The Knot In The Shutter
Scary Books: The Book Of Dreams And Ghosts
: Andrew Lang
"It is said that a dream produced a powerful effect on Hone's mind.
He dreamt that he was introduced into a room where he was an entire
stranger, and saw himself seated at a table, and on going towards the
window his attention was somehow or other attracted to the window-
shutter, and particularly to a knot in the wood, which was of singular
appearance; and on waking the whole scene, and especially the knot in
er, left a most vivid impression on his mind. Some time
afterwards, on going, I think, into the country, he was at some house
shown into a chamber where he had never been before, and which
instantly struck him as being the identical chamber of his dream. He
turned directly to the window, where the same knot in the shutter
caught his eye. This incident, to his investigating spirit, induced a
train of reflection which overthrew his cherished theories of
materialism, and resulted in conviction that there were spiritual
agencies as susceptible of proof as any facts of physical science; and
this appears to have been one of the links in that mysterious chain of
events by which, according to the inscrutable purposes of the Divine
will, man is sometimes compelled to bow to an unseen and divine power,
and ultimately to believe and live."
"Another of the Christian friends from whom, in his later years,
William Hone received so much kindness, has also furnished
recollections of him.
" . . . Two or three anecdotes which he related are all I can
contribute towards a piece of mental history which, if preserved,
would have been highly interesting. The first in point of time as to
his taste of mind, was a circumstance which shook his confidence in
_materialism_, though it did not lead to his conversion. It was one
of those mental phenomena which he saw to be _inexplicable_ by the
doctrines he then held.
"It was as follows: He was called in the course of business into a
part of London quite new to him, and as he walked along the street he
noticed to himself that he had never been there; but on being shown
into a room in a house where he had to wait some time, he immediately
fancied that it was all familiar, that he had seen it before, 'and if
so,' said he to himself, 'there is a very peculiar knot in this
shutter'. He opened the shutter and found the knot. 'Now then,'
thought he, 'here is something I cannot explain on my principles!'"
Indeed the occurrence is not very explicable on any principles, as a
detail not visible without search was sought and verified, and that by
a habitual mocker at anything out of the common way. For example,
Hone published a comic explanation, correct or not, of the famous
Supposing Hone's story to be true, it naturally conducts us to yet
more unfamiliar, and therefore less credible dreams, in which the
unknown past, present, or future is correctly revealed.