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Observations placeholder

William H Wyman's brother prophesies a train crash



Type of Spiritual Experience


I found quite a number of observations that involved trains and prediction of train crashes or problems.

A train runs on a specific track and thus there is no chance it will suddenly deviate from its direction or route, the only change that may happen is to its speed, but even then most trains work to timetables, so the ability to predict outcomes is much easier with a train as long as you [or your composer] are in possession of all the facts.  The same of course is also true of airplanes.

The following observation is not a clear cut case of prophecy.  The man may have heard the train coming and not realised it or smelt smoke, but it is nevertheless interesting as a possible case.

The ‘intelligence’ was the man’s composer and it had worked out the danger. 

As the probability of an event affecting the person gets larger and more certain, it is indicated from this observation that – where there is a real need for the composer to warn its ‘host’  - that it does so.

There may well be numerous instances where we get a feeling that something may happen and it doesn’t.  This is the nature of simulation, an outcome is not a 100% certainty, it always has a probability attached to it.  We may be being fed this information all the time, but of course a prophecy that doesn’t come true is hardly worth reporting.  We may well be ignoring quite a bit of this intuitive input too, and not realising that if we had heeded this spiritual input from the composer we might have avoided something.

A description of the experience

From William H Wyman writing to the Editor of the Arena June 1891

[from Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death – F W H Myers]

Some years ago my brother was employed and had charge as conductor and engineer of a working train on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railway, running between Buffalo and Erie.  On one occasion I was with him.

As we approached near Westfield station, running about 12 miles per hour, and when within about one mile of a long curve in the line, my brother all of a sudden shut off the steam and quickly stepping over to the fireman’s side of the engine, he looked out of the cab window and then to the rear of the train to see if there was anything the matter with either.  Not discovering anything wrong he put on steam, but almost immediately again shut it off and gave the signal for breaks and stopped.

After inspecting the engine and train and finding nothing wrong, he seemed very much excited, and for a short time he acted as if he did not know where he was or what to do.  I asked what was the matter.  He replied that he did not know, then, after looking at his watch and orders, he said that he felt that there was some trouble on the line of the road.  I suggested that he had better run his train to the station and find out.

He then ordered his flagman with his flag to go ahead round the curve, which was just ahead of us, and he would follow with the train.  The flagman started and had just time to flag an extra express train, with the General Superintendent and others on board, coming full forty miles per hour.

The Superintendent inquired what he was doing there, and if he did not receive orders to keep out of the way.  My brother told him that he had not received orders and did not know of any extra train coming; that we had both examined the train reports before leaving the station.  The train then backed to the station, where it was found that no orders had been given.  The train dispatcher was at once discharged from the road, and from that time to this both my brother and myself are unable to account for his stopping the train as he did.  I consider it quite a mystery, and cannot give or find any intelligent reason for it. 

Can you suggest any?

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps