The premonitory hallucination of her brother’s demise – a ghost with prostrate and collapsed body measuring only half its size, and with paralyzed and dragging legs unable to support its shaky and emaciated body
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Case XXXII. - In this next case of a premonitory nature, the phantom or "double" appears in the situation of physical and psychological deprivation that will later be realized in the doubled person.
Professor Ernest Bozzano Les phénomènes de bilocation Traduit de l’italien par Gabriel Gobron and translated further into English by Serge Patlavskiy]
I take it from Vol. XI, page 446, of the Proceedings of the S.P.R. It was recorded by Myers who knew the storyteller personally. At the time of writing, the person involved was still alive, a circumstance that forced Myers to remain silent about the names of the people involved. The recipient writes:
" In 1892, I was in Paris with a close relative who loved me very much. He was a lawyer, and had been one of the most skillful and eminent members of the profession. He had been feeling unwell for some time, and he had written to me while I was residing in England that he was experiencing a nervous shock and difficulty working. The content of his letter had made me worried, which is why I offered him to visit him, alleging that a change of climate would be beneficial to me. That's how I came to Paris and was admitted by him to his magnificent apartment on Haussmann Boulevard.
He is single and has only one servant in his service, who, according to Parisian custom, does not sleep in the apartment, but in a special room on the fifth floor. So he remained alone during the night, and our bedrooms were at both ends of a corridor, so that a number of other rooms were between ours.
Shortly after my arrival, I received a mail containing important letters to read, along with a request to translate a French medical article. Not having been able to translate it during the day, I planned to do it as soon as my relative went to bed, because he used to go to bed early. It was a cold night, so I decided to do the translation in bed. First I read a few letters, then I started working with the help of a dictionary, as the French technical terms were sometimes obscure to me. I state these details only to show how absorbed all my mind was in the task at hand and that I was not only awake, but that my soul was free of any concern for the health of my relative whom I had not been thinking about. While I was quickly translating, I saw to the side, - the way you see without looking up, - a door opening slowly, and since it could only be my relative, I thought he was feeling restless and needed company. So, without taking my eyes off my work, I encouraged him by saying: "Come on, I'm lying down!" Receiving no answer, I turned to his side, and found myself faced with a terrible vision.
I note here that my relative was a handsome man in every way. High waist, well proportioned, robust, regular features, friendly and very intelligent face. I saw someone staggering into the room who looked exactly like him, although he seemed reduced to the last degree of physical decadence and imbecility. This prostrate and collapsed body measured only half its size, and the paralyzed and dragging legs seemed unable to support this shaky and emaciated body. His face was contracted, his inner jaw hanging, his eyes sunken with a pupil without expression who looked, wandering, into the void, in a terrifying way. This human debris - I can't describe it any other way - was dragging itself, staggering, through the room, turning from time to time a stupid look at me. He then went to the other door, searched for the handle for a long time, finally found it, turned it around, thus managing to open it and then tumble into the other room where he suddenly disappeared.
I sat in my bed, frozen with horror, looking at this ghostly shape until it vanished. I then jumped out of bed and, hastily crossing the corridor, I went to my relative's room. I found him deeply asleep. Nothing in his face could compare, even from a distance, to that horrible look-alike I had seen. It was not possible for me to fall asleep that night, and for several weeks I was obsessed about this terrifying ghost.
Naturally, I abstained from alluding to this event in the presence of my friends and acquaintances in Paris, but I spoke at length about it in a letter to my mother, in the very terms that I use here. A few weeks later, my relative, who had not noticed any improvement, wanted to consult a leading specialist in nervous diseases, who reassured him, but secretly told me that he feared that general paralysis would develop, with softening of the brain.
And the diagnosis was very exact. As I write (fall 1895), my poor relative was hospitalized in a nursing home. He went from bad to worse and the terrible symptoms of the disease broke out in all their virulence. And in the present moment - let us notice it - it has reached such a degree of physical and moral decline that it resembles in a frightening way the ghostly form that appeared to me in 1892, a manifestation that was probably providential and whose purpose was to prepare our minds for the misfortune that afflicted us.
At the time of the appearance, my relative was about 43 years old and he was physically so handsome, his face so intelligent and his manners so charming that one could not imagine a person more advantaged by nature. In short, he became the last creature for whom such a miserable end could be feared."
(It is worth adding that the "relative" of which the narrator speaks was her own brother).
The source of the experienceOrdinary person
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Nervous system disease
Sleep deprivation, insomnia and mental exhaustion