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the shore. On one occasion my elder sister brought up the subject before a
Mrs. M'P., our nearest neighbour, and when she described the figure to her,
Mrs. M'P. well-nigh swooned away, and said that it really was the case ; the
description was the same as the first wife of the man who lived in the house
before us, and that he cruelly ill-used his wife, to the extent that the last
beating she never recovered from. The story Mrs. M'P. told runs somewhat
like this, of which I can only give you the gist :

Malcolm, the man of the house, and his wife Kate (the old woman), lived a
cat and dog life ; she was hard-working, and he got tipsy whenever he could.
They went one day to market with some fowls and pigs, &c., and on their way
back he purchased a half-gallon of whisky. He carried it part of the way, and
when he got tired gave it to her ; while he took frequent rests by the wayside.
She managed to get home before him, and when he came home late he accused
her of drinking the contents of the jar. He gave her such a beating that he
was afraid, and went down to this Mrs. M'P., saying that his wife was very ill.
When Mrs. M'P. went up to the house she found Kate, as my sister described,
with her clothes on, and lying with her face to the wall for the purpose, as Mrs.
M'P. said, of concealing her face, which was very badly coloured by the ill-treat-
ment of her husband. The finish-up was her death, she having never recovered.

The foregoing is as nearly a complete compendium of the facts as I, with the
help of my sister J., can remember.

My sister L. is now dead, but we often go back to the house when we are
any way near the locality, because it is a bright spot in our memory.

(Signed) D. M. TYRE.

1 A sketch of the profile was here given.

3 6 2 APPENDICES [735 A

Mr. Tyre adds, in a letter to Mr. David Stewart, of Kincaid House,
Milton of Carapsie, N.B., who procured this account for us :

I was at the house last month ; there is no one in it just now ; the last
tenant has gone abroad, and the house is somewhat dilapidated, and the
garden a ruin. We had a look through the window at the old kitchen and saw
our own grate still remaining.

Mr. Stewart wrote to us on August i3th, 1885 :

I know how valuable the actual names and localities would be, as well as
Mrs. M'P.'s independent account, but I have asked so repeatedly, and been
told that Mrs. M'P. had great objections to publicity, in case it would rake up
old stories connected with the case, that I do not like to ask again.

735 A. In a case published in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. iii. p. 90, Mr.
Wambey heard a phantasmal voice as though in colloquy with his own
thought. He was planning a congratulatory letter to a friend, when the
words "What! write to a dead man? write to a dead man?" sounded
clearly in his ears. The friend had been dead for some days. I add
here a case where a message seemed to be given by the decedent's voice
in a dream. (From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. v. p. 455.)

Mr. George King, of 12 Sunderland Terrace, Westbourne Park, W.,

writes :

Nffvember 8tA, 1885.

The following is a brief account of an occurrence that took place eleven
years ago. I repeat the facts exactly as they happened, and make no attempt
at comment or explanation. It is necessary to give a few words of prefatory

My brother D., a few years my junior, was a handsome, powerful young
man, twenty-one years of age at the time of his death, and he was an unusually
vigorous swimmer. He had greatly distinguished himself at school and college,
and he was enthusiastically devoted to scientific pursuits. On leaving the
Scottish University where he had studied, he adopted telegraphic engineering
for a profession, and as all his tastes were in that direction his progress was
rapid. His more especial department was the construction and laying of deep-
sea cables, and when only twenty years of age he was appointed to the respon-
sible post of superintendent of the scientific department in laying a cable for
the Brazilian Government. In the performance of his duties on the stormy
Atlantic coast of South America he had to encounter many perils ; and finally
the steamer Gornos, on which he was, was totally wrecked, and the cable was
lost. All lives were saved, though for many hours the danger had been
extreme. My brother returned immediately by mail to London, and throughout
the summer months of 1874 was engaged in superintending the manufacture
of fresh cable to replace that which had become lost in the Gornos. During
these few months D. and I had much affectionate intercourse, and the bonds
between us (he was my only brother) were drawn even closer than before.

In November 1874 the cable was finished and shipped on board the
La Plata, a magnificent steamship, carrying with her every appliance that
could be required to render the expedition safe. By the wreck of the Gornos
much valuable time had been lost, and for six months a huge sum of capital


had been lying idle. Only a small section of cable was required to complete
the line, and the contractors, Siemens Brothers, spared no expense to make
certain of success on the second attempt. While, therefore, we might fear for
my brother the unhealthy climate of some parts of the coast of Brazil, we had
no anxiety as regards the perils of the sea.

I bid D. farewell on Wednesday, November 2nd [evidently meaning 25th,
see below], 1874. I had a lecture to deliver that afternoon, and I could
not go to see him off, and we parted at the door of my office. He was the
picture of health and strength, and we spoke cheerfully of meeting again in
a few months' time, when his work should be completed. The next morning
I had a line from him, written at the docks, and on Saturday a happy little
letter, which was posted by the pilot when he landed at the Isle of Wight.
Everything tended to reassure me, and I had no sense of impending calamity.

Next Wednesday evening, December 2nd, I attended a conversazione
at King's College, given by Sir W. Thomson, President of the Society of
Telegraphic Engineers, and, taking myself a keen interest in science, my
mind was intensely occupied with all that I saw and heard. While examining
the beautiful instruments exhibited, I often wished that my brother had been
there to explain them to me, and the many friends that I met spoke to me of
him. He was thus pleasantly in my thoughts, but my mind was not brooding
or concentrated on him. On the contrary, it was disturbed by the multitude
of objects, and only casual glances were cast towards D. Rather excited, I
went home to my solitary chambers, and retired to bed shortly after mid-
night. I was soon asleep, but how long I remained so I know not. So far
as recollection goes, I had not been dreaming, but Suddenly I found myself
in the midst of a brilliant assembly, such as that I had recently left at King's
College. I stood in evening dress on the steps at the entrance to a great and
crowded hall. I was looking towards the garden, brightly lighted with a
multitude of lamps. Illuminated fountains were playing in front of me, and
groups of gentlemen and ladies sauntered up and down the paths. The cool
night air was blowing on my face, and I had a delicious feeling of pleasure
and peace. Two gentlemen, strangers to me, stood talking on the gravel a
few paces from me. I heard their voices, and could almost catch their conver-
sation. Suddenly my brother stepped out from behind them, and advanced
towards me. He was in evening dress, like all the rest, and was the very
image of buoyant health. I was much surprised to see him, and, going
forward to meet him, I said : " Hallo ! D., how are you here ? " He shook
me warmly by the hand, and replied: "Did you not know I have been
wrecked again?" At these words a deadly faintness came over me. I seemed
to swim away and sink to the ground. After momentary unconsciousness
I awoke, and found myself in my bed. I was in a cold perspiration, and
had paroxysms of trembling, which would not be controlled. I argued with
myself on the absurdity of getting into a panic over a dream, but all to no
purpose, and for long I could not sleep. Towards morning I again slumbered,
and the fear passed off from me. On Thursday, December 3rd, I was to
breakfast with a friend, at his hotel, before he started for Scotland, and I
went to Euston by the Metropolitan Railway. The bookstalls on my side of
the station were not yet opened, but across the line the boys were arranging
the papers, and they spread out the placard of the Daily Telegraph. In large
letters on it were the words : " Terrible disaster at sea. Loss of a steamship


and sixty lives." I felt as if iced water had been poured over me, and the
dread of the night before returned; but my train glided up to the platform,
and I could not get a paper. The gentleman next me in the carriage was
reading the Daily Telegraph, and I looked over his shoulder, and saw, under
a sensational heading, the words : " By the arrival in the Thames, yesterday,
of the Antenor, &c."; but the motion of the train prevented me from reading
properly, and 1 thought the sentence ran : ' By the arrival of the Thames,
news of the Antenor, &c. &c." I therefore gathered that the Antenor had
been lost. On arriving at my destination I got the Times, and looked it over
from the beginning to the end, but it contained no mention of the shipwreck.
Later on I went to my office and began my work, but presently one of the
messengers, with a strange look in his face, came to me and said : " Is it true,
sir, that your brother has been lost in the La Plata ? " I started up and ran
to the Marine Company next door, and there the very worst fears were con-
firmed. The La Plata foundered in the Bay of Biscay at about noon on Sunday,
November 24th [evidently a slip for 29th, see below], 1874, after being exposed
for only a few hours to a terrific gale. No satisfactory reason for the
catastrophe was ever forthcoming. Why a well-found and powerful steamer
should have gone down in open sea, when a common rowing-boat should have
survived, is a mystery which remains unsolved. The event created a great
sensation at the time, and a long Board of Trade inquiry was held, but the
riddle was never answered.

I saw some of the survivors of the crew, and learned from them about my
brother. Although the weather had been rough, danger was not feared until
Sunday morning, when water began to rush into the engine-room, and quickly
put out the fires. My brother toiled with the sailors to get steam up in the
donkey-engine on deck so as to work the pumps, and he nobly encouraged
the men. This, however, proved useless, and when the boat pushed off from
the ship, the last seen of my brother was that he was helping to launch the

The La Plata foundered at about noon on Sunday, November 29th, and
possibly D. perished then and there. But he may possibly have survived for
several days. He was of strong constitution ; he was a powerful swimmer ; he
had on an air-belt, and he was beside the life-raft when the ship went down.
On December 2nd, two sailors were picked up alive. Half -immersed in the ice-
cold water, they had clung to the life-raft and drifted about the Atlantic for
three whole days. I add this last note to show that it is just possible that I had
the vision of my brother near the morning of his death, although more probably
he died three days before.

In conclusion, I must say that I speak of a "vision " because the whole of
my sensations while the scene was passing before me, and subsequently, were
quite different from those that accompany an ordinary dream. Also I can see
everything now in my mind as clearly as at the moment when I awoke, whereas
with me even the most vivid dreams always gradually fade away.

In answer to inquiries, Mr. King says :

November \$th, 1885.

The vision of my brother was quite unique. I never before or since had a
vision of a person whom I believed to be in the flesh, and never had an external
event such as the shipwreck thus conveyed to me. Much less have I ever had


a vision which was falsified by the event. Also never before or since have I
had sensations similar to those that accompanied the vision of my brother.


The first announcement of the wreck of the La Plata appeared in the
Daily Telegraph, December 3rd, 1874, and in the same issue an account
appears of a conversazione given the night before at King's College,
Strand, by Sir Wm. Thomson, President of the Society of Telegraph

On December loth, in the same paper, a telegram is printed giving an
account of the rescue of the boatswain and quartermaster of the La Plata,
who were found clinging to some wreckage by a Dutch cutter. It is stated
that the steamer foundered on November 29th, and that those two men
clung to the wreckage until picked up at 10 A.M. on December 2nd.

The La Plata left Gravesend for Rio Janeiro on November 26th,
1874, and foundered in the Bay of Biscay, as we learn from the Marine
Department, Board of Trade, on the 29th. The survivors were picked
up by the Gare Loch, and transferred to the homeward-bound ss.
Anterior, which arrived with them and the first news in the Thames on
December 2nd.

736 A. From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii. p. 218. The following
account was written out by me on December 22nd, 1888, from notes
taken during an interview with Mrs. Davies the same day ; and was after-
wards revised and signed by Mrs. Davies.

About twenty years ago I was living with my mother and brother at Islington.
Near us lived a family whose name is not important to the narrative. One of
their daughters married a Mr. J. W., who went to India. Mrs. J. W. continued
living at her father's house. Her father, however, changed his residence, and
as Mr. J. W.'s address in India was not known at the time, Mrs. J. W. could
not inform him of the change of address. The house where she was living with
her father when her husband left home passed to a family whom I will call
Brown, with whom I was acquainted, as I also was with Mrs. J. W. and her

One evening I paid a visit to Mrs. Brown, and she gave me an Indian letter
which had arrived for Mrs. J. W. at the house now occupied by the Browns.
Mrs. Brown asked me to transmit this letter to Mrs. J. W. through my brother,
who frequently saw a brother of Mrs. J. W.'s. There had thus been some little
delay, and perhaps slackness in getting the letter sent on to Mrs. J. W. I pro-
mised to give it to my brother, and took it home. It was a dirty-looking letter,
addressed in an uneducated handwriting, and of ordinary bulk. I placed it on
the chimney-piece in our sitting-room, and sat down alone. I expected my
brother home in an hour or two. The letter, of course, in no way interested
me. In a minute or two I heard a ticking on the chimney-piece, and it struck
me that an old-fashioned watch which my mother always had standing in her
bedroom must have been brought downstairs. I went to the chimney-piece,
but there was no watch or clock there or elsewhere in the room. The ticking,
which was loud and sharp, seemed to proceed from the letter itself. Greatly

3 66 APPENDICES [736 A

surprised, I removed the letter and put it on a sideboard, and then in one or two
other places; but the ticking continued, proceeding undoubtedly from where
the letter was each time. After an hour or so of this I could bear the thing no
longer, and went out and sat in the hall to await my brother. When he came
in I simply took him into the sitting-room and asked him if he heard anything.
He said at once, " I hear a watch or clock ticking." There was no watch or
clock, as I have said, in the room. He went to where the letter was and
exclaimed, " Why, the letter is ticking." We then listened to it together,
moved it about, and satisfied ourselves that the ticking proceeded from the
letter, which, however, plainly contained nothing but a sheet of paper. The
impression which the ticking made was that of an urgent call for attention.
My brother took the letter to Mrs. J. W. either that night (it was very late) or
next morning. On opening it, she found that her husband had suddenly died
of sunstroke, and the letter was written by some servant or companion to
inform her of his death. The ticking no doubt made my brother and myself
hand on the letter more promptly than we might otherwise have done.

I have never experienced any other hallucination of the senses. I once
heard a strong push at the street-door at the minute (for I looked at my watch)
that my father died at a distance ; but, though I went to the door at once and
saw no one, I cannot, of course, be sure that some passer-by might not have
pushed the door and got out of sight ; for the house was in a street with many
passers. I have also heard ticks before a death ; but these may very likely
have been caused by the death-watch insect ; which certainly was not the case
with the ticks which came from the letter. The incident of the letter made a
deep impression on me. (Signed) ANNA DAVIES.

Mr. Davies, brother to Mrs. Davies (who married a gentleman of the
same name), gives his independent recollection as follows :

64 CHURCH ROAD, SOUTHGATE ROAD, N., February itfA, 1889.

I am afraid my recollection of the details after so long a time has elapsed
is rather limited and somewhat hazy, so that if my sister has expanded
into details, and her version should slightly differ from mine, please consider that
I bow to her superior memory, and accept her account as correct. The main
features of the incident are, however, as nearly as I can recollect, as follows :
One night, it must be nearly, if not quite, thirty years ago, I returned home
between ten and eleven o'clock, and my sister told me that she had brought
home from the house of a friend of hers a letter from India, addressed to a
Mrs. Walker, who had formerly lived at the house the letter was directed to,
and being acquainted with Mrs. Walker (whose brother was an intimate friend
of mine), I was asked to be the bearer of the letter to her. I found it on the
mantelshelf, and my sister and myself heard very distinctly a clear ticking
noise, as loud as, and similar to, that of a small clock, which we spent some
time in trying to account for, and which we could so clearly trace to the vicinity
of the letter that it seemed to proceed from the letter itself, but we could find
nothing which would in any way account for what we heard. I delivered the
letter to my friend the following day to hand to his sister, Mrs. Walker, and
afterwards heard that it contained the news of the decease of her husband in
India. I am not quite sure but almost so, that on hearing the mysterious noise
we remarked on the probable contents of the letter, -but we were certainly


struck with the coincidence of the noise being heard whilst the letter was on th
shelf (and apparently proceeding from it) and discontinuing on its removal.

I have no means of fixing the date, or even the year, as Mrs. Walker and
her brother have both been dead for some years. L. A. DAVIES.

736 B. I give next an account of a case briefly mentioned by Gurney
in Phantasms of the Living, vol. ii. p. 690, about which we afterwards
obtained further evidence. After mentioning two other cases in which
entries in the diary of the percipient Mr. Cameron Grant confirmed
his recollection of strong impressions nearly coincident with deaths,
Gurney continues :

I have studied in Mr. Grant's diary the full record of a third case which
was even more remarkable than the first, as it included the peculiarity that,
for some time after his first impression, he felt forcibly impelled to draw the
figure of the person who died. The case was made the more striking to me by
the fact that Mr. Grant was so certain that the death (the time of which he had
only very vaguely learnt) must have coincided in date with his impression, that
he had actually not taken the trouble to verify the coincidence. He left it to
me to find in the Times obituary as he confidently foretold that I should that
the death (which was quite unexpected) occurred, thousands of miles from the
place where he was, on the day preceding that on which the entry in his diary,
relating his impression of the previous night, was written. The impression of
that night did not, however, bear distinct reference to the particular person
who died, but was a more general sense of calamity. Certain reasons which at
present make it desirable not to publish the details of this case may in time
cease to exist.

Now, on a fuller inspection of Mr. Grant's voluminous journal (largely
a business record), which he has kindly permitted me to make, it appeared
that the impulse to draw the dying man was the most marked feature in
the whole incident, and furthermore that this impulse came on some
months after the death but on the night previous to the day on which
Mr. Grant saw, in a casual newspaper received in Brazil, the announce-
ment of his friend's demise in Scotland. 1

The possibility of a telepathic impulse from the surviving members of
the family of course suggests itself : but Mr. Grant was in a wild up-country
station in Brazil ; and it seems impossible that any one could guess at
what date the news would reach him. The rough sketch which Mr. Grant
was impelled to make contained two figures (of which the second was a
servant) and a window ; and it truly represented, as he afterwards learnt,
the circumstances of the death.

The case has been further strengthened by permission to print the
passages from Mr. Grant's diary, and by interviews of my own with the
widow and daughter of the deceased person, Lord Z. (not the true initial),
who were present at the time of the death.

1 I am not sure how many hours the impulse lasted, Mr. Grant having been obliged
to return to Brazil before sending me a copy of the passage in his journal.


The following is Mr. Grant's statement, made to me, July 28th, 1889
(which I quote from Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii. p. 212).

The first form in which this impression came to me was that of deep
sympathy for [a member of Lord Z.'s family]. After this had lasted for some
time I found myself rudely drawing a tall man stooping forwards on to another
man. I had a conviction that Lord Z. was dead that the falling forward
indicated death. I also dimly perceived the position of windows behind the
falling figure, though I did not draw these. I wrote to my mother at once to
say that I knew that Lord Z. was dead. [Letter not preserved.] I was then
up the country in Brazil, and saw few papers. I heard from England that
Lord Z. was dead ; but (as I told Mr. Gurney) did not look for date in papers,
and did not, so far as I know, hear the date in any letter.

On reaching England I was partially hypnotised by a physician of my
acquaintance [name given] ; but did not lose consciousness. During my
semi-trance I became aware that I was seeing the room and windows and the
falling figure more clearly than ever before. I talked of this scene to the
physician. Afterwards he invited me to look in a crystal. I did so; and saw
the same room, the windows, bed, and figure, more distinctly.

I afterwards went to stay in the house where Lord Z. died. As soon as I
entered I asked Lady Z. to allow me to describe to her the room where I had
seemed to see Lord Z. dying. Lady Z. was at first incredulous ; but on my
describing the position of bed and windows she admitted that it was correct.
Lord Z. had died in a dressing-room adjacent to his bedroom. The temporary
bed and windows were exactly as I had seen them. He had fallen forwards
into the arms of a male attendant, dying suddenly.

The first impression of the death, which was nearly coincident, was on
December 24th, 1885 (date verified by Mr. Gurney). Entry in diary
December 25th, 1885 : "There was something upon my mind all day from
yesterday a sense of a death or loss of some one dear to me. I spoke
to E. C. [Mr. Catlin, the manager, who wrote in corroboration] about it ;
and I don't know how it is, but as I wrote the above [a member of Lord
Z.'s family] has been constantly in my thoughts."

Then on Tuesday, January 26th, 1886, is an entry read by me in
Mr. Grant's journal, and copied for me by him as follows :

" Impression at about one o'clock and drawing and reasoning therefrom on

January 'i'jth. " Very tired, but did not sleep a wink all night. I am sure
that something has happened to [a member of Lord Z.'s family]. I heard

Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 49 of 89)