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Observations placeholder

Almost drowned



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Flammarion, C., Carroll, L,
Death and its mystery: before death, proofs of the existence of the soul

Commander T. W. Aylesbury, living at Sutton, in the country of Surrey, England, wrote in December 1882:

At the age of thirteen, I fell overboard from a ship that was approaching the isle of Bali, to the west of Java, and I was almost  drowned. After having sunk several times, when I came up to the surface of the water I called my mother, at which the boat's crew was very much amused; and they teased me many times about it, sparing no sarcasm.

Several months later, on my return to England, I told the whole story to my mother and said at once:

“While I was under the water I saw you all sitting in this room; you were working on something white. I saw you all  - Mother, Emily, Eliza, and Ellen." His mother confirmed his statement. “I heard you call me," she said, "and I sent Emily to look out at the window."

The time, considering the difference in longitude, corresponded to the hour at which the voice had been heard.

Another letter from the commander completes the story:

"I saw their faces, the faces of my mother and my sisters - the room and the furniture, above all the old-fashioned Venetian blinds. My eldest sister was seated by my mother's side. As regards the time of the accident, it was very early in the morning. I remember a ship had capsized the day before and had been tossed up on the shore. The officer gave us the order to go and find it and to bring it back in the morning, but I cannot remember the exact hour. The situation was terrible and the waves broke furiously. We almost turned upside down; I had never thought myself so near my end, and yet I have been in many a tight place. But that accident made such an impression upon my mind that I couldn't forget a single detail, nor the jokes of the sailors: Boy, why are you calling your mother? Do you think she can pull you out of the devil's claws and other remarks which I cannot repeat.”

The inquiry elicited a letter from the commander's sister. She wrote:

“I recall the incident perfectly – it made such an impression on me that I shall never forget it. We were seated - and working peacefully, one evening, when first we heard a feeble cry of “Mother!" We raised our eyes and said: ‘Did you hear some one cry “Mother”?’ The words had hardly left our lips when the voice called again, "Mother!" twice in succession. The last cry was stamped with terror, it was like a cry of agony.  We all rose and my mother said, “Go to the door and see what it is." I ran into the street and searched for several minutes, but everything was silent and I saw no one; the evening was fine, without a breath of air. Mother was very much upset by this experience.”

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps






Flammarion, C., Carroll, L, (1922) Death and its mystery: before death, proofs of the existence of the soul, London T.Fisher Unwin, Ltd More