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Apart from the "Angels of Mons"


ceasefire
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Hi All,

Are there members who know about "individual paranormal experiences" of soldiers during the Great War?

I am sure that there were some of them, but they never could tell it because they were afraid of being taken not seriously or even being classified as insane!

Ceasefire

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I'm not aware of many individual soldiers who recorded "paranormal experiences" but the ghost-story writer A. M. Burrage recorded that during the German advance of 1918 he and a friend were in a trench on the Somme and the Germans were bombarding it. He suddenly felt that he wanted to move into the next bay because he "didn't like this one". They moved along and soon afterwards a shell landed in the bay where they had been, killing or wounding all the occupants.

Tom

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There have been a few previous threads on this, notably the classic:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...hl=supernatural

A couple of years the magazine Fortean Times (which is a slightly more serious journal than might appear at first sight) published a 'Ghosts of the Battlefields' special edition, which had some interesting Great War stuff. James Hayward's book 'Myths and Legends of the First World War' also covers some supernatural material.

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He suddenly felt that he wanted to move into the next bay because he "didn't like this one".

I think you come across quite a number of diary entries, or letters home, along similar lines that someone has a premonition about the next day and they end up dead. Often found in entries for, say, 30 June 1916.

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I think you come across quite a number of diary entries, or letters home, along similar lines that someone has a premonition about the next day and they end up dead. Often found in entries for, say, 30 June 1916.

I agree John, I have come across a number of them myself in my reading. I just wonder though if those sort of things are "paranomal occurrences" or nothing more than the result of fertile minds being subjected to outrageous pressure.

What I mean is that it would be really understandable if soldiers, during an intense bombardment by enemy artillery, or, in the hours before a major attack, imagined or anticipated the worst.

As I understand the psychology involved "premonitions" of this type would be perfectly normal.

Harry

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I don't perhaps think that comtemplating/expecting your death in a forthcoming major Western Front attack can be really called a premonition - if you were a young officer particularly it was often a statistical likelihood .

Moving bays is another matter - but again statistically many must have left what turned out to be safe bays and moved to ones that were obliterated but of course they were not able to report subsequently on their bad decisions!

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I don't perhaps think that comtemplating/expecting your death in a forthcoming major Western Front attack can be really called a premonition - if you were a young officer particularly it was often a statistical likelihood .

I agree Ian, precisely the point I made in my previous posting. An excellent example of this, I think, was the deaths of Capt Duncan Lennox Martin and Lieut. William Noel Hodgson at Mansel Copse. Both "knew" that they wouldn't survive the attack.

Harry

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At the moment I'm reading 'The war the Infantry Knew' by Captain JC Dunn of the 2nd RWF. On page 61, he quotes a Sgt Dealing who claimed to have experienced a paranormal event. Apparently he and his platoon "were billeted in an oathouse and while he lay, still awake, he heard in the distance the sound of mounted men approaching; he could hear distinctly the tramping of hooves and the rattle of armour and weapons. The unseen cavalcade came nearer, passing over where he and his men lay, (and then) the sounds died away in the distance"

He maintained he was wide awake the whole time !

When I read this it reminded me of a story I heard on a recent weekend to York. It involved a young man who had been working on a ladder in the cellar of one of the city's older buildings.

"Suddenly he was aware of a noise and the tramping of feet and an entire Roman legion appeared out of the wall on one side of the cellar and disappeared through the wall on the other".

Later, it was proved that hundreds of years before , and long before that building had been built, a Roman road running north towards the border with Scotland had indeed existed there ! In fact when the young man described what he had seen he had said that the soldiers were only visible from the knees up and archeologists have since proved that the road had been a foot or so below the current floor level of the cellar.

Interesting ? Did Sgt Dealing witness something similar or was it simply a case of the mind playing tricks.

Harry

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At the moment I'm reading 'The war the Infantry Knew' by Captain JC Dunn of the 2nd RWF. On page 61, he quotes a Sgt Dealing who claimed to have experienced a paranormal event. Apparently he and his platoon "were billeted in an oathouse and while he lay, still awake, he heard in the distance the sound of mounted men approaching; he could hear distinctly the tramping of hooves and the rattle of armour and weapons. The unseen cavalcade came nearer, passing over where he and his men lay, (and then) the sounds died away in the distance"

He maintained he was wide awake the whole time !

When I read this it reminded me of a story I heard on a recent weekend to York. It involved a young man who had been working on a ladder in the cellar of one of the city's older buildings.

"Suddenly he was aware of a noise and the tramping of feet and an entire Roman legion appeared out of the wall on one side of the cellar and disappeared through the wall on the other".

Later, it was proved that hundreds of years before , and long before that building had been built, a Roman road running north towards the border with Scotland had indeed existed there ! In fact when the young man described what he had seen he had said that the soldiers were only visible from the knees up and archeologists have since proved that the road had been a foot or so below the current floor level of the cellar.

Interesting ? Did Sgt Dealing witness something similar or was it simply a case of the mind playing tricks.

Harry

I live near York and I'm familiar with the Roman Legion tale. However, there was one from the Great War in which attacking German troops were struck down by arrows supposedly fired by phantom English archers (presumably Henry the Fifth's boys). One explanation is that the Germans were cut down by "flechettes" (sp?) dropped by the RFC.

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The only one I can think of is Will Bird's account in Ghosts Have Warm Hands. In this account, which is quite detailed, Will's brother - who was killed a year or two before in the war - comes back, shakes his hand, and leads Will to safety. I am not a religious person, but I have no reason to doubt Will's account, no reason at all. Makes one think.

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I live near York and I'm familiar with the Roman Legion tale. However, there was one from the Great War in which attacking German troops were struck down by arrows supposedly fired by phantom English archers (presumably Henry the Fifth's boys). One explanation is that the Germans were cut down by "flechettes" (sp?) dropped by the RFC.

Lovely story Desdichado ( I wish you were called Syd or Alf it would be so much easier - forgive me I only jest).

I think the explanation you mention is the right one.......but who knows?

harry

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I am not a religious person, but I have no reason to doubt Will's account, no reason at all. Makes one think.

I am Al and like you I have no reason at all doubting Will's account. Nice posting, thank you.

Harry

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Lovely story Desdichado ( I wish you were called Syd or Alf it would be so much easier - forgive me I only jest).

I think the explanation you mention is the right one.......but who knows?

harry

I'll do a David Cameron. Call me Des.

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Just to note that loss of sleep, specifically loss of the REM (dreaming) phases of sleep, will induce visual hallucinations, even in daylight. From accounts that I have read, some of the phenomena can be 'explained' by this normal physiological response. During the retreat from Mons for example, some units were pressed to get any decent sleep at night, particularly the rear guards.

Robert

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Just to note that loss of sleep, specifically loss of the REM (dreaming) phases of sleep, will induce visual hallucinations, even in daylight. From accounts that I have read, some of the phenomena can be 'explained' by this normal physiological response. During the retreat from Mons for example, some units were pressed to get any decent sleep at night, particularly the rear guards.

Robert

Now this is interesting. Can you explain a little more?

harry

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REM, or Rapid Eye Movements, Sleep is associated with dreaming. It is one of the phases of sleeping, and is repeated on several occasions throughout a normal night's sleep. In the classic experiments, individuals were woken as soon as REM was detected. Although the individuals got some 'sleep' before the REM started, they quickly became sleep deprived. Then they began having visual hallucinations. Real-life examples include truck drivers crossing the Nullarbor Plain in Australia. Previously, some would try to make the trip without stopping but there are stories of drivers found stopped on the road 'watching' non-existent flocks of sheep or other animals crossing the road.

Basically, if you are prevented from dreaming during sleep, then your brain will attempt to do the same thing while you are 'awake'.

Robert

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I'm not sure if this would be considered "paranormal" but having just read Bill Lambert's "Combat Report" he states that on several occasions he just knew something for no apparent reason; the example he gives is when he had returned to the US, a man commented on the fact that he was wearing an RAF uniform and that his son had died while serving with the "British flyers". Not knowing the man's name, he claims that he identified the man's son and unit (No. 84, which was using the same airfield with No. 24 when the man's son died) and the particulars of his death. This left the man quite astonished, Lambert claims.

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REM, or Rapid Eye Movements, Sleep is associated with dreaming. It is one of the phases of sleeping, and is repeated on several occasions throughout a normal night's sleep. In the classic experiments, individuals were woken as soon as REM was detected. Although the individuals got some 'sleep' before the REM started, they quickly became sleep deprived. Then they began having visual hallucinations. Real-life examples include truck drivers crossing the Nullarbor Plain in Australia. Previously, some would try to make the trip without stopping but there are stories of drivers found stopped on the road 'watching' non-existent flocks of sheep or other animals crossing the road.

Basically, if you are prevented from dreaming during sleep, then your brain will attempt to do the same thing while you are 'awake'.

Robert

Thank you Robert for an extremely clear explanation of something I knew nothing about. I can see that the demands made upon soldiers, especially when they were in the front line, would have led to the sort of thing you outline.

The sleep depravation you describe, could just as easily be the result of the sort of exhaustion we read about all the time in the literature of The Great war

Fascinating.

Harry

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I'm not sure if this would be considered "paranormal" but having just read Bill Lambert's "Combat Report" he states that on several occasions he just knew something for no apparent reason; the example he gives is when he had returned to the US, a man commented on the fact that he was wearing an RAF uniform and that his son had died while serving with the "British flyers". Not knowing the man's name, he claims that he identified the man's son and unit (No. 84, which was using the same airfield with No. 24 when the man's son died) and the particulars of his death. This left the man quite astonished, Lambert claims.

Thank you Ken. Another interesting posting.

I suppose it would be easy to explain this away in terms of there not being that man US personnel serving with the RAF at that time . You don't make clear whether this was a late WW1 or WW2 occurrence but it doesn't matter. To be so clairvoyant is unusual at least and, in my view, paranormal in the true meaning of that word.

I'd like to hear of some of this gentleman's other "sixth sense" experiences.

Harry

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I'm not sure if this would be considered "paranormal" but having just read Bill Lambert's "Combat Report" he states that on several occasions he just knew something for no apparent reason; the example he gives is when he had returned to the US, a man commented on the fact that he was wearing an RAF uniform and that his son had died while serving with the "British flyers". Not knowing the man's name, he claims that he identified the man's son and unit (No. 84, which was using the same airfield with No. 24 when the man's son died) and the particulars of his death. This left the man quite astonished, Lambert claims.

The most famous ghost story about the WWI era is the one concerning Lt. Desmond Arthur of the RFC who was killed flying a Be2 at Montrose in May 1913. His ghost was reported by RFC personnel. Another unnamed student pilot died there too after he crashed on his first solo and his spectre is said to haunt Montrose. RAF Montrose stayed in use throughout WWII and men arriving there were apparently "officially" notified about the haunting.

Crecy Publishing brought out a book entitled "Echoes in the Air" by Squadron Leader Jack Currie, a former Lancaster pilot which discusses briefly the Montrose phenomenon but there's also "Southeast by Southeast 165 Degrees" by Kevin Desmond (Leo Cooper 1998) that gives a more in-depth analysis of the tale. If you're really desperate, there are the awful "Ghost Stations" books, but they're mostly tripe.

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Thanks, Harry. I have just read an example from Major Bridges' account (Squadron Leader, 4th Dragoons) of the retreat. He recognised that his hallucinations may have related to the lack of sleep. I will try and post when next able.

Robert

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"Although we found a fleet of supply wagons in the [Forest of Compiegnes] with engines still running, including German soldiers in grey-green cut in half at the waist - I never knew how (was it an illusion caused by the ground mist or did I dream it? For I rode in a trance) - we emerged into the open without further contact."

Robert

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Thank you Ken. Another interesting posting.

I suppose it would be easy to explain this away in terms of there not being that man US personnel serving with the RAF at that time . You don't make clear whether this was a late WW1 or WW2 occurrence but it doesn't matter. To be so clairvoyant is unusual at least and, in my view, paranormal in the true meaning of that word.

I'd like to hear of some of this gentleman's other "sixth sense" experiences.

Harry

This took place, he claims, in 1919 while on a train bound for Washington, DC.

The only other one that he relates is when he was on leave in July 1918 in England when he was staying with some people in the country; the one night they invited a neighbour to dine with them, and when Lambert first saw he blurted out "Sir Henry Rider Haggard"--an author whose books Lambert had read as a child--and it was in fact him. I'm not sure about this one, though. He only states that Haggard had the look of an Englishman who had spent much time abroad, or something to that effect. One has to assume, though, that he had seen pictures of the man, especially if he was such an avid reader of his books. But the way Lambert writes it, his recognizing him had to do with the fact that sometimes things just came to him.

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