1892, April 16 (pre.): An Odd Rescue

Light: A Journal of Psychical, Occult, and Mystical Research, was a magazine devoted to following the latest news regarding the sorts of strange things that interested English Victorian spiritualists... tales of ghosts, premonitions, and all things that would generally be considered 'psychic' phenomena. In the April 16, 1892, edition of Light, the editor -- who was likely William Stainton Moses at the time -- included an account of a strange dream a personal friend had shared with him.

        The story, as presented, was of a dream that a young lady friend of the editors' friend had experienced. In the dream, the young lady thought she heard a loud knock at the front door of her home, so she looked from a window down onto the street to see a hearse had stopped in front of her house. Greatly surprised, the young lady ran down the stairs and "herself opened the hall door." There was a strange-looking man sitting atop the hearse. He looked at the young woman and asked:

        "Are you not ready yet?"

        "Oh, no -- certainly not!" the young lady responded, and she slammed the door... which is exactly when she woke from the dream.

        The dream bothered her greatly, and she couldn't get the face of the hearse driver out of her head. She discussed the dream with friends and family, trying to puzzle out any hidden meanings it could have; but she could never settle on a possible meaning or reason.

         Weeks later, the young lady was in a large warehouse "in the City" (we're never told where). She went to use the lift... and froze before she stepped on. The man operating the lift had the same face as the hearse driver in her dream. The man looked at her and asked:

        "What are you not ready yet, miss?"

        ... which just reinforced her determination to not enter the lift with him. She declined the offer.

        The lift only went as far as the next floor before the machinery failed. The lift fell and was smashed to pieces; the unknown man was killed.

Interesting, but Scanty

        Please note that the tale, as presented, is a story from a friend of a friend, neither of whom are named. Nor are we told where or when the events would have happened. So, as it stands, the whole account must be treated as Unreliable as evidence of the paranormal... but, despite that, there is still more to tell in this particular case.

        The general story of "face remembered, deadly elevator avoided" has turned up at least two more times: one version in an 1907 issue of The Progressive Thinker magazine, and a more famous version as an event that occurred to the English diplomat, Lord Dufferin, around 1878. So is this an event that was just repeatedly happening in the late 1800's and early 1900's? Or was it just a good story making the rounds? Judge for yourself by following the 'See Also' links below.