The Case of the Scratch on the Cheek
Frederic William Henry Myers was one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research. He was born in 1843 in England. He was born into a family of clergymen, but worked as a lecturer and school inspector. He also published several books of poetry and essays.
The Society for Psychical Research investigated many cases of survival after death. One of the most famous was “The Case of the Scratch on the Cheek.”
This case involved a traveling salesman known as Mr. F. G. in 1876. He was staying in a hotel room in St. Joseph, Missouri. He was sitting down, smoking a cigar, and writing out his sales orders at about noon one day.
He became aware of someone sitting at the table with him. When he looked up, he saw his sister who had passed away from cholera in 1867 at the age of 18.
In his report to the Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), he indicated that he felt very happy to see her. He noted that she appeared as if alive. “ Her eyes looked kindly and perfectly naturally into mine. Her skin was so lifelike that I could see the glow of moisture on its surface, and, on the whole, there was no change in her appearance.”
When he “sprang forward in delight, calling her by name,” she vanished.
Mr. F.G. immediately left the hotel room, and returned home by train to visit his parents and tell them about the incident.
He elaborated by mentioning “a bright red line or scratch on the right-hand side of his sister’s face,” at which point his mother began to cry.
She told her son that she was the only person who knew about the scratch as she has made the scratch herself accidentally “while doing some little act of kindness after the girl’s death.”
The mother had felt terrible about the scratch, and covered it up with powder so that it was not noticed by anyone, and she never told anyone about the abrasion.
A few weeks after his visit, his mother died. Mr. F.G. felt that his sister had appeared to him so that he could return home and reassure his mother that she would be reunited with her daughter upon her death, and also give him the opportunity to visit with his mother before her passing.
References and further information:
Steiger, Brad. Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places. Detroit: Visible Ink, 2003.