Incidents in My Life
Daniel Dunglas Home
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Incidents in My Life is a book about mediumship by Daniel Dunglas Home, first published in 1864. The author was a Scottish physical medium with the reported ability to levitate to a variety of heights, speak with the dead, and to produce rapping and knocks in houses at will.
This book has 212 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1864.
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Excerpt from 'Incidents in My Life'
I WAS born near Edinburgh, in March, 1833. When I was about a year old, I was adopted by an aunt, and I accompanied her and her husband to America when I was about nine years old. I was very delicate as a child, and of a highly nervous temperament; so much so that it was not thought that I could be reared. I cannot remember when I first became subject to the curious phenomena which have now for so long attended me, but my aunt and others have told me that when I was a baby my cradle was frequently rocked, as if some kind guardian spirit was tending me in my slumbers. My aunt has also told me that when I was about four years old, I had a vision of the circumstances attending the passing from earth of a little cousin, I being at Portobello, near Edinburgh, and she at Linlithgow, all which proved to be entirely correct, though I had mentioned persons as being present about her, who it is thought could not have been there, and had noticed the absence of her father on the water, at a time when it was thought that he must be with her at home.
When about thirteen years of age, the first vision which I distinctly remember occurred. I was from my delicate health, unable to join the sports of other boys of my own age. I had, a few months before the vision which I am about to relate, made the acquaintance of a boy two or three years my senior, and somewhat similar to myself both in character and organization. We were in the habit of reading the Bible together, and upon one occasion, in the month of April, as we had been reading it in the woods, and we were both of us silently contemplating the beauties of the springing vegetation, he turned to me and said, "Oh, I have been reading such a strange story!" and he told me a ghost story connected with the family of Lord-, and which I have since found to be well authenticated. A portrait of the lady to whom it occurred still exists in the family, and is known as the lady with the black ribbon. The present Lord who is of the same family, has told me that he was born in the chamber where the spirit appeared. My friend Edwin asked me if I thought the story could be true, and I said I did not know, but that I had heard strange things of that kind. We then agreed that whichever one of us should first be called from earth, would, if God permitted it, appear to the other the third day afterwards. We read another chapter of the Bible together, and we prayed that so it might be to us. About a month from this time, I went with my family to reside at Troy in the State of New York, a distance from Norwich, where Edwin lived, of nearly three hundred miles. I had been to spend the evening at the latter end of June with some friends, and nothing had occurred during the evening to excite my imagination, or to agitate my mind; on the contrary, I was in a calm state. The family had retired to rest, and I at once went to my room, which was so completely filled with the moonlight as to render a candle unnecessary. After saying my prayers, I was seated on the bed, and about to draw the sheet over me, when a sudden darkness seemed to pervade the room. This surprised me, inasmuch as I had not seen a cloud in the sky; and on looking up I saw the moon still shining, but it was on the other side of the darkness, Which still grew more dense, until through the darkness there seemed to be a gleam of light, which I cannot describe, but it was similar to those which I and many others have since seen when the room has been illuminated by spiritual presence. This light increased, and my attention was drawn to the foot of my bed, where stood my friend Edwin. He appeared as in a cloud of brightness, illuminating his face with a distinctness more than mortal. His features were unchanged except in brightness, and the only difference I saw was that his hair was long, and that it fell in wavy ringlets upon his shoulders. He looked on me with a smile of ineffable sweetness, then slowly raising the right arm, he pointed upward, and making with it three circles in the air, the hand began slowly to disappear, and then the arm, and finally the whole body melted away. The natural light of the room was then again apparent. I was speechless and could not move, though I retained all my reasoning faculties. As soon as the power of movement was restored) I rang the bell, and the family, thinking I was in, came to my room, when my first words were, "I have seen Edwin-, he died three days ago at this very hour." This was found to be perfectly correct by a letter which came a few days afterwards, announcing that after only a few hours' illness, he had died of malignant dysentery.
My mother was a seer throughout her life. She passed from earth in the year 1850, at the age of forty-two. She had what is known in Scotland as the second sight, and in many instances she saw things which were afterwards found to have occurred at a distance, just as she had described them. She also foresaw many events which occurred in the family, and foretold the passing away of relatives, and lastly, she foretold her own four months previously.
I was then seventeen, and was residing at Norwich, Connecticut, and my mother was living at Waterford, near New London, twelve miles distant. One day I suddenly felt a strong impulse that she wished to see me, and I walked all the way in consequence of this impression. When I got home, I felt an impression that she had something particular to communicate to me that evening. When we were alone I turned to her and said, “What have you to say to me, mother?" She looked at me with intense surprise, and then a smile came over her face, and she said, “Well, dear, it was only to tell you that four months from this time I shall leave you." I asked incredulously how she knew, and she said, "Your little sister, Mary, came to me in a vision, holding four lilies in her hand, and allowing them to slip through her fingers one after the other, till the last one had fallen, she said, 'And then you will come to me.' I asked her whether the four lilies signified years, months, weeks, or days, and she told me I months."' I had been quite impressed by this narration, when my mother added—and I shall be quite alone when I die, and there will not be a relative near to close my eyes." This appeared to me to be so improbable, not to say impossible, inasmuch as the family was a large one, and we had many relatives, that I said to her, "Oh, mother, I am so delighted you have told me this, because it shows that it must be a false vision." She shook her head. Mary was a little sister who had been taken from earth under most trying circumstances about four years previously. My mother was out for a walk, leaving the child at home, and on returning, having to cross a running stream, and whilst she was on the bridge over it, she saw what appeared to be some loose clothes floating on the water, and hastening to the side to see what it was, she drew out the body of her child.