Sunday, December 20, 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 incident taken from the American S.P.R. Journal" for 1918 (Vol XII, p. 623), was reported by Dr. E. H. Pratt, of Chicago:
"My sister Hattie, while attending school at Mt. Carroll Seminary, suffered an attack of malignant diphtheria. She was brought home to be under our father's care, but he was unable to save her, and after a few days of extreme suffering her spirit took its flight into what seems to most of us such a dark, impenetrable expanse of appalling immensity. A death-bed scene occurred, so wonderful, realistic, and impressive, that although I was but ten years of age at the time, my memory picture of that event is as vivid and distinct as though it were taken but yesterday.
"Her bed was in the middle of the living-room, and my mother, father, younger sister, and a few friends were standing about it, gazing earnestly upon my sister's dear features, as the light of life gradually went out, and the ashy pallor of death settled over them. Hattie's going out was not abrupt. It was a gradual fading away, very calm and apparently free from pain. Although her throat was so choked up with diphtheritic membrane that her voice was very thick, and it required close attention to catch all of her words, her mind seemed unusually clear and rational.
"She knew she was passing away, and was telling our mother how to dispose of her little personal belongings among her close friends and playmates, when she suddenly raised her eyes as though gazing at the ceiling toward the farther side of the room, and after looking steadily and apparently listening for a short time, slightly bowed her head, and said, 'Yes, Grandma, I am coming, only wait just a little while, please.' Our father asked her, 'Hattie, do you see your grandma?' Seemingly surprised at the question she promptly answered, 'Yes, Papa, can't you see her? She is right there waiting for me.' At the same time she pointed toward the ceiling in the direction in which she had been gazing. Again addressing the vision she evidently had of her grandmother, she scowled a little impatiently and said, 'Yes, Grandma, I'm coming, but wait a minute, please.' She then turned once more to her mother, and finished telling her what of her personal treasures to give to different ones of her acquaintances. At last giving her attention once more to her grandma, who was apparently urging her to come at once, she bade each of us good-bye. Her voice was very feeble and faint, but the look in her eyes as she glanced briefly at each one of us was as lifelike and intelligent as it could be. She then fixed her eyes steadily on her vision but so faintly that we could but just catch her words, said, 'Yes, Grandma, I'm coming now.' Then without a struggle or evidence of pain of any kind she gazed steadily in the direction she had pointed out to us where she saw her grandma, until the absence of oxygen in her blood-stream, because respiration had ceased, left her hands and face all covered with the pallor of lifeless flesh.
"She was so clear-headed, so positive of the vision and presence of her grandma, with whom she talked so naturally, so surprised that the rest of us could not see grandma, the alternation of her attention and conversation between her grandma and father and mother were so distinctly photographed upon the camera of my brain that I have never since been able to question the evidence of the continuance of distinct recognizable life after death. Her grandmother had died a few years previously, and before that she and grandma had always been such close friends, and the recognition of each other as Hattie left her body to join her dearly beloved grandma in the realms beyond the vision of our physical eyes was so unquestionable and complete in every detail that it seems impossible to account for the remarkable event on any theory except that her grandma was alive and so completely like herself while on earth that Hattie's recognition of her was instantaneous and unquestionable, a real genuine experience."
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