Ernest de Sasseville - remote views his dying Mother
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery, At the Moment of Death; Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dying – Camille Flammarion
Letter from Ernest de Sasseville
One day – it was a Sunday morning – I was in the grip of an undefinable restlessness. I had no reason for sadness; I was in good health, had only friends and stood well in all my classes. My room mates tried to cheer me by all possible means, but in vain; this melancholy grew intense and took possession of my whole being.
When, at midday, the bell rang for luncheon, I went down to the refectory and took my place at the table, but I could not eat; I was weighed down by a sadness which clutched at my heart.
About 3 o’clock in the afternoon I felt an irresistible need of being alone. I asked my room-mate to be so good as to leave; he consented; I locked the door so that I might not be disturbed. I sat down at my little writing table, meditative; my head in my hands; I tried to account for my condition , to find a reason for this unaccustomed sadness.
Suddenly I experienced something resembling a slight torpor and I had the sensation of flying through space with the rapidity of thought; but it was so dark that I saw nothing distinctly and I can only compare this phenomenon to the changes of scenery which are sometimes effected in a theatre, when all the lights are out and the curtain has not been lowered.
Then I found myself in a room.
At first I distinguished only the four walls; then objects appeared vaguely, and, little by little grew clearer and more distinct.
It was a bedroom; on a bed was lying a woman who seemed very ill; beside the bed another woman was standing looking at the sick woman attentively; at the foot of the bed another woman was sobbing, I could not see her face, but recognised her all the same; in the opposite corner was a table at which a man was sitting, pen in hand; on the table was an inkstand and paper.
I recognised all these persons; the ill woman was my mother, the two women were my sisters and the man my brother Adolphe. I then heard Adolphe say to mother, ‘What must we write him?’ and Mother answered ‘Write him that the doctor has said I haven’t long to live, and that if he wishes to see me alive he must come at once’.
I understood that they were talking of me and that this letter was destined for me. Suddenly I again had he feeling of a rapid change of scene, in darkness and I found myself back in my room.
A great anxiety then mingled with my sadness; I longed to get this letter, which I knew had been written; but I could not leave Montreal before Monday and in consequence, I could not receive it until Tuesday morning.
I got through Monday as best I could; Tuesday morning came. It was the principal’s habit to distribute the mail after breakfast, towards 7 o’clock.
Too impatient to wait for the end f the meal and until prayers were over I went to Mr holmes to ask him to have the kindness to give me my letter.
‘What letter?’ he demanded.
‘A letter I’m expecting from Montreal this morning’, I said.
‘Go and sit down and in your place and wait your turn, like the others’ he said.
At last I got the letter I had waited for so impatiently, it contained little else than the words which I had seen the evening before the last.
When I touched this letter something strange happened within me, a sudden inexplicable joy took the place of sadness; I grew suddenly happy, but without knowing why. I showed the letter to my principal, who said to me ‘I will allow you a holiday and you may go this very morning; there is a train which leaves about noon, go and get ready’.
It then came into my mind that Mother was better and that this was the cause of the inner joy I felt. So I told Mr Holmes that I would not leave that day, that I would wait.
‘What!’ he cried ‘you won’t leave today? But f you put off your departure until tomorrow, your mother will, perhaps, be dead when you arrive. If you need money’ he added ‘I’ll lend you some and I’ll also lend you a nice large cloak to wrap yourself up in warmly’.(For it was winter and very cold).
‘I thank you very much’ I answered, ‘but I don’t want to go today, for I believe that an unexpected change has taken place and that Mother is much better’.
‘But what do you know about it?’ he answered.
After a moment of confusion I answered ‘I don’t know, but just as I learnt that the letter would arrive this morning, containing what it does contain, I feel that Mother is now out of danger’.
‘What sort of old woman’s tale are you telling me? Take care, sir’ he added in severe tones ‘when one yields to such idle fancies, one loses faith quickly.’
He reprimanded me severely made me promise never to speak of this incident to the other pupils and to forget it completely.
The next day I actually received a letter from my brother informing me that during the night an unhoped for improvement had taken place in our Mother’s condition and that she was now out of danger.
I kept my word; I spoke of this to no one and I should, perhaps, have forgotten it, if I had not later had other experiences of the same sort. I must also add with regret that at this time I attached so little importance to these proofs that I destroyed with many others the two letters mentioned above.
But these facts are yours.