Monday, December 21, 2009

The following case was communicated to the American S.P.R. by Mr. S. B. Bennett

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 case was communicated to the American S.P.R. by Mr. S. B. Bennett (see "American S.P.R. Journal" for 1918, Vol. XII, p. 607):

"December 15, 1906

Mr. G. H. Tench died in 1902, after years of patient though intense suffering of cancer. He lived in Wilkes-Barre, but was formerly a near neighbour of mine in West Pittston, during a portion of the time he was a foreman under me enjoying mutual confidence and esteem. He received deserved promotion by another Coal Co., but our personal relation remained the same.

"During the last weeks I watched with him as often as I could, going back and forth by rail. While suffering intensely he would not take narcotics nor stimulating medicine, saying, 'I have lived Hall Tench and I am going to die that way.' The night the end came he roused his younger son, telling him to call the family as he was going away. He talked entirely rationally to them and was fully conscious. Later a brother came to the house and upon entering the room G. H. Tench said, 'Good-bye, Will; I am going soon,' and closed his eyes. The family thought the end had come, but after a short interval he opened his eyes and, looking over and above the bed foot, with raised head and every appearance of interest, said clearly and distinctly, 'Why, they're all plain people.' This closed the scene, which was described to me by his wife soon after the funeral.

"Now Tench was not a religious man, although attended by a Methodist minister at the last, but a moral, upright man in every relation of life, thoroughly courageous, as was shown by his refusal to have his sensibilities dulled in his suffering. Not highly educated, nor a great reader, yet I have no doubt he had thought about conditions he had to face, and was likely to have imbibed the wings and harp idea. Is it not possible that he at the last expressed surprise that the people waiting for him should be 'all plain people'? I give you this as a fact.

"(Signed) S. B. BENNETT"