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Osty, Dr Eugene - Supernormal faculties in Man – Presentiments of death and M. Dencausse, aged seventy-six



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Supernormal faculties in Man- Dr Eugene Osty

This case was related to me by the daughter of M. Dencausse a few days after the event. Dr. Geley, who witnessed the last phase, has thus reported it:

M. Dencausse, aged seventy-six, died on October 31st, 1916. About six months before, although then in good health, he told his family that he would not live to see the winter. . From that time forward he reaffirmed his conviction daily. At first the family gave little heed to these "dark forebodings," which seemed to have no foundation. But as his appetite failed, and he became visibly thinner, they became anxious and wished to put him under medical care.

M. Dencausse opposed this energetically, declaring all care useless. He added that he would not consent to see a doctor till he knew his last days approaching, and then only for form's sake.

About eight to ten days before his death he declared that he knew the exact date of the event, which would be on All Saints' Day.

Very soon, agreeably to his promise, he consented to see a doctor.

I saw him for the first time on October 28th. The family had already told me of his obsession. I found the old man very thin, but alert and leading his usual life, and showing no signs of death. I examined him minutely. There was no organic lesion, his heart was good, there was no fever. The only morbid symptom that I could find, a symptom in no way alarming, consisted in some signs of slight chronic bronchitis from which he had suffered each winter without its ever causing him to take to his bed. I tried to reassure the old man, but the suggestion failed completely.

He looked forward to his death, which he judged to be very near, with perfect serenity. He said simply that he was glad to see me, that he would follow my prescriptions, but that this would be useless, and he maintained his conviction absolutely.

After my examination-negative from the medical point of view-I was able in some degree to reassure the family; with the reservation that unless nutrition should markedly improve, the old man, whose innutrition was obvious, would end by falling seriously ill.

The next day, October 29th, he completed his predictions in a surprisingly exact manner. He said,

 "I shall die on All Saints' Day, on the stroke of midnight, without suffering or death throes. I shall talk up to the last. At midnight I shall seem to fall asleep, but it will not be sleep, it will be the end. After my death one of you '' (the family included his wife, his daughter, and his grand-daughter "will make an outcry and will have a nervous breakdown. This will impede my release."

Monday, October 30th, passed without incidents. On All Saints' Day, Tuesday, October 31st, during the morning, M. Dencausse felt a pain in his left side. He went to bed, saying he would get up no more. I saw him in the evening and examined him. There was incipient pneumonia at the base of the left lung, and a temperature of 40.3 c.

The situation was changing, and henceforward the realization of his prediction became probable, but not at the time foretold, for in cases of pneumonia death does not supervene in the early days.

 Nevertheless, everything came to pass as announced. He did not suffer; he talked quietly up to the last, giving his final instructions to his family. At 11.30 p.m. he asked his wife,

 "What is the time? "

She, hoping to deceive him, replied, "Two o'clock in the morning."

He answered, "No, it is not yet midnight. I shall die at midnight.”

At twelve o'clock he turned to the wall and seemed to fall asleep. His wife bent over him; but, raising his hand, he pointed to the clock, which was then striking twelve. His hand fell back on the bed, and he died without a sigh. Only his wife and daughter were in the room, the grand-daughter being in a neighbouring chamber. They went to break it to her; but the girl, highly intelligent and instructed, and usually quite mistress of herself, had a violent attack of" nerves," made an outcry, and remained till day in a lamentable state.

The premonition of M. Dencausse was therefore exactly verified.

The source of the experience

Osty, Dr Eugene

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