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Franklin's Neck

Dreamed 1953/7/5 by a dying Kansas grandmother, reported to the Rhine Institute

In the summer of 1953 a woman in South Dakota had received an urgent call from her sister to come to her mother's bedside in Independence, Kansas. Her mother had suffered a coronary occlusion several months before, and this was her daughter's third trip home. When she arrived she found her mother very weak. She recognized the daughter, but asked no questions about the family. After several days she lapsed into a coma, and they knew the end was near. One evening (July 5), as the daughter came into the hospital room, her mother was talking to her nurse--actually carrying on a conversation, though she seemed confused. She was saying, "I have two girls, and there's a boy, too. The boy is Franklin." She had no son; her daughter's twelve-year-old son was the only Franklin in the family. Then the mother looked at the daughter, seemed to know her, and asked, "Where is my boy? Where is Franklin?"

The daughter took her hand and said Franklin was at home with his Daddy. "Is he all right?" the mother asked.

Sometime before, the mother had visited her daughter's church camp and loved its rustic beauty. Since then she had always been happy to know when any of the family were to spend some time there, and it was natural for the daughter to tell her now that Franklin was getting ready to go to camp.

"Oh, no" the ill woman moaned, "I don't want Frankie to go to that camp. He must not go there." And she began to cry. They talked to her soothingly, and soon she either slept or drifted into unconsciousness, still clinging to her daughter's hand. Perhaps a half-hour later as the daughter still stood beside her, she opened her eyes and looked at her with an expression of great fear. "Helen," she said, "did Franklin die too?" The daughter assured her that Franklin was all right and asked her mother if she had had a bad dream. "Yes, and something terrible, just terrible happened to Franklin," and then with the tears running from under her lids, she closed her eyes and did not speak again. The next day, July 6, she died without awakening.

On July 21, the second day Franklin was at camp, he dived into the creek and struck a submerged log, dislocating his neck in such a way as to sever the spinal cord. The doctors gave little he would live and for weeks it was a hard fight, but he survived, a quadriplegic, but as his mother says, "The same boy, full of fun, courageous, and hopeful for the future."


I find this sad. She tried so hard to warn them. How much detail did she foresee in her dream? We can't know. Sounds like she was struggling to summon coherent speech at all. What if she'd said a few words more? Would "He'll break his neck diving" have been enough to make Franklin play it safe? Maybe not.

But maybe a clearheaded death would have left her so anchored in the present she'd have no warning to deliver.

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 147-148. Account untitled, author's name witheld; title & byline added to aid searching & indexing.

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