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Observations placeholder

Savage, Dr Minot Judson - Psychics : facts and theories – 14 A twelve year old meets her guardian angel on the stairs and relives a funeral



Type of Spiritual Experience


It may even have been a past life reliving. 

A description of the experience

Psychics : facts and theories – M J Savage

I am now to relate the story of three most remarkable psychic experiences occurring in the life of the same person, then a girl not more than twelve years of age. The lady in whose girlhood they happened has written them out for me, and they are corroborated by witnesses who had full knowledge of the facts, so that they would constitute evidence in a court of justice.

Following the method I have uniformly pursued so far, I will tell the stories in my own words. I do this for the sake of simplicity; but the autograph documents are in my possession.

When the first instance occurred. Miss D. was about eleven years old. She was an extremely nervous, sensitive child, afraid of the dark, always hearing strange sounds, and never willing to go upstairs to bed alone.

Her father was an educated man, a Harvard graduate, and at this time was teaching a class that met in one of the rooms on the second floor of the house in which they then lived. On this particular evening, just after supper, her father sent her up to this classroom to remove the blower from the Franklin coal stove.

This she did, and then started for the sitting room below again. As she reached the top of the stairs, she saw what appeared to be a very tall man coming up, and he had nearly reached the top. She stepped aside to let him pass ; and as she did so, she lifted her head and looked him full in the face. He looked down in her face for a moment, spoke to her, and said, " I watch over you," and then vanished as if into the side of the wall.

He was unusually tall, over six feet, and Miss D. says she remembers his face now more distinctly than that of any other face she ever saw. She knew at once that she had seen him by virtue of some strange inner sight.

So far the word " hallucination " would easily explain it all, but let us go on.

She went on downstairs, and spent the evening quietly with the family. She said nothing that night to anyone of what she had seen, only all fear of the dark had gone ; and when bedtime came, and they asked her if someone should go with her, she answered " No."

From that time forth all the old timidity had ceased. Instead of being frightened, as at a ghost, she felt cared for and guarded by a loving friend.

The next morning she went to her mother and told her what she had seen, adding, " I think the man I saw was my father's father." This grandfather had died when her father was a boy of only eleven. There was no likeness of him in the family, and her father remembered him only as being a very tall man. When her father heard her description, he said that it was so far as he knew, a faithful likeness. The grandmother was still living, [and] she declared that she could not herself have given a better description of her husband than the one her granddaughter gave, from having seen this figure on the stairs.

A short time after, this same little Miss D. was seated in her father's study one evening reading a book. After a while she looked up from her book, and said, " Father, there is some one here in this room, and she wishes to speak."

Her father was writing at his desk in another part of the room, facing away from her. But as she spoke, he turned, and said, " If any one wishes to speak with me, she must give me her name, as I am busy." Then the little girl said, " Her name is Mary," and, waiting a moment, she added, " Mary Pickering." At once her father seemed greatly interested, and said, " If this is you, Mary, tell me something by which I may know that it is you." Miss D. then said (the information seemed to come to her in some inexplicable way, for she heard no words with the outer ear) : " She has been in the other life many years. She was from twenty-two to twenty-four when she died. She died quite unexpectedly, after a very short illness, of a fever. She lived in B . You met her and became acquainted with her while teaching in that town, and boarding in her father's family, before you left college. You knew her before you went to the divinity school. She has been often, often to you, and you have known it.''

The father had been educated for the Baptist ministry, and at this time had no faith in the possibility of spirits returning, so far as any of the family knew. But he asked his daughter if she could describe this Mary, "She had marked peculiarities in dress and in the manner of arranging her hair."

The daughter replied : " Yes, she has hair almost black, dark eyes, so dark you would call them black ; but as you look closer, you see they are hazel. She wears her hair in two curls on each side of the face, and these curls reach down in such a manner that they make a frame for the face, while the rest of the hair is combed back and fastened by a comb in a twist at the back of the head. The last time you saw her she had on a cloth dress ; it looks like a black wool, and is cut with a plain, full skirt, and a plain back to the body ; but the front crosses one side over the other in three folds, and the sleeve has a look like a leg of mutton."

Then the father sat for a few moments in silence. But soon, taking his bunch of keys from his pocket, he unlocked a drawer in his writingdesk which his little girl had never seen opened beforee. From this he took a daguerreotype, and, passing it to her, he said, " This is a likeness of Mary Pickering ; does she look like this ? "

Thereupon the little girl said, " Just like it ; only what I see is spirit."

The name of this young lady the little girl had never heard before. She did not know that such a person had ever lived ; and no one in the family, except her father, knew that such a portrait was in existence ; and only he knew of this episode in his past life. Yet everything that Miss D. had seen and said corresponded perfectly with the facts.

This Miss D., now of course grown up, is a personal acquaintance, and her father testifies to the strict truthfulness of all that is here written down. And here, let it be remembered, is no experience with a professional. This lady lives in the quiet of a wealthy home ; has never " sat " for psychical investigation, either for money or for any other reason. Only all her life long she has been subject to these strange experiences. Also it is worth noting that she is healthy and sane, and practical to an unusual degree.

But now for one more experience out of her girlhood life. Again she was sitting with her father in his study. She was a great book lover, and so his study was a favorite place with the daughter. This time it was a man she saw. So she said to her father, " There is a man here by the name of Rockwood." Her father said : " Yes, I knew a young fellow by that name once; but he has been dead for years now. Tell me where I knew him and how!" So she went on, and said, " You knew him in H., when you were attending the classical school then kept by G. R." Then she proceeded to describe the house in which he had lived and died. She told him it stood at the forks of the road, was a mile from the town ; that the funeral was from the house, and not the church, as was the custom in the town at that time. She told the manner in which he had died.

Her father then said : " I do not know anything more than the fact that he died some years ago. If you can see all this," he added, " you certainly ought to be able to tell me where he is buried ; and this I do not know any more than I know whether his funeral was in a church or in his own house."

In a few moments she went on, " I can go over the entire ground." Then, mentally, she went to the house, saw the body as it lay in the coffin, saw the face, and told how he looked and what he had on. Then she saw them take the coffin from the front right-hand room, and put it into the hearse, and go slowly to the cemetery, which was a mile away. She also described how the bell in the Orthodox Church tolled all the time while the procession was on the way to the grave. She seemed to enter the cemetery by the middle gate. She described the lot as being on the left side of the main driveway, just before coming to the new addition to the cemetery at the farther side.

She had never been in this town in her life, and knew nothing about it. Her father knew nothing of the circumstances of the death or the funeral, or of there being any new addition to the cemetery. He however became so interested in the matter, that he asked her if she thought she could go unguided from the railway station to the cemetery, and then back to the house. She felt so sure that she could, that it was decided that a trial should be made.

So one day they together visited the town.

Her father kept behind, and let her go on alone. As stated above, she had never before been in the town, and he had not visited it for many years ; but she proceeded directly to the cemetery. When they reached the left-hand corner of the cemetery, she said, ^^ I can go in here instead of going round to the main entrance, where the procession entered, and go straight to the grave." This she did, recognizing the place as the one she had seen mentally, and finding it as familiar as though she had known it all her life.

Now occurred a curious incident. At the grave they saw a strange gentleman neither of them had ever seen before. He was talking with the town undertaker. Seeing them come to this particular lot, he spoke to them. It turned out that he had married a sister of this Mr. Rockwood, by whose grave they were standing. After falling into conversation, Mr. D., the little girl's father, told him what had brought them there. He straightway became so interested in the matter, that he begged them to go to the old home with him, and see if his wife confirmed the story as Miss D. had told it. He said he noticed them enter the cemetery ; and though familiar with all the place, he could not surely have gone more directly to the grave.

They accepted the invitation, and, her father having renewed his old acquaintance with what was left of the family, they spent the night there. The sister of Mr. Rockwood remembered all the particulars of her brother's death, and confirmed all that Miss D. had said. He had died in the chamber she had described; the funeral was in the house and not in the church; the bell did toll while the procession was in motion.

In short, she had been correct in every detail. This case seems to me a most remarkable one, and one not easily to be classified under any one head. She sees this Mr. Rockwood, and he tells her what she does not know. Her father knows a part of it, but by no means all.

So, telepathy might help us in explanation of some of it; it does not cover all. Another part of it looks like clairvoyance ; and yet clairvoyance, as ordinarily understood, sees only what is going on at the time. But here the past is resurrected; not only persons, but places and events. Let who can undertake to explain. All I will say is that it comes to me so supported by evidence, and first-hand evidence at that, that I cannot but accept it as true.


The source of the experience

Savage, Dr Minot Judson

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