Frederic William Henry Myers.

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reply to Mr. B.'s questions, November i3th, 1860, found (in Mr. B.'s
handwriting) among Mr. B.'s papers, and now summarised for us by
Mr. C.

Mr. D. had been asleep, but could not say how long. Had not seen Mrs. B.
for several months. Can't recollect what dress she had on then. Was not
in bad health. Was alone in the house. The subject of his anxiety was not
known to Mrs. B. nor connected with her. The apparition seemed to wait for
questions, and when put they were answered. The subject of the communica-
tion was one greatly influencing his thoughts and feelings, and had been deeply
agitating him before he went to bed. It was not a religious matter; but
Scriptural language was used; Mark xi. 23, 24 were quoted a passage well
known to the writer, and often dwelt upon by him. The window faces north.
The night was wet and cloudy. The writer did not put it down at the time,
believing it too real ever to be forgotten. He had not mentioned it to any one
but his father and [Mr.] B. He saw the notice of the death for the first time
on Saturday in the Observer. Resided about ten miles from Gawler, which is
twenty-five miles from Adelaide.


Mr. C. has forwarded to us a printed extract from the South Australian
Register of October 25th, 1860, which includes a notice of the death of
Mrs. B. on October 24th, at Bank Street, Adelaide. The houroi the death
is fixed by Mr. C.'s own recollection, depending <5n his own fixed habits
at the time. He writes to Mr. Theobald under date May 3rd, 1892 :

I was at that time a clerk in my uncle's office, which was at his house in
Bank Street, Adelaide ; but was staying just then at Glenelly. I left the office
at 4 P.M. on the 23rd after saying good-bye to Mrs. B., leaving her in her usual
state of health. She was taken ill about n P.M., and asked frequently for me,
expressing a strong desire not to die before I arrived ; but when I got to the
house at the usual time, about 10 A.M. next morning, I was met with the news
that she had been dead about two hours.

The death, therefore, had taken place more than twelve hours before
the apparition was seen.

Mr. D. makes a slight mistake in his original account, in saying that it
was new moon, whereas the moon was then ten days old. But as it was a
cloudy night, and his window faced north, the light by which the figure
was seen was doubtless, as in so many of these cases, itself a part of the

At Mr. Theobald's request Mr. C. communicated with Mr. D., who is
still living ; and we have therefore the opportunity of comparing a thirty
years' old recollection with the same person's contemporary statement.
The comparison shows that, as I believe to be often the case, the
memory of the supernormal incident had not grown, but dwindled.

Reminded in a general way, but without detail, of the occurrence,
Mr. D. writes (in a letter seen by me), April 2ist, 1892 :

There was no conversation. She only said to me, " E., I have left dear
John." I cannot remember whether it was wet or not; but as to the moon, it
was not at all like that light. It was more like an electric light ; a subdued
brilliancy. . . . " How long did the spirit remain in conversation with me?"
Certainly not more than five minutes, if so long. ... I sent the account to my
father, who probably handed it to [Mr.] B.

Further reminded of his contemporary account, Mr. D. writes, May ist,
1892 : "I appear to have spoken, but have no distinct recollection of
doing so. What she did say was entirely personal." It related to the
removal of a painful misunderstanding with a friend. " So far as I know
she had never seen, or even heard of, the friend alluded to." Mr. D.
declines to give further detail ; but he still considers that the communica-
tion showed " a plenary knowledge " of facts personal to himself. His
hesitation of memory seems to have been on the point whether the hope
and consolation were conveyed by spoken words, or in some directer
fashion. The confidence inspired by the message was, he tells us, justified
by the result. The supposed conversation in this case may have been
more dream-like than the percipient imagined. It may have taken place,
so to say, in his own mind, without definite auditory externalisation.



716 C. From the Journal S.P.R., vol. v. p. 10. The four incidents
which follow were written out for me in 1888 by a lady whom I will term
Mrs. V., who has had other experiences somewhat similar, which, for
private reasons, she does not wish to give. I am well acquainted with
Mrs. V., and with her husband, who has held an important position in

I. In 1874 I was in India, at a hill station. On the 7th June, between one
and three o'clock in the morning, I woke with the sensation that half my life
had been taken from me (I can only describe the feeling in this vague way).
I sat up and pressed my side in wonder at what was happening. I then saw
most beautiful lights at the end of the room ; these lights gave place to a cloud,
and after a few moments the face of a dear sister, then living (as I believed),
appeared in the cloud, which remained a little while and then gradually faded
away. I became much alarmed and at once felt I should hear bad news of my
sister, who was living in London and had been very ill, though the last accounts
we had received had been better. I told my husband what had happened, and
when a telegram was brought by a friend at eight o'clock that morning I knew
what its contents must be. The telegram contained the news of my sister's
death during the previous night.

II. In 1885 I was present in church at the confirmation of my sister's
youngest boy. I was in the left-hand gallery of the church, the boy in the
body of the church, on the right side. As I was kneeling, I looked towards
the opposite gallery, which was of dark wood. There I saw the half figure of
my sister; the head and arms outstretched high above the boy, as if blessing
him. For the moment I thought it was impossible, and closed my eyes for a
few seconds. Opening them again I saw the same beautiful form, which
almost immediately vanished.

III. In India, in the winter of 1881, the husband of an acquaintance was
lying dangerously ill at a hotel about five miles from us. Knowing this, I
went frequently to inquire after him. One particular evening I remained with
his wife some time, as the doctor thought his condition most critical. When I
returned home, about ten o'clock that night, I ordered beef essences and jellies
to be made to send early the next morning.

The night was perfectly calm and sultry, not a leaf stirring. About twelve
o'clock the Venetians in my bedroom suddenly began to shake and knockings
were heard, which seemed to proceed from a box under my writing-table. The
knocking and shaking of the Venetians went on for half-an-hour or more, off
and on.

During this time I heard a name whispered, A B , of which the

Christian name was unknown to me, the surname being the maiden name of
the sick man's wife. I felt so certain that I was wanted at the hotel that I
wished to start at once, but I was advised not to do so at that hour of the
night. Early the next morning a messenger arrived with a note begging me
to go at once to the hotel, as my friend's husband had died at one o'clock.
When I reached the hotel, she told me how she had wished to send for me
during the night whilst his death was impending. I went at once to stay with
her till after the funeral, and found that the Christian name I had heard
whispered was the name of her brother who had died seven years previously.

IV. In 1884 we were staying in a villa in the south of France. One night,


soon after we arrived, I went from my room upstairs to fetch something in the
drawing-room (which was on the ground floor), and saw a slight figure going
down the stairs before me in a white garb with a blue sash and long golden
hair. She glided on into a room near the hall door. This startled and im-
pressed me so much that I afterwards went to the house-agent and asked if
any one had lately died in that house with long golden hair. He replied that
an American lady, young and slight, with golden hair, had died there a few
months before in the very room into which I had seen the figure gliding.

I talked over the cases with Mr. V., and noted his remarks.

In Case I. he remembers being told in the morning of Mrs. V.'s vision,
though at this distance of time he cannot state whether the telegram
announcing the death had arrived before he was told.

In Case II. he was told at once of the incident.

On Case III. he has made and signed the following remarks :

This noise resembled the shaking of the lid of the tin box. I got up and
went to the box, which continued making the noise, to see if there were rats,
but there were none. There were no rats in the house, and there was nothing
in the box. A night-light was burning in the room. The rattling was con-
tinuous not like what a rat could produce. It went on again after I had in-
vestigated it in vain. This incident was unique in my experience.

Mrs. V. added in conversation : " The Christian name whispered was
Henry. This brother was not an Indian official, and I had never heard of
him." Mrs. V.'s acquaintance with the lady whose husband was dying
was not an intimate one.

In Case IV. Mr. V. again informs me that he was told at once of the
incident. The name of the villa was La Baronne, of the house-agent,
Mr. Taylor.

717 A. From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. vi. p. 20. The following account
was received from Miss Pearson, 15 Fitzroy Square, London, W.C.

April 1888.

The house, 19 St. James's Place, Green Park, had been taken on a very
long lease by my grandfather, a solicitor, in large county practice, having his
offices in Essex Street, Strand. There my father was born and his two sisters,
Ann and Harriet. Aunt Ann died in 1858, leaving all she possessed to Aunt
Harriet, who remained in the house. They had been devotedly attached to
each other. In November 1864 I was summoned to Brighton. My Aunt
Harriet was then very ill there. Mrs. Coppinger, the daughter of Mr. Thomas
Pearson, my father's brother, was there, and her son, Mr. George James, by
her first husband, came up and down. Eliza Quinton was nursing her. She
only craved to go back to the old house where she was born, and I made
arrangements with the railway company and took her home.

This was in the second week in December. She became worse and worse.
Eliza continued to nurse her, and Mrs. Coppinger, Mrs. John Pearson, the
wife of a nephew, and myself helped with the night work.

Miss Harriet Pearson slept in a large three-windowed bedroom over the
drawing-room. The room behind was occupied by Mrs. Coppinger and myself,


though one of us was generally in the patient's room at night. On the night
of December 22nd, 1864, Mrs. John Pearson was in the room, Mrs. Coppinger
and myself in the back room ; the house lighted up on the landings and stair-
cases, our door wide open.

About i or 2 A.M. on the morning of December 23rd, both Mrs. Coppinger
and myself started up in bed ; we were neither of us sleeping, as we were
watching every sound from the next room.

We saw some one pass the door, short, wrapped up in an old shawl, a wig
with three curls each side and an old black cap. Mrs. Coppinger called out,
" Emma, get up, it is old Aunt Ann." I said, " So it is, then Aunt Harriet will
die to-day." We jumped up, and Mrs. John Pearson came rushing out of the
room and said, " That was old Aunt Ann. Where is she gone to ? " I said to
soothe her, "Perhaps it was Eliza come down to see how her mistress is."
Mrs. Coppinger ran upstairs and found Eliza sleeping in the servants' room.
She was very awe-struck but calm, dressed and came down. Every room was
searched, no one was there, and from that day to this no explanation has ever
been given of this appearance, except that it was old Aunt Ann come to call her
sister, and she died at 6 P.M. that day. EMMA M. PEARSON.

The housekeeper, who is still with Miss Pearson, writes as follows :

April yd, 1888.

I was living with Miss Ann and Miss Harriet Pearson, in 19 St. James's
Place. After the death of Miss Ann I remained with her sister, and when she
became very ill and was ordered change of air, I went with her as nurse to
Brighton. Mrs. Coppinger was there and Mr. George James now and then.
Miss Emma Pearson was sent for and came down. She brought her aunt back
to London. I continued to nurse her. I remember on the early morning of
December 23rd being called up by Mrs. Coppinger, who said that she, Miss
Emma, and Mrs. John Pearson had seen some one come upstairs and pass
into the patient's room. Was it I ? I said, no. Mrs. Coppinger said, " They
said it was old Aunt Ann." We searched the house and could find no one.
Miss Harriet died in the evening of that day, but before that told all of us that
she had seen her sister and knew it was her, and she had come to call her.


In a separate letter of the same date Miss Pearson adds :

I now remember my aunt saying " her sister had come for her, for she had
seen her."

717 B. In the following case, a child, while apparently quite well, feels
the impression of approaching death, and ascribes it to his dead brother's
call. (From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xi. p. 429.)

This case was first printed in the Rdigio- Philosophical Journal, May 5th,
1894. Mr. B. B. Kingsbury, who contributed it, states that the informant
is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and her husband has confirmed
her as to the statement of voices heard by the little boy calling him.
Mr. Kingsbury adds that both are worthy of the highest credit. The
father is somewhat of a "sensitive" and the mother has had two or three


clairvoyant experiences herself. The statement just as it was given by the
mother runs as follows :

Is there a life beyond the grave ? Had I ever doubted that there is a life
beyond (which I never for a moment did), my doubt would have been removed
by what I call a vision. In 1883 I was the mother of two strong healthy boys.
The eldest was a bright boy of two years and seven months. The other, a
darling baby boy of eight months. August 6th, 1883, my baby died. Ray,
my little son, was then in perfect health. Every day after baby's death (and I
may safely say every hour in the day) he would say to me, " Mamma, baby
calls Ray." He would often leave his play and come running to me, saying,
" Mamma, baby calls Ray all the time." Every night he would waken me out
of my sleep, and say, " Mamma, baby calls Ray all the time. He wants Ray to
come where he is ; you must not cry when Ray goes, mamma, you must not
cry, for baby wants Ray." One day I was sweeping the sitting-room floor, and
he came running as fast as he could run, through the dining-room where stood
the table with baby's high chair (which Ray now used) at the side. I never saw
him so excited, and he grabbed my dress and pulled me to the dining-room
door, jerked it open, saying, "Oh, mamma, mamma, come quick; baby is
sitting in his high chair." As soon as he opened the door and looked at the
chair he said, " Oh, mamma, why didn't you hurry ; now he's gone ; he laughed
at Ray when he passed the chair; oh, he laughed at Ray so nice. Ray is
going with baby, but you must not cry, mamma." Ray soon became very sick.
Nursing and medicine were of no avail. He died October I3th, 1883, two
months and seven days after baby's death. He was a child of high intelligence
and matured far beyond his years. Whether it is possible for the dead to
return, and whether my baby came back and was seen by his little brother or
not, we leave for others to judge.

In reply to Dr. Hodgson's inquiries, Mrs. H. wrote :

DEFIANCE, OHIO, December \ytk, 1894.

In reply will say that Mr. Kingsbury's account in the Religio-Philosophical
Journal for May 5th last of my little boy's clairvoyance shortly before his death
is correct in every detail. When the child ran to me telling me the baby was
sitting in his chair at the table, there was no one in the house but the servant
girl, little Ray, and myself. I told the girl nothing about it and she did not
hear the child; but as soon as my husband came to dinner I told him. After
that we talked freely of the matter to several of our friends. Little Ray knew
nothing of death, we had never spoken of it to him in any way; the last time
I took him to the baby's grave shortly before he was taken sick we were sitting
by the grave, and I thought, " Oh ! if I could only take baby up and look at it
for just one minute, I would feel so glad." Instantly Ray said to me, " Mamma,
let us take baby up and look at it just one minute; then we will feel better."
Just as we were leaving the grave he smoothed it with his little hand, and said,
" Ray is going to lie down and sleep right here beside little brother, but you
must not cry, mamma." He is now lying just where he said he would.

P.S. I wish to say that I have never known much of what is called modern
Spiritualism, but was born and reared a Presbyterian and still belong to that
Church, of which I am an active member. F. H.


Mr. H. wrote as follows :

February 2~]th, 1895.

MR. R. HODGSON, DEAR SIR, In regard to B. B. Kingsbury's statement
in the Religio-Philosophical Journal of May 5th, 1894, I can truly say that my
wife related it to me the day it occurred when I came to dinner. I frequently
heard our little boy tell his mamma that the baby called him all the time.
Yours respectfully, W. H. H.

The following corroboration was also received :

116 SUMMIT STREET, DEFIANCE, OHIO, February 2-jtk, 1895.
R. HODGSON, DEAR SIR, I can truly say that Mrs. and Mr. H. often
spoke to me of Ray seeing the baby in the chair before he took sick. They
told me the next day after it happened. MRS. J. H. SHULTERS.

717 C. The next case appeared originally in Phantasms of the Living,
vol. ii. p. 208. It came from Captain Cecil Norton, late of the 5th
Lancers, who wrote as follows :

5 QUEEN'S GATE, S.W., December 20th, 1885.

About Christmas time, 1875 or 1876, being officer on duty, I was seated at
the mess-table of the 5th Lancers in the West Cavalry Barracks at Aldershot.
There were ten or twelve other officers present, and amongst them Mr.
John Atkinson (now of Erchfont Manor, near Devizes, Wilts), the Surgeon-
Major of the regiment, who sat on my right, but at the end of the table
furthest from me and next to Mr. Russell. [Captain Norton was sitting at the
end of the table and directly facing the window.] At about 8.45 P.M. Atkinson
suddenly glared at the window to his right, thereby attracting the notice of
Russell, who seizing his arm, said, " Good gracious, Doctor, what's the matter
with you?" This caused me to look in the direction in which I saw Atkinson
looking, viz., at the window opposite, and I there saw (for the curtains were
looped up, although the room was lighted by a powerful central gas light in the
roof and by candles on the table) a young woman, in what appeared a soiled or
somewhat worn bridal dress, walk or glide slowly past the window from east to
west. She was about at the centre of the window when I observed her, and out-
side the window. No person could have actually been in the position where
she appeared, as the window in question is about 30 feet above the ground.

The nearest buildings to the window referred to are the Infantry Barracks
opposite, about 300 yards distant. Behind where I sat is a conservatory, which
was examined by me, as well as the front window, immediately after the occur-
rence. There was no person in the conservatory. [It was unused in the
winter.] The nearest buildings to it are the officers' stables, over which are
the staff-sergeants' quarters, about 50 yards distant.

The occurrence made little if any impression upon me, though it impressed
others who were in the room. All present had been drinking very little wine ;
and the dinner had been very quiet.

It has just occurred to me that I may be wrong as to the time of the year,
and that the occurrence may have taken place about I5th October or about I5th


Mr. Atkinson wrote :

ERCHFONT MANOR, DEVIZES, August $ist, 1885.

The appearance of a woman which I saw pass the mess-room window at
Aldershot seemed to be outside, and it passed from east to west. The mess-
room is on the first floor, so the woman would have been walking in the air.
There has been a very nice story made out of it like most other ghost-stories,
founded on an optical illusion.

Mr. Gurney added :

Captain Norton's viva voce account made it tolerably clear, in my opinion,
that the case was one of hallucination, not illusion. He further mentions that
both Mr. Atkinson and he were "satisfied that the face and form of the woman
seen were familiar," though they could not at the moment identify the person.
Captain Norton afterwards felt sure that the likeness was to a photograph
which he was in the habit of seeing in the room of the veterinary surgeon of
the regiment, representing the surgeon's deceased wife in bridal dress. Oddly
enough, this man was at the time, unknown to his friends, actually dying, or
within a day or two of death, in the same building. But Mr. Atkinson recalls
nothing about the photograph ; and the coincidence is not one to which we can
attach weight.

Since the publication of the account in Phantasms we obtained from
two of the officers who were present at the time their recollections of the
incident. The letters relating to this were printed in they<?r0/S.P.R.,
vol. viii. p. 76, from which I proceed to quote. Lieutenant Beaumont, in
answer to a written request for his recollection of the alleged apparition in
the 5th Lancers' mess-room at Aldershot, writes:


I well remember the incident you refer to, and shall be pleased to tell you
the circumstances as I recollect them.

It must have been in 1876, and in October, I fancy. It so happened that
on the night in question there were very few officers present at the mess
dinner so far as I can recollect only Norton, E. the veterinary surgeon, Dr.
Atkinson and myself, who, being orderly officer, sat at the end of the table. It
was, I think, towards the close of the dinner, the servants having retired and
we were smoking and chatting, when I was much struck with the expression
on the faces of my brother officers, who appeared to be gazing in amazement
at something behind me. At first I thought it was some joke, but they each of
them seriously described what they had seen, viz., a figure of a woman in white,
who passed silently through the room, coming, as it were, from the ante-room
and going behind me through the door opposite. It was impossible to doubt,
from their faces at the time, that there was something extraordinary happening.
I afterwards asked them seriously about it, and Surgeon-Major Atkinson, who
was a long way the senior, and a hard-headed man, assured me that he had
certainly seen the apparition, and he seemed much impressed. The others
were equally confident, and assured me there was no chaff about it. It was
frequently alluded to afterwards in a joking way, but I believe that all those
present thought it "uncanny."



I must tell you that none of us had imbibed more than a glass or two of
claret, and it was a most exceptionally quiet evening at mess.

I think E. died not long after. . . . MONTMORENCY BEAUMONT.

This letter having been shown to Captain Norton, he wrote that
Lieutenant Beaumont was mistaken in supposing that Mr. E. was present
on the occasion. He also sent us a sketch (reproduced in the Journal} of
the position of the officers, which agrees with his own earlier account, but
not with the present recollections of Lieutenant Beaumont. The dis-
crepancy, however, is of comparatively slight importance.

The second officer whose testimony has been obtained, Lieutenant-
Colonel Williams, writes :


I am afraid I can give you very little information on the subject ; it is so
many years since the affair took place that I have nearly forgotten all about it
All that I remember is that one night when we were a very small party at mess,
some time during the dinner, I think just before beginning dessert, I noticed
Dr. Atkinson looking in rather a peculiar way at the window at the top of the
room, and I think my brother-in-law [Captain Norton] said to him or he said

Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 45 of 89)