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Commander F M Moureau - The kiss from his dying son

Identifier

016681

Type of spiritual experience

Hallucination

Background

Diphtheria (from Greek: διφθέρα diphthera, meaning leather) is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae

A description of the experience

Death and its Mystery, At the Moment of Death; Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dying – Camille Flammarion

Account sent by Monsieur F M Moureau the commanding officer of a war vessel:  Rouen November 1st 1916 and published in  Annales des Sciences psychiques in 1919

On January 23rd 1893, the training ship Iphigenie, then on a cruise of instruction, was off the Antilles, making its way towards France.

Since I had to take the watch from 4 o’clock until 8 o’clock in the morning, I went down to my cabin about 11 o’clock at night and closed the door.  Scarcely had I turned out the light and fallen into that state of semi-consciousness which precedes sleep, when I felt on my chest a sensation of weight and the tactile impression of a little human body.  It was as if it had come to rest there suddenly, without any previous effort – apparent to me – of slipping into my bunk, which was raised above the floor.

Space is very much economised in a war ship’s cabin and the little bed was installed on a chest r linen cupboard of considerable height.  Together with the sensation  of contact and oppression of the lungs, I had a very distinct impression that two little arms were about my neck and that a mouth was kissing mine.

Amazed, I seized the body with both hands and thrust it away abruptly.

In spite of many years which have passed since then, there remains with me the memory of a distinct sensation of a weight lifted.  I struck a match quickly and held it to the candle, which was placed within my immediate reach.  The flame flared out at once and I discovered that the wax had not yet congealed.  I threw myself from my bunk and hastily explored my little room.  I was the only living person in the cabin.

It then occurred to me that I had heard neither the sound of a body falling to the floor, nor the noise which the door would have made in closing.

The next day, at breakfast, I confided my adventure to a comrade who had been promoted when I was, an intimate friend who sat next to me at table in the officers’ room.  Although he was, in general, very sceptical, this fellow officer admitted to me that my narration had impressed him by its precision.

In the port of Gibralter, letters informed me that my little boy, who was barely two years old, had had an attack of croup and had died, in Paris, on the very day on which I had been given a kiss in my solitary cabin.

After having made a careful reckoning of the time, taking into account the longitude in which I was sailing at the moment, I ascertained that the hour of death coincided exactly with that of the tactile hallucination.

On my arrival in Toulon I found my family in deep mourning.

‘If anything’ they said to me, ‘can lessen our cruel sorrow, it is the knowledge that our child, attacked by diphtheria, died from embolia at the very moment when he was kissing your photograph.  He stammered ‘Papa …. Boat ….. on the water’.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities