Seldom have writers of Americana had a greater influence on history, culture, politics, and literature than in the case of one Samuel Clemens, better known by his tounge-in-cheek pen name; Mark Twain. Clemens had a fiery wit and and uncompromising since of truth and realism, and at times he was even looked upon with scorn for his “tooth and claw” style of literary criticism. Nonetheless, his place as one of the best loved of all American writers can’t be questioned, and his slightly aloof, even eccentric ways helped create the model American that many revered him to be.
What is collectively less well-known about Twain is his involvement with the mystical things that sometimes reach from beyond, touching those of us who, perhaps by way of magic… or more likely mere circumstance, tend to play against the fates and influence our lives.
Twain was born only two weeks after the closest approach of Haley’s Comet in 1835, and perhaps it was a sprinkling of the cosmic dust of the comet’s tail that peppered the youth with such seeds of an unconventional life. He would go on to befriend many of the world’s most famous people of the day, including oil tycoon Henry H. Rogers, Hellen Kellar, Booker T. Washington, and famed inventor Nikola Tesla. In fact, Tesla once credited Twain with saving his life; having fallen ill at an early age, Tesla claimed that it was the joy he took from reading Twain’s works that helped him through his sickness. Indeed, Twain’s influence may have saved Tesla, but conversely one must take into account that perhaps Twain was also influenced by the great inventor just as well, since the writer is also credited with the invention of a variety of things ranging from bed clamps for infants to steam engines.
In spite of his interesting lifestyle and variety of colorful colleagues, Twain was no stranger to encounters with the mystical. In the late 1850s, Twain is said to have experienced “an unusually vivid dream” where the body of his brother, Henry, was seen lying dead. Specific details of the dream included a large metal coffin in which Henry rested, positioned in the center of their sister’s sitting room. The coffin sat upon two chairs, and a bouquet of flowers with one red rose in its center lay across Henry’s chest. To Twain’s shock and surprise, Henry died only weeks later due to injuries sustained in a boat accident. Twain attended the wake, and just as it had appeared in the prophetic dream, he found Henry lying in a metal coffin supported by two chairs. Only one item was missing… and just as Twain entered the room, a woman close behind him appeared with a large bouquet of flowers, placing them on Henryby