I have now searched for similar cases in “Phantasms of the Living,” and found that such cases are reported quite abundantly in that work. A significant fraction of the 700+ cases reported in that two-volume work are cases in which someone reports seeing or hearing an apparition of a particular person they did not know was dead, only to find out later that just such a person had died on about the same day or exactly the same day (and often on the same hour and day). I found more than 75 such cases in "Phantasms of the Living," which will require several different blog posts to summarize (including this one and two others).
Below are some cases from Volume 1 of “Phantasms of the Living.” By following the links, you can go to the exact page of each case I have given. The very diligent writers of the book checked out almost all of these cases, getting corroborating evidence. So, for example, if a husband reported seeing a particular thing, a wife might be asked to produce an account of what the husband said at the time. And if someone reported a death occurring at a particular day, public records were checked to see whether such a person's death occurred on that day.
Case #25, page 204: According to her later account, on January 3, 1856 a mother “looked round the room, and to my utter amazement, saw Joseph standing at the door...his head bandaged up.” Joseph, her son, died far away on the same day in a shipping accident that split upon his head.
Case #26, page 207: At 2 AM a man saw someone coming into his room, and the man identified the person as Robinson Kelsey. When the man called out, the figure disappeared. Upon making inquiries, the man later learned that Robinson Kelsey had died on the same hour. Although not explicitly stated, the narrative implies that Kelsey had died on both the same day and the same hour.
Case #27, page 209: In December 1881 an R. Rawlinson suddenly had a strange feeling that someone else was in his room. He found that instantaneously “every feature of the face and form of my old friend, X., arose” in his mind. Convinced that the old friend had died, Rawlinson soon found that his old friend had indeed died at the same time Rawlinson had this experience.
Case #28, page 210: On March 24, 1883 an N.J.S. saw his friend F.L. stand before him, and the figure “passed away” (the meaning of this phrase in the narrative is unclear). N.J.S. reported feeling an icy chill, and noted the time as 12 minutes to 9. N.J.S. felt sure F.L. was dead. The next day N.J.S. found out that F.L. was found dead of a ruptured aorta, at 9:00, at about the same time N.J.S. had seen the strange sight.
Case #197, page 531: While writing a letter, an I.B. in Switzerland saw appear before him a man he met in America, one he knew as Mountain Jim. After recording the hour and date of the strange appearance, I. B. later found that Mountain Jim had died on the same day.
Case #199, page 534: At five o'clock in the morning on Saturday a man was woke up a noise, and saw a lady friend of his “glide” across the room. He found out later in the week that the woman had committed suicide at five in the morning on Saturday.
Case #203, page 548: Isabel Allom saw an apparition of her mother. She said “the figure moved across the room, ascending as it went until it disappeared.” She afterwards learned that her mother died on the same day and hour.
Case #204, page 549: An E.C. reported that “I saw a figure of a friend pass before me, ascending” and that later “I received a letter that she had died that night.”
Case #205, page 549-550: A Lady Chatterton said that she was sure Father Hewitt was dead, because she had seen him “high above me in the air.” The next morning she learned that he died at the same time she saw this apparition.
Case #206, page 551-552: An R. Waller Jones said that he saw a vision of his sister in a coffin. He later learned that his sister had died on the same day this vision occurred.
Case #207, page 552: An M. A. Larcombe said she saw angels, and in front of them her friend Anne Cox. She later found that Anne Cox had died on the same day.
Case #210, page 556-557: In 1855 A G.F. Russell Colt said that he woke up to see his brother kneeling, “surrounded by a light sort of phosphorescent mist.” He said the apparition had a wound on its right temple. He soon learned that his brother had died in a military action far away, with the wound or death on the same day as the apparition was seen, and that “the death wound was exactly where I had seen it.”
Case #212, page 560: A Dr. Rowland Bowstead reported that in 1847 at 10 minutes to 1, he saw “the apparition of my half-brother” dressed in a “shooting suit” with a gun on his arm. He found out a few days later that the half-brother had died of a burst blood vessel, on the same day, at 10 minutes to 1, while dressed in a “shooting suit” with a gun on his arm.
Artistic depiction of a ghost
Below are some cases from Volume 2 of “Phantasms of the Living.” I will include the case numbers given in the book.
Case #228, page 44: In 1873 Frederick Barker told his wife that he had seen his aunt who lived elsewhere, and that she had disappeared. He found out a week later that the aunt had died on the same day Barker saw the apparition, and that she was calling out for Barker at the time of her death.
Case #229, page 45: Lieutenant General Albert Fytche stated “I saw a ghost with my own eyes in broad daylight.” He said he saw an old schoolmate in his house, who after a while could no longer be found. Two weeks later he was informed that the schoolmate had died 600 miles away, on the same day Fytche had seen the apparition.
Case #230, page 46: Looking into a theater pit in Canada, J. Evans saw his brother “lighted up supernaturally.” After looking down into the pit, he couldn't find his brother. He later found out his brother had died in Shanghai on the same day J. Evans saw the strange sight in the theater pit.
Case #231, page 47-48: Stuart Stephens said that he saw Rudolph Gough: “I saw standing the man who I had been told was dying on the other side of the Tugela.” Later he “found that he had died at exactly the hour I fancied I had seen him.”
Case #235, page 51: S.C. Swiney said that he was surprised to see his brother, who he thought was in India. He said “before I could recover from my astonishment, the figure had disappeared.” He later found his brother had died “about...the time I had imagined I had seen him,” on the same day.
Case #237, page 54: In 1874 Ellen M. Greany saw a school-friend of hers, only to find a moment later there was no one visible except her mother. A day or so later she found the friend had died. She said “she died the same evening and about the same time as I saw her vision.”
Case #240, page 59: Mary Ellis twice during a day “saw the face” of an old friend. She later learned that he died on that same day, five miles away.
Case #243, page 63-65: After being struck by a sudden feeling of sadness, Sebastiano Fenzi saw his brother on the sea coast, walking about outside on a day of terrible weather. After watching him pass behind a rock, the brother could no longer be seen. He later found “my brother had died just at the time when in the morning I had seen him on the rocks,” with the death occuring 70 miles away.
Case #253, page 76: An S.H.S relates this account which will be of interest to anyone who enjoys photographs of mysterious orbs:
"About the year 1841, I was in a room with my father in our house in the Isle of Wight when he exclaimed, 'Good God, what is that?' starting up as he spoke, and apparently looking at something. He then turned to me and said that he had seen a ball of light pass through the room, and added, 'Depend upon it, Nurse Simmons is dead.' This was an old servant in London, to whom he had been sending money, in illness. In course of post came information that she passed away at the very time in question."
Case #272, page 107: Lister Ives reported hearing agonized cries from his son, even though the boy was believed to be three miles away. The boy “was killed at that very time by a fall from the rocks.”
Case #273, page 108: While on a ship, G.A. Witt reported hearing the voice of his brother calling G. by his name. He later found out that his brother had died elsewhere on the same day.
Case #279, page 114: Sarah Wight reported the following:
“On five occasions in my life I have heard my Christian name uttered in a peremptory manner; as if some one was in need of my aid; and after each occasion I have learnt that a relation had died at a time closely corresponding to the call. I have never on any other occasion had any sort of hallucination of the senses whatsoever.”
Case#298, page 143: Marian Hughes reported a man had proposed to her sister, but her sister had rejected the man, who then got a job in India. In London her sister heard her name called, and looked up to see what she thought was the face of the man who had wanted to marry her, but “finding no one there became convinced she had seen an apparition announcing the death of her friend.” The sister later learned that the man had died far away “on the evening of the day she had seen the apparition in London.”
Case# 534, page 495: Arthur Bedford reported that all of his dormitory was roused by a cry of a student declaring that his father had appeared at his bedside, dripping wet, wearing a “pea coat” and high boots. It was later found that the father had died at sea, dressed like the apparition, at about the same time as the apparition.
The witnesses listed above almost all asserted or answered that the described incident was the only case they had seen anything like a hallucination or an apparition (a question routinely asked by the very thorough investigators).
I have now presented (in this post and a previous post) a total of 50 cases of someone experiencing an apparition of someone who they did not know was dead, only to find out later the person died on about the same day (usually exactly the same day, and often on the same hour and day). I will list 50 more such cases in later posts. To discuss the mathematical probability of such a thing happening by coincidence will require a separate post. I can give a preview by mentioning that we should not expect more than about 1 in 100 million ordinary people to coincidentally experience an apparition of someone who they later found died on the same day; and we should not expect more than about 1 in a billion ordinary people to coincidentally experience an apparition of someone who they later found died on the same day and also the same hour. The existence of so many accounts of this type is therefore prima facie evidence that something much more than hallucination is going on.
To read about 25 more such cases, click here to read the third part of this 4-part series.