Osty, Dr Eugene - Supernormal faculties in Man – Mlle de Berly is asked to contact ‘one of my relations who died a short time since’
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Supernormal faculties in Man- Dr Eugene Osty
On July 27th, 1920, towards 9 p.m. some members of my family were conversing with Mlle de Berly on spiritualism, and asked her if she had ever tried table-rapping-the ordinary means of spirit-communication. She said,
"Yes, but very little; it tires me to very little purpose."
This conversation took place in my study where I was writing some letters before a seance with this subject. I said,
"I have never seen you use the table; will you try this now?"
This was done. All placed themselves round a small table, and placed their hands on it. I remained at my writing-table to take down the letters corresponding to the raps. As soon as the table moved I said,
"Call one of my relations who died a short time since."
This gave no clue to Mlle de Berly, who had never seen the person of whom I was thinking; and none of the members of my family guessed who this might be. The table began to rap; but the first word was scarcely spelt out before Mlle de Berly took her hands off, saying,
"This tires me, and it is very slow. What is the use of a table? I see this gentleman rather stout, big eyes, round face, strongly marked eyebrows, thickish lips, ears rather large and flat . . a heavy walk …. . he was about fifty-one, yellow complexion and bilious-looking eyes.
An honest gentleman, good and kindly . . . a good husband . . rather susceptible . . good-natured, but his nerves were shaken towards the end of his life and he was liable to anger. Very particular about his clothes. He has been ill a long time-at least ten years; thought of nothing but his ailments.
Heart weak, kidneys ill . . . legs swelled. Poor man, he suffered much ; and how chilly he was; feet always cold. Giddy at times, and sore throat. He has a son, a tall young man: the upper part of his face resembles his father, but he takes his character from his mother. His wife is pleasant-mannered and kind, rather economical . . . likes order . . . rather weak in health. She is rather sad just now . she is giving up her house.
This gentleman had much confidence in you. He tells me to say that in a short time some one will replace him in his business; it will be sold to advantage. That person will be good-natured and rather lively . thirty-seven to thirty-eight years of age. He will be a married man, medium height; will be recommended by some one. . . ."
The reader should understand from the first, that Mlle de Berly, having a visual hallucination of the persons evoked by her thoughts, whether living or not, is persuaded that in the case of the dead, their surviving personalities appear to her and inspire her. Hence her spiritualistic diction. I note, passim, that in the case of hallucination of a living person she does not think that person to be before her. I note also that the appearances under which she sees the deceased are those of corporeal life, and vary according to the periods in their lives of which her faculty is cognizant. I said,
"Ask that friend to give me some convincing proof that it is really this personality that communicates through you."
After a few moments of silence Mlle de B. said,
"He tells me to tell you that you stopped his smoking."
We could get no further proof of identity. I had thought of a man with whom I was much in sympathy, a notary, who died in June, 1920, from an indisposition known medically for ten years past. Appearance, malady, and character all correctly described.
His wife, Mme P_, left the house in which she had lived with her husband for twenty-five years on January 12th, 1921. The business had just been made over to a substitute who in no way corresponded to the person described. But as I write these lines the present successor not having been officially accepted, the premonition cannot be verified.
I had certainly induced Mr. P- to give up smoking. He was a great smoker, so much so that in spite of my constantly repeated embargo, that in the last years of his life when suffering from much depression he begged for one or two cigarettes. He found it very hard to give up tobacco:
1-In Jan., 1922, the first successor, not having been acceptable to the Chamber of Notaries, had to retire, and was replaced by a young-lawyer of thirty-six, married, and agreeing with the description given.
2 About a month before his death, Mr. P., in course of a conversation in which I endeavoured to raise his hopes of cure, said to me, "My dear doctor, I know that I am about to die. If there is an after-life I promise to do all I can to let you know." If Mr. P., deceased, had really been the inspiring source of Mlle de Berly's information, as her manner of speaking suggests, there were so many characteristic revelations that he might have made that he would never have stopped at the one given, commonplace and proving nothing.