25 Who Were "Ghost-Told" of a Death
In this post I will discuss additional cases of this type. I will give links that you can use to go directly to the accounts that I refer to or quote, without having to scroll to the right page. The links are from publications of the Society for Psychical Research, which was thorough in checking out the accounts told below, usually finding corroborating evidence or corroborating witnesses."We were about half way down, my brother a few steps in advance of me, when he suddenly said— 'Why, there's John Blaney, I didn't know he was in the house!' John Blaney was a boy who lived not far from us, and he had been employed in the house as hall-boy not long before. I said that I was sure it was not he, (for I knew he had left some months previously on account of ill-health), and looked down into the passage, but saw no one.... An hour or two afterwards I asked my maid how long John Blaney had been back in the house? She seemed much surprised, and said, 'Didn't you hear, miss, that he died this morning?' On inquiry we found he had died about two hours before my brother saw him."
First is an 1891 account by Mabel Olive Gore Booth that appeared in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (Volume 8, page 173).
First is an 1891 account by Mabel Olive Gore Booth that appeared in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (Volume 8, page 173).
In the same volume, on page 214, we get another account of someone (a choirmaster) learning of a death from an apparition sighting. The 1890 account is by William W. Davis, a clergyman.
"Mr. R[ussell], the bass-singer of the choir, fell in an apoplectic fit upon the street at 10 o'clock on a certain Friday ; he died at 11 o'clock at his house. My wife, learning of his death, sent my brother-in-law down to the house of the choirmaster [Mr. Reeves] to ask him about music for the funeral. The messenger reached the house of the choirmaster about 1.30 p.m. He was told that the choirmaster was upstairs, busy looking over some music. He accordingly sat down in the drawing-room, and, while waiting, began to tell the ladies (sister and niece of the choirmaster) about Mr. R.'s death. While they were talking they heard an exclamation in the hall-way. Someone said, 'My God !' They rushed out, and halfway down, sitting on the stairs, saw the choirmaster in his shirt-sleeves, showing signs of great fright and confusion. As soon as he saw them he exclaimed, ' I have just seen R. !' The niece at once said, 'Why, R. is dead !' At this the choirmaster without a word turned back upstairs and went to his room."
Going back to the moment of the sighting by the choirmaster, the narrator tells us the following:
"At the door he saw Mr. R., who stood with one hand on his brow, and one hand extended, holding a sheet of music. The choirmaster advanced, extended his hand, and was going to speak, when the figure vanished. Then it was that he gave the exclamation mentioned above. You must remember that he knew nothing of R.'s death until he heard his niece speak of it as detailed above."
On page 216 of the same volume, Volume 8 of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, we have the first hand account of the choirmaster, who states the following:
"The figure seemed to have a roll of music in one hand and the other over its face, but it was Russell's image. I am quite sure of that. As I advanced to the head of the stairway the figure seemed to turn, as if about to descend, and faded into the air."
On page 222 of the same volume, we have the account below by someone acting in a production of the play Antigone:
"I was passing from one dressing-room to another, a few steps further along the passage, just before going on to the stage, when I saw in the passage, leaning against the door-post of the dressing-room which I left, a Mr. H., whom I had met only twice, but whom I knew well by sight, and as an acquaintance, though I had heard nothing of him for two years. I held out my hand to him, saying, "Oh, Mr. H., I am so glad to see you.' In the excitement of the moment it did not occur to me as odd that he should have come thus to the door of the dressing-room,— although this would have been an unlikely thing for a mere acquaintance to do. There was a brilliant light, and I did not feel the slightest doubt as to his identity....He was looking at me with a sad expression...Next day, as a number of us were talking over the performance, my sister called out to me, ' You will be sorry to hear that Mr. H. is dead.' 'Surely not,' I exclaimed, 'for I saw him last night at the Antigone.' It turned out that he had been dead two days when I saw the figure."
In Volume 12 of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (pages 326-327), we have the following account of a daughter "ghost told" of a mother's death, told by one Joshua Hodgson.
"Between my wife and her mother a very close affection existed
and by a strange fate they both were confined to bed at the same time, the daughter daily expecting the birth of her child and the mother sick with what proved to be her last illness....When Grandma died, by the doctor's orders the news of her death was carefully kept from my wife, as it was feared that the consequences might be serious in her critical condition. She was therefore, at the time when the apparition passed her vision, absolutely ignorant of the fact that her mother had already passed away. On Saturday night she was left alone for a short time and during the time the nurse and doctor were out of the room, the apparition appeared to her, when she saw her mother standing at the foot of the bed. The figure beholding her distress spoke to her and simply said 'don't fret' and then immediately vanished. This would be upwards of eighteen hours after Grandma had passed away, my wife being then in total ignorance of her mother's death."
On pages 317 to 318 of the same volume, we read an account of a woman who woke up to see the head of Mrs. J. W., "all else swallowed in darkness." She later got a letter telling her that Mrs. J. W. had died at about the same time.
On pages 322 to 323 of the same volume, Volume 12 of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, we read an account of three different people in three different places who saw an apparition of a grandmother who died at about the same time. Charles L. Tweedale stated the following:
"As I gazed I suddenly saw a face form on the panels of the cupboard or wardrobe. Indistinct at first, it gradually became clearer until it was perfectly distinct as in life, when I saw the face of my grandmother. What particularly struck me at the moment and burnt itself into my recollection was the fact that the face wore an old-fashioned frilled or goffered cap. I gazed at it for a few seconds, during which it was as plain as the living face, when it faded gradually into the moonlight and was gone....In the morning when at breakfast I began telling the experience of the night to my parents. I had got well into my story, when, to my surprise, my father suddenly sprang up from his seat at the table and leaving his food almost untouched hurriedly left the room. As he walked towards the door I gazed after him in amazement, saying to mother, 'Whatever is the matter with father?' She raised her hand to enjoin silence. When the door had closed I again repeated my question. She replied, 'Well, Charles, it is the strangest thing I ever heard of, but when I awoke this morning your father informed me that he was awakened in the night and saw his mother standing by his bedside, and that when he raised himself to speak to her she glided away.' This scene and conversation took place at about 8.30 a.m. on the morning of January llth. Before noon we received a telegram announcing the death of my father's mother during the night. We found that the matter did not end here, for my father was afterwards informed by his sister that she also had seen the apparition of her mother standing at the foot of her bed."
Here we have a case of an apparition seen by multiple observers. See my posts here and here for 34 other cases of apparitions seen by multiple observers.
On page 229 of Volume 13 of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, we read of a nun who was surprised to see her "Uncle Oldham" standing next to her. The nun reported the figure said that he had killed himself. The nun later learned that the corresponding person had died. She reported seeing the same figure additional times, for two months, but only momentarily.
On page 234-235 of the same volume, we read the sad account told by a woman named A. A. Gollin who was suprised to see her fiancee at her place of work, at about 12:30 on Saturday. She asked someone if that person saw the same figure, but that person said she did not. Then the figure could no longer be seen. The woman later found out her fiancee had died on the same day, at about 12:30.
On page 230-231 of Volume 17 of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, we read of a Mary M. Paterson claiming that on April 4, 1913 the following happened:
"I had walked but a few paces when I was staggered by seeing,
as in a cinema show, reflected in the air in front of me a clear-cut picture of my brother in Australia, lying with the unmistakeably helpless look of a dead or unconscious man who had just fallen... I felt my brother was dying or dead, or that something tragic was happening to him..Suddenly, when halfway along the road, the picture shone out again before my eyes, this time against the dark sky. Again I saw the prone helpless figure, the colouring of clothes and hair, then as before it faded quickly away, and I did not see it again."
She soon learned that her brother had fallen unconscious on about April 4, 1913, and had not awoken, dying on April 7.
On pages 80-81 of Volume 19 of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, we have an unusual account of someone who saw and talked to a pilot, only to later find that he had died elsewhere at the same time as this occurred.
I will end this post with what is one of the most well-authenticated of all ghost stories.
On page 39 of Volume 19 of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, we read, "The most remarkable of the experiences which have been reported to us was an apparition of Captain Bowyer-Bower which was seen by his half-sister Mrs. Spearman in India, within a few hours of his death." On page 41-42 we have this account by Dorothy C. Spearman:
"My brother appeared to me on the 19th March, 1917....I saw my brother Eldred W Bowyer-Bower. Thinking he was
alive and had been sent out to India, I was simply delighted to see him, and turned round quickly to put baby in a safe
place on the bed, so that I could go on talking to my brother;
then turned again and put my hand out to him, when I found
he was not there. I thought he is only joking, so I called him
and looked everywhere I could think of looking. It was only
when I could not find him I became very frightened and the
awful fear that he might be dead."
On page 222 of Volume 27 of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, we are told the following about the same individual:
"An example of such test-proof evidence to my mind, if we agree (as Mr Saltmarsh appears implicitly not to agree) that latency is hardly likely to endure for six months, is the Bowyer-Bower case (Proceedings, xxxiii. 167). Captain Bower's apparition was seen not only at the time of his sudden violent death, but also six months later (by his mother and again by his fiancee). The details of development and behaviour are strikingly suggestive of the operation of an external intelligence."
Tracing the reference made in the quote above, I find that on page 172 of Volume 33 of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research we have this quote by a relative of this Captain Bowyer-Bower, concerning her small daughter:
"One morning while I was still in bed, about 9.15, she came to my room and said, 'Uncle Alley Boy is downstairs,' and although I told her he was in France, she insisted that she had seen him. Later in the day I happened to be writing to my mother and mentioned this, not because I thought much about it, but to show that Betty still thought and spoke of her imcle of whom she was very fond. A few days afterwards we found that the date my brother was missing was the date on my letter."
We are told on page 172 of this volume that "Alley Boy" was a "pet name" for this Eldred W. Bowyer-Bower. So apparently we have an apparition of this person appearing to two people at the time of his death or disappearance. A third person mentioned on page 173 had a "certain and awful feeling...that he was killed" before learning of his death. On page 174 we have an account of an apparition of this Eldred W. Bowyer-Bower appearing months after his death. His mother Mrs. Bowyer-Bower narrates it as follows:
"I watched, not at all nervously, and something like a crumpled filmy piece of chiffon unfolded and the beautiful wavy top of Eldred's head appeared, a few seconds and his forehead and broad, beautiful brow appeared, still it waited and his lovely blue eyes came, but no mischievous twinkle, but a great intensity. It all shook and quivered, then his nose came. More waiting and quivering and then his tiny little moustache and mouth. At this point he turned his head very shghtly and looked right into my face, and moistened his lips slightly with his tongue. I kept quite quiet, but it quivered and shook so much and no chin came, and in my anxiety I put out my hands and said : 'Eldred, I see you,' and it all flickered quite out, light and all."
On page 175 of the same Proceedings, we have an account by the fiance of this Eldred, who tells us the following happened months after his death:
"Afterwards I woke up and looked around and saw Eldred on the bed beside me, he was wearing his blue suit. I sat up and started talking to him....I then tried to touch him, but my hand went through him, and like a fool I started to cry, and he disappeared."
So we can see why the writer quoted earlier called this case "test-proof evidence": the quotes above establish that this apparition of Eldred W. Bowyer-Bower was seen by four different persons in four different places: by his half-sister, his mother, his fiancee and a small child.