Thought Transference and Dreams
The Path, December, 1886
Have you ever noticed the swiftness of thought transference in cases where the thinker is not consciously projecting his thought to another mind? The writer had lately a notable instance of this. I was seated at the breakfast table, thinking over an order from THE PATH which had come the night before. It was an order for “1000 words on dreams, etc.” and not being such stuff as dreams are made of, I pondered intently albeit silently: “Where the deuce am I to get any authentic dreams?”
“Mr. Julius, do you like dreams?”
So spoke a clear young voice at my elbow, It was the voice of Sue.
I am not qualified to judge whether Sue is a child or a girl. She is, however, an embodiment of that young America who rules these United States from Atlantic coast to Pacific wave, and although a bachelor, I respect her accordingly.
Sue represents my possible fate.
“Dreams!” I stammered. “What do you know about dreams?”
“Me? Why I have ’em. Lots! But only the horrid kind, you know.”
I venture to ask, most respectfully, what she calls “the horrid kind.”
“The kind you can’t remember, so’s to tell ’em and scare the girls. All mixed up, you see.” Here Sue snaps down the lid of the maple syrup cruet with an air which indicates that the subject is dosed. But I venture on. I fear Sue a trifle less than I do my Editor and his demand for contracted copy.
“What made you think of dreams just now, Sue, if you please?”
“Oh! I don’t know. They just came spang into my head. Perhaps you were thinking about them.”
“Why, my child! You do not mean to say that you believe in thought transference!”
“What’s that? Some nonsense! What I mean is that when I’m thinkin’ ’bout somethin,’ an’ I don’t want the other girls to talk about it, I put it out of my head, quick,—(another hot cake, please,) so they won’t get it into their heads too. They always do, unless. Understand?”
I did indeed. “Verily out of the mouths of babes and sucklings proceed the words of wisdom.”
This to myself of course. What I said aloud was merely, “I should like to hear a real good dream this minute, a true one.”
Sue gives her head that capable toss. “Why didn’t you ask me? You people always think children don’t know anything. Guess you’ve changed your mind since you were a child. Anyhow, Mrs. D. was tellin’ it t’ Sister an’ some ladies, and it gives your blood a lovely curdle.”
Here Sue settled herself in her chair and gave herself up with gusto to the joy of curdling my blood. Making careful inquiry afterward, I found true, in all its details, the dream which I now give to my readers.
Mrs. D. was at her country place. She dreamed one night that she rose, and walking to her window looked out upon the familiar scene just then lit by the moon. To her surprise she noticed persons walking two by two across the lawn towards her; then more people, many of whom she knew. As she watched this procession, there came finally a hearse driven by a boy. He stopped the ghastly vehicle under her window, and raising a scarred face on which the moonbeams played, he called out: “Are you ready?” Mrs. D. shrieked and awoke, to find herself in bed and the sport of a dream, but telling it afterwards to her family she remarked: “If ever I were to see that boy, I should know him by the awful scars on his face.”
Some time afterward this lady was standing in a hotel corridor, waiting for the lift. As it rose slowly into view, she was attracted by the head of the boy running it: “Where have I seen that head?” was her thought, and so puzzling, she delayed to step into the waiting lift. Just as she moved forward and entered, the boy turned his face towards her saying: “Are you ready?” and she saw again those great scars, and across her inner vision moved that slow funereal scene. Sickened, startled, she felt an impulse of escape, and profited by the stoppage of the lift at the next floor to get off, instead of continuing to a higher floor, as she had proposed. She paused a few moments to recover herself, and to reason with herself as well, when suddenly a horrible crash was heard; then a dead silence; afterward the murmur of excited voices. The machinery had broken, the lift had fallen to the ground floor, and every person in it had been killed. As I thought over this strange story, the decided young voice streamed on: “Do you know, Mr. Julius, they were discussing it at dinner, and I heard some quite stylish people say they believed it was God Himself warning her. Fancy! They weren’t church people of course.”
Humanity is divided by Sue into two classes. Class 1 . Members of The Protestant Episcopal Church. Class. 2. Heathen. She finds this very convenient. So, I doubt not, do many older persons.
“And what do you think it was, my child?”
“Me ? Oh, well! I just think it was her soul, somehow, Mr. Julius! Why do you stare at me like that? I do believe you know something about it! Nobody will ever tell me. Put down your coffee cup, its spilling all over your beard, and tell me straight off all you know about our souls.”
But here the Skye terrier comes bouncing in, and offers himself for dissection instead. Nevertheless, I know a few people, (and I fancy THE PATH knows scores more) who expect you to tell between the roast and the relevé, all that is known about the soul. Go instead to the children, question their fresh instincts, their curious methods, their habitual impulses and freaks, above all, their esprit de corps, and what you learn about occultism from these still plastic minds will surprise you. It has me!