Dreamed 1919 by an Oklahoma girl, as reported to the Rhine Institute
In 1919 in Oklahoma, a fifteen-year-old girl had a dream in which it seemed that her deceased stepfather gave her a warning message about her mother. She and her stepfather had been very close. As she says:
Mother was a very sweet person, a Christian who had always walked the straight and narrow. After Dad's death we rented a small house and the people from whom we rented were, as far as I then knew, an ideal couple.Granted that the girl would have had a strong motive to help her mother, could she at fifteen sufficiently have understood the situation to have foreseen the consequences and recognized the danger? The deceased husband, of course, would have fully understood.
One night I was sleeping with Mother, and I had hardly thought about Dad all day, when all of a sudden about ten minutes after we had gone to bed and I had not been asleep... I heard Dad's voice as plain as I ever heard it while he was alive. It seemed to be coming from the other side of the mountains and the voice said, "Sis," (his pet name for me) "your mother is getting into some serious trouble. There will be a lot of gossip, but you stay with her through it all; she is a good woman and I love her."
I touched Mother as soon as the voice was gone and told word for word what Dad's voice had said. She said she knew of nothing that would cause him to say a thing like that and that I was probably dreaming.
The voice also said, "There is a gulf between us, so you stay with her through what is going to happen, for I cannot come to her." With that the voice died away.
In less than a year the man we were renting from had convinced Mother that he had not lived with his wife for six years, and that he wanted Mother to marry him. Actually, he was still living with wife number one, but he got her to get a divorce. There was a scandal and until this day poor Mother is still paying for her mistake. His relationship with her proved to be a bad one in every way. He wasn't ever good to her. Why did she go on and get into all that trouble, lose her good name and almost her life?
Why did that voice come to me? At the time I did not know anything about the man. But it all happened as Father said. I stayed with her just as he asked me to and I've never been sorry I did.
In these different [ghost] cases [examples], one can see the issues and something of the difficulty of judgment they present. In a few instances, the motives seem unequal, and definitely much weaker on the part of the living, than the deceased. In a few other cases, some added factor or complication seems to increase still more the likelihood that the living person himself was not the unaided author of his experience. But in each individual case, individual weaknesses can be adduced, just as is true of practically any ESP experience, if taken alone.
As pointed out in the beginning, the strength of ESP experiences in life, as treated in this book, lies in the large number of them, against the background of experimental laboratory proof of psi.
On the question of the influence of the deceased, both elements of strength are lacking. For in the first place, the number of experiences which bear on the topic is comparatively small. In contrast to the multitude of cases that bear witness to telepathy or precognition, these are almost negligible. Only the special interest of the problem they present, not their weight of numbers, singles them out for attention. In the second place, experimental results proving the survival of some element of personality are lacking.
--Louisa E. Rhine
Rhine wrote the above in 1961. I'm writing this in 2012. In that half-century, near-death studies have tackled this question of survival head-on. The case for out-of-body consciousness is considerably stronger today. While accounts number only in the hundreds (a thousand times fewer than for ESP) some are strong indeed: surgery cases with near-flat brain functions on the table have accurately reported events in the operating theater they could not have seen even if their brain function had been uninterrupted. Of course, by its nature, near-death evidence only implies short-term discorporate awareness. But even that profoundly shifts the grounds for debate.
In other cases (try Ned's Kiss, Transpersonal Puppies, A Sharp Click, Insurance, Howard Any Time Now, Dipsomania, Mom on the Wing ) Rhine more explicitly warns that if you accept the existence of an unconscious and of ESP (and the Rhine Institute's lab studies had convinced her), these weaken the case for ghosts. Witnesses may dream or hallucinate a ghost-figure to report (real) news uncovered by the witness's own ESP. Rhine concluded the strongest ghost cases aren't those where the witness has no motive to lie and the ghost discloses a secret--both staples of earlier accounts--but where the witness has no motive to do anything much, and where the ghost displays personality--its own initiative, motives, feelings and views. So for Rhine, what's most convincing here is the contrast between the ghost's adult tone and the witness's naïveté.
Though I'd argue that Rhine underestimates teens here. Anyone, sexually naïve or not, can subliminally sense a liar. Except, apparently, poor old Mom.
SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 247-8. Account untitled, author's name witheld; title & byline added to aid searching & indexing.
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