Clairvoyance In Space: Unintentional

Under this heading we may group together all those cases in which

visions of some event which is taking place at a distance are seen

quite unexpectedly and without any kind of preparation. There are

people who are subject to such visions, while there are many others to

whom such a thing will happen only once in a life-time. The visions

are of all kinds and of all degrees of completeness, and apparently

may be produced
y various causes. Sometimes the reason of the vision

is obvious, and the subject matter of the gravest importance; at other

times no reason at all is discoverable, and the events shown seem of

the most trivial nature.

Sometimes these glimpses of the super-physical faculty come as waking

visions, and sometimes they manifest during sleep as vivid or

oft-repeated dreams. In this latter case the sight employed is perhaps

usually of the kind assigned to our fourth subdivision of clairvoyance

in space, for the sleeping man often travels in his astral body to

some spot with which his affections or interests are closely

connected, and simply watches what takes place there; in the former it

seems probable that the second type of clairvoyance, by means of the

astral current, is called into requisition. But in this case the

current or tube is formed quite unconsciously, and is often the

automatic result of a strong thought or emotion projected from one end

or the other--either from the seer or the person who is seen.

The simplest plan will be to give a few instances of the different

kinds, and to intersperse among them such further explanations as may

seem necessary. Mr. Stead has collected a large and varied assortment

of recent and well-authenticated cases in his Real Ghost Stories,

and I will select some of my examples from them, occasionally

condensing slightly to save space.

There are cases in which it is at once obvious to any Theosophical

student that the exceptional instance of clairvoyance was specially

brought about by one of the band whom we have called "Invisible

Helpers" in order that aid might be rendered to some one in sore need.

To this class, undoubtedly, belongs the story told by Captain Yonnt,

of the Napa Valley in California, to Dr. Bushnell, who repeats it in

his Nature and the Supernatural (p. 14).

"About six or seven years previous, in a mid-winter's night, he had a

dream in which he saw what appeared to be a company of emigrants

arrested by the snows of the mountains, and perishing rapidly by cold

and hunger. He noted the very cast of the scenery, marked by a huge,

perpendicular front of white rock cliff; he saw the men cutting off

what appeared to be tree-tops rising out of deep gulfs of snow; he

distinguished the very features of the persons and the look of their

particular distress.

"He awoke profoundly impressed by the distinctness and apparent

reality of the dream. He at length fell asleep, and dreamed exactly

the same dream over again. In the morning he could not expel it from

his mind. Falling in shortly after with an old hunter comrade, he told

his story, and was only the more deeply impressed by his recognizing

without hesitation the scenery of the dream. This comrade came over

the Sierra by the Carson Valley Pass, and declared that a spot in the

Pass exactly answered his description.

"By this the unsophistical patriarch was decided. He immediately

collected a company of men, with mules and blankets and all necessary

provisions. The neighbours were laughing meantime at his credulity.

'No matter,' he said, 'I am able to do this, and I will, for I verily

believe that the fact is according to my dream.' The men were sent

into the mountains one hundred and fifty miles distant direct to the

Carson Valley Pass. And there they found the company exactly in the

condition of the dream, and brought in the remnant alive."

Since it is not stated that Captain Yonnt was in the habit of seeing

visions, it seems clear that some helper, observing the forlorn

condition of the emigrant party, took the nearest impressionable and

otherwise suitable person (who happened to be the Captain) to the spot

in the astral body, and aroused him sufficiently to fix the scene

firmly in his memory. The helper may possibly have arranged an "astral

current" for the Captain instead, but the former suggestion is more

probable. At any rate the motive, and broadly the method, of the work

are obvious enough in this case.

Sometimes the "astral current" may be set going by a strong emotional

thought at the other end of the line, and this may happen even though

the thinker has no such intention in his mind. In the rather striking

story which I am about to quote, it is evident that the link was

formed by the doctor's frequent thought about Mrs. Broughton, yet he

had clearly no especial wish that she should see what he was doing at

the time. That it was this kind of clairvoyance that was employed is

shown by the fixity of her point of view--which, be it observed, is

not the doctor's point of view sympathetically transferred (as it

might have been) since she sees his back without recognizing him. The

story is to be found in the Proceedings of the Psychical Research

Society (vol. ii., p. 160).

"Mrs. Broughton awoke one night in 1844, and roused her husband,

telling him that something dreadful had happened in France. He begged

her to go to sleep again, and not trouble him. She assured him that

she was not asleep when she saw what she insisted on telling him--what

she saw in fact.

"First a carriage accident--which she did not actually see, but what

she saw was the result--a broken carriage, a crowd collected, a figure

gently raised and carried into the nearest house, then a figure lying

on a bed which she then recognized as the Duke of Orleans. Gradually

friends collecting round the bed--among them several members of the

French royal family--the queen, then the king, all silently,

tearfully, watching the evidently dying duke. One man (she could see

his back, but did not know who he was) was a doctor. He stood bending

over the duke, feeling his pulse, with his watch in the other hand.

And then all passed away, and she saw no more.

"As soon as it was daylight she wrote down in her journal all that she

had seen. It was before the days of electric telegraph, and two or

more days passed before the Times announced 'The Death of the Duke

of Orleans.' Visiting Paris a short time afterwards she saw and

recognized the place of the accident and received the explanation of

her impression. The doctor who attended the dying duke was an old

friend of hers, and as he watched by the bed his mind had been

constantly occupied with her and her family."

A commoner instance is that in which strong affection sets up the

necessary current; probably a fairly steady stream of mutual thought

is constantly flowing between the two parties in the case, and some

sudden need or dire extremity on the part of one of them endues this

stream temporarily with the polarizing power which is needful to

create the astral telescope. An illustrative example is quoted from

the same Proceedings (vol. i., p. 30).

"On September 9th, 1848, at the siege of Mooltan, Major-General R----,

C.B., then adjutant of his regiment, was most severely and dangerously

wounded; and, supposing himself to be dying, asked one of the officers

with him to take the ring off his finger and send it to his wife, who

at the time was fully one hundred and fifty miles distant at


"'On the night of September 9th, 1848,' writes his wife, 'I was lying

on my bed, between sleeping and waking, when I distinctly saw my

husband being carried off the field seriously wounded, and heard his

voice saying, "Take this ring off my finger and send it to my wife."

All the next day I could not get the sight or the voice out of my


"'In due time I heard of General R---- having been severely wounded in

the assault of Mooltan. He survived, however, and is still living. It

was not for some time after the siege that I heard from General

L----, the officer who helped to carry my husband off the field, that

the request as to the ring was actually made by him, just as I heard

it at Ferozepore at that very time."

Then there is the very large class of casual clairvoyant visions which

have no traceable cause--which are apparently quite meaningless, and

have no recognizable relation to any events known to the seer. To this

class belong many of the landscapes seen by some people just before

they fall asleep. I quote a capital and very realistic account of an

experience of this sort from Mr. W. T. Stead's Real Ghost Stories

(p. 65).

"I got into bed but was not able to go to sleep. I shut my eyes and

waited for sleep to come; instead of sleep, however, there came to me

a succession of curiously vivid clairvoyant pictures. There was no

light in the room, and it was perfectly dark; I had my eyes shut also.

But notwithstanding the darkness I suddenly was conscious of looking

at a scene of singular beauty. It was as if I saw a living miniature

about the size of a magic-lantern slide. At this moment I can recall

the scene as if I saw it again. It was a seaside piece. The moon was

shining upon the water, which rippled slowly on to the beach. Right

before me a long mole ran into the water.

"On either side of the mole irregular rocks stood up above the

sea-level. On the shore stood several houses, square and rude, which

resembled nothing that I had ever seen in house architecture. No one

was stirring, but the moon was there and the sea and the gleam of the

moonlight on the rippling waters, just as if I had been looking on the

actual scene.

"It was so beautiful that I remember thinking that if it continued I

should be so interested in looking at it that I should never go to

sleep. I was wide awake, and at the same time that I saw the scene I

distinctly heard the dripping of the rain outside the window. Then

suddenly, without any apparent object or reason, the scene changed.

"The moonlit sea vanished, and in its place I was looking right into

the interior of a reading-room. It seemed as if it had been used as a

schoolroom in the daytime, and was employed as a reading-room in the

evening. I remember seeing one reader who had a curious resemblance to

Tim Harrington, although it was not he, hold up a magazine or book in

his hand and laugh. It was not a picture--it was there.

"The scene was just as if you were looking through an opera-glass; you

saw the play of the muscles, the gleaming of the eye, every movement

of the unknown persons in the unnamed place into which you were

gazing. I saw all that without opening my eyes, nor did my eyes have

anything to do with it. You see such things as these as it were with

another sense which is more inside your head than in your eyes.

"This was a very poor and paltry experience, but it enabled me to

understand better how it is that clairvoyants see than any amount of


"The pictures were apropos of nothing; they had been suggested by

nothing I had been reading or talking of; they simply came as if I had

been able to look through a glass at what was occurring somewhere else

in the world. I had my peep, and then it passed, nor have I had a

recurrence of a similar experience."

Mr. Stead regards that as a "poor and paltry experience," and it may

perhaps be considered so when compared with the greater possibilities,

yet I know many students who would be very thankful to have even so

much of direct personal experience to tell. Small though it may be in

itself, it at once gives the seer a clue to the whole thing, and

clairvoyance would be a living actuality to a man who had seen even

that much in a way that it could never have been without that little

touch with the unseen world.

These pictures were much too clear to have been mere reflections of

the thought of others, and besides, the description unmistakably shows

that they were views seen through an astral telescope; so either Mr.

Stead must quite unconsciously have set a current going for himself,

or (which is much more probable) some kindly astral entity set it in

motion for him, and gave him, to while away a tedious delay, any

pictures that happened to come handy at the end of the tube.