Rochas, Colonel Albert de
Eugène Auguste Albert de Rochas d'Aiglun (20 May 1837 – 2 September 1914) was a leading French parapsychologist, historian, translator, writer, military engineer and administrator. We have classified him as a scientist, as although he spent almost all his life as a very competent military man, our observations relate to his time as a scientific researcher.
Rochas is now best known for his extensive parapsychological research and writing, in which he attempted to explore a scientific basis for occult phenomena. His first book on the subject, Les Forces non définies ("Undefined Forces", 1887), was followed by numerous books and articles over the course of nearly thirty years, on subjects such as hypnotism, telekinesis, "magnetic emanations" reincarnation, spirit photography, etc.
Successive lives – book review by Gabriel Delanne in Materials for use in the Study of Reincarnation
Successive lives is the title of a book published in 1911 by Colonel de Rochas, a former administrator of the École Polytechnique. The author is well known for his extensive research on the externalization of sensitivity, the superficial and profound states of hypnosis, and finally for his experiments on prenatal memory. In the book in question, he reports on his experiments from 1892 to 1910 with 19 subjects, in an attempt to awaken in each of them, by immersing them in ever deeper magnetic states, the memory of their past lives.
His procedure consisted in making longitudinal passes, in order to put the subjects to sleep more and more and more and to make suggestions to them, in order to awaken in them all the memories of current life until birth, and, by pushing the experience even further, to obtain from them revelations about the existences that would have preceded current life.
All these subjects have given him more or less plausible accounts of past lives. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, it was impossible to ascertain the reality of these retrospective visions. The author has not done enough to clarify the names, dates and places where these regressive visions would have taken place.
As we can see from the book review, the experiments do have interest, but they do not match the standard reached by Professor Ian Stevenson, for example, when it comes to research into the veracity of the stories.
But we should not be critical. This was the 1800s and Rochas’ aim was to find a scientific basis, a working method that could be used. Thus his contribution was indeed significant.
Albert de Rochas as quoted in Gabriel Delanne in Materials for use in the Study of Reincarnation
We recounted a number of experiences where, under the influence of magnetic passes, the sensitives, whose souls were more or less free from the bonds of the body, seemed to be re-living lives that had already been lived or living lives of the future. This phenomenon occurs in various forms depending on the individual.
In some, the various transformations have the appearance of absolute reality and are always repeated in the same way and in the same order; at several months intervals, the subject experiences them in a striking way with the physical and intellectual states that characterize him.
In others, they vary somewhat and resemble memories in which the intervention of previous experiences is easily recognized; however, they are interesting because they prevent blind trust in the former and set the reader on the path to a purely physical explanation. However, one fixed pattern recurs in all these manifestations: the atonement, in subsequent lives, of faults committed in previous lives.
In other words de Rochas independently discovered karma and redemption.
So what conclusions can be drawn from the facts I have reported?
They are of two kinds, some of them definite, others simply problematic. It is certain that by means of magnetic processes, it is possible, in certain subjects endowed with sufficient sensitivity, to induce a series of stages of lethargy and sleepwalking states which follow one another regularly as nights and days, and during which the soul seems to free itself more and more from the bonds of the body and launch itself into the regions of space and time generally inaccessible for it in the state of normal waking.
It is certain that by means of certain magnetic operations, most sensitives can be gradually brought back to earlier periods of their current lives with intellectual and physiological characteristics typical for these periods and up to the time of their birth. It is not the memories that are awakened, it is the successive states of personality that are evoked. These evocations always occur in the same order and through a succession of lethargy and sleepwalking states. This phenomenon occurs spontaneously in some patients, but only for certain periods of their lives.
In other words he was able to confirm that hypnotherapy, possibly including Reiki as well, enabled people to access what was perceived by them as ‘past lives’. There is clearly no possibility from these results to find out whose past lives they were, but the descriptions at least appeared to be tenable. And those past lives were not stored ‘in the brain’. The spiritual traveller had to go almost, or perhaps was, out of body during these excursions
As he indicates this is an assumption. Are they memories or perceptions? Later work from many people indicates these are perceptions and the term ‘deepest layers’ has no real meaning. Perhaps the concept of fluidic body may be nearer the truth.
Colonel de Rochas is one of very few researchers who have attempted to keep regressing back into the Bardo state. Gabriel Delanne in his commentary on de Rochas’ work rightly points out that the descriptions are a complete surprise as “since ideas of hell and purgatory are widespread in all the circles where he took his subjects, …..none of them mentioned these ideas when he was between two alleged incarnations. “ Or to put it another way – rather than doubt the subjects, who were after all hypnotised - maybe hell and purgatory don’t exist.
Also note the sentence 'do not generally fit reality'. Rochas, like many people of his time assumed that what he experienced was reality, but we now know that the brain performs a funnelling process that actually omits what reality really is and that these perceptions may be a good deal closer to capturing ‘the truth’.
It is interesting that he confronted the same scepticism and even hostility in his research that many in this area still suffer from.
From The Exteriorisation Of Sensibility - An Experimental And Historical Study
Before I begin to discuss the extraordinary phenomena that are the subject of this book, I do not think it is unnecessary to draw the reader's attention to the need to free oneself first of any scientific prejudice.
Since experience shows us that each generation repudiates the theories of previous generations, we must assume that the theories accepted today will suffer the same fate and remind us of Sir John Herschell's wise advice: "The perfect observer, in whatever branch of science, will always have his eyes open, so to speak, on such an occurrence, that we may find ourselves unexpected in the presence of such a thing, which, according to preconceptions, should not arise and that these facts serve as keys to new findings."………………..how much more we need it when it comes to rare and fugitive phenomena, difficult to reproduce, and of the reality of which we generally have, as guarantor, not the testimony of our own senses, but only that of outsiders whose statements we are tempted to suspect, especially when we see a danger for our philosophical or religious beliefs?
Rochas was born in Saint Firmin in the department of Hautes-Alpes, the son of Marie Joseph Eugène de Rochas d'Aiglun, a judge at the court in Briançon, and of Félicité Camille Jayet. He studied literature and mathematics at the Lycée de Grenoble, then, in 1857, entered the École Polytechnique in Paris, intending to follow a military career.
In 1861, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Military Engineers ("Le Génie militaire") and distinguished himself as a soldier, engineer and administrator. He rose to the rank of battalion commander in 1880 and was made chief of engineers in 1887. He retired from the military in 1888 as a Lieutenant-Colonel. He is occasionally referred to as Colonel de Rochas.
Rochas was made a Chevalier (Knight) in the Legion d'Honneur in 1875 and an officer in 1889.
As a scholar, he made significant contributions to the study of military engineering history, producing, for example, a French translation of an 11th-century Alexandrian treatise on fortification and machines of war called Veterum Mathematicorum Opera (1693), and publishing the correspondence of the distinguished 17th century military engineer, Vauban. He also wrote about ancient technology, exploring subjects as diverse as hydraulic organs, water clocks, ancient surveying instruments, temple machinery, Greek artillery, and ancient railways. He was well respected as a researcher and won a medal from the "Société des Études Grecques" for his translations of Greek texts.
Selected bibliography. Wikipedia has a very comprehensive list of some of the articles he wrote in French, the majority of those he wrote for Nature are of more general scientific interest - for example Les origines de la machine à vapeur - La Nature - no. 509 - 3 Mar 1883 is about the origin of the steam engine. There is one rather startling article entitled L'or alchimique [alchemical gold] on La Nature - no. 674 - 1 May 1886:
- La Science des philosophes et l'art des thaumaturges dans l'antiquité ("The science of philosophers and the art of miracle workers in ancient times"), G. Masson, Paris, 1882.
- Les Forces non définies, recherches historiques et expérimentales ("Undefined forces, historical and experimental investigations"), G. Masson, Paris, 1887.
- Le Fluide des magnétiseurs, précis des expériences du Baron de Reichenbach sur ses propriétés physiques et physiologiques, classées et annotées par le lieutenant-colonel de Rochas d'Aiglun ("The fluid of the magnetizers, summary of the experiences of Baron Reichenbach concerning its physical and physiological properties etc.") of, G. Carré, Paris, 1891 .
- Les États profonds de l'hypnose ("States of deep hypnosis"), Chamuel, Paris, 1892.
- L'Envoûtement, documents historiques et expérimentaux ("Bewitchment, historical and experimental documents"), Chamuel, Paris, 1893.
- Les États superficiels de l'hypnose ("States of light hypnosis"), Chamuel, Paris, 1893.
- L'Extériorisation de la sensibilité, étude expérimentale et historique ("The exteriorisation of sensibility, an experimental and historical study"), Bibliothèque Chacornac, Paris, 1895.
- L'extériorisation de la motricité, recueil d'expériences et d'observations ("The exteriorisation of motive power, a collection of experiences and observations") Chamuel éditeur, Paris, 1896
- La Lévitation, P.-G. Leymarie, Paris, 1897.
- Les Sentiments, la musique et le geste ("Emotions, music and gesture"), Grenoble Lib. Dauphinoise, 1900.
- Les Frontières de la science ("Frontiers of Science"), Librairie des sciences psychologiques, Paris, 2 volumes, 1902-1904.
- L'Extériorisation de la motricité ("The externalisation of motive power"), Bibliothèque Chacornac, Paris, 1906.
- Les Vies successives, documents pour l'étude de cette question ("Successive lives, documents for the study of this question"), Bibliothèque Chacornac, Paris, 1911.
- La Suspension de la vie, Dorbon aîné, Paris, 1913.
Military and geographic books
- Les Vallées vaudoises, étude de topographie et d'histoire militaires, Tanera, Paris, 1880.
- Principes de la fortification antique. Précis des connaissances techniques nécessaires aux archéologues pour explorer les ruines des anciennes forteresse, Tanera, Paris, 1881.
- La Science dans l'antiquité. Les Origines de la science et ses premières applications, G. Masson, Paris, 1884
- Le Livre de demain, Raoul Marchand, Blois, 1884 (printed on 46 different kinds of paper).
- Vauban, sa famille et ses écrits, ses oisivetés et sa correspondance : analyse et extraits, Berger-Levrault, Paris, 2 volumes, 1910
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- Rochas, Albert de - Annals of Psychic Sciences - Noula the doppelganger seen by a horse
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body - 01 General examples
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body - 02 Miss Abbott
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 03 Stella Lundelius
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 04 Emperor Francis, Marie-Thérèse's husband, medium named Schindler
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 05 Eglington
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 06 A young girl in her twenties roused by a sermon
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 07 Father Petit
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 08 12 years old Jane bounces against the wall, like a rubber ball
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 09 Maria
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 10 Françoise Fontaine
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 11 Miss Thévenet, from Corbeil and eight people from the parish of Langres
- Rochas, Albert De - Levitation of the human body – 12 The flying house of Santa-Casa de Notre Dame de Loreto
- Rochas, Albert De - The Red and Blue Aura of a human being