Dr. Vincent Gubernari is told of his imminent death
Type of spiritual experience
This account appears in both Professor Bozzano's book and in Death and its Mystery – After Death by Camille Flammarian.
We have provided bith accounts for you to compare. It is important to realise that both had to beshortened because the original account was so long, but it makes interesting reading to see which each scientists believed the most aspect. The original was in Italian and we have thus placed it under Bozzano as his account will be closest to the orional from a language point of view.
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery – After Death – Camille Flammarian
Dr. Vincent Gubernari, who had made his home on the pretty Arcetri Hill near Florence (all Galileo's admirers know of it), had been an orphan from his earliest years and had been brought up tenderly by his aunt, who had become a second mother to him.
He was a convinced materialist, and was, above all, completely skeptical where spiritism was concerned. He was nevertheless impressed by the fact that several of his friends who were learned and well balanced, were taking certain experiments seriously.
Desirous of learning the truth with his own eyes, he expressed a desire to try a seance in his home.
Favoured by fortune, he had married Signora Isabella Sergardi, a member of a patrician family in Siena, who had brought him a large dowry. The husband and wife had agreed that, in case either should die, the possessions of the deceased one should go to the other. Signora Isabella had already made her will with this provision, thinking that her husband had done likewise. The doctor made an agreement with his spiritistic friends that he would be present at certain seances, and would see what happened. Let us listen to the story
So they held some seances. On the occasion of the second one, on October 29, 1874, the persons of the group had scarcely placed their hands on the table when it was violently shaken. The doctor demanded the disturber's name.
“Tua zia Rosa [Your Aunt Rosa]," was the answer.
Surprised, the doctor replied: “Well, if you're really my good Aunt Rosa, help me in my profession and aid me to make money."
“I did not come for that. I came to advise you to change your way of life, and to think of your wife."
"Of my wife? I've already thought of her," the doctor answered boldly. "So much so that each of us has made a will in the other's favor."
“That is a lie," said the spirit, shaking the table violently. “She has left everything to you, but you have left her nothing."
It was then that Signora Gubernari, who was present at the seance, entered into the conversation. She declared that the spirit was mistaken and that her husband could prove it by showing his will to the friends then present.
Upon this interruption on the part of his wife, Dr. Gubernari, feeling himself compromised, answered that he was a conscientious man, but that he would show the will to no one. Then the spirit, shaking the table still more violently, added: “I tell you again that you are an impostor! Change your will, and change your life, too! You have no time to lose, for before many days have passed you will be in the spirit world."
This revelation was like a thunderbolt to the doctor. He was overwhelmed by it, and cried, in a rage: "Die before my wife? It's impossible. I'm younger than she. To the devil with that table!"
The seance ended at this point. The next day Colonel Maurizio, a friend of the doctor, saw that he was greatly agitated, and spoke to him of the deception often practised at spiritistic meetings, proposing that he verify the statements at another seance at the home of Countess Passerini.
This seemed to calm the doctor, and he awaited impatiently the upshot of the new experiment: “There was no deception," the spirit stated at this new seance, “and what was said was the absolute truth."
“Therefore," they asked, “Dr. Gubernari must soon die?"
“Without any doubt, and before the end of the year." That they might not increase the doctor's worry, they told him that there had been deception in this case also, and that he would be wrong to bother himself about it. This statement calmed his distress to such an extent that he found himself unable to understand the anguish which the prediction of his imminent death had caused him.
Nevertheless during the night of November 12th, he came down with a raging fever. The physicians stated that his illness was not serious, yet the patient suffered terribly. His friends went to Countess Passerini's home, for a new seance. A spirit manifested itself, and made this reply to the questions asked: “I understand nothing about medicine, but to do you a favour I can go and look for a spirit who followed that profession during his life on earth. Wait a minute."
A silence. After some moments the table moved once more: “I have found the doctor; he is here I question him."
“What illness is Gubernari suffering from?"
"From a fatal disease. He will soon be one of us."
"Is his illness merely physical, or is it mental as well?"
“Both physical and mental."
“Can you tell us who you are?"
"My name is not unknown to you: Dr. Panattoni."
Some days later Signore Gubernari's colleagues, called into consultation, diagnosed his malady as inflammation of the bladder, and he succumbed on December 30, 1874.
This former skeptic, on his death-bed, stated that he saw, near him, Dr. Panattoni, who did not desert him for an instant, and also his mother and his Aunt Rosa, who tried to console him, and exhorted him not to regret leaving this earthly life. And. he added: "What I say is the absolute truth; I feel it's the end, for me, and under such circumstances people don't lie."
Ernesto Bozzano - Psychic phenomena at the moment of death [110 cases suggesting survival after death]
Fourth category -Cases of deathbed apparitions, coinciding with similar preannouncements or confirmations, obtained through the medium channel.
41st case. - I extract it from Annali dello Spiritismo in Italia, 1875, pages 120 and 149. The case report occupies ten pages of this review. I will therefore report only the main passages. The story is told by the well-known early spiritist, Rinaldo Dall'Argine, and the protagonists are people of his intimacy. He writes:
Dr Vincent Gubernari, a native of the Maremma, Tuscany, settled permanently in Arcetri (Pian dei Giullari), a lovely area near Florence. Although he was not the official doctor, he also practiced his profession there.
Mr. Gubernari, favoured by wealth, had married Mrs. Isabelle Segardi of Siena, descendant of a patrician family in that city. She was also rich and had brought her husband a significant dowry.
The spouses had agreed to make a reciprocal donation to their own wealth, and Mrs. Gubernari had already made her will in this regard and assumed that her husband had made the same with her.
Although Mr. Gubernari, as a good materialist, mocked spiritualism and spirits, he could not help but be impressed, when he saw many of his friends, whom he knew to be highly educated, free of bias, and once more anti spirits than he, suddenly become believers in spiritual manifestations. So one fine day, the doctor, whether he wanted to convince himself personally or to have fun at the expense of his friends, expressed a desire to try an experiment at home, and invited them to be part of the party.
As soon as the experimenters had formed the chain around the table, a spirit agitated it with surprising force. And the doctor was extremely surprised when, having asked for the name of the present spirit, he received the reply:
‘- Your aunt Rose.’
The doctor had become an orphan at an early age, and had been raised with tenderness by this aunt, who had served as his mother.
When he came back from his surprise, he cried out:
‘- Well, if you really are my Aunt Rose, help me in my profession, make me a lot of money!’
‘- I am here to advise you to change your life and think about your wife.’
‘ - I have already thought of my wife,’ the doctor replied without shame, ‘because it is true that we have both made our wills to our mutual advantage.’
‘- Lie,‘ answered the spirit, shaking the table strongly to show her displeasure; ‘she has left you everything, yes, but you have not left her anything!’
Then Mrs. Gubernari took part in the dialogue, and, wanting to persuade the spirit that her husband had made a will in her favour, she courageously said that her husband could prove it by showing the will even to the friends present.
The doctor, as a result of his wife's unexpected intervention, was compromised and did not know how to get out of the nasty situation. He knew what was in his conscience, so it was impossible for him to decide to confess his wrongs, declaring that the spirit had not told the truth. Very troubled by this incident, he declared that he would not show anyone the will.
The spirit, then, shaking the table with even greater force, replied:
‘You are an impostor! Yes, I repeat it to you: you have forgotten your wife, and, in your testament, you only remembered your servant, because ... Change, yes, change your way of life and your will, and look forward you, because you have no time to lose; in a few days you will be with us in the spirit world!’
This revelation was like a thunderbolt on the doctor's head. He was dismayed ... then with rage he cried:
'How! I should die before my wife, me who's younger than her? No, it will never be; I want to live and I will live.'
And when he had said this, he arose all angry, and commanded that the table which had been used for the experiment should be carried away.
The next day, one of his friends - Colonel Maurizio - to calm his restlessness, spoke to him about possible spiritual deception, and told him that this evening he would go to Countess Passerini for a counter-proof session.
The doctor seemed to calm down and waited impatiently for the result of the new experience.
Colonel Maurizio went to Countess Passerini and, at the beginning of the meeting, they asked the guide-spirit if it knew what had happened the night before to Dr. Gubernari. It answered:
'There was no deception; the spirit of the doctor's aunt revealed only the pure truth.'
'- So, asked Professor Capelli, Dr. Gubernari must really die, and soon?'
'- Undoubtedly, continued the spirit, and before the end of the current year.'
'- But, added Capelli, how can we report to the doctor this terrible confirmation of what his aunt revealed to him? We don't want to increase his disorder.'
'- What I said, I said to you; with the doctor, do as you will.'
It was immediately written to Dr. Gubernari that the spirit had assured him that it was a mostake. The doctor avidly read the missive, and relaxed, laughing at himself and his fears, and - having enjoyed perfect health, - he now felt ashamed to have believed for some moment in his next death.
Nevertheless, on the night of November 12th, he was attacked by a very strong fever accompanied by severe pain ... The doctors diagnosed that it was an unimportant thing and that he did not need to be concerned ... but in the meantime the pain increased, and he suffered horribly ...
His friends went again to the Countess Passerini for a mediumistic session. The usual entity manifested itself. When asked about this, it replied:
'He is a sick man, and I will say that I myself know nothing about this kind of thing; but to satisfy your desire, I will seek a spirit who has practiced medicine during its life, and I will send it to you. Wait for me a moment!'
The pedestal table stopped, but after a few minutes it moved again, and the same spirit said:
'I found the doctor; he is here; question him!'
'D. Can you tell us something about Gubernari's disease?'
'A. I can say that, as a spirit, I find Gubernari seriously ill. However, I will confess to you that if I were still with you, I would say what my living colleagues are saying about him.'
'D. But if it is true that he is seriously ill, how can doctors have declared that his illness is a matter of a few days!'
'A. If the body, which holds the imprisoned soul, was made like a box that could be opened at will, the doctors would see the evil that consumes Gubernari, while it seems outwardly healthy.'
'D. Is his harm only physical or moral?'
'D. Will he heal or die?'
'A. I am sorry to tell you, but he will be with us soon.'
'D. Can you tell us who you are?'
'A. A doctor whose name is not unknown to you.'
'D. So, be good enough to teach us.'
'A. I'm telling you, and then I'm leaving because I'm in a hurry ... Panattoni. Good night all. (Dr. Panattoni, a relative of the deputy of the same name, had been a good doctor, who had practiced his profession in Florence.)'
Further consultations were made, and the doctors finally diagnosed that the doctor had an internal cyst. He died on December 30, 1874.
Reduced to agony, he said that he saw near his bed the spirit of Dr. Panattoni who never abandoned him for a moment, and at his bedside the spirits of his mother and Aunt Rose, who consoled him by their presence and encouraged him to leave earthly life. Fearing that he would not be believed, he exclaimed more than once: "What I say is the pure truth; I am in agony, and in agony we do not lie."