Tweedale, Reverend Charles – Sees the ghost of his dead Grandmother
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery: After Death – Camille Flammarion
This observation is offered us by one of my colleagues of the Royal Astronomical Society of London, the Rev. Charles Tweedale. It was related in a scientific periodical well known to astronomers, "The English Mechanic and -World of Science" of July 20, 1906. We give it in full:
The evening of Friday, January 10, 1879, I went to bed early. Awakening in the midst of my first sleep, I saw the moon through the window giving on the south; its bright beams lighted up my room. At once my gaze was drawn toward the panels of a cupboard, which was part of the wall, and which served as a wardrobe. My eyes followed the shaft of light which illuminated the eastern wall of my room, in which was the cupboard.
Gazing fixedly in this direction, I saw, suddenly, a form appear in front of me, before the panels of the cupboard. Indistinct at first, it gradually grew clearer, until I recognized the face of my grandmother. I had been observing it for some seconds, when the vision melted away gradually, and disappeared in the moonlight.
An unusual thing, struck me, and stamped itself upon my mind: it was the fact that my grandmother had on an old.-fashioned cap, which was fluted in a shell-like design. I was not in the least afraid and, thinking myself the victim of an illusion caused by the moonlight, I turned over and went to sleep again.
The morning of the next day, at breakfast, I was beginning to tell of the apparition of the previous night, when to my great surprise my father left the table abruptly. He was most agitated; he went out of the room hastily, leaving his breakfast almost untouched. I asked my mother for an explanation. She silenced me with a gesture. When the door was closed once more, I repeated my question. Then my mother answered:
“Charles, I'm going to tell you the strangest thing I've ever heard of. This morning your father told me that he had waked up in the night, and that he had seen his mother standing near his bed, but just at the moment when he wished to speak to her she had disappeared."
This scene and this conversation had taken place about half- past eight, on the morning of Saturday, January 11th. Before noon we received a, telegram announcing that my grandmother had died during the night. But that was not all, for my father next learned that his sister, who lived about thirty kilometers from our home, had also seen my grandmother appear.
Three persons, therefore, had the same vision independently, and each attributed it to an hallucination. There is no doubt that this apparition was that of a person passing through the change we call death, in view of the moment when this triple apparition occurred.
I remember perfectly that it was two o'clock in the morning; my father made a note of the precise moment of the vision. I did not get up to look at the time but made an approximate reckoning of it. The house faces south, and the window of the room in which l was sleeping also looks toward the south. When I set about verifying details, I tried to find out at what hour the moon was at its highest point on the night of January 10-11, 1879. The Nautical Almanac showed the time to have been nineteen minutes past two in the morning. When the moon is at its height, the two east and west walls are lighted up equally, as well as the north wall, at the back of my room. Consequently, I am sure that the moon was not far from its highest point at the moment of the apparition, and that it was about two o'clock in the morning.
This confirms in a remarkable way the time noted by my father. My aunt, too, said that the apparition which she witnessed occurred after death. Dissolution took place at fifteen minutes past twelve.
This proves that we are not concerned with a telepathic or subjective manifestation, occurring before death or at the very moment of death, but with a really objective apparition occuring after life had left the body. We may conclude, therefore, that the dead woman, though apparently lifeless, was sufficiently alive some hours later to manifest herself to different persons separated by considerable distances.
Note: In fact he can do nothing of the sort as inter composer communication between three people is also an explanation. Given that another member of the family was with the Grandmother at the time of death, then their shock and grief at the time of death could have simply been transmitted to the other members of the family.
As for the "garments of apparitions," I described the vision to my parents just as I had seen it, without attempting to find out if my grandmother had actually worn a cap with the trimmings which had struck me. Several weeks ago, with the idea of obtaining precise details as to this mystery, I wrote my uncle (my aunt departed this life in 1900), asking him to clear up certain interesting points, and sending him a sketch, drawn from memory, of the face I saw in my vision. Here is an extract taken from the reply which I received:
"I can vouch for the exactitude of these details, for your grand- mother died in my house the morning of Saturday January 11, 1879, at fifteen minutes past twelve. Her death-agony began on Friday and she breathed her last a little after midnight, according to my memorandum. My daughter and I have a distinct memory of what my wife said when she told us of the apparition of which she had been a witness. You ask me if the sketch of the cap which you sent me is at all like the dead woman's last head-dress. The resemblance is striking. It is certainly the fluted cap which your grandmother wore the whole time she was ill and when she died; also, your description of the phantom is in exact agreement with the dying woman's appearance at the moment when life left her. I am telling the simple truth, and can, if necessary, vouch for these details by oath.”
My father died in 1885; but my mother is still living and has a distinct memory of the whole scene of which she was a witness. She confirms its essential points:
"I have read carefully my son's account of his vision, and I also remember that of my deceased husband. (Doctor Tweedale). At that same time, my sister-in-law told us of the phenomenon which she had witnessed that night."
The occurrence which l have just related presents so many remarks of authenticity that we cannot hold it under suspicion. I advise those who are incredulous to inform themselves as to analogous happenings which have already been observed, and I shall add that there are many very interesting and very authentic phenomena which are still unexplained.
Member of the Royal Astronomical Society of London.