The death of Escolan
Type of Spiritual Experience
Either a psychokinetic effect or a joint hallucination - the latter is the more likely as the rest of the house seemed undisturbed by the 'knocks'
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery, At the Moment of Death; Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dying – Camille Flammarion
Communication to Dr Richet by Monsieur Theophile Lemonnier, a druggist in Rennes; published in Annales des Sciences psychiques 1919
One night in September 1891, at a quarter to six, Monsieur Lemonnier was awakened by an unusual, violent noise from the shutters which barred the windows of his pharmacy. This noise lasted for one or two minutes.
He dressed himself in all haste and went to open the door; he saw, in the street, only street sweepers; he questioned them and they told him that they had seen no one
There was, moreover, a night bell on the door of the pharmacy; and a patron would have used it, instead of knocking in this way.
Astounded by this inexplicable incident, Monsieur Lemonnier went back into his room to finish dressing. At seven o’clock he saw one of his best friends coming in – Monsieur Nivot, a surgeon dentist.
‘Well’ said the druggist ‘what brings you here at this early hour?’
‘Upon my word’, the other answered, ‘something quite extraordinary. Just imagine – at a quarter to six I was suddenly awakened by an unaccustomed noise; someone was striking repeated blows on the door of my room.
‘Don’t knock so loudly!’ I cried, ‘I’m not deaf! Who’s there?’
‘But the noise continued and I hurried to open the door. There was no one there; every one in the house was still asleep. I dressed, supposing it some sort of a joke and quickly went downstairs. The grating at the entrance had been closed all this time and the porter assured me that no one had come into the house’.
‘Well, my dear fellow, the same thing happened to me and that’s why you see me up at this hour’, I answered.
We gazed at each other for a moment and then expressed the same thought at the same instant.
‘Poor Escolan must be dead’
Escolan was one of their friends, an old lawyer and a distinguished cellist. Prostrated by grief, almost blind and seriously ill, he had in the latter days been sustained by the devotion of messieurs Nivot and Lemonnier, who went to see him every day in hospital. A powerful tie united the three friends. They went immediately to the hospital and the night watchman seeing them arrive made a gesture which they understood at once. He had died at a quarter to six.