Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research volume vi - A shared message
Type of Spiritual Experience
The composer is acting as a guardian angel. From the perceptions, he has realised the error of what the man is about to do and so conjures up an hallucination of a person who commanded the husband’s respect to warn him of the danger of what he is about to do. An hallucination of your father is enough to make anyone think again – and thankfully this is exactly what the man did.
Whether the communication of the hallucination to the wife – the narrator - was deliberate or not is not clear from the description, but it would have certainly been very effective at reinforcing the gravity of the warning and convinced the man that what he was experiencing was ‘real’
A description of the experience
From Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research volume vi
[from Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death – F W H Myers]
On Christmas Eve of 1869 we arranged to go to bed early, consequently at 9 o’clock we went upstairs, having as usual carefully bolted the doors. About 9.30 we were ready to extinguish the lamp. Suddenly I saw a gentleman standing at the foot of the bed, dressed as a naval officer, with a cap on his head having a projecting peak…. I was too astonished to be afraid, but simply wondered who it could be; and instantly touching my husband’s shoulder… I said ‘Willie, who is this?’
My husband turned and for a second or two lay looking in intense astonishment at the intruder; then lifting himself a little, he shouted ‘What on earth are you doing here, sir?’ Meanwhile, the form, slowly drawing himself into an upright position, now said in a commanding, yet reproachful voice ‘Willie, Willie!’
I looked at my husband’s face and saw that it was white and agitated.. the figure calmly and slowly moved towards the wall… and disappeared, as it were, into the wall.
[the figure was his father who had been a naval officer in his youth and had been dead fourteen years, Mrs P had never seen her husband’s father].
As the weeks passed on my husband became very ill and then gradually disclosed to me that he had been in great financial difficulties; and that, at the time his father was thus sent to us, he was inclined to take the advice of a man who would certainly – had my husband yielded to him as he had intended to before hearing the warning voice – have led him to ruin, perhaps worse