Utilizable Telepathy - Luther Burbank(1)
(1) Article in "Hearst's Magazine", May, 1923.
THE NAME of Luther
Burbank (1849-1926), Sc.D. from Tufts College, is familiar as that of the famous
student and moulder of plant life, originator of spineless cacti, the plumcot
which is a quite new fruit, the Shasta daisy, and a large number of varieties of
potatoes, plums, apples, peaches, nuts, cherries, vegetables, flowers, etc. His
Experimental Farms in California had, toward the end of his life, 5,000
different botanical species, and a million plants a year were tested. He was a
special lecturer on evolution at Leland Stanford, Jr., University, and a member
of many organizations.
I inherited my mother's ability to send and receive communications. So did one
of my sisters. In tests before representatives of the University of California
she was able, seven times out of ten, to receive messages sent to her
telepathically. My mother, who lived to be more than ninety-six years of age,
was in poor health the last years of her life. During these years I often wished
to summon my sister. On such occasions I never had to write, telephone or
telegraph to her. Instead, I sent her messages telepathically, and each time she
arrived in Santa Rosa, California, where I live, on the next train.
It is hard to credit that, had records been kept of Dr. Burbank's attempts to
send his sister messages by telepathy, they would have shown unbroken success;
on the other hand, it is very hard to believe that such a statement would have
been made by such a man without considerable basis of fact.
The Trances of a Pioneer in Mathematical and General Science - Jerome
(2) Taken immediately from Flammarion's "Autour de
la Mort", p. 45, which derives from Cardan's "De Rerum Varietate", XXXIV.
Translated by W. F. P.
Girolomo Cardano (1501-1576), to give him his name in his own language, was a
famous Italian mathematician and physician. In 1545 he published a book which
marks an era in the history of mathematics. His great work, De Subtilitate
Rerum, printed in 1551, sounds crude enough now, but it "in his own age
embodied the soundest physical learning of the time and simultaneously
represented its most advanced spirit of speculation." In a general way he
divined some of the principles worked out by Darwin 300 years later. "Alike
intellectually and morally, Cardan is one of the most interesting personages
connected with the revival of science in Europe... He possesses the true
scientific spirit in perfection." "Numerous instances of his belief in dreams
and omens may be collected from his writings, and he specially valued himself in
being one of the five or six celebrated men to whom, as to Socrates, had been
vouchsafed the assistance of a guardian daemon."(3)
(3) The quotations are from Richard Garnett,
LLD., of the British Museum, in "Encyclopedia Britannica".
In his fifty-fifth year, Cardan began to experience peculiar trance or ecstatic
states, which he thus described:
When I go into a trance I have near my heart a
feeling as though the spirit detached itself from the body, and this separation
extends to all the body, especially the head and neck. After that, I have no
longer the idea of any sensation, except of feeling myself outside of the body.
During the trance [extase], he no longer felt the gout, from which he
suffered much in his normal state, because all his sensibility was
(4) Flammarion adds that "Alfred de Musset saw
sitting by his side a man 'who resembled himself like a brother,'" and that
"George Sand declared that she had many times had a hallucination, both visual
and auditory, of her double."
Raps and a Veridical Apparation(5) - The Earl of Crawford
(5) "Report on Spiritualism" of the Committee of the
London Dialectical Society, 1873, pp. 206-208.
James Ludovic Lindsay (1847-1913), earlier known as the Master of Lindsay, was a
Scottish peer and scientist, owning a string of degrees and titles, among which
were K.T., V.D., D.L., J.P., LL.D., F.R.S., F.R.S.A., and V.P.S.A. He was a
Trinity College, Cambridge man, for a time a member of Parliament, also a
President of the Astronomical Society, a large landed proprietor, in 1871
organized and equipped an expedition to observe the transit of Venus, and
erected the observatory at Sunecht, etc.
The following is a part of his testimony to the Committee of the London
Dialectical Society, read July 6, 1869:
I first met Mr. Home at the house of a friend of his
and mine, Mrs. G ; and when we left the party, I asked him to come into my
rooms, in Grosvenor Square, to smoke a cigar, etc. As he came into the room I
heard a shower of raps along a beam that crosses the ceiling. It sounded like
the feet of a flock of sheep being driven over boards. This was the first thing
of the sort I had ever heard and, naturally, I was interested and wished for
more, but in vain; nothing more happened, and soon he went away...
Another time, says the Master of Lindsay:
That evening I missed the last train at the Crystal
Palace, and had to stay at Norwood, and I got a shakedown on a sofa in Home's
room. I was just going to sleep, when I was roused by feeling my pillow slipping
from under my head; and I could also feel, what seemed to be a fist, or hand,
under it, which was pulling it away; soon after it ceased. Then I saw at the
foot of my sofa a female figure, standing en profile to me. I asked Home if he
saw anything, and he answered, "a woman, looking at me." Our beds were at right
angles to one another, and about twelve feet apart. I saw the features
perfectly, and impressed them upon my memory. She seemed to be dressed in a long
wrap, going down from the shoulders, and not gathered in at the waist. Home then
said, "It is my wife; she often comes to me." And then she seemed to fade away.
Shortly after, I saw on my knee a flame of fire about nine inches high; I passed
my hand through it, but it burnt on, above and below it. Home turned in his bed,
and I looked at him, and saw that his eyes were glowing with light. It had a
most disagreeable appearance. The only time since that I have seen that occur, a
lady was very much frightened by it; indeed, I felt uncomfortable myself at it.
The flame which had been flitting about me, now left me, and crossed the room
about four feet from the ground, and reached the curtains of Home's bed; these
proved no obstruction, for the light went right through them, settled on his
head, and then went out; and then we went to sleep. There were no shutters,
blinds, or curtains over the windows; and there was snow on the ground, and a
bright moon. It was as lovely a night as ever I saw... The next morning, before
I went to London, I was looking at some photographs, and I recognized the face I
had seen in the room up-stairs overnight. I asked Mrs. Jencken who it was, and
she said it was Home's wife.
Riveting our attention on the female figure, it is
difficult to imagine how Home could in any way have produced the appearance by
deception. The room seems to have been lighted by the moon, Home could be seen
in his bed and Lindsay talked with him as he was looking at the figure. The
witness says that he recognized her in one of the photographs he looked over the
next day before he knew whom it represented, and that it proved to be a
photograph of the woman named by Home as the "figure."
Hears his Friend's Name Mysteriously called, shortly after the Friend Died in a
Distant Land(6) - Friedrich Delitzsch
(6) "Phantasms of the Living", II, 563.
This German Assyriologist (1850-1922) became, after the date of the incident
which follows, as renowned as George Smith himself, though less of a pioneer,
and proportionally not so prolific, since he lived exactly twice as long.
Delibsch was professor of Semitic languages and Assyriology successively in the
Universities of Leipzig, Breslau and Berlin, also director of the Asiatic
section of the Royal Museum. He wrote many noted books on Assyriology, the
Semitic language and the Old Testament.
George Smith died in Syria, August 19, 1876. In the (London) Times of September
11, that year, appeared the following:
A most striking coincidence may here be mentioned without comment. A young
German Assyriologist of the highest promise, Dr. Friedrich Delitzsch, is now,
for the second time, in this country, having been sent, as on his former visit,
by the King of Saxony to study the arrow-headed inscriptions in the British
Museum. During his former stay here last year, which was noticed at the time in
our columns, Dr. Delitzsch and Mr. George Smith naturally became fast friends,
and the Leipzig savant and his brother Hermann were chosen by Mr. Smith to
introduce to German readers his Chaldean Account of Genesis, which has
accordingly just been published at Leipzig under their joint editorship.
On the 19th ult., the day of Mr. George Smith's death, Dr. Delitzsch was on his
way to the house of Mr. William St. Chad Boscawen, who is also arising
Assyriologist. Mr. Boscawen resides in Kentish Town, and in passing the end of
Crogsland Road, in which Mr. George Smith lived, and within about a stone's
throw of the house, his German friend said he suddenly heard a most piercing
cry, which thrilled him to the marrow, "Herr Dr. Delitzsch." The time for as
soon as he got over the shock he looked at his watch-was between 6:45pm and 7pm,
and Mr. Parsons gives the hour of Mr. Smith's death as 6pm Dr. Delibsch, who
strongly disavows any superstitious leanings, was ashamed to mention the
circumstance to Mr. Boscawen on reaching that gentleman's house, although on his
return home he owns that his nervous apprehensions of some mournful event in his
own family found relief in tears, and that he recorded all the facts in his
notebook that same night. Dr. Delitzsch. told the story at our informant's
breakfast table, with all the circumstances mentioned above, including the hour
at which he heard the shrill cry. He distinctly denied having been thinking of
Mr. George Smith at the time.
In 1885 the S. P. R. Committee, after several failures to get any responses,
sent Prof. Delitzsch a copy of the above and asked him to contradict anything in
it which was untrue, warning him that if not contradicted it would be printed.
As no reply was received, and the "reluctance to write on the subject" which he
expressed to an official of the British Museum would surely not have extended so
far as to fail to stamp a falsehood, the account seems vindicated.
Mr. Gurney remarks that [taking in consideration the difference of longitude],
if the hours were correctly given, the cry was heard about three and one-quarter
hours after Mr. Smith's death.
Note that Delitzsch was in Smith's home town, to visit another Assyriologist,
and likewise near Smith's house, when he heard his own name called, with a "most
piercing cry, which thrilled him to the marrow." Can it be supposed that any
flesh-and-blood person screamed out in such fashion, and without any indication
of his presence? - for it would not have been in human nature not to look in
every direction instantly. Would a human voice have " thrilled him to the
marrow"? Would he have been so affected afterward - he, who disliked such things
so much - if he had found any normal explanation possible? And was it not odd,
if any living person caused that impression of a terrible cry, that it happened
to be in Smith's town, near Smith's house and so soon after Smith's far-off
"Travelling Clairvoyance" in Hypnosis(7) - Augustus de
(7) "Modern Spiritualism", by Frank Podmore, I,
Professor De Morgan (1806-1871) was one of the most eminent mathematicians and
logicians of his period. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, but his
refusal to sign the theological tests blocked the way to an M.A. degree and a
fellowship. At the age of twenty-two he became professor of mathematics at
University College, London, where he remained for a third of a century. "As a
teacher of mathematics De Morgan was unrivaled... The most prolonged
mathematical reasoning, and the most intricate formulae, were given with almost
infallible accuracy from the resources of his extraordinary memory(8). He wrote
a Treatise on Differential and Integral Calculus, and many other
mathematical books and articles. But it is probable that his influence in the
field of logic was greater still, and here his principal work was Formal
Logic, or the Calculus of Inference, Necessary and Probable. "Apart from his
conspicuous position as a logical and mathematical discoverer, we may conclude
that hardly any man of science in recent times has had a more extensive, though
it may often be an unfelt influence, upon the progress of exact and sound
knowledge." The testimony of such a man is of great weight, and the significance
of the incident he relates it seems impossible to evade.
(8) This and the following quotation are from W. S. Jevons in
Britannica", 9th edition.
I have seen a great deal of mesmerism and have tried it myself on - for the
removal of ailments. But this is not the point. I had frequently heard of the
thing they call clairvoyance, and had been assured of the occurrence of it in my
own house, but always considered it as a thing of which I had no evidence direct
or personal, and which I could not admit till such evidence came.
One evening I dined at a house about a mile from my own - a house in which my
wife had never been at that time. I left it at half-past ten, and was in my own
house at a quarter to eleven. At my entrance my wife said to me, "We have been
after you," and told me that a little girl whom she mesmerized for epileptic
fits (and who left her cured), and of whose clairvoyance she had told me other
instances, had been desired in the mesmeric state to follow me to - Street, to
-'s house. The thing took place at a few minutes past ten. On hearing the name
of the street, the girl's mother said.
"She will never find her way there. She has never been so far away from Camden
The girl in a moment got there. "Knock at the door," said my wife. "I cannot,"
said the girl; "we must go in at the gate." (The house, a most unusual thing in
London, stands in a garden; this my wife knew nothing of.) Having made the girl
go in and knock at the door, or simulate or whatever the people do, the girl
said she heard voices up-stairs, and being told to go up, exclaimed, "What a
comical house! there are three doors," describing them thus. [Diagram given.]
(This was true, and is not unusual in any but large houses.) On being told to go
into the room from whence voices came, she said, "Now I see Mr. de Morgan, but
he has a nice coat on, and not the long coat he wears here; and he is talking to
an old gentleman, and there are ladies." This was a true description of the
party, except that the other gentleman was not old(9). "And now," she said,
"there is a lady come to them, and is beginning to talk to Mr. de Morgan and the
old gentleman, and Mr. de Morgan is pointing at you and the old gentleman is
looking at me." About the time indicated I happened to be talking to my host
about mesmerism, and having mentioned what my wife was doing, or said she was
doing with the little girl, he said, "Oh, my wife must hear this," and called
her, and she came up and joined us in the manner described. The girl then
proceeded to describe the room: stated that there were two pianos in it. There
was one [piano], and an ornamental sideboard, not much unlike a pianoforte to
the daughter of a poor charwoman. That there were two kinds of curtains, white
and red, and curiously looped up (all true to the letter), and that there were
wine and water and biscuits on the table. Now, my wife, knowing that we had
dined at half-past six, and thinking it impossible that anything but coffee
could be on the table, said, "You must mean coffee." The girl persisted, "Wine,
water and biscuits." My wife still persuaded that it must be coffee, tried in
every way to lead her witness, and make her say coffee. But still the girl
persisted, "Wine, water, and biscuits," which was literally true, it not being
what people talk of under the name of a glass of wine and a biscuit, which means
sandwiches, cake, etc., but strictly wine, water, and biscuits
(9) He may have been, from the viewpoint of a "little girl."
Now, all this taking place at twenty minutes after ten was told to me at a
quarter to eleven. When I heard that I was to have such an account given I only
said, "Tell me all of it, and I will not say one word;" and I assure you that
during the narration I took the most especial care not to utter one syllable.
For instance, when the wine and water and biscuits came up, my wife, perfectly
satisfied that it must have been coffee, told me how the girl persisted, and
enlarged upon it as a failure, giving parallel instances of cases in which the
clairvoyants had been right in all things but one. All this I heard without any
interruption. Now that the things happened to me as I have described at twenty
minutes after ten, and were described to me as above at quarter to eleven, I
could make oath. The curtains I ascertained next day, for I had not noticed
them. When my wife came to see the room she instantly recognized the door, which
she had forgotten in her narrative.
All this is no secret. You may tell whom you like, and give my name. What do you
make of it? Will the never-failing doctrine of coincidence explain it?
A Dying Vision(10) - Augustus de Morgan
(10) "William De Morgan and His Wife", by A. M. W.
Stirling (Henry Holt & Co., N. Y., 1922), 81.
For many years, as we have seen, he had been deeply interested in, and had
closely investigated, tales of appearances of the dead to the dying. During the
last two days of his life his son William, watching by him, observed that he
seemed to recognize the presence of all those of his family whom he had lost by
death-his three children, his mother and sister, all of whom he greeted audibly,
naming them in the reverse order to that in which they left this world. Whether
it was the wandering of a dying brain or a happy vision of actuality, who shall
Previsional Dreams(11) - J. W. Dunne
(11) "An Experiment with Time", by J. W. Dunne
(Macmillan Co., 1927), 34-7.
Mr. Dunne is said to be an aeronautical engineer of very high reputation in
England, who has been prominently connected with the development of aviation.
In the spring of 1902 I was encamped with the Sixth Mounted Infantry near the
ruins of Lindley, in the (then) Orange Free State. We had just come off trek,
and mails and newspapers arrived but rarely.
There, one night, I had an unusually vivid and rather unpleasant dream.
I seemed to be standing on high ground - the upper slopes of some spur of a hill
or mountain. The ground was of a curious white formation. Here and there in this
were little fissures, and from these jets of vapor were spouting upward. In my
dream I recognized the place as an island of which I had dreamed before an
island which was in imminent peril from a volcano. And, when I saw the vapor
spouting from the ground I gasped: "It's the island! Good Lord, the whole thing
is going to blow up! For I had memories of reading about Krakatoa, where
the sea, making its way into the heart of a volcano through a submarine
crevice, flushed into steam, and blew the whole mountain to pieces. Forthwith I
was seized with a frantic desire to save the four thousand (I knew the number)
unsuspecting inhabitants. Obviously there was only one way of doing this, and
that was to take them off in ships. There followed a most distressing nightmare,
in which I was at a neighboring island, trying to get the incredulous French
authorities to dispatch vessels of every and any description to remove the
inhabitants of the threatened island. I was sent from one official to another;
and finally woke myself by my own dream exertions, clinging to the heads of a
team of horses drawing the carriage of one "Monsieur le Maire," who was going
out to dine, and wanted me to return when his office would be open next day. All
through the dream the number of the people in danger obsessed my mind. I
repeated it to everyone I met, and, at the moment of waking, I was shouting to
the "Maire," Listen! Four thousand people will be killed unless-"
I am not certain now when we received our next batch of papers, but, when they
did come, the Daily Telegraph was amongst them, and, on opening the
centre sheet, this is what met my eyes:
Volcano Disaster in Martinique - town Swept Away - An Avalanche of Flame -
Probable Loss of Over 40,000 Lives - British Steamer Burnt. Etc
Note the correspondences:
|2. On an
||2. On the
inhabitants of a neighboring island.
||3 . The
white population of the adjacent island, St. Lucia, is nearly all French.
"flushed into steam."
Pelee sent out a blast of incandescent gas.
to blow up." Memories in the dream of another case where conditions "blew
the whole mountain to pieces."
narrator in the newspaper described how "the mountain seemed to split open
all down the side."
article has about a "British ship burnt," and in fact there were many
ships in the harbor.
oppressed by the number of people to be killed.
destruction of life was indeed enormous.
of killed the same with another cipher added.
There are certainly a number of striking correspondences. Even in respect to the
number of people killed, while in one sense there is a great difference, in
another there is little; whether in hastily glancing at print or in recollecting
a round number, it is easy to leave off or add one cipher. I am not suggesting
that any analogous process was involved - we know nothing, whatever our various
conjectures, as to the process.
Be it noted that the dream was "unusually vivid" and very emotional -
characteristics which attach to most dreams which find complex external
But the fact above all which makes it exceedingly difficult to assign the
correspondences to chance coincidence is that Mr. Dunne has recorded so many
which also complexly coincided with outward and future events in many of their
We do not know how soon after the dream the disaster took place seemingly the
date of the former was not recorded, but it was "in the spring of 1902;" the Mt.
Pelee catastrophe occurred May 8.
Dowsing Phenomena(12) - William E. Greenawalt
(12) From letter by Mr. Greenawalt in "Engineering
and Mining Journal", January 14, 1928.
William E. Greenawalt (1866-...), C.E. and B.S. of Cornell, spent ten years in
engineering and architecture in New York City, but has since turned his
attention to mining and metallurgy. He has taken out more than one hundred
patents, mostly in connection with the "Greenawalt Electrolytic Copper
Extraction Process," and is the author of The Hydrometallurgy of Copper,
and many technical articles.
Some years ago I visited a mining camp in southern Colorado, and spent an
evening with the superintendent of the largest mine in the district. In the
course of the conversation he told me that a dowser had been to see him sometime
previously, and that he was curious enough to pay $25 for an exhibition. The
dowser, he said, indicated to him the exact position of a vein of which he had
no knowledge. He was then cross-cutting to intersect the known veins, and was
interested to see if there was anything to the dowser's information. He found
the vein almost exactly as described, and asked me if I could offer any
explanation. I told him coincidence might be an explanation, if it explained
About the same time I was superintending the construction of a MW in Colorado.
One of my associates in this work had read about locating mineral veins with a
forked stick, and he suggested that we try it. I agreed, but with the
stipulation that he was to carry the forked stick. As we tramped over the hills
he remarked several times that he felt a perceptible tug on the stick, and I
concluded that his imagination was working overtime. Suddenly he stopped, and
apparently was making a great effort to hold the stick horizontally against a
force which was attempting to pull it down. He called my attention to it, and as
I looked him over in an incredulous way, he said, "Well, if you do not believe
it, try it yourself." I did, but to me it was simply a forked willow stick we
had cut a short time before. I handed it back to him, and immediately apparently
the tugging started again. I concluded at the time that if there was not a
mineral deposit where we stood, there was at least an interesting psychological
problem connected with the affair.
The phenomena of dowsing does not appear as obscure to me now as it did then.
The mistake is usually made by confusing a psychical phenomenon with a physical
phenomenon. Dowsing, as I see it, is purely a psychical phenomenon. It finds
almost an exact duplication in the very common psychic phenomenon known as
table-tipping and automatic writing. It is, in fact, essentially the same thing.
While dowsing cannot very well be investigated experimentally, everyone can
easily experimentally investigate table-tipping and automatic writing. Few
people who have scientifically investigated these common phenomena doubt their
reality. Everyone who has scientifically investigated them knows about their
unreliability. Sometimes results are obtained bordering on the miraculous; then
again, at other times, the results are entirely negative, apparently without
Nobody realizes better than I do that these phenomena are ridiculed and
explained on the basis of fraud, but ridicule and fraud do not explain anything
except the mental attitude of the one who asserts them. Anyone can observe these
phenomena, and anyone who claims to know even the elements of research and
experimentation can eliminate fraud and coincidence without much trouble. I
eliminated them by experimenting with friends and members of my own family and
household. I even eliminated them from consideration of fraud and coincidence by
giving mental directions and by mentally (not audibly) asking questions. In
table-tipping, for example, the table would respond to my mental directions when
there was no physical contact between me and the table. These phenomena are very
common, and I am simply mentioning them here to show their identity with the
much-discussed subject of locating water or mineral deposits with a forked
stick. Those who can produce the phenomena of table-tipping can usually without
much difficulty produce the phenomena of automatic writing, and I should
confidently expect, on experimentation, to find that they could also produce the
phenomena of dowsing, and vice versa. These phenomena are admittedly unreliable
and unsatisfactory, but as one roams over the mining regions of the West and
sees the innumerable abandoned prospect holes dug by hard-headed prospectors and
intelligent engineers, he is far from impressed with the infallibility of their
judgment, even on matters they claim to know about.
William E. Greenawalt
"Travelling Clairvoyance"(13) - William Gregory
(13) "Enigmas of Psychical Research", by J. H.
Professor William Gregory (1803-1858), son and grandson of eminent professors in
medical colleges of Scotland, was professor of chemistry first at the
Andersonian Institution in Glasgow, then at King's College in Aberdeen, and
finally at Edinburgh University. He was author of treatises on chemistry, an
essay on "animal magnetism," and translated several works of Von Liebig, whose
theories he championed.
Mr. Podmore quotes also a letter of Professor Gregory, of Edinburgh. Professor
Gregory had paid a visit to a friend in a town some thirty miles from Edinburgh,
and there met a lady who had been twice mesmerized by this friend and who was
not known to Professor Gregory. She apparently had some clairvoyant powers and
described Professor Gregory's house in Edinburgh so accurately that he was moved
to the experiment which he describes in the following letter:
"I now asked her to go to Greenock, forty or fifty miles from where we were
(Edinburgh was nearly thirty miles distant) and to visit my son, who resides
there with a friend. She soon found him, and described him accurately, being
much interested in the boy, whom she had never seen nor heard of. She saw him,
she said, playing in a field outside of a small garden in which stood the
cottage, at some distance from the town, on a rising ground. He was playing with
a dog, but had no idea of what kind, so I asked her. She said it was large, but
young Newfoundland, black, with one or two white spots. It was very fond of the
boy and played with him. 'Oh,' she cried suddenly, 'it has jumped up and knocked
off his cap.' She saw in the garden a gentleman reading a book and looking on.
He was not old, but had white hair. while his eyebrows and whiskers were black.
She took him for a clergyman, but said he was not of the Established Church, nor
Episcopalian, but a Presbyterian dissenter. (He is, in fact, a clergyman of the
highly respectable Cameronian body, who, as is well known, are Presbyterians,
and adhere to the covenant.) Being asked to enter the cottage, she did so, and
described the sitting-room. In the kitchen, she saw a young maidservant
preparing dinner, for which meal a leg of mutton was roasting at the fire, but
not quite ready. She also saw another elderly female. On looking again for the
boy, she saw him playing with the dog in front of the door, while the gentleman
stood in the porch and looked on. Then she saw the boy run up-stairs to the
kitchen, which she observed with surprise was on the upper floor of the cottage
(which it is) and receive something to eat from the servant, she thought a
"I immediately wrote all these details down and sent them to the gentleman,
whose answer assured me that all, down to the minutest, were exact, save that
the boy did not get a potato, but a small biscuit from the cook. The dog was
what she described; it did knock off the boy's cap at the time, although not of
the household. Every one of which facts was entirely unknown to me, and could
not, therefore, have been perceived by thought reading, although, had they have
been so, as I have already stated, this would not have been less wonderful, but
only a different phenomenon."
Extreme Examples of the Power to Carry on Processes of Reasoning Subconsciously
- Herman V. Hilpilecht
These are included, not because they are presumed to be supernormal incidents
but because they might easily be deemed such, and illustrate the very great care
which must be exercised before one takes his stand upon a conclusion of
supernormality. They show that some persons, once they have performed conscious
mental labor on some intricate problem, are able to carry on the ratiocinative
process after they are asleep. Probably in varying degrees this is the case with
all people, but some are insufficiently reflective or introspective ever to take
notice, while with the majority who do little in the way of hard thinking even
when awake, the ability to do so while asleep is too feeble to leave
Since it is presumed that most "supernormal" mental events first pass through
the subconscious, though they do not have their origin in it, the examples given
will show that, potent as that "machine" may be for such a purpose, it may also
sadly interfere with it by its own normal activity. Hence it is expected that,
although automatic writing or speaking may announce facts in such number and
complexity as defy any attempt to normally explain them, since the psychic's
subconscious had no known data on which to found even inferences, yet it
will, once the prime facts, say about a stranger present, emerge within it, tend
to make its own inferences, often erroneous, and so evidently obscure and damage
the record. Only in rare instances does it appear almost completely to escape
The instances selected were furnished by Dr. Herman V. Hilprecht, Professor of
Assyrian in the University of Pennsylvania, and were first printed by Professor
William Romaine Newbold in the Proceedings S. P. R., Vol. XII, pp. 13-20.
I abbreviate and analyze them in my own way.
During the winter of 1882-1883, he was working with Professor Friedrich
Delitzsch, and preparing to publish the original text, its transliteration and
its translation, of a stone of Nebuchadnezzar. He had accepted Prof. Delitzsch's
explanation that the name Nebuchadnezzar - Nabu-kudurru-usur - meant
"Nebo protect my mason's pad" (mortar-board), i.e., "my work as a builder." One
night, after working late (it is not said that he was engaged on the problem of
this name - probably not, but at least on related or similar ones) he went to
bed at about two o'clock in the morning. He woke after somewhat restless sleep,
with the thought in his mind that the name should be translated "Nebo protect my
boundary." He but dimly remembered dreaming of being at work at his table. As he
began to reflect, "at once" (illustrating how the bright thoughts which suddenly
emerge full-grown in our consciousnesses may have been worked out in the
subconscious) he saw that kudurru could be derived from kadaru, to
enclose. "Shortly afterwards he published this translation in his dissertation,
and it has since been universally adopted."
The second example is far more intricate and striking. This is Prof. Hilprecht's
One Saturday evening, about the middle of March, 1893, I had been wearying
myself, as I had done so often in the weeks preceding, in the vain attempt to
decipher two small fragments of agate which were supposed to belong to the
finger-rings of some Babylonian. The labor was much increased by the fact that
the fragments presented remnants only of characters and lines, that dozens of
similar small fragments had been found in the ruins of the temple of Bel at
Nippur with which nothing could be done, that in this case furthermore I had
never had the originals before me, but only a hasty sketch made by one of the
members of the expedition sent by the University of Pennsylvania to Babylonia. I
could not say more than that the fragments, taking into consideration the place
in which they were found and the peculiar characteristics of the cuneiform
characters preserved upon them, sprang from the Cassite period of Babylonian
History (circa 1700-1140 B.C.); moreover, as the first character of the third
line of the first fragment seemed to be KU, I ascribed this fragment, with an
interrogation point, to King KurigaIzu, while I placed the other fragment, as
unclassifiable, with other Cassite fragments upon a page of my book where I
published the unclassifiable fragments. The proofs already lay before me, but I
was far from satisfied. The whole problem passed Yet again through my mind that
March evening before I placed my mark of approval under the last correction in
the book. Even then I had come to no conclusion. About midnight, weary and
exhausted, I went to bed and was soon in deep sleep. Then I dreamed the
following remarkable dream. A tall, thin priest of the old pre-Christian Nippur,
about forty years of age and clad in a simple abba, led me to the
treasure-chamber of the temple, on its southeast side. He went with me into a
small, low-ceiled room, without windows, in which there was a large wooden
chest, while scraps of agate and lapis-lazuli lay scattered on the floor. Here
he addressed me as follows: "The two fragments which you have published
separately upon pages 22 and 26, belong together, are not finger-rings, and
their history is as follows: King KurigaIzu (circa 1300 B. C.) once sent to the
temple of Bel, among other articles of agate and lapis-lazuli, an inscribed
votive cylinder of agate. Then we priests suddenly received the command to make
for the statue of the god Ninib a pair of earrings of agate. We were in great
dismay, since there was no agate as raw material at hand. In order to execute
the command there was nothing for us to do but cut the votive cylinder into
three parts, thus making three rings, each of which contained a portion of the
original inscription. The first two rings served as earrings for the statue of
the god; the two fragments which have given you so much trouble are portions of
them. If you will put the two together you will have confirmation of my words.
but the third ring you have not yet found in the course of your excavations, and
you never will find it." With this, the priest disappeared. I awoke at once and
immediately told my wife the dream that I might not forget it. Next morning -
Sunday - I examined the fragments once more in the light of these disclosures,
and to my astonishment found all the details of the dream precisely verified in
so far as the means of verification were in my hands. The original inscription
on the votive cylinder read: "To the god Ninib, son of Bel, his lord, has
Kudgalzu, pontifex of Bel, presented this."
The problem was thus at last solved. I stated in the preface that I had
unfortunately discovered too late that the two fragments be longed together,
made the corresponding changes in the Table of Contents, pp. 50 and 52, and, it
being not possible to transpose the fragments, as the plates were already made,
I put in each plate a brief reference to the other. (Cf. Hilprecht, The
Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, Series A, Cuneiform
Texts, Vol. I, Part 1, "Old Babylonian Inscriptions, chiefly from Nippur.").
H. V. Hilprecet
Professor Hilprecht finally verified the principal facts asserted in the dream
relative to the rings and inscription, as he says, the next day. But immediately
following the dream he went to his study and provisionally verified it by
reference to his working copy. His wife made a statement narrating that she was
awakened by a sigh, saw him hurrying into his study, and heard him cry: "It is
so, it is so!" She followed him and heard the story of the dream.
The following was also furnished by the Professor. It is necessary for a clear
understanding of the matter.
The following transliteration of the inscription, in the Sumerian language, will
serve to give those of us who are unlearned in cuneiform languages an idea of
the material which suggested the dream. The straight vertical lines represent
the cuts by which the stone-cutter divided the original cylinder into three
sections. The bracketed words are entirely lost, and have been supplied by
analogy from the many similar inscriptions.
Line 1. Dingir N
(mu) To the god Ninib, child
Line 2. dingir
(lil) of the god Bel
Line 3. luga
(ir) his lord
Line 4. Ku-r
Line 5. pa-
potifex of the god Bel
Line 6. (in- na-
has presented it.
Now let us condense and newly frame Prof. Hilprecht's explanation of the
subconscious process of making inferences from data which had been consciously
1. The first line of ring 2 completed the name Ninib begun at the end of line
one of the first ring. Reading the second lines of the rings together made "of
the god Bel," except that a part of the god's name was missing. The third lines
read together made sense, "his lord," if ir were supplied at the end.
Probably a little more study done in the ordinary way would have disclosed these
facts. Continuing the study while asleep, the scholar's subconsciousness
recognized the connections. Therefore the two rings must originally have formed
2. But the words at the end of lines one, two and three of the second ring were
not complete, though the conjectural completion of then, was not difficult.
Hence there must have been at least another ring belonging with the first two,
as was announced in the imagery of the dream.
3. But slight additions were required at the end of lines one to five of the
second ring to make the whole inscription continuous and complete. Hence it
would be unlikely that the original cylinder was sawn into more than three
rings, the number given in the dream.
4. After the two discovered rings, or copies of their inscriptions were placed
in juxtaposition, line for line, it could easily be made out by an Assyrian
scholar that somebody presented an object to the god Ninib, child of the god Bel,
and that the name of that somebody very likely began with the Ku-r. Having
arrived so far, the name of the known Babylonian King KurigaIzu would come to
mind - in fact it already had done so to Prof. Hilprecht's waking consciousness.
So King KurigaIzu plays his part in the dream.
5. The fact announced so graphically in the dream, that the object was given to
the god Ninib, appeared in the first line of the two rings when they were
subconsciously remembered and joined.
6. And the fact, also announced in the dream, that the rings were originally a
part of a votive cylinder, could also be inferred from the joining of the lines
on the two rings.
7. The fact announced in the dream, that the rings were ear-rings, is not a
certain fact. But it is a reasonable supposition, and one for which data were
not lacking, though the conclusion shows how sagaciously the subconsciousness
reasoned. Prof. Hilprecht had consciously doubted that the rings could have been
used as finger-rings, as the size of the hole to be made out from their
fragments did not seem to be suitable. But why might they not have been
seal-rings? In fact they may have been, but such usually have pictorial
representations upon them, these had not, and presumably hence the plausible
guess that they were ear-rings.
8. The assertion in the dream that the third ring had not been discovered
probably had its origin in the inference that, as the fragments had been
supposed to belong "to some Babylonian," hence were found in the same place, had
there been found a third one or a part of it, this would also have been
submitted for examination. As to the added statement that it never would be
discovered, this was a very probable one, as the spot where the other fragments
were found would of course have been thoroughly cleared out.
9. But what of the location of the "treasure chamber" at the southeast side of
the temple? Prof. Hilprecht remembered that he had heard from Dr. John P.
Peters, before the dream, of the discovery of a room the floor of which was
strewn with fragments of lapis-lazuli and agate, the latter being the material
of the rings, but said he knew nothing of the location of the room. Dr. Peters,
however, afterward declared that he furnished Prof. Hilprecht all these facts,
including that of the location of the room, as many as four years previous to
the dream. It only needs to be presumed that he stored away in his
subconsciousness a fact which he consciously forgot.
The two rings were represented to be of different colors, and this may have
hindered the Professor from thinking that they might belong together. For some
reason the dreaming consciousness ignored this fact, in presence of the
compelling fact that the lines did actually join to make sense. I say ignored,
rather than inferred what proved to be the case, that the sawing happened to be
at the line which joined a light to a dark band of the agate, a stone whose
distinguishing feature is that it is so banded. If such an inference had been
made it would probably have come out in a dream story of the cutting apart of
All the other features of the dream are simply fanciful conjectures.
This dream is admitted among the "psychic" incidents of this collection, because
it is such a beautiful demonstration of subconscious mechanics.
A Harvard Professor Declares that he Succeeded in Projecting his "Double"(14) -
Reported by William James
(14) "Journal" A. S. P. R., III, 253-4.
The Professor shielded himself from the deep disgrace of having successfully
performed a curious but very important scientific experiment, by requiring
William James (who, although a psychologist of great reputation and equally a
Harvard professor, was not at all embarrassed at having his interest in psychic
research known) to withhold his name.
We do not know who the narrator was, but have the assurance of William James
that he was "an able and respected professor in Harvard University," also that
he told James the story soon after the thing happened, and that the version
which was finally written out tallied exactly with James's recollection of the
earlier oral one. It is unfortunate that the testimony of "A" and "B" was not
available, of course, but the testimony of a man in a high academic position, a
man vouched for by William James, is worth something.
In the present case the "agent" is a colleague of mine; an able and respected
professor in Harvard University. He originally told me the story shortly after
it happened in 18 . The present account, written at my
request in 1903, tallies exactly with my memory of that earlier story. "A" at
that time was unwilling to give me her version. She is now dead, and of course
the narrative is in so far defective.
Cambridge, April 16, 1903.
My dear Dr. James:
I recall exactly all the details of the matter which you wish me to write about,
but I cannot be sure whether the thing occurred in the latter part of 1883 or
the first part of 1884. At this time A and I were seeing each other very
frequently, and we were interested, among other things, in that book by Sinnett
on Esoteric Buddhism. We talked a good deal about it, and about the astral body,
but neither ever made any proposal to the other to try any experiments in that
One evening, about 9:45 o'clock, or, perhaps, nearer 10, when I had been
thinking over that subject as I sat alone in my room, I resolved to try whether
I could project my astral body to the presence of A. I did not at all know what
the process was, but I opened my window, which looked toward A's house (though
that was half a mile away and behind a hill) and sat down in a chair and tried
as hard as I could to wish myself into the presence of A. There was no light in
my room. I sat there in that state of wishing for about ten minutes. Nothing
abnormal in the way of feelings happened to me.
Next day I met A, who said something to this effect. (I mean that I cannot give
the exact words.)
"Last night about ten o'clock I was in the dining-room at supper with B.
Suddenly I thought I saw you looking in through the crack of the door at the end
of the room, towards which I was looking. I said to B: 'There is Blank, looking
through the crack of the door!' B., whose back was towards the door, said. 'He
can't be there; he would come right in.' However, I got up and looked in the
outer room, but there was nobody there. Now, what were you doing last night at
This is what A told me and I then explained what I had been doing.
You see, of course, that the double evidence (I mean, A's and B's) might make
this story pretty well founded, but it must be left entirely independent on my
account, for there are good reasons why neither A nor B can be appealed to.
One such successful experiment is worth a dozen spontaneous apparitions of the
living. To suppose that a woman should, through the activity of her own brain
unassisted by any force coming from without, experience the hallucination of
seeing a man who was at that moment or very near it endeavoring at a distance to
produce that very phenomenon in her consciousness, and this by sheer
coincidence, is a practical absurdity. Even if there had been a proposal to try
the experiment but without arranging the time for doing so, the case would have
been striking, but with no such plan between them to experiment at any time, it
would seem as if every connection between what occurred and the field of what we
understand by the word "normal" had been severed.
Put it in still another way. We do not know how many years of adult life "A"
had. Suppose them to have been only ten. Comparatively few persons experience
the hallucination of seeing a living person not actually present, once during
their lives. If "A" had ever had such an experience before she met or talked
about the astral body with the then or after professor of Harvard, it would have
been so relevant that she surely would have told him of it. It is unlikely that
she ever had another such experience afterward, but let us suppose that she did
three times. We are now straining probability from two directions in favor of
conservatism, first by assuming that she had only ten years of adult life, and
second, by assuming that in those ten years she four times had a visual
hallucination of seeing a living person. Now, according to the Harvard professor
there was no doubt at all that she experienced the one of seeing him within the
half hour when he was endeavoring to make her do so. Mathematically, on the
basis proposed that the lady would experience such a hallucination four times
within the ten years, the chance that one of those times should coincide with
the half hour within which the Harvard professor was trying his experiment would
be 1 in 43,800, or, if we exclude one-third of the time as being spent in sleep
(rather unfairly, as there are alleged instances of persons being wakened as one
of the results of such a successful experiment), the chance would be 1 in
Hears in a Locked Room Walking Resembling that of a Friend Who Died the Same
Hour(15) - Carolus Linnaeus
(15) Flammarion's "Autour de la Mort", 300-01.
This famous botanist of Sweden (1707-1778) was, in 1761, granted a patent of
nobility and took the name Carl von Linne but is generally referred to by the
earlier one. He probably advanced his science more than any other one man. His
Genera Plantarum was the beginning of modern systematic botany, and he first
established the law by which Plants are classified in genera and species. "He
found biology a chaos; he left it a cosmos." For many years he was a professor
of botany in the University of Upsala, attracting students from all over the
world and wielding an immense influence over them. The number of students at the
university was normally 500; it trebled while he lectured there. His published
works are many.
He left at death a manuscript of 200 pages recording many dreams, intuitions,
apparitions and other interesting facts. The following incident was witnessed by
On the night of July 12-13, 1765, toward midnight, my wife for a long time heard
someone walking, with a heavy step, in my museum. She woke up. I also heard it,
although I was quite certain that no one could be there, for the doors were
fastened and the key in my pocket. Some days after, I learned that my very
faithful friend, the commissary Karl Clerk, died precisely at that hour. It was
certainly his step. I used to recognize Clerk, in Stockholm, merely by the sound
of his footstep(16).
(16) Alexandre Dumas the elder (1802-1870),
the celebrated French novelist, tells in his "Memoires", with much detail, how
when his father, General Dumas (1762-1806), died unexpectedly and at a distance
from him, he and his cousin were wakened suddenly, by a knock on the door of his
room, at the same hour, and he went toward the door, crying, "Good-bye, papa!"
But he was only four years old at the time, and if we have difficulty in
crediting that he could remember all the conversation which took place at his so
early an age, we cannot feel certain of all his facts. Still, the event of his
father's death, and a startling occurrence the same night, might and probably
would stamp themselves indelibly, in their essentials, upon his consciousness.
Linnaeus, one of the greatest scientists and closest observers of facts of his
age, here puts himself on record as having heard, together with his wife, sounds
resembling the walking of a friend in a locked and empty room, at the hour when
that friend died.
Telepathic Intimations of Disasters Happening to her Son - Hudson
This eminent inventor (1853-...), ended his formal education at
what is now Kents Hill Seminary, in Maine, but was made D.Sc. by Heidelherg
University, and LL.D. by St. Peters. He was the first to make smokeless powder
in the United States, and it was adopted by the Government. He invented "Maximite,"
the first high explosive to penetrate heavy armor plate, perfected "stabillite,"
which produces better ballistic results than any other smokeless powder, and
produced many other inventions, mostly having to do with powder and explosives.
He became a member of the United States Naval Consulting Board in 1815. As
author he produced The Science of Poetry and the Philosophy of Language, Defenseless
America, and Dynamite Stories. Sir Hiram S. Maxim, an eminent
inventor of automatic firearms, was his brother, and Hiram P. Maxim, inventor of
the "Maxim silencer," etc., is his nephew.
I copied the following letter from the original, written to Dr. Isaac K. Funk.
So far as I am aware, it has not previously been published.
March 25, 1908.
My dear Dr. Funk:
Following are the stories I told you a few evenings ago at my house about the
peculiar mental powers which it was believed my mother possessed.
These incidents are entirely outside my own personal experiences, as I was too
young at the time to understand much about such things, and I simply repeat the
stories as they have often been told to me.
My father and mother were spiritualists, and spiritualism was very popular in
Maine between forty and fifty years ago. There were many experiments made from
time to time to test spiritualistic or mediumistic powers, so-called. My mother
was blindfolded, while a five-dollar gold piece was buried or hidden under a
stone or concealed in some way in a ten-acre lot. She was then unblindfolded and
followed what she called the "influence" and used to find the five-dollar gold
piece all right. This test was repeated many times.
One of the neighbors, a blacksmith, made a large knife for her and hid it in the
woods and told her that she should have it if she could find it. She made
several ineffectual attempts, the "influence" bringing her up against a big tree
every time which blocked her way. She would then go back and make another start,
- always with the same result. Finally, she went around the tree and found the
knife sticking in the tree on the other side.
One day, my father and mother and a spiritualistic neighbor, together with a
spiritualistic medium who resided at our house, drove down to the seashore to
bring back a load of Captain Kidd's treasure, which the medium claimed she could
locate. I was a little fellow, perhaps six years old - at the time, but I
distinctly remember how we children spent that money building air castles and
how disappointed we were when the party returned at night without the gold.
My brother Leander was one night spearing suckers in the flume, through which
the water ran with considerable swiftness, rushing down under the gate at the
lower end. My mother woke my father in the night very suddenly with the
exclamation, "Isaac! Isaac! Leander has fallen into the flume!" My father told
her that she had only had a bad dream; but a little while later Leander came
home, soaking wet. He had fallen into the flume, but as he was swept along by
the current, he caught hold of one of the large wooden pegs in the side of the
flume and pulled himself out, thus saying his life.
Leander served in the heavy artillery in the Civil War, and when, during the
Battle of the Wilderness, the artillery men were taken to the front as infantry,
he was shot at Spottsylvania Courthouse. My mother woke my father in the night,
as before, and told him that Leander had been shot and killed. Several days
later, news came of the battle with the list of the killed and wounded, and
Leander's name was among the killed. Her dream had been on the night of the
Of course the witnesses were nearly all dead when, ten years later, I wrote to
Mr. Maxim, asking for corroboration. The reply is dated July 10, 1918.
I enclose you a letter received from my cousin Caroline Maxim True, of Dexter,
Maine. She is an old lady now nearly eighty, and she remembers and verifies what
I told you.
The enclosed letter, in part, reads:
My dear Cousin: In answer to your question in regard to your mother finding
things, I believe you are right, as your sister Lucy told me all about it just
as you said, and she was a dear girl and I think she told it just as it was.
Your loving cousin,
As to the incidents of finding hidden objects, it would be necessary to know the
conditions under which the feats were performed, in order to estimate their
evidential value. If her band was in contact with any other person, it might be
muscle-reading, though she were quite unconscious of the fact. If others
accompanied her, they may have quite unintentionally guided her.
But the incidents of waking and announcing the mishaps of Leander are not
subject to any particular reasons for doubt. We know that many incidents of this
character take place, and Mr. Maxim's recollections of the repeated statements
of his family make it fairly certain that his mother had these supernormal
A Remarkable Monition - John Muir
The geologist, naturalist and explorer John Muir (1838-1914), was born in
Scotland, educated there and at the University of Wisconsin, and had the degrees
of A.M. from Harvard and LL.D. from Wisconsin. Muir Glacier in Alaska was
discovered by him, as well as more than sixty other glaciers among the Sierras
where geologists had thought there were none. He spent the most of his mature
life in Alaska and California, and labored for forest preservation and the
establishment of national parks and reservations. He wrote The Mountains of
California and a large number of articles on physiography and the natural
history of the Pacific Coast, and edited Picturesque California.
Dr. James D. Butler was a member of the faculty of the University of Wisconsin,
being professor of ancient languages and literature from 1858 to 1868. He was an
honored citizen, a man of much learning, and traveled extensively. Data about
him may be found in the American "Who's Who" for 1906-7, and in the National
Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1899.
Mr. Muir's premonition, telepathic impression, or whatever it may be called,
concerned the writer of the notes which precede his own narrative, Prof. Butler.
Madison, Wis., Feb. 7, 1888.
I have tried to rouse John Muir to tell you, or me, his story of our Yosemite
rencontre, in '69. I will again.
He did write my wife at the time but his letter cannot be found.
Yrs. James D. Butler.
Madison, Wis., Feb. 8, '88.
My Dear Sir:
The letter long sought in vain has just turned up. I have taken pains to copy
and oblige you...
James D. Butler.
Headquarters of the Tuolumne near Castle Peak, Aug., 1869.
Mrs James D. Butler,
Dear Friend: I found your Professor a few weeks ago in the Sierra Nevada
Mountains, and in the very Yosemite Sanctum itself, and among the divine
harmonies of the Vernal and Nevada Falls. Where you first met your Professor I
do not know, but surely I might venture to say that it was not in so goodly a
mansion as this, - not amid such blazing assemblies of God's mountain grandeur.
I have been taking care of 2,500 sheep in the mountains all summer. Your husband
wrote me a letter in May, before he decided to visit California, which I
received in July when I was camped in a maze of sharply cut mountains, a day's
journey above Coulterville. Shortly after receiving his letter we moved our
sheep higher, and camped upon the north wall of the Yosemite Valley two miles
from the brink. We remained here nearly three weeks, and almost every day I
wandered along the valley domes and falls sketching and absorbing the
inexhaustible treasuries of glory, when suddenly I was seized with the idea of
going down into the valley to find Professor Butler.
I knew a way through the wall by an immense canyon or chasm, and I felt that I
should be resisting the spirit if I did not go. The next day I started for the
valley and reached the bottom in five hours. Consulting the hotel register I
found, James D. Butler, Madison, Wis. I could scarcely believe my eyes and read
the precious words over and over. At last I got faith to believe that after the
long cold years of isolation a friend was really near in the flesh, and that my
eyes would be blessed that very day with light from a familiar face. I started
in pursuit. Ere long I met Gen. Alvord with his guide and others who had started
for a climb with Prof. Butler, but had turned back exhausted. They informed me
that Prof. Butler and Joshua Jones, of New York, had undertaken without a guide
to reach the top of Mount Broderick. I lay in wait for the Prof. at a place near
the Nevada rapids, on a trail I knew he must take. Towards evening he came to
light among the rocks, half erect, groping his way among the broken granite and
bushes; sleeves rolled up, vest open, hat dangling behind his back, etc. On
seeing me approach he sat down to wipe the perspiration from his brow and neck,
and to inquire the way down the rapids. I showed him the path which was marked
by little piles of rock; but he did not recognize me. Then I sprang directly in
front of him and asked if he did not know me. He said he thought not, but soon
changed his mind...
Most cordially your friend,
And Professor Butler adds to the letter a note of his own:
When the feeling above described arose in Muir that he might reach me, his old
teacher, within a day's march, the word telepathy - far feeling - had not yet
been coined. That feeling demanded such a word to describe it.
It is fortunate that Muir described his strange impulse in black and white, and
that within a month of his unique experience. I am also glad that his letter,
mislaid and long given up for lost, had remained safe and sound.
My own impressions derived from conversation with Muir as he piloted me down the
mountain, that but for his appearing "as an angel dropped down from the clouds,"
I must have been lost in the darkness then coming on, I have described in a
paper entitled "Presentiments." They harmonize with Muir's letter, and have been
often reprinted as one of those pages of truth which are stranger than fiction.
James D. Butler,
Owing to the fact, for which Dr. Hodgson was not responsible, that be was unable
to secure the promise of extra copies of the publication in which the incident
was to appear, Professor Butler forbade its publication. But many years have
passed, the parties are all dead, and there can be no reason for withholding it,
especially as, in substance, it had already been told, probably in newspapers or
magazines. But if the letter by John Muir has ever before been published(17), we
are not aware of the fact.
(17) This appeared first in the "Journal" A. S.
P. R., for August, 1921, as part of an article by W. F. Prince.
Coincidental Dreams(18) - Raphael Pumpelly
(18) "The Cosmic Relations and Immortality", by Henry
Holt (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1919), I, 258-59.
Professor Pumpelly (1837-?) had a long and distinguished career as a geologist
and author. He made geological explorations in Corsica, Japan (for the
Government of Japan), various parts of China (part for the Government of China),
the Gobi Desert, etc., before becoming professor of mining at Harvard, 1866-73.
After that he was state geologist of Michigan for three years, then directed the
geological survey of that State, and was afterwards chief of a division of the
United States Geological Survey. He organized and directed the Northern
Transcontinental Survey, 1881-4, made the discoveries on which were based most
of the iron-ore industry of Michigan and Western Ontario, 1867-1901, and
directed a great geographical and archaeological survey of Central Asia. He was
the author of a number of books dealing with the geology of various lands.
Between forty and fifty years ago, while visiting my sister in New York City, I
came down to breakfast where I found my brother-in-law reading the morning
paper. Soon my sister also came down and joined us at table. She said she had
had an awful dream; she had dreamed all night that she was standing in a church,
where a continuous procession of men was filing by her, carrying on litters
something covered with sheets.
Her husband resumed reading his paper and soon said: "Why, Netty, here it says
that they are removing the bodies from the St. Mark's graves."
Now, my sister's first child had been buried several years before in the
graveyard of St. Mark's Church. My sister had not seen the paper, and neither
she nor her husband had heard of any intention to disturb the graves.
In the late winter of 1864-5, I was on my journey through Siberia. In one of the
first nights after leaving Irkutsk I dreamed that I had arrived at my native
village of Owego in New York and had walked home from the station. As I came up
the driveway to the house I saw my mother and my father standing at the door
showing signs of great relief. I noticed that my aunt, who lived with us and
whom we all loved dearly, was not there. As soon as I waked I was so impressed
by the dream that I made a memorandum, as I remember, in the form of an inverted
torch, with the date.
When I reached St. Petersburg, about three weeks later, I found in my mail the
first news I had had, for six months, from home. I learned that the aunt I had
missed in my dream had died. I do not remember now the relation in time between
the dates of the death and the dream. It was close, and my impression is that I
thought, in reading the letter, that there was coincidence.
In 1906 we were living in Capri. One morning my wife told me of dreaming that
she found her sisters and her brother Otis (who had died several years before)
in tears. When they saw her, Otis said: We must tell Eliza."
That same day there came a cablegram saying that my wife's favorite brother
Horace was very ill, and within an hour another cable saying he had died.
Monition of a Death and of a Sentence Uttered While Dying(19) - Professor R. A.
(19) "The Survival of Man", by Sir Oliver Lodge,
"Professor R. A. S. Redmayne," wrote Sir Oliver Lodge to me on February 20,
1928, "was at one time a colleague of mine in the University of Birmingham as
our first Professor of Mining. He was very successful in establishing a Mining
Department, which dealt with metalliferous mines and methods of extraction, but
more especially with the mining of coal; and that gradually developed into
exploration and boring for oil: so that when he retired from the Chair he was
succeeded by Sir John Cadman, who is now Chairman of the Anglo Persian Oil
Company. Redmayne vacated the Chair to take up duties of advising the Government
in all matters connected with coal mining. He is now Sir Richard Redmayne, and
has offices in or near Whitehall."
A case of clairvoyance or distant telepathy was told me by my college Professor
R. A. S. Redmayne, as having happened in his own experience when he was engaged
in prospecting for mines in a remote district of South Africa accompanied only
by a working miner from Durham. His account is here abbreviated:
So far as they could keep a record of weeks the solitary two used to play at
some game on Sundays, instead of working, but on one particular Sunday the
workman declined to play, saying he did not feel up to it, as he had just had an
intimation of his mother's death, - that she had spoken of him in her last
hours, saying that she "would never see Albert again."
My informant tried to chaff his assistant out of his melancholy, since it was a
physical impossibility that they could receive recent news by any normal means.
But he adhered to his conviction, and in accordance with North Country tradition
seemed to regard it as natural that he should thus know.
Weeks afterwards complete confirmation came from England, both as to date and
circumstance; the words of the dying woman having been similar to those felt at
the time by her distant son.
The occurrence made a marked impression on my informant and broke down his
skepticism as to the possibility of these strange occurrences.
Fortunately I am able to quote confirmatory evidence of this narrative; for very
soon after the verification Professor Redmayne wrote an account of it to his
father, and from this gentleman I have received a certified copy of the letter:
Letter from Professor Radmayne to his Father
Mgagane, Nr. Newcastle, Natal,
"21st Nov., 1891.
"I have a curious and startling thing to tell you: About six weeks ago, Tonks
said to me one morning, 'My mother is dead, sir. I saw her early this morning
lying dead in bed and the relatives standing round the bed; she said she would
never see me again before she died.' I laughed at him and ridiculed the matter,
and he seemed to forget it, and we thought (no) more of it, but Tonks asked me
to note the date which I did not do. Last Wednesday, however, Tonks received a
letter from his wife telling him that his mother was dead and had been buried a
week, that she died early one Sunday morning about six weeks since and in her
sleep; but before she fell asleep she said she would never see 'Albert' again.
About a fortnight since I told some people what Tonks had told me, giving it as
an instance of the superstitiousness of the Durham pitmen, and they were
startled when, the other day, I told them the dream had come true. I will never
laugh at anything like this again."
The above is an extract from a letter from my son R. A. S. Redmayne written from
Mgagane, Natal, S. A., and dated November 21st .
John M. Redmayne.
August 1, 1902. Harewood, Gateshead.
Professor Redmayne has also been good enough to get a certificate from the
workman concerned, in the form of a copy of the main portion of the above
letter, with the following note appended:
"The above extract correctly relates what occurred to me whilst living in Natal
with Mr. Redmayne."
Signed Albert Tonks.
Date: August 21, 1901.
Witness to above signature, N. B. Padoon,
Apparition of a Person About to Die(20) - George John Romanes
(20) "Proceedings" S. P. R., XI, 440-41, article on
"Subliminal Self," by F. W. H. Myers.
Professor G. J. Romanes (1848-1894) was a distinguished English psychologist and
zoologist. He was born in Canada, educated at Cambridge, elected Fellow of the
Royal Society in 1879. He lectured at the Universities of Cambridge and
Edinburgh and elsewhere, contributed extensively to periodicals. and wrote
Science Lectures for the People, Mental Evolution, Animal Intelligence, Charles
Darwin: His Character and Life, and other books.
Professor Romanes wrote to Mr. Myers, November 20, 1889:
Towards the end of March, 1878, in the dead of the night, while believing myself
to be awake, I thought the door at the head of my bed was opened and a white
figure passed along the side of the bed to the foot, where it faced about and
showed me it was covered head and all in a shroud. Then with its hands it
suddenly parted the shroud over the face, revealing between its two hands the
face of my sister, who was ill in another room. I exclaimed her name, whereupon
the figure vanished instantly. Next day (and certainly on account of the shock
given me by the above experience) I called in Sir W. Jenner, who said my sister
had not many days to live. [She died, in fact, very soon afterwards.]
I was in good health, without any grief or anxiety. My sister was being attended
by our family doctor, who did not suspect anything serious, therefore I had had
no anxiety at all on her account, nor had she herself.
I have never, either before or after this, had such an experience.
(Signed) G. J. Romanes.
Mr. Myers adds:
The impression made by this incident upon the late Dr. Romanes, F.R.S., was, as
he has more than once told me, very deep; nor was there, he thought, any such
anxiety in his mind at the time with regard to his sister as could have
predisposed him to this unique hallucination. There were, I may add, other
unpublished circumstances which confirmed him in his view of the matter.
A "Haunted" House(21) - Archibald Henry Sayce
(21) "Reminiscences", by A. H. Sayce (1923), 14-17.
The Rev. A. H. Sayce (1846-...) was educated at Oxford, of which he was made a
Fellow in 1869. He became a very distinguished Orientalist, and his books on the
archaeology, languages, religions and history of the ancient Assyrians,
Babylonians, Hittites and Hebrews were many. He successfully vindicated the
political and ethnic importance of the Hittites and the Biblical statements
regarding them which had been discredited by scholars. For twenty-four years he
was deputy professor of comparative philology at Oxford, and was a member of the
Old Testament Revision Company, 1874-1884. He traveled much in the East.
When thirteen years old he and his brother visited friends in a house near Bath,
which they had just taken. While there events took place which made an indelible
impression upon his memory.
On a Thursday afternoon when the light was failing I closed my books and went
upstairs to prepare myself for dinner while there was still sufficient light to
do so without the help of a candle. I was standing brushing my hair before the
toilet-table which stood in front of the window, when I happened to turn to the
right and there saw a man standing a few steps away at the entrance of the
dressing-room. I can still see him as he stood facing me, with a closely-shaven
face, fine features, dark-brown hair parted in the middle, and a dark coat
buttoned below the chin like an oriental Stambouli or a clerical coat. The
button was of gold, and there was a gold button also on either wrist.
The suddenness of the apparition naturally startled me, and without imagining
for a moment that it was anything more than an ordinary individual who had found
his way into the house, I rushed down-stairs into the morning-room and there
told my hosts that there was a strange man up-stairs. I was naturally laughed
at, and informed that poring over books indoors day after day had excited my
imagination and that the whole thing was merely the result of "nerves." By the
time dinner was over I had been induced to believe that such was really the
The following Sunday I awoke early in the morning. The log-fire was nearly
extinct, but there was still sufficient light from it to enable the outlines of
objects to be discerned. In the dim light I saw a human figure pass to the foot
of the bed and there stand for a moment or two between the bedstead and the
dying fire. I asked my brother Herbert, who was sharing the bed with me and
happened also to be awake, who it was. He, too, saw the figure and replied,
"It's only Lizzie" - the daughter of our hosts, whose room was close to ours,
and thereupon we both turned round and went to sleep again. In the morning I
mentioned to our hostess, Mrs. Boyd, that her daughter had visited our bed-room
during the night; she replied, "What could she have been doing there?" and then
the matter passed out of our memories until it was recalled to me the following
autumn by Mrs. Boyd.
The next event of which I know was a visit paid by a Mrs. Herbert to the house
in the spring. On a certain Sunday morning she asked if she might change her
room, as she had had an unpleasant experience early that morning. She had seen a
man come out of the dressing room, pass along the side of the bed and then stoop
down so as to be concealed by its foot. She jumped out of the bed to see who was
there, and nothing was visible. The whole story was naturally treated as a dream
by those who heard it.
In the following September the married daughter of the Boyds and her husband
paid a visit to the Court. A few days later we were lunching there, and I heard
from Mrs. Holt a somewhat vivid account of the experiences they had just had.
They occupied the drab room, and she slept on the side of the bed nearest the
dressing-room. Early on the previous Friday morning she was roused from her
slumbers by feeling "a cold, clammy hand" laid across her forehead. She opened
her eyes, and saw "the dark-brown figure of a man hieing away" from her into the
little dressing-room. She awoke her husband, who told her she had had a
nightmare; but she refused to sleep again on that side of the bed. The next
night Mr. Holt was rendered sleepless by a toothache, and, therefore, as he
informed his wife, had there been any ghosts about, he must have seen them. By
Saturday night, however, his toothache was cured, and his sleep accordingly was
sounder than usual. He was startled out of it by feeling the same "cold, clammy
hand" as that described by his wife, and, as he opened his eyes, seeing the same
figure retreating into the dressing-room. He looked at his watch and found that
it was four o'clock. He got out of bed and sponged his face and head with cold
water; then returned to the bed and sat up in it for a moment or two. Before he
could lie down "the figure" returned from the dressing-room and stood close to
his shoulder. He was able to measure it against the window-frame, but I do not
remember what he said was the exact height. His description of "the figure,"
however, agreed exactly with what I had seen, even to the three gilt buttons.
While he sat gazing at it, the figure slowly vanished out of view.
That there was "a ghost" in the Court now began to be noised abroad, and the old
servants of our friends threatened to leave them. In the course of the winter,
consequently, they gave up the place and took a house elsewhere. From that day
to this I have heard nothing more about it or its occupants, ghostly or
Psychic Phenomena Among Savages(22) - Ernest Thomson Seton
(22) "The Arctic Prairies", by E. T. Seton.
The following account is of incidents not indeed witnessed by Ernest Thompson
Seton (1861-...), but they were evidently credited by him, and he lived for
years in the wilds of Canada and on the Western plains as they were forty years
ago, and had many contacts with Indians. He was at one time official naturalist
to the government of Manitoba. He has written many books on wild animals and the
woods, and furnished the illustrations representing birds and animals in various
books, including many of those in the Century Dictionary.
Mr. Seton thus sets down incidents reported by Thomas Anderson, who was in the
service of a commercial company:
In the winter of 1885-6 he [Thomas Anderson] was to be in charge of Nipigon
House, but got orders beforehand to visit the posts on Albany River. He set out
from Fort William on Lake Superior on his 1200-mile trip through the snow with
an Indian whose name was Joe Eskimo, from Mantoulin Island, 400 miles away. At
Nipigon House he got another guide, but this one was in bad shape, spitting
blood. After three days' travel the guide said: "I will go to the end if it
kills me, because I have promised, unless I can get you a better guide. At
Wayabimika (Lake Savanne) is an old man named Omeegi; he knows the road better
than I do." When they got there, Omeegi, although very old and half blind, was
willing to go on condition that they did not walk too fast. Then they started
for Osnaburgh House on Lake St. Joseph, 150 miles away. The old man led off
well, evidently knew the way, but sometimes would stop, cover his eyes with his
hands, look at the ground and then at the sky, and turn on a sharp angle. He
proved a fine guide and brought the expedition there in good time.
Next winter at Wayabimika (where Charley de la Ronde was in charge, but was
leaving on a trip of ten days) Omeegi came in and asked for a present - "a new
shirt and pair of pants." This is the usual outfit for a corpse. He explained
that he was to die before Charley came back; that he would die "when the sun
rose at that island" (a week ahead). He got the clothes, though every one
laughed at him. A week later he put on the new garments and said: "Today I die
when the sun is over that island!" He went out, looking at the sun from time to
time, placidly smoking. When the sun got to the right place he came in, lay down
by the fire, and in a few minutes was dead.
We buried him in the ground, to his brother's great indignation when he heard of
it. He said: "You white men live on things that come out of the ground, and are
buried in the ground, and properly, but we Indians live on things that run above
ground, and want to take our last sleep in the trees."
Another case of Indian clairvoyance ran thus: About 1879, when Anderson was at
Abitibi, the winter packet used to leave Montreal January 2, each year, and
arrive at Abitibi January 19. This year it did not come. The men were much
bothered, as all plans were upset. After waiting about two weeks some of the
Indians and half-breeds advised Anderson to consult the conjuring woman, Mash-kou-tay
Ishquay (Prairie woman, a Flathead from Stuart Lake, B. C.). He went and paid
her some tobacco. She drummed and conjured all night. She came in the morning
and told him: "The packet is at the foot of a rapid now, where there is open
water; the snow is deep and the travel heavy, but it will be here tomorrow when
the sun is at that point."
Sure enough, it all fell out as she had told. This woman married a Hudson's Bay
man named MacDonald, and he brought her to Lachine, where she bore him three
sons; then he died of smallpox, and Sir George Thompson gave orders that she
should be sent up to Abitibi and there pensioned for as long as she lived. She
was about 75 at the time of the incident. She many times gave evidence of
clairvoyant power. The priest said he "knew about it, and that she was helped by
Dr. J. H. Hyslop thus comments on this account:(23)
(23) "Journal" A. S. P. R., March, 1918.
It is of peculiar interest to find such phenomena among savages, even when they
are not as fully confirmed or investigated at the time, because savages are not
sophisticated and are so removed from the ideas and habits of civilized people
as not to be as much infected with the influences that make for fraud. There is
fraud and imposture among them. Their priests and medicine men often learn how
to dupe their victims, but in spite of this the phenomena appear with
individuals not in the craft and they help to prove that the phenomena belong to
the human race, and are not limited to the craft formed for the purpose. Besides
this the conditions of life are such that intercommunication and other forms of
casual information, which affect evidential possibilities, are not present, and
the facts are more easily freed from the difficulties that affect them among the
civilized, though defects in the reporting of them often compensate for this
Clairvoyantly Witnesses a Fire in Progress at Three Hundred Miles Distance -
This great man of science, mystic and theologian, originally named Swedberg
(1688-1772), was son of a Swedish bishop and professor of theology; and in his
childhood his parents thought that "angels spoke through him." He was taught
Latin, Greek and Hebrew, mathematics and the sciences in the University of
Upsala, and became one of the most learned men of his age. Successively he was
editor of a scientific magazine, appointee of Charles XII. as assessor in the
Swedish College of Mines, inventor of a machine to transport boats overland,
author of mathematical and mechanical works, created Count by Queen Ulrica with
name changed to Swedenborg, author of several more books of science gradually
verging upon philosophy. In 1744 he believed that "heaven opened to him," and
then began his series of theological works on which is founded the Swedenborgian
(or "New") Church.
The evidence for this incident and those relating to Swedenborg which follow it
is condensed from a paper prepared by the Rev. John Whitehead(24) for reading at
a meeting of the B. S. P. R., and printed in the New Church Review, October,
(24) Mr. Whitehead, a member of the B. S. P.
R., is probably the most learned clergyman of the New Church in America,
translator and expositor of Swedenborg, theological professor, lecturer, editor.
A full set of Swedenborg's more generally known works has been placed in the B.
S. P. R. library through Mr. Whitehead's good offices, and Swedenborg's
Spiritual Diary in five volumes, and Journal of Dreams, of more direct interest
to psychic research, have been given by Mr. Clarence W. Barren, editor and
What is the evidence proving that Swedenborg saw, described, and announced the
fire and its progress?...
The report of these three remarkable experiences(25) soon reached the ears of
the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who discusses them in his Dreams of a
Spirit Seer, published in 1766. This book excited the curiosity of Madam von
Knobloch, who wrote to Kant asking him about the facts. Kant replied to this
letter on August 10,1768.
(25) The Fire, the Lost Receipt, and the
Kant had a friend, an Englishman, named Green who was going to Stockholm. He
commissioned him "to make particular inquiries respecting the miraculous gift
which Swedenborg possesses." "Kant made the acquaintance of his friend Green
during the summer of 1767; Green saw Swedenborg early in 1768, and returned to
Konigsberg in time to meet Kant on Whit-Monday, 1768." Green was a highly
educated English gentleman who became an intimate friend of Kant, and it is to
him that Kant owed his direct knowledge of the facts concerning Swedenborg.
These facts he communicated to Madam von Knobloch. He wrote her as follows
concerning the Stockholm fire:
"The following occurrence appears to me to have the greatest weight of proof,
and to place the assertion respecting Swedenborg's extraordinary gift beyond all
possibility of doubt. In the year 1759 [the German original has 1756] toward the
end of September [July], on Saturday at four o'clock p. m., Swedenborg arrived
at Gottenburg from England, when Mr. William Castel invited him to his house,
together with a party of fifteen persons. About six o'clock, Swedenborg went
out, and returned to the company quite pale and alarmed. He said that a
dangerous fire had just broken out in Stockholm, at the Sodermalm [Gottenburg is
about fifty German miles, or 300 English miles, from Stockholm], and that it was
spreading very fast. He was restless, and went out often. He said that the house
of one of his friends, whom he named, was already in ashes, and that his own was
in danger. At eight o'clock, after he had been out again, he joyfully exclaimed,
'Thank God! the fire is extinguished, 'the third door from my house.' This news
occasioned great commotion throughout the whole city, but particularly amongst
the company in which he was. It was announced to the governor the same evening.
On Sunday morning Swedenborg was summoned to the governor, who questioned him
concerning the disaster. Swedenborg described the fire precisely, how it had
begun, and in what manner it had ceased, and how long it had continued. On the
same day the news spread through the city; and as the governor had thought it
worthy of attention, the consternation was considerably increased, because many
were in trouble on account of their friends and property, which might have been
involved in the disaster. On Monday evening a messenger arrived at Gottenburg,
who had been dispatched by the Stockholm Board of Trade during the time of the
fire. In the letters brought by him the fire was described precisely in the
manner stated by Swedenborg. On Tuesday morning the royal courier arrived at the
governor's, with the melancholy intelligence of the fire, of the loss which it
had occasioned, of the houses it had damaged and ruined, not in the least
differing from that which Swedenborg had given at the very time when it
happened; for the fire was extinguished at eight o'clock."(26)
(26) "Documents Concerning Swedenborg", II,
Tafel remarks on this account:
"This is the most minute account which we have of this occurrence; and as Kant's
friend, the Englishman Green, according to Kant, 'examined all, not only in
Stockholm, but also in Gottenburg, where he was well acquainted with the most
respectable houses, and where he could obtain the most authentic and complete
information,' we have full reason to place implicit reliance upon it."(27)
(27) Ibid., II, 630.
There are several other independent testimonies to this incident.
Swedenborg himself gave an account of it to Bergstrom, a resident of London, who
reported it as follows:
"Swedenborg also related the story of the fire at Stockholm, that after he had
gone out from the company into the garden of the house at Gottenburg, he
returned, and told the company soon after, that his house and garden were safe,
and described how near the flames had come to it, though no account from thence
had then arrived."(28)
(28) Ibid., II, 631.
Jung-Stilling, in his Theory of Pneumatology, narrates the story of the
Stockholm fire, and says,
"I consider it my duty to make known the pure truth respecting him, since I have
had opportunity of knowing it pure and uncontaminated... This story is certain
Christopher Springer, one of Swedenborg's personal friends, a man very prominent
in Swedish political affairs, and later residing in London and receiving
important positions under the British Government, says of the fire:
"I asked Swedenborg whether it was true, as I had been informed, that when he
was at Gottenburg (a town about sixty Swedish miles from Stockholm), he had
foretold to his friends, three days before the arrival of the post, the precise
hour of the great fire that had happened in Stockholm; to which he replied that
it was exactly true."(29)
(29) Ibid., II, 630.
There are several other accounts which give the general facts. Kant's account,
derived through a personal representative, who went to Sweden and gathered the
facts first hand, is the fullest and most satisfactory of all. In reviewing the
evidence we think that it is fully proved that Swedenborg told of the Stockholm
fire while it was still raging, he being three hundred English miles distant.
We have, then, the express testimony of three persons, one of them a very
prominent one, that they heard the story, independently, from Swedenborg's own
lips. But, still more important, we know that after the story as printed by
Kant, had been questioned, he expressly commissioned Green, an educated friend
(one of the three above referred to) in whom he had confidence, to make an
investigation, and that Green promptly reported so that Kant was able to give a
more specific account which he said was based on Green's thorough examination of
witnesses not only in Gottenburg, where Swedenborg's pronouncements caused a
sensation before the news of the fire arrived, but in Stockholm, where the fire
was. Of course, had it been in the twentieth century Kant would have had Green
write and sign a report, including affidavits from the witnesses. But no one
will suspect that Kant lied and did not receive such a detailed account from
Green. Moreover, after such a request from a man like Kant, already highly
advanced in reputation as a writer and lecturer, surely his educated friend
would take pains to look up the facts carefully. Let us remember also that Kant
printed his first account of the Stockholm fire incident only seven years after
the event, when there were plenty of persons living to deny it if it could be
denied, and, so far as I know, no solitary denial has come down to us from that
The Queen of Sweden's Secret - Emanuel Swedenborg
Mr. Whitehead continues:
The persons concerned in this experience are very eminent in the world's
history. Queen Louisa Ulrica was the sister of Frederick the Great of Prussia,
her brother Augustus William, who is mentioned in the narrative, was the Crown
Prince of Prussia, brother of the reigning King Frederick the Great. From this
brother were descended the monarchs of Prussia and the Emperors of United
Germany. The son of Adolphus succeeded Frederick the Great on the throne of
Prussia. Augustus William had been declared heir apparent of Prussia; but
unfortunately for him, he lost the battle of Hastenbeck, July 26, 1757, which
greatly displeased the King. Augustus was compelled to resign. He retired and
died within a year, of "chagrin." It was with this brother that Queen Louisa had
Kant's account of this event is as follows:
"Toward the end of 1761, Mr. Swedenborg was called to a princess, whose great
understanding and penetration ought to have made an attempt at imposition almost
impossible. He was summoned to her on account of the general rumor which had
reached her of his being the subject of visions. After asking him some
questions, more for the purpose of deriving sport from his imagination than of
obtaining information from the other world, the princess dismissed him, after
having charged him first with a secret commission touching his intercourse with
spirits. After a few days Mr. Swedenborg appeared again with a reply of such a
nature that, according to the princess, according to her own confession, she was
greatly astonished; for his reply was true, and yet no living person could have
given it to him. This narrative is derived from the report of an ambassador at
the Swedish court, to another ambassador in Copenhagen; besides, it agrees with
what we were able to learn by special investigation."(30)
(30) "Documents", II, 635-54.
General Tuxen, a Danish general, having heard these stories, sought an interview
with Swedenborg. Tuxen says, "My first question was, Whether the relation,
reported as having passed between himself and the Queen in Stockholm, was true?"
[Swedenborg then told Tuxen that, in accordance with the wish of the Queen,
Count Scheffer had asked him to attend court.] "The Queen asked him, Whether he
would undertake a commission to her lately deceased brother? He answered, 'With
all my heart.' On this he followed the Queen, with the King and Count Scheffer,
to a window in the apartment, where the Queen gave him his commission, to which
he promised to bring her an answer. [Shortly afterward he accompanied Count
Scheffer to court again.] The Queen, on seeing him, said, 'Do not forget my
commission.' He answered, 'It is already done.' And when he delivered her his
message, she was extremely surprised, and became suddenly indisposed; and upon
recovering herself, she said, 'This no mortal could have told me.'"(31)
(31) Ibid., II, 651-52.
Another account of this incident was given by Count Hopken, which he states was
made to him by the Queen herself. He says:
"At the next reception Swedenborg again appeared at court; and while the Queen
was in the so-called white room, surrounded by her ladies of honor, he came
boldly in, and approached Her Majesty, who no longer remembered the commission
she had given him a week before. Swedenborg not only greeted her from her
brother, but also gave her his (the brother's) apologies for not having answered
her last letter; he also wished to do so now through Swedenborg; which he
accordingly did. The Queen was greatly overcome, and said, 'No one, except God,
knows this secret.'"(32)
(32) Ibid., II, 660.
Count Hopken adds this to his account:
"The reason why she never adverted to this before, was, that she did not wish
anyone in Sweden to believe that during the war in Prussia she had carried on a
correspondence in the enemy's country. The same caution Her Majesty exercised
during her last visit to Berlin. When she was asked about this transaction,
which had been printed in a German paper, she did not answer."(33)
(33) Ibid., II, 660.
Several other sources of information concerning this event are on record. Some
of them were derived from Swedenborg; some are traced to the Queen; while others
are traced to persons close to the Court. The Queen, on a visit to Berlin, in
1772, several years later, in a conversation with several academicians gave an
account of the affair, but did not tell what the secret was. Thiebault afterward
published a long account, in which he says:
"The Queen did not repeat the words, but she protested to us they were the very
same her brother had pronounced, and that she retained the most perfect
recollection of them. She added that she nearly fainted at the shock she
(34) Ibid., II, 656.
The Queen was not superstitious and easily duped. All agree that she was a
highly intellectual woman. Her brother Frederick the Great declared her "to be
the ornament of her family." She was of a masculine understanding, was
remarkably eloquent, and had great force of character.
One distinguished chevalier, whose name is not given, telling of an interview he
had with her in relation to her experience with Swedenborg, says:
"The Queen herself told me the anecdote respecting herself and her brother, with
a conviction which appeared to me extraordinary. Everyone who was acquainted
with this really enlightened sister of the great Frederick will agree with me
that she was the very reverse of fanatical, and that the whole tenor of her mind
was free from all such weaknesses. Nevertheless, she appeared to me to be so
convinced of Swedenborg's supernatural intercourse with spirits, that I scarcely
durst venture to intimate my doubts, and to express my suspicion of secret
intrigues; and a royal air, Je ne suis pas facilement dupe (I am not easily
duped), put an end to all my attempts at refutation."
Swedenborg himself has given testimony concerning this event. In a letter to
Louis IX., Landgrave of Hesse Darmstadt, he says:
"As to what is related of the daughter of the Prince Margrave, it is a fiction
invented by some idle newsmonger, and I never even heard of it before; but what
is reported of the brother of the Queen of Sweden is true; yet it should not be
regarded as a miracle, but only as a memorable occurrence of the kind related in
the True Christian Religion concerning Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, and the rest.
For all these are simply testimonies, that I have been introduced by the Lord as
to my spirit into the spiritual world, and that I converse with angels and
Cuno, a Dutch gentleman who frequently entertained Swedenborg when he was in
Amsterdam, writing about the stories of the late Prince of Prussia and of the
lost receipt, says:
"The truth of both these stories he (Swedenhorg) affirmed; but he did not dwell
long upon them, observing that there were hundreds of similar stories. He did
not think it worth while to waste many words upon them, saying that all these
things were trifles placing in the shade the great object of his mission."
Neither Swedenborg nor the Queen ever revealed the nature of the message itself
which Swedenborg conveyed to the Queen. It was a secret between her and her
brother. Some of the accounts state that it related to a conversation with her
brother some seventeen years before. But Count Hopken indicates that it related
to a correspondence in the last year of his life and that her last letter
remained unanswered. It seems a sufficient reason why the matter was a secret
that neither the Queen nor Swedenborg could divulge was, that Sweden and Prussia
were at war, consequently correspondence with the enemy was treason. So the
secret was not divulged. In addition to this, the Queen was accused of
influencing her husband to adopt autocratic methods in the government and
against the constitution, which strictly limited the powers of the King.
Something also of this matter may have been involved in the secret
The Dutch Ambassador's Lost Receipt - Emanuel Swendenborg
Mr. Whitehead continues:
Kant, in his letter to Madam von Knobloch, gives the following statement, the
facts having been communicated to him by Green:
Madam Marteville, the widow of the Dutch Ambassador in Stockholm, some time
after the death of her husband was called upon by Croon, a goldsmith, to pay for
a silver service which her husband had purchased from him. The widow was
convinced that her late husband had been much too precise and orderly not to
have paid this debt, yet she was unable to find the receipt. In her sorrow, and
because the amount was considerable, she requested Mr. Swedenborg to call at her
house. After apologizing to him for troubling him, she said, that if, as all
people said, he possessed the extraordinary gift of conversing with the souls of
the departed, he would perhaps have the kindness to ask her husband how it was
about the silver service. Swedenborg did not at all object to complying with her
request. Three days afterwards the said lady had company at her house for
coffee. Swedenborg called and in his cool way informed her that he had conversed
with her husband. The debt had been paid seven months before his decease, and
the receipt was in a bureau in the room up-stairs. The lady replied that the
bureau had been quite cleared out, and that the receipt was not found among all
the papers. Swedenborg said that her husband had described to him how, after
pulling out the left-hand drawer, a board would appear, which required to be
drawn out, when a secret compartment would be disclosed, containing his private
Dutch correspondence as well as the receipt. Upon hearing this description the
whole company arose and accompanied the lady into the room up-stairs. The bureau
was opened; they did as they were directed; the compartment was found, of which
no one had ever known before; and, to the great astonishment of all, the papers
were discovered there, in accordance with his description."(35)
(35) "Documents Concerning Swedenborg", II,
Quite a number of versions of this story exist, which may he traced back to
eleven different sources. Robsahm and Bergstrom heard the story from Swedenborg
himself. As Green visited Swedenborg, no doubt Swedenborg confirmed the truth of
it to Green himself. Letocard, who was Secretary to the legation and executor of
Marteville's estate, gives an account very similar to that of Kant.
As the story passed from mouth to mouth, the particulars were modified in
various ways; so that we find a number of accounts which vary as to the
particulars, the central fact remaining practically the same. Kant's account
seems again to be the clearest and most consistent.
In the case of the lost receipt no one in this world knew of the secret
compartment where the receipt and the secret papers were concealed. The
silversmith knew there was a receipt; but he did not know where it was. The
widow was convinced that the bill was paid, but she had no actual knowledge that
it was paid. How did Swedenborg gain the knowledge of the secret drawer known to
no one in this world?
Divines his Friend's Secrets - Emanuel Swedenborg
Swedenborg, in referring to these and other similar facts, speaks of them as
proving his intercourse with the spiritual world. Christopher Springer, writing
of Swedenborg, with whom he had intimate friendship, says:
"All that he has told me of my deceased friends and enemies, and of the secrets
I had with them, is almost past belief. He even explained to me in what manner
peace was concluded between Sweden and the King of Prussia; and he praised my
conduct on that occasion. He even specified the three high personages whose
services I made use of at that time; which was, nevertheless, a profound secret.
On asking him how it was possible for him to obtain such information, and who
had discovered it to him, he replied, 'Who informed me about your affair with
Count Claes Ekeblad? You cannot deny that what I have told you is true.
Continue,' he added, 'to merit his reproaches; depart not from the good way
either for honors or money; but, on the contrary, continue as constant therein
as you have hitherto, and you will prosper.'(36)
(36) "Documents", II, 533.
"The Count had provoked him to draw his sword upon him, differing about
politics, but they had made it up, and promised not to mention it to any one
while in life; that afterward the Count had attempted to bribe him with 10,000
rix-dalers, which sum Swedenborg particularly mentioned to him as having been
learned from the Count, just then deceased."(37)
(37) Ibid., II, 534.
Divines Wesley's Wish and the Day of his Own Death - Emanuel
John Wesley received a letter from Swedenborg dated in February, 1772, which
Great Bath-street, Coldbath Fields, February, 1772.
Sir: I have been informed in the world of spirits that you have a strong desire
to converse with me. I shall be happy to see you, if you will favor me with a
visit. I am, sir,
Your humble servant,
Mr. Wesley received and read this letter in the presence of some of his
preachers, one of whom, Rev. Samuel Smith, tells the story.
Mr. Wesley frankly acknowledged to the company that he had been very strongly
impressed with the desire to see and converse with Swedenborg, and that he had
never mentioned that desire to any one.
Mr. Wesley wrote for answer, that he was closely occupied in preparing for a six
months' journey, but would do himself the pleasure of waiting upon Mr.
Swedenborg soon after his return to London.
Swedenborg wrote in reply, that the visit proposed by Mr. Wesley would be too
late, as he, Swedenborg, should go into the world of spirits on the 29th day of
the next month, never more to return. (Documents, Vol. II, p. 565.)
Swedenborg died March 29, 1772.
A Problematic Dream(38) - Cromwell F. Varley
(38) "Report on Spiritualism", etc., 163-64.
This incident was told by Mr. Varley, a prominent English electrician, to the
London Dialectical Society.
I have had another case in 1860; I went to find the first Atlantic Cable; when I
arrived at Halifax my name was telegraphed to New York. Mr. Cyrus Field
telegraphed the fact to St. John's and then to Harbour Grace; so that when I
arrived I was very cordially received at each place, and at Harbour Grace found
there was a supper prepared. Some speeches followed and we sat up late. I had to
catch the steamer that went early the next morning and was fearful of not waking
in time, but I employed a plan which had often proved successful before, viz.,
that of willing strongly that I should wake at the proper time. Morning came and
I saw myself in bed fast asleep; I tried to wake myself, but could not. After a
while I found myself hunting about for some means of more power, when I saw a
yard in which was a large stack of timber and two men approaching; they ascended
the stack of timber and lifted a heavy plank. It occurred to me to make my body
dream that there was a bombshell thrown in front of me which was fizzing at the
touch-hole, and when the men threw the plank down I made my body dream that the
bomb had burst and cut open my face. It woke me, but with a clear recollection
of the two actions - one, the intelligent mind acting upon the brain in the
body, which could he made to believe any ridiculous impression that the former
produced by will power. I did not allow a second to elapse before I leapt out of
bed, opened the window, and there were the yard, the timber, and the two men,
just as my spirit had seen them. I had no previous knowledge at all of the
locality; it was dark the previous evening when I entered the town, and I did
not even know there was a yard there at all. It was evident I had seen these
things while my body lay asleep. I could not see the timber until the window had
This is one of the most interesting dreams for study with which I am acquainted.
On the one hand it is easy to form a theory of normal explanation. While
dreaming he heard the sound, correctly guessed that it was caused by a falling
plank, inferred that therefore there was probably a yard near the house
containing timber, also inferred from the sound that the plank must be too heavy
to be lifted by one man, and correctly guessed that there were two. All this,
although a happy combination of accurate inferences and guesses, might be
possible. But Mr. Varley testifies that he dreamed he saw the stack of timber
and two men approach, ascend the stack and lift the plank, and that he dreamed a
device to make himself wake, before he had the sensation of noise in the dream.
An ordinary person might during the time which had elapsed since the dream, nine
years, have misplaced the order of its details, but it is less likely that a man
of science strongly impressed and bound to study his recollections on waking,
should have done so. But there is some evidence tending to show that dreams
affected by real sensory impressions do sometimes rearrange the time order so as
to present on waking the illusion that the cause of the sensory impression was
imaged before the impression itself was received. But it is at least exceedingly
rare that a dream should present imagery corresponding to the real facts, as
though by inferences, and yet not connect that imagery at all with the sensory
impression as its cause, but attribute the cause to something entirely
different. Mr. Varley's dream correctly pictured the real external facts, yard,
stack of timber, two men, plank and fall of the plank, but ascribed the sound to
a bomb! If "clairvoyance," whatever process that term really covers, is deemed
established by a mass of other evidence, it is perhaps simpler to ascribe this
particular case to it.
Parallel and Simultaneous Dreams(39)
(39) "Report on Spiritualism of the Committee of the
London Dialectical Society" (London, 1873), 161-62.
In a second case my sister-in-law had heart disease. Mrs. Varley and I went into
the country to see her, as we feared for the last time. I had a nightmare, and
could not move a muscle. While in this state, I saw the spirit of my
sister-in-law in the room. I knew that she was confined to her bedroom. She
said, "If you do not move, you will die," but I could not move, and she said,
"If you submit yourself to me, I will frighten you, and you will then be able to
move." At first I objected, wishing to ascertain more about her spirit presence.
When at last I consented, my heart had ceased beating. I think at first her
efforts to terrify me did not succeed, but when she suddenly exclaimed, "Oh,
Cromwell, I am dying," that frightened me exceedingly, and threw me out of the
torpid state, and I awoke in the ordinary way. My shouting had aroused Mrs.
Varley; we examined the door, and it was still locked and bolted, and I told my
wife what had happened, having noted the hour, 3:45am, and cautioned her not to
mention the matter to anybody, but to hear what was her sister's version if she
alluded to the subject. In the morning she told us that she had passed a
dreadful night, that she had been in our room and greatly troubled on my
account; and that I had been nearly dying. It was between half-past three and
four am when she saw I was in danger. She only succeeded in arousing me by
exclaiming, "Oh, Cromwell, I am dying." I appeared to her to be in a state which
otherwise would have ended fatally. This was the second case in which there were
more witnesses than one, and I think it may be considered a second case attended
with reliable evidence. There is in addition this peculiarity that we were
neither of us dead(40).
(40) For parallel dreams of Mrs. and Miss
Griggs, see "Journal" A. S. P. R., XVII, 101-05, and "Bulletin" IX of B. S. P. R.