Supernormal warning. In the wider sense of the definition
of psychic researcher Charles Richet, it is the revelation of
some past or present event by other than the normal senses.
The Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research
(1907, p. 487) published the instance of Mr. McCready, editor
of the Daily Telegraph, who was in church on a Sunday morning
when he heard a voice calling ‘‘Go back to the office.’’ He ran
and found a petroleum lamp blazing in his room. It threw out
such clouds of smoke that everything was covered with soot.
Monitions may range from trifling events to warnings of
death. They occur accidentally and are verifiable as true. All the
monitive phenomena lie within the field of nonexperimental
telepathy and clairvoyance and include apparitions of the
dead and of the living, provided that they are message-bearing.
It is characteristic of monitions that they deeply impress the
mind of the percipients and permit an accurate remembrance
even after the lapse of many years.
They may come in the waking state or in dreams, which
sometimes repeat themselves. The borderland between waking
and sleeping is usually the most favorable for their reception.
They may be visual or auditory—seeing apparitions, or hearing
voices, and they often take a symbolical form, for instance, the
idea of death being presented by a coffin, as seen by Lord Beresford
in his cabin while steaming between Gibraltar and Marseilles.
The coffin contained the body of his father. On arriving
at Marseilles he found that his father had died six days before
and was buried on the day he saw the vision (see Proceedings of
the Society for Psychical Research, vol. 5, p. 461).
As regards perception, monitions may be collective yet nonsimultaneous
and non-identical, or simultaneous and collective.
The former is well illustrated by Mrs. Hunter’s case, cited
by Ernesto Bozzano in the Annals of Psychical Science (vol. 6, no.
34, 1907, p. 248). Mrs. Hunter saw, in the waking state and in
daytime, a large coffin on the bed and a tall, stout woman at the
foot of the bed looking at it. That evening the governess saw
a phantom woman in the same dress in the sitting room where
there was nothing visible and cried ‘‘Go away, go away,
naughty ugly old woman.’’
To quote another instance ‘‘During the winter of 1899, Richet
was at home while his wife and daughter were at the opera.
The professor imagined that the Opera House was on fire. The
conviction was so powerful that he wrote on a piece of paper
‘‘Feu! Feu!’’ About midnight, on the return of his family, he immediately
asked them if there had been a fire. They were surprised
and said that there was no fire, only a false alarm, and
they were very much afraid. At the very time Richet made his
note, his sister fancied that the professor’s room was on fire.’’
In simultaneous and collective monitions, the phantom or
symbol is perceived at the same time by several people. (See
also monitions of approach; premonition)