Second-sight Prevision Etc

Notwithstanding the difficulties in the way of an intelligent explanation

of the phenomena of future-time clairvoyance, second-sight, prevision,

etc., of which I have spoken in the preceding lesson, the human race has

always had a lively reminder of the existence of such phenomena; and the

records of the race have always contained many instances of the

manifestation thereof. Among all peoples, in all lands, in all times,

there have been noted remarkable instances of the power of certain persons

to peer into, and correctly report from, the mysterious regions of the

future. Passing from the traditional reports of the race, and the minor

instances known to almost every person, we find that the scientific

investigators of psychic phenomena have gathered together an enormous

array of well authenticated cases of this class. The reports of the

Society for Psychical research contain hundreds of such cases, which the

student may read and study with interest and profit.

It is not my intention to present a full history of the reports of this

character. Rather, I shall call your attention to a few striking cases, in

order to illustrate the phenomenon clearly and forcibly. There is such a

wealth of material of this kind that it embarrases one who wishes to

select from it. However, I shall do the best I can in that direction.

Following, to commence with, I give you extracts from a well known case

reported by a prominent member of the Theosophical Society, which has

attracted much attention. It was related to this person by one of the

actors in the scene. It happened in India. A party of English army

officers was entering a dense jungle. Then follows the story, as below:

"We plunged into the jungle, and had walked on for about an hour without

much success, when Cameron, who happened to be next to me, stopped

suddenly, turned pale as death, and, pointing straight before him, cried

in accents of horror: 'See! see! merciful heavens, look there!' 'Where?

what? what is it?' we all shouted confusedly, as we rushed up to him, and

looked around in expectation of encountering a tiger--a cobra--we hardly

knew what, but assuredly something terrible, since it had been sufficient

to cause such evident emotion in our usually self-contained comrade. But

neither tiger nor cobra was visible--nothing but Cameron pointing with

ghastly haggard face and starting eyeballs at something we could not see.

"'Cameron! Cameron!' cried I, seizing his arm, 'for heavens sake speak!

What is the matter?' Scarcely were the words out of my mouth when a low

but very peculiar sound struck upon my ear, and Cameron, dropping his

pointing hand, said in a hoarse, strained voice, 'There! you heard it?

Thank God it's over!' and fell to the ground insensible. There was a

momentary confusion while we unfastened his collar, and I dashed in his

face some water which I fortunately had in my flask, while another tried

to pour brandy between his clenched teeth; and under cover of it I

whispered to the man next to me (one of our greatest skeptics, by the

way), 'Beauchamp, did you hear anything?' 'Why, yes,' he replied, 'a

curious sound, very; a sort of crash or rattle far away in the distance,

yet very distinct; if the thing were not utterly impossible, I could have

sworn that it was the rattle of musketry.' 'Just my impression,' murmured

I; 'but hush! he is recovering.'

"In a minute or two he was able to speak feebly, and began to thank us and

apologize for giving trouble; and soon he sat up, leaning against a tree,

and in a firm, though low voice said: 'My dear friends, I feel that I owe

you an explanation of my extraordinary behavior. It is an explanation that

I would fain avoid giving; but it must come some time, and so may as well

be given now. You may perhaps have noticed that when during our voyage you

all joined in scoffing at dreams, portents and visions, I invariably

avoided giving any opinion on the subject. I did so because, while I had

no desire to court ridicule or provoke discussion, I was unable to agree

with you, knowing only too well from my own dread experience that the

world which men agree to call that of the supernatural is just as real

as--nay, perhaps even more real than--this world we see about us. In other

words, I, like many of my countrymen, am cursed with the gift of

second-sight--that awful faculty which foretells in vision calamities

that are shortly to occur.

"'Such a vision I had just now, and its exceptional horror moved me as you

have seen. I saw before me a corpse--not that of one who has died a

peaceful, natural death, but that of the victim of some terrible accident;

a ghastly, shapeless mass, with a face swollen, crushed, unrecognizable. I

saw this dreadful object placed in a coffin, and the funeral service

performed over it. I saw the burial-ground, I saw the clergyman: and

though I had never seen either before, I can picture both perfectly in my

mind's eye now; I saw you, myself, Beauchamp, all of us and many more,

standing round as mourners; I saw the soldiers raise their muskets after

the service was over; I heard the volley they fired--and then I knew no

more.' As he spoke of that volley of musketry I glanced across with a

shudder at Beauchamp, and the look of stony horror on that handsome

skeptic's face was not to be forgotten."

Omitting the somewhat long recital of events which followed, I would say

that later in the same day the party of young officers and soldiers

discovered the body of their commanding officer in the shocking condition

so vividly and graphically described by young Cameron. The story proceeds

as follows:

"When, on the following evening, we arrived at our destination, and our

melancholy deposition had been taken down by the proper authorities,

Cameron and I went out for a quiet walk, to endeavor with the assistance

of the soothing influence of nature to shake off something of the gloom

which paralyzed our spirits. Suddenly he clutched my arm, and, pointing

through some rude railings, said in a trembling voice, 'Yes, there it is!

that is the burial-ground of yesterday.' And, when later on we were

introduced to the chaplain of the post, I noticed, though my friends did

not, the irrepressible shudder with which Cameron took his hand, and I

knew that he had recognized the clergyman of his vision."

The story concludes with the statement that in all the little details, as

well as the main points, the scene at the burial of the commanding officer

corresponded exactly with the vision of Cameron. This story brings out the

fact that the Scotch people are especially given to manifestations of

second-sight--particularly the Highlanders or mountain people of that

land. It is hard to find a Scotchman, who, in his heart, does not believe

in second-sight, and who has not known of some well authenticated instance

of its manifestation. In other lands, certain races, or sub-races, seem to

be specially favored (or cursed, as Cameron asserted) with this power. It

will be noticed, usually, that such people dwell, or have dwelt in the

highlands or mountains of their country. There seems to be something in

the mountains and hills which tends to develop and encourage this power in

those dwelling among them. The story is also remarkable in the fact that

the impression was so strong in the mind of Cameron that it actually

communicated itself by clairaudience to those near to him--this is quite

unusual, though not without correspondence in other cases. Otherwise, the

case is merely a typical one, and may be duplicated in the experience of

thousands of other men and women.

George Fox, the pioneer Quaker, had this faculty well developed, and

numerous instances of its manifestation by him are recorded. For instance,

he foretold the death of Cromwell, when he met him riding at Hampton

Court; he said that he felt "a waft of death" around and about Cromwell;

and Cromwell died shortly afterwards. Fox also publicly foretold the

dissolution of the Rump Parliament of England; the restoration of Charles

II; and the Great Fire of London--these are historical facts, remember.

For that matter, history contains many instances of this kind: the

prophecy of Caesar's death, and its further prevision by his wife, for

instance. The Bible prophecies and predictions, major and minor, give us

semi-historical instances.

A celebrated historical instance of remarkable second-sight and prevision,

is that of Cazotte, whose wonderful prediction and its literal fulfilment

are matters of French history. Dumas has woven the fact into one of his

stories, in a dramatic manner--but even so he does not make the tale any

more wonderful than the bare facts. Here is the recital of the case by La

Harpe, the French writer, who was a personal witness of the occurrence,

and whose testimony was corroborated by many others who were present at

the time. La Harpe says:

"It appears as but yesterday, and yet, nevertheless, it was at the

beginning of the year 1788. We were dining with one of our brethren at the

Academy--a man of considerable wealth and genius. The conversation became

serious; much admiration was expressed on the revolution in thought which

Voltaire had effected, and it was agreed that it was his first claim to

the reputation he enjoyed. We concluded that the revolution must soon be

consummated; that it was indispensible that superstition and fanaticism

should give way to philosophy, and we began to calculate the probability

of the period when this should be, and which of the present company should

live to see it. The oldest complained that they could scarcely flatter

themselves with the hope; the younger rejoiced that they might entertain

this very probable expectation; and they congratulated the Academy

especially for having prepared this great work, and for having been the

rallying point, the centre, and the prime mover of the liberty of thought.

"One only of the guests had not taken part in all the joyousness of this

conversation, and had even gently and cheerfully checked our splendid

enthusiasm. This was Cazotte, an amiable and original man, but unhappily

infatuated with the reveries of the illumaniti. He spoke, and with the

most serious tone, saying: 'Gentleman, be satisfied; you will all see this

great and sublime revolution, which you so much desire. You know that I am

a little inclined to prophesy; I repeat, you will see it,' He was answered

by the common rejoinder: 'One need not be a conjuror to see that.' He

answered: 'Be it so; but perhaps one must be a little more than conjuror

for what remains for me to tell you. Do you know what will be the

consequences of this revolution--what will be the consequence to all of

you, and what will be the immediate result--the well-established

effect--the thoroughly recognized consequences to all of you who are here


"'Ah' said Condorcet, with his insolent and half-suppressed smile, 'let us

hear--a philosopher is not sorry to encounter a prophet--let us hear!'

Cazotte replied: 'You, Monsier de Condorcet--you will yield up your last

breath on the floor of a dungeon; you will die from poison, which you will

have taken in order to escape from execution--from poison which the

happiness of that time will oblige you to carry about your person. You,

Monsieur de Chamfort, you will open your veins with twenty-two cuts of a

razor, and yet will not die till some months afterward.' These personages

looked at each other, and laughed again. Cazotte continued: 'You, Monsieur

Vicq d'Azir, you will not open your own veins, but you will cause yourself

to be bled six times in one day, during a paroxysm of the gout, in order

to make more sure of your end, and you will die in the night.'

"Cazotte went on: 'You, Monsieur de Nicolai, you will die on the scaffold;

you, Monsieur Bailly, on the scaffold; you, Monsieur de Malesherbes, on

the scaffold. 'Ah, God be thanked,' exclaimed Roucher, 'and what of I?'

Cazotte replied: 'You? you also will die on the scaffold.' 'Yes,' replied

Chamfort, 'but when will all this happen?' Cazotte answered: 'Six years

will not pass over, before all that I have said to you shall be

accomplished.' Here I (La Harpe) spoke, saying: 'Here are some astonishing

miracles, but you have not included me in your list.' Cazotte answered me,

saying: 'But you will be there, as an equally extraordinary miracle; you

will then be a Christian!' Vehement exclamations on all sides followed

this startling assertion. 'Ah!' said Chamfort, 'I am conforted; if we

shall perish only when La Harpe shall be a Christian, we are immortal;'

"Then observed Madame la Duchesse de Grammont: 'As for that, we women, we

are happy to be counted for nothing in these revolutions: when I say for

nothing, it is not that we do not always mix ourselves up with them a

little; but it is a received maxim that they take no notice of us, and of

our sex.' 'Your sex, ladies' said Cazotte, 'your sex will not protect you

this time; and you had far better meddle with nothing, for you will be

treated entirely as men, without any difference whatever.' 'But what,

then, are you really telling us of Monsieur Cazotte? You are preaching to

us the end of the world.' 'I know nothing on that subject; but what I do

know is, that you Madame la Duchesse, will be conducted to the scaffold,

you and many other ladies with you, in the cart of the executioner, and

with your hands tied behind your backs. 'Ah! I hope that in that case, I

shall at least have a carriage hung in black.' 'No, madame; higher ladies

than yourself will go, like you, in the common car, with their hands tied

behind them.' 'Higher ladies! what! the princesses of the blood?' 'Yea,

and still more exalted personages!' replied Cazotte.

"Here a sensible emotion pervaded the whole company, and the countenance

of the host was dark and lowering--they began to feel that the joke was

becoming too serious. Madame de Grammont, in order to dissipate the cloud,

took no notice of the reply, and contented herself with saying in a

careless tone: 'You see, that he will not leave me even a confessor!' 'No,

madame!' replied Cazotte, 'you will not have one--neither you, nor any one

besides. The last victim to whom this favor will be afforded will be--'

Here he stopped for a moment. 'Well! who then will be the happy mortal to

whom this prerogative will be given?' Cazotte replied: 'It is the only one

which he will have then retained--and that will be the King of France!'"

This last startling prediction caused the company to disband in something

like terror and dismay, for the mere mention of such thing was akin to


The amazing sequel to this strange story is that within the six years

allotted by the prophecy, every detail thereof was verified absolutely.

The facts are known to all students of the French Revolution, and may be

verified by reference to any history of that terrible period. To

appreciate the startling nature of the prophecy when made, one needs but

to be acquainted with the position and characteristics of the persons

whose destinies were foretold. This celebrated instance of highly advanced

future-time clairvoyance, or prevision, has never been equalled. The

reason, perhaps, is that Cazotte indeed was an advanced and highly

developed occultist--the account mentions this, you will notice. This

class of persons very seldom prophecy in this way, for reasons known to

all occultists. The ordinary cases recorded are those in which the

manifestation is that of a person of lesser powers and less perfect


Advanced occultists know the danger of a careless use of this power. They

know that (omitting other and very important reasons) such revelations

would work a terrible effect upon the minds of persons not sufficiently

well balanced to stand the disclosure. Moreover, they know that if the

average person knew the principal details of his future life on earth,

then he would lose interest in it--it would become stale and would lose

the attraction of the unknown. In such a case, the pleasant things to come

would lose their attractiveness by reason of having been dwelt on so long

that their flavor was lost; and the unpleasant things would become

unbearable by reason of the continual anticipation of them. We are apt to

discount our pleasures by dwelling too much upon them in anticipation;

and, as we all know, the dread of a coming evil often is worse than the

thing itself--we suffer a thousand pangs in anticipation to one in

reality. But, as I have intimated, there are other, and still more serious

reasons why the advanced occultists do not indulge in public prophecies

of this kind. It is probable that Cazotte decided to, and was permitted

to, make his celebrated prophecy for some important occult reason of which

La Harpe had no knowledge--it doubtless was a part of the working out of

some great plan, and it may have accomplished results undreamed of by us.

At any rate, it was something very much out of the; ordinary, even in the

case of advanced occultists and masters of esoteric knowledge.

Another case which has a historic value is the well-known case concerning

the assassination of Spencer Perceval, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in

England, which occurred in the lobby of the House of Commons. The persons

who have a knowledge of the case report that some nine days before the

tragic occurrence a Cornish mine manager, named John Williams, had a

vision, three times in succession, in which he saw a small man, dressed in

a blue coat and white waistcoat, enter the lobby of the House of Commons;

whereupon another man, dressed in a snuff-colored coat, stepped forward,

and, drawing a pistol from an inside pocket fired at and shot the small

man, the bullet lodging in the left breast. In the vision, Williams turned

and asked some bystander the name of the victim; the bystander replied

that the stricken man was Mr. Spencer Perceval, the Chancellor of the

Exchequer. The valuable feature of the case, from a scientific standpoint,

lies in the fact that Williams was very much impressed by his

thrice-repeated vision, and was greatly disturbed thereby. His anxiety

was so great that he spoke of the matter to several friends, and asked

them whether it would not be well for him to go to London for the purpose

of warning Mr. Perceval. His friends ridiculed the whole matter, and

persuaded him to give up the idea of visiting London for the purpose

named. Those who had a knowledge of the vision were greatly startled and

shocked when several days afterward the assassination occurred, agreeing

in perfect detail with the vision of the Cornishman. The case, vouched for

as it was by a number of reliable persons who had been consulted by

Williams, attracted much attention at the time, and has since passed into

the history of remarkable instances of prevision.

In some cases, however, the prevision seems to come as a warning, and in

many cases the heeding of the warning has prevented the unpleasant

features from materializing as seen in the vision. Up to the point of the

action upon the warning the occurrence agree perfectly with the

vision--but the moment the warned person acts so as to prevent the

occurrence, the whole train of circumstances is broken. There is an occult

explanation of this, but it is too technical to mention at this place.

What is known to psychic researchers as "the Hannah Green case" is of this

character. This story, briefly, is that Hannah Green, a housekeeper of

Oxfordshire, dreamt that she, having been left alone in the house of a

Sunday evening, heard a knock at the door. Opening the door she found a

tramp who tried to force his way into the house. She struggled to prevent

his entrance, but he struck her with a bludgeon and rendered her

insensible, whereupon he entered the house and robbed it. She related the

vision to her friends, but, as nothing happened for some time, the matter

almost passed from her mind. But, some seven years afterward, she was left

in charge of the house on a certain Sunday evening; during the evening she

was startled by a sudden knock at the door, and her former vision was

recalled to her memory quite vividly. She refused to go to the door,

remembering the warning, but instead went up to a landing on the stair and

looked out the window, she saw at the door the very tramp whom she had

seen in the vision some seven years before, armed with a bludgeon and

striving to force an entrance into the house. She took steps to frighten

away the rascal, and she was saved from the unpleasant conclusion of her

vision. Many similar cases are recorded.

In some cases persons have been warned by symbols of various kinds; or

else have had prevision in the same way. For instance, many cases are

known in which the vision is that of the undertaker's wagon standing

before the door of the person who dies sometime afterward. Or, the person

is visioned clad in a shroud. The variations of this class are

innumerable. Speak to the average dweller in the highlands of Scotland, or

certain counties in Ireland, regarding this--you will be furnished with a

wealth of illustrations and examples.

This phase of the general subject of clairvoyance is very fascinating to

the student and investigator, and is one in which the highest psychic or

astral powers of sensing are called into play. In fact, as I have said,

there is here a reflection of something very much higher than the astral

or psychic planes of being. The student catches a glimpse of regions

infinitely higher and grander. He begins to realize at least something of

the existence of that Universal Consciousness "in which we live, and move,

and have our being;" and of the reality of the Eternal Now, in which past,

present and future are blended as one fact of infinite consciousness. He

sees the signboard pointing to marvelous truths!

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