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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 Death Warning._

A much more painful story and far more detailed is contained in the fifth volume of the "Proceedings of the Psychical Research Society," on the authority of C. F. Fleet, of 26, Grosvenor Road, Gainsborough. He swears to the authenticity of the facts. The detailed story is full of the tragic fascination which attaches to the struggle of a brave man, repeatedly warned of his coming death, struggling in vain to avert the event which was to prove fatal, and ultimately perishing within the sight of those to whom he had revealed the vision. The story in brief is as follows: Mr. Fleet was third mate on the sailing ship _Persian Empire_, which left Adelaide for London in 1868. One of the crew, Cleary by name, dreamed before starting that on Christmas morning, as the _Persian Empire_ was passing Cape Horn in a heavy gale, he was ordered, with the rest of his watch, to secure a boat hanging in davits over the side. He and another got into the boat, when a fearful sea broke over the ship, washing them both out of the boat into the sea, where they were both drowned. The dream made such an impression upon him that he was most reluctant to join the ship, but he overcame his scruples and sailed. On Christmas Eve, when they were nearing Cape Horn, Cleary had a repetition of his dream, exact in all particulars. He uttered a terrible cry, and kept muttering, "I know it will come true." On Christmas Day, exactly as he had foreseen, Cleary and the rest of the watch were ordered to secure a boat hanging in the davits. Cleary flatly refused. He said he refused because he knew he would be drowned, that all the circumstances of his dream had come true up to that moment, and if he went into that boat he would die. He was taken below to the captain, and his refusal to discharge duty was entered in the log. Then the chief officer, Douglas, took the pen to sign his name. Cleary suddenly looked at him and exclaimed, "I will go to my duty for now I know the other man in my dream." He told Douglas, as they were on deck, of his dream. They got into the boat, and when they were all making tight a heavy sea struck the vessel with such force that the crew would have been washed overboard had they not clung to the mast. The boat was turned over, and Douglas and Cleary were flung into the sea. They swam for a little time, and then went down. It was just three months after he had dreamed of it before leaving Adelaide.

Here we have inexorable destiny fulfilling itself in spite of the struggles of its destined victim. It reminds me of a well-known Oriental story, which tells how a friend who was with Solomon saw the Angel of Death looking at him very intently. On learning from Solomon whom the strange visitor was, he felt very uncomfortable under his gaze, and asked Solomon to transport him on his magic carpet to Damascus. No sooner said than done. Then said the Angel of Death to Solomon, "The reason why I looked so intently at your friend was because I had orders to take him at Damascus, and, behold, I found him at Jerusalem. Now, therefore, that he has transported himself thither I shall be able to obey my orders."

_A Life Saved by a Dream._

The Rev. Alexander Stewart, LL.D., F.S.A., etc., Nether Lochaber, sends me the following instance of a profitable premonition:--