Dahl, Ingeborg (Mrs. Koeber)

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Dahl, Ingeborg (Mrs. Koeber)

Daughter of Judge Ludwig Dahl of Fredrikstad, Norway, whose trance mediumship provided many in the 1930s with what they considered impressive evidence for spirit return.

Thorstein Wereide, a professor at the University of Oslo, describes his experiences in an article in Psychic Science (April 1931). In 1925 Wereide and his wife moved into an apartment in an old wooden house in Oslo. On February 23, 1926, in the middle of the night, Mrs. Wereide was awakened by three loud knocks on the front door. Thinking that guests of the family below had mistaken the apartment, she ignored the knocks, but soon afterward was startled by the same knocking at the door of her sitting room. She entered the room and saw no one, but when she went into the entrance hall she saw a tall man in evening dress with a sad expression. He asked her to help him, and specifically to remember a date. "It was the 23rd of February yesterday," he said, then suddenly vanished. The electric light was on and the doors were closed. The man was seen again on three occasions, and he always disappeared near a small room in the corner of the apartment.

The following year, on the same day, Wereide awoke to hear his wife holding a loud conversation with an invisible person while she was sitting up in bed. She was in a state of trance, which lasted half an hour. Wereide wrote down her side of the conversation, from which it emerged that the ghost claimed to be a man who had lived in the house. He said he was not really dead, and told Mrs. Wereide, "I cannot get into contact with other people who are dead."

The Wereides then decided to experiment with Ingeborg Dahl, a medium they knew. Without mentioning their experience, they invited her to spend an evening with them during the autumn of 1928. Dahl went into a waking trance and her control "Ludvig" immediately contacted the ghost. The control requested that on a certain day Dahl sit down in her home with paper and pencil. When she did this, a name was written on the paper.

On May 29, 1929, the Wereides again invited Dahl to their home. She went into a waking trance; the ghost said there was something in the house that must be destroyed and that he needed her help. She took the hand of the ghost and went to the small room where he always disappeared. At her suggestion, the door to another room was closed, so that light entered only from the street through a window. The medium then asked, "Was it here?" A slight tap was heard and in a moment there appeared in her hand two old letters, tied together with red ribbon. The medium went back into the bedroom and stood in front of a stove, insisting that the letters be burned. The Wereideses hesitated, noting that the paper was yellow with age and the ink very pale, then reluctantly burned them.

Through the medium the ghost then said, "Now I have reached what I tried to do all this time. I under-stand very well that you were eager to have the letters, but then all my work would have been done in vain. The letters concerned a lady who has lived in the house, and her honor was threatened as long as the letters were there. It was my fault."

Afterward there were no further ghostly phenomena, and Wereide, who had formerly accepted the possibility of all psychic phenomena except apports, now accepted apport phenomena.

Dahl (by that time known under her married name, Inge-borg Koeber) was also the subject of a strange trial at the Oslo Criminal Court in 1935. On August 8, 1934, her father, Judge Ludwig Dahl, the mayor of Bergen, drowned while swimming in the sea. She reportedly heard him call for help and swam out to rescue him. She brought him safely to shore, but he died in her arms. At the inquest, the mayor's deputy, Christian Apenes, told the coroner that on December 4, 1933, he attended a Spiritualist séance with Judge Dahl. The medium was Koeber, and in a trance she communicated a message allegedly from her dead brother, Regnar Dahl. The message was that their father would die within a year, but that Apenes must not tell anyone this, including Koeber, who would not remember the message when she came out of the trance. The spirit also stated that the same message would be communicated to another medium, a Mrs. Stolt-Nielsen, who was to make a note of it and place it in a sealed envelope.

After Judge Dahl's death, Apenes asked Stolt-Nielsen if she had received the message, and she produced a sealed envelope. Opened in the presence of witnesses, it contained the message, "In August 1934 Mayor Ludwig Dahl shall lose his life in an accident." When these prophecies were revealed by the press, there was considerable scandal and controversy. Some people thought the mayor might have committed suicide under sub-conscious suggestion, others that his daughter had drowned him before bringing him back to shore. It was even suggested that Apenes had hypnotized her and suggested that she murder her father.

Koeber took the matter to court to clear her name of such rumors. The investigation lasted three years, during which it was revealed that her father's life insurance policy had expired on the day of his death. The court then found that Judge Dahl's death accidental, but the judge's wife, who had suffered great strain, committed suicide before her daughter's name was cleared.

The case was discussed in a book by Cornelius Tabori, as well as by Harry Price, who had attended a séance with the Dahl family in 1927. Price had been so impressed by the Dahls' sincerity that he helped Judge Dahl find a London publisher for his book We Are Here (1931), to which Sir Oliver Lodge contributed a foreword.


Price, Harry. Fifty Years of Psychical Research. N.p., 1939.

Tabori, Cornelius. My Occult Diary. London, 1951.