Bouissou, Madame Michael - The mummy at M. Berger's
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Life of a Sensitive – Madame Michael Bouissou
I must be frank. I was not expecting a mummy at M. Berger's.
Interested by occult phenomena, he had collected a few friends that evening to be present at an experiment which was to turn out most strangely. There were very few of us, about a dozen I think, all determined to be completely objective. I cannot stress too much that these are the conditions most favourable to the success of a seance-the medium thus being completely free to follow the flow of the images without being obliged to submit either to a criticism or a check.
After greeting me with great friendliness Mme Berger led me to a large table placed between the audience and myself--the reassuring barrier I always liked, because the least contact, the slightest touch on my hands when I was working gave me a painful electric shock which immediately cut short the vision. Several times at the Cercle Hemera some doctor in the audience had asked permission to check my pulse beats during my work. I agreed quite willingly, but none of them was able to detect a quickening or a slowing down. The contact of the hand interrupted the seance and gave me that unpleasant shock.
That evening I had nothing to fear of this nature. Protected from all involuntary contact by the large table, surrounded by a sympathetic audience and soft lights, everything contributed to make me feel optimistic.
A charming young woman handed me the testifying object-a large sealed white envelope. M. Berger told me that I should find a second envelope inside thus protecting the object from all external rays. I opened the envelope and took out a second, hermetically sealed, containing the real testifying object. I clasped it in my left hand and waited. The result was immediate and certainly out of the ordinary. I suddenly seemed to be simultaneously bent in two and borne away by a considerable force. I was no longer in Paris but launched in a dark, whirling world; then appeared a river, a fertile plain and, approaching the river, a woman, neither young nor beautiful, a woman of the fellahin.in, coming to fetch water, such as I had seen in photographs or drawings in certain travel tales. I knew immediately where I was: in Egypt. Not the Egypt of the temples and palaces, of the secret and magnificent hypogea, but the Egypt of peasants and slaves.
The woman, who was now leaving after filling a heavy earthenware pitcher with water, made her way to a very simple low house, or rather a hut. I saw her again: she entered the calm peaceful water of the river and followed a kind of ford. Finally I saw her mummy-rigid, swathed in strips of rather coarse material with a simple necklace of flowers, and I heard my own voice saying, as though coming from afar: "It is a woman of simple circumstances; she was about forty; she must have lived l,500 years before Christ; I can see quite clearly the figure two after a three, I think (possibly the number of the dynasty).
She died of a disease caused by a parasite which lives in the water. I can feel her cold, heavy legs and the pain rising up the spine . . . along the spine until she succumbs to a kind of meningitis. She is blind . . . her neck is stiff and painful and the pain is unbearable. I can't go on . . . it hurts me too much."
I found my bearings, so to speak, trembling slightly, my neck still rigid and painful while my hand opened and released the unknown testifying object.
The audience was silent and in the doorway I suddenly saw a man whose silhouette I could only just distinguish on account of my short-sightedness. He had been waiting in a neighbouring room for the result of the seance, so that in the event of a success it should not be attributed to suggestion. We had never seen each other before; this fact alone would have made suggestion very difficult, since he only came into the room after I had finished this seance.
He came over to me, took the envelope, which was now crumpled, because I had unwittingly squeezed it so hard, opened it and took out a few small strips of material, fragments of the bands that had swathed the mummy.
He was an Egyptologist and confirmed my reading point by point. In the course of his excavations he had brought to light this mummy in its very simple sarcophagus, partly destroyed and buried deep in sand. He had found the remains of the flower necklace, the sole feminine adornment of this peasant who had been embalmed in the most economical manner with salt and pitch and swathed in bands of coarse material, a kind of hempen cloth. Examining his mummy under what I believe he called a "Wood" lamp, he had observed the ravages due to a parasite that frequents the Nile waters and which by penetrating the human tissues causes the grave troubles I had described; it attacks the muscles, then the marrow of the spine and finally the brain, causing death by meningitis with attendant blindness and the terrible pains I had felt three thousand years later! He himself had placed the remains of the bands in the sealed envelope and had slipped it into the second one which the young woman, who did not know its contents, handed to me. He thanked me and congratulated me on the accuracy of the reading, confirming in particular its absolute exactitude as far as the disease was concerned. This disease is still common in Egypt.
The parasite which causes it can be found in the river waters and in the bodies of the people it attacks.
I am under the impression that although M. Berger, his wife and guests saw in me, in the words of the Egyptologist, "a great clairvoyant", they saw also a woman sadly under the weather that evening. I remained in a sort of torpor, almost a coma, a painful state I had never before experienced. This discomfort gradually disappeared and since then I have been convinced that the powers attributed to the scholars, priests and magicians of ancient Egypt were very real and are still redoubtable. But that is another story..,.