Jacques Rouxel de Grancey, Marshal of France’s ghost appears to his wife and asks her to burn a letter
Type of Spiritual Experience
The Marshal of France (French: Maréchal de France, plural Maréchaux de France) is a military distinction, rather than a military rank, in contemporary France, that is awarded to generals for exceptional achievements.
The title has been awarded since 1185, though briefly abolished (1793–1804) and briefly dormant (1870–1916) during its millennium of existence. It was one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France during the Ancien Régime and Bourbon Restoration and one of the Great Dignitaries of the Empire during the First French Empire (when the title was not "Marshal of France" but "Marshal of the Empire").
We think the Marshal being referred to here is Jacques Rouxel de Grancey (1605–1680)
Between the end of the 16th century and the middle of the 19th century, six Marshals of France were given the even more exalted rank of Marshal General of France: Biron, Lesdiguières, Turenne, Villars, Saxe, and Soult.
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery: After Death – Camille Flammarion
The Abbe de Villars, author of "Comte de Gabalis" (1670), states that the account was given him by the observer herself, the wife of Marshal Grancey.
A spirit showed itself to her as she slept, in the guise of her late husband. He did not speak long; he said only:
"Madame, have my clothes-closet searched. There is a letter in my breeches pocket which is of the utmost consequence to one of our good friends; be careful to burn it."
The marshal's wife tried to ask questions as to the other life; the phantom disappeared without replying. She awakened, greatly troubled, and called her attendants. They ran to her bed; she told of her dream. She had the deceased marshal's body-servant get up ; he had remained in the house after the death of his master. He obeyed Madame de Grancey's summons ; she asked him if any of the marshal’s garments were still in his clothes-closet. He answered that there were none; that he had sold them for as much as he could obtain. The marshal's wife ordered him to make a thorough search. He left, and came back empty-handed. He was sent again, with no greater success. But at last, having gone a third time because of his mistress's urgent solicitations, he looked so thoroughly that he discovered, in the darkest corner of the clothes-closet, in the midst of a heap of sweepings, an old pair of black taffeta breeches with eyelets, such as were worn in former days. He gave these breeches to the marshal's wife; she put her hand into one of the pockets, from which she drew a letter. She opened it, read it, and, understanding its importance, threw it into the fire, that she might spare a friend of the household the grief that might have been caused him had its contents been divulged.