Mom on the Wing
Dreamed between 1942-45 by a tail gunner, reported to the Rhine Institute
[Let's consider cases] in which the dead appear to bring objective information. The question such cases raise is whether the messages are what they appear to be: communications from a world beyond. A "yes" on this would be a "yes" on the larger question of the survival of death. A "no" would not necessarily answer it.
A young American in the Air Force during World War II had an experience that brought him objective evidence. He had entered the service several years after his mother's death, and was now a tail gunner in a B-29. He had been flying on missions over Europe, and one night he and his crew were returning to their base after completing a bombing mission.
All the crew except the pilots were asleep when in a dream the gunner saw his mother standing on the tip of one wing of his plane. She was dressed in white flowing robes and calling his name, warning him of danger. She begged him to awake, that danger was very near. Her voice was far away and echoed in his dream—yet it was so realistic he awoke... to find a German fighter plane flying directly above their B-29 and out of vision of the pilot or copilot. With the rest of the crew asleep, no one had known the enemy was there.
The gunner wakened his companions and they were able to fight off the plane before any damage was done. He felt that had it not been for his mother's warning, neither he nor his crew members would have escaped.
Experiences like this, if taken seriously, seem to mean that the deceased was in some sense "there."
--Louisa E. Rhine
Rhine's last sentence sounds a little credulous, but elsewhere she conceded that ghosts like this may be mere hallucinatory spokesmen for the unconscious--in this case, delivering a warning picked up either subliminally (noise?) or psychically (the sense of being watched? The thoughts of the German pilot?)
In fact, Rhine argues that as the evidence for ESP accumulates, the case for ghosts and an afterlife paradoxically weakens, though not (forgive the pun) fatally. Vice versa, too: ESP skeptics deny one of the best arguments against an afterlife; they have to explain moms on the wing some other way. Good luck! Most folks are likely to feel that if someone saves your life, you'd better treat them as "in some sense 'there'"...
SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 230. Account untitled, author's name witheld; title & byline added to aid searching & indexing.
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