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Observations placeholder

The doctor from Albany whose dead patient visited him in bed



Type of Spiritual Experience

Inter composer communication

Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Death and its Mystery: After Death – Camille Flammarion

Let us give the story; it was published by Podmore in his "Apparitions" The doctor wrote from Albany (U.S.A.) to Dr. Hodgson on September 10, 1888:

 I am a physician, have been practising for eleven years, and am in excellent health; I have never believed in apparitions.

Last Monday, on September 3rd, I went to bed about eleven o'clock, after my daily work. I had dined very lightly, at seven o'clock. My bedroom is on the second floor, and I lock all my doors except the one communicating with my wife's room. Below is the plan of our apartment. I occupy room Number 1, and my wife Number 2; her room has only one window and only one door, communicating with mine. My room has three doors, locked at night, and one window.


The two windows of our rooms are hung with thick green curtains, which fall below them in order to exclude the light from without. No artificial light shines on the windows, and moonlight scarcely reaches them.

I undressed, went to bed about eleven o'clock, and was not long in going to sleep. About four o'clock in the morning I was awakened by a bright light in my face. At first I thought it was my wife, standing at the point marked 3, for she was to get up at half-past five to catch a morning train. The light was so brilliant that I began to ask her questions at once, but no voice answered me.

While I was speaking, the person I had seen withdrew toward point 4 and seemed gradually to disappear toward point 5. The light, gliding along silently, made me think that it was a servant crossing the hall, and that the light he carried had passed through the keyhole. But this was not possible, for hangings hid the lock.

Then the idea occurred to me that a thief might be in the other room. I shouted to my wife to strike a light at once. She awakened and asked me this unexpected question: “Why, what’s that brilliant light in your room?"

I lighted the gas in my room, made a search and found that there was no light in any of the rooms.

My wife left on the morning train. I busied myself with my work as usual. At noon, when I went back home, my servant informed me that during my absence a man had come to ask me for a certificate for a young woman who had died suddenly at an early hour in the morning, as a result of a haemorrhage of the lungs. She had died about one o'clock. I had seen the apparition about four o’clock.

 So far as I was able to note, there was no great resemblance between it and my patient, except in the matter of height. The lack of facial resemblance was not so great, perhaps, but the apparition had seemed much older to me. I had seen the young woman on the previous evening, and her illness had not seemed to promise any immediate danger: she had been ill for only two days. She had at first spit a little blood, as a result of having strained herself. When the haemorrhage occurred that morning, she had called for help and had uttered my name.

This is the only phenomenon of this nature that has come within my personal experience. The apparition was very clear, but it vanished rapidly. My wife had noticed the light before I said anything to her, at the very moment when I awakened her. As for me, I had got up at once when the luminous apparition appeared, for I am accustomed to answer the telephone during the night.

The source of the experience

Scientist other

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Lung disease