Ossowiecki, Stefan - the dead man's box and the meteorite
Type of Spiritual Experience
BackgroundLong but fascinating. They also found the sugar.
A description of the experience
Mary Rose Barrington, Ian Stevenson and Zofia Weaver, A World in a Grain of Sand: The Clairvoyance of Stefan Ossowiecki, 2005.
The Formal Experiments – Experiment II -JANUARY 1935 (The JONKY CASE)
An account of experiments carried out by the Polish Psychophysical Society
I have had the opportunity of dealing with an article the contents of which were unknown to any living person; this came about as follows. In October 1925, i.e. six years ago, while I was in Vilna, I was invited to meetings of a society for psychical research, no longer in existence. The meetings took place in the apartment of the society's secretary, Mlle Barbara Czengery. Ten or twelve persons would meet there and hold discussions. Among them was M. Deniose Jonky: an elderly man, with gray beard and very lively eyes. He seemed to be in his mid-sixties. Despite his age he was full of vitality. Judging by the discussion he seemed to be widely read and au fait with psychical phenomena, though with a tendency towards spiritualism and the occult, on which subjects he had decided personal opinions.
During the last meeting he asked me to go with him into another room, then discreetly gave me a small package well wrapped, asking me:
'As you know M. Ossowiecki well, would you ask him to do an experimental reading?"
"I doubt whether he will want to do it," I replied, "because he is very busy. Lots of people he knows very well make similar requests to him almost daily. I shall have many encounters with him before I shall be able to find a favourable moment for the experiment. In any case, he will ask to have immediate verification of the test. Perhaps, if you want the experiment done in the name of your society, it would make it easier for the test to go ahead?"
"Not at all," he said, "it is an experiment for me, it is absolutely personal, and no one must know anything about it. After the reading you can open the package; l think the results will be interesting for you. Please let me know at once when the test has taken place. I am prepared to wait a long time."
"Very well," I said, "I shall do my best." And I put the package in my pocket.
I have never seen M. Jonky since that day.
On my return to Warsaw I unwrapped the package, removing the exterior envelope. I found inside a package 7cm x 4.2cm x 4 cm, of cylindrical shape, covered with cloth and cross-tied with cord sealed with wax at the ends and the crossing points.
The package weighed 59 1/2 grams. Shaking it one could hear the movement of some objects like small stones. I put the little package in my desk where it stayed for several years, untouched, seen by no one. Anxious to keep my promise, I asked M. Ossowiecki, at times during the first two years, if he would do the experiment. He could not find the time, and it was put off for later.
In short, not wanting to pester M. Ossowiecki, in the end I left the little packet in my drawer, forgotten.
After a number of years I learned, from someone who came from Vilna, that M. Jonky had died. This was confirmed later in correspondence.
Jonky was 77 when he handed over the package and 79 when he died in May 1927. It seems that he was a frequent attendee at seances, and was also a powerful hypnotist.
On 20th January 1935 we carried out the experiment with Stefan Ossowiecki. I went to his house with the secretary of our society M. S. Rzewuski, bringing the little package with us. M. Rzewuski took a careful note of what Ossowiecki said.
He gave his readings over three sessions.
On 22nd April 1934, in an interview when only the two of us were present, he gave a very short sitting, and he said almost nothing, feeling indisposed.
On 13th January 1935 a sitting took place in the presence of M. R. Chlobowski, Mlle M. Chyr, M. Z.Dreyszer, General Katkowski, the painter S. Niesiolowski, Mme. Ossowiecka, M. S. Rzewuski and myself.
On 20th January 1935 the last sitting finally took place in the presence of Prof. Alphonse Gravier, M. Gizycki, Dr. C. Kalifski, General Katkowski, M. O. Missuna and Mme. H. Rzewuska.
The reading made by Ossowiecki was as follows. Pauses between phrases are indicated by dots.
"There is a light colored box, factory made. Various objects have been put inside it. Samples of soil ... earthy substances ... but not from Poland, it comes from far away ... from the East ... it's as if something has been cut in stone or metal."
At this point the clairvoyant paid attention to the paper wrapped round the packet.
"Oh! Here is a wax seal. The wrapping, the paper, the box get in the way-It has a very curious history, very complicated. I see the owner of this object.-He is no longer alive. He has been dead a long time, tragically. He had done well for himself he had a house ... but the tide of success ebbed away. He was an old man, with a gray beard, and he had a wife. He was a man of great spiritual worth, of wide culture, highly educated, especially knowledgeable with regard to the paranormal ... he used to arrange seances, and experiments, he read and wrote a lot, he traveled a lot.
The package has been sent to someone who looked very much like. M, Gravier. It was in his appartment, the package stayed there, I see it down there in the bookcase.
"There are some pieces of something in there, several things ..-. two ... three ... they are of mineral origin ... stone ... metal ... stone ... gray color ... brown ... like lime stones. There are also some metal clips. There is a connection with volcanic mineral. It was once in the hands of a girl. She was to give them to someone ... it's something like a family souvenir.
There is something here that pulls me away to other worlds ... towards another planet. Now I am seeing a huge planet, immense, a distant world quite unconnected with ours.
"It is rushing headlong through outer space. It collides with another body. There is a catastrophic cosmic event. Something breaks away, breaks up, shatters into small pieces. They rush on, they fall to earth in various places. Yes, yes, they are pieces of meteorite. The experiment was devised specially for me. Perhaps there are two experiments, because I feel drawn in two different directions.
This old gentleman also prepared the pieces of sugar. On one side he had a box with minerals ... some with sugar ... others with meteorites. Up till now I felt the meteorites very distinctly, but there was also the sugar. Just then someone came and brought him some tea. I see him drink it with the sugar between his lips. [This is the Russian way of drinking tea.] It is at this moment that the idea came to him ... unfortunately this cannot be verified.
"I can't tell you any more".
The opening of the package
I come now to the opening of the package.
I see first of all a pale pink of rosy white cardboard box, closed up and fastened with metal threads. On this box is written in blue pencil the following note:
Corner of Subocz Road" (this is a road in Vilna).
After pulling back one side of the box, a green label was displayed with the words printed on it: [in translation] "Eugdne Matula, pharmaceutical products manufacturer, limited company registered at Krakow”. I spread the contents of the box on the table. Three pieces of light brown stone fall on the table, which seem to indicate the presence of some iron oxide. A subsequent analysis establishes that the stone is limestone. There are also some smaller fragments, debris that has broken off from these pieces.
So this part of the clairvoyance was successful. Ossowiecki saw and described the limestone and defined the color and even the mineral composition of the rock.
We took the investigation further; we found inside the box yet another tiny box, hidden deep inside the package. It was a little wooden matchbox. This box had stuck on top of it a dark blue paper inscribed in blue pencil "The Tower."
It was probably a fragment from the tower of Vilna Castle. After opening the matchbox we found inside five little fragments of the same stone as before, as well as a very small container wrapped in a piece of newspaper. Under this I found folded several times a small piece of paper on which was written in black pencil
'AEROLITH," which is another word for meteorite.
Once more Ossowiecki had seen true. One can say that this is a triumph of clairvoyance.
Under the piece of paper there were two receipt stamps, one for one million marks and the other for fifty thousand. There were still 18 rounded fragments, dark gray, sticky and misshapen, looking like gunshot. Trial with a magnet showed later that this was iron which, in its original state, is found only in meteorites and in certain telluric rocks. When I examined the paper wrapped round the meteorites, I found on the reverse side, written in pencil, three mysterious words the meaning of which escapes us:
NETO IDATE POKOYMO
The source of the experienceOssowiecki, Stefan
Concepts, symbols and science items
Perceptions - accessing perceptions
Perceptions - what has perceptions