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Observations placeholder

Olga Pouchkine - The terrible, thrice-repeated clapping of hands on the death of her grandfather



Type of Spiritual Experience

Inter composer communication

Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Death and its Mystery: After Death – Camille Flammarion

Here is an odd happening, an account of which was sent me in 1900 by a Russian correspondent:

  My grandfather took real pleasure in startling people in a way that was naively original. He would clap his hands three times if one seemed absorbed, preoccupied, and without fail if one were un- fortunate enough to be half asleep. Since he had had this mania from the time he was very young he had several serious quarrels with strangers, or even with friends who would grow impatient.

His real butt was an aged relative of his, a certain Mademoiselle Stephanie, who was deeply devout. She liked to sit very quietly, was a little apathetic, and. often dreamed away the time in a corner. My grandfather, delighted by this propitious habit of mind, always surprised her at a moment when she least expected it, and frightened her so with his terrible clapping that she would fall, literally, into a swoon! And he would laugh, the heartless wretch, as happy as could be. He would tell her over and over again that she could be absolutely sure of hearing him clap his hands three times at the moment of his death, no matter where he died, even if it were a thousand miles away. This had gone on for a number of years.

Once my grandfather, before making a long trip, spent some weeks at Mademoiselle Stephanie's home. Although he was particularly fond of her, he did not deny himself the pleasure of frightening her more than ever. It was a veritable mania, and he always found amusement in her terror. When he left her, he assured her once more that she could be certain of hearing him clap his hands three times at the moment of his death.

Several months went by without news from him. My grandfather was still on his travels. One evening, when she was having supper with a woman, a neighbour of hers, what did they both hear, at precisely half-past nine, but the terrible, thrice-repeated clapping of hands !

Absolutely astonished, they looked in the hiding-places where my grandfather might have been, but in vain. Poor Stephanie fell ill from it. Several days afterward she received a special-delivery letter sent by my Uncle Max. This letter informed her of the sudden death of my grandfather, at half-past nine, on November 13th, just as they were sitting down to supper.

At that very instant they were speaking of Mademoiselle Stephanie. My grandfather, laughing uproariously, emptied his glass and fell dead.

The district where he died is situated in the interior of Volhynia (European Russia), about a hundred and fifty Russian leagues from the chateau where Mademoiselle Stephanie was living. Since there was no way of telegraphing at that time, and the means of communication were inadequate, my Uncle Max sent her a special-delivery letter, which took, I believe, nearly two weeks to arrive. All the members of my family can vouch for this incident.


(Letter 1007.)


The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps