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I saw my poor Henri (this was her dead husband's name]. He gazed at me fixedly, then passed on, smoking a cigarette; I could see its glow distinctly



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Death and its Mystery – After Death – Camille Flammarian

My maternal grandfather, a devout and loyal man, adored his wife. He was extremely jealous where she was concerned. He died in 1895.

About one year afterward my parents, who had gone to call on my grandmother, found her in tears. They asked her the reason.

 “Yesterday evening," she told them, “I was sitting in my arm-chair. Lifting my eyes to the glass door, I saw my poor Henri (this was her husband's name]. He gazed at me fixedly, then passed on, smoking a cigarette; I could see its glow distinctly. Terrified by the vision, I sat motionless. Then, suddenly, he went by again, in the opposite direction, and always at the same gait, as though he were walking. I rushed after him, calling to him: the hallway was empty, though brightly lighted, and the door to it was locked."

 In vain my parents tried to persuade her that she had been the victim of an hallucination; she would not admit this.

 “I saw him," she said, “as distinctly as I see you.”

 It had been my, grandfather's habit in the evening to walk up and down in the hallway which ran the length of the apartment, while his wife was busy with household duties. When he left his study he usually wore a work-jacket and a skullcap. It was in this costume that he appeared to her.

On another occasion my grandmother saw her dead husband in a dream; he spoke to her roughly, and gripped her arm with force. The pain awakened her: she wept, and suffered as before. The pain in her arm persisted; in the morning an extremely large bruise could be seen upon it, as though something solid really had gripped it.

According to my parents, my grandmother did not have strength enough to make such a serious bruise; moreover, there was no trace of finger-marks. They would have been there in the normal course of things if she herself had pinched her arm while asleep. On the other hand, the hypothesis of a blow received accidentally must be ruled out.

 I must add that before this experience my grandmother, although of a nervous temperament, was in no way inclined to a belief in the supernatural, and would never have admitted that occurrences of this sort could take place.

As regards the first case, the phenomenon would seem to have been only visual. No one thought of asking her if it had been auditory as well (the sound of steps) and olfactory (the odor of tobacco). It would appear, however, that in this case my grandmother would not have omitted to mention such a thing.

She died in 1918; this is, therefore, a point which cannot be cleared up.

As to the second case, the objection may be raised that a nervous invalid, during an attack, has a strength incomparably greater than this same invalid's strength in a normal state. My grandmother never had any nervous disorder.

However that may be, there was no question, in the first case, of a vaporous apparition in the darkness; we are concerned with an opaque, material presence, occupying a given space and seen in perspective, and in a bright light. I cannot end this letter, dear Master, without telling you how much we venerate you and your work, in our home, and how many times we have found in it interest, courage, and consolation. For twenty years my father has been buying your books; they have the place of honour in his library. This is enough to show you that I have been brought up under your mental guidance, and have spent nights reading your books. I wish to express my gratitude. What I have said will also serve to give you assurance of the authenticity of the occurrences here related. I authorize you to make unrestricted use of them. Allow me to express, etc.


(Letter 4426.)

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps





Dreaming and lucid dreaming