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Observations placeholder

Calyste – Plays cards with his eyes blindfolded



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Flammarion, C., Carroll, L, - Death and its mystery: before death

In his " Iettres sur le magnetisme et le somnambulisme, " published in 1840, Dr. Frapart wrote what follows to a friend :'

I have already told you that Monsieur Ricard had promised to bring to my house, provisionally, Calyste, his best somnambulist, to put him to sleep before the persons whom I should invite, and to make him play cards with his eyes bandaged.: then, if he was in good condition, to put him through other experiments quite as incomprehensible and marvellous.

So yesterday the seance promised by Monsieur Ricard took place, in the presence of sixty persons, all of whom, except for Dr. Teste, were incredulous. I will tell you about what happened.

As soon as Calyste was asleep, or seemed asleep - for I know of no positive sign of sleep-two strangers each laid a handful of cotton wadding on his eyes and over these a large silk handkerchief, the ends of which were brought forward toward the nose and tied.

Then we made sure that the bandage was tightly tied, well placed, and that along its lower border-an all-important precaution-the cotton formed a thick pad which was an impenetrable obstacle to sight. At once eight packs of cards were brought in, still intact; we chose one by chance, tore open the envelop, and began. Monsieur Ricard did not touch the somnambulist, did not speak to him, and it would have been impossible for him to see the hand of the person who was playing. 'When matters had been arranged like this, everything went on as if between two skilful and wide-awake persons. In this way the somnambulist named the cards which he held and those of his adversary'

Such is the fact. Three persons took turns, each of them playing two games, so that a hundred cards passed before Calyste, who often named them and always saw them, as he always played what it was hst to play.

Was this experience the result of sleight of hand?

But we were all of us upon our guard, and we scrutinized everything, fingered everything, analyzed everything. For example, did the bandage have some imperceptible fissure? No, for it was composed of two handfuls of cotton wadding and of a silk handkerchief which skeptical and skilful people had adjusted.

'Was the bandage adjusted in such a fashion that the somnambulist could see below it? Besides the cotton placed over the eyes beneath the bandage, some had been pushed up from below, under the bandage, so that the cotton formed a wad.

Had the cards been prepared? No, for the cases of all the packs still carried the revenue stamps.

Did not the somnambulist recognise the cards by touching them ? No, for he named those of his adversary without touching them.

Did not the hypnotist have some means of communication with the somnambulist? No, for the hypnotist did not speak, did not move, did not look at the cards, and did not touch Calyste.

Finally, was it possible for someone by some sort of means to show Calyste the proper play from his own hand? No, for every one remained silent in anxious expectancy, which was soon followed by astonishment and admiration.

Therefore, we were as certain as it is possible to be that we were not deceived in regard to the bandage, the cards, the somnambulist, the hypnotist or the adversary himself.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Sensory deprivation