As I mentioned in our last post one the privileges in my life was to have known the late Norman MacLeod, Leverburgh, Harris. Both of us had served as Police Officers in Northern Constabulary (serving the Highlands and Islands) although Norman had retired to his home on the Isle of Harris before I got to know him well.
Norman was born in 1926, and joined Inverness-Shire Constabulary (later Northern Constabulary) in 1949. He was promoted to Detective Sergeant in 1971 – a post in which he was highly regarded both by his colleagues and the public alike. A now retired Police Superintendent who knew Norman well wrote the following –
‘Norman was a legend in the Inverness-Shire Constabulary which I joined as a Cadet in 1966. As a young Constable he was very fit and strong and used to compete in the Police sports day in all heavy events such as the hammer and shot putt. He was a keen mountaineer and active in the (Lochaber) Mountain Rescue Team. He knew Ben Nevis like the back of his hand. He was a determined, dogged character who always had a smile on his face. He understood the public and knew how to handle all sorts in society. Norman was very highly regarded by the general public. He was a strict Free Presbyterian by faith and was the most unassuming character. He never boasted about anything and was a reserved individual but when put to the test in the witness box could hold his own with any defence lawyer. Norman was a true gentleman, an excellent colleague and a godly man who was a pillar in society.’
As I say I met Norman in his retirement at his home in Harris and we at once formed a unique bond in the realms of the Christian faith and of the Spirit. We shared a common interest in revival and spirituality. I was astounded by his personal experiences in the realm of the prophetic and impressed by the deep humility which marked him at all times. As I have said previously we subsequently collaborated on a booklet entitled ‘The Hidden Prophets of the Highland Church’.
Shorty before he died I broached the subject of his own experience and asked if he would be willing to record, in writing, something of them. He agreed and what he wrote is shared below. Norman passed away a number of years ago now and although I have shared this document with some close friends – it has not been shared publicly till now. I do so for a number of reasons. First of all I believe his experiences and his theological arguments are very worthwhile recording. Secondly, there is abroad today a theology that questions and casts doubt on the kind of experiences Norman relates – and the experiences of others like him, some of whom I have recorded in the last two posts. Furthermore, Norman faces some of these objections head on and, as a highly regarded (retired) Detective Officer, gives good and compelling evidence for doing so!
By Norman MacLeod ..
‘It is not possible’, confidently wrote Ludovick Kennedy, a supposed intellectual and atheist, ‘for God or man to know the future until it happens.’ Had he read the last part of Isaiah 46 and 43, he would have seen that the proof God gives that he is in fact God, is his ability to foretell and foreordain the future.
Kennedy was not alone among the worldly wise and spiritually bankrupt in debunking prophecy. German scholars and theologians of the higher critical school of the late nineteenth century determined to rid scriptures of any trace of the miraculous. Scientists also almost to a man and woman, were of the same mind. Accepting that God can see into the future, the next question that arises, can man? My own firm belief is that man cannot, that is without the inspiration of God. Even all the Old Testament prophets start their discourse with, “Thus saith the Lord”. Daniel’s predictions came to him mainly through visitations of mighty angels or in direct answer to prayers. In more recent times, such God inspired men as Sandy Pedden – the prophet of the Covenant. Then closer in time and geography in the early part of the nineteenth century, when the whole Bible was translated into the Gaelic language. Gaelic schools ensured that people could read and understand it, coupled with the labour of mightily inspired preachers such as John MacDonald, the Apostle of the North, and many others. Spirituality broke like a tsunami wave over the Highlands and Islands, many men and women being miraculously moved by the Holy Spirit. The early part of the twentieth century saw such men of God as MacKenzie from Glen Urquhart who lived in Harris, and was known there as Da-Riridh, Gaelic for definitely, or yes indeed; Tormod Sona, from the West Side of Lewis and the Rev. Murdoch Campbell of Ness in Lewis. Men who, like Enoch, walked with God and were liberally blessed with gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I need not recount the experiences of these Godly people, which coming from me would only amount to hearsay evidence, much of which has already been documented. I have however been sitting on more direct evidence for most of my almost four score years. Now that fear of being guilty of burying my solitary talent, or more likely delaying until it will shortly be buried with myself, I feel obliged to give a brief account of some experiences of precognition that have occurred to myself. I am not of course in the same league as the people I have just mentioned. I am merely throwing my widow’s mite into the treasury of evidence in a day of much worldly wisdom and a dearth of Spirituality, that there is a God for whom nothing is impossible and that neither time nor space can shackle.
For more than fifty years, it was clear to me that I was sometimes taken through the bounds of time and getting glimpses of future events. These futuristic visions were mainly in regard to death, tragedies and wars, sometimes in very far away places, often in vague symbolism, invariably in dreams. On other occasions in a seemingly out of body phenomenon, being transported through the future to any part of the world however distant and clearly seeing things as if I was physically present. Not all visions were of impending tragic events. One night I dreamt of being in our back garden, which is backed in one place with steep rocks, mini cliffs in fact, up to ten feet high. With me was a small boy, a mere toddler and I was watching him carefully as he clambered over the rocks. The following morning the phone rang and was answered by my wife, while I continued to prepare the breakfast. She seemed very pleased at the news she was getting over the phone, responding with exclamations such as “isn’t that lovely, isn’t it wonderful”. I wondered what the good news could be, but remembering my dream I shouted, “tell her it is a boy”. Our oldest daughter had been married for several years with no family. I had guessed correctly the news she had for her mother and several months later she did have a boy. There was nothing miraculous of course in guessing correctly when there was only a 50-50 chance of being wrong.
In the year 1963 my father and mother were both staying with us in Skye, while my father was convalescing from what was clearly a terminal illness. He was eighty years of age while my mother at seventy-two seemed hale and hearty. One night I had a dream with scriptural symbolism, I saw the sun and moon low over the horizon moving westward when the moon suddenly turned a very pale colour and slowly sank over the horizon while the sun continued on its course. I refused to accept the obvious interpretation and tried to brush the whole thing out of my mind, but the following night I had the same dream except that this time my father was standing beside me, sorrowfully watching the phenomenon. Then remembering Pharaoh’s dream of the coming famine in Egypt, first proclaimed symbolically by the fat and lean kine, the other by the good and poor ears of corn. After interpreting the dream, Joseph concluded that since the dream was repeated to Pharaoh, it was established by God, and would shortly come to pass. So it was with my dream, about a fortnight later my mother was dead. The first indication of her sudden terminal illness was that her face turned the same ashen colour as I saw of the moon.
A few weeks before my mother died, I went to bed as usual in our home in Skye. I did not feel very relaxed so I tried to ease myself into a more comfortable position, only to find that although my mind was wide awake, my body refused to move. I struggled for some time trying to kick-start my nervous system, at first to little avail. Eventually, I seemed to be moving my arms and legs, and after more strenuous effort I felt my head also moving. I still felt that something was wrong and decided to get out of bed in order to sort myself out properly. After standing on the floor, I felt as light as gossamer hopping lightly on the floor. I realised that I had left my body behind me but I did not mind as I had such a wonderful feeling. I hopped lightly on to the windowsill, found myself on the outside of the window. I then simply launched myself into the night floating lightly over the Skye village at a height of about one hundred feet above the houses. After a few moments of enjoying a wonderful feeling, I had a slight lapse of concentration and found myself not over a village in Skye but at the same height over the village of Obbe in Harris. I continued to glide slowly until I found myself over a small loch in the middle of the village. I hovered over the loch while I took in the view. To my amazement I saw that that the whole village was in darkness except my parents’ house where every window was lit up. I then glided down and alighted on to the road in front of the house. I had a look around from that perspective and found that it was no illusion, every house in the village was in darkness except my parents’ house, which was all lit up. As I tried to reason why this should be, I woke up in my bed in Skye. A few weeks later a bus I was travelling in along with some friends and the mortal remains of my mother rounded a bend, which took us into view of my parent’s house. I found it exactly as I saw it a few weeks previously in my prophetic dream or whatever. Every house in the village was in darkness, except my parent’s house which was all lit up. Kind neighbours having opened the house, lit fires and aired beds etc in preparation of my arrival with my mother’s remains.
One night in the spring of 1982, I went to bed pleasantly tired. I just lay on my back gazing at the ceiling, when I found myself not looking at the dark ceiling but at a lovely sun-lit blue sky interspersed with white clouds. It all seemed quite natural, until the sky suddenly swallowed me or that I simply fell into it. A couple of seconds later, whatever was propelling me left me stranded about 150 miles above the earth, whatever gave me that estimate, I do not know. Abandoned in outer space completely disorientated, threshing around trying to find some cohesion with no sense of up, down or direction. I shouted, probably a prayer. I must have been dreaming I explained to my rudely awakened wife, on finding myself wide-awake in bed beside her. On the following two nights, I dreamt of being in a house where psalms were being sung. Connecting the two experiences together, I concluded that a man of God would soon be snatched to Glory so suddenly that he would know nothing about it until he found himself there. About a fortnight later a Godly missionary dropped off his feet in a sheep fank, dead before he hit the ground.
In the late nineteen fifties or early sixties, before I had ever seen news on the television, I dreamt that I was seeing a full moon in the sky but as I continued to look it became apparent that it was not the moon I was seeing but a globe of the earth spinning on its axis, with the continents and nations clearly shown, As I continued to look my attention was drawn to the South East corner of Asia, Vietnam, which until then did not spell war. Then as I watched I saw a huge intercontinental rocket being fired from there straight into the sky leaving a massive trail of smoke. So ended the vision, but some months or perhaps years later when I first saw news on T.V. I recognised the spinning earth globe prelude on the screen as identical to what I had seen in the dream vision several months earlier. Not long after I first had access to news on television, the American involvement in the Vietnamese war was the main news.
Another time, I saw a war in central Africa with two North African Muslim nations taking opposing sides. That actually happened in the Congo or whatever that nation was called at the time. This was probably in the middle of the nineteen sixties.
On another occasion, I saw a war in the Balkans. A mountainous part of it, probably Albania, with street fighting and men shooting at each other from behind cars.
Another time in the year 1982 I dreamt of being over Israel and Lebanon in some sort of aeroplane. A war was on there at the time. On looking I saw what I took to be a new moon in the sky but someone I did not see said over my left shoulder “it is not a new moon but a new earth”. I took it from that, not to expect peace in that part of the world until the Prince of Peace himself came to establish a new earth.
Another time in the early eighties I saw a deep trench running north to south in the middle-east, through Iraq or on the border with Iran with a fire blazing the whole length of it. Later I took this to be the Iran-Iraq war, which lasted 8 years and possibly extended to the current era.
One night in the spring of 1982 one word kept drumming all night into my head, Falkland, Falkland, not Falkland Islands or even Falklands. The only Falkland I could think of was a small town in Fife, which made no sense to me. However, about a fortnight later things became clearer with the Argentinean invasion of South Georgia, followed by the actual invasion of the Falkland Islands. From then on I could just about write the whole history of that war, as days to more than a week in advance, night after night I was given a very clear picture of what would happen.
At first the war was a bloodless one, but one night I saw a crowd of men trapped in a sunken ship, with a submarine involved. I first took it to be one of the British nuclear submarines becoming a casualty. It transpired however that one of our submarines sank the Argentinean battleship, the General Belgrano. Another occasion I saw a battleship with its metal superstructure on fire, white incandescent flames leaping high into the sky. I could not understand how the steel superstructure of a battleship could burst into flames but when the news eventually caught up with the vision, a few days later, it transpired that the superstructure of the flaming battleship, HMS Sheffield, was made of aluminium, and not steel. Aluminium is very combustible under intense heat. What eventually appeared on television was exactly as I had seen previously in my sleep in Harris.
Another night I could not get to sleep, for as soon as my head touched the pillow, I had visions of blood and fire. It continued into the following day, even when I dropped off to sleep in the fireside chair. Visions included seeing a fair-haired young man horribly injured on the side of his face and head. Three or four days later the troop ship, Sir Galahad, carrying Welsh Guards was struck by guided missiles causing heavy casualties, horrible injuries and severe burns.
I have forgotten most of the visions I saw during this war but there is one experience I can never forget. I found myself standing on a moor on the Falkland Islands, not unlike the Lewis moor, fairly level, the sky was overcast, it was neither dark nor very light, like dawn or late evening.
Open in front of me was a deep, wide trench. Along the side of the trench were bodies wrapped in off-white fabric and they were being handed down to men in the trench. Someone spoke to me over my left shoulder and told me that they were being buried and among them was a high-ranking person. Some days later the marines attacked Goose Green, sustaining heavy casualties, among whom was their commanding officer Colonel H Jones, the highest ranking British officer killed in that war. Later the dead were temporarily buried in canvas coffins, later to be raised and taken home for burial. When the picture of the burial appeared sometime later on television I could see that it was exactly as I had seen it in a dream, or more likely an out of body experience 8000 miles away from home.
I was very much against going to war over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. The Falkland Islands and all 1200 inhabitants had been forgotten, abandoned and completely neglected by the British Government. I had no doubt that they would be far better off under Argentinean rule. I reckoned by ordinary common sense that the war would cost the life of one serviceman and £1,000 000 for every man, woman and child on the islands. As far as human life was concerned I could not have been closer but I do not believe that I reached 10% of the fiscal cost of the war. Margaret Thatcher’s reputation as the ‘iron lady’ had to be protected, regardless of casualties.
As the war was nearing its end, with British troops having advanced to the outskirts of Port Stanley, news coming over the television was warning to expect impending casualties, as the Argentinean forces were expected to make a desperate last stand. I felt very depressed over this and my wife who was in and out of the kitchen was actually in tears. Then I nodded off to sleep and instantaneously found myself sitting on a low hillside above the harbour of Port Stanley. I could see ships anchored over a wide area of the sea and one ship seemed to have been hit by a bomb or missile. I seemed to zoom in on it and saw sailors clearing the debris, dumping some in the sea. None of them seemed in any way disturbed. I looked all around me and at the sky. It was heavily clouded as I always saw it over the Falklands but as I looked up, the clouds rolled back from directly above me revealing a single bright star. I then woke up in my fireside chair at home, having been absent for no more that a few seconds but in that time I nipped out to the war zone one third around the earth’s circumference, got an accurate account of the war a couple of days in advance, and was back before my wife noticed a drop in our conversation. I said to her “don’t worry, there will be no more killing, the war is over”. Then added a slight correction, “one ship will still be struck by one bomb, near its stern, but no life will be lost”. And so it was, to the very last detail.
9/11 Terror attack on New York
My most fearful dream vision came to me about three weeks before the 9/11 terror attack on New York. I found myself standing at a window of a high building when an atomic bomb went off about half a mile away. I covered my eyes with my hands to protect them from the brighter than the sun flash of light that I knew would follow. That did not help however, so I folded my arms over my eyes but the overpowering light still got through. I then curled myself up in the foetal position on the floor typical of when a person is being burnt to death. The fearful light nevertheless seemed to penetrate to the very core of my being.
Admittedly it was not a very accurate picture of what actually happened in New York but on the other hand a nuclear explosion was probably the best way of conveying to my mind the sheer horror of what was experienced by the occupants of the twin towers as the aircraft crashed into them. Why I should have been given a distorted picture of the 9/11 horror, I have no idea. It left me with insufficient data to warn anyone of the impending disaster. There was one thing, however that did not deviate from reality and that was the sheer horror of the experience. On waking up in terror, it took me several minutes to convince myself that I was still alive, although I was in no doubt that something terrible was going to happen. It was about this time that I decided that I wanted no more of futuristic visions and I prayed that whatsoever inspiring me into them be taken away from me. I soon realised that like Jonah, I had taken the coward’s way out. Never was prayer marked with a more positive response. Visions of the future simply ceased, much to my regret. I have since seen nothing of portended world events and practically nothing of happenings nearer home.
Gifts of the Spirit are enumerated by the Apostle Paul in his 12th and 14th chapters of first Corinthians as healing, tongues; miracles; prophecy etc. In the increasingly materialistic, long established Western Churches, it is invariably accepted that such supernatural phenomenon did not outlast the Apostolic age. Not so to this day in more recently established churches in developing countries such as China, Nigeria and Islamic countries where Christianity is being persecuted, where the Gospel seed falls on fallow but fertile ground. There miracles of healing still occur and the dead are on occasions raised to life. Quite unacceptable in the West but there is plenty of evidence that it does take place.
Prophecy is rather more difficult to define or prove than other Gifts and is possibly less necessary. The Prophet Amos states “A lion roars who will not fear. The Lord God has spoken who can but prophesy“ – almost declaring that with the word of God available in the Bible, it is almost impossible for anyone not to prophecy! Job appears to see prophecy as an ongoing occurrence. “Why, seeing times are not hid from the Almighty do they that know him not see his day.” ( Job 24 v 1 ).
Western churches invariably define prophecy as forth telling rather than foretelling, so why not leave it at that. One particular reason is that prophecy is a means by which God proves that he is God. (Isaiah Chs. 43 and 46) An assumption by atheists that it is impossible for God or man to see the future until it happens would need to be refuted by any evidence available to the contrary. Hence the reason that I am throwing my Widow’s mite of evidence into the balances. Being an ardent Christian believer of very near four score years and fully believing that soon I will have to stand before the judgement seat of Christ, am I likely to jeopardise my eternity on a bit of cheap sensationalism if I was not in deadly earnest.
I know that what I have written, briefly, laboriously with shaky and badly aimed fingers on an unfamiliar computer, itself one of the myriad symbols of the last days which now beset us on every side, will bring much scorn and derision on my grey head. Nevertheless, being in my eightieth year, a cancer survivor, suffering from diabetes and recently a heart attack, aware that the grim reaper must be snapping at my heels, I feel compelled to come into the open, in case the sin of burying my solitary talent in the ground along with myself, will be laid to my account at the Great Assize.’
Isle Of Harris