I’ve always been fascinated by some of the lesser known…..but extraordinary experiences quietly reported, recounted and remembered by people you wouldn’t think would be interested in psychic phenonema.
For example – Carl Jung’s incredible near death experience that totally shifted his view on life, and death. Or General George Patton’s recollections of his previous lives. Or, Thomas Edison’s interest in building a phone that could communicate with the dead. (Tesla, the genius inventor of the same era had similar ambitions)
Or, as an aspiring writer and artist myself……the incredible interest that Mark Twain had in psychic experiences, and his own incredible adventures in the realm of seeing, sensing and feeling future events.
Twain was not only incredibly interested in psychic experiences, but he wrote about his own a number of times, usually using a pen name, as he was afraid of how his reputation may suffer if he shared his beliefs with the public.
For a great essay (by religious studies professor, Jeffery Kripal) on why these experiences ARE so important to develop a full understanding of the human condition, check out the article, following the short excerpt below! Enjoy!
Scene 1. Mark Twain was famous for mocking every orthodoxy and convention, including, it turns out, the conventions of space and time. As he relates the events in his diaries, Twain and his brother Henry were working on the riverboat Pennsylvania in June 1858. While they were in port in St. Louis, the writer had a dream:
In the morning, when I awoke I had been dreaming, and the dream was so vivid, so like reality, that it deceived me, and I thought it was real. In the dream I had seen Henry a corpse. He lay in a metallic burial case. He was dressed in a suit of my clothing, and on his breast lay a great bouquet of flowers, mainly white roses, with a red rose in the centre.
Twain awoke, got dressed and prepared to go view the casket. He was walking to the house where he thought the casket lay before he realized “that there was nothing real about this — it was only a dream.”
Alas, it was not. A few weeks later, Henry was badly burned in a boiler explosion and then accidentally killed when some young doctors gave him an overdose of opium for the pain. Normally the dead were buried in a simple pine coffin, but some women had raised $60 to put Henry in a metal one. Henry was wearing one of Twain’s suits he had borrowed without Twain’s knowledge. And as Twain stood at the casket, an elderly lady laid on his breast a large bouquet of white roses, with a red rose in the middle.
Who would not be permanently marked, at once inspired and haunted, by such a series of events? Who of us, if this were our dream and our brother, could honestly dismiss it as a series of coincidences?
Twain could not. He was obsessed with such moments in his life, of which there were many. In 1878, he described some of them in an essay and even theorized how they worked. But he could not bring himself to publish it, as he feared “the public would treat the thing as a joke whereas I was in earnest.”