Frederic William Henry Myers.

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(Signed) C. A. C. HADSELLE.

Dr. Hodgson writes :

Mrs. G. the friend referred to has sent me her corroboration, dated
March 5th, 1890. The date of the incident, she states, was November nth,
1886. She says :

" I had not expected Mrs. H. ; did not at that time know where she was,
so could not have summoned her had I wished to do so, but in my trouble
there grew upon me a great desire for her presence, and I said many times, ' If
$he would only come. If she were only here.'

" My sister's failure at the last was somewhat rapid, but of this Mrs. H. knew
nothing, and when she told me of her sudden change of purpose, hundreds of
miles away, I said : ' The impulse was sent you in answer to my wish,' or words
to that effect."

The gentleman who helped Mrs. Hadselle to change her ticket, the
Rev. James Wilson, then of Greenwich, N.Y., writes in answer to Dr.
Hodgson's inquiries :

March 20tk, 1890.

I recollect the circumstance of " assisting a lady " at Greenwich ticket office,
who exchanged her ticket at the last moment, because of a change of purpose ;
and it was in November 1886. She sent me a few lines afterwards, detailing
certain facts touching a sick friend at the point of her destination not clearly
recalled at this moment. j. T. WILSON.

817 C. From the Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ix. p. 35.
Mrs. Hadselle sent at the same time as the above another narrative, of
which she said :

I send you with this a bit of experience which I had years ago so long ago,
indeed, as the time Dr. Holland edited the Springfield Republican. He wrote



817C] TO CHAPTER VIII 407

me that the " Warning " was copied from Maine to California, and that he re-
ceived many letters asking if it was authentic. To this he could safely reply, as
I was an old-time contributor to that and other leading journals. A local paper
lately copied it. Many of the then witnesses have, with Dr. Holland and my
darling Eddie (Kleber Loomis Hadselle), gone over to the " great majority,"
but there are several still living who remember the episode, and no one of my
acquaintances doubts or thinks the sketch overdrawn.

[The account is taken from the Berkshire County Eagle, May loth, 1888,
Pittsfield, Mass., and is there headed " The Unspoken Warning A Mother's
Experience." As above implied, the account itself is nearly contemporary with
the incident, being here quoted from a reprint, which the author accepts as
correct : ]

One bitter cold day in winter a merry party of us, nestled down under furry
robes, went to meet an appointment with a friend living a few miles distant,
with whom we were to spend the afternoon and in the evening attend a concert
to be held near by. The sleighing was delightful, the air keen and inspiriting,
the host and hostess genial as the crackling fires in the grates, and the invited
guests, of whom there were many besides ourselves, in that peculiar visiting
trim which only old-time friends, long parted, can enjoy. Restraint was thrown
aside ; we cracked jokes ; we chattered like magpies, and not a little of the
coming concert, which promised a rare treat to our unsophisticated ears. All
went merry as a marriage bell, and merrier than some, till just before tea, when
I was seized with a sudden and unaccountable desire to go home, accompanied
by a dread or fear of something, I knew not what, which made the return ap-
pear, not a matter of choice, but a thing imperative. I tried to reason it away,
to revive anticipations of the concert ; I thought of the disappointment it would
be to those who came with me to give it up, and running over in my mind tbe
condition in which things were left at home, could find no ground for alarm.

For many years a part of the house had been rented to a trusty family; our
children were often rocked in the same cradle, and half of the time ate at the
same table ; locks and bolts were things unused, and in deed as in word we
were neighbours. In their care had been left a boy of ten years, the only one
of the family remaining at home, who knew that when he returned from school
he was expected to bring in wood and kindlings for the morning fire, take supper
alone, or with little Clara E., as he chose, and otherwise pass the time as he
pleased, only that he must not go into the street to play, or on to the pond to
skate. He had been left many times in this way, and had never given occasion
for the slightest uneasiness; still, as this nameless fear grew upon me, it took
the form of a conviction that danger of some sort threatened this beloved child.

I was rising to go and ask Mr. A. to take me home, when some one said,
" You are very pale ; are you ill ? " " No," I answered, and dropping back in the
chair, told them how strangely I had been exercised for the last few minutes ;
adding, " I really must go home." There was a perfect chorus of voices against
it, and for a little time I was silenced, though not convinced. Some one laid the
matter before Mr. A., who replied, " Nonsense; Eddie is a good boy to mind,
will do nothing in our absence that he would not do if we were there, and is
enjoying himself well at this moment, I'll warrant." This answer was brought
to me in triumph, and I resolved to do as they said, " not to think about it."
But at tea my trembling hand almost refused to carry food to my lips, and I
found it utterly impossible to swallow a mouthful. A death-like chill crept over



4 o8 APPENDICES [817 C

me, and I knew that every eye was on me as I left the room. Mr. A. rose, say-
ing in a changed voice and without ceremony, " Make haste ; bring the horse
round, we must go right away. I never saw her in such a state before ; there
is something in it." He followed me to the parlour, but before he could speak
I was pleading as for dear life that not a moment be lost in starting for home.
" I know," said I, " it is not all imagination, and whether it is or not I shall
certainly die if this dreadful incubus is not removed shortly."

All was now confusion ; the tea-table deserted, the meal scarce tasted ; and
my friends, alarmed as much at my looks as at my words, were as anxious to
hurry me off as they had been before to detain me. To me those terrible
moments seemed hours, yet I am assured that not more than half-an-hour
elapsed from the time my fears first found expression before we were on the
road toward home. A horse somewhat noted for fleetness was before us, and
with only two in the cutter the rest stayed to concert, and made Mr. A. promise
that if nothing had happened we would return went over the road at a rapid
pace. I knew from the frequent repetition of a peculiar signal that the beast
was being urged to his best, yet I grew sick with impatience at the restraint.
I wanted to fly. All this while my fears had taken no definite shape. I only
knew that the child was in danger, and felt impelled to hurry to the rescue.
Only once was the silence broken in that three-mile journey, and that was when
the house was in full view. I said, "Thank God, the house is not on fire."
" That was my own thought," said Mr. A., but there was no slackening of speed.

On nearing home a cheerful light was glimmering from Mrs. E.'s window ;
before the vehicle had fairly stopped we were clear of it, and opening the door,
said in the same breath, " Where's Eddie ? " " Eddie ? why, he was here a little
while ago," answered Mrs. E., pleasantly striving to dissipate the alarm she saw
written on our countenances. " He ate supper with the children, and played
awhile at marbles ; then spoke of Libby Rose having a new picture book, and
that he wanted to see it. You'll find him over there." With swift steps Mr. A.
crossed the street to the place mentioned, but returned with " He has not been
there." Eddie was remarkably fond of skating, and my next thought was that
he had been tempted to disobedience. I said calmly, " We will go to the pond."
I was perfectly collected ; I could have worked all night without fatigue with
the nerves in that state of tension ; but Mr. A. said, " No, you must go in and
lie down. Eddie is safe enough, somewhere about the village. I'll go and find
him." But there was nothing in the tone as in the words to reassure me.

As he spoke he crossed the hall to our own room and turned the knob.
The door was locked. What could that mean ? Eddie was either on the
inside or had taken the key away with him. Mr. 'A. ran round to a window
with a broken spring which could be opened from the outside. It went up
with a clang, but a dense volume of smoke drove him back. After an instant
another attempt was made, and this time, on a lounge directly under the
window, he stumbled on the insensible form of little Eddie, smothered in
smoke. Limp and apparently lifeless, he was borne into the fresh cold air, and
after some rough handling was restored to consciousness.

Eddie said, on returning from school he made a good fire, and as the wood

was snowy thought he would put it in the oven to dry; something he had

icyer done before. Then on leaving Mrs. E.'s room he went in for an apple

re going to see Libby Rose's picture book, and it seemed so nice and warm

he thought he would lie down awhile. He could give no explanation as to



817 D] TO CHAPTER VIII 409

what prompted him to turn the key: it was the first and last time; but this
could have made no difference in the result, for no one would have discovered
the smoke in time to save his life. The wood in the oven was burned to ashes,
but as the doors were closed there was no danger of falling embers setting the
house on fire ; and had we stayed to the concert everything would have been
as when we left, except that little Eddie's voice would never more have made
music for our ears. Every one said that with a delay of five or even three
minutes we should have been too late.

(Signed) MRS. C. A. C. HADSELLE.

In reply to inquiries, Mrs. Hadselle informed Dr. Hodgson that the
event took place about 1854, Eddie being then nine or ten years old.
Mr. A. is no longer living, but the lady at whose house the party met, on
being asked by Mrs. Hadselle what she could remember of the circum-
stances, wrote :

ALBANY, N. Y., January 6th, 1891.

I remember distinctly the incident described by Mrs. Hadselle in her sketch,
"An Unspoken Warning." It was at my house that the little party gathered
for the old-fashioned afternoon visit and tea. I remember well her strange con-
dition, arising from anxiety over the child, which had been left at home. The
statement made by her I believe to be true. M. W. ROGERS.

817 D. From the Journal S.P.R., vol. v. p. 136. The following
account was sent to me by Lady de Vesci in May 1891. Whether
the impulse to telegraph was really connected with the dying lady's
condition we cannot, of course, say, but the coincidence was cer-
tainly remarkable.

May 24tA, 1891.

Madame X. was a very remarkable woman, and I was most deeply
attached to her. She had had great troubles and difficulties in her life, an
unhappy marriage, and two sons who were entirely educated by her. When
they came to London as clerks in the city she followed them to make a home
for them there ; but as one was soon sent out to work at Hong-Kong and the
other to a business at Bahia, she sought employment for herself in London and
came to us as governess in 1864. In 1869 she became ill, and spent the winter
alone at Bournemouth. She and I wrote constantly to each other, and when
she moved to Norwood for the summer of 1870 my eldest brother and I went
often to spent long afternoons with her. He died that summer, and although
she had not left her sofa for months she came at once to see me when she
heard of our great sorrow ; the doctor said he had never seen such an indomit-
able spirit as she showed through her illness, and when in the spring of 1871
Sir J. Burrows told her that she had not many months to live she resolved to
go out to Hong-Kong and see her eldest son once more. It was not thought
that she would survive the voyage. Our deep love for each other was un-
changeable, and this final farewell was a great grief to us both. She reached
Hong- Kong and spent the last eighteen months of her life with her son there.
I heard from her by every mail.

In 1872 I married, and shortly afterwards we were quartered at the Curragh.
It was from there that I sent the telegram which she received less than twenty-
four hours before her death. Until two years ago I had in my possession a



4io



APPENDICES [818 A



few faint lines written by her on blue foreign paper, saying she had received my
message and that her "fever dreams" were filled with memories of our happy
days together at Cannes and elsewhere. Her son is now dead. He came to
see me in '76, and told me that my telegram had made his mother very happy.

The impulse that made me communicate with her on that particular day
was a very strong one. It came to me suddenly and not in consequence of any
increased anxiety from news received. On the contrary, the accounts were
quite satisfactory. I had heard from her by the mail a few days before. I
asked my husband to go with me to the Curragh Post-Office as I wished to find
out the cost of a telegram to China, and he accompanied me to the Post-Office,
and we were told it would cost 5 to send twelve words or so, I think. I at
once wrote and sent the message containing a few words of loving greeting.
These words she received and acknowledged only a few hours before her death.

EVELYN DE VESCI.

Lord de Vesci adds :

I certify that the account given by Lady de Vesci is correct and accurate.

DE VESCI.
June 2nd, 1891.

818 A. From a paper by Mrs. Verrall, entitled " Some Experiments
on the Supernormal Acquisition of Knowledge," in the Proceedings
S.P.R., vol. xi. p. 191.

In these cases a piece of information not consciously possessed at the
moment is conveyed to the conscious intelligence by means of an apparent
mechanical difficulty, which on examination turns out not to exist The in-
formation thus obtained is usually negative ; that is, this apparent mechanical
difficulty prevents my doing something unnecessary or undesirable, which I
should know to be such if I thought about it, but which from thoughtlessness I
am on the point of doing. An illustration will make my meaning clearer.

Constantly, when using my typewriter, it has happened to me to find a diffi-
culty in pressing a key, so great a difficulty as to oblige me to look to see what
is wrong. I then see that what is wrong is that my finger was on the wrong
key, but there is, in fact, no difficulty whatever in depressing the key if I deter-
mine to do so. The effect of this apparent mechanical difficulty is to draw my
attention in time to the mistake I am on the point of making. . . .

[Again,] I wrote, in the afternoon, five letters, and then stretched out my left
hand to the stationery case to take the necessary envelopes. I wanted five,
and as I can usually take a small number without error expected to take
five. But I did not get enough ; I found that I only had three, and tried to
take a couple more. But one of these two slipped through my fingers, and I
only held one. I was quite vexed at my maladroitness, gave up a further
attempt for the present and proceeded to fold my letters, put them into
envelopes, and address them. When I came to the fifth letter, I remembered
that I had an envelope ready addressed for this letter, as I had written the
night before, but torn up the letter after receiving a letter by the late post,
which decided me to wait for fuller information. I had kept the envelope,
and it was actually lying on my table while I was trying to take the five
envelopes. I may have seen it, but if I did, it was unconsciously ; it was only
when I found that I could not get five envelopes that I discovered that I did
not require more than four.



819A] TO CHAPTER VIII 411

818 B. From the Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii. p. 344.

The following is a case in which, as I conceive, the subliminal self
has observed what the supraliminal has failed to notice, and has gene-
rated a hallucination, in order to check the mistaken action to which that
inadvertence was leading. In this case, all that needs correction is a
mere act of distraction a failure to look carefully at an object fully in
sight.

From Mrs. E. K. ELLIOTT, wife of the Rev. E. K. Elliott.

About twenty years ago I received some letters by post, one of which con-
tained 15 in bank notes. After reading the letters I went into the kitchen
with them in my hands. I was alone at the time, no one being near me, except
the cook, and she was in the scullery. Having done with the letters, I made a
motion to throw them into the fire, when I distinctly felt my hand arrested in
the act. It was as though another hand were gently laid upon my own, press-
ing it back. Much surprised, I looked at my hand, and then saw that it con-
tained not the letters I had intended to destroy, but the bank notes, and that
the letters were in the other hand. I was so surprised that I called out, " Who
is here ? " I called the cook and told her, and also told my husband on the first
opportunity. I never had any similar experience before or since.

Statement by Rev. E. K. ELLIOTT.

I remember my wife describing the above adventure to me at the time, and
also that she was nearly fainting from the excitement caused by it.

E. K. ELLIOTT.

819 A. In the following case the hypothesis of a subliminal
hyperaesthetic discernment of the bifid fern by ordinary eyesight is pos-
sibly applicable. The account is a translation of that given in the
Annales des Sciences Psychiques (May-June, 1895), by M. Adrien Gueb-
hard, Professeur agrdge" a la Faculte de Medecine.

On the 3oth May 1893, I was on a geological excursion in the environs of
Nice. After a very uneasy night, passed in the village of Contes, I set out in a
rather bad humour in the direction of Escarene by an old road, where my dis-
gust was heightened by seeing on my right a long mound of absolutely no
interest, either palaeontological or stratigraphical. In vain I tried to console
myself by seeking in the crevices of the moist, dripping stone, or under the
tufts of green maidenhair, some rare snail-shell for a collection belonging to my
friends. I had already resigned myself to the uninteresting walk of the ordinary
tourist, when suddenly a flash of recollection arrested my wandering attention
a memory dating from my old passion of long ago for botany, revived for a
short time in 1889 by the publication of a work on the abnormal partitions of
ferns, but certainly long since abandoned. Promptly, and with all the intensity
of an old longing never satisfied, I conceived a great ambition for an object
which, having been vainly sought, had almost passed into a myth, namely, the
Asplenium Trichomanes, or Common Maidenhair Spleenwort abnormally
bifurcated, which I had often seen mentioned in a book, but which I had never
once, during thirty years, been able to discover, in spite of the great abundance
of the normal species.



4 i2 APPENDICES [819 A

Hardly was this mental picture evoked, before my eyes, as if drawn by the
real image, were arrested by one amongst all the green tufts which surrounded
me, and amongst all the fronds which composed it, by one alone, which, two
yards off, had the exact appearance of a bifurcation.

Purely appearance, I said to myself, drawing near. Simply the juxtaposi-
tion of two neighbouring fronds, which I have so often mistaken for it.

Sceptical even while gathering it, I could not believe my eyes. But the
evidence was undeniable, and when, much astonished but highly delighted, I
had plucked the fern, I said to myself half-aloud, as though uttering a chal-
lenge, "Well, I only want now to find the Cet." I had not finished my
sentence when my gaze, leaving the high wall on the right where it was still
mechanically searching, fell below the footpath on the left, at the foot of the
buttress, on a poor sickly plant of Ceterach Officinarum (Common Scale-Fern
or Scaly Spleenwort) crowded into the midst of the Asplenium (Spleenworts)
as if dejected at finding itself in this damp shady corner instead of a crevice
in a dry and sunny wall, which is the usual abode of this species.

And this plant, which ordinarily I should never have dreamed of seeking in
such a spot, this fern of quite simple venation, edges very slightly divided, and
under surfaces all scaly, in fact with an appearance so opposed to the idea of
partition that (never having come across a specimen either in my youthful re-
searches, in the splendid collections of the Museum, or in any herbal or rare
book) I had concluded it to be non-existent an impossible anomaly it was, I
say, a frond of this fern that appeared before me to-day at my bidding, as in
Perrault's stories, as clearly bipartite as the Asplenium close by had been.

Being at once led on^ and covetously pushing my reasoning straight to the
principal conclusion of my old observations on the somewhat epidemic and at
the same time local character of these freaks of nature, I argued : " If I have
found one, and even two bifurcated fronds, certainly the third is not far to
seek." And in less time than it had taken to announce this decision, without
any hesitation, amongst all the attractive groups of fern, I distinguished im-
mediately one frond of maidenhair showing two clearly-marked points.

I should never have made up my mind to put this incident in writing, at the
risk of occasioning the reader's sceptical smile, if the recurrence of the same
adventure twice in the course of this same year had not confirmed the reality
and demonstrated the importance of the psychological problem.

On the 8th August 1893, at Lausanne (Switzerland) I had just accompanied
some friends returning to the country, whose gay conversation was anything
rather than botanical, and the last good-byes were hardly said, when all at
once, as I walked along the path we had taken a minute or two earlier, there
shot into my head, without rhyme or reason, the idea of a divided maidenhair,
and immediately I put my hand on a frond, then further on on a second, and
again on another, always making my choice at once without groping in the
long green mantle of the great wall. Afterwards I in vain retraced my steps
to explore conscientiously, with attention, and at length, the fifty yards of
pathway ; there was nothing more, or I could see no more.

Ten days later I was visiting near ChambeYy with a gay and numerous
party the celebrated country house Charmettes. still alive with memories of
Jean Jacques Rousseau. As I crossed the threshold, the thanks of the care-
taker still in my ears, and before my eyes the pictures of the Confessions, I
instinctively felt my gaze drawn towards the little wall of the terrace, where,



819A] TO CHAPTER VIII 413

at the first glance amongst several stunted tufts, which were afterwards to
furnish me with several similar specimens, I discovered an extremely curious
plant of maidenhair, such as I did not yet possess, with fronds not merely
bifurcated, but really ramified.

Was it this time a reminiscence of " Lettres sur la botanique " which had
given the suggestion ? Was it not, as well as the time before, simply an echo
at a relatively shorter distance of the exciting experience in the month of
May? I do not think so, for with regard to the latter nothing of the sort
could be argued, and it seems, on the contrary, that it was precisely the
absence of all appreciable cause, the apparently complete spontaneity of the
first vision, to which was due the intensity of the second a real second sight
which leads infallibly straight to the mark. That mark is evidently pre-
existent, of a real kind, and perhaps one might defend this view ! is
itself by its simple presence, and by a sort of self-discharge at a distance,
the unsuspected and unperceived cause of the sudden internal revival of a
similar image, stored-up long ago ; the spontaneous exteriorisation of which,
and the placing of it in coincidence with the corresponding object, would
constitute precisely the fact of the discovery that is to say, simply the proof of
the existence of that object. Whatever may be the cause, it seems certain
that only the abruptness, the suddenness of the cerebral awakening is capable
of giving momentarily to the sensorial faculties that acuteness in some sort
prophetic, which automatically attracts the material object of the mental
evocation, not out of nothing, as a superstitious mind might believe, but simply
out of the relative obscurity in which it would have remained under other
circumstances.



Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 55 of 89)