February 12, 2013

Mark Twain Was Psychic

Everyone knows about Mark Twain, the witty white-haired author who wrote Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In addition to his keen writing skills, Twain was know for his painfully honest assessments of people and places. What most people don't know is that Mark Twain was also psychic.

Twain was given to dreams and visions, something that was better known in his time than today. In fact in his autobiography published around the time of his death, Mark Twain prophesied his own death:

"I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835.  It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it.  It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet.  The Almighty has said, no doubt: Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together." (emphasis added)

One day after Halley's Comet made its closest approach to Earth, April 21 of 1910, Twain died of a heart attack.

Mark Twain also saw in a vivid dream his own brother dead a few weeks before the actual event. Twain saw his brother in a metal casket resting on two folding chairs in his sister's house. He even took note of the type of flower arrangement on his brother's body. The dream was so realistic he actually had to walk out of the house and down the street until he finally convinced himself it was not real. When he did go to his brother's viewing he was shocked to see the exact same scene as he had experienced in his dream. Twain was wracked with grief, blaming himself for not warning his brother.

Because of his experience with his brother, and other events that convinced him that psychic abilities were very real, Twain joined the Society for Psychical Research.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Depending on how his brother died, warning him might not have helped.

Steven said...

Alex, he died in a steamboat explosion. Twain felt that had he warned his brother not to go to work he would've lived longer.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I love stories like this!

Charmaine Clancy said...

I wonder if he could always guess the colour of Olivia Langdon Clemens' undies, that's where the real test lay.

Interesting insight.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I did know this! I came across this little tidbit while researching The Society for Psychical Research for a novel (as yet unpublished, but I still have hope!). I gleefully slipped a mention of Mark Twain into the story.

Steven said...

Annalisa, glad you enjoyed it!

Charmaine, so very true...

Dianne, The Society for Psychical Research is a fascinating topic indeed. Hopefully things go forward with the book in the not-too-distant future!