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Observations placeholder

Laubscher, B J F - Three knocks as the signal of having gone to the other side



Type of Spiritual Experience


The timing of this is so crucial, why oh why did he not ask for the time of death.  It could have been before or after death.

South Africa is two hours ahead of Scotland.  Thus at 5 or 6 in the morning, it would have been 3 or 4 in the morning in Scotland, at which time she could have been simply dying and have gone out of body to him to let him know.


A description of the experience

B J Laubscher – Where Mystery dwells

When my wife and I were leaving Scotland for South Africa, my wife’s mother and I were alone one evening whilst she played my favourite pieces on the piano.  After a while she talked about our departure and how much she was going to miss my wife [her daughter].

At that moment the idea came into my mind to ask her to enter into a promise that should she die before me she would attempt at all costs to give three [characteristic] knocks in my presence. After some days I plucked up courage to speak to her about this idea of knocking after death. At first she did not like the idea at all and felt that it would make her conscious of something morbid.

But a few days before we sailed I again broached the subject but this time I emphasized that such an experience from either of us would, at least to the one physically alive leave no doubt about the possibility of surviving death with intentions formed during earth life. She agreed very solemnly to remember this as a promise and to give these knocks as clearly as possible should she pass over before me and I was to do the same should I leave this world before her.

Six years later I was working in the Union Mental Service at a hospital in Cape Town. My wife's mother was well and we received weekly letters from her in Glasgow. At that time mail took about twenty-one days between the Cape and Scotland.

On the evening of the 14th February 1931, I came home from the Psychiatric Juvenile Court Clinic feeling indisposed with a mild attack of influenza. I went to bed without dinner and dosed myself so as to be able to do at least twenty lumbar punctures the next morning as part of a research project. There was no one who could do the work for me at that time.

I awoke about five o'clock on the morning of February 15th.

I found my temperature normal and I had a healthy hunger. I therefore went to the pantry and made myself a light breakfast.

Thereafter I went to lie on my bed in my dressing gown to read the Cape Argus which I had not read the previous evening. I looked through the window, and outside the long beams of the summer sun were sweeping across the Cape Peninsula. Now I must mention that my bedroom door opened on to a passage which ran the length of the house next to its front wall. My wife had her own room next to mine and our sons were sleeping in the room next to hers.

I was lying on the bed, smoking a cigarette, and engrossed in the paper when I was startled by two loud knocks inside my bedroom door which was shut, there was a distinct pause and then came the third loud knock. By this time I was off my bed and had jerked open the door. But there was no one in the passage. All the outside doors were locked and the gauze frames over the open windows were firmly secured as protection against mosquitoes from the Liesbeek river.

As I opened my bedroom door my wife who was awake called out to ask what the knocks were. Now let me describe my feelings on that occasion just as I wrote them down after returning to my room to reflect on the event.

The moment the knocks were given I was instantly conscious of the presence of my wife's mother. I knew that she had died and I knew that she was in my room.

Although I rushed to examine the doors and windows and even went into the garden I did all that to exclude any argument that someone could have given the knocks and escaped.

As I heard the knocks I felt a wave of gladness. There was animation and joyousness in the immediate atmosphere. I was keenly aware of her presence; indeed it was physically palpable.

Hers was a jubilant presence as though our very souls were embracing each other with delight. Our experiment or test had proved a success. She had produced evidence that a promise made during life, if intently and sincerely desired could be carried into effect after death. The will and the intention went over in the same psyche. Indeed the psyche had a consciousness which could carry intention, memory and desire over from one life into another.

The idea that she had died and that grief and sorrow should be the natural reactions did not seem to have any significance for me during those moments. Actually I gained the impression that inwardly the two of us were on an island in a sea of humanity and around us were the barriers of man's psychic limitations. I tried to reach her being telepathically. There was so much that I wanted to know but all that registered in my mind were impressions which I could be said to have imagined. I gained these thought impressions as decided and positive. I felt that she had passed over only a few moments before giving the knocks and that her power for staying in this sphere was fading because there was a gravitational pull of the other sphere of existence.

The knocks were only possible because of her intense desire to inform us of her death and because she could draw on a power emitted from my body and in conjunction with which she could manage to make the knocks as loud as possible. The fact that my wife heard them eliminated the possibility of my being accused of having had an hallucination.

I was sitting on my bed when these impressions transpired and felt actually elated as if some wonderful experiment had been a success. I was oblivious to the fact that somehow I had to break the news to my wife and that her grief would be great. The departure of her mother's presence was perceived by my feelings.

I did not think but could almost feel her being receding away from me as if drawn away into eternal disappearance. I was standing on the quayside of life watching a departure by means of feelings.

Now it was about five-thirty on the morning of Tuesday the 15th of February 1931 that my wife and I distinctly heard the three knocks just as her mother used to give them in Glasgow.

That day passed and although I made several inquiries no cable-gram had arrived. Neither on the Wednesday, Thursday or Friday did we hear anything but I never doubted the experience and felt convinced that my wife's mother had died and had given the knocks as proof of her life after death.

Then came Saturday morning. I was in the wards when I received a telephone call to the effect that a cablegram from over-seas was awaiting me at the office. The cablegram was from my wife's sister and it read-"Mother passed away this morning, pneumonia," and the date was the 15th February.

The source of the experience

Laubscher, Dr B J F

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