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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (April 27, 1913)
THE SEMI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE SECTION
THE BORDERLAND OF SLEEP
BY H ADDINGTON BRUCE
iltUSTRATIONS GtS G' H'MITCHE LL
IIF. Sl'IKNTIFIC S'lTDY OF
sleep, nariieinariv as s inwiiur me
ul rinse relationship between dreams
PvMI iiihI disease, lias resulted within the
I ui-t few yen in ill discoveries of
(Trent practical iinportance. .No less
iiiiinii lant are the discoveries that
hae been made through the investigation as yet
only in its beginnings of the peculiar semi
wnking, semi-sleeping condition Hint immediately
precedes nnd imiiiedintely follows nettinl sleep.
Most people hnve next to no knowledge of this
"liorderlnnd state," for the reason that it is usually
so fleeting as to he inappreciable. Hut careful exper
iment and observation hnve demonstrated its exist
ence; and. moreover, it is now known that instead of
being a merely passive condition, it often is char
acterized by a decree of mental activity that makes
an understanding id' it peculiarly interesting.
Through its investigation much new light has
been thrown on the nature of those weird hal
lucinations frequently experienced by normal,
healthy persons, and taking (lie form of phan
tasms of the living or the ilcnd; such as, for ex
ample, the "ghost" seen by Lewis ('. Hruce, while
spending u night in n lonely Scotch fnrinhouse.
He had been sailing all day, had been caught in
n calm, and did not arrive at the farmhouse until
after midnight. Hefore turning in he ate a heart,
supper, nnd then, having been shown to his room,
undressed as quickly as he could, and soon was
sound asleep. The bed he occupied was one of
those old-fashioned, heavily-curtained affairs so
common in the Highlands. About two o'clock in
the morning he awoke with a start and with an
uneasy feeling that he wns not nlone. Looking
up, he beheld to his horror a face gazing at him
from the opening in the curtains. This apparition
lasted from ten to lifteen seconds.
"It wns n fnce," .Mr. Hruce nflerwnrds said.
"Hint 1 hnd never seen before. My hair stood
up on my head, and 1 felt cold. Hut reason pre
ailed as I thought of my Into and heavy supper,
and soon again 1 was fast asleep."
lodge of bis amazement when, dressing in the
morning, he noticed on the wall a small portrait
which be instantly recognized as that of the face
be had seen gazing through the curtain. It n
the portrait, he learned at breakfast, of a nmn
wlio had formerly lived in the farmhouse, and bad
died in the room in which Mr. Hruce had slept.
COMPAKK with this tho extraordinary experi
ence of an Knglishinnii, .lolm K. Husbands, as
a truest at a hotel in .Madeira, lie had gone to bed.
one bright moonlight night, and had been sleep
ing for some time when, precisely like Mr. Hruce,
he awoke with a feeling that somebody was in the
room with biin. Opening his eyes he saw, standing
at the side of his bed ami pointing at the spot where
lie was lying, a young fellow of about twenty-tlve,
dressed in flannels. Mr. lluslmnds's first thought
was that the intruder had entered by the window,
which he knew he had left open, anil be called out
angrily, asking him wbnt he wnnted. Then, as the
other made no reply, he sat up in bed and struck at
him with his list. As he did so, his unexpected
isitor, still pointing toward the bed. slowly faded
The next day, Mr. Husbands told what he had
seen to several other guests at the hotel, including
a Miss Fnlkner and her brother. Hoth fnncied that
thev recognized in his
description of the llnn-nel-clnd
young friend of their--who
bad died in that
room some mouths be
O H MITCHELL.
ore. 1 in t they said nolliing of this to Mr. Hus
bands until nearly a week later, when Miss Fnlkner
abruptly showed him a photograph of the dead num.
Instantly he oxclnimed:
"Why, thut is the very ehnp I saw in my room.
Only he was dressed differently. lie had on a
cricket or tennis suit, fastened at the neck with a
"And," ndded Miss Fnlkner, in relating the inci
dent, "it so happens that this was the kind of dress
our friend often wore. Hut I can not understand
how ho enme to nppenr to Mr. Husbands, who is
most practical, and the last man one would expect
a 'spirit' to visit."
Still more striking was an uiicnnny visitation
ouchsafed to a commercial traveler from Hoston
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'P.V'- 4r,f iff
V. f.UM....." .
in my orders, which were unusually large ones, so
that 1 was in a very happy frame of mind indeed.
The hour wns high noon, nnd the sun was shining
cheerfully into my room. While busily smoking a
eigar am', writing out my orders, 1 suddenly became
conscious that some one wns sitting on my left, with
one arm resting on the tnble. Quick iu a flash I
turned and distinctly saw the form of my dead sis
ter, and for a brief second or so looked tier squarely
in the fnce; nnd so sure wns 1 that it wns she thnt I
sprang forward in delight, culling Iur by nnme; nnd,
ns I did so, the apparition instantly vanished.
Naturally 1 wns startled and duinfounded, almost
doubting my senses; but from the cigar in my mouth,
and the pen in my hand, wi 'i the ink still moist on
my letter, 1 satisfied myself 1 bad not been dreaming
nnd wns wide nwnke.
"Now comes the most remarkable confirmation
of my statement. Ibis visitation, or whatever
you may call it, so impressed me that I took the
next train home; and in the presence of my
parents and others 1 related what had occurred.
My father was inclined to ridicule me. as he saw
how earnestly 1 believed what I stated; but he.
loo, was amazed when I told them of a bright red
line or scratch on the right-hand side of my
sister's face, which I had distinctly seen.
uTATIIHN 1 mentioned this, my mother
trembling niul nearly fainted awav;
' in (lclipM
during a trip in the Middle West. In fact, his nar
rative of his experience, us reported by him to the
American Society for Psychical Research, witlT cor
roborative documents, constitutes one of the most
remarkable "true.ghost stories" I have ever heard,
and can properly bo told only in his own words.
"In 1807," he says, "my only sister, a young lady
of eighteen years, died suddenly of cholera in St.
Louis. My attachment for her wns very strong, and
the blow a severe one to me. A year or so after her
death I became a commercial traveler, ni 1 it was in
1870, while on ono of my Western trips, that the
"I had 'drummed' the city of St. Joseph, Mo., and
bad gone to my room at the Pacific Hoit-e to send
us soon us sue suiiiciently recovered ner sen -possession,
with tears streaming down her face, she
exclaimed that 1 had indeed seen my sister, as no
living mortal but herself wns aware of that
scratch, which she hail accidentally made while
doing some little act of kindness after my sister's
death. She said she well remembered how
pained she was to think she should have,
unintentionally, marred the features of
her dead daughter, and that, unknown to
all, bow she bad carefully obliterated all
traces of the slight scratch with the aid
of powder, etc., and that she had never
mentioned it to a human being from thut
day to this. In proof, neither my father
nor any of our family had detected it, and
positively were unaware of the incident ;
yet I saw the scratch as bright as if just
There was, further, a curious sequel to
this singular adventure, for within a few
days after her son's return, the mother
herself passed away, "happy in the belief
that she would rejoin her lavorite daugh
ter in another world." To the entire fam
ily it seemed certain that the dead daugh
ter bud been nware of her mother's
approaching end, and hnd contrived to
appear to her brother as a means of sending him
home in time to take a last farewell.
"Ghosts," of course, are often seen at the mo
ment when, or not long after, the person whose
phantasmal form uppenrs is dying, or passing
through some serious crisis, nt n distnnco from tho
plnee of apparition. I am able to cite an astonish
ing instance of this sort, on the authority of a clergy
man, 'he Hev. Arthur Bellamy. His wife, it seems,
as a joung girl had made n compact with a friend
Hint whichever of them died first should endeavor to
manifest herself in spirit form to tho survivor.
Many jears later Mrs. Bellamy, who in tho mean
time had lost nil track of her friend, cnsiinlly heard
of the hitter's death. The news reminded her of
their compnet, and, be
coming nervous, she
told her husband of it.
Mr. Bellamy declares be
had never known the
t'l'li'Mil in life, i,nr bad
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