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Observations placeholder

Dr. M. Isnard and his two sisters witness their dying mother’s double



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Annals of Psychic Sciences (1891, pp. 193-203).

Also quoted in Professor Ernest Bozzano Les phénomènes de bilocation Traduit de l’italien par Gabriel Gobron and translated further into English by Serge Patlavskiy]

There were three percipients and they provided their reports independently.  The first is the report of the main percipient, Dr. M. Isnard, a personal friend of Dr. Dariex, the editor of the mentioned journal. He writes:

"It was in 1878 when I lived with my mother and two sisters on Jacob street, 28.

My seriously ill mother had been in bed for four months. On January 9, a Thursday, she felt a little better and expressed the desire to attend our evening meal while in bed. One of our friends, Mr. Menon, arrived and agreed to spend the evening with us...

That night was very still, the weather was foggy and dark; it was about 9 o'clock. We were at the table talking about different things, in a very relaxed way, I would say almost comforted by the very sensitive change that had occurred in my mother's condition.

The sound of our voices seemed at the end to tire the patient who, wanting to rest a little, asked us to close her door. We moved together and the conversation continued.

Suddenly the corridor door opened wide, my mother's bedroom door clattered and opened at the same time, and the plaintive voice of the wind rose. A gust of wind? -  all the windows closed -  seemed strange to me! I looked around.

There was a shadow between the windows framing the entrance to the bedroom, that of a woman, small, arched, with her head bent over, and her arms crossed on her chest. A greyish and dusty veil seemed to cover her, she looked like a nun. She walked slowly into the dining room, gliding on the floor, always in the same attitude; her face was not visible. She passed by me, walked around the door, entered the corridor, in the shadows of which she disappeared. A second gust of wind rose, closing the doors. It had lasted six or seven seconds.

What I felt was not fear; more, a feeling of embarrassment, we had all three seen the same thing at the same time and we did not dare to admit it to each other. My sister seemed particularly affected.

- “It's all right, Miss," said Mr. Menon, "it's a game of shadows, so there is nothing to be afraid of”.

-“ I know”, my sister continued, a Russian family in which this had become a state of conviction: "When a shadow comes out of a person's room, he will die the same day or certainly in the near future."

My sister got up and entered my mother's apartment, my friend and I remained quiet. My younger sister, who was busy in another room, came back to us and I told her what had just happened. She seemed very surprised.

I got up, my friend took leave and we went out together. When I returned, I found my two sisters with my mother; they told me that she had suffered a lot and, indeed, I found her very down, very weak and she barely answered my questions.

What still amazes me today is that we avoided talking about this apparition, but each of us thought about it. In the following days, the sick woman's condition became visibly worse.

The following week, I was alone with my mother, she was in the dining room, sitting for a few moments, in her armchair, my two sisters had gone out. It was 5 o'clock, it was the usual time for Dr. D's visit..., my mother got up and, at that moment, I was struck by her behaviour. It was the shadow we had seen: small, curved, the shadow was slowly moving towards the door. A shawl covered its shoulders and head; its face was not visible; its arms were crossed on its chest.

On January 25, at 9:30 a.m., my mother died, leaving us in deep despair.

I no longer attempt to explain these facts, I bring them to you as they happened. (Signed: Doctor, Mr Isnard, 15, Boulevard Arago).

The other two reports, which are also very interesting but too long to be included here, followed in the original text. I limit myself to extracting the passages that relate to the appearance of the patient's split ghost.

The elder sister writes:

" Suddenly, from the bottom of the corridor, the wind seemed to rise, accompanied by that roaring and plaintive voice that is particular to it. The corridor door, closed to the lever handle, opened violently: the two glass doors clattered against each other with a loud crash. Surprised by a gust of wind in this very quiet place, I looked at it. A strange, inexplicable thing happened: a shadow, like a woman's shadow, was there at the entrance to my mother's room; it detached itself from the door and slipped slowly in the direction of the corridor. I saw it only vaguely at first, then more clearly when it appeared on the wall. When she arrived at the corner it formed at that place, she left it, stepped forward into the room, and headed back towards the corridor. At that moment it was clearly discernible on the white background of the open door; there it seemed to me distinct, precise. It was indeed a woman's shadow, more dense than transparent, and yet?... It had, if I may say so, the iridescent quality of certain clouds.

It was small, slightly curved, with its head down and its arms crossed on its chest; it had some kind of recollection and resignation in its attitude. The head and shoulders were covered with a kind of greyish, ashen veil; the face was completely hidden; the shadow looked like a nun.

It entered the corridor, sank into it and disappeared into the darkness. A gust of wind, less violent than the first, pushed the door behind her; the door in my mother's room had closed silently..."

Mr. Menon-Comuet writes:

"We saw perfectly a shadow slipping by the door of the patient's room and the door leading to the other rooms, in a word, completely at the right angle. This shadow, the height of a person a little below average, had the appearance of a woman veiled very low, in the manner of nuns of different orders; it held its head down.... It soon became blurry, and when it reached the doorway leading to the living room, it disappeared. It looked like it was disappearing under the floor. At that moment the two doors, which had suddenly and simultaneously opened before the passage of the shadow, quickly and simultaneously returned to their original position after its passage, beating a fairly sharp blow against their frames..."

In his comments, Dr. Dariex makes a detailed analysis of the three responses provided by the percipients. After that, he concludes in these terms:

"So, and we insist on this point: the different way in which the shadow was seen by the witnesses seems to be related to the position of these witnesses in relation to the shadow's path, and this different way seems to argue for a certain objectivity.

However, we would not dare to conclude that the appearance was truly objective and that the three percipients actually saw the patient's fluidic double or ghost; but we believe we must emphasize the following six remarks to each other's contemplation:

Remark 1. - A strange and unexpected phenomenon was spontaneously and simultaneously seen in the same way by those present whose attention was awakened by a gust of wind.

Remark II. - Immediately afterwards Miss Isnard went to see her mother and found her asleep.

Remark III. - The shadow looked like the patient and had the same gait.

Remark IV. - Immediately the patient feels worse, her condition gradually worsens and she dies a few days later.

Remark V. - It is impossible for a projected shadow to be able, under any circumstances, to simulate the path followed by the observed shadow.

Remark VI. - The gust of wind that caught the attention of the three witnesses, and accompanied the opening of the doors, before the apparition happened, occurred in very calm weather and when all the windows were closed. On the other hand, the witnesses did not notice that the air in the room was agitated when they heard the roar and saw the doors open..."


The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps