Fernand Gayraud, aged six and a half, sees the ghost of little Emilienne Blin of 117 rue Caulaincourt
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery: After Death – Camille Flammarion
Paris, Sunday, November 30, 1917.
Pardon me, Master, if I monopolize your attention for a few minutes, to tell you of something which happened recently in my home. You must forgive me because of my humble desire to bring to your notice a bit of testimony. This, added to the thousands of other narrations of this sort already in your possession, will add to the information at your disposal, and aid in the triumph of Truth.
One night, about two o'clock in the morning, my husband and I were awakened by our little boy Fernand, aged six and a half; he was calling to me. Since I was half asleep at that moment and thought that he was dreaming, I told him to go to sleep again; then there was silence once more.
The next morning the child came into our room, as he usually did, to kiss us good morning. Then I asked him why he had been so disturbed in the night-what dream he had had. And here, without my changing a word, is the dialogue which took place between us:
"Why did you call me last night?"
“I was afraid, Mamma."
”Afraid? Why, my dear?"
“A little girl was sitting at the foot of my bed."
“A little girl! Tell me about it."
"A little girl with a doll in her arms. She was rocking it, and in front of her on the table [I must add that our child sleeps in the dining-room, in a little iron bed, and that the table touches his bed] was a little basin, with a sponge; she was washing her doll's face." He gave me an imitation: “Just like that."
“Ah" I said, "you were dreaming, my dear."
“No, Mamma, I wasn't dreaming, because I did this to see if I was asleep [he then made a comical movement; with his little fingers he lifted one of his eyelids]; my eye was open, I could feel that it was, and to make sure that I wasn't asleep I shook my bed, too, and it went click-clack. Then the little girl got up and walked on my bed, coming toward me. I was afraid; I called you and hid under the covers for a few minutes. Afterward I put my head out and there was nothing there any more”.
“Ah" I said, and looked at my husband.
"What was it? Tell me, little mother," my boy said, still frightened.
“It was doubtless your guardian angel, my dear; he came to see if you were good."
Completely reassured and full of enthusiasm, the child then asked me if he would come back, and added: "How pretty my guardian angel was! He was dressed like a little girl and had beautiful curls."
Then I sent the little boy into the adjoining room.
When we were alone, my husband and I looked at each other, though we were not much surprised. We had both been witnesses of an occurrence of this nature when my father-in-law died. “That little girl," we thought, “has died. We're going to learn something."
In the afternoon I had some errands to do. I met a woman whom I had not seen for about ten days. Since her little girl had been unwell, I asked her for news of her child, and the happy mother gave me very good news. At that moment another woman came up, a friend of the first, whom I scarcely knew. Out of consideration I was about to move away, when I heard this person say: "Just think of it! What a terrible misfortune! Such a beautiful child!"
Puzzled, I drew near her involuntarily, moved by I know not what curiosity, and asked whom they were speaking of. I learned in this way that the little daughter of the concierge of the first woman to whom I had spoken had died the day before of cerebro-spinal meningitis, which had carried the child off in forty-eight hours.
I wish to tell you again, Master, that I had not seen this person for about ten days, and that she alone could have told me of this little girl's illness. The mystery was then explained. The little girl was a playmate of my child, and many a time that summer these two children, who were the same age, had played together. Since winter weather had begun, they no longer saw each, other. The darling loved, to play with dolls, like so many other little mothers of the future, and she loved above all to dress and wash her baby; and it was in this way that the little angel, to insure recognition, came to say good-by to her small friend Fernand.
Returning home, I told my husband this news, and asked my child if he had been able to recognize the little girl’s face. I give his own words again: "Her face seemed to have a veil over it, I couldn’t see it well; it seemed, as if she had a piece of muslin over it. She was all white; her dress, her hair, everything about her was white."
That, Master, was the occurrence in all its simplicity; a little child was the truthful and innocent witness of it. I shall ask you to pardon the simplicity of this poor letter, which (I dare not hope for anything else) will doubtless remain unanswered. My only excuse for writing it is, I repeat, the fact that it is absolutely sincere. Believe me, dear Master, you have our deep respectful admiration.
5 rue Nobel, Paris. (Letter 3995)
After receiving this letter, I wrote the sender of it, following my usual custom of making an analytical investigation. The narrator is the wife of Monsieur Paul Gayraud, a pianist, who won first prize at the Conservatory. Both of them were kind enough to place themselves at my disposal in order to bring the inquiry to a successful conclusion. This is what the investigation brought out:
It was on Wednesday, November 21, 1917, at eight o’clock in the morning, that the little girl died: Emilienne Blin, 117 rue Caulaincourt. And it was on Thursday, November 22nd, at two o'clock in the morning-that is to say eighteen hours afterward-that little Fernand Gayraud saw her on his bed, at a time when her death was known neither to him nor to his parents. The two children were playmates.