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Observations placeholder

Madame d’Esperance - Shadow Land - 15 Child apparitions and portraits in the dark



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

SHADOW LAND OR  LIGHT FROM THE OTHER SIDE by Elisabeth d’Esperance(1897)

One evening, for some reason or other, we were sitting without a lighted Iamp. The day-light had not faded when we commenced the sitting, but though it grew dark no one suggested making a light. Happening to glance over to the part of the room where the shadows were deepest it seemed to me that there was a curious cloudy luminosity standing out distinct and clear from the darkness. I watched it for a minute or two without saying anything, wondering where it came from and how it was caused. I thought it must be a reflection from the street lamps outside, though I had never seen it like that before.

While I watched, the luminous cloud seemed to concentrate itself, become substantial, and form itself into a figure of a child, illuminated as it were by day-light that did not shine on it but, somehow, from within it, the darkness of the room seeming to act as a back-ground, throwing up by contrast every curve of the form and every feature into strong relief.

I called the attention of the others to this strange apparition, and was not a little surprised when they declared their inability to see either the child or even the luminosity of which I spoke.

"How strange!" I said, "I see her so plainly that I could draw her portrait if I had paper and pencil."

"Here is paper and pencil," said my nearest neighbour, and taking them I began hastily to sketch the head, features, and shoulders of the littIe visitor who seemed to quite understand what I was doing.

"I believe it is Ninia," I remarked, and the little creature nodded her head vivaciously, so that I laughed and expressed my pleasure, as I finished my sketch, and was viewing it with some pride. "Dont you think it is a good likeness?" I asked Mr. F. who sat near me.

"It's hard to tell in the dark," he replied, "we must get a light in order to judge."

Then for the first time I remembered that we were sitting in black darkness, and I began to think I had been asleep and dreamed of the luminous child-form and my sketching its likeness.

 I held the paper nervously fearing that the lighted candles would reveal a blank sheet of paper. But no  There it was; I had not dreamed.  Ninia's face smiled at us from the paper as she had smiled at me from her dark corner. I had caught her features quite cleverly and felt very proud of my performance.

"I can understand your seeing the child" remarked one, "but I cannot understand your sketching its portrait in the dark."

The source of the experience

Madame d Esperance

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps