Here is the third story:

On 20 December 1933, Monsieur Rene Peltier, a retired gentleman who lives in Fontainebleau, settles down in his armchair beside the fire after lunch, and it isn’t long before he goes to sleep.

Suddenly, his wife, who is knitting in a corner of the salon, hears him moan as if he is suffering.  She thinks that he must be having a bad dream, but hesitates to wake him.  A few minutes pass.  Mr Peltier continues to moan.

Suddenly, he cries out and opens his eyes.  He is haggard, trembling and his face is covered in perspiration.  His wife, a bit worried, approaches him and asks him what the matter is.  Has he been dreaming?  Mr Peltier replies:

“It’s horrifying, horrifying!.  I had a horrible nightmare…  I was in a train, we were rolling along in the fog and, suddenly, there was a formidable crash;  the carriages were jumping in all directions.  People were decapitated, amputated, there was blood everywhere, wounded screaming and dead people, dead people, hundreds of dead people…  I was crawling over cadavers.  Then I managed to leave my carriage which was on its side…  It was night-time.  People were running along the line crying out that it was a collision and that there were more than two hundred dead!…”

Madame Peltier tries to calm her husband, telling him that it was only a nightmare, and not to think any more about it.

“You’re right, but it was all so clear that I have the impression of having lived this catastrophe…  I can still see the crushed and broken carriages…  And a man whose arm had been ripped off was calling out:  “We are at Thorigny…”

Mme Peltier continues to soothe her husband who gradually calms down a bit.  But that evening, he can’t help telling a few neighbours about his nightmare, on his way to buy some cigarettes.

And three days later, on 23 December, two trains collide with one another because of fog, in the Lagny-Thorigny station…  It was half past six in the evening.  Night had fallen.

And there were two hundred and thirty deaths!…

***

The first of these stories, we have said, was reported by Professor Rolf Reissman, himself, in a work which he consecrates to these phenomena.  The second is told by Sir Victor Goddard in his Souvenirs of War.  As for the third, it was published in numerous newpapers after the railroad catastrophe of 1933…

***

The first is particularly interesting because it is a collective vision and is extremely rare.  There are phenomena of collective hallucination during which a crowd sees – or thinks that it sees – a supernatural being or the form of a ghost;  but this case is completely different.  What Reissman and his family saw was not a vague apparition, but a scene which had surged from the future, which they were going to witness a second time one week later…

***

The second story shows that a premonitory dream can be misinterpreted, for Commander Dewing saw the aeroplane crash, but because his dream, for reasons unknown, stopped there, he concluded that Sir Victor Goddard was dead…

***

There are other forms of premonition.  Here is a rather curious one.  In 1932, the surrealist painter Victor Brauner, paints his famous Autoportrait a l’oeil enuclee.  In this frightening picture, we see him with his right eye missing.  Six years later, in August 1938, in a Left Bank studio, he gets into an argument with one of his guests who, having drunk too much, grabs a glass, throws it in his face and blinds one of his eyes:  the right eye

***

Since Einstein, who considered these phenomena very seriously, most scientists today no longer jeer like they did before.  Certain speak of “displacement in time”, others of “interferences”, others again of “random superposition of space and time”.  This new attitude of scientists – notably physicists – is encouraging for it permts the hope that a researcher will one day give us the explanation for these visions of the future.  For the moment, the questions that we ask about them, not only remain unanswered, but engender other questions.  As Doctor Richet writes in Notre sixieme Sens:

“Our mind which knows no barriers, sometimes brings us in dreams or in moments of inspiration, fantastic images which it has gone to draw from the future for us…  How does it do it?  This is an important question.  But “why does it do it?” is an even more important question…”

***

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