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This book, which covers Visions and hallucinations, explains what causes them and summarises how many hallucinations have been caused by each event or activity. It also provides specific help with questions people have asked us, such as ‘Is my medication giving me hallucinations?’.

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Observations placeholder

Harold had been killed when his plane was brought down by enemy fire



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Art of Dying – Drs Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick

Gladys Asten's daughter wrote to us, at her mother's request, to tell us the following fascinating story.

This story dates back to a time during the Second World War. Mum had gone to visit her sister Irene who was a singer with a band working with the Entertainments National Service Association away from home. During the day, around lunchtime, they had gone out for a walk along a towpath when lrene spotted a man in Fleet Air Arm pilot's uniform on the bridge looking towards them. She said to Mum, 'Oh, doesn't that man on the bridge look like Harold?' (Harold Shaw was lrene's boyfriend).

They both agreed and made their way to the bridge to see if it really was him, or someone else who just looked like him and was wearing the same uniform that Harold wore. However, when they got to the bridge, the man had disappeared. There was no one around at all apart from the two of them, nowhere that anyone could have gone to without still being visible, and neither of them could work out how or when the man had disappeared from their sight. This left them both feeling puzzled, and they discussed it on and off for the rest of that day.

The following day, their plan was to return home together so that lrene could surprise her mother (my gran) with a visit on her birthday. When Gran returned home, the girls were both already there and lrene quickly hid behind the settee with the intent of jumping out to surprise her. However, when Gran came into the house, not knowing lrene was behind the settee, she immediately began to tell Mum of some terrible news - that Harold had been killed when his plane was brought down by enemy fire over the Orkneys. It had happened the previous day around lunchtime.

This story is especially interesting because both sisters saw the figure and both were equally convinced it was Harold, and also because the 'sighting' occurred when both were fully awake.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps