Saturday, December 19, 2009
From Death-Bed Visions - The Psychical Experiences of the Dying by Sir William Barrett, Chapter 3 Visions seen by the Dying of Persons known by them to be Dead, and Death-Bed Visions seen by Others
The following account of the last days of a little child was published in the "Journal of the American S.P.R.," edited by Dr. James H. Hyslop (Vol. XII, No. 6), and a considerably abridged report was compiled by Miss H. A. Dallas(1), a summary of which is given below:
(1) See "The Nurseries of Heaven," Vale Owen and Dallas. London, 1920, p. 117.
"Daisy Irene Dryden was born in Marysvill, Yuba County, California, on September 9th, 1854. She died in San Jose, California, on October 8th, 1864, aged ten years and twenty-nine days.
"Her mother writes: 'In the summer of 1864 Daisy was attacked by bilious fever. After five weeks of illness the fever left her, and for two weeks she seemed to continue to gain strength. She smiled and sang and seemed like herself again, until one afternoon, as her father sat by her bed, he noticed a singular expression on her face. It was one of both pleasure and amazement. Her eyes were directed to one place above the door Her father asked, "Daisy, what is it? What do you see?" She replied softly, "It is a spirit, it is Jesus. And He says I am going to be one of His little lambs." "Yes, dear," said her father, "I hope you are one of His Lambs." "Oh, papa! she exclaimed, "I am going to heaven, to Him."
"'That night she was taken with enteritis and only lived four days. She suffered much for the first twenty-four hours, being unable to retain food, water or medicine. From that time on she had very little pain. Her poor little body had in fact become so attenuated that there was little left for the disease to work upon. But her mind was very active and remarkably clear. Her faculties appeared sharpened. She could remember recitations she had learned in school, always having been fond of memorizing poetry. And when Lulu sang to her from the Sunday School Hymnal, she would give the name of the song and the page on which to find it.
"'She loved to have us read the Scriptures to her. I read, in John xiv, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart I will send Him unto you." At this she looked up to me so heavenly as she said, "Mamma, when I go away the Comforter will come to you; and maybe He will let me come too sometimes; I'll ask Allie about it." She often said this after this time, when she felt uncertain about anything. Allie was her brother who had passed to the other life at the age of six, of scarlet fever, seven months before. He seemed to be with her a great deal of the time during those last three days, because when we asked her questions which she could not answer she would say, "Wait till Allie comes, and I will ask him." On this occasion she waited only a short time and then said, "Allie says I may go to you sometimes; he says it is possible, but you will not know when I am there; but I can speak to your thought."
"'As I have said, Daisy lingered on the borderland for three days, after the first agonizing twenty-four hours had passed. Her physical frame had become so emaciated that there was only enough to hold the spirit in its feeble embrace; and it was manifested to us, as it were, through the thin veil of the attenuated flesh which enwrapped it. During this time she dwelt in both worlds, as she expressed it. Two days before she left us, the Sunday School Superintendent came to see her. She talked very freely about going, and sent a message by him to the Sunday School. When he was about to leave, he said, "Well, Daisy, you will soon be over the 'dark river.` After he had gone, she asked her father what he meant by the "dark river." He tried to explain it, but she said, "It is all a mistake; there is no river; there is no curtain; there is not even a line that separates this life from the other life." And she stretched out her little hands from the bed, and with a gesture said, "It is here and it is there; I know it is so, for I can see you all, and I see them there at the same time." We asked her to tell us something of that other world and how it looked to her, but she said, "I cannot describe it; it is so different, I could not make you understand."
"'One morning while I was in the room, putting it in order, Mrs. W, one of our kind neighbours, was reading to her these words from the Testament: "Let not your heart be troubled. In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you" (John xiv, 1, 2). Daisy remarked, "Mansions, that means houses. I don't see real houses there; but there is what would be places to meet each other in. Allie speaks of going to such and such a place, but says nothing of houses. You see, perhaps the Testament tells about mansions so we will feel we are going to have a home in heaven, and perhaps when I get there I'll find a home. And if I do, the heavenly flowers and trees that I love so much here - for I do see them, and that they are more beautiful than anything you could imagine - they will be there." I said, "Daisy, don't you know the Bible speaks of heaven being a beautiful city?" She said, "I do not see a city," and a puzzled look came over her face, and she said, "I do not know; I may have to go there first."
"'Mrs. W., a kind neighbour, the one who had read of the mansions to Daisy, and who was with us a great deal, told Mrs. B., a neighbour of hers, about Daisy's inner sight being open. Mrs. B. was a lady who did not believe in a future state. She was, moreover, in deep distress, having just lost her husband and a son who was about twelve years old, named Bateman. She came with Mrs. W. one evening, and, sitting beside the bed, began to ask questions. Daisy said to her: "Bateman is here, and says he is alive and well, and is in such a good place, he would not come home for anything. He says he is learning how to be good." Mrs. B. then said, "Ask him if he has seen his father." Daisy replied, "He says he has not, he is not here, and says to you, 'Mother, don't fret about me, it is better I did not grow up.'" This communication set the mother to thinking and she became a firm believer in a future state.
"'The following morning, when alone with Daisy, Mrs. W., who had brought Mrs. B. to see her, asked Daisy how she could think Mrs. B.'s son was happy. "For," said she, "when he was here, you know he was such a bad boy. Don't you remember how he used to swear, and steal your playthings, and break them up? You know we did not allow him to play with you nor with my children, because he was so bad." Daisy replied, "Oh, Aunty, don't you know he never went to Sunday School, and was always hearing so much swearing? God knows he did not have half a chance."
"'The same day her Sunday School teacher Mrs. H., who also was with her a great deal, was sitting beside her, when Daisy said to her, "Your two children are here." Now, these children had gone to the other life several years before, and if they had lived in this world would have been nearly grown up. Daisy had never heard anyone speak of them, nor did the mother have any pictures of them, so she could not have known anything whatever about them before seeing them in the spiritual world. When asked to describe them, her description of them as full-grown did not agree with the mother's idea of them, so she said, "How can that be? They were children when they died." Daisy answered, "Allie says, 'Children do not stay children; they grow up as they do in this life.' "Mrs. H. then said, "But my little daughter Mary fell, and was so injured that she could not stand straight." To this Daisy replied, "She is all right now; she is straight and beautiful; and your son is looking so noble and happy."
"'Once she said Oh, papa, do you hear that? It is the singing of the angels. Why, you ought to hear it, for the room is full of it, and I can see them, there are so many; I can see them miles and miles away."
"'Mrs. W., already mentioned, who had lost her father a short time previous, wanted to know if Daisy had seen him, and brought his picture to let her see if she could recognize him. But in the evening, when she came again, Daisy told her she had not seen him, and that Allie, whom she had asked about him, had not seen him, but that Allie had said he would ask someone who could tell him about him. In a moment Daisy said, "Allie is here and says, 'Tell Aunty her father wants her to meet him in heaven, for he is there.' Mrs. W. then said, "Daisy, why did not Allie know at once about my father?" "Because," replied she, "those who die go into different states or places and do not see each other at all times, but all the good are in the state of the blest."
"'During those last days of illness Daisy loved to listen to her sister Lulu as she sang for her, mostly from the Sunday School song-book. Lulu sang one song, the chorus of which was:
"'Oh! come angel band,
Come and around me stand,
Oh! bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal home.
When she had finished, Daisy exclaimed, "Oh, Lulu, is it not strange? We always thought the angels had wings! But it is a mistake; they don't have any." Lulu replied, "But they must have wings, else how do they fly down from heaven?" "Oh, but they don't fly," she answered, "they just come. When I think of Allie, he is here."
"'Once I inquired, How do you see the angels?" She replied, I do not see them all the time; but when I do, the walls seem to go away, and I can see ever so far, and you couldn't begin to count the people; some are near, and I know them; others I have never seen before." She mentioned the name of Mary C., the sister of Mrs. S., who was a neighbour of ours in Nevada City, and said, " You know she had such a bad cough, but she is well now, and so beautiful, and she is smiling to me."
"'I was then sitting beside her bedside, her hand clasped in mine. Looking up so wistfully to me, she said, "Dear Mamma, I do wish you could see Allie; he is standing beside you." Involuntarily I looked round, but Daisy thereupon continued "He says you cannot see him because your spirit eyes are closed, but that I can, because my body only holds my spirit, as it were, by a thread of life." I then inquired, "Does he say that now?" "Yes, just now," she answered. Then wondering how she could be conversing with her brother when I saw not the least sign of conversation, I said, "Daisy, how do you speak to Allie? I do not hear you or see your lips move." She smilingly replied, "We just talk with our think." I then asked her further, "Daisy, how does Allie appear to you? Does he seem to wear clothes?" She answered, "Oh, no, not clothes such as we wear. There seems to be about him a white, beautiful something, so fine and thin and glistening, and oh, so white, and yet there is not a fold, or a sign of a thread in it, so it cannot be cloth. But makes him look so lovely." Her father then quoted from the Psalmist: "He is clothed with light as a garment." " Oh, yes, that's it," she replied.
"'She often spoke of dying, and seemed to have such a vivid sense of her future life and happiness that the dread of death was all dispelled. The mystery of the soul's departure was to her no more a mystery. It was only a continuation of life, a growing up from the conditions of earth-life into the air and sunshine of heaven.
"'The morning of the day she died she asked me to let her have a small mirror. I hesitated, thinking the sight of her emaciated face would be a shock to her. But her father, sitting by her, remarked, "Let her look at her poor little face if she wants to." So I gave it to her. Taking the glass in her two hands, she looked at her image for a time, calmly and sadly. At length she said, "This body of mine is about worn out. It is like that old dress of Mamma's hanging there in the closet. She doesn't wear it any more, and I won't wear my body any more, because I have a new spiritual body which will take its place. Indeed, I have it now, for it is with my spiritual eyes I see the heavenly world while my body is still here. You will lay my body in the grave because I will not need it again. It was made for my life here, and now my life here is at an end, and this poor body will be laid away, and I shall have a beautiful body like Allie's." Then she said to me," Mamma, open the shutters and let me look out at the world for the last time. Before another morning I shall be gone." As I obeyed her loving request, she said to her father, "Raise me up, Papa." Then, supported by her father, she looked through the window whose shutters I had opened, and called out, "Good-bye, sky. Good-bye, trees. Good-bye, flowers. Good-bye, white rose. Good-bye, red rose. Good-bye, beautiful world," and added, "how I love it, but I do not wish to stay."
"'That evening, when it was half-past eight, she herself observed the time, and remarked, "It is half-past eight now; when it is half-past eleven Allie will come for me." She was then, for the time being, reclining on her father's breast, with her head upon his shoulder. This was a favourite position, as it rested her. She said, "Papa, I want to die here. When the time comes, I will tell you."
"'Lulu had been singing for her, and as half-past eight was Lulu's bedtime she arose to go. Bending over Daisy, as she always did, she kissed her, and said, "Good night." Daisy put up her hand and, stroking tenderly her sister's face, said to her, "Good night." When Lulu was half-way up the stairs, Daisy again called out after her, in a clear, sweet, earnest tone, "Good night and goodbye, my sweet, darling Lulu."
"'At about a quarter past eleven she said, Now, Papa, take me up; Allie has come for me." After her father had taken her, she asked us to sing. Presently someone said, "Call Lulu," but Daisy answered promptly, "Don't disturb her, she is asleep," and then, just as the hands of the clock pointed to the half-hour past eleven, the time she had predicted that Allie was to come to take her with him, she lifted up both arms and said, "Come, Allie," and breathed no more. Then tenderly laying her loved but lifeless form upon the pillow, her father said, "The dear child has gone," and added, "she will suffer no more."'"
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