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REAL GHOST STORIES (Collected and Edited by William T. Stead) online
PART III. CLAIRVOYANCE--THE VISION OF THE OUT OF SIGHT.
_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----.