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

REAL GHOST STORIES by William T. Stead

Chapter III. Premonitory Warnings.

Like to this story, in so far as it records her avoidance of an accident by the warning of a dream, but fortunately not resembling it in its more ghostly detail, is the story told in Mrs. Sidgwick's paper on the Evidence for Premonitions, on the authority of Mrs. Raey, of 99, Holland Road, Kensington. She dreamed that she was driving from Mortlake to Roehampton. She was upset in her carriage close to her sister's house. She forgot about her dream, and drove in her carriage from Mortlake to her sister's house. But just as they were driving up the lane the horse became very restive. Three times the groom had to get down to see what was the matter, but the third time the dream suddenly occurred to her memory. She got out and insisted on walking to the house. He drove off by himself, the horse became unmanageable, and in a few moments she came upon carriage, horse, and groom, all in a confused mass, just as she had seen the night before, but not in the same spot. But for the dream she would certainly not have alighted from the carriage.

_The Visions of an Engine-Driver._

In the same paper there is an account of a remarkable series of dreams which occurred to Mr. J. W. Skelton, an American engine-driver, which were first published in Chicago in 1886. Six times his locomotive had been upset at high speed, and each time he had dreamed of it two nights before, and each time he had seen exactly the place and the side on which the engine turned over. The odd thing in his reminiscences is that on one occasion he dreamed that after he had been thrown off the line a person in white came down from the sky with a span of white horses and a black chariot, who picked him off the engine and drove him up to the sky in a south-easterly direction. In telling the story he says that every point was fulfilled excepting that--and he seems to regard it quite as a grievance--the chariot of his vision never arrived. On one occasion only his dream was not fulfilled, and in that case he believed the accident was averted solely through the extra precaution that he used in consequence of his vision.

_Wanted a Dream Diary._

Of premonitions, especially of premonitions in dreams, it is easy to have too much. The best antidote for an excessive surfeit of such things is to note them down when they occur. When you have noted down 100 dreams, and find that one has come true, you may effectively destroy the superstitious dread that is apt to be engendered by stories such as the foregoing. It would be one excellent result of the publication of this volume if all those who are scared about dreams and forebodings would take the trouble to keep a dream diary, noting the dream and the fulfilment or falsification following. By these means they can not only confound sceptics, who accuse them of prophesying after the event, but what is much more important, they can most speedily rid themselves of the preposterous delusion that all dreams alike, whether they issue from the ivory gate or the gate of horn, are equally to be held in reverence. A quantitative estimate of the value of dreams is one of those things for which psychical science still sighs in vain.

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