Real life happenings:
1) In 1985, Mrs Jayshree Mande's mother-in-law was diagnosed as having a brain tumour. She narrated her story. My husband was working in Saudi Arabia at that time. Before leaving India he had told his mother he would come back during Diwali and meet her. Those were difficult days for me as I was working and staying alone with my two small children.
I remember the date this incident occurred. It was 14th June 1985. I woke up with a start at 3 a.m. to see my mother-in-law sitting on my bed. I said mother, how come you are here at this hour? She replied I have come to meet you and the children. When will my son come? I said he would be coming during Diwali. It will be too late. I will not be able to meet him. I am worried about you and the children staying alone in this lonely place. Saying this, she got up to leave. Have a cup of tea I said. I went into the kitchen to prepare tea. When I came out five minutes later, there was no sign of her. The front door was bolted from inside.
Later that day, I went to my neighbour's house and requested them to keep an eye on my children, as I would be going to Pune to meet my mother-in-law. Meanwhile the phone rang. It was my brother-in-law on the line informing me that his mother had passed away that night. I went to his house. My mother-in-law was lying on her bed in the same white sari with a pink floral design and green blouse that I had seen her wearing a few hours earlier. My brother-in-law told me that she had slipped into a coma earlier that night and had regained consciousness around 3 a.m. He had asked her if she wanted something to drink. She had said no thanks, I just went to Jayshree's house and had some tea. She died a few minutes later.
2) Mona Saxena (name changed) was a foreign student studying physiotherapy in a Mumbai institute in 1994. Her parents and sister lived in South Africa. One night while reading a novel by the bedside lamp she saw her bedroom door open and her sister walk in. The girl was injured and blood was dripping from her head. A screaming Mona rushed out of the room and out of the house. She gathered her senses and returned to the room, but her sister was nowhere to be seen. A telephone call early the next day informed her about her sister's death in a car accident the previous night.
3) Sunil Shah (name changed) had a friend whose son's name was Ajay Pandey. Ajay had gone to the village for his summer vacation in April 1999. In the middle of the night Sunil woke up in a sweat. He saw Ajay standing beside his bed. How was it possible? The boy was in the village miles away. Had he come back? And what was he doing in the middle of the night in his bedroom? The apparition of the boy suddenly disappeared. Sunil got up and went around the house looking for him. It was impossible for anyone to have entered and left, for all the doors were secured from inside. The next day he got a telephone call from the boy's father saying that the boy had gone to the well to fetch some water and had fallen in it and drowned. It had happened at about the same time he had seen the boy’s apparition in his bedroom.
Studies in literature:
1) While at sea in the year 1823, David Duncan, Captain of an American cargo schooner, saw a vision of his wife and children perishing in a fire at their home in Norfolk, Virginia thousands of miles away.
On the night of 12th May, Duncan's schooner, the 'Sea Witch' was anchored at the port of Genoa in Italy. Duncan stayed on board; reading poetry, while the rest of the crew had gone into the city. That night a fire broke out in the building in Norfolk where his wife Martha lived with her twin children Davis and Ann. The unfortunate lady could not escape from the flames and all three perished. At about the same moment, David who was reading a book in his cabin saw a fire at one end of his boat. He ran towards the flames and saw the apparitions of his wife and children in them. Martha cried out, David! David! Save us! The next instant the fire and the apparitions vanished.
Although badly shaken, David had no idea as to exactly what had happened. It was only when he returned home much later that he realised that his 'vision' had been real. His wife and their two small children had died in the fire.
2) A well-documented case of a crisis apparition took place in England at the home of Lady Tyrone, wife of British Admiral Sir George Tyrone. Lady Tyrone was entertaining guests at her elegant London home on June 22, 1893. In the midst of the party, a man dressed in full naval uniform entered unannounced, walked across the room and suddenly vanished, surprising everyone. The man was Admiral Tyrone who was at that time supposed to be far away at sea with the Mediterranean Fleet. It so happened that at about the same time the Admiral’s ship 'Victoria' had collided with another battleship, the 'Camperdown'. The Admiral, in accordance with naval tradition, went down with his ship and cried out to his men that the accident had occurred due to an erroneous signal given by him. It was never understood as to why the Admiral had ordered the Victoria to turn and sail straight towards the Camperdown. The Admiral's appearance at the party was obviously his way of saying goodbye to his wife.
3) A case involving military personnel documented in the files of the Society for Psychical Research deserves mention. In the morning of December 7, 1918 (World War I), Lieutenant David McConnel, an eighteen-year-old British pilot, was sent on a short mission. He was to fly a small two-seater plane from his base in Scampton to a field in Tadcaster, sixty miles away and was due to return the same afternoon. At 11:30 a.m. McConnell told his friend Lieutenant Larkin that he was flying to Tadcaster with a second pilot and would be back soon. Due to bad weather the two pilots landed at an airfield on the way and telephoned their home base. McConnell then continued on the mission alone. His plane crashed while attempting to land at Tadcaster. He was killed instantly. His wristwatch, which had broken at the instant of the crash, read 3:25 p.m. At the instant the plane crashed, Mc Connell's friend Lieutenant Larkin who was relaxing in his room at the base heard his voice and saw him standing only a few feet away. McConell greeted his friend with his customary Hullo, boy! Back already? asked Larkin. Yes, said the figure. Got there all right, had a good trip. Well, cheerio! said the figure and left. How could a man who had died at 3:25 p.m. appear in the base situated miles away at almost the same instant? What explanation can there be?
Twenty minutes later, at 3:45 p.m., McConnell's friend Lieutenant Garner Smith came to meet Larkin in his room and said it would be good if all three of them could meet that evening. Larkin told Smith that McConnell had already arrived half an hour ago. Later, when Larkin heard that McConnell had died that day, he presumed that the officer had taken another flight that evening and that had crashed. It was only when Larkin learnt that McConnell had died between 3:15 and 3:30 p.m., did he realise that something strange had happened. Though Larkin was a sceptic who had no belief or interest in psychic matters, he had no explanation for what had happened.When McConnell's family heard the news, they wrote to Larkin asking for a detailed account of what had happened. Larkin replied to their letter, giving his account. The SPR investigating the case considered it to be a classic one for a number of reasons. Firstly, the witnesses they questioned were practical and level-headed people who had no obvious motive for spreading stories. Secondly, Lieutenant Larkin had written about his vision in a letter to McConnell’s family only fifteen days after the incident. Also, Larkin had spoken to Garner Smith at 3:45 p.m., at a time when he did not know that McConnell was dead. McConnell died at 3:25 p.m. as indicated by his smashed wristwatch. Investigators of the SPR ruled out hoax and the possibility that Lieutenant Larkin had fallen asleep and dreamt about McConnell. They concluded that the possibilities in this case were that either Lieutenant Larkin saw a hallucination of McConnell or that McConnell’s death released some kind of 'energy', which was seen by his friend far away.