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vol. 3, p. 148
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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Traveling in the Spirit

In the string of curious experiences selected from the correspondence on Levitation, published in the Daily London News, some weeks since, the following is noteworthy,—

“Airwalker” relates the following: I dreamed I was in Venice; it was a fine moonlight night, but too warm to sleep. I opened my window and left it. floating away through the air, hovering leisurely and with the utmost ease from roof to ' roof, and from terrace to terrace, over streets and canals, and witnessing many curious sights in passing before open lighted windows. Next morning, finding myself in extra good humor, and excellent health, I remembered my interesting nightly tour, but I never was in and knew I never had seen Venice but on paper, and there certainly not the roofs and higher terraces. I had quite forgotten this amusing nightly promenade, when, two years later, I, for the first time, saw Venice. I ascended the clock tower, and as soon as I emerged from the narrow trap to the platform of the two gigantic bronze figures, I gave one sweeping look round and knew at once I had seen these very roots before, and soon I remembered when and how. My guide, seeing me shaking, holding on the railing, and staring at the uninteresting roofs, asked whether I was giddy, and called my attention to the adjoining wonders of St. Mark’s Cathedral, &c. I assured him I was so far from being giddy that I only wished for a pair of wings to leave him and the platform for a reconnoitering promenade through the air.

Compare this with the experience recorded by Shelley in his fragmentary Speculations on Metaphysics in his Essays and Letters from Abroad, &c., vol. i, 250.

“I was walking with a friend in the neighborhood of Oxford’ engaged in earnest and interesting conversation. We suddenly turned the corner of a lane, and the view, which its high banks and hedges had concealed, suddenly presented itself. The view consisted of a windmill standing in one among many plashy meadows, enclosed with stone walls, the irregular and broken ground between the wall and the road on which we stood, a long low hill behind the windmill, and a grey covering of uniform cloud spread over the evening sky. The scene surely was a common scene, and the hour little calculated to kindle lawless thought; it was a tame, uninteresting assemblage of objects. The effect which it produced on me was not such as could have been expected. I suddenly remembered to have seen that exact scene in some dream of long—

"Here I was obliged to leave off, overcome with thrilling horror.”

This remark closes the fragment, which was written in 1815.

A Clairvoyant Dream

A recent writer narrates the following significant dream relative to the Dr. Parkman murder, and which in all its unpleasant details was dreamed twice over: Dr. Webster, professor of chemistry in Harvard College, was convicted of the murder of his acquaintance—we can hardly say his friend —Dr. Parkman. A lady well known in the literary world, and then residing in London, had, some years previously, paid a long visit to the United States, during which she became intimately acquainted with Dr. Webster, who showed her much kindness and attention. After her return to England she continued to correspond with his family; and one day in the early autumn of 1848, a gentleman, related to Dr. Parkman, called upon her with an introduction from Prof. Webster. On that night she went to bed at her usual hour, but soon experienced a horrible dream. She fancied that she was being urged by Dr. Webster to assist him in concealing a set of human bones in a wooden box, and she distinctly recollected that there was a thigh bone, which, after failing to break it into pieces, they vainly attempted to insert, but it was too long. While they were trying to hide the box, as she fancied, under her bed, she awoke in a state of horror and cold perspiration. She instantly struck a light, and tried to dispel the recollection of her horrible vision by reading. After a lapse of two hours, during which the determinedly fixed her attention on the book, she put out the lights and soon fell asleep. The same literal dream recurred, after which she did not dare—although a woman of singular moral and physical courage— So attempt to sleep any more that night. Nothing more at the time was thought of these dreams, but shortly afterward the news reached England that Dr. Parkman was missing; that the last time he was seen alive he was entering the college gates; and that the janitor was suspected of having murdered him. On the writer mentioning this to the lady, she at once exclaimed, “Oh, my dreams! Dr. Webster must be the murderer!” The next mail but one brought the news that the true murderer had been detected; and at the very time when the lady’s dream occurred, Dr. Webster must have been actually struggling to get the bones—the flesh having been previously burned—into a wooden box such as she had seen; and that after attempting in vain to break the thighbones, he had hidden them elsewhere.

<Untitled> (The Silent Grave!)

The silent grave! A phrase trite and hackneyed but always full of terrible significance to the bereaved. Standing in the presence of the dread mystery of death, that fact of silence receives fresh emphasis, and it is then that the acheing heart yearns for the slightest sign of recognition which shall testify of life beyond the vail. In that moment of supreme darkness even the faith of religious conviction fails to penetrate the gloom, and the faintest supposed evidence which comes to the mortal senses of continued, conscious existence is clutched and embraced by the eager mourner. In. this hungry desire lies the strength and propagating power of modern Spiritualism, the progress of which is scarcely retarded by the absurdities and impositions with which it is incrusted and hampered. —Exchange.

A Story of Clairvoyance

Extract from a Private Letter

The first steamship which ran regularly on the Atlantic coast, was the Southerner, commanded by Captain Berry, plying between New York and Charleston, S. C. This was either in 1844, or 1846. Previous to that time attempts had been made to run steamboats, but were most unfortunate as the “Home,” the “Pulaski,” and others had been lost, and many of the passengers, and crews met with a watery grave.

A brother-in-law of the writer of this, had written him that he would take passage with his family, consisting of a wife and two children, on the Southerner’s trip, of the middle of September, (exact date not called to mind,) to leave New York on a Saturday. The ensuing Sunday, a most terrific storm occurred, carrying off the roof of Trinity Church, washing away the immense stones forming the Battery wall, and inundating the lower portions of the city of Charleston.

Confidence in the ability of the steamships to withstand a tempest was not established at that time, consequently those having friends at sea, were extremely anxious for their safety. The Southerner being due at Charleston on Tuesday, many persons visited the wharves, to obtain intelligence of her on that day, and the general feeling was, that it was doubtful if the Southerner could have survived such a storm as had been witnessed.

In the family of the writer, was a mulatto girl, the reverse of spirituelle, who had frequently been mesmerized, and given evidence of extraordinary powers of clairvoyance. While on the wharf, the idea occurred, that this would afford a capital test of the powers of this girl, and with this idea predominating in his mind over all others, he hastened home.

In less than five minutes the girl appeared to be in a sound sleep, and was commanded to search for the Southerner, and describe her position.

She immediately replied “I see her sir, she is not coming this way, but going directly from here, and I see Mr. S. and Miss Laura, and the children,” and then mentioned the names of other passengers, who she said was on board.

It should be borne in mind, that this was before the days of telegraphy, so there were no means of knowing in advance who had sailed in the ship.

She then described in language such as one not acquainted with nautical affairs would use, the loss of the stern, and quarter boats, stanchions' &c., by huge waves washing over the vessel, and the ship laboring heavily, with many detalis and minutias, as if she was in actual sight of the scene. The next day the Southerner arrived in port. One of the first questions of the writer to his relatives was, as to how they were situated the day previous, between the hours of ten and eleven o’clock. The reply was, that on Tuesday morning the storm was apparently over, and they were in high spirits at the <... continues on page 3-149 >

Editor's notes

  1. Traveling in the Spirit by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 3, March 25, 1875, p. 33
  2. A Clairvoyant Dream by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 1, March 11, 1875, p. 3
  3. The Silent Grave! by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 1, March 11, 1875, p. 3
  4. A Story of Clairvoyance by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 3, March 25, 1875, p. 33