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Observations placeholder

Seeing the fire on the Volturno, a British ship carrying emigrants from Holland to New York City in 1913



Type of Spiritual Experience


It is not a prophecy because the experience is coincidental with the event

A description of the experience

Premonitions: A leap in to the future – Herbert Greenhouse [1971]


The case of the Volturno illustrates how vividly the vibrations of fire can reach across time and space, bringing a sense of horror to persons far removed from the scene. It was almost a total clairvoyant experience, involving the senses of seeing, hearing, touching, and smelling.

It was, in addition, a collective vision, shared by many persons. The time-correlation between the actual event and the psychic knowledge of it is not certain. The vision could have been contemporary with the fire, after the fire, or-in some elements of the scene-before the fire.

The Volturno was a British ship carrying emigrants from Holland to New York City. The year was 1913, eighteen months after the Titanic sank. There were hundreds of passengers in the steerage when the boat caught fire at 6:30 A.M. on October 9. At 2:30 that afternoon the liner Carmania …. arrived on a rescue mission. The Carmania tried for several hours to lower a lifeboat alongside the stricken ship, but a fierce gale and mountainous waves kept pushing it back. Other ships, summoned by SOS, joined in the rescue attempt, but the storm drove back their lifeboats.

At 9 P.M. there was an explosion in the boiler room.

Flames shot up amidships and quickly spread from stem to stern. The men in the lifeboats and in the other ships could do nothing but helplessly watch the conflagration and listen to the screams of passengers who were being burned alive. Another explosion followed.

The fire went on all night long. As morning came, the storm gradually subsided, and finally the lifeboats were able to draw alongside the ship and take on the survivors.

At about 11 A.M. on Friday, October 10, the rescue ships sailed away, leaving the Volturno floundering in the sea with its victims. The death toll was 136, - 100 drowned and 36 burned alive.

On Thursday evening, October 9, a group of persons were holding a seance in a London living room. At this time they knew nothing about the fire, as the news did not reach the London papers until Saturday. One of the group, a young lady named Miss Scott, suddenly trembled and cried out that she could feel the heat of flames all around her. The others also smelled something burning and heard the sound of water dripping. They searched through the house but could find no fire. The faucets in the kitchen and bathroom were all tightly closed.

A vision began to unfold before Miss Scott's eyes. She saw a ship in flames and heard the passengers screaming.

"The smell of burning in the room was horrible," Miss Scott said later. "I could smell charred wood and see many pairs of hands stretched out and imploring for help."

Now the vision spread out until it filled the room, and everyone present could witness the tragedy. In one voice they cried out that the smell was like burning flesh, and they were sickened by it. Then the sound of explosions was heard and streaks of light darted through the room. The group watched in horror as the people who were thrashing about in the water finally went under. Two women in the living room saw "the tips of fingers sticking out of the water."

Cold gusts of sea air swept through the room and made its occupants shiver.

Miss Scott said, "We shall hear of a disaster at sea."

Two days later, on Saturday, October 11, the London afternoon newspapers told about the Volturno tragedy.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Remote viewing


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps