Ella Thorington Nash Relied on Her "Open Vision"
A Ghostly Friend Visited This Chicago Medium and Suffragette
Did Ella Thorington Nash really receive a visit from a friend who provided an eye witness account of her own funeral and complained about her burial dress?
Ella Thorington Nash was a member of the Theosophical Society which had been founded in New York City in 1875. Theosophy is a system of beliefs and teachings that incorporate aspects of Buddhism and Brahmanism, especially the belief in reincarnation and spiritual evolution.
A well-known Chicago palmist and writer, Ella Thorington Nash, believed that she had “open vision,” that enabled her to see people who had crossed the border between life and death. In 1899, she told a Chicago Inter Ocean Reporter about one of her experiences.
A Deceased Friend Visits Ella Thorington Nash
Before one of her friends, a well-known suffragette died, Nash and two of their mutual friends had a long conversation and they arranged to be present at her funeral. Nash assumed that the suffragette's death would occur sometime comfortably in the future.
One day shortly after the conversation, Nash was sitting in her room busy with ordinary household occupations when her suffragette friend suddenly appeared in front of her, dressed in ordinary clothes.
Her friend told Nash about her death and about the fact that she had been cremated. She also told Nash that she regretted that her family had burned a certain gown which she had loved and one that her daughter enjoyed seeing her wearing. She was sad that her daughter now would never see her in that gown. “And she never did like the one I have on. Besides, they buried me in it,” the suffragette lamented.
A Living Friend Locked in the Crematorium
Then the suffragette started telling Nash about everything that had happened during her funeral, even mentioning the fact that a mutual friend had stayed to witness the transfer of her body to the crematorium, even after everyone else had left. Somehow she had taken the wrong exit from the crematorium and became locked in a large yard, with the early darkness coming on.
“She was frightened nearly to death, poor thing!” the suffragette told Nash.”I was extremely anxious about her until I knew that she had gotten out. I was very glad when the policeman helped her.”
Nash Verifies the Suffragette's Story
After the suffragette left, Nash sat down and wrote to a friend who had been close to the suffragette to find out if these things were all true. The friend wrote back, saying that the suffragette had died at the time she told Nash, her body had been cremated and through some unfortunate accident Nash had not been notified or invited to attend the funeral services.
The incident about the friend who had been accidentally locked in the large crematorium yard and become nervous for fear of having to spend the night there was also true in every respect. The woman had mentioned the incident to no one, yet Nash had heard about it first hand from the suffragette.
Brooklyn Eagle, October 1, 1899, p. 37.
The New Encyclopedia of the Occult, John Michael Green, Llewellyn Publications, 2003.