There are almost never premonitory dreams about happy events. And this is one of the troubling aspects of the phenomenon. Doctor Geley, who was Director of the international Metapsychical Institute, said:
“Why do visionaries only see appearing, through the thick fog which veils the future from us, images of catastrophes? Do these tragic events emit stronger vibrations than the others, which permit them to pass through time and be seen by the percipients?”
The American lady’s dream is known to us through Miss Sarah Dawson who, having become Mrs Morgan-Dawson, made a detailed account of it to numerous people, notably Camille Flammarion who reported it in his work L’inconnu et les problemes psychiques. This account was confirmed to the astronomist by Doctor Davidson’s own daughter and by Mrs Thilton, herself.
Premonitory dreams are very often slightly “arranged”, sometimes unconsciously, by those who recount them. One, the authenticity of which cannot be doubted, is reported by a very reliable witness. It is Schopenhauer. This is what he writes:
“One morning, I was in my study in Frankfurt and was writing a business letter in English. At the third page, I took the inkpot instead of the sand, and poured it over the letter; the ink ran from my desk to the floor. The servant who came when I rang took a bucket of water and started to clean. While performing this operation, she said to me: “Last night I dreamed that I was cleaning up ink stains here by scrubbing the floor.” I replied: “That’s not true!” She said: “It is true and I told the other servant who sleeps with me.”
“Then, this other servant arrives by chance. She is perhaps seventeen and comes to call the one who is scrubbing. I advance towards her and ask her: “What did she dream last night?” Answer: “I don’t know.” I, again: “However, she recounted it to you when she woke up”. The young girl then: “Ah! yes, she dreamed that she would clean an ink stain here on the floor”.
“This story, the authenticity of which I absolutely guarantee, puts the reality of these sorts of dreams out of doubt. It is no less remarkable by the fact that it was about an act which can be described as involuntary since it happened completely against my wishes, as a result of a very insignificant mistake made by my hand. And this act was so necessary however and so inevitably determined that its effect existed, several hours in advance, in the dreaming state of another’s conscience. It is here that the truth of my proposition: “All that happens, happens necessarily” appears in the clearest of fashions.”
While waiting for Science to succeed in demonstrating the co-existence of the past, the present and the future, the duty of researchers is to accumulate witness statements. Here are two, extremely important because of the personality of the “witnesses”. The first, which concerns the famous General Daumesnil, the hero with the wooden leg, is reported by Doctor Foissac who published it in 1876.
“Madame the Baroness Daumesnil recounted to me that, as Adjutant with the Guides, stationed at the Little Luxembourg, Pierre Daumesnil (the famous defender of the Vincennes Castle) had had the fantasy of consulting Mademoiselle Lenormand, who was then at the height of fashion. The devineress had hardly spread out her cards when she cried out: “Ah! My God, what misfortune! Today, you are going to fight a duel and kill a man!” Daumesnil, having no affair of honour engaged, only laughed at the unlikelihood of this prediction; but Mlle Lenormand persisted in maintaining that she was not mistaken and that this deadly event was going to happen.
“The young Adjutant left her, perfectly incredulous, and, hearing the tatoo, set off for the Little Luxembourg.
It was the middle of the night. He had arrived at the middle of Rue Garanciere, when a field officer, who was violently jealous of the elite corps, blocked his path and provoked him to fight immediately with him.
Daumesnil’s courage in all situations was known to everyone. In Egypt he was called The Brave; Napoleon said of him: “What a soldier!” But, thinking of Mlle Lenormand’s prediction, he pretexts that he cannot fight today, that the tatoo being sounded, he has to return to the Corps. The officer accepts neither excuse nor delay. “Silly man!” Daumesnil shouts at him. “If I fight, I’ll kill you!” The officer insulting him, declares that he will not pass without fighting. Daumesnil is obliged to draw his sword to defend himself, and despite all precautions, he kills his adversary.”
The second “witness statement” concerns a Minister of France’s IIIrd Republic. On 21 May 1911, Monsieur Berteaux, the War Minister, was presiding over the start of the Paris-Madrid aeroplane race at the Issy-les-Moulineaux airfield. The fifth contestant, the aviator Train, took off. At this moment, a squad of cuirassiers crossed the runway. The aviator, wanting to avoid the horsemen, veered into the official tribune and crashed onto Mr Berteaux who was killed instantly.
Eight days later, a weekly newspaper in Saint-Etienne, La Revolution sociale, published the following letter sent by a reader:
“The accident that occurred at Issy-les-Moulineaux obliges me to make the following declarations: I was one of young Berteaux’ friends in the Latin Quarter when he was a clerk with the stockbroker Lambert, while he was studying Law. One evening, after our usual dinner, at Laveur’s, one of us proposed going for a while to the fair at Neuilly. So we took off for the fair at Neu-Neu!… There, we landed in the tent of a cartomancian who, getting to Berteaux, predicted: “You will become rich. But you will die, fairly late, as Army Chief (sic) crushed by a flying cart (sic)“. That is my statement. When we finished our studies, Berteaux having married Mademoiselle Lambert and soon afterward succeeding his father-in-law as stockbroker, it is useless to say that we never had the opportunity or even the desire to see each other. I never saw him again.”
Doctor Osty from the Metapsychical Institute having learnt of this article, resolved to investigate it and addressed himself to Mr Berteaux’ family to find out if all this was true. The Minister’s widow was firm:
“Right from our engagement, my husband recounted to me his story of the flying cart, which was supposed to crush him when he was Army Chief…”
The great physicist, William Crookes, one day said, on the subject of psychical phenomena:
“I do not say that this is possible. I say that this is!”…