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Observations placeholder

Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Pye and the hotel that wasn’t there – a joint hallucination from wishful thinking



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 2


A description of the experience

Journal S.P.R. Volume xxxii p174 [ as quoted in Tyrrell, G N M - The Personality of Man]

Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Pye were on holiday in Cornwall in 1933 and were travelling by bus from Wadebridge to Boscastle. As they neared Boscastle they both kept a good look-out for a suitable hotel in which to stay, and just before they reached the point at which the road drops steeply down into the village the bus stopped to set down a passenger. Mr. Pye writes:

 "It had come to rest almost outside the gates of a rather substantial house, standing on the left-hand side of the road. It stood back from the road some twenty yards or so, there being a semi-circular drive from the gate outside which we had stopped to another gate twenty-five yards further on. The garden front was screened from the road by a hedge over which we could just see from our seats in the bus. The house was double-fronted, and of a style of architecture which I judged to date from the late 1860s or early 1870s. It had a fresh, trim appearance, and seemed to have been recently painted, the woodwork and quoins of the house being of a rather reddish, light chocolate colour.

The most striking feature, however, was on the lawn, where, amongst beds of scarlet geraniums, there were several wicker or cane chairs and tables over which there were standing large garden umbrellas of black and orange. No person was seen, nor do I recollect having seen any sign notifying that it was a guest-house, though I had no doubt that such was the case. I called my wife's attention to the place and she immediately replied that it was 'just what we were looking for' but, before we could come to any decision, the bus moved off and in two or three minutes we were down in Boscastle."

Mr. and Mrs. Pye were not very attracted by the village of Boscastle, so, while Mr. Pye stayed with the luggage, his wife walked back up the hill and tried to book rooms at the guest-house they had seen from the bus. After nearly an hour and a half Mrs. Pye returned, looking considerably heated, and said she had not been able to find it. She had climbed various gates looking for it and had walked all the way back to Trevalga, and had finally succeeded in booking rooms at the guest-house there. She seemed much astonished, and Mr. Pye said he would point out the guest-house to her as they returned along the road. On the returning bus, just as they reached the top of the hill, Mr Pye remarked:

"It's just here on the right-about fifty yards further on-', but to my astonishment there was no house. Just empty fields running across to the cliffs by Blackapit. During our stay at Trevalga, we made a thorough search of the locality, but failed to find any place even remotely resembling what we had seen. On a subsequent visit to the Trevalga guest-house, I told our experience to the proprietor, who assured me that from his knowledge there was in the neighbourhood no such house as I had described."

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Riding on or in vehicles