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Observations placeholder

Bozzano, Professor Ernesto - Psychic phenomena at the moment of death – 51 The death of Captain Dufauret



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Ernesto Bozzano - Psychic phenomena at the moment of death [110 cases suggesting survival after death]

Telekinesis related to death event

25-th case. - I extract it from the Revue Scientifique et Morale du Spiritisme ("Scientific and Moral Review of Spiritism", 1920, page 141). It is a very interesting fact, which, like the preceding one, is based on an explicit promise made during his lifetime by the deceased who manifests himself, and according to which he announces his death to his friends by producing a certain phenomenon. The case is narrated by Mrs. Hélène Speakmann, wife of Dr. Howard Draper Speakmann, Philadelphia; the story is addressed to Commander Mantin, who asked him to transmit it to the magazine in question. This is what Ms. Speakmann writes:

I delayed my promise for a long time before I let you publish the account of a fact that you, Howard and I often talked about.

It is in order to please you, my dear Paul, that Howard and I have gathered, one by one, all the small pieces of this story, so simple for us, so strange for people who do not dare to lift the veil which divine nature likes to hide its secrets.

A friend of ours, captain of the 18th infantry regiment, stationed in Pau, had told us of a young, intelligent, educated, fervent Catholic lieutenant who nevertheless wanted to hear about spiritualism. We allowed Captain Gaby to introduce us to Lieutenant Dufauret, and our sympathy was immediately shown to him.

He attended several spiritualist sessions and at first brought only a rather cold reserve, admitting that he was only wanting to believe, but... after having seen.

It could have gone on for a long time. But one evening, in the absence of Lieutenant Dufauret, we were visited by an entity from the afterlife, who was manifested by blows and told us that he was Lieutenant Louis Dufauret's grandfather and wanted to thank us for the kind welcome given to his grandson. He gave us intimate details about Louis' childhood that would be pointless to repeat here. Before the ghost left, he told us that, in his last years, he suffered from rheumatic pains that forced him to walk "on all fours" and that he had heard his grandchildren address him several times laughing: "There's Grandpa Zig-Zag!” If Louis doubted this relationship, all you would have to do is to tell him the information came from "Grandpa Zig-Zag".

At the next meeting we told the thing to Dufauret, who could not hide a very lively emotion, and said to us: "This, this time, is an indubitable proof, as I desired it; it is exact in every respect. No one in the regiment, nor in Pau, can know these family characteristics of my childhood, and as I am not allowed to deny that this communication comes from my grandfather, I confess myself convinced and declare myself a spiritualist."

Without dwelling on our good relations, I think you will understand that when Dufauret was promoted Captain, in 1908, to the 48th Infantry Regiment, and had to go to Hold Garrison at Givet, Howard and I felt a real regret at the departure of this intelligent, quick-witted, sensitive boy, whom intimacy had made a friend for us whom, alas, we should not see again. When he said goodbye, he asked us to make a mutual promise. The one, for the one who would die first, to return to prove to the other two that the soul is indeed immortal, and the young captain added: "If destiny designates me to precede you in the afterlife, I promise to return to this hospitable dwelling where, alive, I was so well received.

I will knock on the door of this living room as I usually do, then, a few moments later, I will draw your attention again more particularly by grasping the electric switch of a lamp that I will turn off or on again according to the moment."

Being at Givet, Captain Dufauret often informed us of his news, assuring us that he continued his spiritual studies, whose beautiful and broad philosophy he increasingly admitted to understand.

About two years after his departure, he fell ill with severe bronchopneumonia and entered Givet Hospital, from where he wrote that he suffered frequent choking, but that the Health Council was sending him on convalescent leave and that the beautiful blue skies and clean air of his native Béarn would soon bring him back to his feet, and he ended up this letter by announcing his visit for next week, which, he said, he felt a great joy.

So we were waiting for this brave boy with an impatience as much as he was, when one evening, while we were sitting in the living room, my husband, Mr. Allen, a fellow American who had been to Nirvana for a couple of weeks, and I, busy reading, heard three knocks on the living room door; which surprised us, for it was almost midnight, that all the doors and windows were closed and that the servants had gone back to their rooms on the second floor for a long time. I would add, so that no doubt is allowed, that the two service stairs took access to the interior only and that it would have been necessary, in order to open the large vestibule door, that a servant had crossed the salon under our eyes.

Howard had instinctively replied to the sound of the knocks: "Come in!" without getting an answer. Then we three got up, intrigued, to see who the visitor might be at that time of day.

The antechamber, as well as the vestibule, was lit. No one was there. Everyone returned to the living room to take their place, without however believing it could be a mistake.

Howard said to me thoughtfully in a slightly troubled tone: "Helen, would not we say it was Dufauret who knocked?" I agreed with his doubts, and we continue talking about our friend whose return we hoped for in two or three days. "Perhaps," Allen told us, "this is a telepathic way this officer has used to affirm his forthcoming arrival."

Right after these words were pronounced, the dazzling brightness of a red light suddenly shone in the second living room, separated from the large one by a vast bay.

We ran there to notice a strange fact: a lantern surmounting a high lamp post and containing a red bulb of 40 candles, which we did not use because of the difficulty that there was to insert the switch in the socket of electricity, had just been lit. However, the unused electrical wire with the switch was wrapped around the post, and, to our great surprise, we saw the wire unwrapped and the button in place.

Despite the possible doubts, since we were waiting for Dufauret the next day or the following days, could not we believe that it was he who came to realise his promise in such an intelligent way? Alas! the next day there were no doubts. A dispatch from Givet announced to Dufauret's family his accidental death just a few hours before the spiritual phenomenon that I regret so much to write to you, my dear Paul.

Taken by the painful choking he had told us about, and in a spasm tearing his chest, Dufauret had opened the window to get some air and had leaned outside, to call probably, he had lost his point of support and had fallen on the pavement of the hospital courtyard, at the feet of his ordinance that had just left his captain to fetch his dinner.

Death had been instantaneous.

The body of the ill-fated Captain Dufauret was escorted to Pau by a group of his comrades and buried with military honours in the presence of all the officers of the 18-th regiment, who had kept him a fraternal affection and numerous assistance surrounding the grieving family of our poor friend.

Thus, the youngest of the three of us had left life first and had hastened, barely passed into the afterlife, to come and fulfil his promise.

Is it worth adding that, since then, he is not far from us, that he has not left the earthly plane and that he often comes to communicate with us.

We are both signing, my husband and I; Helen Speakmann, Howard Draper Speakmann, doctor, from Philadelphia.


The source of the experience

Bozzano, Professor Ernesto

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps