Saved by a disembodied voice - If the vessel had continued her original course for a few more minutes all would have been over for both ship and crew
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery – After Death – Camille Flammarian
The "Filosofia della Scienza', of Palermo published the following letter, sent from Civita Vecchia on February 27, 1911, to the editor of this review:
All my ancestors were seamen. My father came into his own when he took command of the brig Notre-Dame de Grace, in Marseilles. This was in 1837. He left Marseilles for Brindisi with a cargo of grain. Navigation was at that time much more difficult than it is to-day, because of pirates on the one hand, and, on the other, because the coasts had no lighthouses. There were only a few lanterns here and there.
When they neared Brindisi it was black night, and a tempest was raging. The brig was sailing to windward. My father was at the stern of the vessel, trying to discover some vague light which would show him where the port was. The wind was blowing tempestuously; the waves, with a noise like hell, shook the vessel at intervals, covered it with foam, and pounded its sides. Peals of thunder followed the flashes of lightning. The fury of the tempest increased steadily; it was a critical moment.
Suddenly a loud voice cried: “Captain, Captain, come here! Come here at once! "
Not knowing what had happened, my father rushed to the poop, whence the calls were coming. “What is it? " He asked the helmsman. The latter, dazed and trembling, stammered: “Don't you hear it? Didn’t you hear the voice that’s been repeating, Puggia! puggia!' for the last few minutes?”
“The voice? What voice? The rain's making you hear imaginary voices, or it's the whistling of the wind that’s fooling you. I don't hear anything."
But he had not finished speaking when a voice from the steering- apparatus (at least that is where it seemed to come from) repeated in a commanding tone: “Puggia! puggia! puggia!”
Astounded, hardly believing his ears, my father approached the spot from which this cry had seemed to come. He went all around it; he examined all the nooks of the poop, but since he discovered nothing and thought that he, too, must be the victim of a sensory hallucination, he said to the helmsman:
“But there’s no one there. All the crew are at the bow.”
Then the voice, clearer and more vibrant, repeated the command. This time my father not only heard it distinctly, but recognized in it the quality the cadence, and the very tones of his father's voice - a voice that was most familiar to him, since he had made trips with his father from the age of nine. Fascinated, moved, in his turn, by an irresistible and incomprehensible force, he shouted out the order to haul taut. Taking the tiller from the helmsman's hands, he himself exerted the necessary strength. The crew then loosened the sheets and the yards on the leeward side. The brig, catching the wind, swung over to the right, and parting the raging waves, pushed forward swiftly, like a runaway horse when the reins are released.
Almost at the same time a flash of lightning irradiated the quarter from which the wind was coming that is to say the larboard side-which was precisely the direction in which the vessel was previously moving.
By the light of this fleeting gleam the frightened eyes of the crew beheld the foamy whiteness of raging waves beating the rocks of the coast. If the vessel had continued her original course for a few more minutes all would have been over for both ship and crew.