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The Dream That Knocked At The Door






The following is an old but good story. The Rev. Joseph Wilkins died,
an aged man, in 1800. He left this narrative, often printed; the date
of the adventure is 1754, when Mr. Wilkins, aged twenty-three, was a
schoolmaster in Devonshire. The dream was an ordinary dream, and did
not announce death, or anything but a journey. Mr. Wilkins dreamed,
in Devonshire, that he was going to London. He thought he would go by
Gloucestershire and see his people. So he started, arrived at his
father's house, found the front door locked, went in by the back door,
went to his parents' room, saw his father asleep in bed and his mother
awake. He said: "Mother, I am going a long journey, and have come to
bid you good-bye". She answered in a fright, "Oh dear son, thou art
dead!" Mr. Wilkins wakened, and thought nothing of it. As early as a
letter could come, one arrived from his father, addressing him as if
he were dead, and desiring him, if by accident alive, or any one into
whose hands the letter might fall, to write at once. The father then
gave his reasons for alarm. Mrs. Wilkins, being awake one night,
heard some one try the front door, enter by the back, then saw her son
come into her room and say he was going on a long journey, with the
rest of the dialogue. She then woke her husband, who said she had
been dreaming, but who was alarmed enough to write the letter. No
harm came of it to anybody.

The story would be better if Mr. Wilkins, junior, like Laud, had kept
a nocturnal of his dreams, and published his father's letter, with
post-marks.

The story of the lady who often dreamed of a house, and when by chance
she found and rented it was recognised as the ghost who had recently
haunted it, is good, but is an invention!

A somewhat similar instance is that of the uproar of moving heavy
objects, heard by Scott in Abbotsford on the night preceding and the
night of the death of his furnisher, Mr. Bullock, in London. The
story is given in Lockhart's Life of Scott, and is too familiar for
repetition.

On the whole, accepting one kind of story on the same level as the
other kind, the living and absent may unconsciously produce the
phenomena of haunted houses just as well as the dead, to whose alleged
performances we now advance. Actual appearances, as we have said, are
not common, and just as all persons do not hear the sounds, so many do
not see the appearance, even when it is visible to others in the same
room. As an example, take a very mild and lady-like case of haunting.





Next: The Girl In Pink

Previous: My Gillie's Father's Story



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