Dahl, Ingeborg (Mrs. Koeber)
Daughter of Judge Ludwig Dahl of Fredrikstad, Norway,
whose trance mediumship provided many in the 1930s with
what they considered impressive evidence for spirit return.
Thorstein Wereide, a professor at the University of Oslo, describes
his experiences in an article in Psychic Science (April
1931). In 1925 Wereide and his wife moved into an apartment
in an old wooden house in Oslo. On February 23, 1926, in the
middle of the night, Mrs. Wereide was awakened by three loud
knocks on the front door. Thinking that guests of the family
below had mistaken the apartment, she ignored the knocks, but
soon afterward was startled by the same knocking at the door
of her sitting room. She entered the room and saw no one, but
when she went into the entrance hall she saw a tall man in evening
dress with a sad expression. He asked her to help him,
and specifically to remember a date. ‘‘It was the 23rd of February
yesterday,’’ he said, then suddenly vanished. The electric
light was on and the doors were closed. The man was seen again
on three occasions, and he always disappeared near a small
room in the corner of the apartment.
The following year, on the same day, Wereide awoke to hear
his wife holding a loud conversation with an invisible person
while she was sitting up in bed. She was in a state of trance,
which lasted half an hour. Wereide wrote down her side of the
conversation, from which it emerged that the ghost claimed to
be a man who had lived in the house. He said he was not really
dead, and told Mrs. Wereide, ‘‘I cannot get into contact with
other people who are dead.’’
The Wereides then decided to experiment with Ingeborg
Dahl, a medium they knew. Without mentioning their experience,
they invited her to spend an evening with them during
the autumn of 1928. Dahl went into a waking trance and her
control ‘‘Ludvig’’ immediately contacted the ghost. The control
requested that on a certain day Dahl sit down in her home with
paper and pencil. When she did this, a name was written on the
On May 29, 1929, the Wereides again invited Dahl to their
home. She went into a waking trance; the ghost said there was
something in the house that must be destroyed and that he
needed her help. She took the hand of the ghost and went to
the small room where he always disappeared. At her suggestion,
the door to another room was closed, so that light entered
only from the street through a window. The medium then
asked, ‘‘Was it here’’ A slight tap was heard and in a moment
there appeared in her hand two old letters, tied together with
red ribbon. The medium went back into the bedroom and
stood in front of a stove, insisting that the letters be burned.
The Wereideses hesitated, noting that the paper was yellow
with age and the ink very pale, then reluctantly burned them.
Through the medium the ghost then said,
‘‘Now I have reached what I tried to do all this time. I understand
very well that you were eager to have the letters, but then
all my work would have been done in vain. The letters concerned
a lady who has lived in the house, and her honor was
threatened as long as the letters were there. It was my fault.’’
Afterward there were no further ghostly phenomena, and
Wereide, who had formerly accepted the possibility of all psychic
phenomena except apports, now accepted apport phenomena.
Dahl (by that time known under her married name, Ingeborg
Koeber) was also the subject of a strange trial at the Oslo
Criminal Court in 1935. On August 8, 1934, her father, Judge
Ludwig Dahl, the mayor of Bergen, drowned while swimming
in the sea. She reportedly heard him call for help and swam out
to rescue him. She brought him safely to shore, but he died in
her arms. At the inquest, the mayor’s deputy, Christian Apenes,
told the coroner that on December 4, 1933, he attended a Spiritualist
séance with Judge Dahl. The medium was Koeber, and
in a trance she communicated a message allegedly from her
dead brother, Regnar Dahl. The message was that their father
would die within a year, but that Apenes must not tell anyone
this, including Koeber, who would not remember the message
when she came out of the trance. The spirit also stated that the
same message would be communicated to another medium, a
Mrs. Stolt-Nielsen, who was to make a note of it and place it in
a sealed envelope.
After Judge Dahl’s death, Apenes asked Stolt-Nielsen if she
had received the message, and she produced a sealed envelope.
Opened in the presence of witnesses, it contained the message,
‘‘In August 1934 Mayor Ludwig Dahl shall lose his life in an accident.’’
When these prophecies were revealed by the press,
there was considerable scandal and controversy. Some people
thought the mayor might have committed suicide under subconscious
suggestion, others that his daughter had drowned
him before bringing him back to shore. It was even suggested
that Apenes had hypnotized her and suggested that she murder
her father.
Koeber took the matter to court to clear her name of such
rumors. The investigation lasted three years, during which it
was revealed that her father’s life insurance policy had expired
on the day of his death. The court then found that Judge Dahl’s
death accidental, but the judge’s wife, who had suffered great
strain, committed suicide before her daughter’s name was
The case was discussed in a book by Cornelius Tabori, as
well as by Harry Price, who had attended a séance with the Dahl
family in 1927. Price had been so impressed by the Dahls’ sincerity
that he helped Judge Dahl find a London publisher for
his book We Are Here (1931), to which Sir Oliver Lodge contributed
a foreword.
Price, Harry. Fifty Years of Psychical Research. N.p., 1939.
‘‘Daemonologie’’ Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Tabori, Cornelius. My Occult Diary. London, 1951