Osty, Dr Eugene - Supernormal faculties in Man – Leon Sonrel prophecies an entire life
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Supernormal faculties in Man- Dr Eugene Osty
Dr. Tardieu writes: This remarkable prediction, of which there are several witnesses still living and whose accuracy I guarantee on my word of honour, occurred in the month of July, 1869.
My friend Leon Sonrel-a former student at the higher Normal School, and then employed in the Paris Observatory-and-myself were often together and became intimate friends. He was a scientific man of the highest type. Thanks to him, when I was on the Paris hospital-staff, I became acquainted with many men of science, more especially with Charles Sainte-Clair-Deville and Marie-Davy.
I was one of the four founders of the Observatory of Montsouris, along with Sonrel, and by his assistance.
Leon Sonrel had often astonished me by a kind of hypnotic state that occurred from time to time in the course of conversation when he was quiet and suitably disposed. I listened to him and could verify the fact that he often predicted-events which in the sequel proved correct.
I should, however, mention that I paid no very particular attention to these states, which I regarded as an access of somnambulism, though his eyes remained open and his countenance underwent no change.
But on the 23rd or 24th of July, 1869, we were, walking in the Luxemburg gardens facing the Pharmaceutical School, when he made the following prediction, which lasted three hours and made a very –strong impression upon me. He continued his walk, looking upwards and stopping from time to time:
“Oh! What is this? It is war. You are on the Boulevards-in command. How surprising. You are counting money at the Gare du Nord. Now you-are in the train with a number of others. You stop at Aulnoy! Now you come to Hirson. You are at Hirson. You are at Mezieres; -but where are you going? Sedan.
Oh, what a battle! You are in great danger. .- . Oh, my poor country! What a disaster! what a misfortune! Oh, my God! my God!'
He stopped a moment and wept. He walked on and I followed. He raised his head and seemed looking into space, making some gestures with his arm. He went on:
Oh, what a defeat! what a disaster! Oh, my poor country!'
You are besieged in Paris.. . . Why! I am a superior officer!
What? I shall die in three days!
He seemed to wake up, and turning to me, said,
' I am dying, dying, but of what? "
For one moment he looked at me normally, and I replied, 'Yes, old man, you were dying at the Siege of Paris, and were a superior officer. That is all right.' He returned to the hypnotic state:
'I am dying, dying in the siege of Paris in three days.'
He seemed to wake up three times, and went on . . .
'Oh, my God! My poor wife is pregnant of a child whom I shall never see.' He wept. 'Oh, but you are there! You take care of them. How good you are.'
He showed great anguish and continued to predict the disasters of the Siege and the dangers I should incur. . Then, speaking to me,
'Ah, you think to remain in Paris and work with the Medical School! you are in the provinces-politically employed, but you do not forget my wife and children! Ah, you marry and have children! Ah, my poor friend, how you suffer! you are weeping at the bedside of a dying woman whom you love. . . Courage, courage, my friend; you will win through your troubles. How sorry I am for you, my poor friend!' ……………………….
Sonrel wept for some minutes, and was silent. Then he raised his head and, looking up us if inspired, cried out:
'Ah, she is saved; she goes to the Rhine! Oh, France! oh, my dearly loved country, she triumphs, queen of the nations ! Her genius shines throughout the world. . . . All admire her!"'
Dr. Tardieu sums up the sequel:
"Appointed to medical charge of the 8th Red Cross Ambulance, by my respected chiefs, Drs. Nelaton and Larrey, about August 20th, 1870, I left with three ambulances under orders for the army of Mac-Mahon, who was to leave Chalons to join Bazaine at Metz.
But no one knew where Mac-Mahon might be. I thought to follow the valley of the Meuse, and so to find his army somewhere on the way to Metz. The 8th Ambulance was specially attached to the 7th Army Corps under Felix-Douay.
We passed along the boulevards amid great excitement. I told two of my doctors to solicit help for the wounded. From the Opera to the station we collected 36,000 francs. I counted over this money in the station to the cashier of the Society. At that moment the prediction by my friend came back to me.
In the train my doctors asked me where we were going, and I replied, 'Towards the northern part of the valley of the Meuse; we shall pass by Aulnoy, Hirson and Mezieres to Sedan. Moreover,' I told them, 'I will tell you of a prediction made to me: In ten to fifteen days we return to Paris after a terrible defeat.'
On August 31st, after traversing Aulnoy, Hirson, Mezieres and Sedan, we came to Raucourt by way of Chemery. We had picked up several hundred wounded from the battle of Beaumont. The French Army filed past: the Prussians in pursuit camped at Raucourt and round about. In the evening of August 31st, about 10 p.m., I told my doctors of the prediction by Leon and said that after the defeat on the morrow, we should return to Paris, which would be besieged.
All my ambulance staff met my friend Sonrel at Arcueil, where he came and dined with me. They said, ' Now we shall see whether he is appointed a superior officer and dies in three days.'
Leon was gazetted major in the subsidiary corps of Engineers under the orders of Colonel Laussedat. . . . Fifteen or twenty days later he took black small-pox and died in three days. His wife was in the third month of pregnancy.
The 8th Ambulance, which was then at Arcueil, was dumbfounded. Together with M. Delaunay, presiding over the Observatory, and President of the Academy of Sciences, I directed the obsequies at the church of Montrouge and the cemetery of Montparnasse.
It is needless to mention that I thought it my duty to assist the sorrowing widow in every way that I could.
After the Siege I returned to Auvergne, and was appointed Councillor in the Puy-de-Dome.
In his prophecy Leon always spoke of his children. In 1869 he had but one son. The second-Jacques-was born seven months after his father's death, in 1871.
As Councillor of Puy-de-Dome, in 1873, I secured the vote for the foundation of the Observatory there. When bringing the project for confirmation I took the opportunity of asking the General Council to support my application to the Minister Jules Simon for a pension to the widow of my friend Sonrel. The Minister granted a pension of 1200 francs.
I married in 1874. My wife faded slowly from an encysted liver during six years, leaving me with two little girls.
Dr Osty’s comments
When, in 1912, the episode of a scientific kind predicted by Sonrel forty-three years before came to pass. M. Tardieu judged the time of the new trials of France to be near.
He warned his friends, and in April, 1914, certain that terrible events were near, went to Professor Richet, communicated to him the whole of the Sonrel prediction, and at his request gave it to him written out for publication in the Annales des Sciences psychiques.
On June 13th I had personal knowledge of it at a reunion of psychical enquiries, and only circumstances connected with the war delayed the publication till August, 1915, when the issue of the war was still very doubtful.