The case of Dr Vidigal - we are obliged to admit that the dead woman alone knew of this, and that the revelation came, at least in part, from this disembodied entity
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery – After Death – Camille Flammarian
In 1896 the “Revue Spirite" published a letter signed. ”Manfred Meyer," giving a case in which a spirit's identity was established. The experiment took place at St. PauI (Brazil); hypnotism was used. The case seemed to Dr. Hodgson sufficiently worthy of notice to justify his making an investigation, the results of which were, in the main, confirmative. Here is the story as told in the "Journal of the Psychical Society," for 1898 (pages 281-295).
Dr. O. Vidigal lives in the Allee du Triomphe, with his family, consisting of his wife, his two sons, and his old father. His mother died three years ago. Since he needed a young maid- servant, he went to the bureau of immigration. There he took into his service a young Spanish girl, twelve years old. She had arrived that same day, and did not know a word of Portuguese. The child's father had died.
The same evening on which she entered Dr. Vidigal's service, the latter had a visit from Monsieur Edouard Silva, who had been born in Gibraltar, and who spoke Spanish fluently. Monsieur Silva asked for a glass of water, and the child brought it to him. Since he was a good hypnotist, he asked her, moved by a remarkable intuition, if she would let herself be hypnotized. She consented, and, a few moments afterward, fell into a trance. Suddenly, opening her eyes, she said that she saw exceedingly beautiful things, and asked them not to interrupt her vision. After some moments of silent contemplation she declared that she saw her own father, speaking to her, and she lifted her hand to her ear, as an ear-trumpet, to listen.
Her father told her that an old lady, then present, had a communication to make to Dr. Vidigal, and she gave such an exact description of this old lady that intimates of the family recognized, in her, the doctor's dead mother.
Then the lady's spirit, through the little girl as a medium, ordered her son to go into the room in which she had lived; no one had gone into it since her death. There he would find, she said, a black silk garment hanging on the wall, and in this garment a pocket with the sum of 75,000 reis (about five hundred francs) sewed up in it; she wished, this sum to be given to her husband. Those who were present did not attach any great importance to this revelation, but the intimates of the family, taking into consideration the fact that the child had been with them only one day, and could not have found out what she had told them, decided to verify the thing.
Dr. Vidigal had a great deal of trouble in opening the door, for the lock was rusty. He went into the room, accompanied by Dr. Silva and three persons desirous of knowing the result of the investigation. A garment of black silk was hanging on the wall, and they found in it a sewn-up pocket which contained exactly the sum indicated.
It appeared from the investigation made by Dr. Hodgson and Professor Alexander that neither the seer nor the hypnotist could have known how the dead woman looked, or anything about her clothing, and that Monsieur Silva had known Dr. Vidigal only after the latter's mother had died. They learned, too, that at the time of the old lady's death Dr. Vidigal was in financial difficulties, and that he had barely been able to meet the funeral expenses. This is an important point, for one may well imagine that if he had known of the existence of this money, he would not have left it where it was.
Here are Dr. Hodgson's conclusions: "We could admit that there was thought-transmission on Dr. Vidigal's part had Francoise (the seer) merely confined herself to descriptions of things of a physical nature, such as the dead woman’s person and the clothes which she had worn on her death- bed. But in the case of the designated sum, sewed into a pocket, we are obliged to admit that the dead woman alone knew of this, and that the revelation came, at least in part, from this disembodied entity."