When Apparitions Serve as Announcements



The New York Times was recently at it again, continuing its long tradition of giving us what usually seems like the worst coverage of any major newspaper on the topic of paranormal phenomena.  In the extremely rare cases in which the Times covers observations of the unexplained that it should be covering frequently, what we typically get in the Times is some text trying to persuade us there is no evidence for some phenomenon for which there is very much evidence. I won't link to their recent example of shame-the-witnesses gaslighting (on the topic of apparitions), but I will merely note that the New York Times is a paper that is very much "Pravda for materialists." For decades in the Soviet Union, communist dogmatists would open their daily copy of Pravda, which would always report that the world was working just exactly the way communist dogmatists expected it to be working. Such "party organ" tactics are also used by the New York Times, a paper that will typically use whatever information blocking, cherry picking, sophistry and distortion are needed so that a materialist reader will be assured that the world is working exactly as a materialist would expect. 

In this week's article on apparitions, the Times resorts to the old murderer-lawyer's trick of complaining about a lack of "scientific evidence."  Similarly, after hearing twenty witnesses say they saw the defendant strangle someone to death, the lawyer of the defendant might say that such evidence doesn't count because none of it is "scientific."  Most of the things that we believe to be certainly true (such as the facts of history and the fact that our parents are our parents) are things we did not learn from scientific evidence. So when you have very good observational evidence for something, it is sophistry to be trying to exclude such evidence because it didn't derive from scientific instruments.  After considering facts such as the fact that 18 percent of Americans claim to have encountered an apparition or ghost,  it is clear that the observational evidence for apparitions is very  strong, far stronger than any evidence for quite a few never-observed things scientists like to talk about, such as dark matter and dark energy. In the seven posts below I have described or quoted about 150 cases of someone experiencing something like a suprising apparition of someone, only to soon learn that the corresponding person had died, usually at about the same time the apparition was seen. The seven posts are below:

25 Who Were "Ghost-Told" of a Death

25 More Who Were "Ghost-Told" of a Death

Scientific American's Very Lame "Ghost Explanations"

They Also Were "Ghost Told" of a Death


In this post I will discuss additional cases of this type.  The links I will give will usually take you to the exact page of an account that I discuss or quote. 

On page 425 of Volume 15 of the Proceeedings of the Society for Psychical Research, we have the following account:

"On December 4th, 1884, at half-past three in the morning, I was wide awake, and had just got up, when I saw very distinctly the apparition of my brother Joseph Bonnet, ensign in the 2nd regiment of Spahis, in garrison at Batna, in the province of Constantino (Algeria)....My brother kissed my forehead, I felt a cold shiver, and he said to me very distinctly, 'Good-bye, Angela, I am dead.' Very much touched and quite upset, I woke my husband at once, saying 'Joseph is dead ; he has just told me so.'...During the whole of that Thursday I was quite distracted. At  nine o'clock in this evening we received a telegram ; before opening it I knew its contents. My brother had died at Kenchela (Algeria) at three o'clock in the morning."

On page 91 of Volume 3 of the Proceeedings of the Society for Psychical Research, we have the following account:

"On waking in broad daylight, I saw, like a shadowed reflection, a very long coffin stretching quite across the ceiling of my room, and as I lay gazing at it, and wondering at its length and whose it could foreshadow, my eyes fell on a shadowy figure of an absent nephew, with his back towards me, searching, as it were, in my book-shelf. That morning's post brought the news of his death in Australia. He was 6 foot 2 or 3 itiches in height, and a book had been my last present to him on his leaving England, taken from that very bookcase."

On page 54 of Volume 2 of the Proceeedings of the Society for Psychical Research, we have the following account by the wife of a Mr. Bee:

"Mr. Bee then said. 'Well, a lady has passed me just 
now on the landing : she came out of the small bedroom and went downstairs ; she was dressed in a black bonnet and shawl.' I said. 'Nonsense, yon must be mistaken.' He said. 'I am certain I am not, and I can assure you I feel very queer.' I then went to ask mamma if there was anyone in the house, and she said no, only ourselves : still Mr. Bee insisted someone had passed him on the landing, although we tried to reason him out of it. In the morning, while we were in bed,we received a telegram stating that Mrs. Bee had died suddenly the night before. I said at once, 'Robert, that was your mother you saw saw last night.' He said it was.  When we got to Gainsborough we asked what time she died : we were told about 10 minutes to 8, which was the exact time: also that she was taken suddenly ill in the street (wearing at the time a black bonnet and shawl), and died in 10 minutes." 

On page 124 of Volume 1 of the Proceeedings of the Society for Psychical Research, we have the following account by a John Addington Symonds:

"I woke about dawn, and felt for my books upon a chair between the bed and the window; when I knew that I must turn my head the other way, and there between me and the door stood Dr. Macleane, dressed in a clergyman's black clothes. He bent his sallow face a little towards me and said, 'I am going a long way -- take care of my son.' While I was attending to him I suddenly saw the door
in the place where Dr. Macleane had been. Dr. Macleane died that night·- (at what hour I cannot precisely say) at Clifton. My father, who was a great friend of his, was with him. I was not aware that he was more than usually ill. He was a chronic invalid." 

On page 124-125 of Volume 1 of the Proceeedings of the Society for Psychical Research, we have the following account by Captain G. F. Russell Colt:

"That night I awoke suddenly, and saw facing the window of my room by my bedside, surrounded by a light sort of phosporescent mist as it were,  my brother kneeling...I decided that it must be fancy, and the moonlight playing on a towel, or something out of place. But on looking up there he was again, looking lovingly, imploringly, and sadly at me. I tried again to speak, but found myself tongue-tied. I could not utter a sound. I sprang out of bed, glanced through the window, and saw that there was no moon, but it was very dark and raining hard, by the sound against the panes. I turned, and still saw poor Oliver. I shut my eyes, walked through it and reached the door of the room. As I turned the handle, before leaving the room, I looked once more back. The apparition turned round his head slowly and again looked anxiously and lovingly at me, and I saw then for the first time a wound on the right temple with a red stream from it. His face was of a waxy pale tint, but transparent-looking, and so was the reddish  mark....I told others in the honse, but when I told my father he ordered me not to repeat such nonsense, and especially not to let my mother know. On the Monday following he received a note from Sir Alexander Milne to say that the Redan was stormed, but no particulars. I told my friend to let me know if he saw the name among the killed and wounded before me. About a fortnight later he came to my bedroom in his mother's house in Athole Crescent, in Edinburgh, with a very grave face. I said, 'I suppose it is to tell me the sad news I expect;' and he said, 'Yes.' Both the colonel of the regiment and one or two officers who saw the body confirmed the fact that the appearance was much according to my description, and the death wound was exactly where I had seen it. But none could say whether he actually died at the moment. His appearance, if so, must have been some hours after death, as he appeared to me a few minutes after two in the morning."



On the next few pages of the same volume are similar stories that I will pass over because they are not first-hand accounts.  But on page 128 of the same volume ( Volume 1 of the Proceeedings of the Society for Psychical Research), we have an account that is first-hand because it was written by Sarah Jardine:

"In 1833, Sarah and Margaret Jardine, daughters of a barrister on the Western Circuit, were girls of about ten and twelve respectively. They lived with their parents in a house in the suburbs of London, and their grandfather and grandmother on the opposite side of the road. .... One night as the children lay in their four~post bed, sleeping as they did with a rush light in the room, Sarah saw her grandmother in her night-dress standing at the foot of the bed, looking at them with a pleased smile on her face. She moved round the bed, keeping her eyes constantly fixed upon the children, till she passed behind the curtain at the head of the bed on Sarah's side, and seemed to sit down on the chair that was placed there. Sarah raised herself up and drew back the curtain in order to speak to her, when, to her great surprise, she saw no one there. She was not at all frightened, and awoke her sister, saying, ~'Grandmamma is in the room.' They both got up and looked about for her, and finding that there really was no one in the room, Margaret said that her sister must have been dreaming, and scolded her for awaking her. In the morning they were awoke by their father, who told them that a ·dreadful thing had happened, that their grandmamma had died in the course of the night." 

On pages 128-129 of the same volume ( Volume 1 of the Proceeedings of the Society for Psychical Research), we have an account by a Mrs. Hunter mentioning a former friend "Z." who she hadn't heard from in years:

"Poor Z. was very far from my thoughts, when one night I had just got into bed. The fire burned brightly, and there was my usual night-light. I was placing my head on the pillows, when I beheld, close to the side of the bed, and on a level with it,
Z. s head, and the same wistful look on his face which it had worn when we parted years before. Starting up, I cried out, 'What do you want?' I did not fear ; anger was my feeling. Slowly it retreated, and just as it disappeared in the shadow of the wall, a bright spark of light shone for a few seconds, and slowly expired. A few days after my sister wrote, 'You will have heard of poor Z.'s death, on his way to the South of France.' I had heard nothing about him for years. Special reasons prevented my inquiring particularly into the precise moment of his death."

On pages 50-51 of Volume 1 of the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, we have the following story of a dying young girl (Edith) who apparently sees an apparition of a friend (Jennie) who recently died, thereby learning of her friend's death:

"In a neighboring city were two little girls, Jennie and Edith, one about eight years of age, and the other but a little older. They were schoolmates and intimate friends. In June, 1889, both were taken ill of diphtheria. At noon on Wednesday, Jennie died. Then the parents of Edith, and her physician as well, took particular pains to keep from her the fact that her little playmate was gone. They feared the effect of the knowledge on her own condition. To prove that they succeeded and that she did not know, it may be mentioned that on Saturday, June 8th, at noon, just before she became unconscious of all that was passing about her, she selected two of her photographs to be sent to Jennie, and also told her attendants to bid her goodbye.  She died at half-past six o'clock on the evening of Saturday, June 8th. She had roused and bidden her friends goodbye, and was talking of dying, and seemed to have no fear. She appeared to see one and another, of the friends she knew were dead. So far it was like the common cases. But now suddenly, and with every appearance of surprise, she turned to her father, and exclaimed, 'Why, papa, I am going to take Jennie with me ! ' Then she added, 'Why, papa! Why, papa! You did not tell me that Jennie was here !' And immediately she reached out her arms as if in welcome, and said, 'O, Jennie, I'm so glad you are here.' " 

On pages 124-125 of Volume 7 of the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, we have an account of a woman being told by an apparition that her former lover has died:

"In the year 1865 I had a lover by the name of John A. Broad- 
head. Owing to several circumstances I was obliged to give 
him up although I was deeply attached to him. When he found 
that he could not marry me he left the town of Mount Morris, 
where I lived, but before he went he said to me, 'Mary I think 
this separation will kill me but if I die and a spirit can come back to earth I will come to you.' I replied 'Oh, no, don't, for that would frighten me dreadfully.' 'No it would not,' he answered, 'for I should come so calmly that you would not be at all afraid.' In 1868 I married George R. Howell, a presbyterian minister who knew all about my affection for John Broadhead....Suddenly I felt a pressure against my knee and limb as though some one had come very close to me and I looked up expecting to see one of my brothers but to my great surprise I saw my old lover, John Broadhead. standing there beside me. I felt greatly distressed for he lived in a distant city. I had not seen him since 1865, and I thought it an unwarrantable intrusion that he should enter my father's house thus unannounced....Before I had a chance to speak he raised his right hand and said, speaking very slowly and gently, 'Be very calm, Mary. I am what they call dead. I died in the west three weeks ago to-day.' Then lifting his left hand he pointed to a newspaper which lay at the other end of the sofa about three feet away from me. and said 'You will find my death in that paper.' Then without moving a muscle he vanished while I gazed at him... I managed to hitch along the sofa till I could reach the paper to which he had pointed. This turned out to be a copy of the New York Times that had never been taken out of the wrapper in which it had come through the mails. I tore it open and there, among the death notices I found this paragraph : 'Died in Burlington, Iowa, March 22nd, 1871, John A. Broadhead of this city in the 34th year of his age.'  "

On Page 21 of Volume 15 of the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, we read the following account:

"I had gone to bed and it was about a quarter of an hour after 
we had said goodnight to each other, my neighbor and I, when I perceived at first an indistinct form leaning on the bar of my bed ; this form became clearer and I recognized my foster brother ; his voice, which I knew well said to me: ' How are you Pierre? As for me, I am going.' I sat up in bed and called my friend ; he saw nothing, the form had disappeared.  Four days later I received a letter from my good old foster parents announcing the death of their son, Auguste. The date of the apparition coincides exactly with that of his death." 

On pages 242-243 of the book Enigmas of Psychical Research by James Hyslop we have an account by a woman who was courted unsuccessfully by a Mr. Akhurst:

"I felt a cold waft of air through the room and a feeling as if some one touched my shoulder; my hair seemed to bristle all over my head and I shuddered. Raising my eyes to the door (which faced me), I saw Mr. Akhurst standing in his shirt and trousers, looking at me, when he seemed to pass through the door. In the morning I mentioned it to my husband. I did not hear of Mr. Akhurst's death for some weeks after, when I found it corresponded with that of the apparition, and though my father knew of it before, he thought in my weak state of health it were better I should not be told." 

On page 244 of the book Enigmas of Psychical Research by James Hyslop we read this account:

"In returning and entering the corridor in which my room was, I saw, standing beyond my doorway, a figure. It looked misty, as if, had there been a light behind it, I should have seen through the mist. This misty figure was the likeness of a friend of ours whom I knew to have been on a voyage to Australia. I stood and looked at ' It.' I put my hand over my eyes and looked again. Still it was there. Then it seemed to pass away, how I cannot say....Next day I told my sister-in-law what I had seen. We laughed about my ghost. I was away from home three weeks. On my return, my mother showed me the account in a newspaper of our poor friend's body having been cast on shore at Orfordness and buried as an unknowcastaway the very time I saw the figure."

On page 6 of this paper, we have an account of an apparition seen in a mirror:

“My mother lived in California and I lived in Wichita, Kansas. At 9:40 A.M. on February 17, I was sitting in my bedroom at my dressing room table, brushing my hair in front of the mirror. Suddenly the room was illuminated with the strangest light, one I can’t fully describe. I then felt a rustle of wind across my shoulders, and a faint sound like the brushing of birds’ wings. Then I looked in the mirror. My mother was standing behind my chair ... She just stood and smiled at me for a full thirty seconds. I finally said, ‘Mom!’ and rushed for her, but she disappeared, light and all. I was so upset by this that I shook for an hour. When my husband came home for lunch, I told him about it and got myself ready for a phone call that mother was dead ... Sure enough, about one P.M. that same day, the call came that my mother was gone ...”