From FATE MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 1979, pp. 58-64
A PSYCHIC ADVENTURE......
"THE SEARCH FOR AN IRISH MARTYR" ..... Part One
Psychic clues lead an American woman
on a quest to uncover the explosive truth
behind Ireland's greatest historical mystery.
By Ann Druffel
ON SEPTEMBER 19, 1803, in Dublin, Ireland, 25-year-old Robert Emmet was on trial for his life. For 13 hours he listened as a parade of witnesses uttered damning evidence. No one dared to testify in his behalf.
The verdict, when it finally came, was all but inevitable. The English judge convicted Emmet, an idealistic young patriot-intellectual who had fought for his country's freedom, of high treason against the Crown of England.
All during the trial Emmet had heard his motives mocked and his character maligned. He was left with the bitter realization that the English had succeeded in discrediting everything he had ever struggled for.
Finally Emmet addressed the judge in a passionate speech which history still remembers.
He said, "My Lord,, the grave opens to receive me.... .I have but one request to make. Let no man write my epitaph. . . . Let my memory be left in oblivion and my tomb remain uninscribed until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written."
The following day Emmet was executed in front of St. Catherine's Church in Dublin. With red-coated soldiers standing guard a vast crowd of onlookers watched Emmet die slowly on a crude gallows. Afterwards his head was hacked from the body with a large kitchen knife. His blood flowed onto the street.
The crowd slowly dispersed. A few brave citizens furtively soaked handkerchiefs in the martyr's blood. Later dogs came and licked the cobblestones clean of what remained.
Emmet's last words were prophetic. The location of his grave remained unknown. His epitaph has never been written. Ireland is still divided. The Republic of Ireland gained independence in 1922, but England still rules the six northern counties.
Although the people of Ireland never uncovered Emmet's body, they did not forget his bright spirit. Over the next 175 years rumors and legends concerning the whereabouts of the grave site circulated throughout the country, leading to the excavation of cemetery plots and burial vaults, but the patriot's headless skeleton was nowhere to be found.
In recent years some Irishmen and women of mystical bent have wondered if perhaps Emmet's missing remains are linked in some way with the present troubles in North Ireland. The search for his grave has intensified.
Because I am of Irish extraction the historical plight of Robert Emmet long ago and the modern tragedy of the Irish civil war have often been in my thoughts. In 1975 I decided to try to find his grave.
I started out by reviewing the puzzling circumstances under which the body disappeared. After Emmet died, his body lay in the entry hall of Kilmainham Jail. No friends or relatives came to claim it.
The Irish antiquarian Petrie sought permission to make a death mask of the young patriot. Since no one was guarding the body, Petrie took Emmet's head home with him and constructed an exquisite death mask which still exists.
When he returned the head an hour later, he discovered someone had taken Emmet's headless body away for burial. Not knowing what else to do, Petrie kept Emmet's head and presumably disposed of it in some still-unknown manner.
Emmet was .buried at government expense in a potter's field called Bully's Acre. Shortly afterwards his body vanished, stolen by persons unknown.
For three years I searched the available literature for clues to the mystery. Although I corresponded with knowledgeable persons, I came up with no information of any consequence.
Then on August 17, 1977, I had a vivid dream in which I found myself at a cemetery where patches of weeds grew around the gravestones. I saw an object in the left-hand side of the cemetery. Someone handed it to me and it proved to be a green turtle whose shell was broken in the upper right-hand quadrant. We found a couple of pieces of the shell on the ground and replaced them.
I looked at the shell again and more pieces had fitted in like a jigsaw puzzle. Five or six pieces were in place and the shell was now complete.
I awoke sensing somehow that this dream symbolized Robert Emmet and Ireland. The broken pieces of shell corresponded almost exactly to the six counties England still rules. I felt the dream was telling me that when Emmet's remains were found, the discovery would help bring peace to the north.
In the autumn of 1977 I established contact with the gifted psychic Aron Abrahamsen. Aron's unique psychometric talent, which he prefers to call "pneumatology," is described in Jeffrey Goodman's Psychic Archeology(1). Aron has successfully divined the location of prehistoric artifacts and other valuable items which lie hidden beneath the earth.
Sensing that this was a humanitarian project Abrahamsen agreed to work with me and requested a good picture of Emmet and a map of Ireland. He also asked for maps showing Dublin as it was in 1803, including the locations of the Dublin courthouse, St. Catherine's Church, Kilmainham Jail and Bully's Acre. He asked for an enlarged sketch of this last spot. Using these materials he would try to establish the site of Emmet's grave.
Collecting these materials was no easy task but a series of strange events spurred me on.
Shortly after my August 1977 dream I took a course in hypnotic techniques which the American Institute of Hypnosis gives for professional researchers. There I learned the techniques of auto hypnosis and with them explored my unconscious mind.
During the next 10 months I had several vivid and possibly significant dreams. I didn't know how to interpret them but nonetheless I recorded them and sketched some of the images I had "seen."
I corresponded with numerous Irish universities, libraries, preservationist societies and official bureaus in Dublin in an effort to acquire the requested maps but I obtained no real help. Finally researcher John Hind of Belfast put me in touch with Malcolm and Doreen Farmer of Dublin. The three of them gave generously of their time and talents and provided me with the material.
Unfortunately no one was able to measure Bully's Acre. In desperation my mathematically-inclined daughter Carolyn and I painstakingly prepared an enlarged sketch from an 1803 map in a rare Irish book. We transposed this with the help of 1837 and 1971 Dublin maps, hoping that our enlarged sketch was accurate enough for Aron's .purposes.
I had .assumed no good. picture of Emmet existed but then I became acquainted with Helen Landreth, whose highly regarded book The Pursuit of Robert Emmet, written in the 1940's, had brought many of the facts concerning the 1803 Uprising to light.
Helen Landreth generously provided a previously unavailable copy of a watercolor portrait of Emmet which an observer had painted at the trial. No other portrait or sketch captures the patriot's vivacious personality so well as this one does. It shows Emmet's dark deep-set eyes, light-brown hair and sensitive mouth. The portrait seemed almost alive.
After six months' constant work I sent all the required materials to Aron Abrahamsen. My charter flight was due to leave for Ireland in two weeks. Aware that time was running out, he responded almost immediately.
Hands .trembling in anticipation, I opened the mailing tube and pulled out the enlarged sketch of Bully's Acre. In the northeast corner two delicate pencil lines intersected at a precise point of the exact location, according to Aron's psychic sources, where the headless skeleton of Emmet had lain undisturbed for 175 years. In the accompanying cassette tape recording Aron stated, "The events after his first burial, as I received it, are as follows: ... [I]t was placed in a new area of the same plot.... It should be there, even today, whatever remnants there are, unless there have been vandals, but this I doubt."
Aron was saying that the English government of the time had secretly reburied Emmet's body. Surely, I thought, it would be simple to persuade Irish officials to allow disinterment of the lost hero's remains.
So perhaps my August 1977 dream had been precognitive. Emmet was buried in a cemetery, in a far corner. Would the rest of the dream prove true? Would, the finding of his remains somehow help resolve the bloody Irish civil war?
Then Aron delivered the most stunning words of all: "Regarding Robert Emmet's head, that was given by Petrie to a caretaker named John of St. Catherine's Church who hid it in the basement, in the northeast section."
Emmet's head was considered irretrievably lost. Yet Aron was telling me where to look for it!
Aron urged me to seek further information through hypnotic regression: "If I were you, Ann, I would put myself in the place of Robert Emmet. You see, the information and the image have been scattered so much over the past 175 years. By all means don't doubt what you obtain.
"The picture of Robert Emmet seemed to be very important... Meditate over it and then ask Robert Emmet, 'What do you have to say?' Thai's what I did. It's no secret and you may also do this, you see."
Following Aron's advice, on June 25, 1978,1 met with John de Herrera, an accomplished hypnotist, who suggested that the session could take the form of a remote-viewing experiment.
"Remote viewing" is a term applied to a process recently studied at SRI International in California. Dr. Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ's experiments seem to show that ordinary individuals who do not otherwise demonstrate psychic abilities can view and receive mental impressions from distant sources.
As Aron had suggested, I meditated on Emmet's picture, with hypnosis" aiding the process. I asked Emmet to give me information as seen by him during his last two days on earth an afterwards through the eyes of his "spirit."
During the hour-long session I received vivid impressions of Emmet's court trial, his last night in Kilmainham Jail and then the dark brown earth enclosing his coffin. At the site of his second, unknown grave I saw an unevenly-shaped boulder to the right of a hollow which marked the spot. About 10 feet away stood a gravestone which Seemed to be associated with the name "Desmond" (Figure One).
Under hypnosis, the author envisioned location of martyr's grave and drew sketch which
matched (except for stone marked "Desmond") what she would find in Irish cemetery.
As John directed me to the matter of Emmet's head, I visualized a man carrying it in a black bag and entering a room. His hands smoothed out Emmet's features. He stroked the high, aristocratic cheekbones and pushed back the hair from the forehead. He reshaped the strangled mouth but the contortions of the throat and tongue which Emmet had endured during his slow death could not be entirely remedied. The mouth was too large, the lips too full. but Petrie did the best he could. I saw his hands construct a creamy-white death mask.
"Did he take the head somewhere?" de Herrera asked.
The man walked toward a beautiful church. It had three entrances with a few steps leading up to the main doors. As Petrie entered, he glanced toward the left in the direction of what I knew to be the basement, but for some reason he did not turn that way. He talked with the caretaker who was polishing the stone floors
They stepped through a doorway behind a gilded altar and went down steps. They entered a basement about 9x10 feet.
"There's something metal — shelves or something— in one corner*" I said. "He takes up a flat stick."
The flat stick was associated in some way I could not determine with the metal objects. The caretaker dug into rich brown soil with the stick and buried the head. I was left with the impression that the head was buried in earth behind a stone in the wall.
"These metal shelves aren't connected with the wall," I told John. "The door is somewhere to his back..."
After the session ended I drew the two most significant scenes— the second grave site and the basement (including the precise location of the head)— and collected these sketches together with the records of all other material obtained by psychic means. Then I mailed notarized copies to three reputable scientists for later verification.
When I got to Dublin, I knew I had no time to waste. I had only two weeks to pry Emmet's remains from their 175-year protective covers. To accomplish this, I needed help.
I pushed a five-pence piece into a "coinbox" (pay telephone) and heard the liquid Lancaster-shire accent of Malcolm Farmer for the first time.
From! the very start the Farmers, a transplanted English couple, formed two other points of a perfect triad.
Malcolm, a professional metallurgist, taught engineering at a Dublin university. His unruffled scientific demeanor was a constant source of strength and comfort. Doreen, genteel, calm and beautiful, possessed a keen intellect and a love of earth's mysteries.
In the long Irish twilight we motored over the Liffey to see St. Catherine's, The magnificent old Anglican church was just as 1 had seen it in remote viewing, including its three entrances. A high wrought-iron fence equipped with heavy padlocks closed it off from the world.
Something told me that my search was not going to be as easy as I had hoped. Unfortunately, it turned out I was right.
It was a struggle to obtain permission to enter Bully's Acre and St. Catherine's. The preservationists and officials I approached were unfailingly courteous and apparently interested but none seemed willing to make the kinds of decisions necessary to further the actual search.
With the aid of Malcolm and Doreen I worked my way slowly up the ladders of Irish bureaucracy until at last we secured written permission to enter Bully's Acre, a heavily wooded, unused cemetery with a guarded gate which had been left virtually untouched for generations.
As soon as we got to the Acre, Malcolm and I measured the east boundary— 314.5 feet, only six inches off the calculation we had made 6000 miles away! Heavy vines and brush prevented measurement of the north side.
We marked off the place of Emmet's unknown grave. The site was astonishingly like the one I had sketched during my remote-viewing experience, except that a gravestone marked "Desmond" couldn't be found— but then some of the nearby headstones were unreadable or sunken. The "boulder" proved to be a broken tombstone. The hollow was visible when viewed from an angle close to the ground (Figure Two).
Is this the long-lost grave of Robert Emmet? Ann Druffel "saw" this site,
located in an
unused graveyard in Dublin, during remote-viewing experiment.
Although we tried to get permission to excavate, we were not allowed to do so. Such a decision, we were told, had to be made on Cabinet level and that would take six to eight months.
We finally were allowed to enter the ground floor of St. Catherine's. The inside door to the basement had. been tightly sealed but the basement was in the exact position toward which Petrie had looked during my remote viewing. The inside door which Petrie and the caretaker entered to go down into the basement was bricked up and inaccessible except by tearing down the tightly fitted outside seal. There seemed little hope that we would be allowed to do this. It had been shut up for so long that no one knew what it might contain. But much to our surprise a junior executive eventually permitted us to break the marine-plywood seal on the outside door, stipulating only that we reseal the basement when we left.
On July 14,1978, we began the long process of breaking the seal. Behind us, outside the locked fence, stood a crowd of curious Dubliners. Someone who knew of our carefully guarded plans had alerted the newspapers.
The seal proved difficult; one hour later we crowbarred it loose. The ancient iron door behind swung open on creaking hinges. Sunlight streamed through.
We walked into a small empty room. Left, through an arched doorway, was an adjacent room where two large coffins sat on a ledge. Amazed, we entered. On the west wall was a bricked-in doorway. Along the east wall were three piles of ancient coffins, stacked on a bed of earth behind a stone ledge!
There had been no hint in my research that the basement of St. Catherine's contained a burial vault. One of my dreams, however, had hinted that this might be the case.
The newsmen were waiting impatiently outside. When they saw we did not have Emmet's skull in hand, they assumed we had failed. They photographed, interviewed and departed.
We set to work. Malcolm removed bricks from the west and east walls, where soundings indicated empty cavities but we found nothing interesting. Strangely, I did not remember Aron had predicted the head was hidden in the northeast section of the basement.
The basement vault was approximately 9x10 feet, as the remote viewing had predicted. I had drawn my sketch with squared walls and ceilings, not because I actually "saw" them that way but because it seemed an easy way to finish them off. Looking around at the walls and ceilings of the vault, I remembered a vivid dream I'd had in June 1978.
It was in my notarized packets sent to the three scientists. This dream was of a room approximately 9x10 feet with a domed ceiling, the walls joining the ceiling in arching lines. The basement of St. Catherine's had the identical walls and domed ceiling!
(This is Part One of a two-part article.)
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(1) Excerpts from this book were published in the August and September 1977 issues of FATE as "Psychic Search for America's Unknown Ancestors."