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REAL GHOST STORIES (Collected and Edited by William T. Stead) online

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


"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.)