Monday, May 22, 2017

Daisy Dryden's Deathly Visions

(Photo: J. Rubio) 

Tucked away in the middle of the historic Stockton Rural Cemetery in Stockton, California, you will find many locally historic graves and crypts. One that particularly stands out in the "unexplained" department is the final resting place of 10 year old Daisy Dryden and her siblings: brother "Allie" and sister "Nellie." Daisy’s story became famously known for her visions of heaven and the "other side", she claimed to have seen while on her death bed.

Daisy Dryden was born on September 9, 1854 in Marysville, California. She was the daughter of Reverend David Anderson and his wife. She was named Daisy, “because she was such a petite child, with such large, luminous brown eyes, that to us she seemed like the dawn of a beautiful spring morning, and so we gave her that name because it signified the opening of the eye of day.”  The two Dryden daughters, only two years apart, were very much loved by their mother. Though Daisy was mentioned as having brown eyes, Lulu’s eyes were a beautiful blue, and “these two darlings made sunshine whereyer they lived.”

Her mother recalled that Daisy wasn’t a perfect child, but who really is at that young of an age? “There were times when she was self-willed and even to stubbornness. Obedience was often a very bitter morsel. She had a quick temper. There would be a sudden flaming up of fire in those brown eyes, and angry words would follow. And then there would be just a sudden repentance.”

Although Daisy was a lot like most children, at times she was also not like most children. She was very in tune with other people’s feelings, what today we would call empathetic. She also had a very strong faith in God, and once when her mother was very ill, she saw her father crying and took it upon herself to go pray that God would make her better. She told her father that she had prayed and that God was going to heal her, and she miraculously recovered.

She was also not afraid of the dark, which was uncommon for young children, particularly girls. Lulu, her older sister was terrified of the dark and always asked Daisy to come everywhere with her when it was dark.  Daisy would speak as logically as an adult when she’d say, “There is nothing in the dark which is not there in the light.”

Daisy also loved the outdoors, nature and a beautiful view. Once she said, ‘I should like to climb to the top of that high mountain, because, you say, there are no clouds there, and we might see the angels looking down on us.” – (this is when the family was living in Nevada City, California). “There was a beautiful garden in the front of the parsonage at Nevada City, in which she loved to walk and talk to the flowers.  She had at the time a little watering-pot. One day a lady was passing and said: “Daisy, what are you doing?” “Oh, giving the flowers a drink, and you ought to see them laugh,” she replied. She was very fond of pansies and daisies; pansies because she could see faces in them, and daisies because of her own name. She said one day, when we were in the garden, “Let us have daisies every place we go, if we can have nothing else.”

She was also a little girl with a very sensitive conscience, even praying for forgiveness to God and asking forgiveness of her mother one time for picking blue bells (flowers she was not supposed to pick) and leaving them under the rose bush. As her mother said, “this circumstance showed how tender was her conscience at the early age of five.”

In the summer of 1864, Daisy became ill with “bilious fever,” but it seemed she was going to recover. But her mother stated that by the afternoons Daisy would droop and complain of weariness. The doctor was called and he diagnosed her with Typhoid fever. She lay in bed for five weeks, struggling to break the fever that tormented her poor little body.  It seemed as though she had conquered the illness and even her doctor believed she was “out of the woods,” so-to-speak, and on the road to recovery. He even gave her a shiny new silver half-dollar saying “This is for the little girl who takes her medicine so well.”  But Daisy knew, for whatever reason, that she was not going to get better. Her mother spoke of happy plans of them moving back to Nevada City from San Jose, but Daisy would tell her, “Mamma, you will go to Nevada City, but I don’t think you will take me with you.”

To her family it appeared that Daisy was getting better week by week, but then one afternoon she lost all expression in her face, and stared into thin air. Her father asked her what she saw and she claimed she could see Jesus. That very night she fell ill once again, this time with enteritis, and thus started the four days of visions before her tragic death. According to her mother the first 24 hours were the worst, as Daisy could not eat, drink or take any sort of medicine. After that she claimed she felt no pain, but her mind was very astute. Her sister would sing to her from their school hymnal book, and she could recite poetry she had learned before. She also enjoyed having her parents read the Bible to her. This was around the time she started mentioning that her brother, “Allie” (Albion) would come visit her. Allie had died just seven months before, from scarlet fever. She claimed that he would come to her every day, especially those last three days of her life. Many times when her parents would ask her questions that she felt she could not answer to them herself, she would say, “Wait until Allie comes, and I will ask him.”  

As her mother put it, those three last days of Daisy’s life, she “dwelt in both worlds.” It appeared that from what Daisy was experiencing, she could see through the veil so-to-speak, and into the other realm that mortal eyes do not usually see. Daisy explained to her father, “There is no curtain; there is not even a line that separates this life from the other life.” And she stretched out her little hand from the bed and with a gesture said, “It is here and it is there, I know it is so, for I can see you all, and I see them there at the same time.” For the last few days Daisy had several visitors and with each visitor she claimed she could see to the other side and communicate with their dead loved ones. She also told her mother only “No one, unless they have dying eyes can see spirits.”

Daisy loved when her sister Lulu would sing to her, and she always enjoyed her singing this one particular song:

“Oh! Come, angel band,
Come, and around me stand.
Oh! Bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal home.” –

One time when Lulu finished singing it, Daisy stated, “Oh Lulu, is it not strange? We always thought the angels had wings! But it is a mistake; they don’t have any.” Lulu replied, “But they must have wings, how else do they fly down from heaven?” “Oh, but they don’t fly,” she answered, “they just come. When I think of Allie, he is here.”

When asked how she could communicate with the spirit realm without anyone hearing her speak or see her lips move, Daisy, in such a simple and childish reply said, “We just talk with our think,” meaning it was all through her mind. The day she died she asked her mother for a mirror to look at her face, staring at her reflection for several minutes. “This body of mine is about worn out. It is like that old dress of mamma’s hanging there in the closet. She doesn’t wear it anymore, and I won’t wear my body anymore… will lay my body in the grave because I will not need it again.”

Her mother opened the shutters to the window at Daisy’s request, so she could look outside at the world one last time. Her father carried her to the window and she bid goodbye to everything she saw.  “Goodbye, sky. Goodbye, trees. Goodbye, flowers. Goodbye, white rose. Goodbye, red rose. Good-bye, beautiful world….How I love it, but I do not wish to stay.”

At 8:30 pm, Daisy told her mother that her brother Allie had told her he would come for her at half past 11. She rested on her father’s chest and shoulder and waited. Lulu kissed Daisy goodnight and started up the stairs to go to bed. She could hear Daisy call out, “Good night and goodbye my sweet darling Lulu.”  By 11:30 pm, Daisy told her father that Allie was there to take her away. She lifted both arms up and reached in the air, saying “Come, Allie,” and took her last breath.

Daisy succumbed to her illness on October 8, 1864, and was laid to rest with her brother, “Allie” (David Albion) who died only 7 months earlier at the age of 6 from scarlet fever. Her other sister "Nellie" (Helen) preceded them in death and all three are buried together in the unendowed section, plot # 25.

Grave of Daisy, Nellie and Albion Dryden
Photo Credit: J.Rubio

Her mother published a book in later years telling about their experience in "Daisy Dryden, A Memoir", published by Boston Colonial Press in 1909.

To this day her story remains a mysterious one. Some people think she was only hallucinating due to her body and mind shutting down, while others adamantly believe she genuinely saw into the spirit realm.

For the record, there are no stories or reports of Daisy Dryden's spirit haunting the cemetery, nor has there ever been any reports of the cemetery itself being haunted. Believe it or not, this place is a tranquil place for those at rest, and in all the years I have visited, I have never had any sort of paranormal experience there. --

To read the Google eBook or Download it for FREE click here:

To visit Daisy’s Find-a-grave memorial, click here:

(Copyright, 2017-- J'aime Rubio.
Photos: Copyright, J'aime Rubio, 2014