The Brewer Wunscher
Type of Spiritual Experience
Many communications appear to take place just after death, which leads one to believe that the soul lingers some time in the place of death.
Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death – F W H Myers Quote from Edmund Gurney
There is one more general characteristic of the class which is sufficiently suggestive of such a cause to be worth considering. I mean the disproportionate number of cases which occur shortly after the death of the person represented
The following observation may be regarded by some people as rather unsatisfactory in that I have used an observer outside the list I drew up as being types of reliable observers. This observer could have made all this up, and some parts of the passage do look as though they might have been embellished for effect, so we need to read all the following as being less reliable than some of the other observations. But one asks oneself why would he make it up? He has nothing to gain by doing so and the observation even if only true in parts would still be interesting…..
There is every reason to believe that the brewer was an hallucination, hallucinations occur in the semi-awake state and can look totally real, but this does not invalidate the man’s experience. The disembodied soul wished to make contact, so his composer contacted the composer of the ‘witness’. The hallucination of the brewer was manufactured by the collaborative action of the two composers – the brewer’s composer and the witness’s composer.
The brewer was angry about the fact that they were going to bury him so soon – he clearly felt this was not an adequate time for mourning him and he chose the witness presumably because he thought he might have some influence [an ‘Oberamtmann’ is a bailiff] and because he was a friend [‘friendly relations’]
A description of the experience
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research volume vi - From Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death – F W H Myers Communicated by Fraulein Schneller, sister-in-law of the percipient and known to FWH Myers January 1890
About a year ago there died in a neighbouring village a brewer called Wunscher, with whom I stood in friendly relations. His death ensued after a short illness, and as I seldom had an opportunity of visiting him, I knew nothing of his illness nor of his death. On the day of his death I went to bed at 9 o’clock. Being of a very healthy constitution, I fell asleep as soon as I lay down.
In my dream I heard the deceased call out in a loud voice, ‘Boy make haste and give me my boots’. This awoke me, and I noticed that, for the sake of our child, my wife had left the light burning. I pondered with pleasure over my dream, thinking in my mind how Wunscher, who was a good natured, humorous man, would laugh when I told him of this dream. Still thinking on it, I hear Wunscher’s voice scolding outside, just under my window. I sit up in my bed at once and listen, but cannot understand his words.
‘What can the brewer want?’ I thought, much vexed with him, that he should make a disturbance in the night. Suddenly he comes into the room from behind the linen press, steps with long strides past the bed of my wife and the child’s bed; wildly gesticulating with his arms all the time, as his habit was, he called out.
‘What do you say to this, Herr Oberamtmann? This afternoon at 5 o’clock I have died’
Startled by this information, I exclaim ‘Oh that is not true!’ He replied: ‘Truly, as I tell you; and what do you think? They want to bury me already on Tuesday afternoon at two o’clock’. Accentuating his assertions all the while by his gesticulations. During this long speech of my visitor I examined myself as to whether I was really awake and not dreaming.
I asked myself ‘Is this a hallucination? Is my mind in full possession of its faculties? Yes, there is the light, there the jug, this is the mirror and this the brewer’, and I came to the conclusion ‘I am awake’.
Then the thought occurred to me, ‘What will my wife think if she awakes and sees the brewer in our bedroom?’ In this fear of her waking up I turn round to my wife and to my great relief I see from her face, which is turned towards me, that she is still asleep; but she looks very pale. I say to the brewer ‘Herr Wunscher, we will speak softly, so that my wife may not wake up, it would be very disagreeable to her to find you here’, to which Wunscher answered in a lower and calmer tone , ‘Don’t be afraid, I will do no harm to your wife’.
Things do happen indeed for which we find no explanation – I thought to myself and said to Wunscher ‘If this be true, that you have died, I am sincerely sorry for it; I will look after your children’
Wunscher stepped toward me, stretched out his arms and moved his lips as though he would embrace me; therefore I said in a threatening tone and looked steadfastly at him with frowning brow ‘Don’t come so near, it is disagreeable to me’ and lifted my right arm to ward him off, but before my arm reached him the apparition had vanished. My first look was to my wife to see if she were still asleep. She was. I got up and looked at my watch, it was seven minutes past twelve.
My wife woke up and asked me ‘To whom did you speak so loud just now? ‘Have you understood anything?’ I said. ‘No’ she answered and went to sleep again
The next day I learned the brewer had died that afternoon at 5 o’clock and he was buried on the following Tuesday at two