Type of Spiritual Experience
BackgroundWe don't know from this whether Nelly was alive or dead when the vision occurred
A description of the experience
Flammarion, C., Carroll, L,
Death and its mystery: before death, proofs of the existence of the soul
A certain Mrs. H, living in Limerick, had a few years ago a servant named Nelly Hanlon, whom she esteemed very much.
Nelly was a most responsible person, who rarely asked for a holiday and Mrs. H. was all the more disposed to grant her request when she asked for a day off in order to attend a fair a few miles away. But Mr. H learning on his return of Nelly's plans, said they could not do without her, as he had invited guests to dinner on that day, and Nelly was the only one to whom he could trust the keys of the cellar. He added that business matters would probably not permit him to return in time to go after the wine himself. Mrs. H, who did not wish to disappoint Nelly, to whom she had given her consent, said that she herself would take charge of the wine for that day, and Nelly set off in the morning, overjoyed, promising to return in the evening if it was possible and at latest on the following morning.
The day passed without incident; no one thought of Nelly.
When it was time to go after the wine, Mrs H took the key and went toward the cellar staircase, followed by a servant who carried the basket for the bottles. She had hardly begun to descend the steps when she gave a great cry and fell in a faint. They carried her to her bed, and the girl who accompanied her told the other terrified servants that they had seen Nelly Hanlon at the foot of the staircase, dripping with water.
When Mr.H arrived they told him the same tale: he scolded the servant for her foolishness, and Mrs. H-, who had been well cared for, regained her senses. As she opened her eyes she sighed deeply and exclaimed. “Oh, Nelly Hanlon!" and as soon as she had recovered enough to speak, she confirmed what the servant had said: she had seen Nelly Hanlon at the foot of the stairway, dripping as if she had just come out of the water. Mr. H did everything in the world to convince her that it was an illusion, but in vain. “Nelly,” he said, will soon return and will laugh at you."
Night came, then the morning, but no Nelly. Two or three days passed, They made inquiries and found that she had been seen at the fair, and that she had left, toward evening to return home.
From this moment all trace of her disappeared. Finally her body was found in the river, but they never knew how the tragedy had occurred.
The source of the experienceOrdinary person
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Flammarion, C., Carroll, L, (1922) Death and its mystery: before death, proofs of the existence of the soul, London T.Fisher Unwin, Ltd