Racing Tips from the Astral Plane

 Racing Tips from the Astral Plane

Racing Tips from the Astral Plane Suburban Day, Sheepshead Bay Racecourse, c. 1905

Well, it’s Kentucky Derby day again. Everybody got their bets down? For those vacillating and procrastinating, this author shares a tip or two on how to get into the winner’s circle.


Can the Future Be Told at Will?

By W. Henrys

There is plenty of evidence that in some men, at any rate, there is a sixth sense to which on occasions the future is revealed.

The forecasts here recorded, were the first of a series of experiments that have been continued intermittently up to the present time, on the supposition that what can be accomplished once can be repeated under the same conditions.

To what extent these conditions have been recognized and reproduced these records will show.

With the assurance with which we sometimes deliver opinions on matters of which we know absolutely nothing I had always ridiculed spiritualism and psychic experiences until I happened to read Leadbeater’s “Astral Plane.” I then began to be interested in psychic phenomena, particularly mental impressions and mental pictures such as I commonly saw before falling asleep at night and to which I had previously paid little attention.

I began to experiment with some little success in seeing or getting impressions of what color or colors I held in my hands when my eyes were closed.

On a Saturday night in June, 1902, my imagination having been somewhat stimulated by reading Jacolliot’s “Occult Science in India.” I lay down to sleep and repeated two or three times a mental request to be shown the colors of the winner of the Suburban, a race to be run at Sheepshead Bay Track the following Wednesday or Thursday.

My request was shot off at random for whoever or whatever it might reach.

Within a minute or so there slowly appeared before my mental vision, a figure of a jockey on a horse. The body of the rider being the only part clearly visible. The colors of the blouse and sleeve were alternate bright blue and golden yellow stripes. The cap I am uncertain about. The accompanying drawing is a good reproduction of it, in black and white.

Racing Tips from the Astral Plane Jockey on race horse

This picture was a little brighter and more defined than those I was accustomed to seeing. It is putting it mildly to say I was astonished at this unexpected answer to my request. I had no faith in it, but decided to go to the track anyway, which I did the following week and found that John A. Drake’s “Savable” was entered for the Suburban, the colors were blue and gold (the only blue and gold entered for this race) but the arrangement of the colors was different. They were not in stripes. [In fact the Drake silks were  “Light blue, gold shoulder straps, cuffs and cap.”]

When I found that “Savable” was the longest priced horse in the race—40 to 1—I felt sure I was a fool to take the matter seriously, and not being in any sense a “sport,” I obtained a good place on the rail and watched the races, until I saw “Savable” come in first, played down to 15 to 1.

Even then, I decided that “coincidence” was sufficient explanation and made no further attempt in this line until two years later… [ I’ve omitted the author’s brief account of an experiment in the transmission of  Zener-card-type symbols.]

Now to go back to the racing forecasts.

On Saturday evening, June 11, 1904, I was reading Flagg’s “Yoga or Transformation,” and was influenced to try for the winner of the next Suburban. So on the following Sunday morning while walking in Prospect Park, I made a mental request to be shown at six o’clock that afternoon the colors of the winner of the big race and tried to hold a confident, optimistic frame of mind in the intervening time.

At six o’clock (not without feeling somewhat ridiculous) I lay down, put a handkerchief over my eyes, repeated my request and almost immediately there appeared before my mental vision two blurs of color, gray and magenta. These appeared in exactly the same way as the colors in the telepathic experiment and were far more definite and distinct than the mental pictures I see before sleeping. They came and went, apparently a few inches in front of my face, so suddenly and distinctly as to give the impression of being placed there for inspection and then withdrawn.

Racing Tips from the Astral Plane The racing colors of a winning race horse.

I was somewhat startled and much impressed. Was it possible in this way to get a daily “one best bet” that was a winner? It made me dizzy to think of it. Though I had no desire to forestall Governor Hughes, and wipe the race tracks off the map, I began to see the possibility of an humble citizen being added to the list of multi-millionaires.

On reflection, my faith reached the vanishing point, but when I found, four or five days later, that E. R. Thomas’ colors were gray and magenta and that “Hermis” was his entry for the Suburban at 4 to 1 and even, I decided to place a bet and did so and collected my winnings.

Whatever credulity I possessed was not of a character that would permit me to accept “coincidence” as an explanation here.

It was possible to get psychic “tips” on the races through prayer or demand, whether the vulgar common sense of the world would accept the facts or not.

I had obtained colors, why not get names? Surely if I could get one I could get the other. And why be content with one winner a day? Why not get two? I could thus place the winnings of the first on the second.

So I tried at night, but fell asleep waiting for the response that did not come, and so, after a number of failures, I decided to forget it for awhile.

Perhaps concentration was tiring me and I needed to store up energy. One night I asked for the names of the winners of the First and Fourth races and while repeating my request had almost fallen asleep when there flashed up before my mental sight apparently about a foot away, the word “Vanguard” and then almost immediately after it the word “Melba.”

They were shown in luminous letters, very bright and distinct plain, block type, well-formed capitals, two and a half inches high. They were visible at least five seconds, perhaps more. The light was very bright, far more so than in the telepathic experiments, but soft, about as electric light would look behind ground glass or wax paper and just as real to me.

I looked at the New York entries next day, but could not find these names. I then bought the Morning Telegraph and looked over the entries for four tracks, then doing business, but no Vanguard or Melba. I found there were two horses registered under those names, but could not find out where they were racing. Goodwin’s Turf Guide for Canada and the United States has been examined for that period, about the 18th to the 29th of June, 1904, without success. Vanguard was racing on New York tracks in 1906, but I have found no trace of Melba.

Did Henrys not look in the Stud Book? The General Stud Book, Containing Pedigrees of Race Horses, &c., &c., From the earliest Accounts to the Year 1900 inclusive. Vol. XIX. 1901: p. 818

This failure discouraged me, but I still made my request at night, when not too tired or indifferent and shortly I got something else to figure on.

I suddenly became conscious one night, awakening from a sound sleep and found myself lying on my right side with my face turned downward. I did not open my eyes or move, but in the corner of the room behind me apparently about where the meeting place of wall and ceiling would be, I could see through the back of my head three lines of luminous type, similar to those used for Vanguard and Melba.

Now, my mind was set on getting winners of the races, so my feeling of disappointment may be imagined, when instead I found what appeared to be a Bible text. I read it. It was religious and I think advisory or admonitory in character. If I had been wider awake, I should probably have been able to shift from my mind my feeling of disappointment and perceive the interest that attached to such a phenomenon and be careful to impress the statement on my memory, but I was too inactive mentally to be moved even by the fact that I was seeing through the back of my head. I had heard of such things before and the additional importance that even a familiar text would assume when presented and emphasized in this way, by invisible intelligence did not occur to me at that moment. My only impression was of three lines of luminous type, five or six words to a line, a Bible text in place of the winner, a feeling of disgust, and then I fell asleep again. In the morning I was able to remember just one word:


After this my interest in the winners declined. It was always difficult for me to believe I had done what I had and as I was unsuccessful I made fewer attempts to repeat past performances.

The opening day of the racing at Benning’s track in Washington was in the latter part of March in 1905. I had glanced carelessly over the entries without having any opinion as to winners. It occurred to me to see if I could get any. I put my hand over my eyes and in quite an indifferent frame of mind, asked to be shown the name of the winner of the first race at Benning’s track that day. This was about 1 p. m. in my office in New York City and the first race would start at 2:30 p. m. in Washington. I had not waited long before the word “Preen” appeared in luminous capitals, but not much stronger than in the telepathic experiments.

Racing Tips from the Astral Plane Preen, a winning race-horse

I did not recall ever having seen the name before, but found it in the entries when I looked. I was, as I said, in quite an indifferent frame of mind so merely put a mark against the name and went on with my work.

When I left the office, about 5 p. m., the first newsboy I met had an Evening Journal, with a statement in big red type across the top of the front page,


Azoth, The Occult Magazine of America June 1919: pp. 374-376

It is axiomatic that, in tales of supernatural bounty, asking for too much or even revealing the source of that bounty leads to loss. In this context, the author seems to have overstepped by asking for the names of winners, rather than just the stable colors. Was the Biblical text a warning about the greed suggested by this statement:  “I had obtained colors, why not get names? Surely if I could get one I could get the other. And why be content with one winner a day? Why not get two?” Or was it a tip on a horse named “Lord something-or-other”? If it was a warning, it was singularly ineffective, and, if the author hadn’t been in such an indifferent frame of mind, he could have cleaned up on Preen.

I wonder about the role of indifference.  I’ve read of other examples of prayer/mental requests/flashes of prophecy tossed off in a careless moment to great effect, almost as if the spell would be invalidated by too much thought.

Was there anything in those two mystic books Henrys was reading that stimulated visions we might whimsically call “photo finishes?”  It sounds as though he was already subject to hypnagogic hallucinations. He came home a winner the first few times out of the gate, but he makes an interesting point about not quite believing that his system really worked, so that his accuracy faded. Was he checked by a loss of faith in his own psychic powers or was his memory selective about their accuracy? Or (a long shot, according to Henrys) were his wins truly just coincidence?

Somebody out there try this, please. And since you saw it here first, just wire me half of whatever you win. You’re welcome.

chriswoodyard8 AT

Some other ways of choosing a winner: Hunches and Hearses.

Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales. The books are available in paperback and for Kindle. Indexes and fact sheets for all of these books may be found by searching Join her on FB at Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard or The Victorian Book of the Dead. And visit her newest blog, The Victorian Book of the Dead.

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