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SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
W. H. W. SABINE
GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD
Ruskin House Museum Street
FIRST PUBLISHED IN GREAT BRITAIN
Copyright in ike U.S.A.
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
Mo portion may be reproduced by any process without written permissio
Inquiries should be addressed to the publishers.
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN
BY BRADFORD AND DICKENS,
WHILE most of the material used in this book is entirely new, it
has been necessary to reproduce a number of passages from else-
where, sometimes by way of illustration, and sometimes because
the passage forms an essential part of an anecdote.
For permission kindly given for this use to be made of extracts
from their copyright publications, my thanks are due to Messrs.
George Allen & Unwin, Messrs. G. Bell & Sons, Blackwood's
Magazine, Cambridge University Press, The Daily Telegraphy
Messrs. Dodd, Mead & Co., The Encyclopaedia Britannic a,
Messrs. Faber & Faber, Messrs. William Heinemann, Hogarth
Press, The Journal of Parapsychology, Messrs. John Lane the
Bodley Head, Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co. (on behalf of
Mr. Harold Myers), Mr. Eneas Mackay, Messrs. Mcthuen &
Co., The New York Times, Oxford University Press, Sir Isaac
Pitman & Sons, Princeton University Press, Messrs. Rider & Co.,
The Society for Psychical Research, The (New York) Sun, and
The Yorkshire Evening Post.
The source of each quotation is given where it occurs in the
present text, and when that source is a book whose main subject
is supernormal processes of mind, the title is repeated in the
Chronological List of special books on p. 197. That List, being
intended as an independent aid to study includes a certain
number of other titles which are not mentioned elsewhere in
I am grateful to Mrs. Edward W. Allison and to Miss Wendy
Miles for their valued counsel; and to Mrs. Laura Abbott Dale,
Miss Birgit Ljunghult, the New York Public Library, the Society
for Psychical Research, the American Society for Psychical
Research, and Stanford University (California), for supplying
needed items of information.
W. H. W. S.
UNEXPLAINED phenomena of the mind, whether labelled Sec-
ond Sight or Extra-Sensory Perception, continue to provide a
test for man's will to seek ultimate truth about the nature
of his being.
This book is a very personal contribution to the subject of
Second Sight, especially the aspect of it which is called Pre-
cognition or Foreknowledge. Long observation has led the
writer to the conclusion that the real nature of this phenome-
non is very different from traditional conceptions of it; and
in the concluding chapter he has sought to indicate that the
solution of the great mystery which it poses may not be
beyond the ultimate attainment of conscious reason.
I. Fluke or Extra-Sensory Perception? 13
II. What Precognition Is 27
III. Rationalism and Poe's Tales 44
IV. The Case of Gwendoline Nelson 48
V. Precognition and Death 59
VI. Are All Dreams Precognitive? 81
VII. Waking Precognition 101
VIII. The Incident of The Arm 1 19
IX. Precognition, Clairvoyance, and Telepathy 125
X. Experimental Evidence 148
XI. Towards the Solution 165
Chronological List of Books etc. 197
Glossary and Notes 201
"FLUKE" OR "EXTRA-SEiNSORY PERCEPTION"?
ON JULY 9, 1870, a stout clear-complexioned man, with a
dark grizzled beard, might have been seen making his
way towards the entrance of the Bedford Hotel, near Covent
Garden, London. He was Shirley Brooks, the editor of Punch,
and he had just come from the sale of the effects of his friend
Charles Dickens, a sale at which he had found the things
fetching outrageous prices.
As Brooks entered the Hotel, and proceeded towards the
Shakespeare Room, a precinct reserved for certain literary
lights, he observed that the hostess's pretty daughter, Helen
Warner, was sitting in the office. His diary records what
"Funny thing at the 'Bedford' I looked in at the little
window, and saw Helen writing in a bookher diary. She had
marked one day, she showed me, with very black marks. Of
course, she w r as mysterious about it, and she having denied
that it concerned a 'he,' I said: 'Then you had your pocket
picked.' Her eyes became saucers. 'How strange that you
should say that!' It was so, in an omnibus, and she had lost a
good deal of money, and had told nobody. My fluke was
prompted by a recollection of what happened to poor dear
Emily, in New Inn days she was robbed on her way to see
Some months later, on February 13, 1871, my kinsman
Brooks was again struck by an unusual incident. This time
14 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
he was strolling from Baker Street back to his home in Kent
Terrace, Regent's Park,
"Curious experience," he noted, "of which spiritualists
would make something. Passing the jeweller's on our Park
Terrace, I stopped to look at some signet rings. They put
into my head a ring Albert Smith gave me, with a 'Punch' on
it. I had not seen it for ages, but I knew E[mily, his wife] had
it. While we were sitting in the twilight before dinner, E.
said, 'I had a fancy this afternoon to turn out old jewellery
and things, and found the ring A.S. gave you here it is.'
Odder she must have found it about the time I was thinking
of it, 4 o'clock."
Too impressed to omit the little incidents from his diary,
Brooks evidently felt half-inclined to apologize to himself for
expending paper and ink on them. "Spiritualists would make
something" of the one; and the other was a "fluke." A man
of genial nature, gifted with high spirits and an endless fund
of wit, Brooks had been reared in an intensely Protestant
atmosphere, Three years of his most impressionable youth
had been spent in the home of his uncle, Charles Sabine, a
learned and cultured man, but one whose piety was so literal
that every day and throughout the night an extra place was
laid at his table in case of the Second Coming. 1
Small wonder that the nephew's philosophy was one which
may very well be termed typical of the average man of the age
of reason discreetly applied, a philosophy under which an in-
herited respect for the Bible, even though it remained on the
shelf, entitled a man's "common-sense" to be his guiding light
in all other fields, and as a matter of course to dispose with a
smile or a shrug of the shoulder of every suggestion that ran
counter to the self-evident laws of a divinely created mechan-
ism. Nor does a man of letters easily forget how the Literary
1 G. S. Layard, A Great Punch Editor, 1907, p. 10.
"FLUKE" OR "EXTRA-SENSORY PRECEPTION"? 15
Club had smiled at Samuel Johnson's willingness to believe in
Second Sight, and ho\y the believing Boswell had been told
bluntly to "cork it up." 1
"The cock-su^e common-sense of the years from 1660 to
1850 or so," wrote Andrew Lang in 1897, "regarded every-
one who had experience of an hallucination as a dupe, a luna-
tic, or a liar." Nor was the commonsensite philosophy (as it
may be termed) prepared to admit that a distinction might
exist between dabbling in mere superstition and enquiring
rationally into supernormal phenomena.
It was this spirit of the age which produced such strange
spectacles as Sir Walter Scott, in the same pages in which he
treated the stories of the Garden of Eden etc. with profound
reverence, dismissing all accounts of psychical happenings in
his own time, even those of the Highlanders, with a scepticism
as complete as that with which Thomas Paine and Richard
Carlile had dismissed the entire Bible. 2 Yet Sir Walter might
have found in the pages of a celebrated work which his fellow
countryman, Dr. John Abercrombie, was then putting out,
the frank acknowledgment that, so far as some dreams of the
future are concerned, "we are compelled to receive them as
facts which we can in no degree account for." 3
Indeed it may be questioned whether there are many in-
dividuals who have passed through life without experiencing
some moments of extreme wonder before incidents that do not
seem to belong to the world of common-sense, though obvi-
ously there are few who reflect on them, and fewer still who
record them. Even so, every nation that has had the habit of
preserving records bears witness to experiences for which the
best known English term has been "Second Sight," and to the
misunderstanding and fear of which is attributable much of
1 J. Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, at March 24, 1775.
2 Sir Walter Scott, Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, 1830.
3 John Abercrombie, Enquiries Concerning the Intellectual Potvers, 1830
16 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
the pitiful record of the persecution of witches, and something
of the history of the founders of religious movements.
The phenomena of Second Sight, remarks the Encyclopaedia
Britannica, "may be classed under 'clairvoyance/ 'premon-
ition,' and 'telepathy,' with a residuum of symbolic visions."
The famous Second Sight of the Highlanders is usually re-
corded as taking the form of a waking vision 1 rather than a
dream. Thus M'Quarrie, hereditary hird of Ulva, recounted
to Johnson and Boswell:
"He had gone to Edinburgh, and taken a man-servant
along with him. An old woman who was in the house, said
one day, 'M'Quarrie will be at home to-morrow, and will
bring two gentlemen with him;' and she said she saw his
servant return in red and green. He did come home next
day. He had two gentlemen with him, and his servant had a
new red and green livery, which M'Quarrie had bought for
him at Edinburgh, upon a sudden thought, not having the
least intention when he left home to put his servant in livery;
so that the old woman could not have heard any previous
mention of it." 2
That such experiences are commoner among people living
a simple undistracted life than they are elsewhere is not en-
tirely certain ; but the difference, if it does exist, seems to lie
rather in the external circumstances than in innate qualities.
In societies where business is the order of the day, where
radios, television, and innumerable machines occupy atten-
tion people have less time to observe or reflect upon their
supernormal experiences; and where social conventions tend
to suppress and render shameful or ridiculous natural func-
tions and emotions, those who have had unaccountable ex-
1 "He saw him ... by a waking dream, which I take to be the best defini-
tion of second sight." William MacLeod, A Treatise on the Second Sight, 1763.
2 J. Boswell, Tour to the Hebrides, chap. xii.
"FLUKE" OR ''EXTRA-SENSORY PRECEPTION"? 17
periences are diffident in speaking of them. If they happen to
a man of literary habits they may sometimes be recorded,
qualified perhaps as "flukes," but mostly they are allowed to
fade from the memory. This is the more regrettable when the
circumstances are of an everyday kind: such everyday incidents
are valuable evidence, and not less so because they are unac-
companied by any of those sensational features which inevit-
ably, if unjustly, give rise to a suspicion of exaggeration.
One of the earliest writers earliest, that is to say, in the
age of steam engines and stock markets to give Second Sight
the attention it merited was Dr. S. B. Brittan, a New York
medical man. In 1865 he published Man and His Relations in
which he cited numerous cases of Precognition ("Prevision" ) ,
Clairvoyance, Telepathy ("Mental Telegraphing") , and other
forms of supernormal perception, as experienced by himself,
his patients, and others. Speaking of Clairvoyance he said:
"The term is especially employed to represent that mysteri-
ous power of perception whereby certain people discern dis-
tant objects and occurrences without the aid of light or the
use of the organic instruments of vision." Brittan conducted
experiments in Telepathy; and on what is now called Precog-
nition he commented:
"Among the problems that have puzzled the brains of
metaphysicians the frequent cases of Prevision are among the
last in their judgment to admit of a satisfactory solution. The
foregoing examples will suffice to show that many persons are
susceptible of such impressions. With a certain class of minds
they are daylight experiences; but they happen to a much
larger number during the hours of sleep."
These conclusions, though accompanied by some original
ideas, were not new to medical psychologists. From time to
time others had recognized the truth of supernormal mental
phenomena. But Brittan voiced these conclusions at a time
when it was particularly unfashionable to do so.
18 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
The publication of Darwin's great work, The Origin of
Species, which, by implication, established the biological evo-
lution of man by means of natural selection, was just then
dividing the world into two main camps, the one of material-
istic science, and the other of ecclesiastical dogma. During
that brief but fierce battle the study of supernormal psycholo-
gy ivas overshadowed, and almost silenced.
It was, moreover, embarrassed by a second controversy,
more sensational and of longer duration than the other. In-
explicable phenomena were being produced by mediums of
the Spiritualistic movement. Materialism mocked, and the
churches denounced; though it was obviously due to the
engrained traditions of the latter that popular Spiritualism
attributed all the phenomena to spirits.
If the scientific world as a whole, in the full career of
great advances in the field of matter, showed no disposition
to encumber itself with new-fangled forms of "old supersti-
tions," it was none the less the case that many of its most
distinguished members (Wallace co-discoverer with Darwin
of the principle of natural selection, Crookes, Flammarion,
Zollner, Lombroso etc.) were convinced of the reality of
Spiritualist or allied phenomena. We may hold as unproven
the prevalent theories that discarnate personalities ("spirits")
were the cause of the phenomena. What is incontestable, and
in accord with the spontaneous experience of Second Sight
in daily life, is that men with the highest qualifications to as-
sess the evidence have found that the human mind possesses
powers of which a purely physiological conception of life
provides no explanation.
An historic incident occurred in 1876 when Professor W. F.
Barrett 1 ventured to read before the British Association a pa-
per on "Some Phenomena associated with Abnormal Condi-
tions of Mind" (i.e. hypnotic and mediumistic conditions) .
i Afterwards Sir William Barrett.
"FLUKE" OR ''EXTRA-SENSORY PRECEPT! ON"? 19
Barrett is said to have experimented in Telepathy with Wil-
liam De Morgan as early as 1870-3. The paper which he ten-
dered to the British Association was refused by the Biological
Committee, and passed on to the Anthropological sub-section
where its reluctant acceptance was helped by the presumably
ironical comment of a member that as they had discussed
ancient witchcraft the previous year, they might as well exam-
ine the modern form that year. 1 Barrett had to encounter a
good deal of derision after delivering his address, but in later
years he could point to the curious fact that the four men-
Lord Rayleigh, Crookes, Wallace, and Huggins who sup-
ported him on that difficult occasion, all lived to receive from
the British Crown the coveted Order of Merit, an honour
limited to twenty-four persons of intellectual eminence.
The year 1882 saw the inauguration at London t of the
celebrated Society for Psychical Research, under the presiden-
cy of Professor Henry Sidgwick of Cambridge, supported by
men and women prominent in various fields, and soon joined,
it is worth noting, by two bishops of the Church of England. 2
"It is not," declared Sidgwick, when indicating the Society's
attitude to supernormal phenomena, "a scientific way of deal-
ing with a mass of testimony to explain what you can, and
say that the rest is untrue. It may be common-sense; but it is
Had such a society come into existence at least as early as
the Royal Society of 1662, a beneficial effect might have been
produced on the outlook of the political leaders of western
civilization without in the least retarding progress on the mat-
But although the responsible investigation of supernormal
1 Sir A. Conan Doyle, History of Spiritualism, 1933.
2 It may, of course, be thought that the presence of high ecclesiastics, how-
ever liberal-minded, may not be wholly conducive to unfettered psychical
20 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
phenomena was undertaken too late substantially to affect
the unbalanced intellectual outlook of the nineteenth cen-
tury, although the only respected systems of psychology con-
tinued to be those built on a mechanistic concept of the mind,
although statesmen who considered themselves realists could
adduce the findings of science to justify the policy of fright-
fulness, there had been kindled a new spirit of research and
observation in the field of the supernormal.
A notable sign of the effect produced by organized psychical
research on the intellectual world is that an increasing number
of academically trained psychologists have recognised the need
and the duty to lend their aid in the investigation of super-
normal mental processes. Less liable, perhaps, to be influenced
by inherited opinions than was an earlier generation, the new
workers in "parapsychology" are specialising in experimental
work, tabulating and analysing the results thus obtained, and
so building up a body of evidence free from preconceived
ideas about what may be the explanation. 1
As things stand today it is correct to say that a minority it
may still be a very small minority of the scientific and re-
flecting world accepts as proven beyond question that people
do have experiences of the kind long known as "Second
Sight." 2 Instead of that term, the description "Extra-Sensory
Perception" is now usually employed, frequently abbreviated
to ESP. The term was evolved by Professor J. B. Rhine, of
Duke University, from the somewhat older "Supersensuous
Perception." Other writers have preferred to speak of "Para-
normal Cognition," "Extrariormal Cognition," "Cryptesthe-
sia," "the Ultra-Perceptive Faculty," or "the psi function."
The definition of Extra-Sensory Perception suggested in the
Journal of Parapsychology of Duke University is: "Response
1 Some account of experimental work is given in Chapter x.
2 See Glossary.
"FLUKE" OR "EXTRA-SENSORY PRECEI'TION"? 21
to an external event not presented to any known sense/' It is
not so much in acceptance of a definition that I employ the
term in the following pages. The fact that "Extra-Sensory Per-
ception" is to be found in the majority of recent writings
makes it desirable as a matter of convenience for that term to
continue to be used, while due reservation is made as to its
precise significance. It must be acknowledged also that the
historic and popular "Second Sight" has not always been asso-
ciated, like the new label, with a spirit of impartial investiga-
The customary sub-divisions of Extra-Sensory Perception
are Precognition (or Foreknowledge) , Telepathy, and Clair-
voyance. These descriptions, in their turn, must be regarded
as temporary, for rarely can a conclusive line be drawn be-
tween the experiences thus sought to be classified. Those
seeming to fall into the category of Telepathy have received
the widest acceptance, not merely because they are so ex-
tremely numerous, but because, on the not necessarily sound
supposition of some means of mental communication com-
parable to radio, it has been felt that there may not be in
Telepathy any essential contradiction of a mechanistic con-
ception of life. Similar assumptions have aided in a degree of
acceptance of cases of apparent Clairvoyance.
But the phenomenon of Precognition, which is the princi-
pal subject of the following pages, is the form of Extra-Sen-
sory Perception which is the most strongly contested, not
indeed by the minority who have specially studied it, but by
the majority who have not. It is too opposed to habitual as-
sumptions, and seems to leave no means by which its accept-
ance could be reconciled with existing systems.
Precognition has been defined as "Cognition of a future
event which could not be known through rational inference"
(Rhine), and as "Perception or awareness of future event,
apart from information or inference" (Saltmarsh) . The auth-
22 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
ors of these definitions would be the first to disclaim any
finality for them. From personal experience I am inclined to
believe that some modification is required on the lines indi-
cated at the conclusion of the next chapter.
To help towards the study of a subject of such supreme
importance, I have put forward the selection of my personal
experiences of Extra-Sensory Perception contained in this
book. They were recorded at the time of their occurence
mostly in my native Englandin a diary which I have kept
with fair regularity for some 25 years, and which is contained
in a miscellaneous collection of over sixty notebooks. At first,
in very much the same sceptical spirit as that evinced by the
editor of Punch sixty years before, I noted one or two little
incidents of a normally inexplicable character; but as time
went on such experiences were more and more frequently
observed, especially those originating during sleep, and it
became impossible to escape the conclusion that they were not
"flukes," not chance coincidences, but indications of unknown
laws of the mind.
The material cited in the following pages is usually pre-
sented in the original words recorded in the diary at the time;
and when that rule is for any reason departed from, there is
strict adhesion in the paraphrase to all the relevant facts of
the original record. Names of persons and localities are, of
course, changed or omitted in cases where this is called for by
a due regard for the wishes of people concerned; and some
material of value has had to be entirely omitted for reasons of
The egotistical nature of much of my text is thus inevitable,
but it will be found that no autobiographical matter is here
intruded which is not strictly relevant to the subject and re-
quired for its proper presentation. Most readers will, I believe,
understand the special difficulties attaching to the full and
precise recounting of the very personal, domestic, and quite
"FLUKE" OR "EXTRA-SENSORY PRECEPTION"? 23
ordinary circumstances in which supernormal processes of the
mind most commonly come to our notice.
It is possible that someone may be found willing to seize the
occasion which I give for mockery: many of the experiences
simply invite the exercise of humour. On that possibility I can
only comment that most of those who share the spirit of im-
partial research are also keenly appreciative of good-natured
As to denunciation in the style of Torquemada or of Calvin,
that, perhaps, is no longer to be apprehended.
Women have been a little more forthcoming than men in
recounting the intimate type of evidence which is needed. Not
many of the well-known male investigators have published
experiences of their ownexperiences which must surely lie at
the root ol their interest. But they may well be excused tor
shrinking from incurring such risks as that run by the lady who
reported to the Society for Psychical Research that siie had
dreamed of being persistently followed by a monkey. In the
morning she informed her family of the dream during break-
fast, and afterwards took her children for a walk. She was then
horrified to meet a monkey corresponding to that of her
dream. It proceeded to follow her, and caused her great dis-
The comment of an orthodox psychoanalyst was that, ac-
cording to freudian theories of dream interpretation, being
chased by a monkey is a well-known symbol of women's fear
of sexual assault. Hence, among the allegedly large number of
feminine dreamers about monkeys, there are sure to be one or
two who at some time in their lives will chance to be followed
by a real monkey after their dream.
The critic had nothing to say about the case of the wife of a
former Bishop of Hereford, who reported to the same Society
1S.P.R., Proceedings, xi, p. 488, and G.N.M. Tyrrell, Science and Psychual
Phenowna, p. 19. I o\\e to Mr. Tyrrell the comparison which follows.
24 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
that she had dreamed that her husband was away from home,
and that she read the morning prayers in the hall of the palace.
"After doing so, on entering the dining room, she saw an
enormous pig standing between the dining table and the side-
board. This dream amused her and she told it to the governess,
who confirms the account, and to her children, before reading
prayers. After prayers, she opened the dining room door and
saw the pig standing between the dining room table and the
sideboard in the exact spot in which she had seen it in the
dream. The pig had escaped from its sty while prayers were
being read." 1
Possibly it was not merely respect tor the episcopacy that
held the critic silent: he could scarcely fail to see that even a
sexually or otherwise symbolic pig must have ha i precognitive
qualities if it could appear in the dream on the exact spot in
the dining room where the bishop's wife subsequently saw the
"My Lady Seymour/' recorded John Aubrey in 1696,.
"dreamt that she found a nest, with nine finches in it. And so
many children she had by the Earl of Winchelsea, whose name
is Finch." Other ladies recounted even more striking dreams
to the attentive Aubrey, who pertinently remarked, "There
are millions of such dreams too little taken notice of." 2
We do not have to abandon one particle of our sense of
humour to appreciate the wisdom of Aubrey's remark. But
observe his reward. He had sought (as in some measure had
Samuel Pepys, Robert Boyle and other early Fellows of the
Royal Society) to enquire rationally into Second Sight, and
he was repaid in the commonsensite age by having his Mis-
cellanies derided as the "Credulities of quaint old Aubrey."
Small wonder that men shrink back into the shell of fearful
1S.P.R. Proceedings, xi, p. 587, and H. F. Saltmarsh, Foreknowledge, p. 65.
a John Aubrey, Miscellanies upon Various Subjects, 1696.
"FLUKE" OR "EXTRA-SENSORY PRECEPTION"? 25
convention, and that the millions of dreams and other experi-
ences continue to be too little taken notice of.
"It is a great venture to speak openly of a personal experi-
ence," confessed the Principal of St. Hugh's College, Oxford,
and her friend Miss Jourdain in a book 1 which told how in
1901 they experienced in the grounds of the Petit Trianon at
Versailles hallucinations which \v r ere found, after subsequent
prolonged research in the national archives, to correspond to
persons and things that had existed in 1789 or thereabouts.
For the reasons previously indicated it might be thought
an even greater venture to speak of personal experiences of
Second Sight which take a less romantic form. But the narrator
of happenings in prosaic circumstances should have the com-
pensating knowledge that most if not all of his hearers have
had experiences similar to his own. He should be sustained by
the thought that what is at issue is not, and ought not to be,
the credibility of any individual. Our acceptance of testimony
in other fields is based on the fact that the testimony coincides
with, or is of the same character as, our own experience; or on
the fact that the concensus of testimony from many quarters
is so great that we cannot conceive all the witnesses to be wrong.
Anyone who declares or confesses I do not know which is
the acceptable word that he has never observed Second Sight
or any other normally inexplicable event in his own life, will
find ample testimony by narrators of good judgment in the
hundreds of volumes of the Proceedings and Journals of the
British and American Societies for Psychical Research, to
which are now being added the records of the Departments
and Societies for Parapsychology of the universities. There is
besides a large literature representing the rational testimony
which individuals have felt impelled to record on their own
Yet all this considerable literature contains but a very small
i An Adventure, 1911 (4th ed., Faber, I^ondon, and Coward-McCann, New
York, 1931) .
26 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
part of what it might contain, for the supernormal is no casual
or rare occurrence. A literature which aspired to cover every-
thing coming under that head would have to cover the acts and
thoughts of men's lives in all their minutest details a practical
impossibility, though on a later page it is suggested that an
effort should be made in that direction in special cases. The
material in the present contribution to the comparative study
of the supernormal does not claim to be based on anything
like such an effort, yet it is based on a journal which is suffi-
ciently extensive to give an idea of the possibilities. Such ma-
terial, together with experimental work in the laboratory,
points more and more to the normality and constancy of the
Accompanying the descriptions which follow are theoretical
comments which, it is hoped, may be found to advance this
great subject some small fraction of a degree nearer to under-
WHAT PRECOGNITION IS
IN 1938 we were living on the middle floor of a fine brick
house in Gloucester Place, near Oxford Street, London.
We liked the house exceedingly, for having been built
towards the close of the 1700's, it was replete with the solid
charm of that great century. True, my American wife made
some reservations about the absence of central heating, and the
lack of immediate response in some features of the plumbing.
To me those were small matters in comparison with the pleas-
ure of daily contemplating pilasters and fireplaces which ac-
corded so well with old calf volumes and mezzotint engravings.
A few yards away stood Montagu House, home of Mrs.
Montagu, the learned woman friend of Dr. Johnson, and
founder of the Blue Stocking Club. How many times during
my adolescent years in far-away Yorkshire I had imbibed the
scenes of Boswell's Johnson, how seriously I had pored over
the Essays of Hume, with what fascinated delight perused the
daily lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaffe Esq., and with what
satisfaction repeated the ironic periods of Gibbon! Now I was
in the midst of their land, daily walking the beautiful garden
squares, might run my hand, even as did the great Pan-Jan
himself, along the solid iron railings, admire the panelled
doors with their heavy brass knockers and varied fanlights,
and conjure up visions of the sedan bearers snuffing their
torches in the big iron cones.
28 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
"The eighteenth century/' I had been wont sententiously
to claim, "was the most civilised and most elegant period in
history. Above all, it was the Age of Reason when superstition
was substantially routed, long before the crushing discoveries
of geology and anatomy, which, admirable as they are, but
completed the earlier work ..."
When one had absorbed, a little stubbornly perhaps, but
faithfully, Locke's mighty Essay concerning Human Under-
standing, all that had followed was indeed little more than a
matter of course.
But all was not as it should be as a matter of course. Experi-
ences had been forcing themselves on my attention which
Locke had not taken into consideration.
Why, for example, did I dream one night that two palm
branches in the form of a V for "Victoria" were presented to
the Maharaja of Mysore, and find in my usual newspaper the
next day a picture of the Maharaja of Mysore riding in a vic-
toria, with two palm branches which decorated the street form-
ing a V behind his head? Why did I sit up in bed one morning
and decide that the white unicorn supporting the King's coat-
of-arms must have been based on a white rhinoceros, if such
exist; and two hours later open my newly arrived paper to
read that the only herd of white rhinoceroses in the world was
in danger of being exterminated?
Such seeings at a distance in space or time were happening
altogether too frequently to be dismissed as chance, and
Hume's dictum that it is always more probable that we are
mistaken than that such things happen was assuming the
aspect of a mere dogma of the uninformed.
An invitation arrived one day from our friends Commander
and Miss X, who had recently taken a cottage in Sussex, and
this cottage, from the point of view of antiquity, made all the
houses in London, except the Tower, seem modernity itself,
for in the main it had been constructed about the year 1450.
WHAT PRECOGNITION IS 29
"Let's go next Sunday," exclaimed Ellen. "1450 why, that
was before Columbus! "
So the following Sunday, November 13, found us seated in
a carriage of the Southern Railway, speeding through the soft
green countryside. A solitary fellow-passenger impeded free-
dom of conversation for some time. When he had departed at
an intermediate station, I remarked to my wife, "I had rather
an odd dream last night/'
"What was it? Tell it to me."
"Well, I rather think it is the sort of dream the psychoan-
alytic consultant on our ground floor would delight in, as
proving that one is the subject of a variety of interesting in-
hibitions. I thought that you and I were walking in the coun-
try, but we were not quite sure of our way. I asked a man, and
he pointed out what he said was the right way, though some-
how I had a feeling it was not. The remarkable thing came
next, when I saw the man going away from me with his clothes
off. However, somehow I could see only his back, but not his
shoulders or the lower part of his legs. That was all."
"Oh . . . and how do you account for dreaming about such
A little nettled by her smile, I endeavoured to reply ob-
"As we intended going into the country, there is the obvious
explanation of that part of the dream, and also of asking the
way. But I'm not aware of anything to justify the rest. It has
always seemed to me that few things are less attractive than
an undressed member of my own sex."
The walk from the station to our friends' abode took us
along the edge of several fields, and through a wood delightful
even in November. We encountered nothing more exciting
than a few rabbits, and a group of children on their way to
Down in a hollow at the edge of the wood stood the ancient
30 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
cottage, a medley of grey stone, mellow brick, and black tim-
bers. Our host, Commander X, shook us warmly by the hand,
and led the way inside, where walls and cabinets displayed the
numerous trophies of his travels in the Far East.
Our enthusiasm for everything was unfeigned.
Yet there was a cloud on X's usually cheery brow. He mo-
tioned us into a couple of enormous easy chairs, and it was a
moment or two before he broke silence.
"My sister's not here just now. She's had to go up the lane
by arrangement with the police."
"With the police? What for?"
"Well, the fact is, there's a man about who's been exposing
himself to women. Last Sunday he suddenly stepped out from
the trees in front of Janet, let down one garment and pulled
up another. Bit of a shock, of course. So the police are now in
hiding, ready to pounce, and Janet's walking up there with
the dogs in case he does it again."
In mutual amazement my wife and I turned and looked at
each other. Here was the central theme of my dreamthe ex-
posure of the middle part of the body by a man in the country.
Only to me the exposure had been from the rear, to our
friend from the front.
It is only necessary to add to this account that the man for
whom the police were waiting did not appear again, and that
I had to undergo a good deal of chaffing from my friends on
the supposed nature of my dreams. Yet all acknowledged that
the "coincidence" was very remarkable.
The serious student will observe that any analysis of the
above dream, perhaps of most dreams, starts out with a false
premise if it is assumed that all the concepts in it are derived
from the past and present of the dreamer. No conclusions can
have validity unless due consideration has been given to ma-
terial which may have been drawn from the future.
WHAT PRECOGNITION IS 31
Such a thing is "impossible" only for those who cling to no
more than a certain range of phenomena, while ignoring
others that call for more acute observation. The attitude may
be compared to that .of a man who collects the stamps of the
British Empire, and calls it a world collection.
It will further illustrate the point if I cite here a dream I
had some years later (January 14, 1943) , and which also at
first glance would seem to provide very suggestive material for
the psychoanalyst. In this dream I was walking in the country
and found, to quote the words of my diary, "my way barred by
a stretch of water. In this ten men were standing. I said to my-
self that they were men of ten different nations. Then I
noticed most of them had fair hair. Next a huge Venuslike
woman a 'fine woman' plunged naked, more or less, into the
water, and began to swim on her back, but she was raised high
out of the water by a big inflated ring, a sort of giant life saver/'
Whatever libidos may or may not be detected in this dream,
the salient fact is that it represented the picture on the front
page of that morning's Daily Telegraph which confronted
me at breakfast a few hours later. In those days the Daily
Telegraph was in the habit of publishing a single picture in
the centre of its front page, and it happened, with noteworthy
frequency, that my dreams corresponded in advance with the
On this particular morning the picture represented about
1 7 Germans from a sunk submarine swimming to the side of a
British ship. They were wearing life-belts of a type which
gives the wearer such a buxom appearance that the young men
of the R.A.F. nicknamed it after a certain finely built lady of
music-hall fame. Here then were the foreigners, about 17 of
them instead of 10 as in the dream. They were Germans, ac-
counting for the intervention of the idea of fair hair. They
were supported by the high-bosoming type of life-savers which
32 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
were symbolised in my dream by the magnificent lady floating
on her back supported by an inflated ring.
Many psychoanalytical students will find indications of
interest to them in the following vivid dream which I had on
the night of January 30, 1940. Once again I quote the actual
words I wrote down at the time:
"I appeared to be in a large white box, higher, than it was
wide, so that one could stand up in it. One side was open, out
of which one looked, and in fact it was rather like a sentry box,
only much larger, and moreover, as I have remarked, it was
white intensely white like whitewash. With me in this box
was a small-sized man with I think only a loin cloth on. In
fact he was an Indian, and I understood he was a fakir or some
holy person. The atmosphere surrounding him was very pleas-
ant, and he appeared to be guiding me. We were, then, in this
box, and the box was floating upright down a river. The next
thing that happened was that a map appeared before me by the
agency of this fakir who wished to show me the route we were
taking. This map was very clear, but very simple. It consisted
of a pale reddish brown background on which, in a darker
shade of the same hue, was depicted a large river, together with
one tributary of lesser size. The river and its tributary were
shown to the left of the background. The 'fakir' explained
that we would follow the tributary so as to avoid the 'alligators'
on the main stream."
At half past four the next day, Wednesday the 31st, my wife
and I arrived at Harrods, that palatial Knightsbridge store
well known to visitors to London. There in the lounge we met
under a previous arrangement a Scottish friend, Mrs. L.H.,
whose "clairvoyant" powers are a constant source of remark to
all who know her.
Aware of her keen interest in such matters I had telephoned
Mrs. H. about an announcement I had happened to observe
WHAT PRECOGNITION IS 33
in the F ress that Professor Saurat, Director of the French In-
stitute at London, was giving a series of lectures entitled "Psy-
chical Phenomena/' Apart from this general title no indica-
tion of the subjects was giver.
It was my first visit to the French Institute, and on entering
the building I was struck by the unusual dead flat whiteness
of the walls, corresponding to the whiteness of the dream box.
We sat rather near the front of this white auditorium, and
the opening on to the stage being just in front of us, and the
ceiling being very high, I had again the impression of my box.
I noticed too, with increasing interest, that the curtains on
each side of the stage were of a reddish brown colour, cor-
responding exactly to that of the map in my dream.
When Professor Saurat appeared on the platform I saw
him to be a short man, with a quiet confident manner. His
subject for the day turned out to be this very one of precogni-
tive dreams. In particular he dealt with the dream of a French
officer relating to a part of Germany during the Napoleonic
wars, and in order to illustrate the matter clearly Professor
Saurat remarked that it might be desirable if he drew a map.
He asked the audience whether they would like him to do
that, and by a show of hands they indicated that they wished it*
The word "map" had made me sit up in some excitement.
Needless to say, mine was one of the hands which went up,
but I marvelled indeed when the Professor proceeded to draw
on the blackboard a map representing a river and its tribu-
taries, and moreover drew it on the left side of the board.
This admirable case (as Professor Saurat himself termed it
when it was communicated to him) leaves the alligators and
the Indian fakir apparently unexplained. As to the alligators,
it may be observed, although here no question of Precognition
is involved, that the name Saurat has a marked resemblance in
sound to sauria, the name of the genus to which alligators
34 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
belong. It was the name Saurat which was "avoided" by the
fakir, whose concern with the soul rather than the body identi-
fies him with the lecturer and his psychical subject.
Certainly we must give ourselves pause in our methods of
interpreting dreams, a reflection which receives further sup-
port from the dream which I had the night before October
15, 1943. On waking I could remember no more than one
scene. That was of a baby in a perambulator. A second baby
was put into the arms of the first, who exclaimed, "I'm so
happy!" The faces of the two babies were close together,
looking straight at me.
That morning a young woman with whom my work
brought me frequently in contact, asked me ingenuously
whether I would like to see four photographs which she
brought out of her purse. On looking at them, I saw that the
top one was of a baby in a perambulator. The second was of
the same subject. The other two showed the mother (sister
of jthe young woman) holding the baby in her arms, her face
and the baby's face looking side by side at me like the two
The fact that the dream baby who received the other in his
arms then spoke was evidently an effort to give him adult
status to correspond with the mother; and the words, "I'm so
happy" express the natural feelings of a young mother.
Even a dream which is directly amatory in character may
be precognitive. One night (that preceding December 30,
1945) I dreamed that I was walking in some public woodlands
with a fair-haired girl who was dressed in dark red clothes. I
particularly noticed the evergreen trees as we strolled along.
The girl was touching me in a very friendly manner.
On waking, I was somewhat perturbed to discover a swell-
ing just under my left ear, and after breakfast telephoned my
doc tor. It happened, however, to be a Sunday, and the doctor
WHAT PRECOGNITION IS 35
was not available. The swelling was certainly getting larger,
and if the cause was mumps it seemed desirable to know it as
soon as possible. Consequently I decided to call at the nearest
public hospital, which happened to be situated close to a large
public park, including several woodlands.
The hospital porter regarded me with a somewhat inhos-
pitable eye. I suppose that an apparently able-bodied man pre-
senting himself at a public hospital on a Sunday morning is
not exactly a welcome sight. But of course he passed me on to
the proper department, where I was received by a still more
severe elderly Sister who, for her part apparently considered
it quite extraordinary that a man of my mature age should
have such a swelling. She declined to commit herself to any
opinion, and requested me to sit down and wait until the
After a long delay the door on the opposite side of the room
opened to admit an attractive girl with fair hair hanging down
over her shoulders. She was dressed in dark red clothes, and
did not seem to me to be much more than nineteen years old.
"Here is the doctor/' called the Sister, and as I looked round
the room in some bewilderment her lean features permitted
themselves a fleeting, perhaps ironic smile.
I did some rapid mental calculation, assumed that the girl's
age might conceivably be as much as twenty one or two, and
further supposed that allowance must be made for the speed-
ing up of training during war time.
Next moment the girl was gently pressing my cheeks, neck
etc., in an effort to diagnose the trouble. This gentle palpation
went on for some time, during which I rested my eyes on sprigs
of holly, remnants of the Christmas decorations, which were
stuck behind the /pictures and other objects, and suggested a
correspondence with the evergreens in the previous night's
36 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
It is hardly necessary for me to make any comment on so
clear a fulfillment of the central theme of the dream; but
before proceeding to attempt the important task of defining
Precognition, a few remarks must be made on my reasons for
selecting in the first place a number of dreams which are, or
may be judged to be, sexual in character.
The primary reason is the great interest taken in that aspect
of dreams by students of psychology, and because the existing
systems of the analysis of dreams are mainly based on the as-
sumption of an erotic motivation. Once the psychoanalyst is
alive to the possibility of such a thing, he may begin to observe
in the case of his own dreams that they may be built up of
images which correspond to coming physical experiences and
thoughts arising therefrom. Besides the precognitive and
clairvoyant elements, consideration must be given to the pos-
sibility of impressions resulting from telepathic perception of
The universality of such telepathic perception has resulted
in its endorsement by, at any rate, a considerable number of
medical specialists. Dr. Wilhelm Stekel, author of Sex and
Dreams, 1 etc., even publicly rebuked Dr. Sigmund Freud for
neglecting telepathic dreams "which do not happen to fit in
with his theory." The question of first importance to the psy-
choanalyst is naturally the extent to which theories of the mind
are affected by telepathic awareness. Certainly Telepathy can-
not logically be limited to a few outcroppings of foreign
thoughts in dreams which happen to puzzle the investigator.
It is a process which-if the great mass of testimony outside
the purely medical field be studied-seems to affect every kind
of mental process, including, of course, the emotional. It re-
mains for the medical specialist to observe in his own work the
possible part played by Telepathy in the origin and develop-
i Published by Richard G. Badger, Boston, 1922.
WHAT PRECOGNITION IS 37
ment of neuroses, sexual or other, bearing in mind that Tele-
pathy is an unconscious process, and must probably be con-
sidered, like sexuality, to be repressed.
But it must be pointed out that the constant use of the word
"telepathy" to cover all forms of Extra-Sensory Perception is
dangerously lacking in precision. It ignores, perhaps it evades,
the possibility of Precognition. There is a kind of medical
author or lecturerusually referred to as "brilliant" who
with kindly humour disposes of what he calls "prophecy."
Perhaps he recounts the story of some palmist, or of some
patient not remarkable for exact observation, thus raising a
smile and incidentally flattering his own splendid powers of
reasoning. Happily for science there are medical men who,
while perhaps they have no such claims to brilliance, have
shown that they know what the evidence for Precognition is,
that it cannot be brushed aside, and that it must be the subject
of continued study.
Tentatively it has been suggested that no system of dream
analysis, as such, needs revision as a result of the admission
even of Precognition, since the patient may be assumed to have
taken material from his future as well as his past to serve the
same psychological ends. That, however, is not the first prob-
lem, nor the chief one. The tremendous, the overwhelming
problem is that of explaining how, under a system of psychol-
ogy which regards the human mind as nothing more than the
integration of motor responses to stimuli, such a process as
Precognition can occur. No professional considerations can or
should qualify anyone's attitude to that problem.
Every reasonable person to-day acknowledges the immense
value, from the therapeutic point of view, of the work of the
trained psychoanalyst and psychiatrist. Not only in the con-
sulting room is suffering alleviated, but by means of wide-
spread writings modern psychology fosters in the younger
38 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
generation a spirit of rationalism, and places the discussion of
sex problems in particular on a franker and more healthy level
than that allowed by old-time implications of salacity and sin-
fulness. It is indeed a noble work which is being done against
the dark elements of hush and pretend. All the greater would
be the pity if the same sincerity and reasoning power were
not displayed in dealing with the formidable problem posed
by Extra-Sensory Perception.
It was, no doubt, the too frequent combination of enmity
to human freedom with self-proclaimed spirituality that in-
fluenced the founder of psychoanalysis in his long unwilling-
ness to concede the possibility of even "telepathy," though
scientists of intellect not inferior to his own had given it that
degree of acceptance sixty years before. "It testifies to Freud's
incorruptible scientific spirit/' remarks Dr. Jan Ehrenwald in
a recent book, "that at the climax of his career he went far to
revise his original uncpmpromising attitude towards alleged
supernormal phenomena, and we pointed out on an earlier
page that in so doing he threw open the gates to doubts as to
the uncontestably rational nature of his system/' 1
"I am not," declared Freud himself, with a just pride, at the
conclusion of his lecture on "Dreams and the Occult/' "con-
cerned to seek anyone's favour, and I must suggest to you that
you should think more kindly of the objective possibility of
thought transference and therefore also of telepathy/' 2
1 Telepathy and Medical Psychology, (W. W. Norton & Co., 1948) . See also
Dr. L. J. Bendit's Paranormal Cognition, (Faber, London, 1944) , and articles
in the American Imago by Dr. Nandor Fodor (Aug. 1942) , and Dr. Theodor
Reik (Nov. 1939).
2 New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, (W. W. Norton & Co.,
1933) . The slight distinction here made between "telepathy" and "thought-
transference" may reflect the view of Dr. C. G. Raue in his Psychology as a
Natural Science applied to the solution of Occult Psychical Phenomena (1889) ,
where "Fernwirkung" (action at a distance) , otherwise thought-transference
or "telergy" is distinguished from "Fernfiihlen" (sensing at a distance) or
telepathy. The former is action to transfer, the latter is reception. See also
WHAT PRECOGNITION IS 39
The words could have been spoken by the young William
Barrett, back in 1876, when confronting the British Associa-
tion with his unwelcome paper.
If it is to maintain its reputation, and win the respect of
future generations, psychology must lend its ear fearlessly
rather than kindly to the evidence, not merely for Telepathy,
but for Precognition and all other experiences not explicable
by the hitherto accepted theories of physical science. It has too
long allowed its objectivity to be affected by its anxiety to
imitate the great achievement of Darwin. In the evidence for
fextra-Sensory Perception there is a clear intimation that the
unconscious mind cannot be summed up only as a recapitula-
tion of the primordial. It includes processes inexplicable on a
The Definition of Precognition
A definition of Precognition must be in accord, not with in-
herited ideas of "prophecy/' but with what is actually ex-
It is evident that all the above recited dreams related to the
sense perception that I was going to have. They were pre-
cognitive of that perception. In two cases the event had not
occurred at the time of the dream, and Precognition is the only
form of Extra-Sensory Perception which applies.
In the remaining cases the dreams were precognitive of my
mental reactions at the moment when the news reached me,
but as in these cases the events had already happened it is
necessary to consider the alternative explanations of Clair-
voyance in the case of the newspaper pictures etc. (see A in
Dr. James Coates's Seeing the Invisible (1906) , and J. C. F. Grumbine'f
Telepathy (1915) . But recent psychical research is not committed to such
distinctions. The supposedly passive mind of the "recipient" may be the active
one, perceiving the mind of the supposed "sender."
SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
diagram below) , and Telepathy in the exposure case (see B
The following classification will perhaps make this problem
clearer. It is one which arises in all other cases.
or report already
Experience or sense
perception (i.e. see-
existing in news-
A paper etc., several
ing the photographs
corresponding to the
hours or longer
before P recognition.
Photov of baby.)
Event 7 days
B (Exposure case.)
Experience or sense
hearing account of
ing to the Pre-
Experience or sense
of which the whole
perception of actual
causes were not
C within the cognis-
after the Precogni-
ance of any one
tion and corre-
sponding to it.
The fact that alternative "explanations," Clairvoyance and
Telepathy, may be offered in the majority of cases of apparent
Precognition, does not mean that those alternatives are to be
preferred. The tendency to do that would be justified only if
no clear cases of Precognition were known. But as such cases
have been established as decisively as other forms of Extra-
Sensory Perception, Precognition is entitled to equal consid-
eration with them.
It may then be observed, if all the details are given that
close examination which is always essential, that the telepathic
and clairvoyant explanations are open to considerable doubt.
WHAT PRECOGNITION IS 41
The dream or other experience may be found to contain
elements which spring from the individual's personal reaction
when the story comes to be heard or the picture to be seen.
These elements do not form part of the event, story or picture;
they arise in his mind as a result of his sense perception. But
they were also present in the Precognition.
Thus in the dream classified above at B, it was my personal
prudery that presented the nude man with his back to me, it
having been my experience that people undressing before
strangers, e.g. on the sea-shore, usually turn their backs to one.
Telepathy from the victim would not be expected to be so
evasive. Mr. H. F. Saltmarsh dreamed he saw two dogs worry-
ing lambs, some of whom were bleeding at the throat; ten
days later he was motoring past a field, and saw two dogs
chasing lambs, and there was blood on the latter. Subsequent
investigation showed that the dogs belonged to the farmer,
and that the lambs' tails had just been dockedhence the blood
and excitement. 1 Such cases where the precognitive experi-
ence includes errors of judgment and the like, indicate that
the Precognition relates to the percipient's own future experi-
ence, and not to any more accurate representation of the event.
Consequently true Precognition may take place even when
the event has already happened, though outside the normal
means of information. The evidence that Precognition is a
fact naturally does not rest on cases of that kind: it rests pri-
marily on cases where the event lies in the future, but the
secondary cases help towards an understanding of the fre-
quency of Precognition, and may help to a knowledge of its
The attribution of many instances to Clairvoyance on the
ground that the object precognised was already in existence,
overlooks a circumstance which greatly strengthens the proba-
1 Edith Lyttelton, Some Cases of Prediction, p. 94.
42 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
bility that Precognition is the correct explanation.
If, for example, the view be preferred that my dream of the
babies was clairvoyant, because the photographs were already
in existence, how are we to account for the fact that the Clair-
voyance was concentrated upon these particular photographs,
and not upon any other of the millions of photographs in
existence? As I did not, by normal means, know the photo-
graphs existed and would be produced to me, my dream
images depended upon Precognition of the coming experience
of having the photographs produced to me. The point in-
volved is of the greatest importance, and brief allusion may be
made to another case.
A few months before the dream of the babies, my friend
and neighbour, Mrs. E. B., offered to show me over an empty
house which was for sale. She obtained the key, and the follow-
ing morning we made the visit together. During the night
between the arrangement and the visit I had a dream the main
heads of which I wrote down in bed in the dark. During the
visit to the empty house, my friend opened a cupboard on a
landing, turned over some piles of dusty music etc. which it
contained, picked out from the midst and handed to me a
pamphlet. It corresponded unmistakeably with my recorded
dream images. The details of this and other fulfilments need
not be given here the account runs to 1500 words in my
diary. The outline of the case is merely cited as a type, to
illustrate that though the pamphlet had undoubtedly lain in
the middle of the pile in the cupboard for a long time, its
supposed "clairvoyant" cognition by me would be meaning-
less if Mrs. E. B., whose guidance I was passively following
throughout the visit, had not opened the cupboard, turned
over the contents, selected the object, and handed it to me
with the words, "Here's something for you\"
So far as I was concerned this was a normally unpredictable
WHAT PRECOGNITION IS 43
"future event" in my physical sense experience. In no essential
respect does such a coming experience differ from any other
"future event/' except in any possible cases where the per-
cipient may never hear of the future event.
Precognition is, therefore, implicit in this very common
type of spontaneous "clairvoyance," as it is usually called. And
this being so, it follows that Clairvoyance is not an absolutely
convincing explanation even when the case concerns a letter
addressed to the percipient or a newspaper lying outside his
,door; although in such cases Clairvoyance does have better
Instead, therefore, of the definition, "Cognition of a future
event which could not be known through rational inference/'
and "Perception or awareness of future events, apart from in-
formation or inference," I would propose this provisional
"Perception or awareness, not attributable to information
or rational inference, which corresponds to the future sense
perception of the subject, or of another person."
This definition covers equally cases where the future ex-
perience is a personal participation in the event, or the receipt
of news about it; and even those in which the future of another
person is known by a combination of Precognition and Tele-
RATIONALISM, AND POE'S TALES
EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION is involved only when the ex-
perience cannot be explained by the ordinary means of
information and by reasoning based thereon. The dreams re-
lated in the previous chapter cannot be so explained; they
related to experiences not received by the physical senses until
the next day, and so they come inevitably under the head of
Extra-Sensory Perception perception not due to information
or reasoning, yet arriving in advance of the physical sense
In considering every case a rigid rationalism, one which
allows no fancies or predilections to draw us into conclusions
not evident to another reasoning being, is the first essential.
It is largely as a result of failure to observe the rule of reason
that so much deserved discredit has fallen upon the investiga-
tion of some psychical phenomena, in addition to the unde-
served discredit due to mere ignorance or unwillingness to
adapt to new knowledge on the part of the critic.
Fortunately, when reason is accepted as the sole arbiter, it
is usually possible to distinguish between the experiences
which come under the head of Extra-Sensory Perception, and
those which do not; and these latter, however interesting,
attractive, or suggestive they may be, are not included in the
In recounting the following experience my object is only to
RATIONALISM, AND POE's TALES 45
illustrate, in perhaps the clearest possible way, what does not
come under the heading of Extra-Sensory Perception. It
occurred on October 7, 1927, and the night of that day.
Glancing through the catalogue of a Leeds (Yorkshire)
secondhand bookseller, I observed this item:
Finch (W., Canterbury) A Masonic Key, with an Elucidation
on the Religious 8c Moral Beauties of Freemasonry, Ziy-
dvjxyjpix, etc., for the use of Lodges & Brothers in General,
dedicated to William Perfect, Provincial Grand Master for
the County of Kent, folding emblematic plate, 8vo, original
wrappers (92 pp) uncut, Canterbury, 1801, scarce.
On the title is printed, "Please to observe that every book has
here on the title page ty Qxzf, & Oivjjxg Qvwgzjpix.
Possibly the fact that I am not a mason made me the more
curious to penetrate one of the mysteries of the craft. Calling
to mind the ingenious solving of the code in Poe's Gold Bug,
which I had read recently, I set out to try to decipher the few
words given in this masonic code by using the methods de-
scribed by Poe.
This method is based on the fact that, in English, the letter
which most frequently occurs is e. After that (according to
Poe) , come a o i d h and so on. In a sentence of any length e is
almost certain to be the commonest letter, and hence it should
be easy to pick out the sign for it. In a similar way, among
words, "the" is the commonest, and one has only to pick out a
frequent combination of three signs ending in the one assumed
to be e, to be pretty sure of having the signs for t and h also.
In this way Poe shows that it is no very difficult matter to
solve an ordinary code-provided that the message is long
Unfortunately for my budding effort, the words in the
masonic code were, as may be seen above, no more than five in
number, and offered no means of identifying e or "the." I
46 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
made a guess that ty might be "an", and then gave the task up
During the night which followed I had a dream consisting
of a single picture, and that picture was composed simply of
the word ARCHITECTURE. It appeared in violet-
coloured capital letters on a black ground. That was all ; there
was absolutely nothing else in the dream but that one vision,
Next morning, on awakening, I remembered the picture I
had dreamed, but did not connect it with the code. I did not
even think of the code. But some time after getting up my eye
happened to light on the catalogue, and it suddenly flashed
across my mind that maybe "architecture" was that long word
in code. So, to my considerable excitement, it proved; and the
rest of the solution was easy, giving "me Seal and Written Sig-
nature." Ty is thus seen to mean "me" (no doubt "masonic
code") and not "an", as I had guessed in my waking effort.
Awake I could not so much as have repeated in correct order
more than two or three of the letters of the queer word
"ziydvjxyjpix", yet in sleep I evidently knew the whole word
perfectly, and could moreover try it against every word of 12
letters known to me, until I found one that fitted, i.e. one that
had letters in the right places corresponding to the two Fs,
two Y's, two }'s, two X's and the rest. My conscious mind had
made a very poor showing by my unconscious in the matter of
memory and tireless perseverance.
In 1948, nearly twenty-one years after the occurrence of this
dream, and very shortly after I had come to America, the home-
land of Poe (in 1927 I had scarcely set foot outside Yorkshire,
and had no American connection) I noticed a reference to the
fact that he had died on the night of October 7, 1849. Thus
my dream on the night of October 7, 1927 had been on the
exact anniversary of Poe's death, although at the time I was
unaware of this.
RATIONALISM, AND POE'S TALES 47
To what does this amount? Simply, I believe, a coincidence
of dates which may be ascribed to chance; and a remarkable
exhibition of the deductive powers of the unconscious mind.
There was nothing in the dream that contradicted or tran-
scended the ordinary powers of reasoning. The slightest case
of Precognition, embodied in the most commonplace incident,
would have been of more profound significance.
Extra-Sensory Perception, therefore, does not refer to the
powers of the mind carried to a high degree, nor to chance co-
jncidences, but to experiences which in their nature are in
contradiction to the powers of the mind as at present recog-
nised by science in general.
THE CASE OF GWENDOLINE NELSON
THE DAYS of my youth were passed in Yorkshire, amid
some of the most beautiful scenery in England.
A few miles from my home stands the ancient city of York,
former capital of England, still largely encircled by its Roman
and mediaeval wall, and containing streets of sixteenth and
seventeenth century houses which make London seem mod-
ernity itself. Towering amid it all is the Cathedral whose
foundations were laid more than a thousand years ago, and
which combines all the phases of Gothic architecture in its
immense and beautiful fabric. The surrounding district is rich
in ruined castles and abbeys, and the sites of battles famous in
history, not one of which did I fail to visit, though my youth-
ful pilgrimage was often a lonely one. Old books, old customs,
and old stones were as dear to my adolescent eyes as to those of
Not without amusement, I recall the afternoon of one of
those days. I was gazing into the window of an antique shop,
and suddenly heard myself addressed.
"It's very unusual to see anyone so young looking at
Turning, I saw at my side a dark, handsome woman of forty
or so, dressed completely in black. "I wonder what you read? 1 '
she went on with a smile, but with her eyes fixed intently on
THE CASE OF GWENDOLINE NELSON 49
A diary extending back only some twenty-five years does not
enable me to record exactly the reply I made. It must have in-
cluded my favourites Scott, Boswell, and Addison, as well as
books on evolution and freethought. I may even have men-
tioned that I liked reading the works of Bishops Butler and
Paley chiefly because I found a certain piquancy in reviewing
their old defences of orthodoxy in the light of more recent
"Why not come along and let me psychoanalyse you you
fliust have an interesting mind," commented the stranger
graciously, adding that psychoanalysis was her profession, and
that it would cost me nothing.
It is disappointing to have to record that shyness made me
decline the opportunity thus held out by the dark lady. Once
more I escaped into the past, and soon escaped still more com-
pletely through the medium of one of those idealistic, impos-
sible loves which seem not 'V the earth, and yet are on't."
What is noteworthy here (and contrary to a frequent as-
sumption) is that amid those poetry-inspiring surroundings,
during the enthusiasms, the agonies, and the solitariness of
adolescence, supernormal phenomena made little impression
Only later, when I turned to more conventional ways, dis-
covering that my ideal romance-derived conception of woman-
hood had little correspondence in the warm and generous
natures who successively inducted me into the realities of life,
did I begin frequently to observe the occurrence of the super-
normal. And it was after I became a married man, paying taxes
and gas bills, and entertaining the neighbours to tea, that
Precognition, in particular, forced itself repeatedly upon my
During this latter period I was invited to do some teaching
work in ... College, a small private co-educational establish-
50 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
ment in London, and one day in October I found myself con-
fronting a cfcss of some thirty girls and young women, to-
gether with a few youths.
The occupation was one which no one who knew me in
earlier years would have expected me to take up. Assuredly
it would have afforded some of my friends considerable de-
light could they have seen me on the second day of my new
work listening to the giggling which arose over some ambigu-
ous phrase in a piece which had been read aloud. But to be
able to recall one's own youth while watching its manifesta-
tions from the tutorial desk is a truly fascinating experience,
one calculated to bring out the observer's true sympathies, and
to test infallibly his sense of humour.
"What are you smiling at?" the girls immediately under my
desk would sometimes demand, nor did they in their turn
seem to lack understanding when, looking into their clear
eyes, I shook my head and said only, "Oh, something that
happened years ago!' 1
One day in 1943, after a night spent in the tedium of watch-
ing for fire-bombs, I was dozing after lunch in my study, which
adjoined my classroom at the top of the old mid-Victorian
building. I was roused by the voice of a girl on the landing
"I'm eighteen now, and when I leave here I expect to marry
Curiosity is mightier than somnolence. I got up from my
old wickerwork chair, and went outside. Two fair-haired girls,
who were leaning over the mahogany and iron balustrade and
gazing down the stairway, turned their heads at the sound
made by the opening of my door. The smaller of the two was
well known to me as a popular member of my class, but it was
evidently her companion whose remark had roused my at-
THE CASE OF GWENDOLINE NELSON 51
She was a tall good-looking blonde with blue eyes, and one
of those broad well-balanced heads which give the impression
of stability of character. I knew little of her except that her
name was Gwendoline Nelson. 1 As I passed the girls with
some greeting, Gwendoline informed me that she expected
shortly to be moved into my class. I expressed satisfaction, and
a few moments later returned to my interrupted sleep.
This little incident merely drew my attention momentarily
to Gwendoline Nelson. I mention it because of what followed,
and in view of what followed I have never been able to dis-
miss from my mind that noon time scene on the dusty sunlit
landing of the old house, after I had heard this fine young girl
speak of her marriage hopes.
The summer vacation came and went, and shortly after the
beginning of the new term, Gwendoline Nelson occasionally
appeared in my class, although she was not a regular member
It was then, and to be precise on the night of August 30,
1943, that I had the dream I must now recount. It is freely at
the disposal of any investigator who cares to analyse it. In re-
turn I ask that due consideration be given not only to the re-
quirements of the particular system to which the investigator
may adhere, but to the evidence that the material of dreams
and of waking thoughts is drawn from future as well as from
Once more I quote the original words of my diary:
" August 31 Tuesday. Woke up last night from this dream.
I was at a schoolas a master and standing by a number of
boys in running shorts and vests. Instead of being plain white
or other colour, their garments were striped with a thin pale
green stripe. The boys' faces were pastey and unhealthy. I
then turned to the left, and there was presented to me, that is
1 A substitute surname.
52 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
held before me, a wooden doll some 12 or 14 inches long. It
had the usual flaxen hair, pink and white complexion, and
blue eyes. Its clothing was a light blouse, and a skirt of crimson
lake. The skirt was rather curved at the bottom, so that the
corners on each side seemed to stick out. As I looked, a name
was carved across the [flat] wood in large capital letters, the
name following a curved line corresponding to the curve [at
the hem] of the skirt. This name was GWENDOLYNE. I remarked
to myself in the dream that the end of the name had evidently
been changed in the same way that I had changed Sabine to
Sabyne. That was all. I awoke, remembered the dream, and
went off to sleep again."
It is necessary for me to explain minor explanations are
inevitable that I have always been a keen genealogist. This
will not surprise anyone who has read the opening of this
chapter. In consequence of this interest I had sometimes re-
verted for some purposes to the mediaeval English spelling of
my name in place of the classicalised form which has grown
up more recently.
In the morning after the dream it occurred to me rather
vaguely that "Gwendolyne" might refer to Gwendoline Nel-
son or to some other girl of that name. My opinion, in so far as
I had one, was that the dream represented my thoughts about
my own surname; while the psychoanalyst will find elements
familiar to him.
The day had not gone very far, however, before I was again
reminded that the world of dreams is not so readily confined
within the deductive logic of either specialist or layman.
At the end of the first teaching hour, I was about to go
downstairs to get a glass of water when I noticed that a girl
sitting near the front of my class was wearing a blouse striped
in green like the boys in my dream. This seemed a trifling
correspondence, and I thought no more of it.
THE CASE OF GWENDOLINE NELSON 53
On approaching the door I bent down to speak to Miss
Butcher, 1 who usually was a very bright little girl, but who on
this day was looking rather depressed. In reply to a question
she assured me that she felt quite all right. I glanced from her
face to that of her companion, Miss Tilly, before I passed on.
Both these girls had naturally pale faces; in fact Miss Tilly's
was ordinarily almost white, and in the case of any other per-
son you would have said she was on the point of fainting.
I went downstairs, and on the way passed a boy. The place
was otherwise quite deserted, as the classes had been changed,
and the doors had been shut on the rooms.
Just as I reached the foot of the long winding staircase of
which I have previously spoken, and as I was about to turn to
the left, the door immediately fronting on the foot of the stairs
opened, and out came Gwendoline Nelson. She closed the
door behind her, and said good-morning to me.
The sight of the girl, as she stood momentarily still, with
her back to the wooden door, almost deprived me of the
presence of mind to answer her and go on, for I instantly
recognised in her the doll of the dream. There was the flaxen
hair carefully arranged on the head, the pink and white cheeks,
the blue eyes, the light blouse, and the crimson-lake skirt
oddly curved at the bottom just as it had been in the dream.
Only the carved name was absent from the living doll.
When I returned up the stairs, I paused a moment on the
landing before re-entering my classroom, and while I was
there a girl who had left the room during my absence, without
leave, came running up, excused herself in passing, and en-
tered the room ahead of me.
I have been so meticulous because the only way in which a
dream can be properly judged is where there has been this
meticulous attention on the part of the dreamer himself.
1 This and the other names in this chapter are substitutes.
54 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
If now a comparison is made between the waking experi-
ences of these few minutes, and the dream, we have:
First, a girl's striped blouse, the pale faces of two other girls,
a boy, and a girl running; all of which were combined in the
preceding dream into a group of pale-faced boys dressed in
running clothes of the same pattern as the blouse.
Second, the sudden presentation against a wooden door of
the girl Gwendoline, taking the form in the dream of the sud-
den presentation of a flat wooden doll perfectly corresponding
to her in all particulars, and even bearing her name.
The waking experiences, it will be observed, all occurred
within a few minutes, and this close grouping of the cor-
respondences ruled out every possible explanation but the
now familiar one of Precognition. There was one point on
which I felt such urgent curiosity that I felt I must try to pur-
sue it further.
The next day, Wednesday, happened to be one on which
Miss Nelson came into my class. I was quick to observe what
she was wearing. It was an old dark dress such as a student
might be expected to wear for sitting at desks which in war-
time were not always as dustfree as they might have been.
When the girl had sat down, I went up to her.
"Tell me, Miss Nelson, weren't you wearing a red skirt
"Why, yes," replied the surprised girl, obviously wondering
why on earth I had put such a question.
"Were you wearing it on Monday?"
"Well, have you ever worn it here before?"
"Not this term. But why?"
"I'll explain in a minute. Just one more question have you
ever worn the skirt here since you joined, apart from yester-
After a few moments' reflection Gwendoline told me she
THE CASE OF GWENDOLINE NELSON 55
believed she "might" have worn the skirt "once or twice." I
gathered that she had to reserve it for special occasions in
severely rationed England, and yesterday she had been going
out somewhere. All this questioning naturally enough had
aroused the curiosity and amusement of the other girls, and
I found it necessary to recount my dream to Gwendoline with
the others listening. On several faces it was not difficult to see
the recollection of similar incidents in their own lives evincing
itself in an expression of keen attention.
The matter of the skirt was really a most important one.
The girl wore a skirt on Tuesday which I saw in a dream the
previous night, which her own testimony showed I had not
seen the previous day, or the day before that or during weeks
before, if I ever saw it at all, which I had no recollection of
The more I reflected on this dream and its fulfilment, the
more it interested me. The vivid correspondence of the doll to
the actual girl, and the curious carving of her name in flat
raised capitals seemed to me no ordinary form of symbolism.
All that day my mind wandered over the strange experience,
seeking in every corner for new light upon it. I looked up
Gwendoline's record, but it told me little more than her
address in Islington.
The following day, Thursday, my curiosity was not in the
least abated. Looking again at the address led me to a street
map, by which I found that Gwendoline's home was very close
to Upper Street in Islington. "Why," exclaimed the genealo-
gist in me, "it's only a few yards from old William's!" Old
William was my great-great-grandfather who, at the time of
the Napoleonic wars, was living in a mansion house on this
same Upper Street, the main thoroughfare of the then rural
Islington. 1 Though three generations living in a different part
iNow, unfortunately, not so "merry" as when John Gilpin gambolled
56 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
of the country separated me from him, I was completely fam-
iliar with the facts concerning him. His wife had, as her minia-
ture shows, much the same features as Gwendoline broad
face, golden hair, and blue eyes. No obvious relevance indeed
in that, but, although awake (and shaving) my ideas were
flitting about with the same apparent inconsequence as in a
dream: "Perhaps my dream of the doll was inspired by old
William!'* I mused. "Did they possibly have wooden dolls in
those days? Maybe the doll represented his wife." Such was
the concatenation of ideas that passed through my head while
shaving, as absurd to all appearances as any thoughts could be.
Yet when I sat down to breakfast, and opened the Daily
Telegraph, my eye fell on the following paragraph:
" 'Tiki' for Mrs. Roosevelt. Gift by Maoris. Auckland, New
Zealand, Wednesday. Mrs. Roosevelt had a most enthusiastic
as well as picturesque welcome from the Maoris yesterday. . . .
The presents for Mrs. Roosevelt and her husband were a
Maori canoe paddle and a wooden 'tiki*. A tiki represents an
Here was the statement that a wooden tiki (little carved
image) "represents an ancestor'' meeting my eye just after my
fantastic thought that perhaps the wooden doll represented
my ancestor. It is, then, not only in sleep that coming experi-
ence is anticipated. The same process may be oberved to be
going on, though less noticeably, while we are awake.
The fact that circumstances had more or less compelled me
to recount my dream to Gwendoline Nelson created a little
bond of amused friendship between us. But I did not see a
great deal more of her, as her work took her away from my
room not long after she had begun attendance there. I believe
that, like many students during the war, she took a part-time
job in an office.
It was on January 4, 1944, four months and a few days after
the dream, that two students came to me with news that left
THE CASE OF GWENDOLINE NELSON 57
me shocked and incredulous. Gwendoline Nelson, they said,
had died on Christmas Day.
I hastened to a woman member of the staff, who could only
confirm what I had been told, and add a few details. Gwendo-
line was to have gone with a party of students to a theatre a
few days before Christmas, under the leadership of this lady.
But she was taken ill and removed to a hospital. On Christmas
day she fell into a kind of coma. Before doing so, she indicated
to her mother and sister that she had gifts ready for them.
From the coma she did not awake. My informant believed
that Gwendoline had mastoiditis. However, on consulting the
public records I ascertained that the cause of death was given
at an adjourned inquest, and after a postmortem, as "diabetic
coma." To me, and to everyone else, Gwendoline had always
had the appearance of being in excellent health, and full of
life and spirits.
This tragic event naturally leads to the question as to
whether, besides the familiar Precognition of the common-
places of the following day, the dream evinced any foreknowl-
edge of the death. Some indications of this there are. The
name was carved on the dream doll in flat, raised capitals such
as I have often seen on memorial stones of modern type; and a
wooden doll is a "dead" representation, which, coupled with
my apparently absurd waking thought about it representing
my own deceased female ancestor, assumed, in the light of
events, the appearance of a guarded symbolism. And there is
also the point that my dream related to this particular girl,
and not to any one of a hundred others.
A certain impatience is, of course, felt with the indirect
nature of most precognitive dreams, and perhaps a disappoint-
ment at the absence of those marvellous and sensational fea-
tures which some old traditions, and even more the activities
of fiction writers, have led us to expect. But a case like this,
58 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
which I have essayed to recount without undue stress or im-
plication, does possibly point to one reason why real Precogni-
tion, as distinct from posterior imagination or invention, must
manifest in a cautious way.
Had my dream informed my waking consciousness that this
young girl, who seemed only at the beginning of her life, was
in truth near the end of it, I should have been in a position
repugnant to a very deep respect for a fellow creature. My con-
sciousness of the coming fatality would surely not have escaped
the consciousness of the girl: however carefully I had guarded
my tongue, she would have read it in my eyes.
But that conscious knowledge of future experiences is so
evidently irreconcilable with the life we know, does not pre-
clude us from observing the evidence that future experiences
are of a precognisable nature. That the evidence takes a form
which ensures our inability to interfere with the course of
events is actually reassuring, for it suggests a sense of inner
responsibility so dominant that the awareness of this tremend-
ous faculty seems to be brought about only for the purpose of
self -correction. It may be the only way, or the only practicable
way, of showing ourselves that a purely materialistic philoso-
phy of life is not well founded.
That is one conclusion towards which such dreams as that
about my pupil Gwendoline may contribute.
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH
IN THE morning of December 16, 1897, Frederick Lane, an
actor in William Terriss's company, entered the Adelphi
Theatre, London, to take part in a rehearsal.
Before arriving at the dressing rooms he encountered Miss
Olive Haygate, also a member of the company, and they ex-
"There will be no performance to-night! " declared Lane
jovially, and went on to explain that a few hours earlier he had
dreamed that he saw Mr. Terriss lying on the stairs leading
to the dressing rooms. His chest was bare and his clothing torn
aside, so that Lane thought he must be in some kind of fit.
Various people belonging to the theatre were standing by, and
doing their best for him. Immediately afterwards Lane
dreamed that the theatre would not open that night.
He did not take his dream in the least bit seriously. Rather
did he regard it as a waggish story about the chief, and on
entering the dressing rooms he repeated it in this spirit to
several men members of the caste.
In the evening of the same day, as William Terriss reached
the private entrance of the theatre in Maiden Lane, and was
putting his key in the lock, a man who for some time had been
lurking about the lane, rushed forward, and, with a long thin-
bladed knife, stabbed the unfortunate actor in the region of
the heart and again in the back.
60 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Lane, who was himself on his way to the theatre about this
time, heard the outcry resulting from the outrage, and learn-
ing what had happened, rushed for a doctor. When he got
back to the theatre he saw Terriss lying in the place where he
had seen him in the dream. In the interval the wounded man
had been carried inside the theatre, but it had been found im-
possible to take him further than the foot of the stairs leading
to the dressing room, and there in less than twenty minutes he
died. Terriss's clothing was open as Lane had seen it in the
dream, and the same people were standing round and tend-
ing him. There was no performance at the theatre that night.
At the request of the Society for Psychical Research, Miss
Haygate, H. Carter Bligh, and S. Creagh Henry, members of
the caste, wrote out signed statements confirming that Lane
had told the dream to them in detail in the morning, when
neither he nor anyone else attached any serious importance to
it. These statements, with that of Lane himself, are included
in a full report of the case published in the Society 's Proceed-
ings, vol. xiv, 1898-9. 1
Telepathy from the murderer (who, by the way, was found
to be insane) , would not account for this dream, because the
deed was committedwhere the murderer obviously intended
to commit it outside the theatre, and he could not know that
his victim, on being carried inside, would have to be left at the
foot of the stairs.
The case well illustrates that it is the coming experience of
the percipient himself that is precognised, and not the event.
Lane did not foresee the crime. He dreamed a picture ("I saw
it like a tableau") of the scene at the foot of the stairs as it
would be presented to him, individually, in the future. His
dream did not even tell him that Terriss was wounded, let
alone that he would die. So far as the demonstration of Pre-
*See also London Times, Dec, 17, 1897.
PRECOGN1TION AND DEATH 61
cognition is concerned Lane's dream could as well have re-
lated to some trivial matter, but then it would never have been
recorded, and even the dreamer himself might not have re-
membered his experience for long.
The too-ready assumption in all ages that experiences un-
der the head of Precognition must be intended as "warnings"
ol what is to come has prevented a detached judgment of
them. The records of mankind teem with legends and anec-
dotes of solemn premonitions given to kings and to every
grade of their subjects. These prophecies or premonitions
generally portended death or some great calamity.
Thus the seer Theoclymenus warned the suitors in the
hall of Ulysses:
I see the walls and arches dappled thick
With gore; the vestibule is thronged, the court
On alf" sides thronged with apparitions grim
Of slaughtered men . . . l
The Pharoah of Moses's time dreamed of the coming
plagues, and his chief baker of his coming death; while the
fate of King Nebuchadnezzar was foretold by his dream of
the statue with a head of gold and feet of clay.
More fortunate was Alexander the Great who dreamed of
the root that would cure his friend Ptolemy, who had been
wounded by a poisoned dart, and thus saved him from dying
in anguish. Calpurnia, wife of the dictator Julius Caesar had
two premonitory dreams the night before her husband's
death. One was symbolic, presenting to her Caesar's statue
with blood flowing from it; the other was more direct, and
showed him falling under the daggers of assassins.
Not impossibly some terrible precognitive experience oc-
curred to the wife of Pontius Pilate, since Matthew records
that even as her husband sat down in the judgment seat, she
1 Cowper's Odyssey of Homer, xx, 422.
62 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
sent him this message, "Have thou nothing to do with that
just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream
because of him."
The assassination of Henry IV of France was dreamed the
night before by Marie de' Medici; and it is recorded that
Henry III, who was killed by a fanatical monk, had a dream
three days before the crime in which he saw "all the royal
ornaments, such as sandals, tunics, dalmatics, the mantle of
azure satin, the sceptre, the Hand of Justice, all bloody and
trampled under foot by monks/ 1
An even more striking symbolical dream was that experi-
enced by King James V of Scotland, father of the celebrated
Queen Mary. The historian George Buchanan recorded:
"King James V dreamed that James Hamilton (who was ex-
ecuted for high treason) was running at him with his drawn
sword; and that first he cut off his right arm, and then his
left, and threatened shortly to come and take away his life;
and then disappeared. When the king awoke in a fright, and
was pondering about the event of his dream, word was
brought him that both his sons departed this life, almost at
one and the same time/'
Queen Mary's great-grandson, James II of England, re-
counted to John Evelyn, the famous diarist and Founder Fel-
low of the Royal Society, that a French nobleman at London,
seeing the Duke of Monmouth come into the play-house,
"suddenly cried out to somebody sitting in the same box,
Voild Monsieur comme il entre sans tete." The Duke was not
long afterwards involved in rebellion, and beheaded for it.
Almost everyone has heard the story, recorded by Lincoln's
biographers, of how two weeks before his death the President
recounted to his wife, his friend Lamon, and others that
he had dreamed of seeing in the East Room of the White
House a catafalque and corpse, and had been told by a soldier
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH 63
guarding it that the President had been assassinated.
A selection of slightly fuller accounts will serve to illustrate
further some of the principal types of Precognitive experiences
which have been handed down, and to show equally that the
percipients concerned in these stories are not, as is so often
insinuated, either imaginative recluses or professional sooth-
That other assiduous diarist and Fellow of the Royal Soci-
ety, Samuel Pepys, made meritorious efforts to collect infor-
mation about Second Sight, writing to various persons who
might be able to help him. On May 27, 1701, the Earl of
Clarendon, uncle of the Queen, replied as follows:
"One day, I know by some remarkable circumstances it
was towards the middle of February 1662, the old Earl of
Newborough came to dine with my father at Worcester
House, and another Scotch gentleman with him, whose name
I cannot call to mind. After dinner, as we were standing and
talking together in the room, says my Lord Newborough to
the other Scotch gentleman (who was looking very stedfastly
upon my wife) , "What is the matter, that thou hasi had thine
eyes fixed upon my Lady Cornbury ever since she came into
the room? Is she not a fine woman? Why dost thou not
speak?" "She is a handsome lady indeed," said the gentleman,
"but I see her in blood." Whereupon my Lord Newborough
laughed at him; and all the company going out of the room
we parted: and I believe none of us thought more of the mat-
ter; I am sure I did not. My wife was at the time perfectly
well in health, and looked as well as ever she did in her life.
In the beginning of the next month she fell ill of the small
pox: she was always very apprehensive of that disease, and
used to say, if she ever had it she should die of it. Upon the
ninth day after the small pox appeared, in the morning, she
bled at the nose, which quickly stopped; but in the afternoon
the blood burst out again with great violence at her nose and
64 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
mouth, and about eleven of the clock that night she died, al-
most weltering in her blood/' (Memoirs of Samuel Pepys
Esq., F.R.S., 2nd ed., 1828, vol. 5, pp. 296-8.)
Another early Fellow of the Royal Society, John Aubrey,
was told by William Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvania, "that
he went with his mother on a visit to Admiral Dean's
wife, who then lived in Petty France; 1 the Admiral was their
at sea. She told them that, the night before, she had v a perfect
dream of her husband, whom she saw walking on the deck,
and giving directions, and that a cannon bullet struck his arm
into his side. This dream did much discompose her, and
within forty-eight hours she received news of the fight at sea,
and that her husband was killed in the very manner afore-
said." (Miscellanies upon Various Subjects, by John Aubrey,
From the collection in Crowe's Night Side of Nature, 1848,
I select this:
"Major Andr, the circumstances of whose lamented death
are too well-known to make it necessary for me to detail them
here, was a friend of Miss Seward's [the poetess, of Lichfield],
and previously to his embarkation for America [i.e. about
1774], he made a journey to Derbyshire to pay her a visit,
and it was arranged that they should ride over to see the won-
ders of the Peak, and introduce Andr6 to Newton, her min-
strel, as she called him, and to Mr. Cunningham, the curate,
who was also a poet,
"While these two gentlemen were awaiting the arrival of
their guests, of whose intentions they had been apprised, Mr.
Cunningham mentioned to Newton that on the preceding
night he had had a very extraordinary dream, which he
could not get out of his head. He had fancied himself in a
forest; the place was strange to him; and while looking about
l A London street which anciently housed the suite of the French Ambassador.
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH 65
he perceived a horseman approaching at great speed, who had
scarcely reached the spot where the dreamer stood, when
three men rushed out of the thicket, and, seizing his bridle,
hurried him away, after closely searching his person. The
countenance of the stranger being very interesting, the sym-
pathy felt by the sleeper for his apparent misfortune awoke
him; but he presently fell asleep again, and dreamed that he
was standing near a great city, among thousands of people, and
that he saw the same person he had seen seized in the wood
brought out and suspended to a gallows. When Andr and
Miss Seward arrived, he was horror-struck to perceive that
his new acquaintance was the antitype of the man in the
The accounts which follow are culled from different
"In 1844, the Hon. N. P. Tallmadge 2 was one of a company,
invited by Commodore Stockton to make an excursion down
the Potomac on the United States war steamer Princeton. The
party included the President and members of the Cabinet,
together with many distinguished gentlemen and ladies. The
Commodore proposed to signalise the occasion by firing his
'Peace-maker' a wrought iron gun of large calibre. Accord-
ingly, a portion of the company assembled upon the forward
deck, Governor Tallmadge occupying a position at the breech
of the gun. He felt no apprehension of danger; and the first,
second and third discharges were unaccompanied by any un-
pleasant results. The party then went below for refreshments.
After dinner the Governor returned to the deck, when he ob-
served that the great gun was about to be discharged for the
fourth and last time. He at once assumed his former position.
1 Major John Andre" was captured September 23, 1780, and hanged as a
ipy on October 2.
2 A Senator from New York, and Governor of Wisconsin.
66 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
But the Commodore, President, and heads of the Executive
Departments, were still below, and the firing was delayed for
a few moments on their account. It was then that a mysterious
feeling of apprehension and dread suddenly seized the Gov-
ernor, and under an irresistible impulse he turned away and
followed the ladies into the cabin. Immediately the report
was heard, and the next moment came the startling and ter-
rible intelligence that five distinguished gentlemen, includ-
ing two members of the Cabinet had been instantly killed by
the last discharge. In his description of that frightful acci-
dent, Governor Tallmadge says: 'I rushed on deck, saw the
lifeless and mangled bodies, and found that the gun had
burst at the very spot where I had stood at the three former
fires, and whereif I had remained at the fourth fire I should
have been perfectly demolished.' " (Man and his Relations,
by S. B. Brittan, M.D., 1865.)
Mr. Alfred Cooper, a medical specialist, contributed the
following account (six years after the event) to the London
Society for Psychical Research, and it was corroborated by
the then Duchess of Hamilton and her father, the Duke of
Manchester: "A fortnight before the death of the late Earl
of L., in 1882, I called upon the Duke of Hamilton, in Hill
Street, to see him professionally. After I had finished seeing
him we went into the drawing-room, where the Duchess was,
and the Duke said to me, 'Oh, Cooper ; how is the Earl?*
"The Duchess said, 'What Earl?* and on my answering,
'Lord L./ she replied, 'That is very odd. I have had a most
extraordinary vision. I went to bed, but after being in bed a
short time, I was not exactly asleep, but thought I saw a scene
as if from a play before me. The actors in it were Lord L., in
a chair, as if in a fit, with a man standing over him with a red
beard. He was by the side of a bath, over which bath a red
lamp was distinctly shown/
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH 67
"I then said, 'I am attending Lord L. at present; there is
very little the matter with him; he is not going to die; he will
be all right very soon/
"Well, he got better for a week and was nearly well, but at
the end of six or seven days after this I was called to see him
suddenly. He had inflammation of both lungs. I called in Sir
William Jenner, but in six days he was a dead man. There
were two male nurses attending on him; one had been taken
ill. But when I saw the other the dream of the Duchess was
exactly represented. He was standing near a bath over the
Earl, and, strange to say, his beard was red. There was the
bath with the red lamp over it. It is rather rare to find a bath
with a red lamp over it, and this brought the story to my
mind. The vision seen by the Duchess was told two weeks
before the death of Lord L." (Proceedings, S.P.R., xi, 505-6.)
The Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, author inter alia of the
famous hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers," recounts this
incident which happened in the year 1849: "When little Bea-
trice [his daughter] was ill, cutting teeth and with whooping
cough, I did not think that the nurse-girl was sufficiently alert
to attend to her, and so advised my wife to go into the bed-
room, and sleep with Beatrice. I was then in the room in
which Old Madam [an ancestor] died, above the drawing-
room. I was awoke about the middle of the night by my wife,
who came in and said: 'I cannot sleep. I hear people tramp-
ing, carrying something down the stairs/
"I sat up and argued with her. It was a windy night, and
the noise might be caused by the gale. As I was speaking there
sounded three heavy strokes as if made by a clenched fist
against the partition between the bedroom and the dressing
" 'It is only the starting of the timber/ said I, and induced
my wife to go back to her bed.
68 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
"Next day, so little did we think that Beatrice was in a
serious condition, that we went off to make a call in Launces-
ton. On our return I was sitting in the drawing-room, and
my wife fetched the child, who was dressed, and took her
down into the library. I heard a cry, and ran in, and found
that the child had died on her mother's knee. Her coffin was
carried down the staircase, as my wife had heard on the night
before her death. (Early Reminiscences, by S. Baring-Gould,
Similar stories might be cited ad infinitum, any one of
which would be open to some objection or other.
Those who are convinced, as a result of personal experi-
ence, or by good testimony such as that offered in the Terriss
case, that Precognition occurs in connection with tragedy,
will probably be the first to agree that stories which are orally
transmitted before being written down must be regarded
with great reserve. Whatever value they may originally have
had as evidence of that to which they purport to relate, they
have lost much of it through not being written down in detail
at the time; for even supporting witnesses do not help much
if they too are trusting to their memories of events that hap-
pened five, ten, twenty or forty years before.
The most serious criticism, however, derives from the fact
that many people have had dreams containing premonitions
of misfortune or tragedy which they admit were never ful-
filled, and it is probably true that these apparently unfulfilled
premonitions are far more numerous than cases of tragic
But what is "fulfilment?"
It is here, in the meaning to be attached to this word, that
the key to the whole situation is to be sought. Traditionally,
as we have seen, precognitive experiences have been regard-
i Published by John Lane, London.
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH 6 ( J
ed as above all premonitory of evil. The more the literature
of the subject is read, the more obvious it becomes that most
of the accounts have arisen not from impartial observation,
but from the prior deliverance over to irrational beliefs, com-
bined with the vanity of being associated with the weird and
fearful. It is, then, easy to understand why so many earnest
and truth-seeking enquirers have been repelled and confused
by the subject.
Thus even the acute Abercrombie, in his Inquiries Con-
cerning the Intellectual Powers, after citing a number of cases
of Precognition, and acknowledging that a few of them were
not explicable on any known principle, commented on the
majority that "Such coincidences derive their wonderful
character from standing above and apart from those numerous
instances in which such dreams take place without fulfilment."
The concluding words, "take place without fulfilment,"
show how Abercrombie (like his numerous modern succes-
sors) missed the truth because of an inherited misunderstand-
ing. Those other cases of dreams supposed not to have been
fulfilled were not given the kind of attention which could
have revealed the sort of precognitive elements they might
have contained, as distinct from the sensational prophecies
which the dreamers wanted to find, in the hope of serving
their personal ends. The investigators were influenced by the
habit of expecting and looking for portents of tragic and ex-
traordir >ry events.
What more attractive idea to poor mortals than to find
out the date of one's own or somebody else's death, and so
seek to circumvent destiny? And so we have this plenitude of
genuine, doubtful and fantastic stories of premonitions of
death and calamity, submerging the whole field of investiga-
tion, which rightly includes not only tragedy but comedy and
70 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
"It is of greater interest/' said Frederic Myers, in the clos-
ing words of his great book, Human Personality, "to have a
pedlar's visit foretold, if only that visit could not have been
(Foreseen by any ordinary intelligence, than to have, say, a
death foretold, if we suspect that that more impressive proph-
ecy may have helped to work its own fulfilment."
The rational approach to our experiences is surely to ex-
amine them, not with a fixed idea of discovering something
in accord with our wishes, fears or superstitious beliefs, but
in the spirit of unprejudiced research. We leave on one side
the word "premonition" with its unjustifiable implication of
"warning;" and we continue to use the word "Precognition,"
which applies equally to the sensational and the common-
We may then find, as the present writer has done, that
dreams of tragic aspect, instead of being applicable to our-
selves or to those personally known to us, relate usually to
no more than what we are going to hear about complete
strangers. Their importance to us lies not in the nature of
the subject of the precognitive experience, but in the bare
fact that Precognition has taken place.
An example occurred in the night of October 22-23, 1934,
when I was living in my parents' house at Harrogate. In the
evening I had been reading a chapter entitled "Psychological
Mysteries of Sleep" in Brittan's Man and His Relations, a
copy of which I had come across in one of the many antique
shops in the town.
"During the night," records my diary, "I had a dream in
which I thrust a man clean through the body with a spear
with a single barb at the end. It was some kind of fishing
harpoon I had seen in a shop window in Baker Street [when
visiting London at the beginning of the month]. Subsequent-
ly in the dream I was a police inspector. In the evening papers
to-day (23rd) is an account as follows:
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH 71
INTRUDER KILLED BY SPEAR
A man who had broken into a bungalow at Hightown, a
quiet country district four miles from Belfast, early to-day,
was killed with a spear.
The occupier, Mr. William John G , who lived
alone, was aroused by a noise, and, arming himself with a
spear, went into the kitchen. Here he was confronted by a
man who cried "Hands up!'* and then made as if to strike
him. There was a momentary struggle, and the intruder fell,
the spear having penetrated his heart.
"Mr. G immediately notified the police, etc. 1
And this happened during the night when I was dreaming!"
The concluding remark shows that I was then thinking of
Telepathy as an explanation. In the light of fuller experience
I have little doubt that the dream was precognitive of the
impression to be produced on me by the newspaper report.
And it seems very likely that the occurrence of the dream was
due to the interest I was taking in Brittan's book. At any
rate, it is very remarkable that yet another relevant incident
connected with the incidence of death happened on the same
day (October 23, 1934) that I read the newspaper report just
That morning I had particularly noticed above a wall-
paper shop the name Rose & Co., a name which I had never
consciously observed before, although I had frequently passed
the shop. As, however, I had visited London at the begin-
ning of the month largely for the purpose of seeing a Mr.
Alfred Rose, a stranger who had written to me on a literary
subject of mutual interest, it seemed quite obvious why the
name over the shop should now impress me.
A few hours later I was talking to a garage man who star-
tled me by remarking that a little boy named Rose had been
killed in the town by a car during the morning. I was meas-
urably impressed; but there was a sequel of a curious kind.
1 Yorkshire Evening Post, October 23, 1934.
72 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
In a few days' time I ascertained from the inquest that the
little boy's name was not Rose at all, but Marks. I could only
ask myself whether my interest in the name Rose was a waking
precognition of the error of my informant?
So it seemed. But three weeks later, on November 21, the
Mr. Rose in London, an active man of 58, died suddenly of
pneumonia. The news did not reach me for several months,
and this may have something to do with the devious, though
decided manner in which the precognitive faculty associated
the name Rose with death.
It is evident from many cases that dreams about death can
be precognitive, though the death has no direct bearing on
the dreamer, his family or his friends. The evidence is com-
pletely destructive of popular ideas on this point, and the
most ominous-seeming dream may relate to no more than a
newspaper report the dreamer is going to see.
One night in February 1939 I dreamed that I saw a stone
sarcophagus, which was opened by my Father to reveal the
stone effigy of an ecclesiastic wearing a mitre. Two or three
days later, on February 10, the death of the Pope was an-
nounced. His attack was quite sudden, and there had been
no announcement of his being more ill than he had been for
a year past. It is significant that the name Pope or Papa means
On the night of June 1-2 in the same year I dreamed (to
quote my diary) "that I took a watch of a very large size-
about six times as big as the average and submerged it under
the water. This I thought was to clean it, and a number of
pieces of dirt rose to the surface. Subsequently I took off the
dial, and below it was a second and inferior dial of cardboard,
but with the figures properly marked, and also having a short
name stamped on it. This I took to be the name of the maker
or 'tryer out' of the watch, for I at once knew that this subsid-
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH 73
iary face was for 'trial' purposes, whatever that meant."
The next day the papers announced that the submarine
Thetis, with over 80 men on board, was sunk in the bay off
Birkenhead, and could not rise. Here was the parallel of a
machine submerged, from which rose buoys (which the
trapped men released as signals) . The submarine was a new
one out on a trial trip, and had engineers and technicians on
board as well as the crew. 1
In May 1942 I had a most realistic and oppressive dream
in which I thought I was in a house, and a rifle was fired at
me, the bullet entering my neck.
I could feel myself going gradually paralysed, and I said to
myself, "This is it." In fact the dream was so realistic that
when my anxiety at length awakened me I was afraid to move
for some moments in case I should find I could not!
The next day I read in the paper that on the previous day
a soldier had been shot dead in a house in Hampstead. It
was a week or two later that I discovered from another report
that the bullet had entered just below the collar bone, which
is not the neck, but the mention of which calls up an imme-
diate image of the neck.
The death element can be present in a dream which is
truly precognitive though the death element not only has no
application to the dreamer, but is even more remote from
him than a newspaper report. In New York, one night in
1948, I dreamed I was speeding along in a subway train. Far
in the rear I could see a woman's body lying on the ground,
and I endeavoured to stop the train by pulling the emergency
cord, which, however, proved to be a mere piece of knotted
string, and quite ineffective.
This sinister sounding dream was precognitive, but in a
very harmless way. I was not then using the subway regularly,
i Only 4 out of a total of 102 men could be saved.
74 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
but the following day circumstances required me to make
use of it. While in the station I was attracted by the cover of
a magazine, and for that reason bought it. It so happened that
on the train I did not have the opportunity to open the mag-
azine; and then when I got home and had just sat down to do
so, I was requested to tie something with a piece of string,
which proved to be very knotty and inadequate. Finally, I
opened the magazine to be confronted with an article, the
first one, in which a woman's body lying on the ground was
the opening incident.
I arn sorry if I seem to deprive the freudian psychoanalyst
of the significance of the woman's body, but whether I do so
or not, the above recited simple happenings were the material
of my anterior dream.
Such experiences show that Precognition apparently re-
lating to death does not necessarily have a close relation to
the reality of it. And when it is directly concerned with the
reality, as it probably was in the case of Gwendoline Nelson,
and in the case of Alfred Rose, the reality is more likely to be
disguised than made evident. So was it disguised from Mac-
beth by the apparition:
Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
Despite this, Macbeth was slain by Macduff, who had been
"from his mother's womb untimely ripped/' and therefore
had not been "born" in the usual sense.
The ability to act on a Precognition so as to serve the in-
terests of the percipient, not only in the matter of death but in
other ways, would depend first on the inherent possibility of
taking such action, and second on the power to answer these
To what coming experience does the dream (or other form
of Precognition) relate?
When will the experience take place?
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH 75
In ancient times, throughout the middle ages, and up to
the present day, diviners and seers have claimed a degree of
power to give the answers, but it can hardly be said that they
have established their claims. The ability even of those most
prone to supernormal perception seems always to have been
very much as Dr. Johnson stated it in the course of his acute
discussion of the Second Sight of the Scottish islanders:
"Of things future I know not that there is any rule for de-
termining the time between the Sight and the event ... I
do not find it to be true, as it is reported, that to the Second
Sight nothing is presented but phantasms of evil. Good seems
to have the same proportion in those visionary scenes as it
obtains in real life . . . The foresight of the Seers is not always
prescience: they are impressed with images, of which the
event only shows them the meaning." 1
Thus Frederick Lane, despite the clarity of the dream re-
counted at the beginning of this chapter, had no idea Terriss
would be killed.
On the other hand, in what is often referred to as the
"classic" Perceval case, the percipient did have the impression
of Perceval being killed. The case will bear repetition, al-
though, unlike the Terriss case, it was not recorded in a way
which makes it good evidence. Dr. Abercrombie related as
"Through the kindness of an eminent medical friend in
England, I have received the authentic particulars of this re-
markable case, from the gentleman to whom the dream oc-
curred. He resides in Cornwall, and, eight days before the
murder was committed, dreamt that he was in the lobby of the
House of Commons, and saw a small man enter, dressed in a
blue coat and white waistcoat. Immediately after, he saw a
man dressed in a brown coat with yellow basket metal buttons,
draw a pistol from under his coat, and discharge it at the
1 A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, 1775.
76 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
former, who instantly fell the blood issuing from a wound a
little below the left breast. He saw the murderer seized by some
gentlemen who were present, and observed his countenance;
and on asking who the gentleman was who had been shot, he
was told it was the Chancellor. (Mr. Perceval was, at the time,
Chancellor of the Exchequer.) He then awoke and mentioned
the dream to his wife, who made light of it but in the course
of the night the dream occurred three times without the least
variation in any of the circumstances. He was now so much
impressed by it, that he felt much inclination to give notice to
Mr. Perceval, but was dissuaded by some friends whom he
consulted, who assured him he would only get himself treated
as a fanatic. On the evening of the eighth day after, he received
the account of the murder. 1 Being in London a short time
after, he found in the print-shops a representation of the scene,
and recognised in it the countenance and dress of the parties,
the blood on Mr. Perceval's waistcoat, and the peculiar yellow
basket buttons on Bellingham's [the murderer's] coat, pre-
cisely as he had seen them in his dream." 2
Two comments are here required on this account. The first
is to note that, despite the vividness and repetition of the
dream, the dreamer took no effective steps to prevent the
tragedy. To consult a friend in such a matter is to invite dis-
suasion. The second comment is to point out the further evi-
dence which this well-known story contains (assuming it can
be accepted as evidential at all) that Precognition does not
relate directly to the event, since we are told at the conclusion
that the dream was found to correspond to a coloured print.
In much the same way, the modern dreamer often observes
that a dream anticipates a newspaper photograph. Although
1 Spencer Perceval, Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, was
assassinated on the llth May, 1812-
2 John Abercrombie, Inquiries Concerning the Intellectual Powers, 9th ed.,
1838, p. 285.
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH 77
we are told that the dream corresponded "precisely" to the
print, there is no reason to suppose that the print corresponded
precisely to the event. It is very likely that it varied a good deal
from the event.
There certainly do exist accounts of people who believe
that they have avoided accidents or misfortunes as a result of
a dreaming or waking Precognition. Without venturing to
pronounce on them, I would point out that a belief so held
may be due to a perfectly natural misunderstanding. The
general characteristics of Extra-Sensory Perception suggest
the view that a Precognition which is thought to relate to the
experience of participating in an accident, has equal appli-
cation to the experience of being in danger of the accident:
the state of mind of a person in danger or who hears that he
has escaped danger contains the elements requisite to com-
pose a picture of the accident.
If a man had a Precognition of an experience x, and ap-
parently did substitute for it experience y, then he would not
have had a Precognition at all. The only Precognition that
could have occurred would have been one relating to experi-
ence y. While it is obvious that the occurrence of Precogni-
tion has bearings of fundamental importance on the question
of free-will, it suffices at this point to note that Precognition,
properly speaking, can relate only to that of which whatever
freedom of choice we have must have been made before the
Akin to the supposed avoidance of accidents through Pre-
cognition is the belief or hope that Precognition can aid in
"picking the winner 1 ' of a horse race, or other event. 1
To illustrate what is involved, suppose that A, B, and C. are
three quite unconnected individuals among the thousands of
people interested in a certain race. A has a dream which seems
l For some original accounts see Mary E. Montekh's Book of True Dreams,
78 SECOND SIGHT |N DAILY LIFE
to indicate that a horse called Lively Girl will win; B has a
dream pointing to Valour; and C a dream indicating Dawn.
In the event, Valour is the winner, and the two other horses
are not even placed. B becomes an enthusiast for "prophetic"
dreams, while A and C declare such dreams are nonsense,
probably in pretty colourful language.
The dream of the successful backer may very well have re-
lated to the coming result ol the race. It is entitled to be con-
sidered as an instance of possible Precognition, although the
possibility must always be lessened when the subject is a public
event about which innumerable people are speculating, and
which is capable of a measure of scientific prediction. A Pre-
cognition relating to such a subject does not carry the same
weight as a Precognition relating to an unexpected experience
in an individual's life.
It is very far from being the case, however, that the dreams
of the losers, A and C, are negative to the case for Precognition.
They are negative only to the case for soothsaying in the bet-
For example, A's dream (let us suppose) consisted of seeing
the words "Lively Girl" written on a piece of paper, or per-
haps he saw a girl on a horse passing the winning post. Next
day he happens to be turning over the pages of a book, and the
word "lively" catches his eye. As a result, and perhaps quite
unconsciously, a picture of Lively Girl winning the race flits
across his mind. This little experience is what he precognised
in the previous night's dream. That Lively Girl lost the race is
no disproof of Precognition: it merely shows what an unwar-
rantable interpretation was put on the dream by the dreamer.
Again, assume that the other unlucky backer, C, had a
dream which related to his future experience, and this time to
some experience arising more directly out of the actual race.
It is still the case that he had no sufficient reason covetousness
apart to suppose that his dream related to the winner rather
PRECOGNITION AND DEATH 79
than to any other horse, placed or unplaced. The name of the
winner was certainly going to be prominently posted up on
the field, and printed in the newspaper; and the experience of
seeing one or both of these lay in the future of the dreamer;
but the experience of seeing the names of the losers also lay in
his unhappy future! The name of one of the losers was to
attract his particular attention in some connection or other,
and that was the experience precognised in his dream.
A precognitive dream, then, is not subservient to expecta-
tion, but expectation may lead to the misinterpretation of the
precognitive dream. The Precognition relates to this or that
coming experience, trivial more often than not. The dreamer,
ignoring this, may leap to conclusions that accord with his
wishes or his fears.
Why then is Precognition observed? It is possible that it
passes into ordinary consciousness, not to confer a material
advantage, but to demonstrate to the conscious self that the
future is knowable, and that the whole truth does not lie
within the compass of the physical sense organs. Thus Wil-
liam Hone, the Radical freethinker, began to change his
views because he had a precognitive dream about a trivial
matter, which materialism could not explain. But the dream
per se was useless. 1
The disguised form in which Precognitions are experienced
tends to support such a theory. Awareness that would influ-
ence the actions of the percipient has the appearance of being
precluded by an intelligent purpose.
If Precognition, Telepathy, and Clairvoyance were exer-
cised by the conscious man at pleasure it is obvious that the
kind of life to which we are now accustomed would no longer
be feasible. All decision tending to action might be counter-
manded as soon as conceived, owing to the disagreeable con-
sequences which could be foreseen, or to the too vivid aware-
1 F. W. Hack wood, William Hone, his Life and Times, 1912.
80 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
ness of the disapproval of others. So while one part of us
may be desiring to exercise supernormal power, another may
be rigidly controlling it.
The process or function behind Precognition and other
forms of Extra-Sensory Perception may be constantly in ac-
tion, an essential factor in life, and our occasional partial
observation of its working may depend both on the will to
make the observation and the concurrence of certain circum-
The function concerned seems, like some other functions,
to be at once a part of human nature, and yet unsubject to
conscious whims and wishes. Our ignorance of its use is part
of our ignorance of the nature of existence, and therefore of
what is, in the fullest sense, useful to this latter.
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE?
NEITHER THE air-raids during the early part of the war, nor
the rain of flying bombs and rockets which was falling on
London in 1944 and 1945, had any observable effect on the
nature of my dreams. The trivial and the unimportant con-
tinued to predominate.
I dreamed of the killing of a fly, but not of the little girl
who told me that her best friend was dying in hospital, her
lungs ruptured by the blast of a V2 rocket.
One summer evening I paused momentarily in front of a
house near my own ; a merry wedding party was in progress
within. The young couple, someone told me, had succeeded
in getting brief leave from the services to be married. Three
hours after midnight I stood on the ruins of that house, while
a woman screamed for her daughter. The young couple, at
least, were got out unharmed. The bomb which had destroyed
their house more or less destroyed twenty others, including
my own. But of this I had no precognitive dream. During all
that strange time when women shopped and children went to
school amid the crack-crack of the guns or the sinister buzz-
buzz of the flying bomb, I recorded but one dream of an ex-
plosion. That was on July 20, 1944, and it was followed in an
hour or two by the roar of a detonating buzz-bomb, and the
sight of the dust-covered body of a man being carried from
his wrecked home which corresponded to the impressions of
82 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
But the frequency of precognitive dreams about the small
matters of daily life has an interest equal to that of the rarer
sensational dream. It indicates that we are dealing with some-
thing whch does not comply with our weaker wishes by en-
abling us to avoid life's disagreeable episodes, something
which applies itself equally to the good and the bad, the com-
monplace and the unusual, something which is innate in us,
and yet has ways beyond our ken. Whatever control we may
exercise over Precognition is one mercifully superior to our
The case mentioned on p. 73, like many others, illustrates
how a precognitive dream may be so built up of different ele-
ments from the coming experiences that it can easily escape
identification, and be regarded as purely imaginary. The con-
stant watch which I have kept on my dreams over more than
twenty years has convinced me that Mr. J. W. Dunne was en-
tirely right when he suggested, in An Experiment with Time,
that precognitive dreams are of frequent occurrence, but that
their nature may escape notice because of the way in which
they are built up.
In this characteristic of being built up of different images
from the future, so as to form a new picture, precognitive
dreams resemble dreams apparently of the past, which rarely,
if ever, reproduce in full detail a single past experience pre-
cisely as it happened. Another of the causes of precognitive
dreams being overlooked is the fact that the precognitive
images may be accompanied by recognisable images of the
past, or may be composed of a rearrangement of such past
images; and the dreamer's attention may be given, when he
wakes, only to these past and immediately recognisable images.
The other day I began to read a novel by Zola, which
opened with a scene in the French Chamber of Deputies. The
following night I dreamed I saw a small box full of white
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE? 83
powder in front of me, and then, immediately after and a
little to one side, a similar box full of brown powder. I un-
derstood that I had to vote by choosing one of these boxes.
Even in the dream I reflected on the fantastic nature of such
The following morning I picked up from the floor in the
bathroom an old copy of the New York Sun which had prob-
ably been put there by someone to cover a wet patch and my
eye fell immediately on this paragraph:
"In the Senate to-day snuffboxes are placed at the Sena-
tors' desks, and Copenhagen snuff is supplied them. The last
Senator to snuff was the late Senator Overman of South Caro-
lina, but tradition keeps the boxes in place."
Clearly my dream related to this coming reading, and the
fact that the dream boxes were as large as and otherwise
similar to the soap dishes in the bathroom where the reading
took place, is further evidence of Precognition. Yet it is ex-
tremely likely that my previous reading about the French
Chamber was responsible for the particular direction in which
the precognitive faculty went.
The frequency of the precognitive element in dreams has
more than once forced me to pose the question to myself,
"Is it possible that all dreams are precognitive?" 1
The question may seem almost preposterous, and in any
case might be answered instantly in the negative on the
ground that a dream due, for example, to physical pressure,
isself-evidently not precognitive. One night in an old London
house I dreamed of trains rushing through tunnels, and
awoke to hear mice running rapidly about in passages be-
hind the partitions and under the floors.
There can be little doubt that the sound of the mice caused
1 Abraham Lincoln is recorded to have "attributed a prophetic quality to all
his dreams." See American Imago, June, 1940.
84 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
the remembered part of this dream, even though there might
be held to exist a remote possibility that the dream was pre-
cognitive of what was afterwards heard by the ear. That pos-
sibility does exist; and, moreover, even in a dream due to
physical pressure, precognitive images may occur, however
much obscured by the physical circumstances.
When we dream we are back at school, experiencing the
events of childhood, it certainly seems at first glance that
there is nothing of the future in that part of the dream. Yet
it may represent our future thoughts about the past. Some-
thing to-morrow is going to make us think of our schooldays,
and our dream precognises the coming thoughts. Since ob-
servation shows that Precognition is the true explanation of
many dreams ostensibly about what are called "imaginary"
incidents, it would be unreasonable to rule out its possibility
in dreams ostensibly about past history. No previous theory
about dreams which ignores Precognition embodies any
worthwhile argument to the contrary.
Nearly everyone has heard an account of Alfred Maury's
drearr 1 of his imaginary life at the time of the French Revo-
lution, his trial, condemnation, and execution by the guillo-
tine. At the fall of the knife Maury awoke, to find that a
curtain pole above the bed had fallen on his neck. The usual
explanation of this dream is that, even though it consisted of
so many scenes, it was built up by the dreamer (perhaps
backwards) in the one, two, three, or four seconds that elapsed
between the pole striking him as he slept and his awakening
to everyday consciousness; that is to say, that his startled mind
built up the dream with extreme rapidity to explain the blow
he had just received. 2
1 Told in his Le Sommeil et les Rtves, 1878.
2 See, for example, the comment of P. D. Ouspensky in A New Model of
the Universe, 1931.
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE? 85
In the light of precognitive dreams, however, I suggest that
the probability is that he built up the dream before receiving
the blow from the pole. It was his awareness that he was
about to experience a blow that caused him to build up the
dream in advance.
I fully realise that the opinion just put forward may be
regarded as unwarrantable even by some of those who accept
Precognition as a fact in a limited number of cases. None the
less, I believe that if the reader of these pages will bear with
me while I cite a few dreams less striking than some of those
.already given, it will become clearer why I suspect the pres-
ence of Precognition in, possibly, every dream. I emphasize
"suspect," and I certainly do not assert that Precognition can,
in fact, be traced in every dream. But I do say that there are
indications that it might be so traced could the whole, instead
of a small part, of every dream be recalled and fixed in the
The enormous importance of this aspect of the subject
deserves and requires concentrated attention to "border-line"
material; but it will not be necessary here for me to invite
that attentipn to more than half-a-dozen or so of the less ob-
vious cases of Precognition.
One summer day towards the end of the reign of Queen
Victoria, my father, then young and unmarried, was standing
on a bridge which crosses the River Severn at Shrewsbury,
when he saw that a man in a rowing boat below had missed
his stroke, and fallen in the water. Regardless of his own life
and the lives of his posterity my father dived from the
bridge and swam to the man, who was unable to swim. A
frightful life-and-death struggle ensued, but the rescue was
completed successfully. The vellum testimonial of the Royal
Humane Society, and the above few particulars constituted
all I knew of an incident which might have prevented my
86 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
coming into existence at least on a materialistic point of
view. I had never visited Shrewsbury, never seen the River
Severn, and had passed the whole of my life in another part
In July, 1934, 1 found it necessary to travel from my home
in Yorkshire to Stourbridge in Worcestershire, and while
staying in that town on the night of the 22nd I dreamed that
I rescued a girl who was drowning in a river, and she nearly
drowned me. I particularly noticed that the water, which
covered me all over, was a peculiar yellowish green colour,
difficult to describe, but most unpleasant to be immersed in.
The following day, the 23rd, finding myself free to do as I
wished, I consulted a timetable with a view to visiting Bir-
mingham, but my eye caught the name Bewdley. I had heard
someone say there was boating at Bewdley, and the idea of
going out in a boat was sufficiently attractive to make me
travel to Bewdley instead. Close to a beautiful bridge of three
arches I saw a boating station, and went down to the water's
edge. It was then that I had somewhat of a shock. The water
which rolled at my feet was absolutely identical with that in
my dream, and quite unlike any other river I had ever seen.
The chilly feeling which came over me almost made me beat
a retreat; however, I went out in the broadest boat I could
see, and returned in safety, if not exactly with grace. When
on my way back to the railway station I observed a board
with the name "Severnside Gardens/* Only then did I learn
that the river I had been on was the Severn.
All the points in this dream, with one exception, can be
referred to the working of the subconscious mind, which may
have possessed geographical knowledge of the course of the
River Severn of which consciously I was ignorant. The ex-
ception is the colour of the water, which was precognise d" in
the dream, and which I had no normal means of knowing,
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE? 87
subconscious or other. This by no means excludes the pos-
sibility that the whole of the dream was precognitive of the
next day's experiences. 1
How often do people have dreams similar to this one,
which occurred to me on Sunday, December 11, 1938, with-
out pausing to consider whether such "absurdities' 1 are worth
the least attention? I dreamed that I saw before me a white
sheet, and sticking up above the edge, on the far side, was
the face of Sir James . . . , very red and with a grin on it. Sir
James was a well-known surgeon; he had, in reality, a healthy
face, not at all red.
On the following morning my wife received a letter from
my mother, in which she mentioned that John, my brother's
boy, had had an attack of scarlet fever, and was in Ripon Hos-
pital (200 miles distant from us) . My mother had been to
see him, but was allowed to look through a glass screen only.
Now in the dream Sir James evidently represented the
idea of "hospital," for as a surgeon he spent half his time in
hospitals. The red face betokened the nature of the illness.
The grin represented the most characteristic feature of the
boy John, while the sheet both represented the sheet of the
bed out of which the boy's head was sticking, and also, by its
vertical position, was an effort to represent the glass screen.
The following cases are extracted directly from my diary:
"Friday, February 15, 1939. 1 went to the British Museum
during my lunch hour, and on my return, as I was by Totten-
ham Court Road Station, I saw a news placard: 'Girl Pushed
Under Train at Tottenham Court Road/ I took a bus up the
i In a paper entitled "Des Rves Ancestraux," included in the Bulletins el
Me'moires of the Anthropological Society of Paris in 1900, M. Charles Le-
tourneau suggested that such dreams may prove that memory is inheritable.
He did not consider Extra-Sensory Perception. But in 1895 Mr. F. W. H.
Myers had pointed out that dreams showing supernormal knowledge which
are attributed to heredity have the same character as the far more numerous
ones which cannot be so attributed. See Proceedings, S. P. R., xi, pp. 349-352
88 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
road to get to Marylebone Road, and on the way noticed the
Rudge bicycle shop on my right with the window full of
cycles and motorcycles. I thought I would not mind having a
cycle or motorcycle again, but it would not be much fun in
these crowded streets. I would have to go out further. While
I was visualising myself in this manner an Indian (Hindu)
who had entered the bus, sat down beside me. At this instant
I recollected a dream I had two nights ago, i.e. the night of
the 13th to 14th.
"On getting home I looked up my note of the dream,
written on the following morning [sometimes at this period
I made notes in bed in the dark the instant I had sufficient
consciousness to do it]. This is it exactly:
" 'Electric generator on cycle used to murder somebody by
shocking them through a gold ring.
" 'I rode a bicycle. In early times. Roads deserted compara-
tively, but modern surfaces. Then on foot. Desired more
early times, whereupon a carriage and pair rolled round the
corner. Met an Indian who saluted me. 1
"Such was my note. The coinciding points between the
dream and the Tottenham Court experience are: the Indian,
cycling, a murder connected with electricity (electric train in
one case, electric generator in the other) . The gold ring has
no corresponding element to-day; nor the carriage and pair,
except perhaps that Tottenham Court Road at that end is
associated in my mind with an old coaching station which
once, I have been told, was situated there. Note also: the In-
dian in the dream saluted me with raised hand. The badge
of the Rudge Cycle Co. is a raised red hand."
I may comment that my exclusion of the gold ring from
the fulfilment was almost an excess of caution; for the girl
being pushed under the train does suggest to anyone's mind
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE? 89
the idea of a broken love affair, and the association of ideas
with an engagement or wedding ring is obvious.
"Tuesday, May 13, 1941. Papers announced that Rudolf
Hess, Hitler's deputy, landed on Saturday night in Scotland,
apparently as a refugee.
"Ellen came into the room to tell me this while I was still
in bed. I immediately recollected that I had dreamed vividly
of a map of Scotland, or rather a large part of the north-east-
ern coast of Scotland. It had appeared in a sort of bluish-
green colour, more blue than green, showing the mountains
in a sort of relief effect Towns, and roads just entering towns,
were in red. But the remarkable feature of the map was the
inclusion of a pipe running from the sea inland, and then
bending south. I understood it to be a sewer pipe. It was part
of the map, and coloured in the same way.
"The inclusion of the pipe puzzled me, and also Ellen;
until I got hold of the Daily Telegraph, when I instantly sa\\
the explanation. The Hess affair, of course, made the main
heading, but immediately adjoining it was a view of the
wrecked chamber of the Commons. In the right hand uppei
corner was a bent pipe, a gas or water pipe, corresponding in
diameter to my 'sewer pipe.' It was also in the same position
in the picture as mine on the map, though the course of mine
was more regular.
"In this case again, as in so many others, there was nothing
foretold beyond my own cognisance-to-be ; that is, beyond m^
own experience in reading the paper a little later/'
The ideas in the dream, such as that of the part of Scot
land facing Germany, corresponded to my personal impres
sions at the time of receiving the news.
"Tuesday, August 12, 1941. This morning had a troublec
nightmarish sort of dream about having a parcel stolen fron
90 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
my bicycle [the war had revived the utility of an ancient
machine], looking for it etc. Then came an incident of the
kind I have come to know. A large cut-out paper wafer was
before mesupposed to be on the missing parcel, or a second
parcel, or a letter about them no matter. It was, I felt, an
official seal, the paper of it was white, but across it was em-
bossed in dull red a number. This number I first read as
5399, but looking more closely I found it was 5379. The 7
was rather a smudged impression, but I made quite sure it
was a seven, and memorised the whole number carefully.
Immediately on waking I went over the number again, and
speculated as to what it could refer: my previous dream hav-
ing been rather ghoulish in parts I thought perhaps the num-
ber showed the date of my death, 5/3/79, and hoped it really
was so distant a date! [See Chapter v for the prevalence ot such
"When I got up I found an official letter from the War
Damage Commission, headed File No. 5A/2/7539. My num-
ber 5379 was evidently this in a transposed form. 1 I have
had no communication from the War Damage Commission
since a postcard in December last year, so the present letter
was unexpected; moreover, the file number above is not on
the postcard, and has not come to my notice before, as the
postcard is the only communication I have had.
"It is interesting to note that the Commission's letter is
wrongly dated '11/6/4', and an enclosure wrongly dated
'11/9/41 '-both should of course have been 11/8/41. [The
month is placed second in British usage.] This may have been
the reason why, on waking, I tried to turn my number into
an abbreviated date, 5/3/79."
"Saturday, August 14, 1943. The visits of Miss K. [an ac-
l Such transposition takes place when one has, for example, a biief view
of a motor licence plate. "Seveial peisons," reported a newspaper, "said the
plane's licence number began NC-39." The actual numlxrr was NC-3690-E.
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE? 91
quaintance with whom I had discussed Precognition] seem to
inspire dreams, for last night I dreamed that I was asked by
my 'landlady 1 somewhere or other [no such person existed]
whether I minded sleeping in a room with books: a large
bookshelf stood in the middle of the bedroom. Still asleep I
told Miss K. this dream, though as yet there was no reason
why I should do so.
"Just after I woke, the front door bell rang. As I was ex-
pecting a bag of Portland cement, I thrust some money and
the keys of my desk into the pocket of my dressing gown, and
^hurried downstairs. It turned out to be the postwoman who
had rung; she had a registered letter for one of my tenants.
There was also a letter for me. I always take my letters into
my study, or sometimes into the sitting room, but because I
had money and keys in my pocket which I wanted to return
to the bedroom, I went straight back there with the letter in
my hand, sat down on the end of the bed, and opened it. It
was from the Library of Congress, U.S.A., answering an en-
quiry I had made weeks ago. Here then was 'library* in the
middle of the bedroom, in a position corresponding to that
in which my dream bookcase had stood.
"In the present state of the mails, with censorship at both
ends, etc., it is of course impossible to estimate the time in
which a reply will come from America.
"Worthy of note: the postwoman, a buxom type, might
correspond to the 'landlady/ "
"Saturday, November 4, 1944. Dreamed last night I was
spraying some bugs on the wall, which had some of the plas-
ter off as a result of war damage. As I. sprayed, the bugs turned
to fleas, much to my anxiety.
"In the morning I saw the following front page banner
heading in the Daily Express, the words being in very large
92 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
BUD A P E S T FIGHTING:
'COVER N M E N T FLEES'
11 'Government Flees' is a comical phrase, calculated to at-
tract anyone's attention, as it did mine. Preceding 'Flees' we
have 'Pest Fighting/ and the divided word b g u . I have very
little doubt that these were the ideas to which the previous
night's dream related."
"Tuesday, October 23, 1945. Last night I had difficulty in
getting to sleep, but at last I had a brief period of sleep from
which I awoke after uttering in the dream, not physically, I
think a strange note, the sound of 'me' in the French word
'metro [I was speaking French a good deal at this time.]
The note, as I must call it, was a long drawn out 'm-a-y/
"I then got up, and decided to read a book. I went over to
the bookcase I am sleeping in the studio on account of El-
len's cold sat down in front of it, and eventually pulled out
a book, volume 3 of the Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine
[published about 1853]. This I opened at p. 276, and there
my eye immediately fell on an account [new to me]of a girl
who had had her night's rest constantly disturbed by a musi-
cian playing on his violin in the next room. Later, after an
illness, the girl was removed to another house, when she
startled the family by producing when asleep the sounds of a
violin 'the most exquisite music/ f>1
"Saturday, December 1, 1945. Early this afternoon had an
impulse to go down to Church Street market, Edgware Road,
and there off a stall I bought for 3d Lombard Street in Lent,
a collection of sermons by notable clergy of the C. of E., pub-
lished in 1894, and dealing with social problems. It makes,
surprising to relate, most intelligent reading, and the senti-
ments are, moreover, honest and outspoken. They are an
1 The story was originally published in Abercrombie's Intellectual Powers,
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE? 93
absolute condemnation of the hideous social system.
"Last night I dreamed a collection of brochures was hand-
ed to me, supposed to contain the names of members of a
Society (the above clergy were mostly members of the Chris-
tian Social Union), the earliest dated 1890. 'Before that/ re-
marked the librarian, 'you need not have them: they are
doddering or in asylums/
"My dream Society was something to do with 'Huguenots/
The preface to the book is dated from Lollards' Tower, Lam-
beth." [The Lollards were early English Protestants, perse-
cuted like the Huguenots.]
"Sunday, October 12, 1947. Last night I dreamed I was in
a room with Sandy H. [I was now in America, and this friend
was in England], but to my amazement, on looking at him,
I saw he had the face of a Negro.
"This morning, as I glanced through the Times Magazine
(delivered at the house at least two hours after my dream)
my eye caught a portrait of de Valera, whose facial resemblance
to H. is very noticeable. On the opposite page was another
portrait of de Valera, this time a black silhouette! [Under
the silhouette the cartoonist added "Shape of Things to
Stay" (alluding to the coming election) , obviously a play on
"Shape of Things to Come/']
"The Negro face of the dream H. had been impressed on
me in a sideways position, as he went out of the room we
"It is interesting to note that yesterday Mrs. Jones gave me
a copy of a fiery Irish Nationalist newspaper. Yet observe the
fact that I dreamed nothing of Ireland or the Irish. I dreamed
of a very British Scotsman, whose real face and whose 'black'
face constituted the link with two portraits in the article on
de Valera which lay in my future."
"Monday, April 12, 1948. Last night I dreamed I saw a
94 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
very ordinary looking young man in a dark brown coat and
black trousers. He was quite typical of the ordinary clerk in
England. Yet he seemed to be in America, and an American
woman spoke to him as 'Mr. ', the name I don't remem-
ber. I immediately corrected her, taking her very much aback
by saying, "This is Sir Gerald.' [I hope my dream self found
this punctiliousness amusing!]
"To-day my eye caught the following paragraph in the
'ENGLISH CLERK GETS BARONETCY
Plymouth, England, April 11.
Richard , clerk in a petroleum office here, is now Sir
Richard ... Sir Richard, 44, succeeded to the baronetcy of
his uncle etc.'
"The name Gerald had attracted my attention in another
connection over the week-end, thus accounting for it. The
other elements in the dream are accounted for by the impres-
sions this paragraph was going to make on me."
The citation of such dreams, illustrating in varying de-
grees the faculty of Precognition, is necessary to enable us to
form some idea of the frequency of its occurrence. There are
dreams in which it is so marked as to catch the attention even
of those not previously interested; there are others where it
is so faint or so obscured as to call for keen observation and
awareness of the problem to detect it at all.
A dream of a map of North America, with a strange river
of lakes running across it, had its fulfilment in a few hours
in a blot of ink falling on a sheet of paper and running across
it like a river. The paper happened to bear the words "Her-
aldry in America. "
Two simple experiences, selected from those which have
happened to me here in New York during the past few
months, will be my final illustrations of the view that the ap-
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE? 95
parently "past", and the apparently "fantastic" may in reality
I dreamed I was seated at a small table opposite to an Eng-
lish lady school teacher whom I had known in London. She
was wearing a white blouse, and we were discussing some
subject I cannot recall, but I knew very definitely that it was
a subject that I should never have expected to discuss with
that lady. The following day I received a 'phone call from a
French lady, a complete stranger, who explained that she had
kept an advertisement I had put in a language paper many
taonths before, offering to exchange English for French con*
versation, and would I call at her hotel. I did so, and was as-
tounded to find this lady in features and colouring the dupli-
cate of the English acquaintance of whom I had dreamed. We
went to a restaurant, and there the French lady, wearing a
white blouse, was sitting opposite to me at a small table,
while we discussed subjects which I had certainly never raised
with the English schoolmistress. Thus the dream, so obvious-
ly of the past as I had at first concluded, related completely
to the future
The other dream, the "fantastic" one, was that I was deal-
ing on the 'phone with the affairs of the Indian Empire!
Then I saw a girl sitting on a high stool, with a small number
"42" tied to her forehead. This concoction was fulfilled the
following morning by my receiving a 'phone call from a girl
operator or clerk who asked me whether I was "Imperial . . ."
a number similar to my own. I had not till then any idea
that there existed in America or elsewhere an exchange
called "Imperial." The effect of hearing the word "Imperial"
was automatically to remind me of the British Empire, and
particularly of the erstwhile Indian Empire. The girl on the
stool in the dream represented the girl operator, and the
96 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
number "42" tied on her forehead stood for the number
similar to my own: my number includes "41".
And so it becomes apparent that our attention to dreams
must be keen and watchful if we are ever to be in a position
to answer the question, "Are All Dreams Precognitive?"
The true answer will not be based on dogmatic assertions
that we know that such and such a drearn related to the past.
Perhaps it did; but the existence of past elements in a dream
does not prove that it relates to the past any more than an
architect's plan for a brick-built house relates to the clay pit.
The closest observation of every experience which follows the
dream is essential in order to reach a helpful conclusion.
Of course, it is not to be expected that anyone who is with-
out conscious personal experience of a precognitive dream
should even accept the fact that such dreams occur. Though
large numbers of modern instances have been collected, many
of them authenticated by the testimony of witnesses to the
recording or recounting of the dream before its fulfilment, 1
it is unlikely that any amount of testimony will carry convic-
tion where personal experience is lacking; I must confess
that it would not do so to me. But it is useless to adopt a
negative attitude so long as one has not taken the trouble to
observe precisely what does occur. A precognitive dream can-
not be expected to force itself on the attention of someone
who is pre-determined not to look at it.
In order fairly to judge this primary question as to whether
precognitive dreams do occur, as well as the secondary one of
the frequency of their occurrence, a good course is to record
one's dreams over a considerable period. The ideal is to write
1A collection of cases so authenticated was made for the London S.P.R.
by Mr. H. F. Saltmarsh, and published under the title Foreknowledge. Simi-
lar work was done by Dame Edith Lyttelton in her Some Cases of Prediction.
See List of Books, p. 199.
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE? 97
them down immediately after waking, but that is not prac-
ticable in every case. Evidence of fulfilment is most common-
ly observable within a few hours of waking.
Since most dreams are recollected only in a confused state,
or not at all, disappointment will probably be felt at the out-
set. It is quite likely, judging from my own experience, that
when ultimately precognitive dreams do begin to be ob-
served, several will occur during quite a short period, such
as a fortnight. They may even be observed on two or three
nights in succession.
v This difference in the quality of dreams has been noticed
from the earliest recorded times. Thus Aristotle commented:
"He, however, is a judge of dreams according to the most
consummate art, who is able to survey similitudes; for every-
one is capable of forming a judgment of dreams which mani-
festly indicate future events. But I say similitudes, because
phantasms occur in dreams similar to images in water ... he
is the best interpreter of dreams who can similarly discern the
similitudes in these; for motion in these disturbs the clear
perception of future events/' 1
A number of percipients have remarked on the fact that
the best examples of Precognition in sleep have taken the
form of pictures of great clarity, even of a brilliant steadiness
which the sleeper comes to know as specially indicative of
Precognition. In such cases even the busiest men may feei
impelled to record their experiences. Thus on May 30, 1863,
Charles Dickens turned from his literary labours to write to
"Here is a curious case at first hand. On Thursday night in
last week, being at my office here, I dreamed that I saw a lady
in a red shawl with her back toward me (whom I supposed to
be E.) On her turning round I found that I didn't know her,
1 The Treatises of Aristotle, translated by Thomas Taylor, London, 1808.
98 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
and she said, 'I am Miss Napier.' All the time I was dressing
next morning I thought, What a preposterous thing to have so
very distinct a dream about nothing! and why Miss Napier?
For I never heard of any Miss Napier. That same Friday night I
read. After the reading, came into my retiring room Mary
Boyle and her brother, and the lady in the red shawl, whom
they present as 'Miss Napier.' These are all the circumstances
exactly told." 1
Dreams at the other extreme are not usually brought back
by striving after them. The effort to do so can be almost pain-
ful. But in between lies the great body of partly remembered
dreams, and it is here that accuracy of observation and acute
watchfulness are needed to recognise the likenesses or "simili-
tudes," some of which may be obvious even to an external in-
vestigator, while others depend on knowledge peculiar to the
dreamer, and which he alone can bring to the proper elucida-
tion of his dream.
A man once dreamed that a carpenter's saw was pushed
into the side of someone's body. After waking, he stretched
himself in bed, but did so while turning the upper part of his
body to the right to look at his watch. As a result of stretching
while so twisted the man felt a long sharp pain down the left
side of his abdomen just where he had seen the dream saw
pushed in. In this example, instead of the view that the
dream showed Precognition of the pain, it is permissible to
suppose that the dreamer may, unconsciously, have contrived
to give himself the pain in order to "fulfil" his dream. Such
are the "similitudes" for which the dreamer must watch, and
such is the need to maintain a sceptical attitude until reason
is satisfied one way or the other.
A comparison between a precognitive dream arid a trans-
lation made by someone subject to various handicaps, such as
1 John Forster, Life of Charles Dickcm, 1874, iii, 181.
ARE ALL DREAMS PRECOGNITIVE? 99
an imperfect knowledge of the language and a rigid censor-
ship, is permissible: it indicates in familiar terms the degree
of die cliiHcukies constantly involved, but whose real nature
remains shrouded in mystery.
One conclusion from these difficulties, however, is evident
and impoiiant. A precognitive dream relates not only to the
mental concepts which will arise immediately from the com-
ing physical experience, but also to concepts suggested by the
primary concepts suggestions varying, of course, according
to the individual contents of the mind of the person con-
gerncd. That part of the dream which is recalled may relate
only to these secondary concepts.
For example, suppose that all I recollect from a previous
night's dream is the picture of a battleship. At the time I am
living in the country, far from the sea. But the next day I
meet a naval man in uniform. This experience may be one
which automatically suggests to me a battleship, a suggestion,
however, which may hardly rise into consciousness.
Consequently such part of the dream as we happen to re-
call may be one which relates, not to concepts arising directly
from the physical experience ahead, but to ones which will
be suggested, perhaps almost imperceptibly and but momen-
tarily, by succeeding concepts.
The frequency or otherwise of precognitive dreams should
be judged with the foregoing consideration constantly in
A late meal, beyond all doubt, contributes to the difficul-
ties of clear observation of Precognition in dreams. Socrates,
that great searcher into the mind of man, spoke as plainly as
any modern could desire about the importance to the dream-
er who wishes to apprehend "either something of what hath
existed, or of what now exists, or what will exist hereafter"
of avoiding the extremes both of abstinence and of gluttony,
100 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
so as not, in the latter case, to arouse that which ''being filled
With meats and drunkenness, frisks about, and pushing away
sleep, wants to go and accomplish its practices/' (The Repub-
lic, bk. 9, trans, by H. Spens) .
Though we may be fortunate in a digestion of exceptional
soundness, experience shows that in this matter, as in so
much else, Socrates had reason.
As to the adverse effect of abstinence, that was charmingly
implied by Monsieur de Mirbel in his little book on fore-
knowledge in dreams, published at Lyons in 1670, and en-
titled Le Palais du Prince du Sommeil. "Les songes," said he
in his old unaccented French which a translation would only
spoil, "demandent un sommeil gay, agreable, libre de tons
soucis, tel cst celuy qui se glise [glisse] dans un espirit qui
quite les fonctions amoureuses, dont les preparations ne sont
que douceurs, tendresses, & rejouissances."
It may be added that any physical pressure, such as lying on
one's hand, or under a heavy weight of clothes introduces
into dreams a distorting influence. Elements belonging to
future experience are still recognisable in such confused or
nightmarish dreams, but it seems to be well established that
freedom from care and freedom from physical disturbance
are desirable conditions for the formation of a useful opinion
on the question of Precognition in dreams. Such conditions
cannot be said to induce precognitive dreams, but they do
render them calmer and clearer.
BERKELEY SQUARE, London, is almost as well known to
visiting Americans as Grosvenor Square.
The old houses still stand on three sides of the square, ex-
cept for one at the corner of Davies Street which a bomb
reduced to rubble. Many older historical memories cling
round the survivors. Walpole died in one, Clive of India
took his own life in another, Pitt resided for some time in a
third. No. 50 is renowned as a haunted house, of which some
hair-raising stories are told. But the fine 18th century iron
railing, which surrounded the centre garden, went to make
tanks in the grim time that followed the debdcle of Dunkirk;
and even before the war the east side of the square was de-
molished to give place to a large block of offices called Berke-
In this building, shortly after the outbreak of hostilities,
was installed the Ministry of Economic Warfare, in which I
held a minor appointment connected with the disposition of
Rumanian oil until the invasion of that country terminated
her usefulness to the Allies.
On the morning of May 14, 1940, as I was going along
one of the corridors of the Ministry, I was surprised to detect
in the atmosphere a strong odour of antiseptic, such as one
encounters when visiting a hospital. I gave but momentary
attention to the matter, and at 12-30, the morning's duties
102 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
being completed, I quitted the building to go to lunch. After
lunch I strolled along Oxford Street.
The traffic was very heavy, and as I crossed the corner of
Duke Street, by Selfridge's, the conditions caused me (I now
quote my diary) to "think of some little suburban man,
thinking perhaps of his garden or a toy for his child, suddenly
knocked down, his blood mingling with the tar, and perhaps
his eyes crushed into his broken glasses. I thought how beastly,
miserable and futile such things are."
These thoughts, which made a painful impression on me,
had no other obvious cause than the sight of the traffic and the
hot tar of the road.
But no sooner had I returned to my office in the Ministry
building than the telephone rang, and picking up the instru-
ment I froze with horror as an official informed me that the
police had been there during my absence to inform me of an
accident to my wife. She had been seriously injured, and I was
requested to go at once to the hospital.
My wife's face, when I saw her, was terribly swollen, her
nose xvas broken and full of blood, so that she had to breathe
through the mouth. Her body was so bruised that the least
movement in the cot was agonising. A light van, descending a
hill in Hampstead (to which we had removed from Gloucester
Place a few weeks earlier), had got out of control, mounted
the sidewalk and run directly into my wife as she was return-
ing from shopping. Happily, with the aid of an operation, she
recovered completely from all the injuries.
The time of the accident was 12-50, which was about half
an hour before I had the unpleasant mental picture in Ox-
ford Street. Despite the fact that the event had preceded the
Oxford Street part of the awareness. I have no hesitation at all
in classifying this case as one of Precognition of the coming
news and then seeing the condition of my wife. Reasons were
WAKING PRECOGNITION 103
given when Precognition was defined (Chapted ii) for the
view that Precognition relates, not to the event, but to our
coming experience of it, whether by personal participation,
or by the receipt of news.
This view is re-in forced by the experience of the odour of
the hospital antiseptic at the Ministry in the morning, an
odour met with again immediately upon entering the hospi-
tal in the afternoon. That odour, no doubt, was existing in
the hospital all day, But my impression of it at the Ministry,
before either the accident or the visit to the hospital, could
Have no raison d'etre except as Precognition of the coming
experience at the time of the visit.
Waking Precognition, of which the foregoing case is an
example, is certainly of common occurrence. It came out in
connection with the "tiki" in the case of Gwendoline Nelson,
and at the very time when I was completing what I said on
that subject, I observed another small but typical example.
Needing an envelope of a certain size, and not having a
new one at hand, I took an old one addressed to myself and
tried to turn it inside out, not very successfully. The next day
I received a letter from a cousin, Robert G., written in Aus-
tralia, which at once struck me as having a strangely rough
exterior. On examining the envelope I was amused to observe
inside the address, "Sir Robert etc." together with a cancelled
postage stamp. In the interests of national economy the en-
velope had actually been reversed.
Everyone has observed, to a greater or less degree, compar-
able instances of Second Sight or Precognition, and it is
scarcely necessary to remark that when they relate to the little
things of life they are just as evidential as when they relate to
something more important from a purely mundane point of
view. Were I at liberty, as at present I am not, to recount the
circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a former
104 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Home Secretary whose office in the ministerial building was
just over mine, it would be more sensational ; but there is not
necessarily any higher degree of proof of the supernormal in
Monday, May 17, 1937 was a very hot day in Sussex, Eng-
land, much too hot for my liking on the walk I was making
from Crowborough back to London.
I had been invited to stay at C Hall, by two hospitable
and widely travelled ladies. Their large house, built about
1890, had in its aspect something reassuring and reminiscent
of the days before the blight of war fell on a heedless world.
One half expected to encounter thereabout Sherlock Holmes,
with Watson, and the inevitable pipe, an idea owing some
inspiration to the fact that Conan Doyle lived and is buried a
short distance away. One did meet some interesting people at
C Hall, and on the Sunday night before my departure a
long and lively discussion had taken place on various philoso-
phies of life.
One of my hostesses accompanied me for a short distance,
and then left me to what has always been to me one of life's
greatest pleasures, to march at full liberty in the beauty of the
English countryside, coming ever and anon upon some mel-
low relic of the past, an antique church or such houses as the
fine half-timbered ones which held me a while at Lingfield.
The next day I wrote the following letter horn London:
"My dear Miss J ,
"I strode on for 30 miles after leaving you, namely to Pur-
ley, and then took trams home. Splendid weather, wasn't it
but rather too hot for walking. . . .
"In view of the very interesting discussion we had on Sun-
day night, I think you would all like to know of a peculiar
incident which occurred not long after I had set out. . . .
When I said that I had solved a code in a dream, 1 and also
1 See Chapter iii.
WAKING PRECOGNITION 105
when I said that I had had dreams evidently resulting from
telepathy, I think you all agreed, but I felt there was some
doubt when I said that I had reason to think that the future
could be foreseen in the same way. The thing that happened
to me, of no importance in itself, was a definite instance of
"I was going down a long hill, at least half a mile long,
with moors and trees on either side, and thinking about air
raids and how to prevent them by bringing down the planes.
This led me to think of the last war, and to suppose a German
aviator leaping from his machine with a parachute and land-
ing on this very moor. I wondered whether he could have
escaped capture. I put myself in his place, imagining my-
self in a German uniform with Wellington boots. I got very
interested in my supposition, and imagined letting my beard
grow, having no razor, and dirtying my uniform to conceal
its colour etc. I felt that the only chance was to pretend to be
some kind of tramp or beggar. So much for that.
"I reached the foot of the hill eventually, and rounded the
corner. The road went over a little bridge, and on the other
side was a house, with a big tree outside. The French tri-
colour was sticking up from the top of the tree, and in the road,
to my utter amazement, stood the unkempt figure which I
had been picturing in my mind. I do not mean that he was
wearing a German uniform; he was in fact wearing a British
officer's jacket with the official buttons removed, but his
trousers were in Wellington boots, and on his head was a
round peakless foraging cap, such as the Germans wore. His
beard was overgrown, not cut into a proper beard but just
neglected, and his whole appearance was dirty and trampish,
though presumably he lived in the house.
"Here was perhaps the only figure in England which corre-
sponded with what I thought I had been 'imagining,' but
106 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
which really I must conclude I had been seeing in advance. . ."
The French tricolour flying in the English countryside
was something I had never seen before, and it remains a
puzzle. There it was, however, and it combined with the ex-
traordinary man to convey the impression of a scene from
the first war.
A simple but very clear case of waking Precognition oc-
curred to me in March, 1942. One afternoon, as I was sitting
in a trolley bus travelling from Holloway Road to catch a
train at Camden Town, for some reason or other I began to
wonder whether bus workers have to pay fares when travel-
ling in buses, and I concluded that probably they have to
when not in uniform.
The next day I had to make precisely the same journey. At
the same time to a minute or two, and at the same place on the
route (it was by a request stop in the Camden Road) a man,
woman and child left the bus. The man went round to the
front of the bus, and spoke to the driver. At first I thought he
had gone round to make a complaint, but I soon saw the two
were joking together. When we resumed our journey, the
conductor of the bus spoke to his driver through the parti-
tion behind the driver's seat, and from his delighted words it
became clear to me that he had extracted full fares from a
fellow-worker, and even "an 'arf for the kid."
A very odd incident, which tickled me enormously at the
time, occurred in December, 1941. Ever since we had moved
in April of the previous year to a house in Hampstead, I had,
like other London householders, been considerably preoccu-
pied by the question of bombs and counter-measures, for
these were no longer the theoretical affair they had been in
1937. One of my activities had consisted in making an air-
raid shelter in a part of the cellar which had not previously
been cleared pf its earth. The evacuated earth I had disposed
WAKING PRECOGNITION 107
of in various ways, including the construction in the garden
of a grassy mound. On the 23rd December I completed this
little "mountain" as my neighbours termed it, by construct-
ing a miniature path over it, and planting one or two small
pushes on it. It then (says my diary) "occurred to me that I
might make an arch on or near it. I considered how to do this,
and decided that I ought to get a long thin iron rod which
could be bent into a graceful curve."
The following day I got out my almost antique green
Raleigh cycle, which the exigencies of war had brought into
service again, and went to search the nearly empty lumber
yards (or timber yards as we call them in England) for a
piece of wood for some household purpose. My diary records:
"As I was coming back, a lorry ['truck' in U. S.] passed
me from behind, loaded with hundreds of old iron rods such
as I had been thinking of yesterday. As I looked, one of them
fell off! Of course, I dismounted and picked it up. It was not
really quite long enough; however, I felt it might do. A few
hundred yards further on, I found the lorry had stopped, and
the men had got out to adjust the rods, evidently not feeling
very sure about their security.
"When I got up to them, I proffered the rod, which they
waved aside. I then said, 'Have you got a larger one?'
"' Yes, what size? 1
" The longest youVe got.'
"Out they pulled one about 12 feet long, and passed it to
me, refusing any payment, and evidently regarding the mat-
ter as a good joke. Thus I was brought to be in the right
place at the right moment to get my rod."
Such was my concluding comment, indicating that I was
not then thinking of Precognition as an explanation in this
case, but rather that my thought about an iron rod and wish
for one, had caused me in some extremely subtle manner,
108 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
with the aid of Telepathy and Clairvoyance, to time my ac
tions so as to bring me behind that lorry at just the right
moment. But how, invoking Telepathy and Clairvoyance,
and the utmost powers of subconscious calculation, could I
have attained to the knowledge that the rods were so placed
that a jolt would bring one off just when and where it did?
Precognition fits the circumstances much better: the incident
with the lorry was precognised the previous day in the form
of the thought about the garden arch.
One evening, when about to set out to attend a lecture in
French at a London college, I hesitated for a moment over
what to take with me to read in the train. Eventually I slipped
into my pocket La Derniere Victoire, by Richard Hillary, an
English book translated into French which I had bought at
Victoria Station when en route for Paris a few months before,
but had never found the time to read, the literature of native
authors proving more attractive. The Frenchman who gave
the lecture which I attended made mention of one English
book only, arid that was the one which I had in my pocket.
Such minor but meaningful instances of waking Precog-
nition crowd people's memories if not the pages of their
diaries. Their importance to the study of Extra-Sensory Per-
ception lies partly in their implication of a function which
is constant though its observation is intermittent.
I now turn to a few waking incidents of more unusual
character experienced by others, and which have come to my
notice in various ways.
A charming Swedish young lady, who had been one of my
pupils in London, and whose home in Malmo I subsequently
visited, told me that when she was a child, she and the rest of
her family all heard the grandfather enter the house, and take
off his riding boots in the hall below, half an hour or so be-
fore the actual return took place. This phenomenon was ex-
WAKING PRECOGNITION 1 09
perienced not once but many times. The name applied by my
informant to such an experience was varsel, which seems to
have as wide an application to the supernormal as "Second
It is, however, of great interest to note that in the neigh-
bouring country of Norway there is a word, vardogr, which
is applied specifically to the type of experience described by
the Swedish girl. Sir William A. Craigie, the eminent philolo-
gist, in an article on vardogr, contributed to Blackwood's
Magazine in March, 1912, thus defined it: " By this term is
understood a certain property, attaching itself to particular
persons, by which their arrival at a particular place, most
frequently their own home, is announced beforehand by dis-
tinctive sounds, such as are usually or naturally made by the
person in question."
Professor Craigie added that the evidence which he had
obtained from Norwegians of high standing and education
"leaves no doubt as to the reality of the phenomenon, how-
ever it is to be explained."
Such auditory anticipations may be contrasted with a story
repeated by a German writer, F. Curtis, who laid it to the
account of Telepathy and coincidence:
"One of our party had just been amusing us with a story
of this nature, relating to a friend of his student-days in Mu-
nich, one of those unlucky individuals who seem especially
to suffer from the 'malice of inanimate objects/ He told us
how, not long before, he himself was describing to some
friends in his studio in Berlin various occurrences in which
1 A Swedish encyclopedia thus defines varsel: "Mental experiences which
appear to be a presage of future occurrences, or to be a witness to some con-
temporary or recent event which has not been cognized by any hitherto known
forms of mental impressions. Varsel experiences can take the form of vague
presentiments or true dreams or of hallucinations."
110 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
this unlucky fellow, (whom he had not then seen for over
twelve years) , had caused the Munich artist-circle immense
amusement by the frequently ridiculous nature of the cala-
mities which befell him. He ended up by saying: 'If he were
to come into this studio now, he would be certain to seat
himself upon that three-legged stool, and although it really
is quite safe, he would be sure to sit down upon it in such a
way that it would break to pieces under him. 1 Hardly had he
uttered these words when there was a knock at the door, and
his friend the unlucky individual entered no one having the
least idea of his even being in Berlin seated himself upon
the stool, which immediately collapsed under him." 1
Naturally the most sensational manner in which Precogni-
tion and other forms of Extra-Sensory Perception can mani-
fest during the waking state is that of a visual hallucination. 2
When visiting Washington in May, 1947, 1 picked up from
my host's shelves a copy of Coronation Commentary, origin-
ally published in 1937, though somehow I had never hap-
pened to come upon a copy until that moment. The author
of the book, Geoffrey Dennis, tells the following story of his
boyhood, just before the Coronation, in 1902, of King Ed-
ward VII, who had succeeded to the throne at the death of
his mother, Queen Victoria, on January 22, 1901:
"I was walking back from school, along Beech Grove. I had
just crossed the road, and set foot on the edge of the Stray, to
cut across the grass to Victoria Avenue, when an errand boy,
basket on arm, appeared suddenly as though from nowhere.
'The King is ill, 1 he told me, 'the Coronation is put off/ and
then vanished; though on the open Stray there was nowhere,
1 F. Curtis [Willebaid Franke], Voices From Another World, London: George
Allen & Unwin, 1923.
2 The word "hallucination" is used here and elsewhere, not in its popular
sense of "illusion," but in the sense given in the Glossary.
WAKING PRECOGNITION 1 1 1
other than magical, he could have vanished to. Dazed by this
apparition, this messenger for me alone, I stared in all direc-
tions. There was no errand boy, nobody within sight anywhere.
I ran home, and there learnt that my mysterious messenger's
information was true." 1
The local names in this story reveal to me that the incident
happened at Harrogate, Yorkshire, where I lived for many
years, and as a boy attended a school which lay in the same
direction as the one from which Geoffrey Dennis was coming
at the time of his experience though from some strictures in
another of Mr. Dennis's books I doubt whether they were
identical. The "Stray" is a two-hundred acre grassy space, and
I can confirm that it has no feature that could have hidden the
errand boy. I can only conclude that the mind of Geoffrey
Dennis created the picture of the boy as a means of expressing
his subconscious Precognition of the coming news.
Before saying more on the subject of visual hallucination,
I would like to direct attention to aii additional precognitive
aspect of this story of the days before the Coronation of King
Edward VII. Thirty-five years later Mr. Dennis was to publish
his book, originally intended to celebrate the expected Cor-
onation of King Edward VIII. Obviously the author's boyhood
experience may have lain consciously or unconsciously at the
root of his inclination to write a book about a Coronation;
but and here is the point I wish to make Mr. Dennis could
not know when he began his book that the Coronation would
have to be not indeed postponed, but, far worse, abandoned,
causing a disappointment in the public mind even more pro-
found than the grave illness of the earlier King Edward. The
seriousness of the Abdication to the author of a book like Mr.
Dennis's in- which of course the personality of Edward VIII
i From Coronation Commentary, by Geoffrey Dennis. Copyright 1937 by
112 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
figured largely, needs no emphasis. There is, therefore, a dis-
tinct possibility that the apparition or waking dream of 1902
contained, besides its immediate anticipation, an element that
was precognitive of one part (the dilemma produced by the
Abdication) , as well as causative of another part (choice of the
Coronation subject) of the author's experiences in connection
with Edward VIII thirty-five years later.
Another boy, in the year 1900, had experienced a vivid
dream which also was not to be fulfilled for over thirty years.
He was Igor I. Sikorsky, who became famous as an aeronau-
tical inventor, but as his experience does not come under the
head of waking Precognition, I must refer the reader for de-
tails of it to Mr. Sikorsky's book, The Story of the Winged S,
where in the opening pages he gives an impressive account of
how this dream of 1900 was fulfilled while he was flying in
The period of time elapsing between the Precognition and
the fulfilling experience varies in published cases from a few
minutes to several years. Deeply interesting and valuable
would be any records giving even a slight idea of the frequency
of these latter cases. 1 It is only too evident, however, that as
the length of time increases, and especially when it gets to
periods like 31 or 36 years, any Precognitions that may have
occurred are not likely to be retained in the memory, and are
still less likely to have been recorded.
A Precognition which apparently related to an event which
occurred no less than 84 years later was published by Matthew
Habershon (1789-1852), a Yorkshireman who attained some
distinction as an architect and a painter, and who wrote a book
on the ancient half-timbered houses of England which gained
i For two examples, see pp. 123 and 127 of Dame Edith Lyttel ton's Our
WAKING PRECOGNITION 1 1 3
him a gold medal from the King of Prussia. Yet his great in-
terest in life was the study of the prophetic scriptures. It may
be difficult to-day to grasp the intensity of the belief held by
many earnest Evangelical Protestants at the beginning of the
last century that the Old and New Testaments contained
prophecies of paramount importance to the destiny of the
human race. In particular, the Second Coming of Christ was
believed at hand, together with the restoration of the Jews to
Palestine; though this latter event was always assumed to be
conditional upon their conversion to Christianity.
In pursuance of these views, Habershon published in 1834
a book entitled An Historical Dissertation on the Prophetic
Scriptures in the Old Testament. I possess a copy of the third
(1842) edition, inscribed by the author to his friend Charles
Sabine, whose deep faith in the Second Advent was mentioned
earlier. With one exception, all the interpretations put by
Habershon on the scriptural prophecies were soon proved by
events to be wrong.
The one exception was made in complete unconsciousness
of its real import, and this spontaneity and disassociation from
wish-fulfilment is a marked characteristic of Precognition as
distinct from what is termed prophecy. Habershon's conscious
efforts to interpret prophecy followed the lines of his own fixed
desires, and were completely off the target; but the fact that his
mind was bent in the direction of the future does seem to have
drawn out of it one striking Precognition.
"If this reasoning be correct," he wrote, "then the year 602
or 601 B.C. is the point of time from which to date the loss of
the throne by the house of David; and, consequently, after the
lapse of the long period of 2,520 years, the year 1918 or 1919
after Christ will be the time when it will be again restored to
its rightful owner." 1
1 1 first drew attention to this remarkable anticipation in the Literary
Guide (London) in 1927.
114 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
At the beginning of his Chapter vii Habershon displayed
"A.D. 1918 or 1919" in capital letters as the date of that tre-
mendous event which was the keystone of the whole system in
which he believed, namely, the "Restoration of the House of
David to the Throne. He thought that Christ in person would
then appear, the Jews return to Palestine, and the Millenium
Everyone knows that General Allenby led his army into
Jerusalem in December, 1917, that in the course of 1918 the
Turks were finally driven out of Palestine, and that this event
led to the beginning of the return of the Jews to the country.
It may also be noted that the mainly British army engaged on
the Allied side was actually fighting under the Cross; in fact,
the Union Jack is the only flag of a great power which does
embody the Cross, symbol to the Christian of the Son of
David. Curious interpretations could thus be read into those
historic events of thirty years ago; but the fascinating task of
interpreting ambiguous prophecy is not my subject. What
here does merit attention is the fact that in 1834 Habershon
had an insight which led him prominently to display in his
book the significant elate A.D. 1918 OR 1919. 1 His mind was
fixed on Jerusalem he was to visit it in 1842 to arrange the
erection of the Anglican cathedral and it was also directed to
the future. There emerged the date of a great event, though
not so great or so "miraculous" an event as he wished and
expected. His wish-prophecy was not only wrong as to preced-
ing events, but obviously ignored the tragedies which since
have befallen Jews and Palestinian Arabs. The Precognition
of "1918-1919" stands alone.
If Extra-Sensory Perception could be said, beyond all ques-
tion, to be the explanation of this case, it would be one of
iThe prominence is greater in the edition of 1842.
WAKING PRECOGNITION 1 1 5
special interest because Habershon did not himself live to
learn of the conquest of Jerusalem. We may think of the pos-
sibility that he telepathically perceived the Precognition which
existed in the minds of children living in 1834 who survived
Returning to the subject of hallucinations, which was raised
by Geoffrey Dennis's story, it need scarcely be said that the
records of such appearances to people in the waking state are
very numerous. Not a few of these apparitions, traditionally
described as "ghosts/* are attributed to Telepathy, though
Precognition seems to cover the circumstances better. The
coming experience (often the receipt of news of an event) is
precognised by means of the apparently objective vision. Pre-
cognition is especially evident in cases where living and rec-
ognised people are seen in advance of their physical appear-
ance. 1 This is well exemplified by the following account of an
experience which happened to Dr. S. B. Brittan in 1850:
"I had been spending several days in the valley of the
Naugatuck, and at the time was in Ansonia, at the residence
of W. G. Creamer, some fifteen miles from Bridgeport, Con-
necticut. This strange phenomenon of the apparition of a
living man occurred early in the morning. The sun had risen,
and I was about leaving my sleeping apartment, when (alter
having my attention directed for a moment to the opposite
side of the room) I suddenly turned toward the door, which
was closed, and to my great surprise saw the late Joseph T.
Bailey, of Philadelphia. He was standing about three feet from
the door, and looking earnestly in my face, he addressed me,
when a brief colloquy ensued.
"In his first audible words Mr. Bailey declared that he
would call on me the next day; whereupon I enquired what
l See Gurney, Myers, and Podmore, Phantasms of the Living, 2 vols., 1886
and W. H. Salter, Ghosts and Apparitions, 1938.
116 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
was to be done on the occasion of his next visit. With an ex-
pression of peculiar interest, and speaking with increased em-
phasis, Mr. Bailey said, "Rememberl I shall call on you to-
morrow." I asked him to explain the object of his unexpected
appearance, and to tell me what was to occur on the succeeding
day. He gave me no answer; but the figure moved slowly as if
it were about to disappear by the door. 'Stay, friend!' I ex-
claimed, 'Will you not explain the purpose of this mysterious
visitation?' My friend made no direct reply, but commenced
speaking in a low tone. I listened, and discovered that he was
talking of a mutual friend, Mr. F . Much that he said was
inaudible, but I distinctly heard his last words, which were
these: 'A dark cloud has settled down over the earthly destiny
of that man/
"The figure vanished as the last words were uttered, and I
was left to muse alone on this strange experience. By a most
singular train of circumstances, the author met Mr. Bailey the
next day, in a car on the New York and New Haven Railroad.
He had been in Boston the preceding day or two, and was there
at the time his apparition entered my chamber in Ansonia. In
the course of the interview that succeeded our actual meeting,
Mr. Bailey spoke with much feeling concerning the misfor-
tunes of our mutual friend, Mr. F ; and, strange as it may
appear, when about to take leave of the writer, he uttered the
precise words of the apparition: 'A dark cloud has settled
down over the earthly destiny of that man/ "
Brittan was awake, yet his hallucinatory experience had the
characteristics of a dream. Observe the evasiveness of the ap-
parition representing Mr. F. "He gave me no answer," and
"much that he said was inaudible." The same appearance of
control was there which distinguishes a precognitive dream,
and Brittan gave himself no information through his appari-
tion that might have ledif such a thing is ever possible to
WAKING PRECOGNITION 1 1 7
his evading the coming experience. The value of his waking
vision lay in its evidence to himself, in a vividly impressive
form, of the faculty of Precognition.
In records in the English language, visual hallucinations are
particularly associated with the Highlanders of Scotland; but,
as was previously remarked, the literature of all nations testi-
fies to the occurrence of these "waking dreams/' The Pro-
ceedings of the S.P.R. and many of the books listed at the end
of this work record cases so numerous and well attested that it
is scarcely possible for anyone who closely peruses them to
doubt that true hallucinations do occur, and not only to
simple shepherds as they watch their flocks, but to people
whose intelligence and judgment may (possibly) be thought
more valuable by the standards of business and professional
It remains true, however, that greater importance must
attach to Precognition manifesting itself in what is regarded as
the ordinary course of events, unaccompanied by any auditory,
visual, or other deviations from the customary appearance of
things .The observer of this prosaic-seeming evidence has no
need to wait for hallucinatory experiences which may come
but rarely, or never, in his own life. And the conviction thus
arrived at is naturally more decisive for him than that pro-
duced by the account of something more sensational which
ha$ happened to another person.
The significance of the everyday occurrence of Precognition
may lie in some such direction as this: while it cannot be said
that Precognition results in the percipient consciously altering
his future experience, observation seems to show that impulses
giving rise to thought and action in the present may be pre-
cognitive in source; they take their inspiration from a future
experience. It is not the future experience that is in this way
"altered" or made: rather is it that instead of seeming to be
118 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
made it has the air of contributing to the making of what goes
before. For example, it obviously results in the recounting or
writing down of a precognitive dream.
In this way, both the quiet meditation and the sudden im-
pulses of a man, equally with the "absurd" remarks of a child,
and the "fantastic" themes of a poet may in whole or part be
the reflection of experiences to come, precognised in the deeps
of the mind.
THE INCIDENT OF THE ARM
STORIES OF ghosts, apparitions and so on are a-plenty in the
history of mankind, and at the close of the previous chapter
some indication was given that these apparently objective
visions should, as a rule, be regarded as subjective experiences,
as a kind of waking dream.
The belief that such apparitions are separate entities, whose
existence does not depend on the percipient, finds very scanty
support when the full details are given by a trustworthy nar-
rator like Dr. Brittan. Many of the most popular stories were
not written down until years after the event, and have an air
of sensationalism which makes them rightly suspect. True
hallucinations have been tainted by the company of super-
stitious legends, and this partly explains why many people
whose reasoning powers are strong manifest impatience if not
disgust towards the whole subject of apparitions.
In face of this often too well founded scepticism, I do not
find it easy to approach the sole instance in the whole of my
experiences in which I saw apparently objectively, in broad
daylight and while awake, something which looked material
and yet, if material, was not material in any ordinary sense of
A single instance of the kind, convincing as it may be to the
one who experiences it, can have little value as evidence to
others. On one of the occasions when that most engaging of
120 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
biographers, James Boswell of Auchinleck, desired to have Dr.
Johnson's opinion on this subject, the sage replied, "A man
who thinks he has seen an apparition, can only be convinced
himself; his authority will not convince another; and his con-
viction, if rational, must be founded on being told something
which cannot be known but by supernatural means." 1
Any experience depending on our only too fallible physical
senses is essentially less convincing in its nature than a case of
simple Precognition, for this latter contains in itself its own
means of satisfying the reason whenever it is examined. Some-
thing seen, heard, touched, etc. for a few fleeting seconds is
obviously in a weaker position, even to the percipient himself.
Frequently, however, waking visions, like the dreams which
they resemble, have themselves conveyed precognitive, clair-
voyant, or telepathic awareness. The Brittan case, cited in the
preceding chapter, was an example. 2
It happens that my own visual experience was coupled with
Precognition, and moreover it had the curious feature of being
shared, in a certain degree, by my wife. Thus sustained, I sum-
mon up the resolution necessary to recount the incident.
It occurred on the morning of June 26, 1942.
"I woke up," records my diary, "at 7, as I know by the fact
that I glanced at the alarm, which as usual was set for 7-15. I
therefore dozed off again, lying half on my left side, and half
on my back [a position from which I could not see my wife
asleep in the adjoining bed, also with her back to me]. I re-
member the thought came to me that I would be more com-
fortable on my right side for a change, but I thought it was not
worth while turning over for so short a time. I then had a
dream of a very rambling character from which I was sud-
1 Life of Samuel Johnson, at April 15, 1781.
2 A selection of such cases from the records of the S.P.R., entitled Ghosts
and Apparitions, was published by Mr. W. H. Saltcr in 1938.
THE INCIDENT OF THE ARM 121
denly awakened. Usually I awake without the alarm, which
then rings some time later while I am awake.
"Occasionally, however, I am awakened by it ringing, and
of course it awakens Ellen too. As she is nearest to it, she then
touches the button on the top of it, which stops it ringing.
"Owing to the suddenness of my waking on this occasion, I
assumed that the alarm had gone off, and that Ellen had
stopped it. As, however, there was then no sound, I turned
quickly over on to my right side to look at the clock.
"As I did so, I saw retiring from me towards Ellen, or rather
saw whipped back with the rapidity of some furtive animal, a
long thin arm longer and thinner than any fleshly arm could
bea portion of which, terminating in a hand, remained for a
second, poised in an upright position from the middle of
Ellen's body, then shuddered and melted away.
"It was of a gelatine or jelly-like transparency, tinged along
the edges with pink. A finger of the hand was pointing, and
when the arm assumed the shortened upright position over the
waist, I saw that the finger was crooked, not only forward but
backwards at the tip, showing the elastic nature of the whole
"Quick as my view was, it was long enough, especially when
the arm paused over the body almost as if to give me a good
viewfor me to reflect that I really was seeing a supernormal
thing in broad daylight in my own room.
"I then looked at the clock, and saw that it was precisely at
7-15. Ellen, whose back was towards me in her bed, continued
to lie still, breathing deeply, and it suddenly dawned on me
that the alarm could not have gone off yet, that I had awakened
either naturally or as a result of the arm. I sat up in bed, and
shortly after this Ellen turned round.
"She said she could remember no alarm bell, and certainly
had not stopped it. On hearing my experience, she exclaimed
122 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
that she had just had a dream which terminated in her point-
ing across a table to me, anxiously calling out to me to be care-
ful how I handled some drawings I was looking at, though
next minute she realised she was mistaken, and they were
not in any danger.
"At 7-35 we took up the alarm clock to examine it. When
the winding key was touched the alarm went off, although the
clock was set at 7-15. It seems, therefore, that it had been pre-
vented by some little thing, perhaps overwinding, from going
off at the proper time.
"I told Ellen my dream, which seemed to have no connec-
tion whatever with the arm. The dream concluded with my
being in the 'top flat 7 of a high building with a woman with
dark red hair. She left me to go to get a 'paper/ For some rea-
son she was to get it from F., whom I knew [20 years earlier]
in the Bank at Harrogate, and who had red hair. I began to
say to the woman, "You'll know him because he's got red hair
like you,' but checked this tactless remark."
In the evening of the day which began with this extraordin-
ary experience, I was walking along Finchley Road in Hamp-
stead when I saw just in front of me a young woman in a pink
dress, who stopped two children to ask the way to Hampstead
Heath. As I was going in that direction it was almost inevitable
that I should offer to guide the girl, and while walking along
with her and conversing, I observed that she had dark-red hair
under her hat. She told me that she was a probationer in the
"Wrens," 1 and was billeted in a large house in the neighbor-
hood. Speaking of a practice air-raid alarm she commented
humorously, "Unfortunately I sleep right at the top of the
house!" When we parted, my new acquaintance remarked
that she had soon to be back at the billet as it was her duty to
1 Women's Royal Naval Service.
THE INCIDENT OF THE ARM 123
collect the "cards," adding in explanation that the word re-
ferred to the passes.
"Here then," says my diary, "are three distinct correspon-
dences to the conclusion of my dream, namely:
Red-haired woman Red-haired woman
Top flat Top floor
Collect paper Collect cards
"Moreover, almost the whole of my rambling dream had its
correspondence in other circumstances of this encounter. It
would be tedious to enumerate them all: besides, there is
nothing new to me in these 'seeings before/ "
My own dream was then the ordinary precognitive one ; but
that of my wife, in which she stretched out an arm to protect
drawings, and then withdrew it, is exceptionally interesting
in the light of my seeing while awake a species of arm retire
into her waist.
The only theory that we ventured to advance, and that very
tentatively indeed, was that my wife precognised hearing
about my encounter with the red-haired girl, and that the arm
was an expression or symbol of momentary feminine jealousy.
That view, of course, was based on the assumption that the
arm was formed of some kind of matter.
It would be more in accord with other cases to suggest that
while sleeping I was telepathically aware of my wife's dream
of stretching out her arm, and that just after awaking this sub-
conscious awareness presented itself to consciousness in the
The fact that the arm took on, not a clothed or natural flesh
form, but a strange transparent elastic form may indicate the
presence of some little known form of matter. That is a pos-
sibility which has to be considered in view of the experiments
in what is called "materialisation" (see the authorities cited
in the footnote to p. 185) .
124 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Thus Dr. Gustave Geley speaks of ectoplasm as being a
white, grey, or black substance emanating from various parts
of the human body. Most usually it is white, and sometimes it
takes the form of "cords of various thicknesses" or "the form
of narrow rigid rays/' "The substance appears and disappears
like lightning and is extraordinarily sensitive," but sometimes
it moves slowly " with a creeping motion resembling a reptile/'
Although there are interesting resemblances, my experience
did not correspond closely enough to the usual description of
ectoplasm to justify the conclusion that the "arm" was ob-
jective in the same way.
In accordance with my custom of recording everything as
soon as possible after the experience I made a full-size water-
colour drawing of the "arm" to accompany my written record.
PRECOGNITION, CLAIRVOYANCE, AND
IN THE year 1571, a worthy gentleman named William
Slingsby, scion of an ancient house of Yorkshire squires,
discovered the medicinal value of a certain spring oozing from
a piece of wild moorland in his native county; and thus, in
some measure, he came to be regarded as the founder of the
now famous spa of Harrogate.
The moorland is to-day a grassy sward called "the Stray,"
and it may be recalled that it was while crossing this ground in
1902 that the schoolboy who in after years was to write Cor-
onation Commentary, had a remarkable hallucinatory ex-
One day at the end of October, 1927, while I too was cross-
ing the Stray, and while I was speculating in accordance with
my archaeological bent on the history of the locality, the idea
came into my mind that a street in the town ought to be named
after Slingsby. Knowing, however, that a keen interest in the
past is not shared by everyone, I kept the idea strictly to my-
self, merely turning it over in my mind during the next few
Now just at this time, to be precise on November 9, it
chanced that my brother found he could not comply with an
invitation to witness the conferment of the Honorary Free-
dom of Harrogate upon Admiral the Earl Jellicoe; and so it
126 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
fell to me to escort my brother's wife in his place. Otherwise I
should not have been present.
When it came to the distinguished visitor's turn to respond
to the addresses of the Councillors, he made the customary
acknowledgements, praised the town, and proceeded to say
that he had been told that the discoverer of the waters was one
Mr. William Slingsby. At this point Lord Jellicoe made a
pause, and then startled me by continuing, "I wonder whether
there is any street or road in the town named in his honour
if not, I hope there soon will be."
In passing, I may mention that nobody else paid any atten-
tion to Lord Jellicoe's suggestion. I kept silent for nearly a
year, and then made the proposition, which was adopted, that
a path leading to the famous spring should be called "Slingsby
At the time of the original incident I felt that Telepathy
with myself was the only possible explanation of Lord Jelli-
coe's remark. Longer experience requires me to consider the
possibility that I precognised the coming experience of hear-
ing the suggestion made.
Conversely, in considering cases of apparent Precognition,
doubt often arises as to whether the circumstances, instead of
being attributed to Precognition, ought not to be ascribed to
the seemingly less mysterious faculties of Telepathy and Clair-
voyance. This point received some attention at the close of
Chapter ii, when the question of the definition of Precognition
was tentatively discussed.
Firstly, it was emphasised that the occurrence of a number
of cases where no explanation other than that of Precognition
was conceivable, entitled Precognition to be considered on an
equal footing with Clairvoyance and Telepathy in those other
and more numerous cases which could be attributed to the
supposedly "simpler" forms of Extra-Sensory Perception. Fur-
PRECOGNITION, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 127
ther, it was pointed out that in some of these latter cases the
presence of errors etc. peculiar to the percipient indicated that
he had precognised his own coming sense perception and con-
cepts arising therefrom, rather than that he had received tele-
pathic information. It was also shown that objects presumed to
be cognised by Clairvoyance frequently have no relation to
the percipient except as part of a physical sense experience in
his future. So that the form of Extra-Sensory Perception in-
volved is as least as likely to be that derived from his future
experience as from the existing object.
Before looking at a few more experiences in the light of
these views, it may be useful to glance at definitions of the
three principal forms of Extra-Sensory Perception, as they are
at present considered to be:
Precognition. Perception or awareness, not attributable to
information or rational inference, which corresponds to the
future sense perception of the subject, or of another person.
Telepathy, The communication of impressions of any kind
from one mind to another, independently of the recognised
channels of sense (F. W. H. Myers, inventor of the word) . Or,
Extra-Sensory Perception of the mental activities of another
person (Journal of Parapsychology, Duke Univ.)
Clairvoyance. Extra-Sensory Perception of objective events
as distinguished from telepathic perception of the mental
state of another person (ibid.)
The general tendency among writers and others in the re-
cent past has been to assume Telepathy as an explanation
whenever possible, in preference to Precognition. Consider,
for example, the very common cases in which an individual
starts suddenly to think of a friend, perhaps one he has not
seen for years, and shortly afterwards he meets him round the
corner, or receives a visit from him. As a rule, such an incident
(when not attributed to chance) is attributed to Telepathy,
128 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
and that view may be the right one; but such an incident could
also be attributed to Precognition: the subject had precognised
his coming experience, the experience of meeting his friend.
Or the anticipation may be attributed to Clairvoyance, the
friend having been extra-sensorily perceived without any com-
munication with his mind.
The doubt which surrounds the case for Telepathy as a
ready label in ambiguous experiences becomes even stronger
in the consideration of those other very common examples in
which the subject begins to think of a friend, or dreams of him,
and immediately afterwards receives a letter from that friend,
a letter perhaps which has come from the other side of the
world. It would not be very reasonable to suppose that the
Telepathy comes into play only just before the letter arrives,
for the minds of the two persons concerned are at the same
distance apart throughout. A similar objection may apply to
Clairvoyance, which is not usually held to depend on distance
from the object clairvoyantly cognised. But Precognition, so
far as present observation goes, is most commonly noticed a
short time before the experience to which it relates; and this
characteristic is extremely germane to the immediate question.
Thus reference to Telepathy is by no means an easy way
out in cases which seem capable of a dual or triple interpreta-
tion. While a great many seem superficially to fall under the
heading of Clairvoyance, the decisive establishment of the
existence of the faculty of Precognition requires that in these
and all other cases it should be taken into consideration.
At the same time, it seems to me unjustified on existing
evidence to go to the other extreme, and to contend that all
cases of Telepathy are cases of Precognition or Clairvoyance.
A few appropriate incidents may be found to illustrate that
Telepathy, as defined above, is entitled to be regarded as a
distinct aspect of Extra-Sensory Perception.
PRECOGNIT1ON, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 129
Consider the extract from the diary of Shirley Brooks in
1870, which was quoted at the beginning of this book:
'Tunny thing at the 'Bedford' I looked in at the little
window, and saw Helen writing in a book her diary. She had
marked one day, she showed me, with very black marks. Of
course, she was mysterious about it, and she having denied
that it concerned a 'he/ I said: 'Then you had your pocket
picked/ Her eyes became saucers. 'How strange you should
say that!' It was so, in an omnibus, and she had lost a good deal
of money, and had told nobody. My fluke was prompted by a
recollection of what happened to poor dear Emily, in New
Inn days she was robbed on her way to see me/*
What is here described as a "fluke" may have been an in-
stance of Telepathy, but it may equally well be contended
that the girl's diary was clairvoyantly cognised by Brooks, and
that he had no communication with the mind of Helen. As to
Precognition, it seems here to be less probable than either of
the other aspects of Extra-Sensory Perception. The second ex-
tract from Brooks's diary (p. 14) might be cited equally well
to illustrate any one of the three faculties.
I go on sixty-four years to the morning of October 4, 1934,
when I was travelling from Harrogate to London, my own
diary tucked away in my bag, intending to stay with my aunt,
who, incidentally, was the last member of the family who had
personal memories of Brooks.
As the express sped through the flat Lincolnshire fields, I
mused on my previous visit to my aunt, when she had give me
a latch key to encourage me to enjoy the attractions of Lon-
don; and the recollection of this key caused me to speculate on
what my aunt would do if she lost her door key, how she would
have to get a locksmith to open the door, and so forth. All this
was, so far as I was aware, sheer imagination.
When in the early afternoon I reached the neighborhood of
130 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
my aunt's house, near Marble Arch, I saw her returning from
the direction of the Park with her little dog. Embracing me,
and kissing me on both cheeks, as elderly maiden aunts will
do, she exclaimed, "I wish you'd come before. We've had a
terrible time. I lost my key, and I was hoping you could do
something. But at last I had to get a mechanic to open the
The lost key was not that of the front door, the one of
which I had been thinking, but the key of the apartments my
aunt reserved for herself on the ground floor. She had been
bothering with the matter since 10-30 that morning.
In a case of this sort it is again not possible to decide abso-
lutely whether the experience demonstrates Precognition or
Telepathy. I incline to pronounce for Precognition as slightly
more likely because of the error about the front door. The
first statement by my aunt was that she had lost her key, with-
out specifying, till some time later, which key. Thus I thought
immediately of the front door, and it was the front door which
figured in my apparent Precognition. If there had been direct
Telepathy from my aunt's mind why should the front door
come into the matter at all?
But there are some cases, like the one I shall now cite, to
which the Telepathy label may be applied with the greater
At the office, one day just before Christmas, 1936, a viva-
cious young Scots-Irish lady, Miss Margaret B., tackled me
humorously with, "What are you going to give me for a
Christmas present?" Later the same day I was in a shop where
I observed a book with a white metal elephant on the cover,
and I thought to myself that if I did give Margaret a present,
that would be a suitable thing, but for the moment I took no
The next day I happened to take out of my pocket in front
PRECOGNITION, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 131
of this girl a flexible steel tape, the end of which being de-
fective, I had twisted round it a wire paper clip to prevent the
tape running completely back into the case. The paper clip
was simply twisted into a shapeless mass. Margaret caught
sight of this, and remarked, "Whatever's that?" She bent for-
ward, saw what the object was, and continued, "I thought it
looked like one of those little elephants." Now nothing could
have been more fantastic than to mistake a twisted wire paper
clip for an elephant, yet that was the idea which had somehow
come into the mind of this girl.
In the foregoing case to reject Telepathy in favour of Glair-,
voyance would indeed be possible, but would be going to a
great extreme to avoid the probable. The probability does
seem to be that the thought of the metal elephant had been
perceived in my mind by Miss B., or, if the expression is pre-
ferred, had passed from my mind to hers.
A week or so later I had occasion to write a letter to a friend
who was wintering at Mentone, and in the course of it I men-
tioned the above example of apparent Telepathy. About an
hour after writing this letter I called on another lady, Miss
Myra H., and led the conversation on to the general question
of Telepathy and kindred matters, without, however, men-
tioning a word of the case I had just been writing about,
As it was the first time that I had raised the subject with
Myra, I preferred to see whether she would volunteer any
remarks of a relevant kind. Spontaneously, and in complete
ignorance, I repeat, of the other case, she proceeded to tell me
of this recent experience.
Myra had for a long while had the intention of sending a
bottle of scent to a girl friend in the North by way of a Christ-
mas gift. At the last moment, however, she changed her mind,
and sent instead a box of cigarettes. In due course she received
a letter of thanks from her friend, but, to Myra's intense sur-
132 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
prise, the friend commented that she was afraid that the peo-
ple with whom she was staying must be dishonest, because she
was "positive there was a bottle of scent with those cigarettes
you sent me, but when I looked at the parcel again later it was
How can we account for a case like this otherwise than on
the assumption that the thought of the long-considered bottle
of scent had been transferred to the distant friend, although
the reality had not?
On October 2, 1938, when my wife and I were living in
Gloucester Place, near Baker Street, we received a visit from
one of my wife's American friends who had come over partly
on holiday and partly to exercise her high journalistic talent.
Our visitor had made the acquaintance of a young Englishman
whom I will call Desmond D., and whom she then presented
to us for the first time. Conversation ranged over many sub-
jectsthe big bargains obtainable at Macy's was one and
eventually touched on heraldry. It was not a dull sort of heral-
dry, for we were in a lively mood, and mentally I was recalling
an incident which had occurred some six years earlier.
It was, to be exact, on February 21, 1932, that I was motor-
ing in the Yorkshire countryside with a party of people. We
passed a stately lodge gate, and one of my companions re-
marked that it belonged to the house and park of Sir Thomas
Harris, 1 a prominent Leeds clothing manufacturer. "I wonder
what his arms are," I observed, as the antiquary of the party.
"Oh," said somebody, "they're sure to include a pair of trousers
Now on this day in 1938 I had, as I have said, recalled this
past incident to mind, and I was just about to recount it to D.
1 A substitute name.
2 "Proper," as an heraldic term, means that the object is shown in its
natural colours, not conventional heraldic colours. "Improper," in this con-
nection, is only a burlesque invention.
PRECOGNITION, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 133
when he began to speak, and developed a similar idea for a
false coat-of-arms for someone, involving "a dog improper/'
"Good heavens! " I exclaimed. "I was just going to tell you
that it was once suggested that a certain baronet who is a cloth*
ing manufacturer should have a pair of trousers improper for
"It was not Sir Thomas Harris, was it?" queried D.
This second anticipation of my thoughts made me look at
D. wide-eyed. I knew quite well that my companion of six
years before had made up his little joke impromptu as we sped
along the highway.
"No, I never heard that story of the trousers before," D.
assured me when I demanded an explanation, "and I know
nothing about Sir Thomas Harris, except that once I had
occasion to speak to his brother on a matter of business. That
was why it occurred to me to mention him when you spoke of
a clothing manufacturer."
D. and I had never met before; Sir Thomas Harris was only
a name to both of us; the coats-of-arms were imaginary. The
case deserves to be classified as one of unqualified Telepathy.
That an aspect of Extra-Sensory Perception has the distinct
characteristics which we term Telepathy I would be prepared
to assert even if I had no other evidence of it than that obtain-
able with a good Spiritualist medium. My own dominant
thoughts have been repeated by a medium almost as readily
as though the medium were drawing on his memory of a con-
versation with me in the not very distant past, and I have ob-
served similar interpretations made of the mental states of
One day in April, 1937, I took a sceptical young French
lady, now well-known in the diplomatic circles of her country,
to a private stance in London. Her incredulity gave place to
astonishment when the medium described to her in detail a
134 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
certain locality in Paris. It was not the Champs Elysees or the
Rue de Rivoli or any other familiar tourist site, but an obscure
spot which happened to occupy a specially important place in
Mile K.'s personal life.
Thousands of cases are on record of similar demonstrations
of supernormal knowledge given by mediums or seers. Of
course, all such demonstrations must be considered and most
emphatically are so considered here without any predisposi-
tion in favour of the traditional beliefs which may lead the
medium himself, in complete good faith, to ascribe the source
to a deceased person, to an angel, to a fairy, or to a god. 1 Such
beliefs cannot be kept out of trance utterances, and indeed
they may help to induce in the percipient the state of mind in
which telepathic or other supernormal perception more or
less ceases to be inhibited.
For more than a century now some of the ablest and most
alert minds in Europe and America have pondered over the
truly grave problem of the provenance of these mediumistic
utterances in which knowledge is shown which could not
have been normally acquired. On the whole, opinion has not
moved far in any direction from the careful conclusion arrived
at in 1853 by Augustus De Morgan, professor of mathematics
at University College, London (and author of Formal Logic,
as well as numerous works on the differential calculus, the
theory of probabilities, and kindred subjects) . After investi-
gating the phenomena of Mrs. Hayden, the American medi-
um, Professor De Morgan wrote to the Rev. W. Heald that he
1 All the evidence in this (or any other book on Extra-Sensory Perception)
points in the direction of the spiritual nature of man, but I am not here
concerned with discussion of the kind or degree of evidence that would prove
spirit survival as commonly envisaged or otherwise. For a balanced commen-
tary on the present situation of psychical research in this regard, see an article
by Professor J. B, Rhine in the April, 1949, issue of the Journal of the Ameri-
can S. P. R.
PRECOGNITION, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 135
was "perfectly satisfied that something, or somebody, or some
spirit was reading my thoughts." 1
When the remotest possibility of the medium having ac-
quired his information by normal means has been ruled out,
and when the information exists in the mind of a sitter, then
telepathic awareness of that sitter's mind is indicated. In the
case first cited above, Mile K. was a complete stranger to all
present except myself, and I had known her only in London.
Of her home life in Paris I knew nothing at that time. Hence
her own mind was the only one from which the medium could
hkve drawn the description which so surprised her.
Another form of Telepathy for which there is as decisive,
though less widely known, evidence is the dream in which
images are presented to the sleeper which originate in the
experiences of another person, whence such dreams are termed
telepathic dreams. "No objective investigator can doubt any
longer their occurrence or validity," declared the well-known
psychotherapeutist, Dr. Wilhelm Stekel, 2 who is said to have
analysed more dreams than any other practitioner in the
world. Particularly interesting is the double telepathic dream
in which the same images are experienced by two people dur-
ing the same period of sleep. The recent cases recorded by Dr.
Nandor Fodor in The American Imago, August, 1942, and by
Bernard J. Duffy in his Food for Thought, 1944, may be men-
tioned in this connection. Married couples are among those
best situated to observe the incidence of these telepathic
dreams, and possibly are particularly liable to them; in much
the same way as they find that a headache or feeling of depres-
sion may coincide with the illness or misfortune of the part-
ner, even when this is not known by normal means.
A similar interaction between the minds of twins has been
1 Mrs. De Morgan, Memoir of Augustus De Morgan, 1882, p. 221.
2 In Der tetepathische Traum, 1922.
136 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
remarked by many investigators. 1 Striking accounts exist of
corresponding thoughts and actions on the part of twins (es-
pecially, it is suggested, "one-egg" or identical twins) while
they have been widely separated in space. It has yet to be
shown, however, that the special relationship between twins
is the cause of a greater degree of telepathic awareness between
them than exists between other relations, or between people
who know each other well.
The performance of corresponding actions by two people is
one of the most deeply interesting aspects of what we call
Extra-Sensory Perception, one which is much less readily
labelled telepathic than a thought or dream in common.
In the afternoon of October 1, 1941, 1 happened to have no
particular duties to perform, and welcomed the opportunity
to take a walk. Finally, I strolled into the Public Library at
Golders Green. Here I glanced at one or two books of refer-
ence, and then picked up a newspaper which was lying on a
table. Underneath the newspaper was a book Hitler's Mein
Kampf. Never having seen this work before, I seized the op-
portunity, sat down, and spent a considerable time reading
The following day, in a telephone conversation with one of
our friends, Miss P. M. P., I learned that this lady had been
reading Mein Kampf in her home several miles away just
before 4 o'clock (the time I entered the Library) , and that
coming upon certain passages which she believed would in-
terest me, she said to herself, "W. (myself) ought to read this!"
Could Telepathy bring about the requisite circumstances
for Miss P. M. P. and I to act as we did? My concern with this
problem may have had something to do with the fact that on
1 Sec Journal of the American S.P.R., xliii, 109 for references to some of these.
PRECOGNITION, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 137
the next day, October 2, another and more remarkable case
of this double action occurred.
"About 6 o'clock in the evening," records my diary at the
above date, "I came to a sudden decision to remove our rail-
ings/' These cast-iron, supposedly decorative railings stood on
a low brick wall between my front garden and the road, an
arrangement very common in England. I thoroughly disap-
proved of the particular example of Victorian taste which I
had, and for some time it had been in my mind to do away
with it, and give the metal for war purposes.
k On this particular evening I came to the "sudden decision"
to act. Well do I remember the suddenness of it, and how I
seized a hammer and proceeded to make such a din in demol-
ishing the ironwork that the neighbouring air-raid wardens
dashed out, believing enemy action was in progress. I found
that the brick wall was very powdery, and the danger of it col-
lapsing occurred to me.
Four days later (October 6) I received a letter from my
parents in Yorkshire, informing me that on October 2 my
sister had gone out gathering blackberries for jam-making, in
company with some friends. My sister was standing on a wall,
reaching for some berries, when it collapsed. She fell with it,
and rather severely bruised and cut her face. At the earliest
suitable opportunity I requested my sister to give me the time
of her accident. She replied that if she had to name a time she
would say 6.5, but she could not undertake to speak with ex-
actitude. It is therefore not possible to say whether my "sud-
den decision" of "about 6 o'clock" preceded or followed the
accident, or was simultaneous.
Whatever form of Extra-Sensory Perception was concerned,
the first point of significance is that it expressed itself not in a
simple thought, not in a dream, but in simultaneous, or ap-
138 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
proximately simultaneous, action. In both the cases just cited
it is possible to conceive that one party was inspired to act by
the otherthat Miss P. M. P. did not read her copy of Mein
Kampf first but only as a result of Extra-Sensory Perception of
what I was doing or thinking in the Golders Green Library ;
and that my action on the railings and wall resulted from a
like perception of my sister's accident.
Such a possibility that the actions of daily life are extra-
sensorilv interdependent must give us pause.
Cases of double action, however, sometimes occur in cir-
cumstances in which it is prima facie inconceivable that either
party could be acting in immediate response to the other, be-
cause the circumstances seem entirely outside the control of
either of them. Two or three quotations from my diary, such
as may be paralleled in the memories of nearly everyone, may
be borne with by way of illustration.
'Thursday, July 19, 1945. On Tuesday I received from Sea-
by's [London coin dealers], among others I had selected from
their catalogue, a coin of William the Conqueror, made at
Northampton by one Sepine. On the bus this morning Mrs.
[an acquaintance I knew so little I was and still am ignorant
of her name] remarked, "I was in Northampton at the week-
end and saw something that would have interested you: a lot
of coins in a shop window." Nothing had been previously said
about my purchase. The lady merely knew, from an earlier
conversation, that I was a coin collector.
Had this lady merely made reference to "Northampton" and
to "coins," that would have been quite noteworthy; but they
were no mere passing thoughts that were involved: she had
actually 'been to the town of Northampton and there remarked
some antique coins. On my side my reason for buying the
particular coin I did was that it was made by a moneyer called
PRECOGNITION, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 139
Sepine, a name resemblirig my own. My accounts show that I
ordered the coin from the dealers during the week-end when
the lady made her observation in Northampton.
"Wednesday, January 23, 1946. Yesterday I had promised a
girl at [a private school in Mayfair, London] some small
coins for her bracelet. I had them in a little envelope in my
pocket, ready for her, when the girl entered the classroom
breathless, and asked me if she could go back to Selfridge's
[store] as she had left her bag there with her money in it. I
had just been on the point of producing my little 'bag' with
money in it for her.
"Are such 'coincidences' unconnected by the thoughts of
the parties concerned, and are they to be explained in some
other and yet more mysterious way?
'Tor example, I have for some days been reading a French
novel about a sorcerer who rips open a woman to get at the
child in her womb. Last night [with this book in my overcoat
pocket] while sitting on the platform at ... Station with
Mary and Cynthia [students of an evening institute where
also I was teaching], who generally go home in the same car-
riage with me, I noticed that Cynthia was reading a novel very
intently. She refused to let me see the title at first; when even-
tually I got close enough, I saw it was Jane the Ripper. Cynthia
said that according to this story the 'Ripper' [the historic
murderer, 'Jack the Ripper'] was a woman disguised as a man."
A line of reasoning by which such instances could be at-
tributed to Telepathy would be in supposing the influence of
anterior Telepathy as distinct from immediate Telepathy. In
other words, a mutual sympathy or inter-relation having been
telepathically created, there may ensue a degree of community
of ideas; and by continuing mental processes, which must in-
clude Clairvoyance and Precognition, the persons concerned
arrive simultaneously at actions or expressions whose resem-
140 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
blance is striking, though the immediately preceding causes
have the appearance of being quite unconnected one with the
One particularly curious experience, which seems to fall
under this head, happened to me in New York in 1948, shortly
after I had discovered (as recounted in Chapter iii) that the
1927 dream in which I solved a masonic code had occurred on
the anniversary of Poe's death.
During the course of a visit to the New York Public Library
on Friday, August 6, 1948, I happened upon a room which
contained an anniversary exhibition of books published in
1648, 1748, and 1848; and there I saw lying in one of the glass
cases a copy of the original edition of a little work published
by Poe in 1848, under the title of Eureka. The existence of
this work was previously unknown to me. The Library copy
Poe's own annotated copy was shown open at the Preface, in
which the author declares that dreams are the "only realities."
On referring to a less precious copy of this extremely un-
orthodox 1 cosmological treatise, I was amused to observe that
in advance defiance of public opinion Poe declared that, if
need be, he could wait 100 years for a reader; so that the an-
niversary exhibition arranged by the Public Library was sing-
ularly, if unconsciously, appropriate to Poe's sentiment! I
observed also an assertion that the cryptologist solves a crypto-
gram not so much by reasoning as by intuition.
Three days later, when seeking for information about the
little-known Eureka, 1 read in the Encyclopedia Americana
that Poe, as a child, spent two years at a school called the Manor
House, in Stoke Newington, near London. The name "Manor
House" interested me a good deal more than Eureka. In fact
it was a kind of revelation to me: during a period of over two
years I had worked within a few hundred yards of the Stoke
i "Each soul is, in part, its own God-its own Creator."
PRECOGNITION, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 141
Newington Manor House without realising that it stands on
the site of the school in which Poe passed an important period
of his childhood. The encyclopedia proceeded to inform my
surprised, -not to say humiliated, self that in his story William
Wilson Poe had described the Manor House school and its
neighborhood in some detail.
The first thing I did on reaching home was to get out my
old copy of Poe's Tales, and, for the first time in twenty years
or so, re-read the story William Wilson. Mainly it turns on
coincidence of names, dates, and events (a favourite theme of
Poe's, and one doubtless inspired by his own experience of the
supernormal). William Wilson is a boy at the old Manor
House school. He finds himself dogged by another William
Wilson, who resembles him physically, and who was even
born on the same date. Wilson is infuriated by the way the
double keeps mimicking him.
On the morning after this reading of William Wilson, I got
into the United Nations' bus on Hillside Avenue, Jamaica, to
attend a session of the Security Council at Lake Success. I had
arranged to meet a friend, who failed to turn up at the starting
place. Instead, there came and sat down beside me a distin-
guished looking gentleman with white hair. After a few mo-
ments he opened a conversation which, as he smilingly re-
minded me when he realised my nationality, I would probably
never have initiated myself.
He announced to me that his name was Wilson, and in the
course of further conversation he referred to "an old manor
house" at which he had stayed in England; and he told me
that a member of his immediate family and household was a
kind of unconscious mimic of others, quickly acquiring their
mannerisms and so on.
All this was told to me without my having said a word
about my experiences.
142 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Somewhere it has been remarked that if, in any public place,
a man pulls out his watch to consult it, several other men may
often be seen automatically to follow his example. These ac-
tions too are "coincidences," ones which depend on the prior
understanding that pockets and watches are desirable and con-
sequently available. If for this "normal" community of ideas
we substitute a "supernormal" one, a "sympathy from afar,"
we may be proceeding towards the elucidation of cases of
double action Telepathy.
Aside from Telepathy, the possibility may be entertained in
such cases that Precognition by A of his coming experience of
the situation of B leads A on to a situation of a coincidental
character. Thus, in the case last quoted, the train of events
leading up to the reading of William Wilson has an air of pur-
pose when looked at retrospectively, and this purpose may
have been the providing of a correspondence with the actual
encounter with Mr. Wilson, already precognised in the un-
conscious mind. As this involves supposing that part of A's
future is determined, while his subliminal mind plots the rest
(the coincidence) , it may be thought that the purely telepathic
theory is more consistent. In any case secret mental processes
are indicated, as complex as they are startling.
A simple experiment can be just as startling. Closing my
eyes, and acting with precipitation so as to eliminate reason-
ing, I seize off the shelves the first book which my hand touch-
es, open it, jab my finger on a page, and then and then only
open my eyes to find the finger-nail is immediately under this
line, "La Demoiselle au Chat d'Or." Replacing the book, and
again shutting my eyes, I repeat the process with the same un-
thinking rapidity. This time, on opening my eyes, I find my-
self in possession of a larger book, and my finger is on a map.
It is a map of the "Cote d'Or," and my finger-nail is just under
the left-hand end of the name "Chatillonais."
PRECOGN1TION, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 143
The outstanding feature of this kind of experiment (which
can be performed with a collection of books never seen be-
fore) is that the sentence or name which is pointed to reflects
the dominant thoughts of the percipient. In the above exam-
ple the dominant thought in the first book trial was repeated
in the second trial as closely as the limitations of the material
available within reach of my arm would allow. "Clairvoyance"
is an "explanation" which presents itself readily enough, one
which requires us to explain also the undeniable resemblance
between the result of such an experiment and the coincidences
of daily life. Are wq to assume that persons can be picked out
in the same way as a phrase in a book, or as a playing card?
What confronts us is not only evidence of the supernormal
processes of the individual mind, but evidence of a correlation
between minds on the supernormal plane of which the ex-
periences of conscious everyday life are a manifestation.
The evidence for supernormal mind processes which we
possess might be enlarged in a very illuminating way could we
observe these processes as they extend over periods of years
and over lifetimes. Unfortunately, in the nature of things, we
cannot have the detailed information which is possible in the
case of a coincidence in which the two events fall so near to-
gether as to challenge immediate observation, comparison, and
Sometimes a half-glimpse is obtained through historic
events. It is noticeable that for four generations the descend-
ants of Queen Victoria on the British throne had a normally
inexplicable correspondence in many family and other re-
spects to the Stuart sovereigns immediately descending from
Mary Queen of Scots. Queen Victoria's devotion to the High-
lands may have had some bearing on this parallel, one which
those sufficiently immersed in British history, royal genealogy,
and numismatics may find it interesting to study.
But no records can approach in value as evidence of the
144 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
supernormal an individual's observation of occurrences in his
own life when it has been possible for a full and detailed pic-
ture of what is experienced to be recorded.
To cite further cases illustrating special or general aspects
of the Precognition-Clairvoyance-Telepathy problem would
but demonstrate anew that the vague attribution of every-
thing to "thought transference" is useless. Yet though such
facile phrases may be dismissed, it is evidently, not the case
that a satisfactory sub-division can be made. If a certain num-
ber can be attributed to one or other of the three labels in use,
the rest elude such classification. We are left with a feeling
that an element is present for which conscious reason can find
On one point something can be said. Evidence both spon-
taneous and experimental is tending to indicate that the separa-
tion of Telepathy from Clairvoyance may be artificial. Defi-
nitions state, or imply, that Telepathy is Extra-Sensory Percep-
tion of a thought, and that Clairvoyance is Extra-Sensory Per-
ception of a thing. That is a manner of speaking based upon
physical sense experience. There is the possibility that for the
process behind Extra-Sensory Perception a thought may be
perceptible in much the same way as a thing. On this view
Telepathy and Clairvoyance may represent one and the same
process: a reaching out of the mind to perceive thoughts and
things not perceptible by the physical senses.
Possible Periodicity of Extra-Sensory Perception
A noticeable number of the experiences mentioned in this
chapter occurred in the month of October, and when 1 noticed
this I carried out an investigation the result of which is de-
cidedly curious, and may prove to be of value.
My diary shows that from 1927 to 1947 inclusive I recorded
PRECOGNITION^ CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 145
210 experiences coming under the head of Extra-Sensory Per-
During the early part of this period of twenty-one years I
was far from being sufficiently active and attentive to record
everything which merited it; and even later on I omitted to
record numerous cases which I thought had no distinctive
features. Likewise I failed to record some cases which were so
involved and complex that my pen shunned the task of de-
scribing them. All diarists have these moments of rebellion,
and my original object in keeping a diary was not to record
From the mere total of 210 therefore nothing can be de-
duced. But when the total is divided among the different
months, according to the dates when the cases occurred, there
is an appearance of annual periodicity. The following are the
January 15 July 12
February 13 August 23
March 15 September 21
April 17 October 31
May 17 November 18
June 15 December 13
From what was said above it will be understood that the 15
cases ascribed to January were distributed over 21 Januarys,
so that the average for each January was less than 1 . And the
same applies to the other months.
It may be noticed that while there is a certain consistency,
a total of about 15 for the winter, spring, and summer months,
a marked rise occurs in August, September, and October. The
latter month, with 31, is easily the record one. An examination
of the actual dates seems to indicate that the beginning of
October is the peak period.
If this apparent periodicity is personal to me, I can give no
146 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
explanation of it, and whether a similar or any periodicity
exists for other people remains to be discovered. 1 Only the
classical writerssuch as Aristotle and Democritus have men-
tioned this point, and they, contrary to my experience, de-
scribe the autumn as the worst season for "prophetic" dreams.
One may surmise that in ancient times there was much eating
up of perishable foods in the autumn, with adverse effects on
the clarity of dreams.
Unfortunately, examination of recorded cases, even those
of the S. P. R., does not help towards comparative statistics.
Most of the accounts are extremely vague about dates, being
referred to the year only, or even to "a few years ago," "many
years ago," etc.
This is the more regrettable because the establishment ol
periodicity of any kind for Extra-Sensory Perception would
help towards the solution of the problem of the nature of the
process which is involved.
The ideal would be to have a complete life record of an
individual's mental impressions and actions. We might then
have before us, not merely a greater or less number of separate
instances of Precognition, Telepathy, and Clairvoyance, but
we should be able to compile statistics revealing any periodic-
ity which there might be. Besides the apparent annual form
mentioned above, we might well find that there were regular
recurrences, separated by periods of years. It might also appear
that actions of the same kind were performed at definite in-
tervals in the course of a lifetime in circumstances beyond the
individual's normal control.
Again, if a similar life record were available for a second
person, whose life was closely connected with the other, still
1A little book entitled Dreams in War Time, published at Stratford -on-
Avon in 1915, has recently come to my notice. Its author, E, \(. Martin, ob-
serves that October ami November ga\e binh to "stranger" dreams than any
PRECOGNITION, CLAIRVOYANCE AND TELEPATHY 147
more valuable information might be gained about the rela-
tions between minds.
Although I am here speculating, I believe that every ob-
server of his own life will agree that speculation of the kind is
justified, and that we ought to aim, so far as is possible, at the
creation of such records.
ONE DAY in 1870 a village schoolgirl was sitting in a dimly
lighted room of a country house in Westmeath, Ireland.
In an adjoining room Professor William Barrett, from the
Royal College of Science, Dublin, was shuffling a pack of
The little girl was in an hypnotic condition, induced by
Barrett for the purposes of an experiment.
It was one which could hardly have failed to interest the
editor of Punch had he been present, for, as mentioned in the
first chapter, it was about this very time that he was observing
with surprise his "fluke" in guessing correctly what it was that
Helen Warner wanted to hide.
In the adjoining room Barrett selected a card from the pack,
noted what it was, placed it inside a book, and returning to
the first room handed the closed book to the girl.
"I asked her/* he recorded, "if she could see what was in-
side. She made no attempt to open the book, but held it to the
side of her head, and said there was something 'with red spots
on it/ I told her to count the spots, and she said there were
'five/ The card was, in fact, the five of diamonds/ 1
Such was one of the experiments made by Barrett on the
suggestion of the friend to whom the house belonged. At first
completely sceptical of the testimony of this friend, Barrett
had consented to try his methods on the village children. Soon
EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE 149
Barrett became deeply impressed by the evidence which he
himself obtained of the children's supernormal powers of
No doubt similar experiments have been made throughout
the history of man, despite the danger arising from popular
and other prejudices. In modern times the experimental at-
tention of scientists was turned in this direction as a result of
the work of Dr. F. A. Mesmer (1733-1815), of Vienna, on
"animal magnetism" and the "magnetic" or "mesmeric"
sleep, a condition later to be termed hypnosis.
In France, in particular, the study and practice of mesmer-
ism as a curative agent was zealously pursued by some, and
roundly condemned by others. The Marquis de Puysegur,
the Abbe Faria and others, having observed what succeeding
practitioners called "community of sensation," the French
Academy of Medicine appointed a commission to investigate
the subject. After five years* work the commission presented
its report in 1831. This affirmed, amongst other matters, the
reality of "1'action a distance;" but the Academy, rendered
fearful by the findings, obstinately refused to publish the re-
port. In the same spirit the British Association of 1842 was to
refuse to listen to James Braid's paper on hypnotism, 2 and that
of 1876 was to omit Barrett's paper from its printed Trans-
Among the experimenters who are known to have preceded
Barrett in remarking the supernormal powers of the mind, as
revealed by mesmeric means, may be mentioned Dr. H. Mayo
(Truths Contained in Popular Superstitions, 1849) , Dr. J. W.
iSir Oliver Lodge has left on record (Survival of Man, 1909) that in
1870-3 Barrett was experimenting in Telepathy with William De Morgan,
the novelist. It may be noted here that within the same period the Rev. P.
Newnham, of Brighton, and his wife conducted a series of 309 experiments.
2 Eric Cuddon, Hypnosis, Its Meaning and Practice, 1938, p. 138.
8 See p. 18. The paper is preserved in Proceedings of the S.P.R., i, 238.
150 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Haddock (Somnolism and Psycheism, 1851), and Dr. S. B.
Brittan (Man and His Relations, 1865) .
Mayo thus described what these early experimenters meant
by "community of sensation":
"The entranced person, who has no feeling or taste or smell
of his own, feels, tastes and smells everything that is made to
tell on the sense of the operator. If mustard or sugar be put in
his [the subject's] own mouth he seems not to know they are
there ; if mustard be placed on the tongue of the operator the
entranced person expresses great disgust, and tries to spit it
out. The same with bodily pain. If you pluck a hair from the
operator's head, the other complains of the pain you have
Dr. Brittan, of New York, who anticipated some later de-
velopments, gave this account of one of the experiments he
made about 1860:
"Some time since, while the writer was in Louisville, Ky., a
number of experiments were made with Miss Bulkeley, an
interesting young lady who displayed remarkable readiness in
receiving communications by the mental telegraph. The sub-
ject was eminently free from any tendency to disease, and the
experimental results in her case were such as to excite the ad-
miration of many intelligent ladies and gentlemen. Being in
electro-mental rapport with Miss B., the writer received from
strangers and disinterested persons cards and slips of paper
to the number of twelve or fifteen, on each of which the name
of some flower had been previously written. The collection
embraced the violet, pink, rose, dahlia, sunflower, tulip,
honeysuckle, snowball, waterlily, and others of which our
recollection is imperfect. Taking these severally in my hand,
I formed an ideal image of the particular flower designated on
each separate card or slip of paper, and the images were suc-
cessively conveyed by this silent, psychological process to the
EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE 151
mind of the young lady, who with scarcely a moment's delay
in any instance pronounced the name of the flower, each in
its proper place, as the card bearing the corresponding name
was taken up. All the flowers named above were thus desig-
nated except the snowball, which, though not named, was
otherwise described as a 'large white flower.' "
The above described experiment has particular interest as a
precursor of the method extensively followed in later years.
Hypnosis was abandoned, and the usual system of the thought-
transference committee of the S. P. R., and of other research-
ers, was to arrange that while one person looked at a drawing,
or figures, or a playing card, another, in his normal state, en-
deavoured to name it or to reproduce it. A good survey of the
first 30 years of organised work, commencing with Barrett, the
Sidgwicks, etc. in 1881, will be found in Sir Oliver Lodge's
The Survival of Man (1909) .
Experimental work by academically trained psychologists
was undertaken at several universities in Europe and America
in the 1920's, but apparently the first of such work on a con-
siderable scale was that done at Stanford University, Califor-
nia, between 1912 and 1917, as the result of a legacy specifically
for the purpose of experimental psychical research. The re-
port by the responsible professor, Dr. J. E, Coover, appeared
in 1917, under the title Experiments in Psychical Research,
and occupies 549 large pages, followed by a bibliography of
about 2,000 books and periodicals. It has been said that Dr.
Coover under-evaluated his own results ("telepathic power is
relatively rare") ; and the reference in the Introduction by
Professor Frank Angell to the S. P. R. committee as relatively
"amateurs" was, on a restrained and merciful view, tactless.
Most English scientists from Bacon to Darwin were such
amateurs. But Professor Angell was unquestionably right in
arguing that the opinion of a great chemist or a great physicist
152 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
on the mind has no special value; every effort should be made
to apply formal methods of evaluation to psychical research;
the specialist in psychology is best qualified to apply such
methods, and will be listened to by the scientific world as a
In this section of a book whose main subject is not experi-
mental work, but the spontaneous occurrence of Extra-Sen-
sory Perception in ordinary life, only passing allusion can be
made to the vast amount of work which has since been done at
the universities, and by individuals and groups. The names of
Rhine, Soal, Tyrrell, Carington, Warcollier, Gardner Mur-
phy, Besterman, Thouless, Estabrooks, Hettinger, Jephson,
Martin, Stribic, and very many others are associated with
achievements in the experimental field. Developments in the
present day and in the recent past are appreciatively dealt
with, and credit given to those concerned, in Dr. J. B. Rhine's
The Reach of the Mind, and in G. N. M. Tyrrell's Science and
It is, however, of importance to give some attention here to
the current method of experimental work. The main tendency
has been in favour of the collective (or quantitative) as dis-
tinct from the individual (or qualitative) experiment. That
is to say, briefly, that instead of each experiment being judged
by itself as a success or a failure, it is repeated hundreds or even
thousands of times, and the result is assessed according to
whether the percentage of successes is above or below chance.
In order to give a general idea of the nature of such a lab-
oratory experiment in Extra-Sensory Perception, I am per-
mitted to quote the following passage from Dr. Rhine's The
Reach of the Mind. 1 It describes the type of experiment used
to test Clairvoyance in the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke
1 William Sloane Associates, 1947.
EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE 153
'The identification of concealed cards seemed to be the best
test method, and a simplified card deck was devised. This new
deck was composed of twenty-five cards, five each of the fol-
lowing symbols: star, rectangle, cross, circle, and wavy lines.
Slight modifications were made in these symbols from time to
time and the deck became known as 'ESP cards.'
"For a beginning test of clairvoyance the following pro-
cedure was most often used: After the subject was shown the
deck of cards and the nature of the test was explained to him,
the deck was shuffled and cut and placed face down on the
table at which he was seated The experimenter was seated
opposite, with recording materials at hand. The subject was
asked to try to identify the top card, and when he made his
call by naming one of the symbols, this was recorded and the
card removed. But it was not looked at. The next card was
called, recorded and removed, and so on until the deck was
finished. The cards in the deck were then checked against the
call record to discover the number of successes or hits. The
subject was encouraged as far as possible, and after the deck
was again shuffled and cut another run was made in similar
"From chance alone the average score expected was 5 per
25 cards. If a subject scored above 5 on the average, the devia-
tion, the total of hits above chance expectancy, was measured
by means of a mathematical yardstick called the 'standard de-
viation/ This measure, which has long been in use in the vari-
ous sciences, tells what the odds are that chance alone did not
produce the results obtained. If, for example, a subject were
given a test with 4 runs through the deck and scored 7.5 hits
per run, the odds would be about 150 to 1 against this total
score of 30 hits, or a deviation of 10 above expectation, being
produced by pure luck or chance."
Speaking of the results of this particular series of experi-
154 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
ments, Dr. Rhine records, "The general average, then, of 7 hits
per 25 for the more than 85,000 single card-calling trials made
with ESP cards represents all the results. The maintenance of
this score over so long a series is a phenomenal demonstration
of extrachance performance. It is so significant by mathe-
matical measurements as to leave no doubt that something
beyond chance was occurring in the experiment/'
If that something was not Clairvoyance, it may be thought
that it was Precognition of the results which were going to be
known by the agent or the percipient or both of them at the
conclusion of the experiment.
Similar results were obtained by Dr. Rhine in tests aimed
at the precognitive and telepathic aspect of Extra-Sensory Per-
ception, tests conducted over many years with a large number
of different individuals as subjects. All the tests were con-
trolledthat is, watched by an observer who took no part
therein and the accumulated results are impressive in their
demonstration of Extra-Sensory Perception.
"Henceforth I will assume that science will in time accept
Extra-Sensory Perception/' remarks Dr. Rhine. This quiet
confidence is shared by the leading experimenters in all coun-
tries. Here and there, psychologists with little or no experi-
ence of tests of the kind have sought to brush aside the results;
but every new advance has to be made in the face of such un-
scientific manifestations from individuals who are tempera-
mentally upset by change, and the broader indications are that
experimental work in Extra-Sensory Perception will figure
eventually in the activities of the psychology department of
every prominent University.
Among the experiments in Precognition mention may be
made of a notable series conducted by Mr. G. N. M. Tyrrell, a
former President of the S. P. R., and recorded by him in his
book, Science and Psychical Phenomena.
EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE 155
He contrived an elaborate apparatus worked by electricity,
the central feature of which was a group of five closed boxes,
each containing an electric lamp. The subject selected the box
in which the lamp was going to be lighted; her choice was made
before the lamp went on, so as to rule out any possibility of her
detecting the light in the closed box. The decision as to which
lamp was to be lighted was made by a machine, on a random
principle into which human control did not enter. The result
of this series of experiments was as follows:
Trials Successes, Successes, Odds against
Actual Chance-expected Result being Chance
2,255 539=23.9% 451 Many millions to 11
In precognitive experiments with cards Dr. Rhine used a
mechanical shuffling machine with the same object of exclud-
ing the human element. His experience of the complexity of
the function behind Extra-Sensory Perception, however, led
him to consider the possibility of Psychokinesis the effect of
the human mind on matter: in his own case on the shuffling
machine, and in the case of the Tyrrell experiments on the
electric selector. "In order to rule out any direct mental in-
fluence on the fall of the cards in the shuffling machine," he
records, "we went back to Nature herself, and decided to cut
the deck of cards on the basis of the daily figures for the tem-
perature extremes obtained from a specified newspaper for a
given day fixed in advance. A routine way of using the num-
bers was worked out and agreed upon. This procedure left
nothing to chance or human influence, unless the temperature
or its recording device could be subject to such control."
Of the experiments which were carried out with such ex-
treme caution Dr. Rhine comments, "As far as we have gone,
the evidence for Precognition is good against all contesting
1 G. N. M. Tyrrell, Science and Psychical Phenomena, 1938, p. 105.
156 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Perhaps it is only natural that with such decided results
before them, the experimenters should consider that their
scientific demonstrations are of greater value than accounts of
spontaneous personal experiences, and many of them even
tend to regard spontaneous experiences as merely confirmatory
of the experiments.
Certainly it is of inestimable value that men of science
should have before them, under conditions of their own set-
ting, rational evidence of the supernormal (or paranormal or
extranormal) nature of our daily experiences, and thus be kept
from the error of ignoring half the phenomena of human life.
But the degree of demonstration which attaches to an ex-
periment on the mind is obviously not the same as that which
attaches to an experiment in chemistry or physics. The same
chemical experiment, repeated under the same conditions,
produces the same result. If it is repeated 1,000 times the result
continues to be the same. The same experiment repeated 1,000
times on the human mind produces many different results,
and our conclusion must be drawn from the average of them.
For this reason those who have made up their minds im-
placably to oppose the acceptance of Extra-Sensory Perception
will continue to cast doubt on results of this type, and it is to
be feared that it will be easier for them to impress the general
public with their views than it will be for the experimenters.
To appraise justly the case for the experiments, those of us
who have had no personal experience of them should bear in
mind when looking at these numerical results, that the varia-
tions are only what is to be expected in an experiment directed
towards the human mind, surely the most complex of all sub-
jects, and one which cannot be expected to respond with the
docility which we attend from a piece of matter or a machine.
Nor can people who are submitting their minds to experi-
EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE 157
ments successfully be ordered to abandon self-consciousness
and to be easy and spontaneous.
Could the most urbane of experimenters place a literary
genius in a chair before a group of observers, and say, "Kindly
demonstrate your genius/' in the certain expectation of get-
ting such a result? It would be more likely that the result
would be an embarrassed failure. Yet no one, so far as I am
aware, denies the existence of literary genius.
The late Whately Carington, after a formal analysis, in-
clined to the view that "elderly confident women" show
slightly superior, and "young diffident men" slightly inferior
perceptive powers in extra-sensory experiments, 1 However
likely that may be, it is obvious that variations of temperament
and mood will be reflected in the results, and must be seriously
considered in conducting an experiment.
Even when someone is found as has happened at rare in-
tervalswho is capable of demonstrating Extra-Sensory Per-
ception almost "to order," it has not followed that the doubts
of determined sceptics have been removed. The demon of dis-
belief has lifted his head again the following day, and the
demonstration has been proved impossible by an experiment
Consider the case of a man who made such a demonstration
of supernormal power in perhaps the most unsympathetic at-
mosphere in the world a court of law; and note that it has
passed into oblivion so far as orthodox psychology is concerned.
The following report is extracted from the New York Times
of June 30, 1915:
"W. Bert Reese, whose 'mind reading' demonstrations have
mystified many scientists, including Thomas A. Edison and
Dr. William Hanna Thompson, author of Brain and Person-
ality, was discharged yesterday by Judge Rosalsky in General
i S.P.R., Proceedings, xlvi, p. 333.
158 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Sessions on his appeal from a conviction by Magistrate Barlow
of disorderly conduct, under a section dealing with fortune
telling. Reece convinced Judge Rosalsky, Assistant District
Attorneys Bostwick and Flint, and two reporters by demon-
strations in court that he was not a disorderly person, but a
man with apparently unusual powers.
"Reese was arrested at 230 West 99th Street on February
26 on complaint by Detective Adele Priess, who said she had
paid him $5 to have her fortune told. Reese denied that he had
told her fortune or accepted any money. He was found guilty
and held in $1,000 bonds to keep the peace for one year.
"When his case came before Judge Rosalsky yesterday on
appeal, Reese asked permission to demonstrate his abilities to
the court. He told Judge Rosalsky to write something on each
of three pieces of paper, and to fold them so that he might not
be able to read what had been written. Judge Rosalsky put the
papers in different pockets after he had mixed them up so that
he could not distinguish them himself. Then Judge Rosalsky
produced one of the folded papers and pressed it against
" 'You ask me how much money you have in a certain
bank/ he said. 'Fifteen dollars is the answer.'
"Judge Rosalsky admitted that the answer was correct and
produced the second piece of paper.
" 'This piece contains the name of one of your old school
teachers Miss O'Connor,' Reese said.
"The third question, which he read correctly but did not
answer, was: 'What was the rule in Shelley's case?'
"Reese performed similar demonstrations for the benefit of
Mr. Bostwick, Mr. Flint, and the reporters. His last feat was to
give the maiden name of the mother of one of the reporters.
All the questions were written on General Sessions stationery,
which Judge Rosalsky supplied.
EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE 159
" 'I do not consider you a disorderly person,' Judge Rosal-
sky said, when the demonstrations were finished. 'You are hon-
orably discharged/ "
The decision did credit to the court, but one wonders how
many other persons may have been wrongly convicted because,
unlike Mr. Reese on this occasion, they could not reproduce
their unusual powers in an atmosphere of cynicism or hostility.
Reese himself is no longer living to refute allegations that
he was not above exploiting his gift. True or false, such allega-
tions have little pertinence in view of the fact that Reese was
repeatedly tested by scientific men under their own conditions,
and satisfied them of his supernormal powers. Schrenck-Not-
zing described him as the most extraordinary man of the day,
and his demonstration to judge, lawyers and reporters amply
bears that out.
If then the demonstration of Extra-Sensory Perception were
all that was required to convince enquirers, one would expect
that every student of psychology would have the case of Reese
brought to his notice, but standard text-books conrinue to
ignore Extra-Sensory Perception.
To what is this virtual censorship to be ascribed? Is it due
to the reason which impelled a distinguished journalist of a
past generation to declare, "There is a pride of scepticism
which is not only offensive to every intellectual sympathy, but
has the disastrous effect of furnishing common minds with a
blighting and oppressive intellectual conceit/'? 1
They were severe words, and not to be indiscriminately ap-
plied. Few who in earlier days saw reason to admire the icono-
clastic writings of such men as John Morley, Edward Clodd,
Robert Ingersoll, J. M. Robertson, and William Archer will
ever think that they had common minds or that their scepti-
cism had in it anything of conceit. They inherited a certain
1 Frederick Greenwood, Imagination in Dreams, and their Study, 1894.
160 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
situation: it seemed to them that they had to do with ignor-
ance, with delusion, with intolerance; they dealt with it in
forthright fashion, and they handed on an agnosticism which
was marked by honesty of purpose, and a determination not to
slip back into "superstition."
But gradually the picture has been changing. Evidence has
accumulated which is not associated with ecclesiastical in-
tolerance or with any systems of supernatui alism ; experiments
have been organised on a scientific basis; enquiry is inspired
by a strictly rationalistic spirit. And it can be seen that the
evidence for supernormal mental faculties, while it strength-
ens the case for what may be termed the spirituality of man
and hence of the universe to which he belongs, gives no support
at all to mere bigotry or to claims to divine exclusiveness.
Perhaps, therefore, even what seems to be a rooted will
publicly to ignore Extra-Sensory Perception on the part of
some men of science and letters may be due less to individual
inability to emerge from the shelter of Victorian agnosticism
than to the fixed policies of corporations to which they are
attached academies, societies, publishing houses, and so on.
Such policies wear a somewhat puny aspect when contrasted
with the implications of the subject they do not include. In-
difference to the fair judgment of evidence which might re-
duce the sum of human injustice is a short-sighted policy for
well-meaning men to pursue. For Extra-Sensory Perception, if
established, might be just the corrective needed by those who
cause such havoc by secretly wronging their fellows. If deeds
and motives, unknown by normal means, may be supernor-
mally always known, the satisfaction of the opportunist and
the abuser of power grows rather vapid. The least imaginative
may suspect .that in a deep sense all is known, and that there is
no such thing as a really hidden hand.
What has been so far achieved by the experimental work
EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE 161
should be regarded as a prelude, the confirmation of the fact
that supernormal powers of mind do exist.
The difficulty of dividing the results under the heads of
Telepathy, Clairvoyance, and Precognition, or otherwise, has
not been conclusively eased by the experiments. In the early
days Telepathy was thought to be proved if one person, A,
while looking at a picture or some object, succeeded in convey-
ing the image of it to a second person, B, who was in another
room. More recently it has been realised that such an experi-
mept is as much a proof of Clairvoyance by B as of telepathic
perception between the two minds. (Reference is made to
Telepathy and Claiivoyance as separate faculties in accord-
ance with present usage, although, as indicated in the preced-
ing chapter, this separation is open to question.)
In the endeavour to get over this difficulty, the sender or
"agent" A, instead of looking at a design, merely thinks of one,
picturing it in his mind. When the "percipient" B has a men-
tal impression of what he feels the design to be, he makes a
record of it. This has been thought to demonstrate pure
Telepathy. But however probable that may be, the test in
question does not amount to a scientific proof of Telepathy
operating between the minds of A and B. The reason is that
for the purpose of the subsequent check-up, A has to make a
record of what he was thinking; B has to make a record of
what he perceived; and thus either of them may be precognis-
ing what the other is going to record.
This faculty of Precognition of another person's future per-
ception may have been demonstrated in a series of experiments
conducted at London between 1941 and 1943 by Professor S.
G. Soal and Mrs. K. M. Goldney, who called them experi-
ments in "Precognitive Telepathy," a term which (as applied
to such experiments) had been explained by Professor R. H.
1 62 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Thonless as, "Foreknowledge of something that will be known
to the agent in a short time/' 1
The percipient recorded the card which was going to be
chosen from a set of five in another room; the choice was de-
cided by a third person drawing a coloured chip "at random"
from a bag or bowl containing chips of five different colours,
each of which had previously been allotted to one of the five
card designs. It has been pointed out (by Dr. Rhine) that
Kxtra-Sensory Perception could be used in the choice of these
chips so as to match the clairvoyantly or telepathically per-
ceived record already made by the percipient. The objection
hns force, for there is no application of Extra-Sensory Percep-
tion which is more commonly demonstrated than this power
to select a particular colour of chip.
This would introduce a telepathic, possibility between the
percipient and the selector of the chip, which militates against
the completeness of the evidence for Precognition, even if we
do not go along with those who regard it as axiomatic that
Telepathy is 'less mysterious" than Precognition, and that
we must always prefer the former as an explanation if we
In any case, this fine series of experiments did once again
demonstrate, under conditions of the strictest surveillance, the
tuith of Extra-Sensory Perception; although it did not, it
seems to me, clarify the problem of the sub-division of the
Of course no one is so well aware as the experimenters
themselves of the complexities which are involved. It is not
only that their subject is an invisible and intangible one, but
it is part of the mystery of their own existence.
Can the possibility be excluded that sometimes minds which
1 S.P.R. Proceedings, xlvii, pp. 5, and 21*150.
EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE 163
have not been invited to do so may participate in an experi-
ment, and so influence the result? Will doors or man-made
rules keep them out? Can minds be isolated one from another?
May not the hostile experimenter use Extra-Sensory Perception
to disprove Extra-Sensory Perception? Such are some of the
considerations which arise from the nature of the subject.
The most important problem that lies ahead seems to the
present writer to be that oi ascertaining whether Precognition
and Clairvoyance ever occur in relation to an object or event
not; in the future physical sense experience of the percipient
or of any other person whose mind he may telepathically
cognise. Tyrrell suggested in the work already named that in
the case of Clairvoyance this object might be attained experi-
mentally by arranging that the supernormally cognised events
are never known to any one individually, but only the sum
total of successes and failures.
We may expect to see names and definitions changed, while
new experiments may reveal new forms of supernormal power,
or at least unexpected applications of those already known,
like the Psychokinetic experiments conducted at Duke which
demonstrated the disturbing tact that the fall of the dice may
be influenced by thought, without the aid of any observable
Although disturbing from one point of view, the apparent
influence of the mind on the fall of the dice may, from another
viewpoint, suggest the idea of turning a game of chance into
one of infallible money-making. Disregarding for the moment
the dubious morality involved in such a proceeding, it may be
noted that in order to be sure of taking advantage ol a devia-
tion from chance secured in this way, it would be advisable to
play for low stakes over a long period. The danger of trying to
acquire a considerable sum quickly may be inferred from the
following story quoted by R. A. Proctor, the astronomet :
164 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
"In 1813 a Mr. Ogden wagered one thousand guineas to one
that seven could not be thrown with a pair of dice ten succes-
sive times. The wager was accepted (though it was egregiously
unfair) ; and, strange to say, his opponent threw seven nine
times running. At this point Mr. Ogden offered four hundred
and seventy guineas to be off the bet. But his opponent de-
clined, though the price offered was far beyond the real value
of his chance. He cast yet once more and threw nine, so that
Mr. Ogden won his guinea/' 1
Richard A. Proctor, Chance and Luck, 1887, p. 34.
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION
THE MYSTERY of Precognition will be solved in the ultimate
sense only when man succeeds in solving the mystery of
That bears to-day a vaster aspect than when Milton wrote:
What in me is dark,
Illumine; what is low, raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men. 1
As we look out over the field of nature, with its relentless
struggle for existence, and its marvels of growth and renova-
tion; as we reflect upon the records of the rocks, which tell of
worlds of beauty and of terror that have passed successively
away; as we gaze upon the colossal nebulae blazing in the
distant skies, and contemplate the potentialities of the invis-
ible atom; as we endeavour to reconcile the reasonless func-
tioning of one of our fellow creatures with the untutored
genius of Shakespeare, or the tiger prowling in the jungle
with the Buddha under the botree; as indeed we reflect upon
any external aspect of life and being we see much to awe us,
and we may see much to sustain the widely held view that the
universe is the product of "the blind interplay of matter,"
i Paradise Lost, bk. I, 1. 22.
]66 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
and that the life which this perpetual interplay has brought
into being is inescapably subject to its environment and to its
But the phenomena of Extra-Sensory Perception, and es-
pecially this anticipation of experience which we call Pre-
cognition, do not fit into that mechanistic philosophy. Indeed,
so contrary to it are they that they might have come to us from
another sort of universe altogether. They provide us with a
startling hint that all scientific knowledge may be but half-
knowledge, not to say quarter-knowledge or less. They even
force us, in a broad sense, to begin all over again.
By the ancients precognitive experiences had been com-
monly referred to the gods 1 and by nearer forebears to the
Divine Creator, or to good or evil spiritual powers under his
permission. 2 When these beliefs were questionedeither ab-
solutely or so far as current activity was concerned it usually
followed that such matters as prophecy, second sight, divina-
tion, soothsaying, etc. were relegated to the region of the im-
possible; and when met with thereafter were classified as mere
superstitions of the populace. Such was the verdict and the
practice of the commonsensite age.
It was a very serious, though in some ways an excusable error
on the part of the new science thus to confound Extra-Sensory
Perception with its exploitation or misinterpretation by sooth-
sayers and witches; and further to classify the phenomena at-
tributed to it in the same category with stories of dragons and
i Though almost unanimous in accepting foreknowledge, the Greek and
Roman philosophers did not all share the popular attribution to the gods.
Hippocrates, Aristotle, and Democritus were inclined to seek the cause else-
\vhfre. Cicero was almost the only eminent ancient to reject foreknowledge,
which he failed to distinguish from the fraudulent practices of the pro-
* See Thomas Tryon's Treatise of Dreams and Visions, wherein the Causes . . .
of . . . the Communications both of Good and Evil Angels . . . Are Theo-
sophically Unfolded f etc., London, 1695.
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 1 67
satyrs, riding on broomsticks, intercourse with the devil, and
so forth. The extravagance of some of the interpretations put
by such a savant as Swedenborg on his own exceptional
powers of Extra-Sensory Perception 1 (not to mention less
learned claimants to divine inspiration) does, it must be ac-
knowledged, go far to show the reason for the scepticism of
scientists scornful of mediaeval follies. The error into which
science was thus led has been but slowly and partially realised;
the more slowly because the apparent impossibility of explain-
ing supernormal mental phenomena produces a feeling of
frustration always unwelcome to a logical mind.
Less understandable in a seeker after knowledge is a form
of escape from this tremendous issue which has been resorted
to of recent date. Extra-Sensory Perception, it is insinuated,
even though proved to exist, is a mere relic of the "primitive"
past, especially the past of such countries as "India and China
(note the omission of Ancient Greece) , and it has no place in
modern life. Does this style of treating the subject amount to
any more than a declaration that it has no convenient place in
the chromium-plated little world in which the speakers love
to enclose themselves, away from all reality not cognisable by
their physical senses, and there dream their dreams of being
"advanced" and "modern"?
Observations which are not made to sustain any precon-
ceived theories, indicate that the intellectual and moral at-
tributes of the mind are not apart from, but in close though
unconscious control of extra-sensory powers. Suggestions that
these ought to be usable for personal ends, or, on the other
hand, that they are "useless" and "undesirable" are meaning-
less while the true nature of life and of our ends remains un-
known. An infant seems useless to its mother, and as a rational
1 Kant recorded evidence of them in a letter to Charlotte von Knofoloch,
appended to Dreams of a Spirit Seer; and Jung-Stilling gives further details
in his Theory of Pneumatology.
1 68 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
common-sense being she might consider it rather primitive,
probably similar to an ancient Chinese, and see no scientific
reason why she should not abandon it.
Truth cannot be classified as "primitive 1 ' or "modern." Let
us constantly be on guard against the temptation to imitate the
fabled manoeuvre of the ostrich, one of which Carlyle said, in
his quaint and forceful language, that it invites an a posteriori
The open-minded enquirer recognises at the outset that a
direct answer has to be given to this question: is the whole
truth about the nature of man to be sought for and included
in the bases of scientific, philosophical and religious discus-
sion, or is it not?
An affirmative reply may give us the patience to glance
briefly at the attitudes and efforts of some of those who, during
the past hundred years, have felt impelled to confront the
problem of Precognition.
Some Previous Theories
Those psychologists of the early part of the nineteenth
century who had met with too many precognitive dreams to
be able to deny their occurrence, could only, like Abercrombie
and Briferre de Boismont, ascribe the greatest possible number
to chance coincidence, or, like Debay, acknowledge them to
be the indications of a profound and seemingly unfathomable
"Superstitious people," said Debay, "think that they get
over the difficulty by ascribing these prophetic dreams to an
intuition. But what is an intuition? 'It is a sort of revelation
of the future made by an unknown power.' It would be as use-
ful to say that the god Morpheus sends us one of his dreams to
warn us of what is to come." 1 And the author concludes on the
futility of explanations of that type in an age of science.
l Augustc Debay, Lcs Mysttres du Sommeil ct du Magntismc t Paris, 1845.
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 1 69
Yet there continued, especially in Germany, where Chris-
tian mysticism long resisted the more materialistic thought of
England and France, to be a tendency to refer Precognition
to the spiritual world. Some of the most famous philosophers
of Germany had been among those who recognised the reality
of happenings which they referred to a "supersensible world/'
Many, no doubt, look upon this mysticism as mere evidence
of retardation. However that may be, it was unfortunately the
case that the work of the men who elsewhere were laying the
foundation of the great doctrine of evolution was unaccom-
panied by any theory which essayed to explain, or which even
took account of supernormal phenomena; and there is no
doubt that dire consequences have flowed from this gap in
That all the dark happenings of recent times are not, how-
ever, due to the imbibing of materialism, may be indicated by
the suggestion made by one pious German mystic, Dr. Jung-
Stilling, that the police should forbid certain people, under
pain of imprisonment, to reveal any apparitions of death or
similar phenomena which they had experienced!
"Seeing in dreams," said Dr. Joseph Ennemoser, of Berlin,
author of a History of Magic, 1 "is a self-illuming of things,
places and times." "For," summarises Catherine Crowe, "re-
lations of time and space form no obstruction to the dreamer:
things near and far are alike seen in the mirror of the soul,
according to the connection in which they stand to each other;
and, as the future is but an unfolding of the present, as the
present is of the past, one being necessarily involved in the
other, it is not more difficult to the untramelled spirit to see
what is to happen, than what has already happened." 2
1 Geschichtc der Magie, Leipzig, 1844.
2 Catherine Crowe, Night Side of Nature, 1848. Leibnitz's view that the
soul is "the mirror of the universe" predominated in German thought on this
170 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
More reasoned was the opinion expressed by Dr. S. B. Brit-
tan of New York:
"Without presuming to dogmatize on so intricate a subject,
I will here suggest my idea of the law of prophecy. In the most
essential sense all things have a permanent existence, extend-
ing backward through the long chain of causation and forward
through the unlimited succession of immediate effects and
remote consequences; and as all events really exist in the
causes that produce them, before they actually transpire in the
outward world of effects, it naturally follows that whenever
the mindby whatever meansis uplifted to the proper moral
and spiritual altitude, it perceives the event before it occurs
in the sphere of outward manifestation. The man gifted with
prevision foresees what will happen, because he is able to dis-
cover the operative causes which already exist, and must in-
evitably develop the apprehended results. Thus our premoni-
tions; the visions of future occurrences ; and every prophetic
impulse, may be subject to law and susceptible of a rational
Brittan proceeded to cite Telepathy as a partial explanation
of Precognition of events depending on intentions already
existing in other people's minds. Yet (as the expression "by
whatever means" indicates) he was forced on the general
question of the solution of the problem to refer it to the spir-
itual world; or, as he put it in another passage, "if there are
intelligent beings, of a superior order, existing either here or
elsewhere, they may be capable of entering into psychological
relations with the human mind on earth."
Naturally the reference of the problem to the spiritual
world gave no satisfaction when it was unaccompanied by any
explanation as to why the spirit should be better informed.
Nor could Spiritualist mediums, who have so frequently
1 Man and His Relations, 1865.
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 1 7 *
produced phenomena which science is unable to explain,
elucidate the question of Precognition. They simply referred
it, like everything else, to the spirits, without being able to
say how these latter procure the foreknowledge ascribed to
them. But an ingenious theory has been advanced that the
spirits speaking through the medium may subsequently pro-
ceed to influence other people by a species of super-hypnotism,
causing them to act in ways which would bring about the ful-
filment of the prophecy. Where the object is, in a particular
casie, to prove the existence of the spirits, the theory has reason.
We could not, however, avoid the logical necessity of applying
it to all Precognition important or trivial arising in daily life,
thus reducing ourselves to mere puppets in the hands of in-
visible entities: the Precognition of an accident, for example,
would imply the activities of these entities to bring it about.
Modern Occultism provides us with a but slightly greater
degree of satisfaction in this matter. It places all dream experi-
ences in the "astral world," to which the astral body of- the
sleeper goes. Certainly this is not more incomprehensible than
citing additional dimensions of space; and the doctrine of
"karma" throws a gleam of light in the direction of our im-
mediate problem by its assertion that before each reincarna-
tion the "Ego" has a vision of his coming life.
But still it is not made clear to us how the "Ego" obtains
this prophetic vision. Though modern Occultism, as ex-
pounded by such a master as the late Rudolf Steiner, 1 com-
mands respectful attention, and wins on many grounds the
highest admiration, it cannot be said that it makes compre-
hensible the process of Precognition.
Those who are impatient with any form of mysticism might
z*k themselves whether the apparent impasse created by the
iSee his Outline of Occult Science, Problems of Our Times, Knowledge
of the Higher Worlds, and Psychoanalysis hi the Light of Anthroposophy.
172 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
phenomenon of Precognition is not an effective reminder of
the limitations of the existing body of official science, and of
the unwisdom of assuming that every other school of thought
must be composed of persons incapable of reasoning. And not
only official scientists but those psychical researchers who gave
so many not over fruitful years to studying "spirit" phenomena
may come to recognise that they were at fault in almost ignor-
ing the more profound and better ordered "Spiritual Science"
of Western and Eastern occultists.
But almost ignoring Occultism, and largely recognising the
insufficiency of Spiritualism, psychical researchers and others
have recently been tending to regard the problem as essentially
one of the nature of Time. The comprehensive mind of F. W.
H. Myers gave early voice to this.
"Few men," he wrote in 1895, "have pondered long on these
problems of Past and Future without wondering whether Past
and Future be in very truth more than a name whether we
may not be apprehending as a stream of sequence that which
is an ocean of co-existence, and slicing our subjective years
and centuries from timeless and absolute things. The pre-
cognitions dealt with here, indeed, hardly overpass the life
of the individual percipient. Let us keep to that small span,
and let us imagine that a whole earth-life is in reality an abso-
lutely instantaneous although an infinitely complex phenom-
enon. Let us suppose that my transcendental self discerns with
equal directness and immediacy every element of this phe-
nomenon; but that my empirical self receives each element
mediately, and through media involving different rates of
retardation; just as I receive the lightning more quickly than
the thunder. May not then seventy years intervene between
my perceptions of birth and death as easily as seven seconds
between my perceptions of the flash and the peal? And may
not some intercommunication of consciousness enable the
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 173
wider self to call to the narrower, the more central to the more
external, 'At such an hour this shock will reach you! Listen
for the near ing roar!' " l
Taking a similar view of the possibilities, Sir Oliver Lodge,
the distinguished physicist, commented in his The Survival
of Man (1909)*
"The anticipation of future events is a power not at all nec-
essarily to be expected on a Spiritistic or on any other hypoth-
esis; it is a separate question, and will have important bearings
of its own. An answer to this question in the affirmative may
vitally affect our metaphysical notions of Time,' but will not
of necessity have an immediate bearing on the existence in the
universe of intelligences other than our own."
In 1925 Dr. Hans Driesch, Professor of Philosophy at Leip-
zig University, expressed this view:
"I myself have long hesitated to accept it [prophecy] as a
fact, but I have become convinced of its existence. . . . We
might go back to the theory of the miroir de Vunivers [Leib-
nitz] here again. The future, then, would be present in a cer-
tain way, not in the form of a possible mathematical calcula-
tion, but immediately. Time would be a restriction in the field
of appearances, nothing else. It is useless, however, to say more
about a problem which we are sure we cannot understand in
our present form of mentality/' 2
The tendency has been more and more in sympathy with
modern physics, which has dismissed space and time from its
universe as separate entities, and substituted for them a four-
dimensional space-time continuum.
Thus Mr. J. W. Dunne, who brought the problem of Pre-
cognition strongly to the attention of the general public and
the world of science in 1927 through his book, An Experiment
1 S.P.R., Proceedings, xi, p. 592.
2 Hans Driesch, The Crisis in. Psychology, Oxford Univ. Press, 1925.
174 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
with Time, proposed a theory of "Serial" or multi-dimensional
Time; while in 1937 Professor C, D, Broad, of Cambridge, in
a paper entitled "Philosophical Implications of Foreknowl-
edge," suggested (with complete reserve) the possibility of a
two-dimensional time. 1 Summaries and criticisms of these
theories will be found in Tyrrell's Science and Psychical Phen-
omena, and in Saltmarsh's Foreknowledge; while Dunne's
theory, in particular, has been metaphysically dissected in
Dr. M. F. Cleugh's Time, 1937.
Theories which postulate additional dimensions of space
and time are based on the supposition that Precognition de-
rives from an already existing event. They take it for granted
that since people do precognise the future the only possible
explanation is that, in some way, that future already exists ;
that Time or Change is a kind of band, comparable to a rolled
up film. Our attention is concentrated on the present, but in
another dimension our attention could be directed to other
parts of the film, and so we could see what we call, in our three-
dimensional, one-way time world, the "future."
A third theory 2 was that of Mr, H. F. Saltmarsh, who based
it on what he called "the greater specious present." The sub-
liminal consciousness (subconsciousness) , he suggested, pos-
sesses a specious present which extends further into the future
and the past than does the present of the supraliminal (ordin-
ary) consciousness. No additional dimension was invoked,
but again we have the assumption that future events co-exist
with the present. Mr. Saltmarsh concluded that his preference
was for complete agnosticism as regards an explanation of
1 Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, supp. vol. xvi, 1937.
2 See S.P.R,, Proceedings, vol. xlii, p. 49, and H. F. Saltmarsh, Foreknowledge,
1938. Saltmarsh built on the views of F. W. H. Myers, as given at p. 334 etc.,
vol. xi of the Proceedings.
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 1 75
It is indeed a phenomenon so diametrically opposed to all
other human experience that theorising about it has an air of
complete abstraction, meeting with faint response in other
minds. One could perhaps devise a hundred similar theories,
making use of terms like "fourth dimension/' two-dimensional
time," "subliminal consciousness," etc., without carrying con-
viction to a single person; and since no means exist of putting
theories to a test, it would be impossible to prove or to disprove
\yithout, at this stage, going fully into the reasons, I would
suggest that personal experience of the characteristics of Pre-
cognition does not sustain the view that it derives from an
existing "future event." This postulation of future events as
already existing in an other-dimensional state in order to
account for precognitive images of them occurring in our nor-
mal-experience world ignores much that the phenomenon it-
self reiterates. So far is Precognition from bearing within it-
self evidence of being the attainment by means of unknown
senses of a future event already existing in another dimension,
that it is (usually, if not invariably) stamped with the limita-
tions and inaccuracies of our coming physical sense percep-
tion. It is strange that supernormal tapping of an other-dimen-
sional world should be a replica of physical sense experience;
it is equally odd that this tapping should correspond to our
coming physical experiences, and not wander over a wider
Further comment on other-dimensional theories will be
made on a later page. The heart of the problem cannot be in-
stantly attained; it requires a gradual approach.
Precognition arises in the mind without, so far as we know
or can conceive, any help from the physical sense organs at the
time of the Precognition. It corresponds indeed to the coming
perception via the physical senses, but as it precedes them it
176 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
cannot derive from them. The indications are, then, that it is
in the purely mental sphere that we may expect to find the
origin of Precognition.
The search requires that we should first look as clearly as
possible, and free from prior assumptions, at what actually is
Precognition as Memory of a Basic Experience
A young man dreamed that he saw an airship crash on a
hillside, and burst into flames. Among other details he saw
uniformed men arrive on the scene, and particularly noted
one who was on horseback. Forty-eight hours later the British
airship R 101 crashed on a hillside at Beauvais, and was de-
stroyed by fire. When the young man heard of this he got hold
of a newspaper, and found that the account corresponded to
his preceding dream to an extent which forced him to conclude
that he had foreseen the accident. Photographs and a news
film, in which French policemen, one of them on horseback,
were shown arriving on the scene, amazingly coincided with
his dream, and confirmed his conclusion. 1
But did he foresee the accident? In previous pages it has
been shown that what the dreamer precognises is his coming
sense perception and the concepts arising therefrom. Whether
the dreamer is present at the event, or hears rumours of it, or
reads accounts of it, or sees photographs of it, the process is the
same. His participation must and can only consist of his in-
dividual sense perception. Again and again it has been shown
that witnesses of an event will give accounts of it which differ
most remarkably, thus illustrating the fact that each individual
has his own independent sense perception of the event, and
not an absolute knowledge thereof if we ever have such
knowledge of anything but our own existence.
1 See Dame Edith Lyttelton's Some Case* of Prediction, 1937.
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 177
Precognition, then, whether waking or sleeping, is in es-
sence a prior intimation of later sense perception. This view
of Precognition was set out in the diagram in Chapter ii (p. 40) ,
and was confirmed by the subsequently recounted experiences.
An analogy between Precognition and everyday experi-
ences of a normal kind may usefully be made so long as the
analogy is not allowed to usurp the place of the real problem.
During one of the air-raids on London I was chatting on the
telephone with Miss P. M. P., a friend of ours who lived some
miles away across the town. Miss P. asked me, with the coolness
which she and many other women acquired under those some-
times battlelike conditions, whether I could hear a bomb which
was whistling down near her house. I could not hear the de-
scent, but a moment afterwards, via the instrument, I did hear
the familiar roar of the explosion. While Miss P. and I were
commenting on the incident, the sound of the explosion came
to me a second time: it had been travelling from Kensington
to Hampstead through the air in the usual way. In relation to
the second hearing, the first had been, in a normal sense,
To take a commoner experience: one day I was standing at
the end of a big field, and away at the far end another man
kicked a football. I saw the impact of his foot with the ball,
but heard no sound until the ball had risen a considerable dis-
tance in the air. Then, oddly out of place as it seemed, came
the "biff" of the impact of foot and ball. If I had closed my
eyes in the first place, or if I had been a blind man dependent
on hearing alone, the sound of the impact would have been
my sole means of knowing that the ball had been kicked.
In relation to the ear, therefore, the eye gave me "precogni-
tion" of the event. Of course, it will be obvious that both these
anecdotes have no application to our problem except as useful
analogies. They are not in themselves examples of Precogni-
178 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
tion in the supernormal sense. Given normal experience and
knowledge, the fulfilment of these "precognitions" could be
rationally foretold. If this is borne in mind the continuation
of such analogies may yet serve a good purpose.
But even the eye, in an exact sense, did not give me simul-
taneous information of the event on the football field, for
despite its immense speed light also takes time to travel. An
observer on a star some 1,000 million million miles away, if
provided with a telescope of adequate power, could now be
seeing the American Revolution in progress (just as Flam-
marion's imaginary character Lumen 1 saw the French Revolu-
tion), because the light reflected from the earth in 1779 or
thereabouts is only now attaining the remote star on which the
supposed observer is situated. But if a being on that remote
star 170 years ago could by any possible means have received
simultaneous news of the American Revolution, and had
recorded it in his diary as a "curious dream/ 1 his descendant
with the telescope in 1949 would be confronted with a prob-
lem similar to that which confronts us.
He would have to denounce the diary as a forgery, dismiss
it as a "curious coincidence," hail it as a divinely inspired
prophecy, or pioceed to study it as a serious scientific problem.
The star-being's problem, once he had ascertained the fact
that light travels at about 186,000 miles a second, and has con-
sequently taken 170 years to come from the earth, is to find
out how his ancestor could have had simultaneous or at least
quicker knowledge of the event. He is forced to postulate
something which we will call "simultaneous radio," by means
of which the news could have been transmitted at once from
earth to star-being.
To bring the parallel a little closer, let us suppose that on
one of the planets of our solar system an observer is in "simul-
i Camille Flammarion, Lumen, 1873 (Eng. ed. 1897) .
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 179
taneous radio" communication with us, arid by these means
receives news or a televised picture of a certain event. A few
minutes later the same being observes the same happening
through his telescope. His first seeing might be called "pre-
cognitive" of his second.
Now to turn to our problem. At this moment we are per-
ceiving through our physical senses. But last night we already
had mental images, not deriving from the physical senses,
which correspond to to-day's perceptions.
Provisionally, we may show our star-analogy (ab) , followed
below by our Precognition problem (AB), thus:
Picture of earth event Later picture of same
received on star by event received on star
"simultaneous radio." by telescope.
Precognition. Apparent occurrence of
the precognised event,
i.e. perception by
physical sense organs
(everyday life) .
But as Precognition sometimes anticipates the event by a
considerable period, and sometimes by no more than an hour,
or a minute, or even a few seconds as in laboratory experi-
mentsit does not seem very likely that Precognition corre-
sponds directly to the "simultaneous radio*' of the star analogy.
The irregularity of the time factor points rather to Precogni-
tion being something in the nature of a memory of a still
earlier "basic" experience. I attach the label "basic" to this
logically indicated experience to distinguish it from the ex-
periences of everyday life, that is, from the picture of the ex-
ternal world which we create from our physical sense per-
The comparison may then be set out as follows, bearing in
SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
mind that the first line is given for the purpose of analogy only:
Picture of earth
event received on
star by "simul-
occurring at an
to 'B' and 'C'.
memory of V.
which is memory
in relation to 'A',
but in relation to
'C it is precog-
Later picture of
same event received
on star by
ence, i.e. percep-
tion by physical
'A* as it manifests
What has here been named the Basic Memory is therefore
the memory of the Basic experience A. In relation to C, which
represents what is called everyday life, the Basic Memory con-
tains the potentialities of Precognition.
The analogy must now be completely abandoned, if only
because the assumption in it of an immense space between the
observer and the event has no correspondence in true Pre-
cognition. The process which is actually being considered may
be set out in its entirety as follows:
A Basic experience.
B Basic Memory.
C Basic Memory intermittently transferred to Conscious Memory
D Physical experience.
E Conscious Memory of 'D', which may be observed to corre-
spend to 4 C'.
This ordering of events assumes nothing except that cause
precedes effect. No mere terminological criticism of the word
"Basic" would be relevant, as all that is implied by this label
is that the experience underlies or precedes what follows.
Had a more qualitative word been used it might be thought
that I was suggesting ideas not at all founded on my own ex-
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 181
perience and the parallel experience of others. Nor would
even the cautious word "subliminal" be preferable to an
equally cautious word specifically applied to the present ap-
However, as the Basic experience is not a physical experi-
ence, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it must be an
experience solely in the sphere of thought. Just as an invisible
planet may be known by the effect which it produces on the
orbits of its neighbours, so is the Basic experience known only
by the effect we call Precognition. To define it, therefore, is
not at the moment possible. The most that can be said, and
speaking in relation to the problem under discussion, is that a
Basic experience is an experience in the mind, one which,
when transferred to the conscious memory, constitutes Pre-
cognition of later experiences through the physical sense
That the process suggested is not too complex to be the sub-
ject of normal cogitation is not necessarily a disqualification.
On the other hand, the fact that propositions based on hypo-
thetic dimensions of time and space are not within this normal
cogitative comprehension is not in itself a disproof of them;
but it is a work of supererogation to go outside the sequence
of the process involved as it has been set out above.
The general impression which may then be formed is that
the Basic experience is in the nature of a mind process of which
physical experience is in some sense a subsequent aspect.
'To them the truth would be literally nothing but the
shadows of the images/ 11
Have more than two thousand years of research and reflec-
tion brought men any nearer to the nature of reality than when
Socrates illustrated their limitations by his celebrated parable
i Plato, The Republic, Bk. vii.
182 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Df the prisoners chained in the cave who see, not the real things
3Utside, but only shadows on the wall?
Countless metaphysical arguments have been marshalled,
pet still this ancient illustration is necessary. The universe is
still but a picture in the mind of man, a presentation of his
3wn, which from time to time he changes in detail. It is still
but a reflection of what we infer to be a real external existence.
To that picture the physicists and mathematicians contribute
the conception of a universe composed of radiation and atoms,
which atoms appear to be systems of protons, neutrons, and
electrons. These are variously described as electrically charged
particles and as systems of waves. As one theory succeeds or
supplements another, the changeability and indeterminacy of
:he atom emerge as demonstrable facts.
In a well-known passage, Sir James Jeans, the distinguished
"To-day there is a wide measure of agreement, which on the
physical side of science approaches almost to unanimity, that
the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical
reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought
than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an ac-
cidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning
to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and
governor of the realm of matter not of course our individual
minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our in-
dividual minds have grown exist as thoughts." 1
There is special pleading here, but it cannot seriously be
questioned that Jeans was right in saying that the general trend
of physical science has been away from mechanistic interpreta-
tions, and this not as a result of vestiges of the theologies of the
"two-and-seventy jarring sects," but as a direct result of scien-
tific observation. The apparent indeterminacy of the atom
l The Mysterious Umverse, Cambiidgc Univ. Press, 1930.
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 1 88
does not, of course, prove the presence of mind, but it strongly
suggests that there is room, even need, for something compar-
able to mind.
The new picture, then, does not include a concept of matter
as being alien to mind. The entire universe is even compared
in its nature to mind. This picture, unlike the older one, is
not challenged by the theory of the origin of Precognition to
which the preceding discussion led.
For if matter be comparable to mind, then Precognition
may have its place in such a view as memory of a Basic mental
process which is part of a mental process of which the whole
universe is itself a manifestation, or a correspondence, or an
These are profound waters upon which to venture, but it
so happens that every time he precognises a coming experi-
ence each human being proves himself to be a denizen of those
deeps. Not only is the mind of the observer the interpreter,
and therefore for himself the creator of the external world,
but Precognition hints at a mastery that is more than immedi-
It is not too much to say that any conception of the nature
of reality which is irreconcilable with the phenomena of Extra-
Sensory Perception must be radically incomplete. How can
any conclusion embody truth whether regarded as absolute
or relative to the observerwhen it contradicts or ignores ob-
servation of the observer himself? Man's picture of the uni-
verse which does not comprise a true picture of man himself,
however much it be elaborated, can never amount to more
than an academical hobby.
The Question of Freewill
If the Basic mental process corresponds to the physical ex-
perience which is its manifestation or correspondence, it may
be thought that all physical sense experience must have been
184 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
determined by the Basic process as absolutely as under a
mechanistic system from which Precognition is excluded.
The faculty of Precognition, as the memory of a Basic pro-
cess, is to be regarded as part of a sequence. It links the physi-
cal sense experience which follows it with the hypothetic Basic
process which precedes it. Individual participation in this
latter may just as well involve individual responsibility as not.
In the concluding words of the passage from The Mysteri-
ous Universe which was quoted above, it is made evident that
the individual mind is considered as a separate outcome of the
universal mind. The idea is still present of considering the
human mind as emerging from matter, even though the mat-
ter is now regarded as a species of mind.
But the strongly marked individualism of Precognition may
be due to the fact that the individual mind participates in its
own sphere in a creative manner. This participation in that
process which is here termed the Basic mental process would
then be expected to be subject to difficulties corresponding to
those of physical sense experience. So that there is no more
reason to doubt or to confirm the exercise of individual free-
will under the theory of a Basic process than* there is under any
Though the solution of the problem of free-will and deter-
minism must obviously be involved in a complete understand-
ing of the nature of the Basic experience, the possible ultimate
solution of that problem is not compromised by the initial
step of postulating such a Basic experience as the cause of
Telepathy and Clairvoyance
In Chapter ix a suggestion ivas made that Telepathy and
Clairvoyance might be one and the same faculty. That sug-
gestion arose from various personal experiences, and the litera-
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 185
ture of a few years ago shows that many leading psychical re-
searchers were tending toward some conclusion of the kind,
until the formidable evidence for Precognition which experi-
mental work was accumulating required a reconsideration of
the whole question of Clairvoyance.
It remains possible to conceive this suggested one faculty of
Telepathy/Clairvoyance as a reaching out of the mind to per-
ceive thoughts and things not perceptible by the physical
Such an idea of direct action is most natural because of the
nature of physical experience. The absence of any clue to the
operation of Telepathy or Clairvoyance in the chemical and
motor processes of the body leads to the envisaging of an
"etheric" body, putting out tentacles, emitting and receiving
radiation. Support for such theories may be found in the
phenomena of Psychokinesis (otherwise Telekinesis), the
movement of material objects by mind force, that is, without
the use of known or observable physical force. 1
But while Psychokinesis may be tested in various ways, and
the results, because of their effect on physical objects, reason-
ably assigned tc an emanating "force," such an assignment in
the case of a faculty whose results are purely mental is not so
easily envisaged. 2
It is even more difficult to imagine a theory under which
thought bodies and emanations could have any application to
the problem of Precognition.
iSee the Report of the Dialectical Society, 1871, and the papers of Sir
William Crookes in the Quarterly Journal of Science of the same year. Among
later evidence may be mentioned Emile Boirac's Our Hidden Forces, 1917,
Baron von Schrenck Notzing's Phenomena of Materialisation, 1920, Dr. W. F.
Prince's The Psychic in the House, 1926, Dr. Gustave Geley's Clairvoyance
and Materialisation, 1927, the account of Dr. Eugene Osty in La Revue Me*ta-
psychique, 1932, Harry Price's Further Experiments with Rudi Schneider,
1933, and Dr. J. B. Rhine's The Reach of the Mind, 1947.
2 For such a theory see E. C. Rogers, Philosophy of Mysterious Agents,
1853, p. 249. Cf. also Joseph Sinel's The Sixth Sense, 1927.
186 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
It is possible that a fundamental distinction may lie be-
tween two kinds of supernormal mental faculty (instead of
three) , namely, on the one hand Precognition, being "memory
beforehand;" and on the other Telepathy/Clairvoyance, being
"present perception." Such a distinction would obviously
simplify the classification of instances.
But the simplicity would soon be found to be superficial,
for the more the phenomena are studied the less reason is
found to justify any decisive separation of Extra-Sensory Per-
ception into different forms. It seems much more likely that
one and the same function is concerned in all instances.
The general conclusion which I believe departs least from
what is observed is that the mind comprises not only the "nor-
mal" memory, conscious and unconscious, appearing to de-
rive from physical sense perception, but also this other antici-
patory memory, deriving from the Basic experience, which
from time to time passes to some degree into conscious aware-
ness, and whose unconscious functioning may be experiment-
The mind also reacts sympathetically with other minds, in-
dependently of the senses, and this Telepathy may take the
form of common perception, recollection, or Precognition.
In addition, there is much in everyday experience to compel
the conclusion that Clairvoyance, or awareness of objects in-
dependently of the normal means, is a fact; but in experi-
mental demonstrations Clairvoyance has not been decisively
distinguished from Precognition by the subject, or from his
telepathic awareness of another person's Precognition. 1
The Co-existence of Past, Present, and Future
The co-existence of past, present, and future which has been
required by recent efforts to explain Precognition is not op-
posed to the present view except in as much as it refers Pre-
i As to "Retrocognition," see Glossary under that word.
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 1 87
cognition directly to an external now-existing future event.
Naturally, if reality presents itself to the observer according
to the dimensional world in which he exists there is no limit
whatever to the purely speculative possibilities. Our familiar
three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time lend them-
selves to any amount of theoretical modifications by which
some semblance of explaining the supernormal may be arrived
The argument that the difference between two dimensions
and, three dimensions of space offers some indication of what
might be involved by awareness of a fourth dimension of space,
has force. We might then be able to perceive the inside of a
closed box, and so on. On the view that time is the true fourth
dimension it is similarly arguable that the box, the tree which
provided its wood, the iron ore which became its nails, and the
dust to which they will be reduced all exist simultaneously in a
It is recognised that what we commonly call time does not
exist except as a verbal convenience. In using the word we
name a manner of measuring the change or becoming in what
we observe by comparing one set of changes with another; and
the motions of the earth in relation to the sun provide a con-
venient sequence of changes against which to measure all
From this it may follow that "past," "present," and "future"
are not sections of a "passing time," but labels indicating the
order in which we observe an external world which merely
exists, but which (outside the mind of man) has no "past/'
"present," or "future." Time, then, is relative: it means some-
thing altogether different to different observers in the universe.
The principle of relativity, as propounded by Einstein over
forty years ago and since developed by Minkowski and others,
was intended to meet the situation arising from the vulnera-
188 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
bility of the older view of the universe as a vast (infinite)
machine, whose empty "spaces" were filled with hypothetic
"ether," and the substitution for this of a conception in which
matter and all else is electrical in nature. The theory of rela-
tivity proposed a four-dimensional space, one in which the
ordinary three dimensions of space are coalesced with one di-
mension of time, thus constituting the "space-time continu-
um." In the continuum space and time as separate entities have
no place: they are subjective creations of the human mind.
But it is precisely the human mind with which we are deal-
ing. The mathematician believes that his formulae tell him
something of the real non-subjective nature of the universe.
What has this to do with Extra-Sensory Perception? So little,
that he is in danger of forgetting that no picture of the uni-
verse, however consistent it may momentarily seem with a
limited set of facts, can have the least validity if it ignores the
mind of the observer.
If, however, we do ignore it, let us keep the limited prob-
lems of astrophysics quite apart from the greater issue of the
nature of the mind. We cannot, just to make a gesture of co-
operation towards the now slightly mystical picture presented
by physical science, proceed on the assumption that part of
the mind is in a different kinetical and spatial condition from
another when Precognition occurs. Yet though a part of the
mind is evidently not on a planet with a different speed in re-
lation to the sun, some such assumption is tacitly involved in
recent approaches to the problem of Precognition.
Nor do I see how such an assumption can be sustained. We
know as well as we can ever know anything that one ob-
server, the conscious mind, is localised in space-time. Where
then is the hypothetic second observer? It is not enough to say
that he is in another temporal dimension, for, relatively to the
first observer, he needs a spatial qualification. In the follow-
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 189
ing commentary on the ingenious theory of a "two-dimen-
sional time," however, I leave on one side this objection, and
accept the suggested second observer.
While the observer in the first of the two times sees a seed,
the observer in the second time sees the bush into which it has
developed. (The illustration is mine). Should the first ob-
server obtain a supernormal glimpse of the second dimen-
sional time world it would constitute Precognition.
There is certainly something fascinating in this, but to
realise just how fascinating it should be remembered that
while the first observer is looking at the seed, the matter
which will compose the bush is, for him, in distant oceans, in
other plants, in the bodies of various animals and insects, in
the air, and in the soil. Yet coexistentially, for the observer in
the second time dimension, this matter does compose the bush.
Mr. H. F. Saltmarsh has pointed out that under such a theo-
ry we could envisage a man who appeared to die last year in one
dimension as existing at an earlier stage of the same life in the
other dimension ; or, vice versa, an apparently living man as
apparently dead from another dimensional viewpoint.
Such speculations bear a thrilling aspect, and wonders are
to be expected in connection with so baffling a mystery. Per-
haps it may be feared that there is some danger of courting the
bizarre for its own sake.
Yet, on a first view, anyone who happens to have observed
his precognitive experiences over a long period, and who has
noticed their correspondence to his own coming physical
sense perception, errors and limitations included, may con-
sider the theory of a "two-dimensional time" not only highly
interesting but well-founded. He knows that we cannot cognise
(or "prehend") an event, but only an image, which image
normally arises from perception of a present or past event. A
precognitive image, then, is reasonably ascribed to perception
ISO SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
of the future event. That this Precognitiori and the later phy-
sical sense perception should relate to the same event, ob-
served from two different "times," seems to contain the prom-
ise of accounting well for the strong individuality of Precog-
The first doubt comes with the thought that the observer,
having somehow obtained access to the second time dimen-
sion, there makes his observations by means which obviously
do not include his physical senses and physical brain (other-
wise we should be committed to the absurdity of supposing an
effect on the brain which at once exists and does not exist) . It
is, therefore, curious that the supernormal senses which we
must assume to be employed should be limited to observation
corresponding to what the individual will, eventually, experi-
But the most serious objection comes when we observe that
Precognition can occur in one time dimension only that
represented by our everyday consciousness. In the second time
dimension, where events are presumed to be extra-sensorily
perceptible at a later stage, there is no provision for the inci-
dence of Precognition itself. It is self-contradictory to suppose
that in the second time dimension a man observes the occur-
rence of Precognition. Precognition of what? The second time
dimension being, so to speak, more advanced than our time,
no basis exists for Precognition. Thus Myers, Dunne, Maeter-
linck, Broad, Saltmarsh, Mrs. Lyttelton and the others who
have written books or papers of which observation of Precog-
nition was the cause, have done actions and set in motion trains
of consequences which can have no correspondence in the
second dimension of time. Before Saltmarsh, for example, fin-
ished collecting cases of Precognition (perhaps before he was
born), the book containing them ought to have been pub-
lished for an observer in the second time dimension. But how
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 1 9 1
could it have been, seeing that for that dimension no provi-
sion for Piecognition exists?
Yet the two-dimensional time theory requires that every
event observed in the one time should have its correspondence
in the other time, the difference lying only in the relative posi-
tion of the observer. Precognition occurring to the observer in
one time position only, and being causal, the whole concep-
tion falls to the ground. The same objection applies to any
other theory that Precognition has its origin in extra-sensory
observation of existing events from the standpoint of another
Any theory of relativity applicable to Precognition must
have other bases than those which belong specifically to cur-
rent efforts to interpret the physical universe. Precognition
has not been shown to relate to "real existence," whether sym-
bolized mathematically or otherwise. It has been repeatedly
shown to relate to those impressions of the external world
which will arise in the mind. This indeed indicates that the
future has already happened, but it does not indicate in what
form it has happened and is existing for the percipient's
The observer of his own experiences may be inclined to
agree that the evidence indicates that they are the memory of
a mental process (whether termed "Basic" or otherwise) , and
that the ascription of this Basic mental process to a "future
event" as cause in another time dimension is far less probable
than that it forms part of a progressive sequence.
He may be led to place the co-existence of past, present, and
future in his own mind, and only in his mind. He may con-
clude, with all the reserve which so mysterious a problem im-
poses on our accustomed logic, that his Precognition arises
from memory of a Basic mental experience having some rela-
tioncausative, complementary, or other to the later physical
192 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
The Nature of the Basic Experience
The nature of the Basic experience admits of no definition
beyond the indication inherent in Precognition itself, namely,
that the Basic experience has a correspondence in the physical
experience which follows.
It is important to bear in mind that this correspondence
does not imply an identity of cause. Physical sense perception
arises immediately from the physical event, but Precognition
arises, not from the physical event (which may not yet exist)
but from memory of the Basic mental process which, by in-
ference, the physical represents.
Thus the theory of a Basic process is not open to the objec-
tion which was made to the theory of two dimensions of time.
There is no contradiction involved in allotting to the Basic
process the counterpart of Precognition itself. For the Basic
process precedes the physical sense experience, and does not
relate to the same event as this latter, as observed from a differ-
ent "time/' This preceding process does not correspond to any
then existing external event, yet it has its correspondence in
the physical sense experience arising from a later external
event. The Basic experience, thus has, relatively to the physi-
cal sense experience, the appearance of being causal.
Whether it is causal as theologian or theosophist are wont
to picture it, whether the "unceasing purpose" or the individ-
ual karma proceed from it such questions seem for long
destined to remain unanswerable by the conscious reason.
Those who see in pain a path to the inability to inflict it, in
humiliation a corrective to pride, in love the antidote to hate,
and in experience of the supernormal a counter to philosophic
error, also refer all physical things and beings to a causal world
of mind, or of spiritual archetypes. The theory of a Basic mind
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 193
process, without making any assumptions of transcendental
knowledge is not inconsistent with such views.
So far as direct knowledge of the Basic process is concerned
we have none. It is more inaccessible than the most minute
subject of physical research.
We are as unconscious of the Basic experience as is a child
of the processes by which it grows and develops; or as the man
who in sleep solves an abstruse mathematical or other problem
is unconscious of how he does it, is even unconscious of the fact
that he has done it.
Observation shows that Precognition passes into the con-
scious mind at an undetermined time before the physical ex-
perience. It may be a matter of seconds, of minutes, of hours,
or of days before. And there have been cases which indicate
that it may do so many years beforehand, although a certain
reserve inevitably attaches to these.
The Basic Memory, then, must be existing at least during
the interval of time that elapses between the Precognition and
the physical experience. But we have no data at all to indicate
how much longer it may have existed, what period of time may
separate the Precognition from the Basic experience which
gave rise to the Basic Memory: it may be but a moment, it may
be an age.
It may reasonably be conjectured that as Precognition oc-
curs in man and child, it may occur in unborn babe: the
future of the unborn babe may lie before it in its mind its
immediate future or all its future. Indeed, if this organisation
of cells which we call a man has within him knowledge of his
future, we cannot deny the possibility of the equivalent of
such knowledge to the first living cells from which sprang all
the succeeding life of this planet.
Man's participation in the Basic process and his physical
sense perception may be of a nature analogous to the two
194 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
swings of a pendulum, the beat of the heart, the intake and
the outlet of the breath. The two processes may be comple-
mentary, each indispensable to the completion of the mind
Actually, so little is known of physical sense perception that
not even that half of the problem is fairly before us. It is
known that physical sense perception follows after stimulus is
applied to a physical sense organ, and the sensation is con-
veyed to the brain, but at this point no one pretends to have
any distinct idea of what happens. The sensations associated
with sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch defy all description.
We perceive them, and that is all we can say.
That given stimuli should produce automatically certain
chemical reactions is one thing; it would be quite another
thing that they should produce conscious perception. And
when it is found that an equivalent to this conscious percep-
tion already exists in the mind (observable in the form of
Extra-Sensory Perception ) before the application of the stim-
uli which appear to be its cause, it becomes evident that a
purely mechanistic view of the processes of the mind is ir-
reconcilable with all the facts observed. These observations
point to the conclusion that the real nature of our experi-
ences, and the real nature of their apparent causes in the ex-
ternal world are entirely different from what is ordinarily
It is possible that the Basic mental experience (that which
gives rise to Precognition, etc.) is an essential preliminary to
perception by the physical senses. Without the preliminary
Basic experience there would be reaction to physical stimuli
of a chemical or motor order, but there might be no percep-
tion. Precognition would be unprovided for, and the machine-
like man, however efficient in his bodily functions, would not
have the awareness of a veritable man.
TOWARDS THE SOLUTION 1 95
Physical sense perception may be regarded as the comple-
ment of the antecedent Basic experience, previous awareness
of the latter constituting Precognition. Whether that be a just
surmise or not, it is certain that no one who has experienced
Precognition can regard the merely mechanistic interpreta-
tions of the mind which are taught in the schools to-day as
likely to be nearer the truth.
Introspective psychology is a study which each individual
pursues on his own account, and without which he cannot
form any judgment at all on the experiences of others; but it
is equally true that no individual can decide solely on his
observations of himself the true direction in which they point.
He must look at the testimony of others, and they must look at
his. The extent, brief as it is, to which I have laid open to view
my own experiences has been what was required not only to
illustrate Extra-Sensory Perception in action, but also (I ven-
ture to hope) to inspire some others, whose experiences may
be much more important to the issue than mine, to set them
down on paper at the time they occur, and to give them out for
comparative study by all searchers after knowledge. It is not
sufficient that they be placed in the private records of even the
most able society; for thus limited they would miss the eyes of
many of those in whom they might arouse a spark of recogni-
tion and needed encouragement.
The habit of self-suppression in this, not to mention other
matters, has been too long fostered by customs which lie upon
us "heavy as frost and deep almost as life/' If the young and
rising life is oppressed from the start by dense teaching we can-
not expect the full flower of its mind to be at our disposal, and
humanity must the more surely continue to lack a philosophic
system which answers to all that reason observes. Though poets
and prophets have by varied and often splendid means ex-
196 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
pressed the sense of other worlds which they felt within them,
their imagery has not satisfied the will not only to feel, but
rationally to comprehend, which is the most distinguishing
characteristic of man to-day.
If but one hero knew it,
The world would blush in flame;
The sage, till he hit the secret,
Would hang his head for shame. 1
We have moved a little in the simple fact of observing in
the daily experiences of our own minds, and in objective
laboratory experiments, that Extra-Sensory Perception does
occur. Though we have scarcely passed the fringe of enquiry,
at least we are no longer evading the task.
It is one which requires that the persistent and unfettered
investigation of the external world shall be surpassed in the
study of every aspect of the mind and nature of the enquirer
R. W. Emerson, The World Soul.
/CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SOME BOOKS, ETC,
WHICH DEAL WITH SECOND SIGHT OR EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION
uooks and periodicals which contain passing reference to the subject arc not
included here, but many will be found named in the text or footnotes. Nor
has any attempt been made to include more than a selection of the very
large number of books and pamphlets dealing solely with "Telepathy."
What has been aimed at is to list books, more especially those referring to
Precognition, which appear to have value in the light of recent developments,
or which are historically interesting. Except in a few special cases the books
selected are rationalist in tone. Omissions will gladly be made good.
Miscellanies upon Various Subjects, by John Aubrey. London, 1696.
Deuteroskopia; or a brief discourse concerning the Second Sight, by John
Frazer. Edinburgh, 1707.
A Treatise on the Second Sight, Dreams and Apparitions, by Theophilus
Insulanus [William Macleod]. Edinburgh, 1763.
Inquiries Concerning the Intellectual Powers and the Investigation of Truth,
by John Abercrombie. Edinburgh, 1830.
Theory of Pneumatology, by Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling. Translated by
Samuel Jackson. London, 1834.
The Anatomy of Sleep, by Edward Binns. London, 1842.
Dreams and Dreaming, by Mrs. Blair. London, 1843.
Les Mysteres du Sommeil et du Magne'tisme, by Auguste Debay. Paris, 1845.
The Night Side of Nature, by Catherine Crowe. London, 1848.
Letters on the Truths Contained in Popular Superstitions, by Herbert Mayo.
Frankfort o/M, 1849.
Somnolism and Psycheism, by Joseph W. Haddock. London, 1851.
Des Hallucinations, by A. Brierre de Boismont. Paris, 1852.
Philosophy of Mysterious Agents, by E. C. Rogers. Boston, 1853.
Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World, by Robert Dale Owen. Phila-
Man and His Relations, by S. B. Brittan. New York, 1865.
The Trance f by Laroy Sunderland. Chicago, 1868.
Histoire de la Divination dans Vantiquite, by A. Bouche*-Leclercq. 4 vols.
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. London: S.P.R., 1882 et post.
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, London; S.P.R., 1885 et post.
Phantasms of the Living, by Edmund Gurney, F.W.H. Myers, and Frank
Podmore. 2 vols. London: S.P.R., 1886.
198 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Day Visions and Clairvoyant Night Dreams, by Joseph Darby. London: Simp-
kin, Marshall, 1892.
Cock Lane and Common-Sense, by Andrew Lang. London: Longmans, Green
& Co., 1894.
Apparitions and Thought Transference, by Frank Podmore. New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1895.
The Book of Dreams and Ghosts, by Andrew Lang. London: Longmans,
Green & Co., 1897.
Essays in Psychical Research, by Miss X [A. Goodrich Freer]. London: George
Red way, 1899.
Dreams and Their Meanings, by Horace G. Hutchinson. London: Longmans,
Green & Co., 1901.
The Unknown, by Camille Flammarion. New York: Harper Bros., 1901.
Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, by F. W. H. Myers. 2
vols. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1905.
Thought Transference, by Northcote W. Thomas. London: Alex. Moring,
Enigmas of Psychical Research, by James H. Hyslop. London: G. P. Putnam's
Proceedings (and Journal) of the American Society for Psychical Research.
New York: Am. S.P.R., 1907 et post.
The Survival of Man, by Sir Oliver Lodge. London: Methuen & Co., 1909.
Telepathic Hallucinations, by Frank Podmore. New York: Fred A. Stokes, 1909.
Psychical Research, by W. F. Barrett. New York: Henry Holt, 1911.
An Adventure, by Anne Moberly and E. F. Jourdain. London: Macmillan 8c
Co., 191 1.
Des Phcnomenes Pre'monitoires, by Ernesto Bozzano. Paris: Annales des
Sciences Psychiques, 1913.
Adventurings in the Psychical, by H. Addingtoa Bruce. Boston: Little, Brown
& Co., 1914.
telepathy, by J.C.F. Grumbine. London: L. N. Fowler, 1915.
Experiments in Psychical Research, by John Edgar Coover. Stanford Univ.,
Dreams and Premonitions, by L. W. Rogers. Chicago: Theo Book Co., 1923.
Supernormal Faculties in Man, by Eugene Osty. London: Methuen fe Co., 1923.
Bulletins of the Boston Society for Psychic Research. Boston S.P.R., 1925 et post.
Telepathy and Clairvoyance, by Rudolph Tischner. Trans, by W. D. Hutchin-
son. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1925.
Revue Me'tapsychique. Paris: Institut Metapsychique International, 1926 et
An Experiment wilh Time, by J. W. Dunne. London: Macmillan 8c Co., 1927.
The Case for and against Psychical Belief, edited by Carl Murchison. Wor-
cester, Mass.: Clark Univ., 1927.
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SOME BOOKS ETC. 199
The Sixth Sense, by Joseph Sinel. London: T. Werner Laurie, 1927.
Noted Witnesses for Psychic Occurrences, by the Research Officer [W. F.
Prince]. Boston S.P.R., 1928.
The Life of Space, by Maurice Maeterlinck. Trans, by Bernard Miall.
London : Allen & Unwin.
A Book of True Dreamy, by Mary E. Montekh. London: Heath Cranton,
Mental Radio, by Upton Sinclair. Pasadena: Upton Sinclair, 1930.
Clairvoyance and Thoughtography, by T. Fukurai. London: Rider & Co., 1951.
L'Avenir et la Premonition, by Charles Richet. Paris: Editions Montaigne,
Our Superconscious Mind, by Dame Edith Lyttelton. New York: Applcton,
Our Sixth Sense, by Charles Richet. Trans, by Fred. Rothwell. London: Rider
& Co., 1931.
The Extension of Consciousness, by C, W. Olliver. London: Rider & Co., 1932.
The Supernormal, by G. C. Barnard. London: Rider & Co., 1933.
Foretold, by "Streamline" [L, C. G. Le Champion], Stirling: Eneas Mackay,
Extra-Sensory Perception, by J. B. Rhine. Boston S. P. R., 1934.
Evidence for Telepathy f by Mrs. W. H. Salter. London: Sidgwick & Jackson,
Psychical Research and the Spirit Hypothesis, by S. Sarna. Manchester: Two
Worlds Pubg. Co., 1935.
Dreams that Come True in Relation to Second Sight, by A. M. Symns. Lon-
don: L. N. Fowler & Co., 1985.
The Prediction of the Future, by P. E. Cornillier. Trans, by L. E. Eeman.
London: Author- Partner Press, 1935.
Some Cases of Prediction, by Dame Edith Lyttelton. London: G. Bell & Sons,
Cicero: De Divinatione. De Fato f annotated by Charles Appuhn. Paris: Gar-
New Frontiers of the Mind, by J. B. Rhine. New York: Farrar & Rinehart,
Journal of Parapsychology. Durham, N. C.: Duke Univ. Press, 1937 et post.
Experiments in Telepathy, by Rene" Warcoilier. Edited by Gardner Murphy.
New York: Haiper & Bros., 1938.
Foreknowledge, by H. F. Saltmarsh. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1938.
Ghosts and Apparitions, by W. H. Salter. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1938.
Science and Psychical Phenomena, by G. N. M. Tyrrell. New York: Harper
& Bros., 1938.
Beyond the Senses, by C. F. Potter. New York: Doublcday, Doran fc Co., 19S9.
Extrasensory Perception After Sixty Years, by J. B. Rhine, J. G. Pratt, B, M.
200 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Smith, C. E. Stuart, and J. A. Greenwood. New York: Henry Holt, 1940.
The Ultra-Perceptive Faculty, by John Hettinger. London: Rider & Co., 1940.
Exploring the Ultra-Perceptive Faculty, by John Hettinger. London: Rider
& Co., 1942.
Food for Thought, by Bernard J. Duffy. London: Longmans, Green & Co.,
Paranormal Cognition, by Laurence J. Bendit. London: Faber & Faber, 1944,
Telepathy, by Whately Carington. London: Nfethuen & Co., 1945.
Parapsychology Bulletin. Durham, N. C.; Duke Univ. Press, 1946 et post.
The Experimental Situation in Psychical Research, by S. G. Soal. London: S.
P. R., 1947.
The Reach of the Mind, by J. B. Rhine. New York: William Sloane Associ-
Telepathy and Medical Psychology, by Jan Ehrenwald. London : Allen &
Bibliographies covering the whole field of psychical research, parapsychology,
and kindred matters, and illustrating a wide variety of points of view, may be
found as follows:
In Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World, 1859 (listed above) . Interest-
ing for older works.
In Experiments in Psychical Research, 1917 (listed above) .
Library Catalogue, compiled by Theodore Besterman. In Proceedings of the
S.P.R., vol. xxxvii, 1927.
Short-Title Catalogue of works on Psychical Research etc., from circa 1450
A.D. to 1929 A.D. Compiled by Harry Price. In Proceedings of the Na-
tional Laboratory of Psychical Research, London, vol. i, part ii, April, 1929.
Short-Title Catalogue of Research Library from 1472 A.D. to the Present Day.
Supplement [to the preceding]. Compiled by Harry Price. London: Uni-
versity of London Council for Psychical Investigation, 1935.
In Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years, 1940 (listed above) . Especially
useful for references to articles in periodicals. For periodical literature
after 1940 see references in recent volumes of The Journal of Parapsy-
GLOSSARY AND NOTES
This list purports to offer no more than brief reminders or suggestions. It
includes some words not in the text, on account of comparisons which arc
likely to arise.
Agent. In an experiment, the person who endeavours to transfer a thought to
another person (the "percipient") ; or from whose mind the percipient
Apparition. A visual "hallucination" (q. v.)
Basic Memory. The memory which gives rise to Precognition of later percep-
tion through the physical senses; and which, in this book, it is suggested
must derive from a mental experience having some causal or comple-
mentary relation to the real nature of that later perception.
Clairvoyance. Extra-Sensory Perception of objective events, as distinguished
from telepathic perception of the mental state of another person (Jour-
nal of Parapsychology) .
Cryptesthesia. Equivalent to "extra-sensory perception."
ESP. An abbreviation of "extra-sensory perception."
ExtranormaL See "supernormal."
Extra-Sensory Perception. Response to an external event not presented to
any known sense (Journal of Parapsychology) .
Hallucination. Any apparent sense-perception in the waking or hypnotic
state which cannot be traced to an objective cause within the normal
range of the sense concerned. Hallucination thus differs from "illusion"
which is misinterpretation of an object actually perceived.
Hypnotism. Production of a kind of sleep or trance, in which the subject acts
Intuition. An uncertain term, applied sometimes to unconscious reasoning,
and sometimes to Extra-Sensory Perception.
Libido. Sexual craving (Freud) .
Materialism. Belief that nothing is real but the material universe; and es-
pecially the view that mind is the product of the interplay of matter.
Mechanism. The doctrine of mechanical causes for all phenomena, including
those of the mind; especially the view that living organisms are the prod-
uct of mechanical and chemical forces.
Mesmerism. The early name for hypnotism (q. v.)
Metaphysics. Philosophical enquiries into the nature of reality.
Mysticism, The view that all phenomena have a spiritual cause and meaning.
Objective. That which has external reality independently of the consciousness
of the percipient.
202 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Occultism. Inward knowledge of the spiritual world, said to be attainable by
initiation or training. The word is not properly applicable to modern
psychical research, which is characteristically empirical.
Paragnosis. Paranormal cognition. Equivalent to "extra-sensory perception."
Paranormal. See "supernormal."
Parapsychology. The study, as a branch of psychology, of supernormal mental
Perception. The act of perceiving, or becoming aware of, an external cause
by means of any of the senses.
Percipient. In an experiment, the person whose powers of perception are
being tested. See "agent."
Precognition. Perception or awareness, not attributable to information or
rational inference, which corresponds to the future sense perception of
the subject, or of another person. The reasons for this definition have been
explained in the text. The traditional sense of the word "precognition" is
supernormal awareness of a future event. The Oxford English Dictionary
gives several examples of its use during the seventeenth century to denote
the absolute foreknowledge of God. Thus Martin Fotherby, in Atheomas-
tix; clearing fowe truthes against atheists and infidels (1619), spoke of
"This praecognition and anticipation of God." The word "precognition"
does not seem to have been applied to human as distinct from divine
foreknowledge until F. W. H. Myers, in 1895, began to use it instead of
the previously favoured "premonition" or "prevision."
Prediction. Telling the future course of events on the basis of known facts.
The word has also been used for "precognition."
Premonition. Forewarning; similar in meaning to "precognition," with the
added implication of coming danger.
Presage. Prescience. Prevision. Terms which have been used at different
times to denote "precognition."
Prophecy. Conscious foretelling of a future event by supernormal means, or
Psi. The name of the Greek letter representing the initial sound of such words
as "psychic," "psychology," etc. was first used by Dr. B. P. Wiesner, of
London, to denote the phenomena investigated by psychical research and
parapsychology. His object was to avoid using names, traditional or other,
which implied a theory as to the nature of what happened. Dr. R. H.
Thouless, in his Presidential Address to the S.P.R. (Proceedings, vol.
xlvii) supported this view, urging that the phrase "psi phenomena" should
be used instead of "extra-sensory perception," which he thought might be
seriously misleading. At present parapsychologists are using "psi" as an
over-all term to cover both Extra-Sensory Perception and Psychokinesis.
Psychical. Relating to the nature of the soul or mind. The word has come
to be applied almost exclusively to supernormal phenomena and their
Psychoanalysis. The analysis or investigation of the mind, especially the
analysis of dreams, with a view to discovering forgotten memories, sup-
pressed desires, etc.
Psychokinesis. The production of an effect by the mind acting on external
material objects, without the aid of any observable or known physical
Psychology. The science of the nature of the mind, its functions and phe-
Retrocognition. Perception or awareness of past event not known to or within
the memory of the perceiver (Saltmarsh) . It must be added that the re-
ported cases could be attributed to Clairvoyance of existing historical
records, or to Precognition of the coming experience of looking them
up. The impressive nature of the historic visions experienced by the
unidentified Miss A. (S.P.R., Proceedings, vol. viii) , and by Miss Moberly
and Miss Jourdain (An Adventure) is well-known. But there is much to
indicate that these supernormal experiences were not visions of the
"past." For example, the above Proceedings (p. 507) record that Miss A.
saw in Salisbury Cathedral, while awake, "a monk dressed in a sort of
muddy brown." A footnote adds, "In Steven's Continuation of Dugdale's
Monasticon there is a plate of a Franciscan which exactly corresponds
with what Miss A. saw. We only found this afterwards." The subject
of the vision was, therefore, in existence at the time of the vision, and
was going to be seen normally by the percipient. To establish Retrocog-
nition as a faculty relating directly to the past (as in another "time
dimension") , or to a psychic record of the past, cases would be required
which fill gaps in the archives; confirmation of the archives points directly
to Clairvoyance and. Precognition.
Second Sight. The historic and best-known term for Extra-Sensory Percep-
tion, corresponding to the Gaelic taishitaraugh. It includes Telepathy,
Clairvoyance, and Precognition. The word "second" has been objected
to as misleading, since the supernormal "sight" occurs first. In a letter
to Mr. Pepys in 1699 Lord Reay used the phrase Double Sight as well
as Second Sight, The latter term was ingeniously defended by Dr. George
Hickes, who maintained that ordinary sight was first in the order of
nature, and the other secondary to it. See Pepys, Memoirs, 1828 ed., vol.
5, pp. 260-298. Dr. Johnson took a similar view in his account of the
Western Islands. However, a modern Scottish commentator, Dr. Donald
J. Madeod, in his Introduction to the 1934 edition (Eneas Mackay,
Stirling) of M. Martin's Description of the Western Islands of Scotland,
says, "This [Second Sight] is a misnomer for the belief. The Gaelic
phrase really means 'the two sights/ 'the two-fold vision,' or 'vision in
two planes.' " It has been given a Grecian form as "deuteroscopy."
Spiritual Science. The study of what are believed to be spiritual processes in
human life and in the cosmos.
204 SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Spiritualism. The study of supernormal phenomena with a view to discov-
ering evidence that deceased persons continue to exist, and can commu-
nicate with those in this life.
S.P.R. Society for Psychical Research.
Spontaneous. Said of an experience which has not been consciously sought.
Especially in contrast with "experimental."
Subconscious. The region of the mind to which is referred every mental pro-
cess of which we are not aware.
Subject. The person who experiences a psychical or other process. In an ex-
periment, the person who is being tested.
Subjective. Describes that which exists in the consciousness of the subject,
to distinguish it from external or objective existences.
Subliminal. Literally "beneath the threshold" of the conscious. Approximate-
ly equivalent to "subconscious."
Supernormal. Outside accepted experience of cause and effect (Saltmarsh) .
Supraliminal. Lying "above the threshold" of consciousness. Normal con-
Telekinesis. Has the same meaning as "psychokinesis" (q.v.)
Telepathy. The communication of impressions of any kind from one mind
to another independently of the recognised channels of sense (Myers) .
Or: Extra-Sensory Perception of the mental activities of another person
(Journal of Parapsychology) .
Unconscious: A psychological equivalent to "subconscious" or "subliminal/
Separate reference should be made to
the List of Books and to the Glossary.
Abbreviated names: Miss A., 203-
Mrs. E. B., 42; Margaret B., 130;
Desmond D., 132; F., 122; Mr. F.,
116; Sir Robert G., 103; Mrs. L, H!
32; Myra H., 131; Sandy H., 93;
Miss J., 104; Sir James, 87; Miss
K., 90, 134, 135; Mile K., 134; Miss
P. M. P., 136, 138, 177; Comdr. X,
Abercrombie, John, 15, 69, 75, 92 n,
Advent, Sexrond-w Christ
Agnosticism, 14, 159, 160, 174
Air-raids, 81, 105, 106, 177
Alexander the Great, 61
Allenby, General, 114
American Imago, 83 n, 135
Andre, Major John, 64, 65
Angell, Frank, 151
Apparitions, 115, 119, 120. See also
Archer, William, 159
Aristotelian Society, 174 n
Aristotle, 97, 146, 166 n
Arm, a mysterious, 119 et seq.
Astral world, 171
Aubrey, John, 24, 64
Baring-Gould, S., 67
Barrett, Sir Wm. F., 18, 19, 39, 148,
Basic experience, 176 et seq.', nature
Basic Memory, 180 et seq,, 193-4
Bendit, L. J., 38 n
Berkeley Square, 101
Besterman, Theodore 1 , 152
Betting, 78, 163
Binns, Edward, 197
Blackwood's Magazine, 109
Bligh, H. Carter, 60
Boirac, Emile, 185 n
Boismont see Brierre de Boismont
Boswell, James, 15, 16, 27, 49, 120
Boyle, Robert, 24
Brierre de Boismont, A., 168
British Association, 18, 39, 149
Brittan, S. B., 17, 66, 70, 115, 119, 150,
Broad, C. D., 174, 190
Brooks, Shirley, 13, 14, 129, 148
Buchanan, George, 62
Caesar, Julius, 61
Carington, Whately, 152, 157
Cariile, Richard, 15
Carlyle, Thomas, 168
Chance, deviation from, 153
Christ, Second Coming of, 14, 113;
Cicero, 166 n
Clairvoyance, 17, 21, 41 et seq., 108,
126 et seq,, 152, 154, 161; and Tele-
pathy, 184-6; defined, 127
Clarendon, Earl of, 63
Cleugh, M. F., 174
Clodd, Edward, 159
Coates, James, 39 n
Code-, masonic, 45, 140
Coincidence, 47, 69, 139, 142
Common-sense, 14 et seq., 166
Cooper, Alfred, 66
Coover, J. E., 151
Craigie, Sir Wm. A., 109
Crookes, Sir Wm., 18, 19, 185 n
Crowe, Catherine, 64, 169
Daily Telegraph, 31, 56, 89
Darwin, Charles, 18, 39, 151
Dean, Admiral, 64
Death see Precognition and Tragedy
Debay, Auguste, 168, 197
Democritus, 146, 166 n
De Morgan, Augustus, 134; Mrs., 135
n; William, 19, 149 n
Dennis, Geoffrey, 110, 115
Dialectical Society, 185 n
Dickens, Charles, 13, 97
Dimensions, theories of other, 174-5,
187 et seq. See Time
SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Doyle, Sir A. Conan, 19 n, 104
Dreams, psychoanalysis and, 36; sex in,
36, 100; telepathic, 36, 135; unac-
countable, 15, 168; subjects of:
monkey, 23; pig, 24; finches, 24; vic-
toria, 28; exposure 1 , 29; men in pool,
31; fakir, 32; babies, 34; girl doctor,
34; sheep, 41; empty house, 42; ma-
sonic code, 46; wooden doll. 51;
Terriss, 59; various historic, 61, 62,
64; Lord L., 66; spear, 70; Pope, 72;
watch, 72; bullet, 73; subway, 73;
Perceval murder, 76; snuffbox, 82;
mice, 83; guillotine, 84; drowning,
86; red face, 87; Hindu 88; Hess,
87; number, 90; landlady, 91; bugs,
91; musical note, 92; brochure, 93;
Negro, 93; Sir Geiald, 94; map, 94;
French lady, 95; Indian Empire, 95;
Miss Napier, 98; saw, 98; drawing,
122; red-haired woman, 122; airship,
Driesch, Hans, 173
Duke University, 20, 152
Duffy, Bernard ]., 135
Dunne, J. W., 82, 190
Economic Warfare, Ministry of, 101
Edward VII, 110, 111; VIII, 111, 112
Edison, Thomas A. 157
Ego, the, 171
Ehrenwald, Jan, 38
Einstein, Albert, 187
Emerson, R. W., 196 n
Ennemoser, Jos., 169
Estabrooks, G. H., 152
Etheric body, 185
Evelyn, John, 62
Evolution, 18, 39, 165, 169
Experiments-see Extra-sensory per-
Extranormal cognition, 20
Extra-sensory perception, 20 et seq.,
44, 126 et seq., 152 et seq., 166 et seq. f
183, 188; censorship of, 159; experi-
ments in, 20, 142, 148 et seq.', general
conclusion, 186; possible periodicity
of, 144. See? Clairvoyance, Dreams, Pre-
cognition, Second Sight, Telepathy.
Faria, Abbe, 149
Flammarion, Camilla, 18, 178
Fodor, Nandor, 38 n t 135
Foreknowledge see Precognition
Franke, Willebald-jee Curtis
Freud, Sigmund, 36, 38
Future, co-existence with past and
present, 186, 191
Geley, Gustave, 124, 185 n
Ghosts, 115, 119. See Hallucinations
Gibbon, Edward, 27
Goldney, Mrs, K. M., 161
Greenwood, Frederick, 159 n
Grumbine, J. C. F., 39 n
Gurney, Edmund, 115 n
Curtis, F., 109, 110 n
Habershon, Matthew, 112
Haddock, J. W., 150
Hallucinations, 25, 110, 111 n,
115 et seq., 119
Hamilton, Duchess of, 66; James, 62
Hampstead, 73, 122 177
"Harris, Sir Thomas," 132
Harrogate, 70, 111, 122 125, 129
Hayden, Mrs., 134
Henry III of France, 62; IV, 62
Hereford, wife of Bp. of, 23
Hettinger, John, 152
Hickes, George, 203
Highlanders, 15, 16, 75, 117, 203
Hippocrates 166 n
Homer, 61 n
Home Secretary, 104
Hone, William, 79
Huggins, Sir Wm., 19
Hume, David, 27
Hypnosis, 149, 150-1, 153
Ingersoll, Robert, 159
Intuition, 140, 168
James II, 62; V, 62
Jeans, Sir James, 182
Jellicoe, Earl, 125, 126
fephson, Ina, 152
Jerusalem, 114, 115
Jews, 113, 114
Johnson, Samuel, 15, 16, 27, 75, 120,
Journal of Parapsychology, 20, 127, 99,
Jourdain, E. F., 25, 203
Kant, Emmanuel, 167 n
Lane, Fiederick, 59, 75
Lang, Andrew, 15
Layard, G. S., 14 n
Leibnitz, Baron von, 169 n, 173
Letourneau, Charles, 87 n
Lincoln, Abraham, 62, 83 n
Literary Guide, 113 n
Locke, John, 28
Lodge, Sir Oliver, 149 n, 151, 173
Lombroso> Cesare, 18
Lyttelton, Edith, 41 n, 96 n, 112 n, 176
Macleod, Donald J , 203; William, 16 n
M'Quarric of Uha, 16
Maeterlinck, M., 190
Manor House School, 140
Martin, Dorothy, 152; E. M M 146 n;
Mary, Queen of Scots, 62, 143
Masonic code, 15, 140
Materialism, 123, 185, 185 n
Mayo, H., 149
Maurv, Alfred, 84
Medici, Marie de', 62
Mediums, 133, 134
Mesmer, F, A., 149
Milton, John. 165
Minkowski, H., 187
Mirbel, M. de, 100
Moberly, Anne, 25, 203
Mon mouth. Duke of, 62
Monteith, Mary E., 77 n
Morley, John, 159
Murphv. Gardner, 152
Myers, F. W. H., 70, 81 n. 127, 172,
174 n, 190, 202
M\sore, Marharaja of, 28
Mysticism, 169, 171
Napier. Miss, 98
"Nelson," Gwendoline, 51 et seq., 74,
Newnham, Rev. P., 149 n
New York Times, 93, 157
Notzing, Baron von Schrenck, 159, 185 n
Occultism, 171-2, 192
Ogden, Mr., 164
Osty, Eugene, 185 n
Ouspcnsky, P. D., 84 n
Paine, Thomas, 15
Parapsychology, 20. See Journal of
Parapsychology Bulletin, 200
Penn, William, 64
Pep>s, Samuel, 24, 63, 203
Peiception, sense, 39, 41, 43, 176-7, 194
Peiceval, Spencer, 75, 76
Periodicity, possible, in ESP, 144
Pilate, Pontius, 61
Plato, 181 n
Podmore, Frank, 115 n
Poe, E. A., 45, 46, 140-1
Pope, death of, 72
Precognition, 17, 21. 27 et seq.. 49. 115,
120, 126 et seq., 154, 161, 164 et seq.,
203; and death, 59 et seq., defined,
21, 39 et seq., 127; diagram, 40; fre-
quency in dreams, 81 et seq ; theo-
ries as to cause. 116, 108 el seq.;
waking experiences of, 16, 56, 61, 63,
65, 67, 71, 101 et seq,, 126 et seq.;
wh> observed, 58, 79. See Dreams
Premonition, 61, 68
Price. Harrv, 185 n
Prince, W. F. 185 n
Proctor, R, A., 163
Prophecy, 37, 39, 113
psi, 20 .
Psvthic Research, Boston Society tor,
Psvchical Research, Society for, 19, 23
60, 117; Jomnal, 198; Proceedings
23 n. 21 ii.25.60, 67, 87 w, 117, 14?
n, 162 n, 173 n, 174 n, 202, 203,
Journal of the American Society for,
25, 134 n, 136 n.
Psychoanalysis, 23, 31 et seq., 49, 52, 7^
Psychology, 20, 37
SECOND SIGHT IN DAILY LIFE
Puys^gur, Marquis de, 149
R 101 (airship), 176
Rationalism, 41, 160
Raue, C. C., 38 n
Rayleigh, Lord, 19
Real existence, 182-3, 191, 191
Reay, Lord, 203
Records, importance of, 22, 26, 68, 96,
Reese, VV. Bert, 157-9
Reik, Theodor, 38 n
Relativity, theory of, 187-8
Retrocognition, 186 n
Rhine, ). B., 20, 21, 134 n, 152, 154-5,
"Ripper, Jack the," 139
Robertson, J. M., 159
Rogers, E. C., 185 n
Rosalsky, Judge, 157
Rose, Alfred, 71, 72, 74
Royal Society, 19, 24, 62, 64
Sabine family, 14, 55, 85, 87, 102, 113,
125, 129, 137
Salisbury Cathedral, 203
Salter, W. H., 115 n; Mrs., 120 n
Saltmarsh, H. F., 21, 24 ri, 41, 96 n, 174,
Saurat, Denis, 33
Scott, Sir Walter, 15, 49
Second Coming see Christ
Second Sight, 15 el set]., 63, 75, 103,
Severn, River, 85
Seward, Anna, 64
Se\ in dreams, 31. See Dreams.
Seymour, Lady, 24
Sidi^ick, Henry, 19, 151
Sikorsky, Igor I., 112
Sinel, Joseph, 185 n
Slingsby, Wm., 125
Soal, S. G., 152, 161
Socrates, 99, 100, 181
Specious present, greater, 174
Spirits, 134, 166, 170-1, 173
Spiritual science, 172
Spiritualism, 18, 133
Stanford University, 151
Steiner, Rudolph, 171
Stckel, Wilhelm, 36, 135
Stilling, J. H. Jung, 166 n, 169
Stribic, Frances, 152
Subliminal, 174, 181
Sun (New York) , 83
Swedenborg, Emanuel, 167
Tallmadge, N. P., 65
Taylor, Thomas, 97 n
Telepathy, 17, 21, 36, 60, 71, 108, 109,
115, 126, et seq., 161, 170; and dair-
voyance, 184-6; defined, 127; double
action 136 et seg.; precognitive, 43,
115, 161-2, 186
Telergy, 38 n
Terriss, William 59 et seq. t 75
Testimony, 25, 68, 96, 119, 120, 195
Thetis, loss of, 73
Thompson, W. Hanna, 157
Thought-transference, 38 n t 144. See
Thouless, R. H., 152, 162, 202
Time, 28, 172-3, 186; serial, 174; two-
dimensional, 174, 189 et seq
Times (London) , 60 n
Tragedy, avoidance of, 58, 69, 76-7;
dreams of, unfulfilled, 68; precogni-
tion of, 57, 59 et seq., 81, 90, 176
Tryon, Thomas, 166 n
Tyrrell, G, N. M., 23 n, 152, 154-5,
Ultra-perceptive faculty, 20
Varsel, 109, 109
Versailles visions, 25
Victoria, Queen, 28, 110, 143
Wallace. A. R., 18, 19
Warcollier, Rene, 152
Warner, Helen, 13, 129, H8
Wiesner, B. P, 202
William Wilton, 141, 142
Wilson, Mr., 141, 142
Witches, 16, 19, 166
Women and evidence, 23
Yorkshire Evening Post, 71
Zollner, J. K. F., 18