The writer and researcher Aime Michel who is interested in extraordinary phenomena was told the following story by the painter Parsus.
“I was staying at the Abdel-Tif Villa in Algiers at the time, in a little apartment with my wife.
“One night while asleep I see a glaucous glimmer. Slowly this glimmer takes form. I then feel myself transported into a narrow corridor. A weak light is falling from above and all the bottom is invaded by water.
“All at once I have the impression that the corridor is starting to sway… No! More rolling and pitching… I’m still asleep but I understand: I’m in a ship that’s sinking!
“Suddenly a tall man appears. He’s stumbling. He seems exhausted. His hair, his shirt, largely open on his chest, are dripping with water. Now, he advances with difficulty towards me or rather he seems to climb the narrow corridor which is slanting sharply, holding onto the walls. I have the impression that he’s going to collapse any moment.
“Now he stops. He hides his face in his hands. He turns his head toward me, his hands slide and on his face I can read infinite distress. Then suddenly I recognize him. Yes, it’s him! It’s really him, my friend N… that I’d left in Paris a few weeks ago. His face is now haggard and violaceous. He’s panting, it’s frightening to watch.
“I let out a terrible cry and wake up… I wake up but I have to make an immense effort to persuade myself that I’m not dreaming. For the tragic vision persists. I’m still at the end of this gangway where the water is mounting and I scream
” ‘It’s him, it’s him!… he’s on the Rollon, it’s sinking!’
“I am however sitting on my bed and my wife has just woken up with a start.
“Terrified, she sees me get up for, although awake, I’m still one of the people in the scene.
“Now I rush to my friend’s aid. I have the time to take three steps… the vision effaces itself completely and I find myself standing, completely awake, but exhausted and trembling. My wife is very upset to see me like this.
“I find the strength to say to her:
” ‘I saw N… in his boat, the Rollon, which was sinking!’
” ‘But you know that he’s not on his boat at the moment!… Right now, he’s surely in Paris.’
“I sit back down on the bed, convinced that what I’ve just seen, I mean “lived”, is something more than a dream: I had such an impression of being on board this boat myself!…
“Over the following days, I try to forget about it.
“Three weeks later, I’m sitting at the terrace of a cafe. Beside me someone is reading a newpaper. The title of an article reads:
” ‘The disappearance of the Rollon is confirmed.’
“I borrow the newspaper from my neighbour and read that my friend’s boat has disappeared off Sardaignia. The probable day of the sinking is also that of my ‘hallucination’.”
Did Parsus dream? Did he have a simple hallucination?… Or is it a phenomenon of a completely different nature? Here is a second story. It will hardly clarify the question.
It is a story that is in the dossiers of Duke University which specialises in parapsychological things.
One afternoon in 1947, a young American girl, whom we shall call Pat, was in England at the home of her boyfriend Allen’s mother. Pat had met Allen in Germany and at the time this happens, he is still there, a soldier of the Allied Army of Occupation.
In the middle of a conversation, Pat is suddenly troubled and becomes very pale. Allen’s mother says:
“You don’t look at all well, my little Pat!”
The young girl exclaims, in prey to great anxiety:
“Oh! Quickly, quickly! Quickly, something terrible is going to happen to Allen… he’s in a jeep… he’s in a jeep on a road with trees… I know this road well. Oh! Quickly… I have to go there… I’m going there, I’m going there!”
She leaps from her chair, desperately gesticulating… then sits down almost immediately. Uncomfortable, she smiles and says:
“Excuse me! It’s silly… I really don’t know what happened to me!…”
Two days later, she receives a letter. Allen asks her with vivacity if she had come on Wednesday to Germany and what clothes she was wearing that day. She writes a very kind letter in which she reassures him, and indicates that she hadn’t left England and that she had been at his mother’s that afternoon.
Two days later, another letter from Allen. He writes:
“Listen to me, Pat. Something unheard-of has happened to me. Last Wednesday I was in a jeep on the M. road between O. and D. We have often taken it together… I wasn’t alone in the jeep. I was beside the driver, a German, and in the back there were three people: two fellow soldiers on either side of a German prisoner we were taking to D. The soldier sitting behind me was Gerry, whom you know.
“We were following a truck with a trailer on the part of the road that has a lot of trees. All at once, just when we were going to pass it, you erupted from a little track on the right and you rushed at the jeep waving your arms.
“The driver braked and, excuse me for saying this, called you a ‘nutcase’.
“It was as fast as lightning, but Gerry and I perfectly recognized you before you disappeared. Gerry even yelled: ‘Look! It’s Pat!’ And I answered: ‘So it is! I thought that she was still in England!’ At that same moment the heavy trailer disconnected from the truck, zigzagged for a few metres, then crashed on the bank of the ditch. Just at the entrance to the track from which you had appeared!
“It’s certain that if the driver hadn’t braked when he saw you, if he’d continued passing the truck, we would certainly have crashed onto the trailer.”
Duke University made a careful enquiry into this case. It had Allen, Gerry, the second soldier, the German prisoner and the driver interrogated separately. All of them were able to describe Pat precisely. They all identically described the clothes that she was wearing… the clothes that she was wearing that Wednesday afternoon, while she was in England, one thousand kilometres from there.
Where was Pat really that day? In England or on a little forest road in Germany?
To be continued.