Bozzano, Professor Ernesto - Psychic phenomena at the moment of death – 40
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Ernesto Bozzano - Psychic phenomena at the moment of death [110 cases suggesting survival after death]
Fifth category - Cases in which the dying family members are the only ones to perceive the ghosts of the deceased.
52-nd case. - The well-known English publicist, William Stead, Director of the Review of Reviews, in his book Real Ghost Stories, reports the following episode:
I close the chapter with an overview of one of the most detailed ghost manifestations that have occurred in modern times. It is also the only manifestation reported here that illustrates the reassuring belief that the spirits of our beloved people come to see us in deathbed to guide us in spiritual existence.
In the summer of 1880, fourteen officers from the 5th Lancer Regiment were seated in the mess hall of the cavalry barracks at Aldershot. It was about 7 o' clock in the evening and they had come back from a walk, when they saw a lady in the room, dressed in a white silk evening costume, with a long veil of bride on her face, who stopped for a moment at the head of the table, then went to the kitchen and entered it.
She had walked a quick step, but the five officers at the head of the table saw her. None of them doubted for a moment that she was a lady in flesh and blood, accidentally appeared among them. The aide-de-camp, Captain Norton, jumped up and ran to the kitchen, asking the sergeant where the lady, who had entered, was at that time. "No one entered the kitchen", replied the sergeant, and the cooks and assistants were unanimous in confirming it. When Captain Norton reported the amazing news to his colleagues, a lively discussion broke out between them. One concludes that it must have been a ghost. Discussions were also held about the features of the apparition. Those who had seen her agreed that she was beautiful, brunette, and that her face expressed great sadness.
Colonel Vaudeleur, who hadn't seen her, when he heard the ghost's features described, observed: "But this is Veterinarian X’s wife, who died in India."
The officer, whom he named, was currently - or at least was assumed to be - on convalescent leave. In any case, even if the ghost that appeared had been his wife, we could not see why it had manifested itself in the mess hall in this strange way.
However, it came to be known that the veterinary officer in question had returned from leave in the afternoon of the same day, unbeknownst to all his comrades, although he still had several weeks of freedom at his disposal. It was also learned that he had gone upstairs to his room, above the kitchen, rang the bell to call the orderly, accusing him of having trouble and asking for a soda brandy.
The next morning, at about half-past eight, the orderly went up to the officer's room and found him dead in his bed.
Captain Norton, in his position as aide-de-camp, had to enter the room to inventory the belongings left by the deceased and affix the seals. And the first object on which his eyes fell was the photograph of the lady he had seen the night before, dressed in the same suit.
Here are the names of the officers who saw the appearance: Captain Norton, aide-de-camp; Captain Aubrey Fife, from the Army and Marine Club; Captain Benion, from the Year and Marine Club; the regimental doctor (name forgotten), Lieutenant Jack Russell, editor of the Sporting Times under the pseudonym "Brer Babbit".
The most important aspect of this episode is that of the unknown ghost which appeared to the percipients and then identified by a photograph. This fact has the value of an authentic spiritist identification, and nothing prevents it from being so, indeed.
However, from the scientific point of view, it cannot be denied that the telepathic hypothesis could still explain it. Indeed, if one takes into account that on the upper floor, and precisely above the kitchen where the apparition had entered, was the husband of the deceased who appeared to the officers, it is possible to suppose that this apparition could be a telepathic hallucination caused by his thoughts, directed at that moment towards the dear deceased.
Having said this, it should be pointed out by scientific correction in the statement of hypotheses that the occurrence took place on the imminent death of the deceased's husband, so that this occurrence would take on the character of an imminent preannouncement of death and a visit by the deceased to the deathbed.
Two very striking circumstances that should be taken into account. For if the apparition had occurred close to the husband of the deceased, but without the circumstance of the latter's death, then the purely telepathic explanation of the event would be more likely. If I do not express myself more affirmatively, even in these circumstances, it is because of the following considerations (valid also for the entire class of manifestations that concern us): firstly, because telepathic hallucinations between living beings are generally carried out between persons who are effectively connected with each other, an essential condition so that the necessary psychological relationship between the agent and the percipient can be established. This effective link is missing in the narrated episode. Secondly, because, with very rare exceptions that do not invalidate the rule, in telepathic manifestations between living beings, the agent transmits to the percipient its own hallucinatory ghost, and not that of third parties whom it accidentally thinks of. In other words, if it had been telepathy, the comrades of the dying man would have had to perceive the ghost of the dying man, not his dead wife.
Therefore, taking into account these circumstances that contradict the telepathic explanation of the event, the spiritist hypothesis acquires great probabilities of being the true and authentic explanation.