Example Of A Singular Dream And Corresponding Event
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
Amongst the various histories of singular dreams and corresponding events, we have lately heard of one, which seems to merit being rescued from oblivion. Its authenticity will appear from the relation; and we may surely pronounce, that a more extraordinary concurrence of fortuitous and accidental circumstances can scarcely be produced, or paralleled.
One Adam Rogers, a creditable and decent person, a man of good sense and repute, who kept a public-house at Portlaw, a small hamlet, nine or ten miles from Waterford, in the kingdom of Ireland, dreamed one night that he saw two men at a particular green spot on the ad-joining mountain, one of them a small sickly-looking man, the other remarkably strong and large. He then saw the little man murder the other, and he awoke in great agitation. The circumstances of the dream were so distinct and forcible, that he continued much affected by them. He related them to his wife, and also to several neighbours, next morning. In some time he went out coursing with greyhounds, accompanied, amongst others, by one Mr. Browne, the Roman Catholic priest of the parish. He soon stopped at the above-mentioned particular green spot on the mountain, and, calling to Mr. Browne, pointed it out to him, and told him what had appeared in his dream. During the remainder of the day he thought little more about it. Next morning he was extremely startled at seeing two strangers enter his house, about eleven o'clock in the forenoon. He immediately ran into an inner room, and desired his wife to take particular notice, for they were precisely the two men that he had seen in his dream. When they had consulted with one another, their apprehensions were alarmed for the little weakly man, though contrary to the appearance in the dream. After the strangers had taken some refreshment, and were about to depart, in order to prosecute their journey, Rogers earnestly endeavoured to dissuade the little man from quitting his house, and going on with his fellow-traveller. He assured him, that if he would remain with him that day, he would accompany him to Carrick the next morning, that being the town to which the travellers were proceeding. He was unwilling and ashamed to tell the cause of his being so solicitous to separate him from his companion. But, as he observed that Hickey, which was the name of the little man, seemed to be quiet and gentle in his deportment, and had money about him, and that the other had a ferocious bad countenance, the dream still recurred to him. He dreaded that something fatal would happen ; and he wished, at all events, to keep them asunder. However, the humane precautions of Rogers proved ineffectual ; for Caulfield, such was the other's name, prevailed upon Hickey to continue with him on their way to Carrick, declaring that, as they had long travelled together, they should not part, but remain together until he should see Hickey safely arrive at the habitation of his friends. The wife of Rogers was much dissatisfied when she found they were gone, and blamed her husband exceedingly for not being absolutely peremptory in detaining Hickey.
About an hour after they left Portlaw, in a lonely part of the moun tain, just near the place observed by Rogers in his dream, Caulfield took the opportunity of murdering his companion. It appeared after-wards, from his own account of the horrid transaction, that, as they were getting over a ditch, he struck Hickey on the back part of his head with a stone; and, when he fell down into the trench, in consequence of the blow, Caulfield gave him several stabs with a knife, and cut his throat so deeply that the head was observed to be almost severed from the body. He then rifled Hickey's pockets of all the money in them, took part of his clothes, and everything else of value about him, and afterwards proceeded on his way to Carrick. He had not been long gone when the body, still warm, was discovered by some labourers who were returning to their work from dinner.
The report of the murder soon reached to Portlaw. Rogers and his wife went to the place, and instantly knew the body of him whom they had in vain endeavoured to dissuade from going on with his treacherous companion. They at once spoke out their suspicions that the murder was perpetrated by the fellow-traveller of the deceased. An immediate search was made, and Caulfield was apprehended at Waterford the second day after. He was brought to trial at the en-suing assizes, and convicted of the fact. It appeared on the trial, amongst other circumstances, that when he arrived at Carrick, he hired a horse, and a boy to conduct him, not by the usual road, but by that which runs on the North side of the river Suir, to Waterford, intending to take his passage in the first ship from thence to Newfoundland. The boy took notice of some blood on his shirt, and Caulfield gave him half a crown to promise not to speak of it. Rogers proved, not only that Hickey was seen last in company with Caulfield, but that a pair of new shoes which Hickey wore had been found on the feet of Caulfield when he was apprehended ; and that a pair of old shoes which he had on at Rogers's house were upon Hickey's feet when the body was found. He described with great exactness every article of their clothes. Caulfield, on the cross-examination, shrewdly asked him from the dock, Whether it was not very extraordinary that he, who kept a public-house, should take such particular notice of the dress of a stranger, accidentally calling there ? Rogers, in his answer, said, he had a very particular reason, but was ashamed. to mention it.. The court and prisoner insisting on his declaring it, he gave a circumstantial narrative of his dream, called upon Mr. Browne the priest, then in the court, to corroborate his testimony, and said, that his wife had severely reproached him for permitting Hickey to leave their house, when he knew that, in the short footway to Carrick, they must necessarily pass by the green spot in the mountain which had appeared in his dream. A number of witnesses came forward ; and the proofs were so strong, that the jury, without hesitation, found the pannell guilty.—It was remarked, as a singularity, that he happened to be tried and sentenced by his namesake, Sir George Caulfield, at that time Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, which office he resigned in the summer of the year r 76o. After sentence, Caulfield confessed the fact.
I perfectly agree with your correspondent A. LL. on the extreme danger of the popular belief in dreams ; but the story represented by him in December Mag., p. 1064, brings fresh to my memory the following remarkable dream, related to me as a matter of fact by a native of the Island of Alderney. Some few years before the erection of those well-known light-houses, called the Caskets, near that island, an islander dreamed that a ship had been wrecked near those rocks, and that some part of the crew had saved themselves upon them. This story he related the next morning on the quay ; but the sailors, although the most superstitious people living, treated it as an idle dream. Yet the next night produced the same dream, and the man would no longer be laughed out of it ; and he prevailed on a companion the next morning to take a boat and go to the rock, where they found three poor wretches half-starved with cold and hunger, and brought them safe on shore. This circumstance, and the supposed loss of the Victory on this rock, the islanders give as a reason for the erecting of three light-houses there.
And how far the following may be a proof that there is existing within us a principle independent of the material frame, I must leave you and others to judge : A very particular friend of mine, on whose veracity I can depend, dreamed that, being in Westminster Abbey, he saw one of the monuments falling ; to prevent it from coming to the ground, he put his shoulder under, and supported the whole weight till assistance came to his relief. On his awaking, he found a violent pain in his shoulder and arm, so that he was incapable of putting on his clothes without help. His not recovering the entire use of it induced him to apply for advice, and he was recommended to go to Bath ; to which place he went ; when, after bathing for five or six weeks, he recovered the use of it. However laughable this account may be to many, it is an absolute fact.