Monsieur Sassaroli predicts the collapse of a house
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
From Death and its Mystery - compiled by Camille Flammarion
In the first days of the year 1865, a certain Vincent Sassaroli went to live at Sarteano, a, commune of 6,000 inhabitants.
As there existed in this neighborhood a good musical band composed of thirty-four performers, Monsieur Joseph Frontini who was in charge, being obliged to flee the country for political reasons, invited him to become director of it.
Monsieur Sassaroli accepted the offer, and he was at once presented to this body of musicians, in the room where they practised, on the third floor of a house belonging to Canon Dom Racherini. After the rehearsal and in the presence of the whole society, he announced to Monsieur Frontini that the apartment in which they were was going to crumble with the rest of the building, from the roof down to the ground floor; he added that he seemed to see the debris of the mined house bury and crush all those present, including himself.
At these words they all looked at one another speechless, wondering whether the new director were joking or if he had gone mad; but Monsieur Sassaroli, imperturbable, insisted on mentioning the very day and hour on which the catastrophe would take place.
At these last words those present no longer doubted that the unhappy man was out of his mind. They withdrew, laughing.
Naturally this absurd story spread at once through the country and every one laughed immoderately.
At this, Monsieur Frontini, seeing that Sassaroli had become a Iaughing-stock and still persuaded that his fixed idea would lead him straight into madness, made every effort to bring him back to reason.
With the consent of Canon Joseph Bacherini, he had the building in question carefully examined from roof to foundations by architectural experts, who declared that the house did not show the least sign of deterioration. Fortified by this judgement, he reported it to Monsieur Sassaroli, counseling him to insist no longer on his foolish prediction, and wishing him as long a life as that of the solid building of which they were speaking.
It was labor lost: Monsieur Sassaroli answered that he could not share the wish, as in that case he would have only four days Ieft to live.
Such obstinacy could only increase the doubts as to the maestro's sanity, and they began to keep an eye on him and to watch him, lest, he should commit some enormity.
In the cafés, in the homes, people spoke of nothing but this nonsense, which made the whole countryside laugh.
At last the great day arrived. In the evening, as it happened to be one of the days fixed for practice, the musicians came together in the room as their custom was, and while they were waiting for the director they passed their time laughing at him. Monsieur Sassaroli soon arrived and, refusing to hear of work that evening, very much agitated because the hour of the catastrophe was approaching, he protested to such purpose that he succeeded in persuading all those who were present to leave.
As they went down the stairway, which was built over massive arches, Monsieur Sassaroli, who went ahead of then all, repeated continually: “Gently, walk gently the weight of all of us might hasten the fall.”
We can imagine the jokes and laughter of these thirty-four persons, who, feeling convinced that they were following a madman and taking part in an absurd farce, went down the long flights of steps, one after another. At last they came out into the street. A few moments later, and at exactly the hour foretold, the house crumbled from top to bottom.
We can all picture to ourselves the sensation such an event created in the countryside.
The report from which we have taken this abridged account, was written by Monsieur Joseph Frontini, whose father, the president of the municipality, had been the first to congratulate Monsieur Sassaroli the day after the catastrophe. There are also three affidavits, the first from all the members of the family with whom Monsieur Sassaroli lodged, the second from the guardian of the theater; and the third from the family living in the house adjoining the theater, all certifying to the event.