Dear Dr. Rhine,

Your letter to my friend, Mrs. Young, has been read to me and I was very glad to hear from you again.

As you know, I have been getting a new set of eyes, and I am only now beginning to handle my letters. It seems now that I will have two good eyes to work with as soon as I get my new lenses to go with my new eyes.

Since hearing your letter for the first time, I have been waiting to recieve the book you mentioned, but it seems to have lingered somewhere beside the way. I will wait no longer; but I will tell you a story that I have been wanting to tell you, and the book may come at its leisure. Here is the story:

My Song of the Messiah, which is the final narrative in my Cycle of the West, deals with the messiah movement among the Sioux in the middle eighties of the last century. It ends with the Battle of Wounded Knee, which occured on December 29, 1890, and resulted in the massacre of over two hundred Sioux men, women, and children.

Thirty years ago I was on a lecture trip through the South, reading from my Cycle of the West and my lyrics. At the college in Roanoke, Virginia, I gave my Song of the Messiah, ending with my description of the Battle of Wounded Knee. It is a tragic and pitiful affair. The reading had an unusual effect upon my audience. Clearly they were deeply moved, and so was I. I could feel a deep hurt in the center of my breast.

The next morning my son and I started for Rock Hill, South Carolina, where I was to appear at the big girls' school there. We took the direct highway route to Rock Hill, which led through or near the present town of York, South Carolina. The highway did not go through the town, but we were aware of a village or town nearby in the timber. We wanted to stay in this town but were told by someone on the road that there was neither motel nor hotel there. So we started to drive toward Rock Hill fourteen miles away. As we left town going southeast, we passed a graveyard. I was not the least interested in the fact but my son, who was driving, said, "Oh, Dad, there's a graveyard. Do they let you go in such places?" I replied, "Oh, of course," but we kept on driving. Reaching Rock Hill in the middle of the afternoon of a lovely day in October, we drove around town for awhile. We never liked to stay all night in a place where we were to appear the next day because too often we were entertained and made weary by our well-meaning hosts. So I said, "Let's go back to that little town up there. I saw a private home on the highway with a Tourists' Room notice out in front. We could stay there." We started back, chiefly because we had plenty of time to spare but nothing much to do.

As we approached the little town, we arrived at the graveyard again, and my son said, "Oh, Dad, I want to go in there." I was quite willing although I saw no reason for it. We parked our car and started up the big center aisle. As we went along, I feeling a bit bored, my son said, "Oh, Dad, look! There's a whole family buried over there. Let's go and see."

We walked over, and this is what we saw on the tombstone: "Captain George D. Wallace, born (such-and-such a time). Killed in battle with the Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, December 29, 1890"

Here's the point of the story: Wallace was a member of the Seventh Cavalry and was under Reno at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He was with the same cavalry at Wounded Knee and was the first white man killed. He is not one of my heroes and was not mentioned in my Song of the Messiah. I had no idea where he came from nor where he went, buy my son, who often has psychic experiences had led me to his grave with seemingly no reason for doing as he did, and he himself didn't know why he wanted to go into the graveyard.

I told this story because a friend fo mine, who is typing this for me, has been trying to help me in making sure that York is the town where I saw the grave; and it undoubtedly is, as we have just learned.

Does this look to you like "coincidence"? In thinking about it, remember the unusual effect my reading had that night at Roanoke just before we found the grave.

The question may be asked: "Who wanted me to see this grave?

All the while I have been getting over my eye operations, I have been working on my "autobiography." I have nearly forty thousand words written and should be through some time during the year. It's really a pleasure to do the job. At present in my "autobiography" I am only fourteen years old, but I am getting older fast, and soon there will be adult doings. The boyhood and youth section, however, is of great importance and has been actually entertaining to me. My little poodle dog, who is my constant companion, has often been aroused by my laughing at something "the old man remembers," and comes to ask me what the fun's about.

I was much pleased by what you say about the use of my poem in the editorial on the great McGill. That little poem, "Let Me Live Out My Years," was written in my late teens and has had many adventures. I have seen it now and then with other people's names attached and I was always pleased and flattered. I still sometimes read it at the end of a recital. The only thing I dislike about it is the reference to death as "the grisly thing." The expression is natural enough for a youth, but my opinion of death has become more complimentary. Maybe it is something like saying, "Nice doggie." to a savage German shepherd; at any rate at my age I no longer call death bad names.

I still regularly hear from Tom and Elaine. Tom is working hard on his Doctor's dissertation, and I wish they would just let him alone to do the job. Maybe one of these days he will be allowed to forget it. Tom is good material for a Doctor.

I have wished so much that our group might get together again. I think I could get Tom and Elaine over here for a visit, but I fear that we could not get results in a short time. I think you know Mark and Judy also. They are still your admirers, of course, and they too wish our group could get together for further experiments. We were really hitting the ball just before we broke up.

With thanks for your great kindness to us and with all kind thoughts,

John G. Neihardt