Meopham Air Disaster:
a Dream of Pre-Vision
Dreamed 1930/7/18 by GHM Holms
In July 1930 I was at Goathland in Yorkshire with my husband and daughter on a holiday. We spent our time taking long walks all over the open moors which surround the place.
On the night of Friday the 18th I dreamt that I, by myself, was walking along a path crossing a gentle slope of heather covered hillside. The horizon was hidden all round by undulating moorland hills, no trees or buildings, just heather. The heathery hillside rose on my left, but on my right, where the ground dropped gradually, there was roughish green grass dotted here and there with apple trees, and a short distance ahead of me, on the path, two labourers were working.I had no feeling of vagueness, or the unreasoning terror of a nightmare. It was all clear, vivid, consecutive, and happened so quickly, just as if I had witnessed a painful tragedy in real life. As I dressed the whole scene, instead of fading, became more and more intensified. I told my husband and daughter, and could not shake it off. The words " There goes his skull" remained all day in my ears and the dream obsessed me until Tuesday morning, the 22nd, when the paper announced briefly a terrible air catastrophe at Meopham, Kent, in which Lord Dufferin, Lady Ednam, Mrs. Loeffler, two other men and a pilot had all been killed by falling from an aeroplane on Monday the 21st.
The sky was completely covered with low-lying light grey clouds, and suddenly, out of the clouds, high up on my left the body of a man came shooting down, at a slightly curving slant, head first, at a terrific pace, as if from a great distance. My brain seemed super-active. I took in his whole appearance instantaneously as he fell. A medium sized very well set up figure, in a very well-cut grey suit, with well cut fairish hair, clean shaved. I did not see his full face, only his back and side view. The great momentum carried him down to my right, where he landed on his head a few yards from me, with a sickening thud, and with the thud I heard something crack and said out loud, "There goes his skull." The body rebounded once and then rolled over once or twice, a yard or two, and bumped into a tree, which stopped it. I saw the top of the mutilated head which was towards me. It was smashed in like the top of an egg, and covered with blood.
I saw the labourers drop their tools and hurry down the grass. They raised the body and carried it up to the path behind me--I turned and saw a cottage 30 or 40 yards away, with two or three apple trees round it. It was a gabled plastered thatched cottage, such as is never seen on Yorkshire moors. The men carried the man to the cottage. They took no notice of me, nor did I speak to them. I seemed passive, in some way altogether detached from the scene. I then woke up.
There were no further details, but I and my daughter were struck with the coincidence, especially considering the scenery. The meadow, the apple trees and cottage, just a vignette of a South of England landscape framed all round by the moors which had been impressing my mind for the previous week or two.
I began writing a letter to the editor of Light but had not time to finish it and post it that day. Very unfortunately as it happened, for the next morning full details appeared, confirming everything I had seen. The chief witness was a farmer or labourer. He was in an orchard when he saw something large falling from the sky, which came down, he said, with a "thud" like a sack of potatoes. It rebounded once or twice, he said and then rolled against a tree. He ran up and saw it was the body of a man, and that the "skull" was smashed. He looked up but could not see or hear any trace of an aeroplane. The body seemed just to have dropped from the sky, he said. After a moment or two another body fell, further down the orchard, and then the remaining ones close together. He got help and the bodies were carried to his cottage at the end of the orchard. Parts of the aeroplane were picked up at various spots some distance away.
This was my dream in every particular, except that I only saw the first body fall. Even the word "skull," so strange for me to have used, was reproduced by the witness.
I did not finish my letter to the editor, it was no use after the details of the accident had been published, but I have it by me.
... I might add here that aeroplanes have never come into my life at all. I have never been in one, and never heard anyone talk about them, except in reference to famous flights in the papers. My dream surprised us all, as the subject of flying never enters into our ordinary life or conversation.
The other published details of the accident were that the party of people had met at Mrs. Loeffler's house at Le Touquet on Friday the 18th July, for the week end, and then had probably arranged to return by air all together on Monday. It seems to me that they must have been talking over and arranging their plans on Friday evening, and some wave of communication reached me that night--but "why" is a mystery. I was a stranger--far away, and unable to warn them.
A feeble explanation may be that the Dufferin family have always been very familiar to me, as I come from their neighbourhood in Ireland, also I have lived a lot in India where the famous Lord Dufferin and Harriet Lady Dufferin are still household words, and my parents met them, but not I. This idea is very far-fetched, but it is the only connection I can think of.
Source: Some Cases of Prediction by Dame Edith Lyttelton (1937); p. 136-140
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