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Observations placeholder

Osty, Dr Eugene - Supernormal faculties in Man – Mme Viviana, hypnotized, tells what she can see of the writer of a letter



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Supernormal faculties in Man- Dr Eugene Osty

Circumstances and conditions.

While proceeding with a series of experiments with different percipients on deceased human personalities, Captain C- gave me on May 17th, 1922, a letter in a closed envelope only telling me that it contained a letter written by a man now dead. This with the intention that the sensitive should not bring her faculty to bear on anyone but the writer of the letter, as often happens when the experimenter operates with entirely unknown matter. I never knew the actual contents of the letter either before or after the seance; and Captain C- told me that it would not have shown me any connection between it and the revelations made by the percipient.

Detail of the seance.

On May 18th I placed the letter in the hands of Mme Viviana, hypnotized. She does not know Captain C-- nor the writer of the letter. I took it from the envelope so that neither she nor I could see a word of the writing. All that was said was, "Tell me all that you can of the writer of this letter. "

After having crumpled the letter in her hands, she said: "Instead of feeling moisture as when I touch your hand, I feel a certain impression of dryness, like a dry hand. It is curious what I feel. I must go back into the past. . . . If I were awake and wished to see this person I could not . . it is not a living person . . that person does not exist now. . . It is annihilation.

I have a cold sweat, as in a fever.

It is a dead man. Oh, this fever! He was a soldier . . . yes, in the war. It is a man rather swarthy, sun-burnt. I do not say that was his usual appearance, but I see him bronzed. The eyes are notable; I have the impression of a very direct gaze.

Life was combative, strong-willed, having some authority, a personality . unsentimental. Intelligent and good energetic, amiable, and correct in his manner. He was a believer, a Catholic, a man with some tendency to mysticism. When he was sad or troubled he used to pray.

Oh, not bigoted.

A high-minded man, not undistinguished. There is a basis of faith, he was brought up to that.

I have the feeling of someone brought up in a religious family, with convictions and religious habits and in a country where they give their boats the names of saints, as in Brittany.

He had a brother rather older than himself in whom he placed great confidence.

He had one cause of disquiet. . . . A woman whom he dearly loved. . . She was his only anxiety . there was a little child too, but the child was not uppermost in his thoughts. . . . I have the feeling of swaying, rolling, humidity and water in the surroundings, as if he were on the water ; my lips are salt, as if I were on the sea.

He would seem to have the chevrons of an officer, but few; he was young. The war was not ended, but the end was near; it was just at the end. Just when all was clearing up, death and night came for him.

He did not die from a blow or a wound. . . It is suffocation . . sudden pain in the head. He does not die in a bed. Is anyone looking after him? In any case it is too late . . . it is finished; it is night.

Round him I see small houses being built . there are men, soldiers, doing that . what do you call the-engineers. . .pickaxes and tents; yes, there are tents. . . ."


The letter that Captain C-_ had given me had been written by his brother in May, 1918, a lieutenant in the Chasseurs d'Afrique on the transport Saint-Anne, in the Mediterranean, as he was rejoining his corps in Macedonia from leave. The correspondences with reality are as under, in the order spoken of by the percipient:

Lieut. C-- was born in Brittany in a family of strong religious convictions, and from his training he had firm Christian beliefs. He had a brother rather older than himself-the captain who gave me the letter-and also a wife and one child. He was very anxious about her by reason of the risks of the war.

His letter was written on the Saint-Anne in a rough sea, well described by the percipient. He was taken ill, they think of influenza, when the Eastern Army was advancing to the Danube, and died at Semendria (Serbia), November 28th, 1918, just when the armistice had been declared and military operations in the Balkans were about to cease.

The family knew indirectly that he had died from a febrile disease with pulmonary complications, under circumstances that left him practically without medical aid. Whether he died on a stretcher or in a tent is not ascertainable. Numerically, the analysis is as follows:

Characteristic details given by the percipient                                  29

Unverifiable                                                                                   4

Verified as correct                                                                         25

Found erroneous                                                                            0

The source of the experience

Osty, Dr Eugene

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