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Observations placeholder

Durville, Hector- Psychic Actions at a distance – 02 The remarkable remote healing of Mrs. Marie Durieu, diagnosed with heart failure and tuberculosis



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Hector DURVILLE Psychic Actions at a distance - Four personal observations (Written around 1915)

At the end of July 1882, a 25-year-old woman, Mrs. Marie Durieu, married to an engineer from Lausanne, came to undergo my treatment. She suffered from a heart condition that, according to the many doctors who had treated her without success for 4 to 6 years, was incurable.

Furthermore, following repeated bronchitis, she was examined by the same doctors, and diagnosed to have tuberculous to a degree where healing, especially in a heart patient, left no hope.

And these two diseases were complicated by a nervousness that did not allow her to sleep day or night, that did not let her eat, and that constantly agitated her. Having reached an extreme degree of weakness, with frequent heart failure and arrhythmia, her husband considered her to have reached the point where life would inevitably leave her any minute.

She was a tall and pretty brunette, with a nervous temperament, with a powerful will, but excessively impressionable. Sensitive to the most extreme degree, she was therefore an excellent magnetic subject.

Treatment began on August 1. I gave her one session every day and often two sessions. The improvement was growing by the hour, but next to an exaggerated hope, she had periods of despair where she threatened to kill herself. She immediately fell asleep; and, when she was relatively calm, her lucidity, at least for her, was extremely helpful. Alongside her whimsical anatomy and physiology, she predicted all the crises that would happen inside her with the greatest precision.

Critical crises were growing, and each was followed by a profound change that signaled a very rapid recovery; but as her hope lasted for a short time, her worry, despair and nervousness were still growing visibly. She wanted me to magnetize her all the time, then she didn't want to see me anymore. She wanted to visit Switzerland, her native country, for a second time and die there. Finally, she changed impressions not from hour to hour, but from minute to minute.

The idea of a trip to Switzerland haunted her so much that I advised her husband to do so. They were decided, and they left for Lausanne on August 19, with the intention of returning after 15 days to continue the treatment.

Remembering the previous observation, I proposed to the patient and her husband, who readily agreed to stay in touch with me, through experiments that I would like to carry out, despite the 550 kilometres that, in a straight line, separate Paris from Lausanne. We agreed together that the experiments would be carried out mainly to continue the treatment, that I would keep a log of observations on which I would note each day, as accurately as possible, the time and duration of my action, taking into account the time of the Paris meridian, which significantly delays that of Lausanne; and that Mr. Durieu would note exactly when the patient would fall asleep, what she would do and say in her sleepwalking, when she would wake up; how she would behave afterwards, and that he would write to me every day a detailed letter that the mail would bring me the next morning. In this way, apart from the therapeutic result, by comparing my diary with the letters we would see if the concordance is sufficient to admit the reality of telepsychic communication between me and Mrs. Durieu.

They leave; a telegram announces their arrival.

To present the experiment as accurately as possible, I copy exactly what follows to the treatment logbook:

On August 21, at 1:45 am, I exert the action of my will in the direction of Switzerland; I act very strongly on several occasions, thinking that with the distance that separates us, the magnetic radiation that must act on Mrs. Durieu, will gradually decrease in strength. After 3 minutes, I try to calm down any overexcitement she may have, and I (mentally) send her the following messages:

 Be calm! - How do you find yourself? - Be calm! - Get some rest! (After 2 minutes, I want her to stop resting). - Now, let's work. Tomorrow, at the same time, we will experiment with Mss Verdevoye. Will we succeed? - Have fun on the shores of the lake. - How do you find yourself now? - Will the air of your country be good for you? - Give me all your impressions. You've been asleep for 25 minutes, I have to wake you up.... - Wake up! Wake up! (I then direct a strong will in the same direction to wake her up, I make transversal passes and cold breaths, as if the subject were close to me, and stop all action after 2 minutes).

The next day, I received the following letter, which I regret not being able to have photographed because its layout does not allow it.

Lausanne, August 21, 1882.

Dear Mr. Durville,

I don't waste any time, and come and give you a very brief account, the mail about to leave, of today's experience.

At 2:00 a. m. exactly (Bern time), i. e. at 1:34 a.m., she felt a spot on her forehead; then, suddenly, at 2:03 a.m., she fell asleep until 2:28 a.m., or 25 minutes (of sleep).

The following is a summary of his responses. Notice that I have cheated her as little as possible, and that she suffers a lot the head pains... (Written under her dictation).

"Yes, I'm asleep. - I can see you. - I'm not too tired. - I am very happy to be in my country. I miss you a little bit. - I'm pretty calm. - My head is tired. - You can experience it tomorrow. You want me to get some rest. - I'm in a lot of pain in my head. - My brain gets stuck and confused; I won't see again today. - We took the boat from Geneva; on the boat we had rain. - My head is in terrible pain; I can't see anything anymore, it is fatigue. - You want me to see. - If this continues, I will go crazy. - I'd like you to wake me up. - I have a side pain. - Mr. Durville throws fluid at me. - I can hear you talking; but today, I can no longer answer - no matter how loud you scream, I can no longer answer you (2:28 am).

I will resume my letter.

She missed a couple of answers (she told me), because I was talking to her.

In short, in my opinion, the experience was successful, and it would have been complete without the fatigue of the trip and a coffee we had to have taken before.

I think you received the telegram. Mary felt it, since she forced you to think of her; at least I suppose so. I believe that with less effort, you will achieve the same result, with less head tiredness.

Write to me what other days you will experience with Mss Verdevoye. Make sure that it takes place on Saturday evening or during the day, because of a witness (my captain of the French engineering staff whom I will present to you at the end of September).

Dear Mr. Durville, I hereby finalize my letter, and send you the best and most affectionate greetings from Mary and your devoted friend.


By comparing this excerpt from my diary, complete for that moment, with the impressions that the patient dictates to her husband, we see that there is only a little imagination, that the SUGGESTION, which is invoked far too often, is absolutely nil, and that there is really a very obvious communication, due to only one agent: my THINK, directed by a steady WILL. During the first half of the action, except for a few discrepancies, she answers the questions I ask her quite well; it is only at the end, suffering and overwhelmed with fatigue, that she only perceives my thoughts very imperfectly, and that she answers questions that I did not ask her, but that, logically, I could ask her. I did have two people with me, with whom I would sometimes talk; but, very calm and very self-controlled, I certainly did not shout.

Mss Verdevoye is a remarkable lucid subject, a friend of the patient, who made herself available to us for other more complicated tests, consisting in mentally transmitting my thoughts to Mrs. Durieu, who had to immediately transmit the answer to Mss Verdevoye, who, without knowing anything about the question asked, had to give me the answer verbally. In the presence of several witnesses, including Victor Meunier, scientific editor at the Rappel, I had to record all the questions asked and the answers given, which the next day had to be compared with Mr. Durieu's notes arriving by mail.

Two attempts were made, on the one hand, at my home and, on the other hand, at Le Cèdre, at the home of Mr Raoux, a former professor and President of the Lausanne Hygiene Society, in the presence of too many curious people, including two doctors: the doctor, Anna Kingsford of London, and Dr Bonnejoy of Chars-en-Vexin. As always happens in all analogous circumstances, the troubled subject, tired and irritated by the exaggerated curiosity of some and the skepticism of others, answered in a very precise way to a few rare questions asked, but most of the others were too vague to be reported here.

To my great regret, this second observation was thus concluded. On August 29, Mr. and Mrs. Durieu returned to Paris to continue the treatment, which was of very short duration.

Following extraordinarily violent crises, with phenomena of ecstasy and levitation that I have never seen since, the healing was complete, radical, absolute, on the 31st in the afternoon, that is to say after two days, despite the unfortunate prognosis of Mr. Raoux and the two doctors who had seriously observed it in Lausanne. I have attached to the diary of this healing the letters of the doctors, those of Mr. Raoux who doubt the possibility of healing, as well as several of Mr. Durieu announcing to me 15 months after the healing has been perfectly maintained. Everything leads me to believe that it is sustainable, because I had news on the subject only a few years ago.

The source of the experience

Durville, Hector and Henri

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps