Frederic William Henry Myers.

Human personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) online

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charity with which you behaved to her." I was amazed at such a declaration,
for that very day was the anniversary of Deolinda's death, and neither I nor
VOL. n. z



354



APPENDICES [728A



any other person in the house had recollected this. 1 Besides, I had never
spoken on the subject

The two ladies were worthy of the highest respect. As for Donna Anna
Fortes, who is still alive, our friendship is now of long standing, and I render
her all the homage which her virtue and goodness merit.

ULYSSES CABRAL,
(Director of the " Atheneu Brazileiro").

The following corroborative statements were obtained by Professor

Alexander:

Rio DE JANEIRO, March, iftth, 1892.

The part of the above narrative which respects me is exact. I am sure that
neither my sister nor I knew of the story of Deolinda before she was seen by
the side of Senhor Ulysses Cabral on the night mentioned.

ANNA IGNEZ DIAS FORTES.

Rio DE JANEIRO, March 17 th, 1892.

The above narrative coincides with our recollection of what happened in
our house. 2 We are certain that our friend, Senhor Ulysses Cabral, told us
the story of Deolinda only after the latter had been seen by Donna Feliciana
Fortes. MANUEL JM. BARBOZA DE ANDRADE.

EMILIA BARBOZA DE ANDRADE.

Professor Alexander writes :

Rio DE JANEIRO, March i-jth, 1892.

In reply to further questions, Senhor Ulysses Cabral said the sensation on
the head was that of a slight but distinct compression. He supposed at first
that a towel had in some way wound itself round his head. He did not speak
of this sensation to the ladies in the next room. The ecstatic feeling would
not allow him to sleep when he lay down. It was on the night of the anni-
versary of the child's death, about twelve o'clock, that this occurred. Senhor
Cabral believed that he had not spoken of Deolinda to the people of the house,
and this is confirmed, if there are no lapses of memory, by the statements of
the other persons concerned. He thought that the lustre of his deed of charity
would be somewhat tarnished if told even to friends. Though at my request
he has made the whole incident public, he does so, I am well assured, with the
intention of helping us in a quest which he holds to be all-important. Both
he and Donna Anna Fortes affirm that they came together in that house for
the first time on that night, although they had met once or twice before at
Spiritist sittings. The lady says they were conversing about Spiritism at the
time of Senhor Cabral's experience.

Donna Feliciana Fortes, now dead, was a remarkable sensitive, according
to the accounts I have received of her by surviving friends.

The witnesses to the above case are all Spiritists ; but they are people in
whose veracity I can trust implicitly. ALFRED ALEXANDER.

" If" (say the writers of the " Report ") " we are to exclude Deolinda's
agency here, we must suppose that Senhor Cabral was sub-consciously

1 Note by the collector, Professor Alexander : " According to the other state-
ments, no other person in the house knew anything about Deolinda. A. A."

2 " They were sleeping at the time, and only heard of it the next day. A. A."



728B] TO CHAPTER VII 355

aware that it was the anniversary of her death, and that this sub-conscious
recollection produced by association the feeling of happiness and the
tactile hallucination, without even then influencing his conscious memory ;
and, further, that the other witnesses were affected by telepathic influence
from his unconscious memory. This is certainly a highly strained hypo-
thesis, and a few more well-evidenced cases of this sort would go far to
establish the agency of the dead."

728 B. From the " Report on the Census of Hallucinations," Pro-
ceedings S.P.R., vol. x. p. 371. Mrs. B. writes as follows :

April 1892.

At Fiesole, on March nth, 1869, 1 was giving my little children their dinner
at half-past one o'clock. It was a fine hot day. As I was in the act of serving
macaroni and milk from a high tureen, so that I had to stand to reach it, and
give my attention to what I was doing on raising my head (as much from
fatigue as for any purpose), the wall opposite me seemed to open, and I saw my

mother lying dead on her bed in her little house at . Some flowers were

at her side and on her breast ; she looked calm, but unmistakably dead, and the
coffin was there.

It was so real that I could scarcely believe that the wall was really brick
and mortar, and not a transparent window in fact, it was a wall dividing the
hotel in which we were living from the Carabinieri.

I was in very weak health suffering intensely with neuralgia having gone
through a bad confinement, brought on by travelling the baby was almost
still-born, on January 3ist.

Owing to a family quarrel, I had left England without telling my people
where I was going ; but I was so fond of my mother that, when in Paris, I
made an excuse to write to an old servant, who lived with my mother, to ask
her for a toy which we had left with her, the object being to get news of my
mother. Reply came that for years she had not been so well and strong ; thus
I had no reason for imagining her to be dead.

I was so distressed at the vision that I wrote to her (my mother) to give her
my address, and entreat her to let me know how she was. By return of post
came the statement that she had died on March 5th, and was buried on the
i ith. At the hour I saw her she was removed from her home to Kensal Green
Cemetery. She had wished to see me so much that letters had been sent to a
great many continental cities, hoping I might be found ; but I never got a letter
from my sister till long after I had received the news of my mother's death.

When I was married my mother made me promise as I was leaving home
to be sure to let her know in any way God permitted if I died, and she would
try to find some way of communicating to me the fact of her death, supposing
that circumstances prevented the usual methods of writing or telegraphing. I
considered the vision a fulfilment of this promise, for my mind was engrossed
with my own grief and pain the loss of baby, and my neuralgia, and the
anxieties of starting a new life.

My youngest sister, since dead, was called to my mother, and left Devon-
shire, where she was staying with friends, to come home. When she arrived at
home, she entered the drawing-room, but rushed out terrified, exclaiming that
she had seen godmamma, who was seated by the fire in my mother's chair.
Godmamma had been dead since 1852. She had been my mother's governess



35 6 APPENDICES [731 A

almost foster-mother ; had lived with her during her married life, been god-
mother to her eldest girl, and when my father died, had accepted the duty of
taking his place as far as possible in the family, to shield her from trouble and
protect her a duty which she fulfilled nobly.

My other sister went into the drawing-room to see what had scared K ,

and saw the figure of godmamma just as K had. Later in the day the

same figure stood by, then sat on the edge of my mother's bed, and was seen
by both my sisters and the old servant, looking just as she had when alive,
except that she wore a grey dress, and, as far as we could remember, she had
always worn black. My mother saw her, for she turned towards her and said,
" Mary " her name.

We have verified the date of death through the Register at Somerset
House.

Mrs. B. has had several other hallucinatory experiences, e.g., in 1876,
in an Italian church, she saw an apparition of a child, which had been
pointed out to her by her little daughter, then aged three, but was invisible
to a friend who accompanied her. It disappeared, and immediately after-
wards the body of a dead child, resembling the figure they had seen, was
brought into the church. The friend who was with Mrs. B. is now dead,
so that no corroboration can be obtained, her daughter not being able to
remember the incident. Most of Mrs. B.'s other experiences were, so far
as can be ascertained, purely subjective.

Mr. Podmore, who visited Mr. and Mrs. B. on April 8th, 1893,
writes :

April lotk, 1893.

Mrs. B. gave me a full account of her vision of her mother. She had
absolutely no cause for anxiety, the last news being that her mother was better
than she had been for years. There was a chronic ailment, but no reason to
anticipate death soon. The children were too young to remember it, but
Mr. B. told me that he came in a few minutes later and comforted his wife,
whilst she was crying on the sofa. A written note of the date was taken and
compared with the date given in the letter afterwards received, but all
memoranda and letters of that time were lost. Both Mr. and Mrs. B. are
satisfied of the coincidence of the vision with the day of the funeral.

731 A. From the Journal S.P.R., vol. vii. p. 173. The following
case was sent to us by Mrs. Browne, of Bidston, Alleyn Road, West Dul-
wich. The first narrative is extracted from an account privately printed
a few months after the events occurred.

HAYLETT HOUSE, SuRBiTON,y/y 1891.

Newbray Hall was drowned off Start Point, Devon, during the great storm
of March gth, 1891, his vessel, the Marana, being one of the many which were
lost at that spot.

He had had the offer of two or three vessels, including the Marana, and
came home on the 28th February, to consider what he should do, and discussed
the matter at considerable length on Tuesday evening, the 3rd March, with his
father and Captain Byng, an old naval friend. The deceased slept at home on



731 A] TO CHAPTER VII 357

Wednesday and Friday, and stated that he would return to dinner on the
Saturday, but he did not do so, and on Monday morning his mother received a
letter from him stating that he had sailed the previous day in the Marana.

On Monday evening the storm took place, and on the Tuesday or Wednes-
day night following, Miss Annie Hall, aged twenty-seven, the sister of the
deceased, dreamt that she saw her brother on a raft apparently composed of
loose planks of wood, and he appeared to be swimming. On the same or sub-
sequent nights she had other dreams, in which she saw her brother lying in a
room, but she was unable to say whether alive or dead. This all took place
before any news had been received of the loss of the Marana, and Miss Hall
related her dreams immediately to Mrs. Syms, aged forty, who had lived with
the family as cook for about ten years. On Friday night a telegram was re-
ceived at Surbiton from the owners stating that the Marana had been wrecked,
and on the Saturday morning Mr. Wood, who was in the employ of the de-
ceased's father, went down to Devonshire, and having ascertained that the body
of the deceased had been recovered, and was lying in a house at Prawle, South
Devon, he identified it, and brought it to Brookwood for burial.

Matters remained in this position until the i6th June, when Mrs. Hall and
her daughter went to the house at Prawle in which the body had been placed,
and Miss Hall at once positively identified the room as the one she had seen in
her dreams. Upon going to the spot also where the body had been found, a
large number of railway sleepers were observed, which had been washed up
from the wreck, and, as can be seen from a photograph, have very much the
appearance of a raft such as that described in the first dream.

The sister's dreams, so far as can be ascertained, accurately represented the
events which took place in connection with the death of her brother.

Miss Hall wrote to Mrs. Browne :

BLENHEIM LODGE, SURBITON, July qth, 1895.

My brother Newbray sailed on Sunday, March 8th, 1891, in the Marana, a
small steamer, as he had to fill up six months before he could pass as captain ;
then he was going in the P. & O. I had no idea Newbray was going to sail so
soon, but we were to meet him in London on Saturday, March 7th, but he
didn't come. On Sunday mother had a letter to say they were sailing that
morning and he couldn't get away. I wrote him a long letter on Monday [the]
9th, and in the afternoon went to see a girl friend in Kingston, but I felt so ill
and depressed that I didn't stay very late. It was about 4.30 when I went into
the market-place to take the omnibus home. When I was standing waiting, a
fearful gust of wind and snow seemed to blow, especially round me, that was
about the time the ship struck, though the storm was getting very bad indeed.
Newbray and I were so devoted that I felt he was in some awful trouble. When
I got home I gave up a concert I was going to, as I felt so ill and anxious. I
didn't dream anything on the Monday, but on Tuesday I dreamt that I saw him
on a raft made up of loose planks of wood, and he appeared to be swimming.
On the same and following nights I had other dreams, and in one particular
one I saw him lying on the floor in a room with a slanting roof ; he looked very
still and white, but I couldn't tell if he were alive or dead. I could tell the
room was in the country somewhere, as I could see it was whitewashed and
they had red flowers in the windows. I told our old cook, Mrs. Syms, who had
been with us ten years, when she came up with my tea. On Friday we got a



358 APPENDICES [733 A

telegram to say the Marana was wrecked. On June i6th mother and I went
to the house at Prawle where they had taken his poor body. As soon as I got
in I went upstairs to the room, as I knew it at once from my dream, and
pointed out to mother the spot where he lay. The woman in the house couldn't
understand it, as I had never been there. My dream was accurate in every
detail, even to the low long windows, and the most wonderful thing was that I
dreamt the dream the night he was taken to the cottage. His body was found
amongst railway sleepers that looked just the same as I saw them in my first
dream, so in every respect my dreams represented accurately the events which
took place in connection with my brother's death. I had never been to South
Devon, and never heard of Prawle. He was twenty-five and I twenty-seven
when he died. We were most devoted. ANNIE HALL.

The following note was written by the servant to whom Miss Hall
related her dreams at the time :

BLENHEIM LODGE, SURBITON.

Miss Hall told me about her dreams when I took her bedroom tea in before
she was up. MARY SYMS.

Mrs. Hall writes :

BLENHEIM LODGE, SURBITON, July izth.

I beg to say that my daughter, Annie Hall, described the room at Prawle to
me before we visited the place, in fact so distinctly that on entering the room I
was struck with the resemblance and turned to my daughter for confirmation.

E. O. HALL.
Miss Hall writes further :

BLENHEIM LODGE, SURBITON, July izth, 1895.

The dreams were of conditions actually existing, just as it was happening
to my brother Newbray, not prophetic. I have never had any other dreams in
my life. And I can only conclude that I had these because my brother and I
were so devoted.

See also a case given in the Journal S.P.R., vol. v. p. 239, where a
man while boating sees in the water a vision of the soles of two stockinged
feet, which he recognises as those of a friend. The friend is drowning
three miles off at the time.

733 A. From the Journal S.P.R., vol. vi. p. 230. The following
account was sent to Mr. Podmore, by Miss F. Atkinson, of 25 Aldershot
Road, Willesden Lane, N.W., enclosed in a letter dated November 5th,
1893. Mr. Podmore had received a verbal account of the incident from
Miss Atkinson on the previous day.

On Saturday, July ist, 1893, 1 was in L for the purpose of looking over

the old churches with a friend with whom I was staying. Among others we

went to St. M 's. My friend had been telling me of a very dear old friend

of the family who was buried in that church, and who had left a sum of money
to have a window put in to his memory, and had even had the window prepared
for the glass to be put in, but that the person who had inherited his fortune
neglected his wish. (I don't know how many years he had been dead.)



733A] TO CHAPTER VII 359

After we had looked over the church, and_among other things seen the
brass over this gentleman's vault, we came to the window which ought to have
been filled in. I remember that the neglect of his wish quite made me angry,

and I said, looking at the window, " If I was Dr. I should come back and

throw stones at it."

Just then I saw an old gentleman behind us, but thinking he was looking
over the church took no notice. But my friend got very white and said, " Come

away, there is Dr. ! " Not being a believer in apparitions, I simply for the

moment thought she was crazy, though I knew they were a ghost-seeing family.
But, when I moved, still looking at him, and the figure before my very eyes
vanished, I had to give in. Then it dawned upon me that nobody could have
been looking over the church but ourselves.

First, the church had been empty when we went in, and nobody could have
come in without their footsteps being heard, and secondly, the part where we
were standing ended in a " cul de sac," and the person to get there would have
been obliged to ask us to move, as we entirely blocked up the narrow aisle.
For the few moments he was visible I saw him distinctly ; he was short and
broad, and wore an old-fashioned tie, and a waistcoat cut low and showing a
great deal of shirt-front. One hand was resting on a pew, and one down at his
side holding his very tall hat. But the thing that struck me most was the sun
shining on his white hair, and making it look like silver; even now I can see
him distinctly in my mind's eye. It certainly surprised me to see what was
apparently " too solid flesh " disappear before my very eyes, and when we got
outside my friend told me that his was the figure which came to different
members of their family so often, and, indeed, had been the cause of their
leaving one house. One of her sisters had been so affected by it, that she will
never sleep alone, or go upstairs alone. When we got home I easily recognised
the doctor by his photograph. F. ATKINSON.

In reply to Mr. Podmore's further inquiries, Miss Atkinson writes :

25 ALDERSHOT ROAD, WILLESDEN LANE, N.W., November gtk, 1893.

I have not heard from Miss yet, but am writing to answer your

questions.

No. I. I heard no noise whatever, not the slightest sound. But I had a
feeling that I cannot describe that somebody was behind us. So I turned
round.

No. 2. As far as I can now remember we both turned at precisely the same
moment. My friend naturally recognised him. I did not think anything of it,
until I saw her face when I turned back again to look at the window.

No. 3. Long before we went into L , my friend told me they had

been haunted to a dreadful extent at their old house. But beyond saying that
it was a man and an old friend of her mother's, [she] did not describe it, and I
did not [pay any attention to it] knowing them to be a highly nervous,
hysterical family. We otherwise never talked about it, as she can't bear the

subject. Afterwards she told me it was Dr. , the figure we saw in the

church, who haunted them.

No. 4. The photograph was in a frame and Mrs. said : " Was it any-
thing like this? " And it was exactly like the figure. I forgot to tell you that
afterwards my friend told me that on going into the church she had felt
as though she could not go in, as if something was there, but did not like to



3 6o APPENDICES [733 B

say so to me, as she knew I very much wished to go over it. She also thought
it might frighten me.

My only other experience was when I was a baby of about two or three,
when my little brother, who died, came to my mother, and then to me : I don't
remember it, but my mother says I cried out that he had come back again, and
she herself had just seen him. F. ATKINSON.

Miss Atkinson asked her friend to give an account of her share in the
experience, but she declined to do so, alleging as a reason her strong dis-
like of the whole subject. We have, therefore, been unable to obtain any
further evidence in the matter.

733 B. The next case is remarkable for the frequent repetition of the
percipient's experience. It is one of those that suggest, as we have said
(see 703 and 733), a kind of local imprint left by past events, and
perceptible at times to persons endowed with some special form of
sensitiveness. I quote from Proceedings S.P.R., vol. v. p. 418, the
account, given by Mr. D. M. Tyre, 157 St. Andrew's Road, Pollokshields,
Glasgow.

October gtk, 1885.

In the summer of 1874 my sister and I went during our holidays to stay
with a gardener and his wife in a house which was built far up, fully three-
quarters of a mile, on the face of a hill overlooking one of the most beautiful
lochs in Dumbartonshire, just on the boundary of the Highlands. A charming
spot indeed, although far off the main roadway. We never wearied, and so
delighted were we with the place that my people took a lease of the house for
the following three years. From this point my narrative begins. Being con-
nected in business with the city, we could not get down to Glen M. all together,
so that my two sisters and myself were sent away early in May to have the
house put in order and attend to the garden, &c. &c., for the coming holidays,
when we would be all down together. We had lots of work to do, and as the
nearest village was five miles distant, and our nearest neighbours, the people
at the shore, nearly a mile away, we were pretty quiet on the hill and left to our
own resources.

One day my elder sister J. required to go to the village for something or
other, leaving us alone ; and as the afternoon came on I went part of the way
to meet her, leaving my other sister L. all alone. When we returned, about
6 P.M., we found L. down the hill to meet us in a rather excited state, saying
that an old woman had taken up her quarters in the kitchen and was lying in
the bed. We asked if she knew who she was. She said no, that the old
wife was lying on the bed with her clothes on, and that possibly she was a
tinker body (a gipsy), therefore she was afraid to go in without us. We went
up to the house with L. ; my younger sister L. going in first said, on going into
the kitchen, " There she is," pointing to the bed, and turning to us expecting
that we would wake her up and ask what she was there for. I looked in the
bed and so did my elder sister, but the clothes were flat and unruffled, and
when we said that there was nothing there she was quite surprised, and point-
ing with her finger, said, " Look, why there's the old wife with her clothes on
and lying with her head towards the window ; " but we could not see anything.
Then for the first time it seemed to dawn upon her that she was seeing some-



733B] TO CHAPTER VII 361

thing that was not natural to us all, and she became very much afraid, and we
took her to the other room and tried to soothe her, for she was trembling all
over. Ghost ! why, the thought never entered our minds for a second ; but we
started chopping wood and making a fire for the evening meal. The very idea
of any one being in the bed was ridiculous, so we attributed it to imagination,
and life at the house went on as usual for about two days, when one afternoon,
as we were sitting in the kitchen round the fire, it being a cold, wet day outside,
L. startled us by exclaiming, " There is the old woman again, and lying the
same way." L. did not seem to be so much afraid this time, so we asked her
to describe the figure ; and with her eyes fixed on the bed and with motion of
the finger, she went on to tell us how that the old wife was not lying under the
blankets, but on top, with her clothes and boots on, and her legs drawn up as
though she were cold ; her face was turned to the wall, and she had on what is
known in the Highlands as a " sow-backed mutch," that is, a white cap which
only old women wear ; it has a frill round the front and sticks out at the back,
thus. 1 She also wore a drab-coloured petticoat, and a checked shawl round her
shoulders, drawn tight. Such was the description given ; she could not see her
face, but her right hand was hugging her left arm, and she saw that the hand
was yellow and thin, and wrinkled like the hands of old people who have done
a lot of hard work in their day.

We sat looking at the bed for a long time, with an occasional bit of informa-
tion from L., who was the only one who saw the figure.

This happened often very often, indeed so frequently that we got used to
it, and used to talk about it among ourselves as " L.'s old woman."

Midsummer came, and the rest of our people from the city, and then for the
first time we became intimate with our neighbours and two or three families at



Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 48 of 89)