Monsieur Ballet-Gallifet and his dog see his wife’s dead father
Type of Spiritual Experience
It was an hallucination, but the definition we have given of an hallucination is probably different to the one that Monsieur Ballet-Gallifet was using. In those days it had negative connotations.
It is the overlay of an image from the spiritual over that from the eyes and it is quite possible for all those present, including the dog, to perceive the same thing. The ‘spirit’ is being perceived not with the eyes but with the inner vision. In rooms where the light is low, the sensory deprivation helps with this.
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery – After Death
One autumn night (the temperature was already low) I was seated near the fireplace where some logs were burning. Before me was my wife, in an arm-chair; her back was turned to a window opening on the passageway leading to the rooms on the first floor of my house. I was not dreaming I assure you, for I had just run through a treatise on “Electric Transformers" which hardly lent itself to revery. I was, therefore, far from thinking of phenomena of the other world, when my dog, a Pomeranian, lying before the hearthstone, jumped up and began to howl, looking toward the window, then came to lie down, still growling, near my chair.
I looked toward the window quickly, and behind it I saw silhouetted, a shade. Its contours were delicate; it might have been drawn in soft pencil by Henner. It went toward the door giving into my room .I could not restrain an exclamation. The shade-the light from a fairly distant gas-jet shone through it feebly-came forward slowly. Its manner of walking showed a slight limp, and in spite of myself I cried, "Why, it 's Father !"
There were both the bodily contour and the gait of my wife's father who had died two years before. It was indeed he. I got up hurriedly, threw myself toward the door, opened it abruptly and- nothing!
This could not have been an hallucination. The book which I had just run through and which I still held in my hand did not lend itself to that. Besides, my wife had turned around sharply at my cry, and like me, had perceived this shade, dear to her memory.
When I had entered my room again, my dog had taken refuge under the bed and continued to growl.
Since then I have seen nothing more.
Please accept, dear Master, my admiring homage.
12 montee du greillon, Lyons.