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Observations placeholder

Rev. Arthur Bellamy of Bristol sees his wife’s dead friend



Type of Spiritual Experience

Inter composer communication

Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Death and its Mystery: After Death – Camille Flammarion

This curious example was furnished by the Rev. Arthur Bellamy of Bristol, in February, 1886. [Also in Human Personality, II, 350, Sec. 727 A.]  His account follows: 

When she was a school-girl my wife had made a pact with one of her comrades that the one who died first should appear to the surviving one, God willing. In 1874 my wife, who for years had neither seen her school friend nor heard of her, leamed of her death. This news reminded her of the compact which they had made, and she then began to dwell upon it, and spoke of it to me.

I knew of this agreement of my wife, but had never seen a photograph of her friend, nor heard anything concerning her. One or two nights afterward, we were sleeping quietly; a bright fire shone in the room and there was a lighted candle. I awakened suddenly and saw a lady seated beside the bed in which my wife was sleeping deeply. I sat up in bed and gazed at her; I saw her so clearly that I can still remember her form and her attitude. If I had an artist's skill, I could paint her likeness upon canvas.

I remember that I was struck particularly with the careful way in which her hair was dressed; it was arranged with a certain elegance. I cannot say how long I sat gazing at her; but as soon as this odd phantom vanished I got out of bed to see if the garments hung over the head of the bed had caused some optical illusion. But there was nothing, in my line of vision, between me and the wall. Since I could not think it an hallucination, I did not doubt that I had really seen an apparition.

I got back into bed and remained there until my wife awakened, some hours afterward. Only then did I describe to her the face which I had seen. Complexion, stature, etc.-all was in exact accordance with my wife's recollection of her childhood friend. I asked my wife if there were anything particularly striking in her friend's appearance and she answered at once,

"Yes, at school we used to tease her about her hair, which she always arranged with special care."

 It was precisely this which had struck me. I must add that I had never seen an apparition before this, and have not since.


The source of the experience

Other religious person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps