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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead


"'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.

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