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Observations placeholder

The little boy, the phosphorescent glow, the three blows and the death of Monsieur Cognet



Type of Spiritual Experience

Environmental influence

Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Death and its Mystery – After Death

It happened in Isere in Saint-Gervais, where in former days there was a cannon foundry for the navy. We were living in a dwelling provided by the State. My father was a fervent believer in spiritualism; as for me, I was very young and paid no attention to it-all the more so because my father was exceptional in giving himself up to this investigation.

In Rochefort-sur-Mer he had a friend named Cognet the news of whose death was given him, in a letter.

One evening, after receiving this letter (I do not remember if it was the same day or later) we were in bed. The two beds were in an alcove, the doors of which were open, but, lying as I was my back was to the two sections of this folding-door; I could, therefore, see nothing in the room giving on the alcove. I .was not asleep. I heard my father speaking in a, low tone in his bed, and did not understand the words he was uttering. Suddenly I saw a glow which made me utter a cry of terror. My father got up and took me into bed with him. The glow persisted; it was a sort of phosphorescent cloud, without definite outlines.

I remember that very well, for I saw it from my father's bed, It is noteworthy that I had been struck by the glow though my back was turned and no mirror could have reflected anything. My father pronounced these words in a loud voice:

“If you are Cognet, strike three blows on the chest of drawers."

This piece of furniture, marble-topped (it is still in my possession) was in the room giving on to the alcove. Three loud and measured blows were then struck upon the marble of the chest of drawers. Then, little by little, the glow thinned, melted, and I saw nothing more. I do not remember that my father asked other questions; probably he did, but I have no recollection of them.

Well, this simple happening of which I have thought all my life (I reflected upon it later, when I was able to reason) gave me the conviction, the certainty that death does not end all. People have often said in my presence, "After death there's nothing more."-

“Yes" I always answer, “there is something”

What do you know about it?" they ask.

I answer: “I saw. I saw without wishing to see; I heard, shuddering with fear."


Ruelle Foundry, Charente.

(Letter 4528.)

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps