Alphonse Cahagnet – Arcanus; la Vie Future Dévoilés - Adele Maginot
Type of Spiritual Experience
The two first volumes of the Arcanus contain the account of experiments with eight subjects, who possessed the faculty of seeing discarnate spirits. The culminating point was attained with one called Adele Maginot, who had a long series of manifestations. The work contains more than one hundred and fifty records, emanating from witnesses who assert that they recognised the spirit described by the somnambulist. Here is an example : —
[There is another explanation for this which is ‘thought transference’ over some distance aided by the bridges formed by the various people involved.]
A description of the experience
Alphonse Cahagnet - Arcanes fr la Vie Future Dévoilés (1847-8; English translation The Celestial Telegraph, 1850).
Alphonse Cahagnet - The ??? of Almignana, …., not being, apparently, convinced as to the details which Adele had given him concerning the apparition of his brother, which had manifested at the eleventh seance, came to me to express his doubts.
Note: This gentleman told me afterwards that he very exactly recognised all the details of the apparition of his brother, but doubts had been raised in his mind by the suggestion that had been made to him that these apparitions were due to thought-transference : and it was in order to assure himself that this was not the case that he cited someone unknown to him. (Note by Cahagnet. )
At that moment Adele was in the sleep; he proposed to call for the sister of his nurse, who was called Antoinette Carre, and who had died a few years before. I called for her.
Adele Maginot - said : ‘I see a woman of middle height, with fair auburn hair, aged about forty-five years, not pretty, with small grey eyes, a large nose, a little thick at the end, yellowish complexion, flat mouth. She has what we call /a grosse gorge ; her teeth are lacking in front, the few which remain are black ; she wears what we call in the country un ???: a brown bodice, a striped skirt, a little short, a country apron surrounding her completely ; she has a check fichu round the neck; her hands denote hard work ; she worked in the fields. She had a brother who died after her; but he is not in the same sphere as she, because, although he was not a bad fellow, he was nothing very particular. This woman impresses me as having been very good.'
Alphonse Cahagnet - M. Almignana carried away these written details, and sent me a letter at once, from which I extract the following:—
M. Almignana - " When I had read four times over the description given to Marie Francoise Rosalie Carre, she declared that it was exact, that she could not fail to recognise her sister, Antoinette Carre, in the woman who appeared to the somnambulist: as to the brother, she declared that he died after her sister, as Adele asserted. She added a circumstance worthy of note ; she said that she dreamt on the night between the 30th and 31st of January (the eve of the seance) that she was standing by the graves of her brother and sister, but her attention was more drawn to the grave of her sister (she had never dreamt of her since her death).
Alphonse Cahagnet - I should like to draw attention to the fact that neither the Abbe Almignana nor his nurse were aware that we were going to ask for the appearance of this woman even on the very day of the seance. I put the question quite without pre-meditation. ' Do you know anyone deceased, whose appearance might convince you?' He replied, ‘ Ask for the sister of my nurse ; for then there will be no influence or communication of thought, since she is not here, and knows nothing of what is going to be done’
As we have shown, the success was complete; this woman, in order to assure her master of the correctness of that which he had told her, said that she had herself given the fichu to her sister. The apparition of Antoinette Carre ought to dissipate this unpleasant objection of thought-transference, or if it does not we are all mad to try to prove the existence of a soul to fools.
One more detail relative to this apparition : —
M. Almignana came a few days after this seance to the house and told me that his nurse had met the evening before a man from their native place, to whom she read the description of her sister, which she had in her hands, asking if he recognised such a person. He answered, ‘But it is the portrait of your sister who died ; there's no mistake about it' The nurse of M. Almignana remarked that the description mentioned a little spot on the cheek, and that she did not remember anything of the kind ; to which he replied, ‘You are wrong, for she had one there,' pointing to the place. The woman then remembered it, and was the more convinced, as was also M. Almignana, who was anxious to complete the identification, leaving no room for doubt. This third person came to establish the correctness of this detail, which therefore could not have been due to thought-transference. (I forgot to mention this little spot in the account given above).