Wounded and dying
Type of spiritual experience
A description of the experience
Phantasms of the Living volume II
In 1862, Dr Ormsby was acting as Assistant Surgeon to the 18th Illinois Volunteers ; the regiment having gone forward to attack Fort Henry, he was left behind in charge of the sick.
Among these was a young man called Albert Adams, a sergeant-major, in whom the doctor seems to have been especially interested. He removed him from the hospital and took him into a private house ; the adjoining apartment to that occupied by the patient was divorced from his room only by a thin partition ; this other room was occupied by the doctor's wife.
The man was dying and all the afternoon he could only speak in whispers; his father was sent for, and at 11 p.m. Sergeant Adams to all appearance died.
Dr. Ormsby, who was at the time standing beside the father by the bed, states that, thinking the bereaved man might faint in the keenness of his grief, led him away to a chair in the back part of the room, and himself returned to the bedside, intending to close the eyes of Adams, who he thought had expired. Dr. Ormsby then states :
" As I reached the bedside the supposed dead man looked suddenly up in my face, and said, 'Doctor, what day is it ? ' I told him the day of the month, and he answered, 'That is the day I died’. His father had sprung to the bedside, and Adams turning his eyes on him said, ‘Father, our boys have taken Fort Henry, and Charlie (his brother) isn't hurt. I've seen mother and the children, and they are well'.
"He then gave comprehensive directions regarding his funeral, speaking of the corpse as ' my body', and occupying, I should think, as much as five minutes. He then turned towards me and again said, 'Doctor, what day is it? ' and I answered him as before. He again repeated, 'That’s the day I died,' and instantly was dead.
(Signed) O. B. Ormsby M.D.
In reply to further questions, Dr. Ormsby wrote that he had no opportunity to learn whether what was said about the mother and children was correct, but that he learned afterwards that Fort Henry was taken, and that Charlie was uninjured.