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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts

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Author Topic: The Book of Dreams and Ghosts  (Read 551 times)
Apparition from Beyond the Veil
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« Reply #60 on: November 24, 2009, 01:24:19 pm »

THE DEATHBED
Miss C., a lady of excellent sense, religious but not bigoted, lived before her marriage in the house of her uncle D., a celebrated physician, and member of the Institute.  Her mother at this time was seriously ill in the country.  One night the girl dreamed that she saw her mother, pale and dying, and especially grieved at the absence of two of her children: one a curé in Spain, the other—herself—in Paris.  Next she heard her own Christian name called, “Charlotte!” and, in her dream, saw the people about her mother bring in her own little niece and god-child Charlotte from the next room.  The patient intimated by a sign that she did not want this Charlotte, but her daughter in Paris.  She displayed the deepest regret; her countenance changed, she fell back, and died.

Next day the melancholy of Mademoiselle C. attracted the attention of her uncle.  She told him her dream; he pressed her to his heart, and admitted that her mother was dead.

Some months later Mademoiselle C., when her uncle was absent, arranged his papers, which he did not like any one to touch.  Among these was a letter containing the story of her mother’s death, with all the details of her own dream, which D. had kept concealed lest they should impress her too painfully.

Boismont is staggered by this circumstance, and inclined to account for it by “still unknown relations in the moral and physical world”.  “Mental telegraphy,” of course, would explain all, and even chance coincidence is perfectly conceivable.

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Apparition from Beyond the Veil
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« Reply #61 on: November 24, 2009, 01:24:30 pm »

The most commonly known of dreams prior to, or simultaneous with an historical occurrence represented in the vision, is Mr. Williams’s dream of the murder of Mr. Perceval in the lobby of the House of Commons, May 11, 1812.  Mr. Williams, of Scorrier House, near Redruth, in Cornwall, lived till 1841.  He was interested in mines, and a man of substance.  Unluckily the versions of his dream are full of discrepancies.  It was first published, apparently, in The Times during the “silly season” of 1828 (August 28).  According to The Times, whose account is very minute, Mr. Williams dreamed of the murder thrice before 2 a.m. on the night of May 11.  He told Mrs. Williams, and was so disturbed that he rose and dressed at two in the morning.  He went to Falmouth next day (May 12), and told the tale to every one he knew.  On the evening of the 13th he told it to Mr. and Mrs. Tucker (his married daughter) of Tremanton Castle.  Mr. Williams only knew that the chancellor was shot; Mr. Tucker said it must be the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  From the description he recognised Mr. Perceval, with whom he was at enmity.  Mr. Williams had never been inside the House of Commons.  As they talked, Mr. William’s son galloped up from Truro with news of the murder, got from a traveller by coach.  Six weeks later, Mr. Williams went to town, and in the House of Commons walked up to and recognised the scene of the various incidents in the murder.

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Apparition from Beyond the Veil
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« Reply #62 on: November 24, 2009, 01:24:40 pm »

So far The Times, in 1828.  But two forms of a version of 1832 exist, one in a note to Mr. Walpole’s Life of Perceval (1874), “an attested statement, drawn up and signed by Mr. Williams in the presence of the Rev. Thomas Fisher and Mr. Charles Prideaux Brune”.  Mr. Brune gave it to Mr. Walpole.  With only verbal differences this variant corresponds to another signed by Mr. Williams and given by him to his grandson, who gave it to Mr. Perceval’s great-niece, by whom it was lent to the Society for Psychical Research.

These accounts differ toto cœlo from that in The Times of 1828.  The dream is not of May 11, but “about” May 2 or 3.  Mr. Williams is not a stranger to the House of Commons; it is “a place well known to me”.  He is not ignorant of the name of the victim, but “understood that it was Mr. Perceval”.  He thinks of going to town to give warning.  We hear nothing of Mr. Tucker.  Mr. Williams does not verify his dream in the House, but from a drawing.  A Mr. C. R. Fox, son of one to whom the dream was told before the event, was then a boy of fourteen, and sixty-one years later was sure that he himself heard of Mr. Williams’s dream before the news of the murder arrived.  After sixty years, however, the memory cannot be relied upon.

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Apparition from Beyond the Veil
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« Reply #63 on: November 24, 2009, 01:24:49 pm »

One very curious circumstance in connection with the assassination of Mr. Perceval has never been noticed.  A rumour or report of the deed reached Bude Kirk, a village near Annan, on the night of Sunday, May 10, a day before the crime was committed!  This was stated in the Dumfries and Galloway Courier, and copied in The Times of May 25.  On May 28, the Perth Courier quotes the Dumfries paper, and adds that “the Rev. Mr. Yorstoun, minister of Hoddam (ob. 1833), has visited Bude Kirk and has obtained the most satisfactory proof of the rumour having existed” on May 10, but the rumour cannot be traced to its source.  Mr. Yorstoun authorises the mention of his name.  The Times of June 2 says that “the report is without foundation”.  If Williams talked everywhere of his dream, on May 3, some garbled shape of it may conceivably have floated to Bude Kirk by May 10, and originated the rumour.  Whoever started it would keep quiet when the real news arrived for fear of being implicated in a conspiracy as accessory before the fact.  No trace of Mr. Williams’s dream occurs in the contemporary London papers.

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« Reply #64 on: November 24, 2009, 01:24:58 pm »

The best version of the dream to follow is probably that signed by Mr. Williams himself in 1832. {39a}

It may, of course, be argued by people who accept Mr. Williams’s dream as a revelation of the future that it reached his mind from the purpose conceived in Bellingham’s mind, by way of “mental telegraphy”. {39b}

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« Reply #65 on: November 24, 2009, 01:25:18 pm »

DREAM OF MR.  PERCEVAL’S MURDER
“SUNDHILL, December, 1832.

“[Some account of a dream which occurred to John Williams, Esq., of Scorrier House, in the county of Cornwall, in the year 1812.  Taken from his own mouth, and narrated by him at various times to several of his friends.]

“Being desired to write out the particulars of a remarkable dream which I had in the year 1812, before I do so I think it may be proper for me to say that at that time my attention was fully occupied with affairs of my own—the superintendence of some very extensive mines in Cornwall being entrusted to me.  Thus I had no leisure to pay any attention to political matters, and hardly knew at that time who formed the administration of the country.  It was, therefore, scarcely possible that my own interest in the subject should have had any share in suggesting the circumstances which presented themselves to my imagination.  It was, in truth, a subject which never occurred to my waking thoughts.

“My dream was as follows:—

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« Reply #66 on: November 24, 2009, 01:25:29 pm »

“About the second or third day of May, 1812, I dreamed that I was in the lobby of the House of Commons (a place well known to me).  A small man, dressed in a blue coat and a white waistcoat, entered, and immediately I saw a person whom I had observed on my first entrance, dressed in a snuff-coloured coat with metal buttons, take a pistol from under his coat and present it at the little man above-mentioned.  The pistol was discharged, and the ball entered under the left breast of the person at whom it was directed.  I saw the blood issue from the place where the ball had struck him, his countenance instantly altered, and he fell to the ground.  Upon inquiry who the sufferer might be, I was informed that he was the chancellor.  I understood him to be Mr. Perceval, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer.  I further saw the murderer laid hold of by several of the gentlemen in the room.  Upon waking I told the particulars above related to my wife; she treated the matter lightly, and desired me to go to sleep, saying it was only a dream.  I soon fell asleep again, and again the dream presented itself with precisely the same circumstances.  After waking a second time and stating the matter again to my wife, she only repeated her request that I would compose myself and dismiss the subject from my mind.  Upon my falling asleep the third time, the same dream without any alteration was repeated, and I awoke, as on the former occasions, in great agitation.  So much alarmed and impressed was I with the circumstances above related, that I felt much doubt whether it was not my duty to take a journey to London and communicate upon the subject with the party principally concerned.  Upon this point I consulted with some friends whom I met on business at the Godolphin mine on the following day.  After having stated to them the particulars of the dream itself and what were my own feelings in relation to it, they dissuaded me from my purpose, saying I might expose myself to contempt and vexation, or be taken up as a fanatic.  Upon this I said no more, but anxiously watched the newspapers every evening as the post arrived.

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« Reply #67 on: November 24, 2009, 01:25:43 pm »

“On the evening of the 13th of May (as far as I recollect) no account of Mr. Perceval’s death was in the newspapers, but my second son, returning from Truro, came in a hurried manner into the room where I was sitting and exclaimed: ‘O father, your dream has come true!  Mr. Perceval has been shot in the lobby of the House of Commons; there is an account come from London to Truro written after the newspapers were printed.’

“The fact was Mr. Percival was assassinated on the evening of the 11th.

“Some business soon after called me to London, and in one of the print-shops I saw a drawing for sale, representing the place and the circumstances which attended Mr. Perceval’s death.  I purchased it, and upon a careful examination I found it to coincide in all respects with the scene which had passed through my imagination in the dream.  The colours of the dresses, the buttons of the assassin’s coat, the white waistcoat of Mr. Perceval, the spot of blood upon it, the countenances and attitudes of the parties present were exactly what I had dreamed.

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« Reply #68 on: November 24, 2009, 01:25:54 pm »

“The singularity of the case, when mentioned among my friends and acquaintances, naturally made it the subject of conversation in London, and in consequence my friend, the late Mr. Rennie, was requested by some of the commissioners of the navy that they might be permitted to hear the circumstances from myself.  Two of them accordingly met me at Mr. Rennie’s house, and to them I detailed at the time the particulars, then fresh in my memory, which form the subject of the above statement.

“I forbear to make any comment on the above narrative, further than to declare solemnly that it is a faithful account of facts as they actually occurred.

(Signed) “JOHN WILLIAMS.” {42}

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« Reply #69 on: November 24, 2009, 01:26:03 pm »

When we come to dreams of the future, great historical examples are scarce indeed, that is, dreams respectably authenticated.  We have to put up with curious trivialities.  One has an odd feature.

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« Reply #70 on: November 24, 2009, 01:26:17 pm »

THE RATTLESNAKE
Dr. Kinsolving, of the Church of the Epiphany in Philadelphia, dreamed that he “came across a rattlesnake,” which “when killed had two black-looking rattles and a peculiar projection of bone from the tail, while the skin was unusually light in colour”.  Next day, while walking with his brother, Dr. Kinsolving nearly trod on a rattlesnake, “the same snake in every particular with the one I had had in my mind’s eye”.  This would be very well, but Dr. Kinsolving’s brother, who helped to kill the unlucky serpent, says “he had a single rattle”.  The letters of these gentlemen were written without communication to each other.  If Mr. Kinsolving is right, the real snake with one rattle was not the dream snake with two rattles.  The brothers were in a snaky country, West Virginia. {43}

The following is trivial, but good.  It is written by Mr. Alfred Cooper, and attested by the dreamer, the Duchess of Hamilton.

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« Reply #71 on: November 24, 2009, 01:26:43 pm »

THE RED LAMP
Mr. Cooper says: “A fortnight before the death of the late Earl of L--- in 1882, I called upon the Duke of Hamilton, in Hill Street, to see him professionally.  After I had finished seeing him, we went into the drawing-room, where the duchess was, and the duke said, ‘Oh, Cooper, how is the earl?’

“The duchess said, ‘What earl?’ and on my answering ‘Lord L---,’ she replied: ‘That is very odd.  I have had a most extraordinary vision.  I went to bed, but after being in bed a short time, I was not exactly asleep, but thought I saw a scene as if from a play before me.  The actors in it were Lord L--- as if in a fit, with a man standing over him with a red beard.  He was by the side of a bath, over which a red lamp was distinctly shown.

“I then said: ‘I am attending Lord L--- at present; there is very little the matter with him; he is not going to die; he will be all right very soon’.

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« Reply #72 on: November 24, 2009, 01:26:50 pm »

“Well he got better for a week and was nearly well, but at the end of six or seven days after this I was called to see him suddenly.  He had inflammation of both lungs.

“I called in Sir William Jenner, but in six days he was a dead man.  There were two male nurses attending on him; one had been taken ill.  But when I saw the other, the dream of the duchess was exactly represented.  He was standing near a bath over the earl, and strange to say, his beard was red.  There was the bath with the red lamp over it.  It is rather rare to find a bath with a red lamp over it, and this brought the story to my mind. . . .”

This account, written in 1888, has been revised by the late Duke of Manchester, father of the Duchess of Hamilton, who heard the vision from his daughter on the morning after she had seen it.

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« Reply #73 on: November 24, 2009, 01:27:00 pm »

The duchess only knew the earl by sight, and had not heard that he was ill.  She knew she was not asleep, for she opened her eyes to get rid of the vision, and, shutting them, saw the same thing again. {45a}

In fact, the “vision” was an illusion hypnagogique.  Probably most readers know the procession of visions which sometimes crowd on the closed eyes just before sleep. {45b}  They commonly represent with vivid clearness unknown faces or places, occasionally known faces.  The writer has seen his own in this way and has occasionally “opened his eyes to get rid of” the appearances.  In his opinion the pictures are unconsciously constructed by the half-sleeping mind out of blurs of light or dark seen with closed eyes.  Mr. Cooper’s story would be more complete if he had said whether or not the earl, when visited by him, was in a chair as in the vision.  But beds are not commonly found in bathrooms.

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« Reply #74 on: November 24, 2009, 01:27:13 pm »

THE SCAR IN THE MOUSTACHE
This story was told to the writer by his old head-master, the Rev. Dr. Hodson, brother of Hodson, of Hodson’s Horse, a person whom I never heard make any other allusion to such topics.  Dr. Hodson was staying with friends in Switzerland during the holidays.  One morning, as he lay awake, he seemed to see into a room as if the wall of his bedroom had been cut out.  In the room were a lady well known to him and a man whom he did not know.  The man’s back was turned to the looker-on.  The scene vanished, and grew again.  Now the man faced Dr. Hodson; the face was unfamiliar, and had a deep white scar seaming the moustache.  Dr. Hodson mentioned the circumstance to his friends, and thought little of it.  He returned home, and, one day, in Perth station, met the lady at the book-stall.  He went up to accost her, and was surprised by the uneasiness of her manner.  A gentleman now joined them, with a deep white scar through his moustache.  Dr. Hodson now recalled, what had slipped his memory, that the lady during his absence from Scotland had eloped with an officer, the man of the vision and the railway station.  He did not say, or perhaps know, whether the elopement was prior to the kind of dream in Switzerland.

Here is a dream representing a future event, with details which could not be guessed beforehand.

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