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REAL GHOST STORIES (Collected and Edited by William T. Stead) online
Chapter II. Tragic Happenings Seen in Dreams.
"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 _minutiŠ_) 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.