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Dreamed 1754 by Joseph Wilkins

Joseph Wilkins, a dissenting minister... dreamt that he was travelling to London, and that as it would not be much out of his way, he would go by Gloucestershire and call upon his friends.

Accordingly he arrived at his father's house, but finding the front door closed, he went round to the back and there entered. The family, however, being already in bed, he ascended the stairs, and entered his father's bed-chamber. Him he found asleep, but to his mother who was awake, he said, as he walked round to her side of the bed, "Mother, I am going a long journey, and am come to bid you good bye;" to which she answered, "Oh, dear son, thee art dead!"

Though struck with the distinctness of the dream, Mr. Wilkins attached no importance to it, till to his surprise, a letter arrived from his father, addressed to himself, if alive, or if not, to his surviving friends, begging earnestly for immediate intelligence, since they were under great apprehensions that their son was either dead or in danger of death; for that on such a night (naming that on which the above dream had occurred), he, the father, being asleep, and Mrs. Wilkins awake, she had distinctly heard somebody try to open the fore door, which being fast, the person had gone round to the back and there entered. She had perfectly recognised the footstep to be that of her son, who had ascended the stairs, and entering the bed-chamber had said to her, "Mother, I am going a long journey, and am come to bid you goodbye;" whereupon she had answered, "Oh, dear son, thee art dead!" Much alarmed, she had awakened her husband and related what had occurred, assuring him that it was not a dream, for that she had not been asleep at all.

Mr. Wilkins mentions that this curious circumstance took place in the year 1754, when he was living at Ottery, and that he had frequently discussed the subject with his mother, on whom the impression made was even stronger than on himself.

Neither death nor anything else remarkable ensued.


This account's from The Night Side of Nature by Catherine Crowe, 1848. Crowe pioneered psychic research decades before the craze in the late 1800s. She rarely cites her sources fully; I chose this example because it contains names, places and dates.

And because it's funny. At least if is if you've plowed through the hundreds of accounts of dreams and premonitions from this period. For they always, always, ALWAYS involve the death of a loved one. Before 1900, it was illegal to be psychic about lunch or a lost shoe. So the Wilkinses are funny. To be that psychic, and then to mistakenly assume a disaster because it's culturally expected... ha! I admire the Wilkins family for having the courage to break free and say "oops. Never mind."

It's like Lemony Snickett reversed.

LISTS AND LINKS: out-of-body experiences - Natalian dreams (dreams leaving physical traces) - souls - ESP - house and home - revenants (dead loved ones returning) - oops! mistakes - dream humor - England 1754 - one more from Crowe: The Axe of Death (caution: as grim as it sounds)

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