Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Buffalo Daily Courier

Tuesday Morning March 12, 1861

page 1, column 2

A Supernatural Premonition.

Story of a Railroad Engineer.

I was running a night express train, and

has a train of ten cars -- eight passenger and

two baggage cars -- and all were well loaded.

I was behind time, and was very anxious to

make a certain point; thus I was using

every exertion , and putting the engine to

the utmost speed to which she was capable.

I was on a section of the road usually

considered the best running ground on the line

and was endeavoring to make the most of

it, when a conviction struck me that I

must stop.

A something seemed to tell me that to go

ahead was dangerous, and that I must stop

if I would save life. I looked back at my

train, and it was all right. I strained my

eyes, and peered into the darkness, and could

see no signal of danger, nor anything

betokening danger, and there I could see five

miles in the day-time. I listened to the

workings of my engine, tried the water,

looked at the gauge , and all was right. I

tried to laugh myself out of what I then

considered a childish fear; but, like Ban-

quo’s ghost, it would not down at my bid-

ding, but grew stronger in it' s hold upon


I thought of the ridicule I would have

heaped upon me if I did stop, but it

was all of no avail. The conviction - for by

this time it had ripened into a conviction --

that I must stop drew stronger, and I shut

off and blew the whistle for breakers

accordingly. I came to a dead halt, got off, and

went ahead a little way, without saying

any thing to any body what the matter was.

I had a lamp in my hand, and had gone

about sixty feet, when I saw what convinced

me that premonitions are sometimes

possible. I dropped the lantern from my

nerveless grasp, and sat down on the track

utterly unable to stand for there was a

switch , the thought of which had never

entered my mind, as it had never been used

since I had been on the road, and was

known to be spiked, but was open to lead

me off the track. This switch led into a

stone quarry, from whence stone for bridge

purposes had been quarried, and the switch

was left there in case stone should be needed

at any time, but it was always locked, and

the switch rail spiked.

Yet here it was wide open, and had I

not obeyed my premonition - warning - call

it what you will - I should have run into it,

and at the end of the track, only about ten

rods long, my heavy engine and train,

moving at the rate of thirty miles per hour,

would have come into collision with a solid

wall of rock, eighteen feet high. The con-

sequences, had I done so, can neither be

imagined nor described; but they could, by

no possibility been otherwise than fatally

horrid. This is my experience in getting

warnings from a source that I know not , and

cannot divine. It is a mystery to me - a

mystery for which I am very thankful , how-

ever, although I dare not attempt to ex-

plain it, nor say whence it came.

-Original article from the microfilm records at,
Buffalo &; Erie County Public Library
Central Library
1 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY  14203

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