15 JUNE 1901, Page 13


[TO TUE EDITOU OP TILE "SPECTATOR."] Sirt,-The account of the " dream house " in the Spectator of Jtme 1st, and its corroboration in your last issue, recall a somewhat similar experience which was narrated to me by my old friend Dr. W— (I enclose the real name, &c., for your private information, as, though long dead, his survivors might not care for publication). We were walking on Whitby Cliffs, discussing apparitions and the like, when I asked him whether he had ever had any ghostly experiences. "If you

mean have I ever seen a ghost—no; but I have been a ghost." I, naturally, asked for particulars, which, but with reluctance, he furnished :—

" It is now about eight years since my sister and brother-in- law, whom you knew, were living at North ill—, about three miles from my house at N—. A matter of family business of importance was under consideration just then, and another relation was coming that evening to talk it over with them. I had much wished to be present, but was unable through infirmity. I had gone to bed as usual, thinking of the matter, but soon fell asleep. I dreamt I was at my sister's house, assisting at the dis- cussion, and expressing my ideas as to what should be done. When I awoke from the dream, I struck my repeater ; it was half-past one. I soon slept again till morning. I should hp.ve thought no more of my dream, but that my brother-in-law came to me in the vestry next morning after service—it was a feast-day—to thank me for coming over the night before, and to say that they had settled to adopt the course I had advised. I was, very naturally, rather taken aback, but thought it better to say nothing just then. A level-headed Liverpool merchant of prosaic type was not likely to take such a story seriously, and revelation might have led. him to change his plan of action. In fact, I never undeceived them, and my sister and he died under the impres- sion that I had really visited them that night. Thinking it over afterwards, it occurred to me as strange that neither when I arrived nor when I departed did they express any particular surprise at my appearance. Altogether, it was a very astonishing experience, and one that I have never cared to talk about; in fact, have never told till to-day."

I naturally suggested "somnambulism." Said the Doctor: "You remember the state of hugeness to which I had attained about that time. I was at my maximum dimension, about 21. stone, and so helpless that I had to keep a valet, greatly to my dislike, to perform such offices as I required which could not be done by my sister who lived with me. The man had as usual helped me to undress and get to bed, and had taken away my clothes and shoes to brush, with which he duly returned in the morning. In fact I was physically totally incapable of walking one mile, let alone three out and home, especially on a dark November night." I was posed, and knew not what to say,—neither do I now. It must be

remembered that "astral bodies" and their "projection" had not then reached the West. " Mahatmas" still lingered in the fastnesses of Thibet, and "esoteric Buddhism" was as yet undreamt of in our—philosophy (?). There is one point in which this happening differs from most of its kind of which I have heard,—it did serve a definite purpose. The absence of any use or purpose in most " ghost-stories" has always appeared to me one of their weakest. points. Also their rare occurrence. If they involve a mere working of a natural law, how is it that it operates so very seldom ? If, on the other hand, an apparition is worked by " occult " or " extra-natural " agency, to what object is it directed? One can hardly imagine superior powers or intelligences playing practical jokes,—for that is about all that most "apparitions," " projections," and the like amount to. Dr. W—'s story is a notable exception, and therefore the more worthy of notice. The fact that his noc- turnal visit did actually lead to practical tangible result in action appears to me to separate it entirely from the "ruck"

of such stories.—I am, Sir, &c., C. M.