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Observations placeholder

Bozzano, Professor Ernesto - Psychic phenomena at the moment of death – 53 In the ruins of Jumieges Abbey, four people hear a chorus of many male voices singing Vespers



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

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

Transcendental Music

5° case. - I extract it from the Journal of the S.P.R. (vol. XVII, page 118). It is a rigorously documented episode in which four people collectively perceived a church song, of transcendental origin, performed in the ruins of a medieval abbey. Each of the four percipients delivered the written testimony to the "English Society of Psychic Research".

Miss Ernestine Anne writes in these words, dated July 28, 1915:

I visited the ruins of the Jumieges Abbey, in France, on Sunday July 6, 1913, with my father, my mother and one of my brothers. We arrived on the spot at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and we started at once to walk through the imposing ruins of the monastery church of Notre-Dame. These are the largest and most imposing remains of Norman architecture I have ever seen.

It is a cross-shaped building; its right branch is attached to another smaller church, called St. Peter's, which had served as a parish church. The walls of the latter have remained almost intact, while from the monastery church only the central aisle remains, with some other debris showing the location of the altar. Trees and bushes cover the area where the rectory stood.

After having contemplated for a long time the remains of the church of Notre-Dame, we passed in that of Saint-Pierre, admiring these splendid Gothic ruins of the XIV-th century. I had moved a little further away from the others when, suddenly, I heard a chorus of many male voices, which seemed to come from a free space to my left, where some fragments of walls which marked the place where the choir once stood. It was a melodious and solemn song, whose motive was familiar to me. I remember thinking, "It can only be a game of my imagination!" I was therefore trying to distract my attention, when I heard my father shout: "Now the monks are singing in chorus".

As soon as the music stopped, - it lasted only a few seconds for me, -  I was so impressed by the strangeness of the whole thing that I would have preferred to convince myself that I had not heard anything, but it was hardly possible, since my companions had heard it as I had. We all recognized that we had heard a choir of voices singing Vespers, that is, psalms in Latin.

We tried to resolve the mystery by using a "natural" explanation, but uselessly, because the guardian told us that the current parish church is a kilometre and a half away. Moreover, if the echo of this choral song had come from the parish church, we would have heard it for some time, not just for a few minutes. It was a beautiful day without wind. We stayed there for another half-an-hour, without noticing anything extraordinary.

I immediately took notes of this strange fact, and used these notes to write this account.

Signed: Ernestine Anne.

I reproduce only the following passage from the testimony of the head of the family:

We had been in the middle of the ruins for a few minutes, when I heard a melodious choral song that seemed to take birth on the spot, a short distance from us; and more precisely halfway between the place where we were and the great blackened wall that rose in front of us. The psalms of Vespers were sung harmoniously and solemnly.

I could almost swear that I understood the Latin words. I exclaimed, "How! here come the monks singing in chorus!" But in saying this, I had no doubt that the event was real, since I did not have enough time to think that I was not in a church open to worship, but in the middle of the ruins of an ancient abbey. One of us made a comment on that. Immediately the song went out slowly, as it had begun. Immediately we explored the surroundings, finding that there was no one there. I noticed that this choral singing was far superior to anything I had heard in my life, especially in France.

Signed: Ernest L.S. Anne.

Here is a passage from the mother's testimony:

The four of us were a short distance apart, contemplating these wonderful ruins, when I heard very distinctly a chorus of male voices singing psalms. At the time I write, I am still able to remember this choir, they were melodious and exercised voices that sang with perfect harmony. We could discern the various timbres, merging admirably. At first I thought it was a real church choir, without suspecting that it was a paranormal hearing case. The choral ensemble sounded as if it had been sung under the vault of a vast church; I stayed to listen to it as if fascinated...

Signed: Edith Anne.

I extract this last passage from the brother's testimony:

I remember contemplating an ancient tombstone abandoned in a corner, when suddenly I heard a chorus of male voices singing Vespers. One of us cried out: "There are the monks singing in chorus!" This song lasted about half a minute; maybe a minute.

Signed: E. Edward Anne.


NOTES: The only objection contrary to the psychometric explanation would consist in the fact that the psychometric perceptions are invariably personal and never collective. That is to say that the sensitive person, having been put in relation with the "psychometrizable" object, perceives alone. The visions-auditions, to which it is presented, are not transferable to third parties. It is true that, in the above case, it would not have been precisely a "psychometrizable" object, but rather a "psychometrized" atmosphere, with which all those present were in contact. But, as the sensitive persons endowed with psychometric faculties are very rare, it is unlikely that in the case in question the four people were all sensitives-psychometers.

These difficulties would not exist for the telepathic-spirit hypothesis, since to undergo a telepathic influx - whether from a living or a deceased person - special sensory faculties are not necessary. Any person, though psychometrically negative, may be subject to it at some point in his life, as evidenced by countless examples of collective telepathic hallucinations.




The source of the experience

Bozzano, Professor Ernesto

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps