The ghost of Peytoux, the parish priest of Sentenac, haunts the parsonage
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Death and its Mystery – After Death – Camille Flammarian
Letter from Monsieur Auge to Monsieur s’Assier Sentenac-de-Serou, May 8, 1870.
When, about forty-five years ago, Peytoux, the parish priest of Sentenac, died, every evening, as soon as night fell, some one was heard moving chairs in the rooms of the parsonage, walking about, and opening and closing a snuff-box ; there was also the sound of a man taking a pinch of snuff. This phenomenon, which was repeated over a long period, was believed in by those most ingenuous and most given to fear.
Those who -if I may be allowed the expression -were the strong-minded ones of the commune, put no faith in all this. They merely laughed at all those who believed that the dead priest was coming back.
Eycheinne (Antoine) and Galy (Baptiste)
A man named Eycheinne (Antoine) who was mayor of the commune at that time (he has been dead for five years), and one named Galy (Baptiste), who is still living, were the only men in the region who had any education. They were the most incredulous of all, and they wished to ascertain for themselves if all the nocturnal noises said to be heard in the parsonage had some basis in fact, or were merely the product of the over-impressionable imaginations of those easily frightened.
One evening, armed, one of them with a gun and the other with an axe, they resolved to go and spend the night in the parsonage, thoroughly determined not to be duped if they heard anything.
They sat down in the kitchen, near a good fire, and began to talk about the simple-mindedness of the natives, when, in a room above their heads, they heard a noise. Then they heard chairs being moved about, and someone walking. Next, the steps were heard coming downstairs and going toward the kitchen. They rose. Eycheinne went to the kitchen door, holding his axe in one hand, ready to strike anyone who should dare to enter. Galy brought his gun to his shoulder, when the person who seemed to be walking about reached the kitchen door, he took a pinch of snuff; that is, the men heard the same sounds that a man taking a pinch of snuff makes.
Then, instead of opening the kitchen door, the ghost went into the parlour, where he seemed to walk up and down.
Eycheinne ancl Galy, still armed, left the kitchen, entered the parlour, and saw absolutely nothing.
They went up into the other rooms, went through the house from top to bottom, looked in all the corners, and found neither chairs nor anything else out of place. Eycheinne, who had been the more incredulous of the two, then said to his companion:
"My friend, those noises were not made by living people. It’s Monsieur Peytoux. What we heard was his walk and his way of taking snuff; we can sleep quietly.”
Marie Calvet was Monsieur Ferre’s maid-servant; he was Monsieur Peytoux's successor. She was a brave woman, if there ever was one. She did not allow herself to be frightened by anything; she did not believe all the stories that were told, and she would have slept in a church without fear, as the common expression goes when one wishes to characterize a person who is not terrified by anything.
This servant, as I was saying, was cleaning the kitchen utensils one evening, at nightfall, in the barn. Monsieur Ferre, her master, who had gone to call on his neighbour Desplas, a parish priest, was not due to return. While Marie Calvet was busy giving her utensils a good scrubbing, a priest passed before her, without speaking.
'Oh, you can't scare me, Monsieur,’ she said. 'I'm not so stupid as to believe that Monsieur Peytoux has come back.’ Since the priest who had passed, and whom she had taken for her master, did not answer, she lifted her head turned around, and saw no one. Then fear began to master her, and she went over to some neighbours, quickly, to tell them what had just happened and to ask Galy's wife to come and sleep with her.
Anne Maurette, the wife of Ferran (she is still living) was going to the mountain, at daybreak, with her donkey, to get a load of wood. Passing by the parsonage garden, she saw a priest who, with a rosary in his hand, was walking along a path. Just as she was going to say to him, “Good-day, sir ; you've got up early," the priest turned his back and went on saying his beads The woman, not wishing to interrupt him in his prayers, continued on her way without any thought of a ghost coming into her mind. When she was returning from the mountain, with her donkey loaded with wood, she met the new priest of Sentenac before the church.
“You got up early, sir, "she said. “I thought that you were going on a trip when I passed by and saw you saying your prayers in the garden."
“No, my good woman," the priest answered, “I haven't been out of bed long; I 've just said holy mass"
“Why then," the woman answered, as though seized with fright, “who was the priest who was telling his beads in your garden at daybreak? He turned his back just as I was going to speak to him. I'd have been scared to death if I'd thought that it was the priest who's no longer alive. O Lord! O Lord! I won't have the courage to go by here again in the morning."
There, Monsieur, are three occurrences which were not fabricated by the morbid imaginations of frightened people. I doubt if science can explain them in any natural way. Was it a ghost? I shall not say that it was, but, all the same, it was something that was not natural.
The source of the experienceOrdinary person
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