When Two or More See the Same Apparition




"But, if precisely the same form was seen by two persons at the same place at the same time, we have evidence, and very cogent evidence, of the actual existence of such an object, by reason of the extreme improbability that the identical hallucination should arise in two minds at the same moment. If three or more persons beheld the same object at the same time, the proof amounts almost to demonstration, for the chances against such a concurrence of mental actions are as infinity to one."


Edward W. Cox, The Mechanism of Man

In six previous posts I discussed cases in which multiple witnesses reported seeing the same apparition. The six posts are below:


Let us look at some more cases of this type, cases not discussed in the posts above.

In the 1887 book Posthumous Humanity: A Study of Phantoms, we have a report of three different witnesses who reporting seeing at different times a Mr. X after he died.  The first witness, a gardener, reported that the day before Easter he "turned about and saw myself face to face with the deceased Mr. X," who was dressed as he typically was while living.  The second witness, a grave digger,  also recognized a figure as Mr. X, after Mr. X had died.  This occurred the same day, the day before Easter. A third witness, a retired customs officer, also reported seeing an apparition of the deceased Mr. X on the day before Easter. 


On page 99 of the remarkable book People from the Other World by Henry Steel Olcott, we have the following narrative in which the author claims to have seen a life-like apparition that was also seen by nineteen other people:


"I know the full value of words, and I mean to say unequivocally that a woman — a breathing, walking, palpable woman, as palpable as any other woman in the room, recognized not only by her sons and daughters, but also by neighbors present, as Mrs. Zephaniah Eddy, deceased December 29th, 1872 — on the evening of October 2d, 1874, walked out of a cabinet where there was only one mortal, and where, under ascertained circumstances, only this one man could have been at the time, and spoke to me personally in audible voice. And nineteen other persons saw her at the same time, and heard her discourse."


On page 158 of the book, we have an attestation to Henry Steel Olcott by a Franklin Bolles, who says he and three others saw the ghost of his mother, and that the ghost gradually dissolved away. Here is the statement:


"Hartford, Conn., December 8th, 1874. 


Dear Sir : In reply to your inquiry as to my seeing a spirit-form dissolve outside the door of William Eddy's cabinet, I take pleasure in communicating the following facts : 


In June last, I visited Chittenden, in company with my wife, wife's sister, Mrs. Waite, of this city, and a friend from Waterbury. On one evening during our stay, my wife's mother, a former resident of Hartford, who deceased March, 1859, at the age of 78 years, appeared to us in white clothing, looking so natural that we recognized her instantly. She stood outside the cabinet curtain, leaned her body forward, and stretched out her arms to her daughter, as though she were longing to embrace her. Mrs. Prior asked the spirit if she could not speak to us, and she seemed to make a desperate effort to comply. But suddenly,. as if she had exhausted all her power of materialization in the attempt, her arms dropped, and her form melted down to the floor, and disappeared from our view. The figure did not dissolve into a mist and disperse laterally, but sank down and disappeared, as if every particle comprising her frame had suddenly lost its cohesion with every other, and the whole fell into a heap together. Yours truly. 


To Col. H. S. Olcott. Franklin Bolles."


Olcott then quotes a Dr. T. G. Horton of Utica, NY stating that she saw a certain Honto apparition dissolve, and Olcott states he saw the apparition "dissolve up to her waist."  The book provides the following artist's illustration of a similar reported event (not a photograph). 

dissolving ghost
On pages 248-251, Olcott states that he saw the apparition of a Mrs. Eddy shortly after visiting the grave of this Mrs. Eddy. Referring to this apparition of Mrs. Eddy, Olcott states "the lady was recognized by sundry of her former acquaintances in the room, who greeted her; in addition to her children, of whom, there were two present."

In the modern account here, we read of a kind of apparition seen by multiple observers, a very unusual one in that it only appeared on a video monitor.  A family suffered a disastrous auto accident in which three children were killed, including a small boy wearing a baseball hat. The mother was put in the ICU. A group of nurses saw (a total of about six different times) what looked like a small boy wearing a baseball hat, in the ICU room of the mother. But the child was only seen on a video monitor. Whenever someone checked the room to look for such a child, it was not found. 

In a nineteenth century work, we read the following account:

"Mr. Hubschmann, of Stuttgart, had a father in Bothland, and a brother in Strasburg. It happened, that one morning, at break of day, Mr. H ’s children awoke him, by crying out, 'Grandfather ! grandfather! grandfather is come!'  Mr. H looked about, but saw nothing. On interrogating his children, they solemnly declared that their grandfather had been there, but whither he had gone they knew not. After some days had elapsed, Mr. H received a letter from his brother at Strashurg, inquiring anxiously if he had any intelligence of their father, as a circumstance that had happened had occasioned him much alarm ; namely, that, on a certain day and hour, (and they were the same on which  the children had made the above-mentioned exclamation,) he had been met by his  father, as he entered his work- shop in the morning. Eight days afterwards came the news of the old man’s death ; he had expired at the precise moment when he appeared to his family,  at Strasburg and Stuttgart."

This account is particularly evidential, as it has both of the most impressive features you might hope to find in an apparition account: (1) an apparition of someone is seen at the time someone died, by people who did not know the person had died; (2) the apparition is seen by multiple witnesses. 

In Volume X of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, page 213, we read the following account:

"We went to a cottage in Gloucestershire, where my sister and I shared the same room. About the 14th of September, 1882, my sister and I felt worried and distressed by hearing the ' Death Watch ' ; it lasted a whole day to night. We got up earlier than usual the next morning, about six o'clock, to finish some birthday presents for our mother. As my sister and I were working and talking together, I looked up, and saw our young acquaintance standing in front of me and looking at us. I turned to my sister, she saw nothing ; I looked again to where he stood, he had vanished. We agreed not to tell anyone — and, although I wished to put it down in my diary (which I bad not kept for some time), I was afraid to do so ; I therefore made marks to remind myself. Some time afterwards we heard that our young acquaintance had either committed suicide or had been killed ; he was found dead in the woods twenty-foar hours after landing. On looking back to my diary, 1 found that my marks corresponded to the date of his death."

On page 440 of Volume 5 of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, we read the following account by a person of something that happened seven days after his mother died:

"On the seventh day after death she was buried, and it was on that night she appeared to me....I seemed to have been sleeping some time when I woke, and turning over on the other side towards the window saw my mother standing by my bedside crying and wringing her hands. I had not been awake long enough to remember that she was dead and exclaimed quite naturally (for she often came in when I was asleep) 'Wliy, dear, what's the matter ?' and then suddenly remembering I screamed. The nurse sprang up from the next room, but on the top step flung herself on her knees, and began to tell her beads and cry. My father at the same moment arrived at the opposite door, and I heard his sudden exclamation of ' Julia, darling !' My mother turned towards him, and then to me, and wringing her hands again retreated towards tlie nursery and was lost. The nurse afterwards declared that she distinctly felt something pass her, but she was in such a state of abject terror that her testimony is quite worthless. My father then ordered her out of the room, and telling me that I had only been dreaming stayed until I fell asleep. The next day, however, he told me that he too had seen the vision, and that he hoped to do so again, and that if ever she came to see me again I was not to be frightened, but to tell her that 'papa wanted to speak to her,' which I faithfully promised to do, but I need scarcely say that she never appeared again."

In Volume 41 of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, page 208, we have the following account of a kind of apparition of the dead seen by multiple witnesses:

"In May 1904, in Switzerland, four ladies sat in front of a mirror in company with a friend who was a non-professional medium. The four percipients were Mrs A., her sister Mrs P., her daughter, Miss A., and a Mrs H. All four of them saw in the mirror a vision of the father of Mrs A. and Mrs P. The three who were acquainted with him recognised him ; the other notes that the vision was recognised by the others. The face of the vision formed over the reflection of the medium, according to the accounts of all but Mrs H. ; she saw it in a corner of the mirror, apart from the medium. Miss A. says that the apparition smiled and nodded at them when it was recognised. Mrs A., Mrs P., and Miss A. all saw a vision of the sister of the two married women who had died three months before. Mrs A. says that she saw this face two or three times, smiling and looking intently at the percipients. Two other apparitions are mentioned as having been seen by one or two of the percipients."

In one of his two long and very interesting works on the paranormal, Robert Dale Owen describes a case of an apparition seen by multiple witnesses, witnesses he interviewed himself.  The account (found here) is that one day a mother and two daughters (age nineteen and seventeen) were doing needlework when a female figure entered, one seeming to move noiselessly.  The figure disappeared as the females were watching it. We are told,  "The ladies were looking at it, at the moment of its disappearance." The mother asked, "Who was it?" and a daughter replied, "It was grandmamma!" referring to her grandmother who had died ten years before. A check of the premises revealed no one, and there were not even any footsteps in the snow around the house.  The women reported the incident to a minister the same day, who was interviewed by Owen, who also interviewed the mother and one of the daughters, their stories all agreeing.  The grandmother had expressed interest in returning from the next world to witness her son's prosperity (if he achieved it); and on the day of the appartion sighting, the son had bought a house. 

In the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (Volume 41, page 217), we read the following:

"Julia Murray died in Yonkers, N.Y., on 23 March 1901. At about 3 a.m. the next morning, seven relatives and friends (all Catholics) each saw and recognised an apparition of the deceased which came into view near a picture of the Virgin Mary, on the wall of a room next to the one where the body lay. Katie Cain, Rose Kearne and Mrs Corbalis, when interviewed separately, all agreed on the following facts : a wreath or crown (of 'flowers,' 'leaves and flowers,' or 'evergreens') was on the head; rosary beads hung from the hands, which were crossed on the breast or in a position of prayer, or both successively ; the figure wore a robe which ended at the bottom in clouds. Points mentioned by two, but not all three of the percipients interviewed were as follows : The apparition was seen in profile ; the hair was hanging down the back ; the robe was white ; the figure appeared to be solid (or was seen as plainly as in life) ; it faded toward the ceiling, or disappeared slowly through the ceiling."

The original report in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research can be read at this link, on page 584. 

Lt.-Col. L. Moore Cosgrave reported the following incident occurring near the time of the death of Horace Traubel, the main biographer of the American poet Walt Whitman:

"During this long watch, Horace Traubel, who was suffering from paralysis and debility, was without visible pain, and semi-conscious, unable to articulate owing to paralysis of the tongue....On the last night, about 3 a. m., he grew perceptibly weaker, breathing almost without visible movement, eyes closed and seemingly comatose, he stirred restlessly after a long period, and his eyes opened, staring towards the further side of the bed, his lips moved, endeavoring to speak, I moved his head back, thinking he needed more air, but again it moved away, and his eyes remained rivetted on a point some three feet above the bed, my eyes were at last drawn irresistibly to the same point in the darkness, as there was but a small shaded night lamp behind a curtain on the further side of the room. Slowly the point at which we were both looking grew gradually brighter, a light haze appeared, spread until it assumed bodily form, and took the likeness of Walt Whitman, standing upright beside the bed, a rough tweed jacket on, an old felt hat upon his head and his right hand in his pocket, similar to a number of his portraits, he was gazing down at Traubel, a kindly, reassuring smile upon his face, he nodded twice as though reassuringly, the features quite distinct for at least a full minute, then gradually faded from sight."

In the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, we read the following:

"On Easter Monday, 1920, a State Tax Commissioner in a New England State committed suicide. He had been greatly devoted to a church of which he was senior warden. On the next Sunday morning, when the offering was brought to the chancel steps by the new warden and his associate, the rector and two parishioners, in widely separated parts of the church, saw an apparition of the suicide at his usual place near the other two wardens. He was as life-like and realistic to each of the three percipients as on any Sunday of the thirty years during which he had officiated there."