1882: A Singular Event

Tichborne Case

I am obliged to record in my journal of this date (April 16, 1882) a singular event which I am forced to believe because of the overwhelming evidence.

Yesterday, while engaged in the trial of Richard Mandel…I was brought to an unexpected close in my prosecution, by the loss of one link in the chain of evidence which I had supposed complete.

I hunted in vain for the necessary proof among my papers; it could not he found, and very much vexed, I begged the court to allow me one more day to complete my evidence. The request was reluctantly granted and the court adjourned.

I spent the remainder of the day in searching for the missing paper, but failed to find it, and at last, wearied out with my efforts, I retired to sleep.

It seemed to me that I was in the court-room, addressing the jury, my closing argument for the prosecution, and that I stated to the judge and jury my regret that a very important piece of evidence was wanting.

“Your Honor,” I remarked in my dream, “the want of this proof will materially weaken my case.” At this point in my dream a stranger came hastily into the court-room and laid a paper on the table, saying he had found it while coming through Charing Cross. I opened it, and found to my joy, the missing evidence.

At this part of my dream I awoke and in much perplexity as to what it all meant, I made my way to court, where the exact events foreshadowed by the dream came true. I was unable to put my hands on the missing paper, and expressed my regret to the court in almost the identical words of my dream. I had scarcely finished when a stranger came in with the paper, and told about finding it that morning in Charing Cross, through which he had occasion to pass a few days after the opening of the trial, when I must have lost the paper from my bag.

In attempting to describe my emotions at this singular event, I should say that for some time I was uncertain whether I was awake or asleep. And I can hardly persuade myself yet that a mere figment of the brain could have literal a fulfillment.

Firemen’s Magazine Vol. IX, No. 4 (April 1885)

Image: Engraving of a scene from the Tichborne case, during the examination of Miss Mary Ann Loader. The Graphic, 1874 (source)

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