Let’s have another funny story. This is from a letter TP sent to David Russell on 15.4.27 and headed:

Paradis Hôtel d’Italie..... (Riviera Levante)..... RUTA..... (Genova).....


“Dear David

“Today I walked up to the Semaphore station.  I saw it was a difficult climb, but had no idea it was so dangerous in places.  Over 1000 feet and it took me 3 hours.  I arrived at the Semaphore station done up, with clothes more or less in tatters.  There they were v. good, gave me water and escorted me inland to your hotel.

“I asked for a bath but they said all the private baths were occupied and the only public one was locked ‘and the key was broken’.  (After all I looked like an unwashed tramp.)  So I said I was a friend of yours, but it only produced a shower of your old ‘Times’ (no letters) which I was asked to give to you!

“And so I came on here and said a bath must be had, even if it were Good Friday.  The old gentleman and his wife, and daughter and waiter all confabulated together, and finally said ‘Yes if I would wait a few minutes’.  I waited two and a half hours.  A basement cave was unlocked, a bath carried in, wood chopped for a fire and finally the bath was ready.

“But the basement had no curtains to the windows and just as I was getting into the bath, I discovered that I was an object of great interest to the proprietor and his wife and staff and several villagers who leaned over the railings for a better view of the mad Englishman taking a hot bath at 6 p.m. on Good Friday.  Getting tired of this I jumped out, draped a towel round me, opened the window to try to pull the green wooden shutters from outside.  But the shutter stuck, and at the critical moment the towel became undone and fell away, and I had to beat a hasty retreat into the bath, followed by many interested eyes.  After all (I thought) in pagan times Roman Emperors and their progeny and attendants used to bathe in public, so why need I mind in modern Italy?

“So I bathed on and on, awaiting a favourable moment for getting out.  (I had left the towel beyond my reach).  Meanwhile the crowd grew and it took some courage to finally jump out and dry myself.  Only then did the one waitress of the hotel, appear to ask me if I would like the shutters shut.  I told her it was too late to be of any consequence.

“A footnote to the bath comedy.  When I paid my hotel bill at Ruta this morning there was this priceless item:- ‘Bagnio: grande espresso 10 lire’ - !”


Interesting that taking a bath should be considered so odd in 1927 Italy.


On the topic of prevision (see previous entry), TP had been considering J.W.Dunne’s theory of Time serialism and wrote to David Russell on 28.2.1929:


“His experiments remind me of my own oft repeated experience of feeling myself suspended as in a balloon during sleep and watching my bodily self walking along a road symbolising my material road of life.  From this elevated position I can see far along the road, round corners, over hedges, a far wider more extensive view than that commanded by the pedestrian.  I can see, for instance, people approaching, or movements of traffic and so on, and IF I can correctly interpret the symbolism of what I see, then I know fairly clearly what material events will happen to me ‘in time’, during the next few days or weeks.

“Sometimes, of course, one’s dreams are direct cinema pictures of exact events that have not happened in space at the moment of the dream but which occur in due course later.”


Here is another incident of prayer involving TP:


“This morning I sat in my study trying to grapple with a difficult problem. For some time I had been seeking, without success, for a reliable linguist, well versed in English, and interested in metaphysics, who might be willing to translate books of mine into Dutch. My publishers had been unable to solve this problem, one that I finally decided should be made the subject of prayer. Having done this, I let the problem go and turned to other matters.

“A while later the room was filled with sound, musical and reassuring. As I listened the sound resolved itself into very clear words: ‘The solution you seek is at hand. The opportunity awaits you. Take it.’

“I sat thinking this over but without any conscious realisation of its import or the possible outcome.

“Then my little corgi came into the room begging to be taken for a walk. How was I to know that he was fulfilling an essential part in the impending answer to my prayer?

“We then set out together, my mind still filled with the effort to interpret the message that had been given me and with so much assurance on the part of the unseen messenger. Within a few yards of my own front gate I was met by two complete strangers, a man and a woman who were walking towards the village. They passed me by and then the man turned back, greeted me politely, saying he was interested in corgis and had rarely seen a more attractive specimen than mine. We entered into conversation as the result of which I invited this couple, who turned out to be man and wife, in to my garden and to enjoy a chat. We exchanged cards and I was then told that my new friends were in England on holiday from Holland and on a walking tour. ‘Chance’ had brought them to my neighbourhood and ‘chance’ seemingly had led them to pass my gate at 11.16 on this particular morning.

“During our conversation I was told that this gentleman (Heer van G.) was a professor of languages, his speciality being the translation of English books into Dutch. Both he and his wife, he said, were much interested in the deeper issues of life and the hereafter.

“And so here, on my very doorstep ‘out of the blue’ and yet quite naturally the solution to my problem was found and seeming ‘coincidence’ became ‘guidance’ through a thinning of the veils.

“It is of interest to note the exactitude of the timing. The object which my unseen friends evidently had in view was to make sure I should arrive at my own front gate at the exact and only moment when the encounter could have been brought about, namely 11.16 a.m. Had I delayed for even ten seconds, the meeting would never have happened. Meticulous timing on occasions like this can include no element of ‘chance’.”

From ‘The Messenger of Chalice Well’, issue number 8, 1968


All very curious. It’s one thing for the “unseen friends” to prod people into meeting up if the people happen to be close by in the first place. But how come the Dutch couple were anywhere near on the very morning TP decided to pray? Some sort of prevision seems indicated.


Here is an account of W.T.P. in uncanny mode, as witnessed by Eric Hemery, famous in his day as a Dartmoor Guide:


“I must recount one episode that illustrates his extraordinary prayer-power, if I may so call it. I was driving my pre-war Austin saloon, my three passengers being Margaret [Thornley], W.T.P. and his sister Katherine, through a hamlet on the edge of the Moor, having a water-splash in the roadway. I failed to notice the end of a newly installed pipe, discharging a stream into the ford, and my heavy old car became firmly lodged on the projection. W.T.P. and I alighted to examine the situation. No help was at hand, but he asked the ladies to remain seated, and myself to stand by the car, and not attempt anything. He then crossed the road to the T-junction in the hamlet – there was no other human being in sight – and stood beneath the sign, (it is there to this day). He stood immobile in prayer. Within a few minutes, three cars arrived on the scene, from which a total of five able-bodied men descended. Standing together, they lifted the car bodily (still containing the two ladies) off the projection, while I mounted to the driving seat and gently drove forward on to the road. The men then entered their cars and drove away, the hamlet at once relapsing into its former state of sleepy silence. W.T.P., who throughout the occurrence had remained beneath the signpost as a passive spectator, returned to the car, and dismissed the entire episode as quite unremarkable, insisting quietly that it was the inevitable result of faith in the boundless power of prayer.”


From a 1986 pamphlet: Some memories of Margaret Keturah Fulleylove Thornley (Bard Maghteth Myghal) Handmaid of Michael the Archangel


A funny story in a letter from TP to David Russell, September 1926. It is headed, Grand Hotel du Parc, Chatel-Guyon:


“Everyone here is an invalid and the waters are for the “Intestins” I understand.  A Spaniard speaking little French casually addressed me and enquired gently after my “Intestins”.  I thought he was referring to some make of car (he spoke vile French) and so I said I hadn't got one.  He seemed very shocked and said: “Mon Dieu! Quel operation.”  Being still at sea, I said one could get on very well in England without one.  “Diable. Quel Pays!”  He then entered into a description of his own insides and I thinking still he referred to a car, and as he spoke in the plural, enquired how many he had?  It was only then that I tumbled to the situation.  I fled.  But I am sure I am now known throughout the hotel as the strange Englishman without an inside!”


During our recent cold weather, the media have reminded us of previous cold years – 1981, 1963, 1947. TP had something interesting and unusual to say about 1963:


“At that esoteric conference in the Alps last June an item on the agenda dealt with the prospective dangers to all forms of light [life?] on earth certain to result from the heavy radio-active fallout due to be precipitated to ground level about June 1963, following 2½ years of U.S.A. and Russian nuclear experiments. Several alleviating remedies were discussed. Finally the Elder Brother present was asked to convey higher up the request for a very severe winter spell of snow, frost, ice and wind over Europe, N. America, the Atlantic, and the upper atmosphere. It was hoped that such severe conditions would help to neutralise the poisons, and so to alleviate next June’s dangers.

If one such spell was not fully effective a second spell would be asked for. All of us present were pledged to secrecy until the trial had been agreed upon, and had been put into operation.

Therefore our present conditions are in fact a wonderful ‘Blessing in Disguise’.

Jan 1963”


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