Flammarion, Camille - the famous story of ‘our dead Rollet’
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery – After Death – Camille Flammarian
The best proof that I have never been in a hurry to take kindly to these stories is the fact that I have known of one since childhood, which l have never made public. I believe that I may give it now. It happened in my family a very long time ago, under Louis XVI, in 1784. My maternal great-grandmother was a witness. I almost knew her, for when she died in 1844, aged nearly a hundred, I was two years old. She did not tell it to me; but my mother did so, herself.
It happened in Illoud, a little village in the County of Bar, which is to-day included in the Department of Haute-Marne, not far from the region where I was born; it was my maternal grandfather's native district. During the whole of my child-hood I spent my vacations there, on the vine-covered slopes opposite Bourmont, in the midst of a smiling country-side in woods full of the songs of birds.
The house in which the occurrence took place is still standing; it is at the entrance of the village, on the right, and is called "the chateau.” (It now belongs to one of my cousins.)
When in 1899 I was collecting documents for my investigation, my mother, who had gone back to her native region at that very time, after a long, laborious life in Paris, sent me the following account:
You would never take seriously the famous story of "our dead Rollet" which you so often heard Papa and Mama tell, but I am sending it to you, all the same. You may do what you like with it. As for me, I have never had reason to doubt it. This Francois Rollet was the brother of my grandmother's sister-in-law. They were farming people, and lived together.
Some time after this worthy man's death my grandmother went to the kitchen which you know, on the ground floor, to see, like a good housekeeper, if the boiled beef and broth were cooking well. She saw her brother-in- law seated, at the corner of the great hearth, as though he were alive.
Astounded, she fled. A short time afterward the young men came back from the fields. One of them told her that he was very hungry. She sent him, it seems, not without curiosity but without telling him anything, to get a little bacon from the pot which was simmering on the fire, until supper time should come.
The boy went away eagerly, but when he was putting the lid back on the pot he saw the phantom and began to shout: '(Good God! Our dead Rollet!” If have heard it said, too, that at that instant a farm-boy began to swear, and that this oath coincided with the ghost's sudden disappearance.