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Observations placeholder

Mrs Thilton prophesies her host’s death



Type of Spiritual Experience


Nicolas Camille Flammarion (26 February 1842 – 3 June 1925) was a French astronomer and author. He was a prolific author of more than fifty titles, including popular science works about astronomy, several notable early science fiction novels, and works on psychical research and related topics. He also published the magazine L'Astronomie, starting in 1882. He maintained a private observatory at Juvisy-sur-Orge, France.

 The following observation comes from his book The Riddle of Soul Life in the form of a statement from one Sarah Morgan-Dawson, 36 rue Varenne, Paris and it was dated 20th December 1901.  Flammarion wrote to Mr Davidson’s daughter and received a letter confirming the details

This is a cautionary tale - be careful of what you prophecy, prophesies can act as prayers

A description of the experience

Camille Flammarion – The Riddle of Soul life

During the last days in November 1871, it was on Wednesday and as I believe on the 22nd, I was staying with a family of friends named Davidson in New Orleans.  There was present a Mrs. Thilton, and she told of various dreams she had had, dreams that always came true. Those present were in no position to testify to the truth of what she was telling, and after one of the lady's stories our host exclaimed:

'I beg of you, Madam, have no dreams about me!'

'Too late, Mr. Davidson! Only last night I dreamed about you.'

Everybody urged her to tell her dream.

'I dreamed,' she said, 'that in six weeks from today owing to a pressing invitation, I was visiting you again.'

'Oh, that dream can be easily realized, and you,' our host turned to me, 'will surely also do us the honor. What date will that be?'

One of the guests looked at a calendar and said, 'It will be Wednesday, the third of  January, 1872.'

'Good! Then we shall all test out the dream of this lady’.

'Oh, wait please - that isn't all,' cried Mrs. Thilton. 'I also dreamed that upon entering the house I found it empty, and I looked for you in vain. Finally, in the center of the second drawing-room I saw a large metal coffin; the cover was closed, and I saw nothing more, except that I knew you were lying in that coffin.'

Our host broke out laughing and so did all the others, and Mr. Davidson jocularly said to his wife,

'Oh, I beg of you not a metal coffin - I don't like metal. I ask for a coffin of simple wood.'

His wife laughingly promised, in the event that she survived him, to fulfill his wishes.

Mrs. Thilton continued: 'I saw only one person in the drawing-room and I stood beside her. On the lid of the coffin I saw six silver roses.'

They laughed again at this odd decoration, but Mrs. Thilton remained serious and added, ‘Even in the dream it made a deep impression on me.’

We all separated and agreed to meet on Wednesday, the third of January. During the next six weeks that dream was jocularly mentioned.

On the second of January, 1872, our host, Mr. Davidson, was the victim of a terrible accident: he was caught by a locomotive and crushed to death.

The following morning he was placed in a coffin. The family desired that no one should look upon his disfigured face, and I took on the task of sitting by the coffin; even after the lid was screwed down I still remained at my post.

Because of that old invitation, Mrs. Thilton arrived at the house and found the coffin in the second drawing-room with only myself near it. She came and stood at my side. Silent, without looking at each other, we were standing beside the coffin. Suddenly she touched my arm and pointed to six silver roses which decorated the lid of the metal coffin. I looked at her inquiringly and she murmured, 'Oh, don't you remember the six silver roses I saw so plainly in my dream?’

A fortnight later the widow said to me: ‘Do you remember that extraordinary dream? Everything happened exactly as our friend foresaw! Even to the coffin. Even in my grief I did not forget his request.'

I was too clumsy to pretend and stammered . ‘But it was actually a metal coffin.'

'Never! Who dared go counter to my wishes?'

'And the six silver roses - they too were on the coffin.'

My poor friend looked dazed. The undertaker was communicated with and the explanation was, it had been impossible to find the required wooden coffin, and the only casket of the required size available in the emergency was the metal one that had been used.

Of the thirteen witnesses of the dream, nine are alive.  The family (Calvinists) would be indignant were its name to be connected with any sort of superstition, yet it is too honest and truth loving a family to deny the facts

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Dreaming and lucid dreaming