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Experienced 1944 by Norman, a soldier on Guam, and reported to the Rhine Institute

In 1944, Norman, an American soldier, was stationed on the island of Guam. He had been well acquainted with another soldier named Pete. Later Pete was killed, and this Norman knew. Some three weeks afterward, Norman had driven several staff officers on an observation tour back of the front lines. While he had waited for them, one of the Marines at the outpost told him of a shortcut to take on the way back.

About dusk he came to the turning-off place. But when he had turned into it and gone only a truck's length or so, he saw Pete about fifty feet ahead in the middle of the road, his hand raised as if to signal a stop. He thought Pete meant, "You better go back the way you came."

Norman backed the truck out, taking care as he did so not to hit a truckful of Marines waiting to take the shortcut. None of the officers noticed and so Norman gave no explanation. But it was after he was back on the other road that the full realization hit him that Pete had been dead for a couple of weeks (a realization it would seem a fully awake person would have had instantly).

Next morning, when the casualty reports came in, Norman learned that the truckful of Marines waiting for him to back out had been blown up by a mine about two miles up the shortcut. Every man had been killed.

The inference to be drawn from such experiences obviously gives them special importance--the inference being, of course, that the deceased one is in some way still existing, and that he knows of the danger and gives the warning... Fortunately, instances are on record, too, in which the person seen is not dead or asleep at the time, but alive and wide awake and able to give testimony. [Example: Pat's Warning]

--Louisa E. Rhine


Rhine isn't saying such experiences mean ghosts are real; she argues elsewhere that subliminal perception of a problem or genuine ESP (however you define that) often uses a ghostlike image to voice a warning--it happens in dreams all the time. Pete's ghost could also, of course, be a hallucination that by sheer chance correctly predicted a fatal mine ahead. But all seem strained--ghost, subliminal bomb-sniffing unconscious, ESP, or chance.

Notice how Norman's odd mental state shaped his actions. He had to be at least half-asleep at the wheel, or he'd have noticed he was taking directions from a dead man. But maybe he needed to be groggy to accept a psychic prompt (ghostly or not). Norman turned back, but didn't try to warn the truck behind him; so a lot of men died. So many outcomes were possible:

My point? Norman's information, however derived, was lifesaving--but many factors limited its use, including chance, his level of alertness and the other soldiers' level of skepticism. If ESP exists, it must be at least marginally useful, on average, or it'd be selected against. But noticing, interpreting, and acting intelligently on sensory data (of any kind) is hard in the fog of war.

Whatever Pete was... could Norman have handled his warning better? Sure. Or much worse.

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 62. Account untitled, author's name witheld; title & byline added as search aids only.

LISTS AND LINKS: war - work - on the road - ghosts - hypnogogic dreams - hallucinations - friends - guardians and rescues - bombs - death - precognition - ESP in general - time-forks - more Louisa Rhine - tales of the waking world - Guam - the 'ghost' of a living friend saves three men: Pat's Warning

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