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The Cow With The Bell






I had given a glass ball to the wife of a friend, whose visions proved
so startling and on one occasion so unholy that she ceased to make
experiments. One day my friend's secretary, a young student and
golfer, took up the ball.

"I see a field I know very well," he said, "but there is a cow in it
that I never saw; brown, with white markings, and, this is odd in
Scotland, she has a bell hanging from her neck. I'll go and look at
the field."

He went and found the cow as described, bell and all. {60b}

In the spring of 1897 I gave a glass ball to a young lady, previously
a stranger to me, who was entirely unacquainted with crystal gazing,
even by report. She had, however, not infrequent experience of
spontaneous visions, which were fulfilled, including a vision of the
Derby (Persimmon's year), which enriched her friends. In using the
ball she, time after time, succeeded in seeing and correctly
describing persons and places familiar to people for whom she
"scried," but totally strange to herself. In one case she added a
detail quite unknown to the person who consulted her, but which was
verified on inquiry. These experiments will probably be published
elsewhere. Four people, out of the very small number who tried on
these occasions, saw fancy pictures in the ball: two were young
ladies, one a man, and one a schoolboy. I must confess that, for the
first time, I was impressed by the belief that the lady's veracious
visions, however they are to be explained, could not possibly be
accounted for by chance coincidence. They were too many (I was aware
of five in a few days), too minute, and too remote from the range of
ingenious guessing. But "thought transference," tapping the mental
wires of another person, would have accounted for every case, with,
perhaps, the exception of that in which an unknown detail was added.
This confession will, undoubtedly, seem weakly credulous, but not to
make it would be unfair and unsportsmanlike. My statement, of course,
especially without the details, is not evidence for other people.

The following case is a much harder exercise in belief. It is
narrated by the Duc de Saint Simon. {62} The events were described to
Saint Simon on the day after their occurrence by the Duc d'Orleans,
then starting for Italy, in May, 1706. Saint Simon was very intimate
with the duke, and they corresponded by private cypher without
secretaries. Owing to the death of the king's son and grandson (not
seen in the vision), Orleans became Regent when Louis XIV. died in
1714. Saint Simon is a reluctant witness, and therefore all the
better.





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