or seven, saw and conversed with his father, lately deceased. He also had a premonition, which proved correct, as to the date of his death--the anniversary of the battle of Wickmauga, in which he took a brave part.
Lincoln, President, had a certain premonitory dream which occurred three times in relation to important battles, and the fourth on the eve of his assassination.
Coligni, Admiral, was three times warned to quit Paris before the Feast of St. Bartholemew but disregarded the premonition and perished in the Massacre (1572).
_Men of Letters._
Petrarch saw the apparition of the bishop of his diocese at the moment of death.
Epimenides, a poet contemporary with Salon, is reported by Plutarch to have quitted his body at will and to have conversed with spirits.
Dante, Jacopo, son of the poet, was visited in a dream by his father, who conversed with him and told him where to find the missing thirteen cantos of the Commedia.
Tasso saw and conversed with beings invisible to those about him.
Goethe saw his own double riding by his side under conditions which really occurred years later. His father, mother, and grandmother were all ghost-seers.
Donne, Dr., when in Paris, saw the apparition of his wife in London carrying a dead child at the very hour a dead infant was in fact born.
Byron, Lord is said to have seen the Black Friar of Newstead on the eve of his ill-fated marriage. Also, with others, he saw the apparition of Shelley walk into a wood at Lerici, though they knew him at the time to be several miles away.
Shelley, while in a state of trance, saw a figure wrapped in a cloak which beckoned to him and asked, Siete soddisfatto?--are you satisfied?
Benvenuto Cellini, when in captivity at Rome by order of the Pope, was dissuaded from suicide by the apparition of a young man who frequently visited and encouraged him.
Mozart was visited by a mysterious person who ordered him to compose a Requiem, and came frequently to inquire after its progress, but disappeared on its completion, which occurred just in time for its performance at Mozart's own funeral.
Ben Jonson, when staying at Sir Robert Cotton's house, was visited by the apparition of his eldest son with a mark of a bloody cross upon his forehead at the moment of his death by the plague. He himself told the story to Drummond of Hawthornden.
Thackeray, W. M. writes, "It is all very well for you who have probably never seen spirit manifestations, to talk as you do, but had you seen what I have witnessed you would hold a different opinion."
Mrs. Browning's spirit appeared to her sister with warning of death. Robert Browning writes, Tuesday, July 21st, 1863, "Arabel (Miss Barrett) told me yesterday that she had been much agitated by a dream which happened the night before--Sunday, July 19th. She saw _her_, and asked, When shall I be with you? The reply was, Dearest, in five years, where upon Arabel awoke. She knew in her dream that it was not to the living she spoke." In five years, within a month of their completion, Miss Barrett died, and Browning writes, "I had forgotten the date of the dream, and supposed it was only three years, and that two had still to run."
Hall, Bishop, and his brother, when at Cambridge each had a vision of their mother looking sadly at them, and saying she would not be able to keep her promise of visiting them. She died at the time.
Dr. Guthrie was directed, by repeated pullings at his coat, to go in a certain direction, contrary to previous intention, and was thus the means of saving the life of a parishioner.
Miller, Hugh, tells, in his "Schools and Schoolmasters," of the apparition of a bloody hand, seen by himself and the servant but not by others present. Accepted as a warning of the death of his father.
Porter, Anna Maria, when living at Esher, was visited one afternoon by an old gentleman--a neighbour, who frequently came in to tea. On this occasion he left the room without speaking, and fearing that something had happened she sent to inquire, and found that he had died at the moment of his appearance.
Edgworth, Maria, was waiting with her family for an expected guest, when the vacant chair was suddenly occupied by the apparition of a sailor cousin, who stated that his ship had been wrecked and he alone saved. The event proved the contrary--he alone was drowned.
Marryat, Captain--the story is told by his daughter--while staying in a country-house in the North of England saw the family ghost--an ancestress of the time of Queen Elizabeth who had poisoned her husband. He tried to shoot her, but the ball passed harmlessly into the door behind, and the lady faded away--always smiling.
De Stael, Madame, was haunted by the spirit of her father, who counselled and helped her in all times of need.
L.E.L.'s ghost was seen by Dr. Madden in the room in which she died at Cape Coast Castle.
De Morgan, Professor, writes: "I am perfectly convinced that I have both seen and heard, in a manner that should make unbelief impossible, things called spiritual which cannot be taken by a rational being to be capable of explanation by imposture, coincidence, or mistake."
Foote, Samuel, in the year 1740, while visiting at his father's house in Truro, was kept awake by sounds of sweet music. His uncle was about the same time murdered by assassins.
_Men of Science._
Davy, Sir Humphrey, when a young man, suffering from yellow fever on the Gold Coast, was comforted by visions of his guardian angel, who, years after, appeared to him again--incarnate--in the person of his nurse during his last illness.
Harvey, William, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, used to relate that his life was saved by a dream. When a young man he was proceeding to Padua, when he was detained--with no reason alleged--by the governor at Dover. The ship was wrecked, and all on board lost, and it was then explained that the governor had received orders--in a dream--to prevent a person, to whose description Harvey answered, from going on board that night.
Farquhar, Sir Walter, physician (made a baronet in 1796), visited a patient at Pomeroy Castle. While waiting alone a lady appeared to him, exhibiting agony and remorse (who proved to be the family ghost) prognosticating, the death of the patient, which followed.
Clark, Sir James, Wife of, while living in their house in Brook Street, saw the apparition of her son, Dr. J. Clark, then in India, carrying a dead baby wrapped in an Indian shawl. Shortly afterwards, he did, in fact, send home the body of a child for interment, which had died at the hour noted, to fill up the coffin it was wrapped up in an Indian scarf.
Herbert of Cherbury, Lord, one of the first to systematise deism, when in doubt whether he should publish his "De Veritate," as advised by Grotius, prayed for a sign, and heard sounds "like nothing on earth, which did so comfort and cheer me, that I took my petition as granted."
Bacon, Francis, was warned in a dream of his father's approaching end, which occurred in a few days.
Luther, Martin, was visited by apparitions,--one, according to Melancthon, who announced his coming by knocking at the door.
Melancthon says that the apparition of a venerable person came to him in his study and told him to warn his friend Grynaeus to escape at once from the danger of the Inquisition, a warning which saved his life.
Zwingli was visited by an apparition "with a perversion of a text of Scripture."
Oberlin, Pastor, was visited almost daily by his deceased wife, who conversed with him, and was visible not only to himself, but to all about him.
Fox, George, while walking on Pendle Hill, Yorkshire, saw his future converts coming towards him "along a river-side, to serve the Lord."
Newman, Cardinal, relates in a letter, Jan. 3rd, 1833, that when in quarantine in Malta, he and his companions heard footsteps not to be accounted for by human agency.
Wilberforce, Bishop, experienced remarkable premonitions, and phenomena even more startling are attributed to him.
Saints.--The stories of visions, apparitions, etc. which are told in connection with the Saints are far too numerous to quote. The following, however, may be referred to as of special interest:--(1) _Phantasms of the Living._--St. Ignatius Loyala, Gennadius (the friend of St. Augustine), St. Augustine himself, twice over (he tells the story himself, Serm. 233), St. Benedict and St. Meletius, all appeared during life in places distant from their actual bodily whereabouts. (2) _Phantasms of the Dead._--St. Anselm saw the slain body of William Rufus, St. Basil that of Julian the Apostate, St. Benedict the ascent to heaven of the soul of St. Germanus, bishop of Capua--all at the moment of death. St. Augustine and St. Edmund, Archbishops of Canterbury, are said to have conversed with spirits. St. Ambrose and St. Martin of Tours received information concerning relics from the original owners of the remains. (3) _Premonitions._--St. Cyprian and St. Columba each foretold the date and manner of his own death as revealed in visions.
Harcourt, Countess when Lady Nuneham, mentioned one morning having had an agitating dream, but was met with ridicule. Later in the day Lord Harcourt--her husband's father--was missing. She exclaimed, "Look in the well," and fainted away. He was found there with a dog, which he had been trying to save.
Aksakoff, Mme., wife of Chancellor Aksakoff, on the night of May 12th, 1855, saw the apparition of her brother, who died at the time. The story is one very elaborate as to detail.
Rich, Lady Diana, was warned of her death by a vision of her own double in the avenue of Holland House.
Breadalbane, May, Lady, her sister (both daughters of Lord Holland), was also warned in vision of her death.
The Daughter of Sir Charles Lee.--This story, related by the Bishop of Gloucester, 1662, is very well known. On the eve of her intended marriage with Sir W. Perkins, she was visited by her mother's spirit, announcing her approaching death at twelve o'clock next day. She occupied the intervening time with suitable preparations, and died calmly at the hour foretold.
Beresford, Lady, wife of Sir Tristam, before her marriage in 1687, made a secret engagement with Lord Tyrone, that which ever should die first would appear to the other. He fulfilled his promise on October 15th, 1693, and warned her of her death on her forty-eighth birthday. All was kept secret, but after the fated day had passed, she married a second time, and appeared to enter on a new lease of life. Two years later, when celebrating her birthday, she accidentally discovered that she was two years younger than had been supposed, and expired before night. The story is one of the best known and most interesting in ghost-lore.
Fanshawe, Lady, when visiting in Ireland, heard the banshee of the family with whom she was visiting, one of whom did in fact die during the night. She also relates (in her "Memoirs," p. 28) that her mother once lay as dead for two days and a night. On her return to life she informed those about her that she had asked of two apparitions, dressed in long, white garments, for leave, like Hezekiah, to live for fifteen years, to see her daughter grow up, and that it was granted. She died in fifteen years from that time.
Maidstone, Lady, saw a fly of fire as premonitory of the deaths--first, of her husband, who died in a sea-fight with the Dutch, May 28th, 1672, and second, of her mother-in-law, Lady Winchilsea.
Chedworth, Lord, was visited by a friend and fellow-sceptic, saying he had died that night and had realised the existence of another world. While relating the vision the news arrived of his friend's death.
Rambouillet, Marquis of, had just the same experience. A fellow-unbeliever, his cousin, the Marquis de Précy, visited him in Paris, saying that he had been killed in battle in Flanders, and predicting his cousin's death in action, which shortly occurred in the battle of the Faubourg St. Antoine. (Quoted by Calmet from "Causes Célebres," xi. 370.)
Lyttleton, Lord (third), died Nov. 27th, 1799, was warned of his death three days earlier, and exhorted to repentance. The story, very widely quoted, first appears in the _Gentleman's Magazine_, vol. lxxxv. 597. He also himself appeared to Mr. Andrews, at Dartford Mills, who was expecting a visit from him at the time.
Middleton, Lord, was taken prisoner by the Roundheads after the battle of Worcester. While in prison he was comforted by the apparition of the laird Bocconi, whom he had known while trying to make a party for the king in Scotland, and who assured him of his escape in two days, which occurred.
Balcarres, Lord, when confined in Edinburgh Castle on suspicion of Jacobitism, was visited by the apparition of Viscount Dundee--shot at that moment at Killiecrankie.
Holland, Lord (the first), who was taken prisoner at the battle of St. Neot's in 1624, is said still to haunt Holland House, dressed in the cap and clothes in which he was executed.
Montgomery, Count of, was warned by an apparition to flee from Paris, and thus escaped the Massacre of St. Bartholemew. (See Coligni.)
Shelburne, Lord, eldest son of the Marquis of Lansdowne, is said, in Mrs. Schimmelpenninck's Memoirs, to have had, when five years old, a premonitory vision of his own funeral, with full details as to stoppages, etc. Dr. Priestley was sent for, and treated the child for slight fever. When about to visit his patient (whom he expected to find recovered) a few days later, he met the child running bare-headed in the snow. When he approached to rebuke him the figure disappeared, and he found that the boy had died at the moment. The funeral was arranged by the father--then at a distance--exactly in accordance with the premonition.
Eglinton, Lord, was three times warned of his death by the apparition of the family ghost, the Bodach Glas--the dark-grey man. The last appearance was when he was playing golf on the links at St. Andrews, October 4th, 1861. He died before night.
Cornwall, the Duke of, in 1100, saw the spectre of William Rufus pierced by an arrow and dragged by the devil in the form of a buck, on the same day that he was killed. (Story told in the "Chronicle of Matthew Paris.")
Chesterfield, Earl of (second), in 1652, saw, on waking, a spectre with long white robes and black face. Accepting it as intimation of some illness of his wife, then visiting her father at Networth, he set off early to inquire, and met a servant with a letter from Lady Chesterfield, describing the same apparition.
Mohun, Lord, killed in a duel in Chelsea Fields, appeared at the moment of his death, in 1642, to a lady in James's Street, Covent Garden, and also to the sister (and her maid) of Glanvil (author of "Sadducismus Triumphatus").
Swifte, Edmund Lenthal, keeper of the Crown jewels from 1814, himself relates (in Notes and Queries, 1860, p. 192) the appearance, in Anne Boleyn's chamber in the Tower, of "a cylindrical figure like a glass tube, hovering between the table and the ceiling"--visible to himself and his wife, but not to others present.
W Mate & Sons (1919) Ltd., Bournemouth.