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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

They Felt a Great Disturbance

 In the first Star Wars movie, there is a memorable scene where Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Alec Guinness) suddenly states this:

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

In the movie Obi-Wan Kenobi is psychically sensing the destruction of the planet Alderaan by the Death Star.  Obi-Wan Kenobi was a Jedi master. But it seems that ordinary humans can sometimes sense in an anomalous way when a fellow human faces death or great injury or peril. Let us look at some interesting examples, all of which involve sudden feelings or physical or auditory manifestations rather  than sightings of an apparition or ghost. 

A Dr. Olivier states the following: 

"On October 10, 1881, I received a professional call into the country about seven miles from my home....All at once, the animal's forefeet slipped and he fell, his mouth striking the ground. Naturally, I was thrown far over his head. My shoulder struck the earth and I fractured my collar-bone.  At this very moment my wife, who was undressing at home and preparing to go to bed, had a strong inward feeling that an accident had happened to me; she was seized with a nervous trembling, began to cry, and called the maid : 'Come quickly, I am frightened, some misfortune has happened to my husband; he is dead or injured.' Until my arrival she kept the servant beside her and did not cease weeping. She wished to send a man to find me, but she did not know to what village I had gone. I returned home about one o'clock in the morning and called the servant to bring me a light and unsaddle my horse. 'I am hurt,' I said, 'I can't move my shoulder.' "

Louis Perier reported that in 1912 he was awoken by a nightmare of a friend: "I saw my comrade, his skull open, breathing his last, bidding me farewell and embracing me." Hours later he was told that this comrade had jumped out a window and fractured his skull fatally. 

As related here, a person who had not heard of his aunt in ten years was suddenly struck by the feeling that his aunt had died. He told another person of this feeling. The same day a telegram arrived, announcing that the aunt had died.  On another day the same person announced to his wife, "They have killed the king of Italy."  But looking out the window, he saw some flags flying normally, and reassured himself that this was proof no such death had happened.  An hour later he saw the flags flying at half-mast because the King of Italy (Umberto I) had been assassinated. 

As related here, a man named Thomas Garrison suddenly felt an intense desire to see his mother, a desire so intense that he left his baby with a stranger at a church where his wife was, ran to catch a train, and after missing the train ran seven miles to his mother's house, finding that she had unexpectedly died. Before checking her room, he cried out, "She is dead," to a sister who did not know the mother had died. 

The works of Camille Flammarion on paranormal phenomena are must-reads for any serious scholar of parapsychology.  Those works include the three volumes of his monumental trilogy Death and Its Mystery (which you can read here, here and here), his work Mysterious Psychic Forces (which you can read here), and his great work The Unknown (which you can read here).  On page 50 of the latter work, we read this account of a woman that "felt a great disturbance" at the time of the death of a governess who had looked after her:

"Suddenly Madame Parmentier was awakened by her bed being shaken from top to bottom. She was astonished and somewhat alarmed; she woke her husband, aud told him what had occurred. Suddenly a second shock took place, this time very violent. General Parmentier's father thought it was an earthquake, though earthquakes are very rare in Alsace. He got up, lit a candle, and seeing nothing unusual went to bed again. But, immediately after, the bed was again shaken violently; then came a great noise in the next room, as if the windows were shut violently and all their panes were broken. The earthquake seemed to continue worse than ever....When they found that there had been nothing to cause noise or confusion in the salon, that the windows were still open and the furniture unmoved, Madame Parmentier grew frightened. She began to think something had happened to her friends, to her father or mother...But she soon after heard that her old governess, whom she had not seen since her marriage, and who had gone back to Vienna to her family in Austria, had died that same night, and that before she died she had several times expressed regret that she had been separated from her dear pupil, for whom she had a warm attachment."

On page 56 of the same work, we read an account sent to Flammarion, of inexplicable noises occurring at the exact time of the death of someone who had promised to leave a sign of immortality:

"Cremieux said to me afterwards : ' I thank you, my friend, and when they shoot me I will come to your cell and give you proof of immortality.' On the morning of November 30th, at break of day, I was awakened suddenly by the noise of little taps upon my table. I turned over, the noise ceased, and I fell asleep again. Some moments after the taps were again audible. Then I jumped out of bed and stood fully awake before the table. The noise went on, and was resumed once or twice, just the same.  Every morning on getting up I had been in the habit of going, thanks to the complicity of a kind-hearted turnkey, into the cell of Gaston Cremieux, where he always had ready for me a cup of coffee. That day, as usual, I repaired to our rendezvous. Alas! there were great seals on the cell door, and I could see, by looking through the spy-hole...that my friend was not there. I had just made this terrible discovery when the kind turnkey, in tears, threw himself into my arms. ‘ They shot him this morning at daybreak’  he cried ; ‘but he died bravely.' " 

On page 58 of the same work, we read an account sent to Flammarion of someone suffering a seizure at the exact hour of her daughter Amelie's death (along with something harder to explain):

"Amelie had been in religion about three years, when one day my mother went up to the garret to look for something she was anxious to find. All at once she ran back to the salon uttering loud cries, and fell down unconscious. They flew to her help, lifted her up, and she came to herself, crying with sobs: 'Oh, it is horrible ! Amelie is dying — she is dead, for 1 have just heard her singing as only a person  who is dead could sing !'  And another nervous seizure again made her lose her senses. Half an hour after this, Colonel M. rushed like a madman into my grandfather's house, holding a despatch in his hand. The dispatch was from the Mother Superior of the convent at Strasbourg, and contained only these words : ' Come, your granddaughter very ill.’  The colonel took the first train, reached the convent, and heard that the Sister had died at three o’clock precisely, the hour of the nervous attack experienced by my mother.  This fact has been often told me by my mother, my grandmother, and my father, who were present, as well as my uncle and aunt, all of whom bear testimony that they had witnessed this strange incident.”

On page 62 of the same work, we read an account sent to Flammarion of someone getting a mysterious jolt at the hour of his brother's death:

"One morning my father-in-law, who was not in the least anxious about his brother, whom he believed to be in perfect health, was in bed. Before going out to visit his patients it was his custom to take a cup of coffee in bed. He was partaking of this little repast, and talking to his wife, who was sitting near him, when suddenly the bed under him received a shock so violent that he was thrown backward, and the cup of coffee he held in his hand was spilled. Later he found that at that very hour [his] brother had died in Algeria." 

On page 71 of the same work, we read an account of a man who said that on December 1, 1898 "I then had the presentiment that some misfortune was about to befall me, that some one was going to rob me, or to set the house on fire, or that a gendarme was coming to arrest me for some crime just committed, and so on." He checked his watch, and saw it was 9:30 PM.  The next day he learned that his uncle had died at 9:30 PM the previous day. 

On page 86 of the same work we read this account:

"One Monday, the day after one of these visits, when he had found the sick man apparently much better, my father and mother were both suddenly awakened by a violent blow struck on the head-board of their bed. ' What's the matter?' cried my mother, greatly terrified.  'Did you hear some one knocking on the bed ?' My father, not wishing to seem frightened, although he had been roused from his sleep by the same noise, got up, lit the lamp, and looked at the clock. ' Tiens!' he said. 'I have a presentiment. I think poor Fantrac is dead. He always told me he would warn me.' As soon as it was day my father set out for Granville. When he reached the hospital he asked to see, though it was so early, the man of the name of Fantrac. They told him he had died at two o'clock that morning, exactly the time when my father had been so suddenly awakened."

On page 91 a Marius Mariage tells of an incident that seems to have occurred on the same day his brother Jean died:

"The next day great was my stupefaction at seeing my sister, who then lived at Nantes, come in in a state of great excitement to tell me that about eleven o'clock she had heard a strange noise proceeding from her table, and, then being quite awake, a terrible commotion in her big closet. I then led her into the kitchen and said : ''Jean is dead.'  ' Yes,' she answered, ' it was he.’  A month later we learned that our dear Jean had died in hospital at Birkadere in Algeria, on the night of the 19th and 20th of May."  

On page 99 we read this account referring to Madeira, an island off of Portugal:

"In 1843 Madame Thayer, being in ill health, was sent to Madeira. Her father, General Bertrand, was at Chateauroux [France]....On reaching Chateauroux he was attacked by a congestion of the lungs, and died on the 29th of January. On the same day, January 29th, Madame Thayer...was quietly conversing, not thinking of any harm likely to happen to the dear ones she had left in France. Suddenly she turned pale, gave a scream, burst into tears, and cried, ‘Oh! my father is dead!’ Those present tried to calm her. They pointed out that her last letters were of recent date and had nothing but good news in them, and that there was no cause to anticipate misfortune. She  persisted in what she said, and noted down the day and hour...It took more than a month for letters from France to reach Madeira. The first mail that arrived brought news of the death of General Bertrand on January 19th, the very day and hour when his daughter had received her revelation.

Houses in Madeira

On page 117 we read this account:

"At Annot (Basses Alpes), December 30, 1890, in the morning my mother when she got up said to me, ‘ I think a death has happened in our family. Last night at two o'clock I was awakened by sharp blows on the wall at the head of my bed. I was wide awake'...A letter also arrived on December 31, showing that my aunt, after an illness of several days, had died on the 30th of December, at two o'clock in the morning, the very hour when my mother had heard those blows struck near her as she lay upon her pillow. My mother had not known that my aunt was ill."

On page 147 we read this account submitted by an agriculture professor named H. Faber:

"My parents were one day summoned to the bedside of a neighbor who was dying. They went, and found themselves in the midst of a large circle of friends and neighbors who were awaiting the sad end in silence. Suddenly a clock upon the wall, which had not been running for years, gave forth most clear and startling sounds — ear-splitting sounds, like those struck by a human on an anvil. All present rose up in alarm. What did the strange noise mean? 'You may know what it means,'  said one of those present, meaning that death was about to claim the dying man, who drew his last breath shortly after."

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