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  • Bryan Williams

An Intuitively-Driven Cemetery Visit?

Occasionally there are moments when people tell of having felt a sudden urge, impulse, or desire coming on, without any clear reason or purpose behind it. While many of these feelings seem to amount to little more than imagination, there have been certain instances in which they've seemingly been found to correspond to a particularly meaningful occurrence. One suggestive example comes from a case found in Phantasms of the Living [1], which reportedly took place approximately 160 years ago. It was reported by a man named William Kobbé (who was a Bt. Major in the U.S. Army), and its context makes it seem fitting to relate here for Memorial Day: In 1858 or 1859, while at home in New York City, I one day felt a desire to visit Greenwood Cemetery some six or seven miles distant, on Long Island, where my family owned a vault. When I arrived there, I found my father standing uncovered at an open grave, in which he had just placed the remains of an infant son, who had died before my birth; he had had the remains removed from the vault and placed in the grave for final interment, and the workmen were on the point of putting in the first spadeful of earth as I came up. When we left the cemetery together, I remarked on the singular coincidence which had brought me there at the nick of time; it quickly and naturally came out that my father had left a message at home for me to meet him there, at the time I really did do so. This message I never received, for the simple reason that I had not gone home. The coincidence is remarkable because: 1.) In those days the cemetery was not pleasant or convenient of access. 2.) Neither my father, myself, nor other members of the family ever went there, or for that matter, ever spoke of the place. With the exception of two infant children who had died many years before, none of our relatives were buried there, and, as far as I know, no one of the family had been there for many years. Most of them had never been there. 3.) There was, and had been, no reason why I should ever think of the place, and I had never had any intention or desire to visit it. 4.) Had I been a few minutes earlier or later (say, half-an-hour at the most), I would not have met my father, and it is probable [I] would never have heard of the matter. His messenger would have reported to him that I had not received his message, and he would probably not have mentioned it to me. To put the matter in a nutshell, a message was left for me to be at a certain undesirable and unfrequented place, inconvenient of access and taking some hours to reach by boat and other conveyance. I do not receive the message, but obey it implicitly to the minute. [1, Vol. I, pp. 288 - 289] Assuming that it wasn't due to an exceptional chance coincidence, this case would seem to illustrate a subtle psychic impression that was intuitively sensed and experienced by Major Kobbé as a sudden desire. It is rather similar to other intuitive "compulsion" cases, in which a person has a sudden compulsive feeling to take a certain action, even though there's no apparent reason to do so. Only later is it learned that this compulsion to act had important (e.g., life-saving) or otherwise meaningful consequences [e.g., 2, pp. 185 - 186]. It also seems to reflect a psychic experience that was shared between two immediate family members - something that has been found to occur in just over half of the cases described in Phantasms of the Living [3], as well as in more contemporary cases [4, p. 37]. This generally suggests that psychic connections tend to be more common among close relatives (as compared to individuals who share a more distant relation). The PRF wishes everyone a pleasant Memorial Day weekend. ***************** References: [1] Gurney, E., Myers, F. W. H., & Podmore, F. (1886). Phantasms of the Living (2 vols.). London: Trübner & Company. [2] Rhine, L. E. (1981). The Invisible Picture: A Study of Psychic Experiences. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. [3] Schouten, S. A. (1979). Analysis of spontaneous cases as reported in "Phantasms of the Living." European Journal of Parapsychology, 2, 408 - 455. [4] Feather, S. R., & Schmicker, M. (2005). The Gift: ESP, the Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People. New York: St. Martin's Press.

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