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make this explanation improbable here.

Miss C. A. writes :

July \2th, 1888.

About two months before the death of my dear father, which occurred on
December loth, 1887, one night about from 12 to i A. M., when I was in bed in
a perfectly waking condition, he came to my bedside, and led me right through
the cemetery at Kensal Green, stopping at the spot where his grave was after-
wards made.

He was very ill at that time and in a helpless condition so far as his ability
to walk up three flights of stairs to my room was concerned. I had at that time
never been in that cemetery, but when I went there after his interment the
scene was perfectly familiar to me.

He led me beyond his grave to a large iron gate, but my recollection of this
part is confused. I there lost sight of him.

In a later letter Miss C. A. adds :

It was just like a panorama. I cannot say if my eyes were closed or open.

Again, a day or two before his death, somewhere between the 4th and
the loth of December (the day of his decease), when he was lying in an
unconscious state in a room on the ground floor, and I sleeping on the second
floor, I was awoke suddenly by seeing a bright light in my bedroom the whole
room was flooded with a radiance quite indescribable and my father was
standing by my bedside, an etherealised semi-transparent figure, but yet his
voice and his aspect were normal. His voice seemed a far-off sound, and yet
it was his same voice as in life. All he said was, "Take care of mother."
He then disappeared, floating in the air as it were, and the light also vanished.

About a week afterwards, that is to say, between the I2th and the i7th of
December, the same apparition came to me again, and repeated the same
words. An aunt, to whom I related these three experiences, suggested to me
that possibly something was troubling his spirit, and I then promised her that
should my dear father visit me again I would answer him. This occurred a
short time afterwards. On this, the fourth, occasion he repeated the same


words, and I replied, " Yes, father." He then added, " I am in perfect

Apparently he was satisfied with this my assurance. Since that time I
have neither seen nor heard any more.

I have never before or since had any such experience.

(Signed) C. A.

Mrs. Adie writes :

March, 1889.

Towards the middle of the month of October 1887 [since fixed by letters of
that year as Sunday, October 23rd, 1887], in fact, as nearly as I can recall,
about the time when C.'s father first appeared to her in a spiritualised form, I
had a singular and most vivid impression that the post would bring me bad
news. We were then in Switzerland. I could daily from my window, at 11.20
A.M. to a moment, see the train arrive which brought our English letters. These
were taken to the post-office close by and sorted ; and about twenty minutes
after the train came in my letters (if any) were placed upon my table. On Sun-
day mornings the English Church service began at 10.30, so that by 11.40 the
chaplain was well advanced in his sermon. On that one particular Sunday it
was, as nearly as I can tell, exactly at that moment of time I suddenly felt
much distressed and mentally disturbed, feeling convinced that bad news was
awaiting me on my return to the hotel. I had to put considerable force upon
myself to refrain from rising from my seat and leaving the church.

My presentiment was only too true ; on my writing-table I found a most
agonising letter from T. (C.'s elder sister) telling me that their father had had
a most alarming attack of illness (this was the first of the three seizures which
resulted in his decease on December loth). One point I would especially
notice ; apparently this letter conveyed no impression to my mind so long as
it was in the train or at the post-office, but took effect upon me so soon as it
was put upon my writing-table came within my surroundings, as it were.

We returned to England on December ist. After C.'s father's death
during the night of December I2th-I3th I was sleeping in a small back room
on the ground floor of a lodging in London, a room which had only one window,
closed by shutters and a thick curtain. The gas in the passage was put out
when I went to bed, so that, after I had extinguished my candle, the room was
shrouded in impenetrable darkness darkness that could be felt. About 3 A.M.
on the morning of the I3th I awoke en sursaut, as the French expression has it
(that is to say, I was wide awake, not in a half-dreamy condition), to see the
room up to the ceiling, for about the width of my bed, and extending to the
fireplace opposite, flooded with a pale golden radiance, an unearthly light-
quite unlike any we are acquainted with ; it seemed to come from behind the
bed ; so bright was it that I could distinctly see the design on the wall-paper
opposite me, and over the fireplace. This paper was a very pale French
grey, of two tints, outlined here and there with a thin line of colour. This
effect lasted, as nearly as I can tell, about five minutes, during which I opened
and shut my eyes several times, clasped and unclasped my hands, and hit my-
self to be certain that I was not dreaming. When the light went I was in
total darkness as before.

That same day I confided the circumstance to T. (Clara's sister), begging
her not to tell her about it, since C. was feeling her father's death most acutely;
but when a day or two later C. told me of his three appearances to her, and of
this same remarkable golden light which accompanied them, I related to her


what I had myself seen, expressing my regret that awe or astonishment had
prevented me from speaking or making some sign ; though, unlike herself, I
had seen no shadowy form approach me. The thought then occurred to me
that there might be something regarding which the deceased wished to be
satisfied something which prevented his spirit from obtaining perfect rest,
and I suggested to her that should this experience be repeated to either of
us we should answer him. The result is stated in C.'s account.

My own impression is that his spirit tried to communicate with me, but
in my great amazement at the vision I was unable to receive his message.
C. was prepared.

Later on viz., in a letter, dated February 27th, 1888, C., when writing to
me, says : " When I told you in my last letter, dear auntie, that I had spoken,
it was from your advice, for you told me to do so. Now, I must try and explain
to you just what happened. It was about four o'clock in the morning, or even
earlier. A bright light suddenly came into my room not a light like from a
fire or a candle, but a glow of golden light. Then I saw a form, quite white,
bend over me, and in my darling father's voice I heard these words : ' Take
care of mother I am in perfect peace.' I said : 'Yes, father.' And then the
light by degrees disappeared. Since this, I have not seen or heard anything
more, and I have a feeling that I shall never again, as I feel sure that all he
wanted to say he has said, and is at rest since I answered him. What you tell
me as having happened to you on the night of December I2th is, indeed,
passing strange. I should so like to know what was meant to tell you. Have
you any idea ? It is strange that both you and I should see the same light.
You see I told you first, so it could not have been a dream, as I might possibly
have fancied if you had told of your strange light (for I do sometimes dream of.
things which I -hear and read of). If anything should happen again I will write
it down, and let you know at once; but, somehow, I feel I shall not."

In further letters Mrs. Adie says :

April 1st, 1889.

I must now add to my statement in my last (so positively put), as to only a
segment of my room being illumined, what I then omitted, viz., that what made
me so certain of this fact was that neither the white muslin-covered dressing-
table on my right hand, nor the wardrobe standing against the wall on my left
hand, were visible to me on that occasion ! No ; when I saw this luminosity
I had heard nothing of my niece's experiences up to that date.

I have occupied the same room again in the interval which has since
elapsed, and found that the room was so obscure that even in winter day-
light (no fog) when lying on the bed I could not make out the design on the
wall-paper opposite me, although on the occasion I there mention every little
detail of form and colour was sharply defined.

My husband had to pass through my room to get to his, and when he left
our sitting-room the whole house was in bed. It was his business to extinguish
the feeble little gas-jet which was left burning. Had he forgotten to do this,
the light from the burner could not have resembled what I saw. My niece has
more than once assured me positively " that she at no other time has ever had
any hallucination of the senses." I cannot recall ever having had any hallucina-
tions which did not mean anything, or rather, which have not come true, if I
except [a vision which may or may not have corresponded to reality, but which
cannot at present be tested].


716 A. From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. vi. p. 25. Mrs. P. writes :

June yh, 1885.

Our mother died while we were all very young; and as I, the fourth child
of seven, was the eldest living daughter, I became early acquainted (from my
eighth year) with sorrow of various kinds and degrees, principally caused, how-
ever, by the harshness and frequent neglect of housekeeper and servants
towards my baby brother and sister. The two eldest boys between whom and
myself was a gap of some years were almost always away from home, and
ultimately went abroad, so that from the time I was quite a little child I was
continually with my father, who made much of me, and at last I became his
constant companion. He never married again, and our love was probably,
therefore, a closer union even than commonly exists between a father and
daughter while the latter is of tender years. It was a great pain to me ever to
be away from him, especially after my fourteenth year, at which time he began
to make me his confidante as well as companion ; and we had frequent earnest
talks and discussions on many subjects. At length, when I was about eighteen
years old, a terrible grief befell us, viz., the death of my two elder brothers
within a few weeks of each other, while they were still abroad.

My father's sorrow was great ; and at the same time he became seriously
troubled with many doubts regarding various points of Christian faith, and so
gradually lost nearly all his buoyancy of spirit, and became sadly depressed and
worn-looking, though only forty-eight years old. For a year he thus suffered,
when it was arranged that, so soon as he could plan to leave home, he should
go to some seaside place, and try what new scenes would effect. He also per-
suadednay, insisted that I should go away for awhile, without waiting for
him, and accompany some friends to South Devonshire.

The writer then narrates how a sudden summons brought her back to
find her father dead.

I went early to bed, to escape the presence and sympathetic ministrations
of the many in that kind household who gathered around me ; and by my own
choice I shared the room of a motherly-looking personage, whom I supposed to
be my cousin's nurse. She occupied the larger bed in the room, and I a smaller
one placed at some distance from hers. She was soon asleep and breathing
heavily ; but I was lying in deepest anguish, beset not only with the grief of
the sudden loss sustained, but with the wretched fear that my beloved father
had died too suddenly to find peace with God, regarding those miserable doubts
that had so troubled him. As the night wore on, the pain of heart and thought
grew worse and worse, and at length I knelt in prayer, earnestly pleading that
my distressful thoughts might be taken away, and an assurance of my father's
peace be given me by God's Most Holy Spirit. No immediate relief came,
however, and it was early dawn when I rose from my knees, and felt that I must
be patient and wait for the answer of my prayer.

Now a longing suddenly seized me to creep into that kind-faced woman's
bed, and to feel perhaps less lonely there. Her bed was opposite a window,
over which a white blind was drawn, and as I softly lifted the bedclothes and
sat for a moment after drawing my feet up into the bed, I noticed the pale dawn
feebly lighting up the window, and the movement of a little bird on the sill out-
side ; but the room itself was as yet almost dark.


I was just about to slip quietly down into the bed, when on the opposite
side of it (that on which the nurse was sleeping) the room became suddenly
full of beautiful light, in the midst of which stood my father absolutely trans-
figured, clothed with brightness. He slowly moved towards the bed, raising his
hands, as I thought, to clasp me in his arms ; and I ejaculated : " Father ! "
He replied, " Blessed for ever, my child ! For ever blessed ! " I moved to
climb over nurse and kiss him, reaching out my arms to him ; but with a look
of mingled sadness and love he appeared to float back with the light towards
the wall and was gone ! The vision occupied so short a time that, glancing
involuntarily at the window again, I saw the morning dawn and the little bird
just as they had looked a few minutes before. I felt sure that God had vouch-
safed to me a wonderful vision, and was not in the least afraid, but, on the
contrary, full of a joy that brought floods of grateful tears, and completely
removed all anguish except that of having lost my father from earth. I offer no
explanation, and can only say most simply and truthfully that it all happened
just as I have related.

You may find a solution to the occurrence in the sympathy which had
existed between my dear father and myself ; or, as friends have often insisted,
in the condition of excitement and exhaustion which I was suffering at the time ;
but after all these years of life and experience, the memory of that wonderful
morning is ever vividly fresh, and real, and true.

The writer's husband adds, under date June xyth, 1885 :

The narrative, as related above, is substantially the same given to me by
Mrs. P. as early as 1865, and at subsequent periods. W. B. P.

And Dr. and Mrs. C., referred to above, write, June i6th, 1885 :

The preceding narrative was related to us by Mrs. P., substantially as here
recorded, some four or five years ago. JAMES C.


Now comes the case which has evidential importance.

In the year 1867 I was married, and my husband took a house at S ,

quite a new one, just built in what was, and still is probably, called " Cliff
Town," as being at a greater elevation than the older part of the town. Our life
was exceedingly bright and happy there until towards the end of 1869, when
my husband's health appeared to be failing, and he grew dejected and moody.
Trying in vain to ascertain the cause for this, and being repeatedly assured by
him that I was "too fanciful," and that there was "nothing the matter with
him," I ceased to vex him with questions, and the time passed quietly away till
Christmas Eve of that year (1869).

An uncle and aunt lived in the neighbourhood, and they invited us to spend
Christmas Day with them to go quite early in the morning to breakfast,
accompanied by the whole of our small household.

We arranged therefore to go to bed at an early hour on the night of the 24th,
so as to be up betimes for our morning walk. Consequently at 9 o'clock, we
went upstairs, having as usual carefully attended to bars and bolts of doors,
and at about 9.30 were ready to extinguish the lamp; but our little girl a
baby of fifteen months generally woke up at that time, and after drinking some

.328 APPENDICES [716 A

warm milk would sleep again for the rest of the night; and, as she had not
yet awakened, I begged my husband to leave the lamp burning and get into
bed, while I, wrapped in a dressing-gown, lay on the outside of the bed with
the cot on my right hand. The bedstead faced the fireplace, and nothing stood
between but a settee at the foot of the bed. On either side of the chimney was
a large recess, the one to the left (as we faced in that direction) having a chest
of drawers, on which the lamp was standing. The entrance door was on the
same side of the room as the head of the bed and to the left of it facing, there-
fore, the recess of which I speak. The door was locked ; and on that same
side (to my left) my husband was lying, with the curtain drawn, towards which
his face was turned.

[Plan of room given, omitted here.]

As the bed had curtains only at the head, all before us was open and dimly-
lighted, the lamp being turned down.

This takes some time to describe, but it was still just about 9.30, Gertrude
not yet awake, and I just pulling myself into a half-sitting posture against the
pillows, thinking of nothing but the arrangements for the following day, when
to my great astonishment I saw a gentleman standing at the foot of the bed,
dressed as a naval officer, and with a cap on his head having a projecting peak.
The light being in the position which I have indicated, the face was in shadow
to me, and the more so that the visitor was leaning upon his arms which rested
on the foot-rail of the bedstead. I was too astonished to be afraid, but simply
wondered who it could be ; and, instantly touching my husband's shoulder
(whose face was turned from me), I said, " Willie, who is this? " My husband
turned, and for a second or two lay looking in intense astonishment at the
intruder ; then lifting himself a little, he shouted " What on earth are you doing
here, sir?" Meanwhile the form, slowly drawing himself into an upright posi-
tion, now said in a commanding, yet reproachful voice, " Willie! Willie ! "

I looked at my husband and saw that his face was white and agitated. As
I turned towards him he sprang out of bed as though to attack the man, but
stood by the bedside as if afraid, or in great perplexity, while the figure calmly
and slowly moved towards the wall at right angles with the lamp in the direc-
tion of the dotted line [shown in the plan]. As it passed the lamp, a deep
shadow fell upon the room as of a material person shutting out the light from
us by his intervening body, and he disappeared, as it were, into the wall.
My husband now, in a very agitated manner, caught up the lamp, and turning
to me said, " I mean to look all over the house, and see where he is gone."

I was by this time exceedingly agitated too, but remembering that the door
was locked, and that the mysterious visitor had not gone towards it at all,
remarked, " He has not gone out by the door ! " But without pausing, my
husband unlocked the door, hastened out of the room, and was soon searching
the whole house. Sitting there in the dark, I thought to myself, " We have
surely seen an apparition! Whatever can it indicate? perhaps my brother
Arthur (he was in the navy, and at that time on a voyage to India) is in trouble :
such things have been told of as occurring." In some such way I pondered
with an anxious heart, holding the child, who just then awakened, in my arms,
until my husband came back looking very white and miserable.

Sitting upon the bedside, he put his arm about me and said, " Do you know
what we have seen ? " And I said, " Yes, it was a spirit. I am afraid it was


Arthur, but could not see his face " and he exclaimed, " Oh ! no, it was my
father ! "

My husband's father had been dead fourteen years : he had been a naval
officer in his young life ; but, through ill-health, had left the service before my
husband was born, and the latter had only once or twice seen him in uniform,
/had never seen him at all. My husband and I related the occurrence to my
uncle and aunt, and we all noticed that my husband's agitation and anxiety
were very great: whereas his usual manner was calm and reserved in the
extreme, and he was a thorough and avowed sceptic in all so-called super-
natural events.

As the weeks passed on my husband became very ill, and then gradually
disclosed to me that he had been in great financial difficulties ; and that, at
the time his father was thus sent to us, he was inclining to take the advice
of a man who would certainly had my husband yielded to him (as he had
intended before hearing the warning voice) have led him to ruin, perhaps
worse. It is this fact which makes us most reticent in speaking of the event ;
in addition to which, my husband had already been led to speculate upon
certain chances which resulted in failure and infinite sorrow to us both, as

well as to others, and was indeed the cause of our coming to , after a year

of much trouble, in the January of 1871.

None of us were particularly ready to believe in such evidences, notwith-
standing my experience at my father's death, because we had regarded that as
a special answer to prayer ; so that no condition of " over-wrought nerves," or
" superstitious fears," could have been the cause of the manifestation, but only,
so far as we have been able to judge by subsequent events, a direct warning
to my husband in the voice and appearance of the one that he had most
reverenced in all his life, and was the most likely to obey.

Dr. and Mrs. C., friends of Mrs. and Mr. P., add the following note :

June i6tA, 1885.

This narrative was told us by Mrs. P., as here recorded, some years ago.


Mr. P. confirms as follows, June xyth, 1885 :

Without wishing to add more to the incidents recorded herein by my wife,
I would simply note that the details of No. 2 are quite correct, and that the
occurrence took place as stated. . . . . W. B. P.

716 B. From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii. p. 236. In the narrative
next to be cited, there is a record of prolonged speech, but in such cases,
especially when few or no actual words are quoted, we can hardly be sure
as to the degree of externalisation which the voice assumes. The appari-
tion here seems to have at least comprehended the percipient's inward
situation, although it is not clear that any prediction requiring super-
normal insight was actually made. I owe the narrative to the kindness of
Mr. Morell Theobald, who printed it first in Light for March 5th, 1892.
It is written on an old piece of paper (sent to me) and marked " For Mr.
B.'s private perusal." The history of the paper is as follows : A Mr. C.


(I must not give the names), well known to Mr. Theobald, and holding a
good position in one of the Australian colonies, discovered it among the
private papers of his uncle, Mr. B., who died twelve years ago. The
apparition, as will be seen, occurred on October 24th, 1860, and the
account is endorsed on November gth by the percipient's father. Further
particulars, sent to Mr. B. by the percipient (who is here called Mr. D.)
are dated November i3th, 1860. The first account seems to have been
sent by the percipient to his father, and by the father to Mr. B.

The percipient has been identified, and confirms, as will be seen, this
early narrative, which is as follows :

On the evening of Wednesday, October 24th, 1860, having retired to bed
about nine o'clock, I had slept, I conclude, about two hours, making it then
about eleven o'clock P.M. I was awoke from my sleep by a hand touching my
forehead, and the well-known voice of Mrs. B. pronouncing my name, E. I
started up, and sat in bed, rubbed my eyes, and then saw Mrs. B. From the
head to the waist the figure was distinct, clear, and well-defined : but from the
waist downwards it was all misty and the lower part transparent. She appeared
to be dressed in black silk. Her countenance was grave and rather sad, but
not unhappy.

The words she first uttered were : " I have left dear John ; " what followed
related entirely to myself, and she was permitted by a most kind Providence to
speak words of mercy, promise, and comfort, and assurance that what I most
wished would come to pass. She came to me in an hour of bitter mental
agony, and was sent as a messenger of mercy.

I would have spoken more to her, but the form faded, and in answer to an
earnest appeal, a voice came to me which, though apparently hundreds of miles
away, was distinct and clear, saying, " Only believe," and she was gone.

Throughout the interview I felt no fear, but an inward, heavenly peace. It
was new moon, but the room was as light as day !

Our next information consists of a statement of Mr. D.'s, written in

Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 44 of 89)