Tag Archives: prophetic dreams

The Jockey Wore Crape: 1870


(By “Old Ballaratian” in Melbourne “Argus”)

There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ..

The present being the second time the Melbourne Cup has been postponed on account of abnormally heavy rain storms, it is not inappropriate to recall the first occasion, upon which it was “held up” for exactly the same reason and also because it is associated with what is probably the most remarkable incident in the annals of horse racing and which is now a tradition of the Australian Turf.

The story which has been often told in an incomplete mangled way, is worth repeating in correct form. Sometime about the middle of September in the year 1870, a party of eight gentlemen were gathered together one evening after dinner in the private parlour of the well-known Balarat hostel “Craig’s Hotel” then presided over by the late veteran sportsman and popular host, Mr Walter Craig. The conversation turned upon racing and the approaching Melbourne Cup, whereupon Mr Craig related to the company a strange dream, which was afterwards to be looked upon in the light of a startling prophecy. Mr Craig said: “1 dreamt I saw a horse ridden by a jockey wearing my colours, but with crape on his left sleeve, come in first in the Melbourne Cup.”

“Billy” Slack, one of the biggest double event “bookies” of his day, who was one of the party, good-naturedly offered to bet Mr Craig £1000 to eight, drinks that a horse named Croydon would not win the forthcoming A.J.C. Metropolitan and that his dream would not come true. The bet was taken and the drinks were consumed in advance.

One morning shortly afterwards Mr Craig remarked to a member of his family: “Nimblefoot will win the Melbourne Cup, but I shall not live to see it.” And that, very night he died.

Croydon won the “Metro;” Nimblefoot won the Melbourne Cup by a short head and the jockey, young Day, wore a crape band upon his left sleeve, out of respect to the late owner of the winner Nimblefoot.

Great was the regret in Ballarat that poor Walter Craig did not live to see his horse triumph. Of course, as Mr Craig had died in the meantime, all bets were off, but an act that will ever redound to the honor of “Billy” Slack the bookmaker, was that he paid in full the late Walter Craig’s widow £1000.

Grey River Argus 25 November 1916: p. 3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: To-morrow is the day of the American horse-racing contest, The Kentucky Derby, so a supernatural racing story seems to be in order. Mrs Daffodil has written upon another prophetic horse-racing dream in “Dreaming a Derby Winner,”  while that hearse-loving person over at Haunted Ohio has reported on “Hunches and Hearses at the Racetrack.”

 Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.



Marriages made on the Other Side: 1868 and 1902

"Miss June"

“Miss June”

Two tales of marriages made, if not in heaven, then somewhere on the Other Side.

A Strange Dream and a Wedding

One of the happiest men that ever journeyed a hundred miles from Michigan took the Toledo express on Saturday at Fremont, bound for Toledo and his home in Michigan. He told a strange story of which the following is the substance:

Some weeks since, while at home in Michigan, he retired to rest after a hard day’s work, and falling asleep dreamed a dream. He appeared to have taken a long journey from “home,” where he had been located for ten years, and had scarcely lost sight of, and where he had lived “a happy old bach,” and never thought of matrimony.

In that dream a vision appeared unto him. He arrived at a place in Ohio which was called Fremont. It appeared that soon after his arrival in that place, he formed the acquaintance of a young lady, and that, after a sort but happy courtship, he married her and returned to his home in Michigan, where he became wealthy, lived happily, and raised a numerous family of children, and in time trotted his grandchildren upon his knee. He then awoke; it was broad daylight, and his mother was at his door calling him down to breakfast.

At the breakfast table he related his dream to the old lady, and she was deeply impressed with it. He told her it was his intention to at once seek out the beautiful creature of whom he had creamed, and the old lady, believing there was a special providence in it, and being also a firm believer in dreams, advised him by all means to go and find her if he could, and if he couldn’t find her to bring back an Ohio girl any way, “for you know,” said she, “the Ohio girls are right smart.” So John packed up his little wardrobe, and took the first train out for Ohio, and lost no time in reaching Fremont.

When he arrived at the place he was surprised to discover that the sign at the depot, containing the name of the place—was an exact duplicate of the one he had seen in his dream and that the depot buildings and the general appearance of the city corresponded exactly with his vision. He put up at the Kepler House and began his search. For two or three days he was unsuccessful, but finally, just before he was on the point of returning home he came face to face with a maiden at the post office.

“’Tis she,” said he, all to himself, and then he walked up manfully and told her his story; his dream, and of his place in Michigan, and frankly asked her to share his lot with him.

She said something about its being sudden; she would rather wait a few days before giving an answer; but he was determined to have there and then, and she finally said she was all his own. He accompanied her to her home, and that evening he told her fond parents all about it. And they pronounced it good. The day following they were married and at once commenced their journey Michiganward.

The man was a fine looking fellow, and so happy that he could scarcely contain himself. He protested roundly that it was the woman he saw in his dram that he had met and married, ad that all, from first to last, had been exactly as he pictured in his dream. The lady was a pleasing appearing, comely looking lady, a few years younger than the man, and seemed to be brim full of fun and to enjoy the novelty of the thing fully as much as her husband. Take them all in all, they were well matched and were doubtless made for each other. He said only one thing was lacking to make his happiness complete, and that was the fulfillment of the latter part of his dream. [Cleveland Leader.]

Belmont Chronicle [St. Clairsville, OH] 14 May 1868: p. 4





That marriages are made in Heaven is firmly believed by John Wilgus, a prominent merchant and farmer living at Proctorville, a little town in the Ohio valley, below Parkersburg, W. Va., and that belief is shared by his new wife. Both are spiritualists and they were married after an acquaintance of less than a week, because they were told to do so by visitors from the spirit world. R. Wilgus lost his wife several weeks ago and about the same time Mrs. Lizzie Griffin lost her husband.

Before his death Griffin told his wife that he would communicate with her after his death and tell her his wishes. Through a medium he has been doing so. About two weeks ago the message came through a medium from the departed Griffin to his widow that he wanted her to marry John Wilgus. Mrs. Griffin was not aware of the existence of any John Wilgus, but made up her mind that she would follow her husband’s advice if she ever met a man of the name of Wilgus.

About the same time that Mrs. Griffin’s advice came from her departed husband, word came through another medium to Wilgus that his wife wanted him to marry Mrs. Lizzie Griffin. He did not know Mrs. Griffin or even know of her existence, but he started out to find her in accordance with the wishes of his deceased wife. They met. John told his story and she told hers. Both were impressed with the messages from the dead. In spite of the fact that they had never met before, they became engaged at their first meeting and were married within three weeks.

Each, says the New York World, is impressed with the belief that the marriage was ordained on high and that perfect happiness must be the result of their following the spiritual guidance of those who had gone before them.

Washington [DC] Bee 13 December 1902: p. 6

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: One can become somewhat cynical after reading too many Spiritualist journals. When spirits arranged marriages, they were usually between a wealthy, elderly gentleman and an attractive young “spirit bride,” who appeared out of the medium’s cabinet robed in virginal white and faded away after no more than a pressure of the hand and a chaste kiss for consummation. The spirit’s trousseau and expenses incidental to the wedding were, of course, heavy, but easily extracted from the besotted groom.

Another story of a girl who wedded a ghost may be found here. The story also appears in The Ghost Wore Black: Ghastly Tales from the Past by Chris Woodyard.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,”where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes–all of June has been devoted to wedding fads and finery.

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


Dreaming a Derby Winner: 1864

Blair Athol, Derby Winner

Blair Athol, Derby Winner

The Times, in a leading article upon Spiritualism, which appeared some time back, objected, among other reasons, to the unsatisfactory and unreliable character of the messages which imported to come from the spirits. In the writer’s low view of the whole subject, he argued that the spirits never told us anything of practical value. If, he said, the spirits would tell us who was to be the winner of the Derby that would be something valuable and worth knowing.

Though I have heard of many less worldly, but in my estimation much more valuable predictions and premonitions being made by spirits, I had never heard of such a case as the Times required for its satisfaction. We have, however, only to wait patiently, as it would appear, for almost every demand made, even by the most obdurate sceptic, to be realized; and the following fact, which can be satisfactorily proved, may, perhaps, lead to the conversion of the editor of the Times :

A gentleman, Mr. B , who is a member of a highly respectable mercantile firm in the City, who knows nothing of Spiritualism, and is wholly unacquainted with the mysteries of the turf, dreamt, some time before the last Derby Day, that No. 19 would be the winner. He mentioned it to his partner And several of his immediate friends, and was himself so strongly impressed by the premonition that he was inclined to bet a considerable sum on the faith of this dream, or, as I should call it, spiritual impression. He was restrained, however, by his senior partner, and induced to limit his stake to ten pounds. Enquiries were made as to the name of the horse, but at that time the official list with the numbers of the horses had not been published.

Mr. B commissioned a friend, better acquainted with betting matters, to lay ten pounds on No. 19, whatever horse  it might be, and so earnest was he on the value of his dream that several of his friends were induced to follow his example, even after the list was published, and when it was seen that No. 19 was far from the favourite. It is now matter of sporting history that No. 19, Blair Athol, was the horse that won the Derby. Perhaps the editor of The Times will take the trouble to enquire as to the literal truth of this statement, and, if satisfied of the facts, give publicity to it, and proclaim his conversion forthwith. The Spiritual Magazine, 1864

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Mrs Daffodil, who does not follow the Turf, understands that there is a horse-racing contest  to be run to-day in the States, called the “Kentucky Derby,” modeled, no doubt, on the well-known “Derby Stakes” held annually at Epsom Downs in Surrey.

Mrs Daffodil is sceptical of the claim that Blair Athol (pictured above) was not bruited as potential Derby winner. His potential had been recognized by many in the racing world and bookmakers had paid a stable lad to nobble the poor creature by kicking him. Blair Athol had a successful, if brief career, in 1864, winning the Derby, as well as five other races. He then retired to a successful career at stud. 

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.