Andrew Lang - Delacourt, the missionary, and the boy who levitated to the ceiling
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Lettre Delacourt – translated by Andrew Lang
The witness and narrator is Delacourt, a French missionary. The source is a letter of his of November 25th 1738 to Winslow the anatomist, Membre de l’Academie des Sciences a Paris. It is printed in the Institutiones Theologicae of Collet, who attested the probity of the missionary.
In May or June 1733, Delacourt was asked to view a young native Christian, said by his friends to be ‘possessed’. ‘Rather incredulous’ as he says, Delacourt went to the lad, who had communicated, as he believed, unworthily, and was therefore a prey to religious excitement.
Delacourt addressed the youth in Latin: he replied Ego nescio loqui Latine. [I can not speak Latin]
Delacourt led him into the church, where the patient was violently convulsed.
Delacourt then – remembering the example set by the Bishop of Tilopolis, ordered the demon in Latin, to carry the boy to the ceiling.
“His body became quite stiff, he was dragged from the middle of the church to a pillar and there, his feet joined, his back fixed (colle) against the pillar, he was transported to the ceiling, like a weight rapidly drawn up, without any apparent action on his part. I kept him up in the air for half an hour, and then bade him drop without hurting himself, when he fell like a packet of dirty linen”.
While he was up aloft, Delacourt preached at him in Latin and he became “perhaps the best Christian in Cochin China”.