Dreaming Murder in Parliament #1: Arthur Speaks October 7, 2013Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback
This case is a psychic classic that Beach has long wanted to look into. He thought he would begin with a well-written but uncritical account to show just how excited people can get. Cue Arthur Conan Doyle who claimed that this was ‘clear proof of psychic action… though there is some slight confusion about the date.’ (remember that slight in what follows and in subsequent posts)
According to the account of Mr. Williams, of Cornwall, the chief actor, it was in the early days of May, 1812, that he thrice in the same night had a remarkable dream. Mr. Williams was a man of affairs, and the superintendent of some great Cornish mines. He was familiar with the lobby of the House of Commons, into which his interests had occasionally led him. It was this lobby which he perceived clearly in his dream. His attention was arrested by a man in a snuff-coloured coat, with metal buttons, who loitered there. Presently there entered a small, brisk man in a blue coat and white waistcoat. As he passed, the first man whipped out a pistol and shot the other through the breast. In his dream Mr. Williams was made aware that the murdered man was Mr. Perceval, the Chancellor of the Exchequer [and Prime Minister]. Mr. Williams was greatly impressed, and alarmed, by this dream, and he recounted it not only to his wife but also to several friends whom he met at the Godolphin mine next day, asking their advice whether he should go up to London and report the matter. To this they answered very naturally, but unfortunately as the event proved, that it was useless, and would only expose him to derision.
Then the event.
On the thirteenth, about ten days after the dream, Mr. Williams narrates how his son, returning, from Truro, rushed into the room crying, ‘Oh, father, your dream has come true! Mr. Perceval has been shot in the House of Commons.’ The deed, as is well known, was committed by a man named Bellingham, who had some imaginary grievance. The dress of the two chief actors, and all the other details, proved to be exactly as foretold. In an account in The Times sixteen years later it was stated that the vision was upon the actual night of the murder, which would reduce the case to ordinary clairvoyance, but the evidence is very strong that it was prophetic as well. Mr. Williams, writing in 1832, four years after The Times account, repeated the story once more as it is set forth here. His wife, his friends at the mine, his projected journey to London, and his recollection of his son’s arrival with the news all corroborate his version of the affair.
Interesting: any knowledge of this case drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com. We will cover in a number of subsequent accounts: two conflicting versions; Andrew Lang on the case; and a curiosity from Scotland.
7 Oct 2013: Wade writes in with this useful reference from Boase Bibliotheca Cornubiensis: P-Z (1878). ‘WILLIAMS, John (eld. son of Michael Williams, b. Gwennap Aug. 1730, bapt. 20 Oct. d. Bath, bur. Gwennap 28 Feb. 1775, m. 30 Nov. 1752 at Cury,Susanna, eld. dau. of Hen. Harris of Cusgarne. She was bapt. Gwennap 23 Nov. 1732, d. Penryn 2 Feb. 1814, bur, Gwennap). b. Lower Cusgarne 23 Sep. 1753. bapt. Gwennap 15 Oct. Educ. at Truro gram, sch.; Resided sometime at Burncoose which he built circa 1775 and at Scorrier house 1778; The most extensive mine adventurer in Cornwall; Purchased the manor of Calstock from the Duchy 1809; One of the constructors of the Plymouth breakwater 1812; Possessed the finest collection of Cornish minerals ever brought together; F.R.S. 1828. d. Sandhill near Callington 17 Apl. 1841. bur.Calstock. Monu. in ch. m. by license 23 Jan. 1776 at Kenwyn, Catherine, dau. of Martin Harvey of Killefreth, Kenwyn. She was b. 12 Jan. 1757, d. Sep. 1826, bur. Gwennap. cf. Gent. Mag. xvi, 103-104 (1841); D. Gilbert’s Cornwall ii, 134; Duke of Rutlands Journal of tour round Southern WILLIAMS,John. (Con.). coast (1805) pp. 184-89; West Briton 23 Apl. 1841, p. 2, col. 3. Mr. John Williams’ extraordinary prophetic dream concerning the assassination of Mr. Spencer Perceval, chancellor of the exchequer in the lobby of the house of commons 11 May 1812. cf. Spencer Walpole’s Life of rt. hon. Spencer Perceval (1874) pp. 295-96, 329-32; John Abercrombie’s Inquiriesconcerning the intellectual powers (Eighth ed. Lond. 1838) pp. 285-86; Clement Carlyon’s Early years (1856) i, 219-21; Chambers’ Book of days i, 617; Autobiog. of sir John Rennie 1875, pp. 168-70; Sir J. Maclean’s Trigg Minor ii, 433-35; Rev. F. G. Lee’s Glimpses of the supernatural (1875) i, 226-30; The Spiritualist 9 June 1876, by Chas. Fox. Note.—Mr. Williams’ attested statement drawn up and signed by him in the presence of the rev. Thos. Fisher and Mr. Chas. Prideaux Brune is now (1877) pents Mr. Spencer Walpole.’ Thanks Wade!
30 April 2015: Invisible sends SP’s mourning rings