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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead

Chapter II. Tragic Happenings Seen in Dreams.

"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.

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