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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead

Chapter II. Warnings Given in Dreams.

_A Dream of Death._

His other dream was more curious. An acquaintance of his in India was compelled to return home on furlough on account of the ill-health of his wife, and he agreed to let his bungalow to Mr. T. One morning Mr. T. woke up and told his wife of what he had dreamt. He had gone to Lucknow railway station to take possession of Mr. C's. bungalow, but when stepping on the platform the stationmaster had told him that Mr. C. was dead, and that he hoped it would not make any difficulties about the bungalow. So deeply impressed was he with the dream that he telegraphed to his friend C. to ask when he was going to start for England, feeling by no means sure that the reply telegram might not announce that he was dead. The telegram, however, came back in due course. Mr. C. stated that he was going to leave on such and such a date. Reassured, therefore, Mr. T. dismissed the idea of the dream as a subjective delusion. At the appointed time he departed for Lucknow. When he alighted he was struck by the strange resemblance of the scene to that in his dream, and this was further recalled to his mind when the stationmaster came up to him and said, not that Mr. C. was dead but that he was seriously ill, and that he hoped it would not make any difference about the bungalow. Mr. T. began to be uneasy. The next morning, when he entered the office, his chief said to him, "You will be very sorry to hear that Mr. C. died last night." Mr. T. has never had any other hallucinations, nor has he any theory to account for his dreams. All that he knows is that they occurred, and that in both cases what he saw was realised--in one case to the very letter, and in the other with a curious deviation which adds strong confirmatory evidence to the _bonā fides_ of the narrator. Both stories are capable of ample verification if sufficient trouble were taken, as the telegram in one case could be traced, the death proved, and in the other the receipt might probably be found.

Dreams which give timely notice of coming accidents are, unfortunately, quite as often useless as they are efficacious for the protection of those to whom they are sent. Mr. Kendall, from whose psychical diary I have often quoted, sends me the following story of a dream which occurred, but which failed to save the dreamer's leg, although he struggled against it, and did his best to avert his evil fate:--

"Taking tea at a friend's house in the road where I live, I met with the Rev. Mr. Johnson, superintendent of the South Shields Circuit among the Primitive Methodists. He spoke with great confidence of the authenticity of a remarkable dream which he related. He used to reside at Shipley, near Bradford. His class-leader there had lost a leg, and he had heard direct from himself the circumstances under which the loss took place and the dream that accompanied. This class-leader was a blacksmith at a manufacturing mill which was driven by a water-wheel. He knew the wheel to be out of repair, when one night he dreamed that at the close of the day's work the manager detained him to repair it, that his foot slipped and became entangled between the two wheels, and was injured and afterwards amputated. In consequence he told his wife the dream in the morning, and made up his mind to be out of the way that evening, if he was wanted to repair the wheel. During the day the manager announced that the wheel must be repaired when the workpeople left that evening, but the blacksmith determined to make himself scarce before the hour arrived. He fled to a wood in the vicinity, and thought to hide himself there in its recesses. He came to a spot where some timber lay which belonged to the mill, and detected a lad stealing some pieces of wood from the heap. He pursued him in order to rescue the stolen property, became excited, and forgot all about his resolution. He found himself ere he was aware of it back at the mill just as the workpeople were being dismissed. He could not escape, and as he was principal smith he had to go upon the wheel, but he resolved to be very careful. In spite of his care, however, his foot slipped and got entangled between the two wheels just as he had dreamed. It was crushed so badly that he had to be carried to the Bradford Infirmary, where the leg was amputated above the knee. The premonitory dream was thus fulfilled throughout."