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Title: From India to the planet Mars - A study of a case of somnambulism with glossolalia
Author: Flournoy, Théodore
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. Variations
in hyphenation have been standardised but all other spelling, accents and
punctuation remains unchanged.

The page number referenced in the the caption to Fig.39 is missing.

As in the original the Figure numbers are not sequential.

The footnotes are located at the end of the book.

Italics are represented thus _italic_, and bold thus =bold=.

                              FROM INDIA


                            THE PLANET MARS

                         _A STUDY OF A CASE OF

                           WITH GLOSSOLALIA


                             TH. FLOURNOY

                         UNIVERSITY OF GENEVA

                             TRANSLATED BY

                          DANIEL B. VERMILYE

                  [Illustration: Publisher’s Device]

                     HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

                          NEW YORK AND LONDON


                Copyright, 1900, by DANIEL B. VERMILYE.

                        _All rights reserved._

[Illustration: Handwritten French Authorisation]

I authorize Messrs. Harper & Brothers to translate and to publish in
the English language my book “From India to the Planet Mars.”
                                                      THEODORE FLOURNOY
 GENEVA, June 20, 1900


  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

  TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE                                               vii

  I. INTRODUCTION                                                      1

  II. CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH OF MLLE. SMITH                              15


      I. THE MEDIUMISTIC BEGINNINGS OF MLLE. SMITH                    36

     II. MLLE. SMITH IN HER NORMAL STATE                              41

    III. SPONTANEOUS AUTOMATIC PHENOMENA                              48

        1. PERMANENCE OF EXTERIOR SUGGESTIONS                         49

        2. IRRUPTIONS OF SUBLIMINAL REVERIES                          51

        3. TELEOLOGICAL AUTOMATISMS                                   58

     IV. THE SEANCES                                                  60

  IV. THE PERSONALITY OF LEOPOLD                                      76

      I. PSYCHOGENESIS OF LEOPOLD                                     80

     II. PERSONIFICATION OF BALSAMO BY LEOPOLD                        96

    III. LEOPOLD AND THE TRUE JOSEPH BALSAMO                         107

     IV. LEOPOLD AND MLLE. SMITH                                     116

  V. THE MARTIAN CYCLE                                               139

      I. ORIGIN AND BIRTH OF THE MARTIAN CYCLE                       140

     II. LATER DEVELOPMENT OF THE MARTIAN CYCLE                      152

    III. THE PERSONAGES OF THE MARTIAN ROMANCE                       172

        ESENALE                                                      173

        ASTANÉ                                                       177

        POUZÉ, RAMIÉ—VARIOUS PERSONAGES                              188

     ROMANCE                                                         190

  LANGUAGE                                                           195

      I. VERBAL MARTIAN AUTOMATISMS                                  198

     II. THE MARTIAN TEXTS                                           210

    III. REMARKS ON THE MARTIAN LANGUAGE                             241

        1. MARTIAN PHONETICS AND HANDWRITING                         246

        2. GRAMMATICAL FORMS                                         249

        3. CONSTRUCTION AND SYNTAX                                   251

        4. VOCABULARY                                                252

        5. STYLE                                                     255

    IV. MLLE. SMITH AND THE INVENTOR OF MARTIAN                      257


  VIII. THE HINDOO CYCLE                                             275

    CYCLE                                                            279

     II. SIVROUKA AND M. DE MARLÈS                                   297

    III. THE ARAB ELEMENTS OF THE ORIENTAL CYCLE                     309

     IV. THE HINDOO LANGUAGE OF MLLE. SMITH                          314

      V. THE SOURCES OF THE HINDOO DREAM                             337

  IX. THE ROYAL CYCLE                                                342

  X. SUPERNORMAL APPEARANCES                                         364

      I. THE STUDY OF THE SUPERNORMAL                                365

     II. PHYSICAL PHENOMENA                                          375

        1. APPORTS                                                   375

        2. MOVEMENTS OF OBJECTS WITHOUT CONTACT                      377

    III. TELEPATHY                                                   387

     IV. LUCIDITY                                                    396

        1. MEDICAL CONSULTATIONS                                     398

        2. OBJECTS RECOVERED                                         401

        3. RETROCOGNITIONS                                           406

      V. INCARNATIONS AND SPIRIT MESSAGES                            413

        1. CASE OF MLLE. VIGNIER                                     425

        2. CASE OF JEAN THE QUARRYMAN                                430

        OF THE CURÉ BURNIER                                          431

  XI. CONCLUSION                                                     441


The translation into English of _From India to the Planet Mars_ has
been undertaken in response to the demand created by the widespread and
increasing interest which is manifesting itself both in Great Britain
and the United States in the phenomena exhibited by its heroine—an
interest which marks a new era in the progress of human knowledge.

Twenty—even ten—years ago the phenomena which Prof. Flournoy here
describes in detail, and of which he offers a keen, skilful,
psychological analysis, would have met with the sneers of popular
science and the contempt of obscurantist orthodoxy; the book would have
found few readers.

Times have greatly changed since the Society for Psychical Research was
founded, eighteen years ago, by a few thoughtful men (included among
them were those whose names would have conferred honor upon any body
of men) interested in the investigation of abnormal mental or psychic

In explaining their reasons for organizing that society, its founders
made the following statement:

“From the recorded testimony of many competent witnesses, past and
present, including observations accurately made by scientific men of
eminence of various countries, there appears to be, among much illusion
and deception, an important body of remarkable phenomena which are
_prima facie_ inexplicable on any generally recognized hypothesis, and
which, if incontestably established, would be of the highest possible

The organization of this society constituted the first attempt in the
world’s history to investigate the phenomena of clairvoyance, automatic
writing and speaking, trance conditions, second sight, apparitions of
persons at the point of death, alleged spirit messages, etc., by a
scientific body formed upon a broad basis.

As was to have been expected, the work and aims of the society were
met by a storm of derision and ridicule, and by attacks which poured
in from every quarter, the bitterest of which came from the always too
numerous class of narrow-minded scientists, whose partisan prejudices,
confining them to a narrow rut, hinder their seeing anything from a
point of view other than that of their preconceived hypotheses, and
prevent them from attaining that open-mindedness which is indispensable
to and one of the first requisites of a true scientist in any field of

The interest shown to-day in the work of psychical research—among
the evidences of which may be noted the reception accorded this work
of Prof. Flournoy, which has, within a few months from the date of
its publication, attained its third French edition—demonstrates the
ultimate triumph of the founders of that society in their efforts to
bring the thinking public to a realization of the supreme importance
of a systematic scientific study of the mysterious psychic phenomena
so long neglected by official science, but which are now beginning to
assume their rightful place in the field of study and observation.

Men have come to realize that the facts proved by science have not thus
far been adequate to satisfy the needs of mankind, and many are to-day
asking whether the scientific investigation of psychic phenomena may
not succeed in proving _the preamble of all religions_.

Already science has disclosed the existence of a hidden, subliminal
world within each individual being, and it is the investigation of
that part of the individuality of Hélène Smith which our author has
undertaken in the following pages.

The importance of the subject and its intense interest lie in the fact
that psychical research hints at a possible solution, by means of the
same methods which science has been accustomed to use in the physical
world, of the great problem of man’s future destiny, of an answer to
the question asked by Job four thousand years ago, “If a man die,
shall he live again?” and which has been repeated in vain by every
generation of men who have since inhabited the earth.

While, it is true, the great majority of men are still skeptical as to
the ability of science ever to solve this problem, it is, however, a
fact that a continually increasing number of thoughtful men are coming
to believe that the hidden subliminal world within us may point to an
unseen but spiritual world without, communication with which, if once
established, would furnish us with the solution so ardently longed for.

Such men do not believe that it behooves them to be content with the
passivity of pure Agnosticism are not willing that _Ignoramus et
Ignorabimus_ should be their only creed. They are beginning to search
for new facts in the domain of the human mind, just as they have
searched for and found them everywhere else they have looked for them.

Mr. F. W. H. Myers, the pioneer and leader of the psychical research
movement, in an address recently delivered, says: “Starting from
various stand-points, we endeavor to carry the newer, the intellectual
virtues into regions where dispassionate tranquillity has seldom yet
been known.... First, we adopt the ancient belief—implied in all
monotheistic religion, and conspicuously confirmed by the progress
of modern science—that the world as a whole, spiritual and material
together, has in some way a systematic unity: and on this we base
the novel presumption that there should be a unity of method in the
investigation of all fact. We hold therefore that the attitude, the
habits of mind, the methods by which physical science has grown deep
and wide, should be applied also to the spiritual world. We endeavor to
approach the problems of that world by careful collection, scrutiny,
testing of particular facts; and we account no unexplained fact too
trivial for our attention.”

This is just what Prof. Flournoy has endeavored to do in regard to the
strange phenomena manifested by Mlle. Hélène Smith. No fact has been
regarded by him as too trivial to escape his keen, careful scrutiny
from a psychological point of view.

The first task which the investigators of these obscure mental
phenomena set themselves was, naturally, that of separating and sifting
the real, actually existent facts from the mass of fraud and deception
in which mercenary charlatans, aided by the easy credulity of the
simple-minded, had contrived so completely to bury from sight the true
phenomena that for a long time the intelligent public refused utterly
to believe in the existence of any real phenomena of the kind, but
insisted that everything when fully probed would be found to be mere
delusion, the result of trickery and fraud.

Probably no scientific fact since the dawn of modern science has
required so great a weight of cumulative evidence in its favor to
establish the reality of its existence in the popular mind than have
the phenomena in question. The task, however, has been accomplished.

Prof. Flournoy’s heroine, although she is a high-minded, honorable
woman, regarded by all her neighbors and friends as wholly incapable
of conscious fraud, has been subjected to the closest surveillance on
the part of a number of eminent physicians and scientists of Geneva
for more than five years past, while Mrs. Piper, the famous Boston
medium, has been subjected to an even closer scrutiny by the Society
for Psychical Research for the past fifteen years. In spite of the fact
that this society has announced its willingness to become responsible
for the entire absence of fraud in Mrs. Piper’s case, and of a similar
declaration on the part of Prof. Flournoy and his associates in
regard to Mlle. Smith, there still remain a considerable number of
ultra-skeptical persons who persist in asserting that fraud and deceit
are at the bottom of, and account for, all this species of phenomena.

The well-known gentlemen who have investigated these cases have never
been accused of easy credulity in other matters, and have cautiously
and perseveringly continued, in their endeavor to satisfy skepticism,
to pile Pelion upon Ossa in the way of cumulative proofs of the
genuineness of the phenomena and to safeguard their investigations in
every possible manner against all possibility of fraud, until they
have finally come to feel that more than sufficient proof has been
furnished to satisfy any honest, fair-minded, sensible doubt. They
do not feel that they have the right to devote further time to the
question of the genuineness of the facts observed by them—time which
they believe might be better employed in endeavoring to discover the
laws by which the phenomena are governed. They believe that those
who are not satisfied with the evidence already offered will not be
convinced by any amount of further testimony—that their skepticism is
invincible. For persons so constituted this book will have no interest;
its perusal will afford them no pleasure.

The endeavor to explain these mysterious phenomena by scientific
investigators has resulted in their adoption of one or other of two
hypotheses, viz.:

1. That the phenomena are the product of and originate in the
subliminal consciousness of the medium; or,

2. That the phenomena are really of supernormal origin and emanate from
the disincarnate spirits of the dead, who return to earth and take
temporary possession of the organism of the medium, talking through her
mouth, writing with her hand while she is in a somnambulistic state.

The first theory involves the crediting of the subliminal consciousness
with almost miraculous powers of telepathy, since, on that hypothesis,
it is necessary, in order to account for the knowledge possessed by the
medium, to suppose that her subliminal consciousness is able to roam
at will throughout the entire universe and read the mind of any being
possessing the information sought for.

All open-minded investigators freely admit that either of the above
hypotheses may be untrue; that very little is known by them as yet in
regard to the nature of the phenomena; that the data are too slight to
justify more than a provisional hypothesis, which the discovery of new
facts may at any time entirely demolish. But, thus far, the hypotheses
above given seem to be the only ones which will in any way rationally
account for the facts: in which case, it is evident that each
individual observer will be influenced in his choice of a hypothesis by
his religious belief, which will greatly affect the point of view from
which he approaches the subject, and also by his natural temperament,
habits of thought, etc.

Prof. Flournoy states that he has endeavored to keep constantly in mind
and to be guided by two propositions, which he designates respectively
the “Principle of Hamlet” and the “Principle of La Place,” the former
being, “_All things are possible_,” the latter, “_The weight of the
evidence ought to be proportioned to the strangeness of the facts_.”

Guided by these two principles, Prof. Flournoy has come to the
conclusion that Mlle. Smith really possesses the faculty of
telekinesis—the ability to move ponderable objects situated at a
distance, without contact and contrary to known natural laws. On
the other hand, he does not believe the phenomena manifested by her
to be of supernormal origin. The various alleged “spirit” messages,
“incarnations,” “gift of tongues,” and all other apparently supernormal
phenomena, in his opinion, spring from Mlle. Smith’s subliminal
consciousness, and he exercises great skill and ingenuity in his effort
to trace the very wonderful and astonishing manifestations with which
he has had to deal to natural sources.

Whether the individual reader adopts the author’s views and theories,
or finds in others a more natural explanation of the facts narrated by
Prof. Flournoy, he cannot fail to admire the frankness, candor, and
entire freedom from prejudice displayed by him. He evinces a true,
open-minded, scientific spirit, never distorting facts in order to make
them fit his hypotheses, and freely admitting the possibility of the
discovery of new facts at any time, of a nature to compel him to adopt
some other hypothesis than that which he has provisionally assumed to
explain the phenomena.

       *       *       *       *       *

A word on another subject before the reader goes on to the perusal of
this narrative of strange facts:

One who is interested in Psychical Research, when he has finally
succeeded in convincing some obstinate skeptic of the genuineness of
the phenomena—when the doubter has at last yielded to the weight of
evidence, then, very frequently, the next question, which comes as
a wet blanket to dampen the ardor of the enthusiastic devotee, is:
“_Cui bono?_ Admitting the truth of the facts, what useful purpose is
subserved by their study? Science will never succeed in solving the
problem of man’s future destiny. It is all a waste of time and will end
in nothing.” And in a review of this very book, which recently appeared
in one of our leading metropolitan newspapers, the reviewer asks, “What
will science make of all this?” (referring to the phenomena manifested
by Mlle. Smith); and then answers his own question by saying, “It is
very unlikely that science will ever discover the nature of these
mysterious phenomena or the laws which govern them.”

From this conclusion the followers of Psychical Research emphatically
dissent. It seems passing strange to them that such an opinion should
be held by intelligent men at the present stage of development of
human knowledge, in view of the mighty discoveries which have been
wrested from nature by the laborious process of persevering observation
of seemingly trivial facts. An eighteenth-century writer might with
some show of reason have made a similar observation in regard to Dr.
Franklin and his experiments with kite and key in a thunder-storm.
It would indeed, at that epoch, have seemed unlikely that science
would succeed in discovering the secret of the electric fluid by such
means. But to-day, at the dawn of the twentieth century, with all the
experience of the past to judge from, are not the probabilities all in
favor of great results to science from repeated experiments by trained
observers, such as Prof. Flournoy, upon cases similar to that of Mlle.

If the hypothesis that the world as a whole, spiritual and material
together, has in some way a systematic unity, be true—and that is
the hypothesis accepted by a majority of thinking men at the present
time—then the importance of collecting and recording and analyzing
such facts as those presented to us in the present narrative cannot be

The scientific demonstration of a future life may be one of the great
triumphs reserved for the science of the twentieth century to win,
and Hélène Smith and Prof. Flournoy may ultimately appear to have
contributed largely to its accomplishment.

To those who still persist in asking _Cui bono?_ in reference to such
work as that which Prof. Flournoy has here so ably performed, I beg
leave to quote further from Mr. Myers the following:

 “The faith to which Science is sworn is a faith in the uniformity,
 the coherence, the intelligibility of, at any rate, the material
 universe. Science herself is but the practical development of this
 mighty postulate. And if any phenomenon on which she chances on her
 onward way seems arbitrary, or incoherent, or unintelligible, she does
 not therefore suppose that she has come upon an unravelled end in the
 texture of things; but rather takes for granted that a rational answer
 to the new problem must somewhere exist—an answer which will be all
 the more instructive because it will involve facts of which that first
 question must have failed to take due account.

 “This faith in the uniformity of material Nature formulates itself
 in two great dogmas—for such they are;—the dogma of the Conservation
 of Matter and the dogma of the Conservation of Energy. Of the
 Conservation of Matter, within earthly limits, we are fairly well
 assured; but of the Conservation of Energy the proof is far less
 complete, simply because Energy is a conception which does not belong
 to the material world alone. Life is to us the most important of
 all forms of activity—of energy, I would say—except that we cannot
 transform other energies into Life, nor measure in foot-pounds that
 directive force which has changed the face of the world. Life comes we
 know not whence; it vanishes we know not whither; it is interlocked
 with a moving system vaster than that we know. To grasp the whole
 of its manifestation, we should have to follow it into an unseen
 world. Yet scientific faith bids us believe that there, too, there is
 continuity; and that the past and the future of that force which we
 discern for a moment are still subject to universal Law.

 “Out of the long Stone Age our race is awakening into consciousness of
 itself. We stand in the dawn of history. Behind us lies a vast and
 unrecorded waste—the mighty struggle _humanam condere gentem_. Since
 the times of that ignorance we have not yet gone far; a few thousand
 years, a few hundred thinkers, have barely started the human mind
 upon the great æons of its onward way. It is not yet the hour to sit
 down in our studies and try to eke out Tradition with Intuition—as
 one might be forced to do in a planet’s senility, by the glimmer
 of a fading sun. _Daphni, quid antiquos signorum suspicis ortus?_
 The traditions, the intuitions of our race are themselves in their
 infancy; and before we abandon ourselves to brooding over them let us
 at least first try the upshot of a systematic search for actual facts.
 For what should hinder? If our inquiry lead us first through a jungle
 of fraud and folly, need that alarm us? As well might Columbus have
 yielded to the sailors’ panic when he was entangled in the Sargasso
 Sea. If our first clear facts about the Unseen World seem small and
 trivial, should that deter us from the quest? As well might Columbus
 have sailed home again, with America in the offing, on the ground that
 it was not worth while to discover a continent which manifested itself
 only by dead logs.”

It is deeply to be regretted that no appeals have availed to persuade
Mlle. Smith to consent to the publication of her photograph, in
connection with Prof. Flournoy’s account of the phenomena manifested
by her.

She shrinks from the publicity which her possession of these strange
powers has thrust upon her. She dislikes extremely the notoriety given
to her mysterious faculties, and refuses to be interviewed concerning
them, or to discuss Prof. Flournoy’s book.

The name Hélène Smith is, as the reader will doubtless guess, merely
a pseudonym. The individuality designated by that name, however, is
held in highest esteem—in veneration even—by a very large circle of
friends and acquaintances in the city on the shores of Lake Leman, in
which she has passed her life from infancy, for whose benefit she is
always ready to exercise her mysterious gifts and to give her services
freely to such as seek her aid, refusing always to accept any pecuniary
compensation for her services. Attaching, as she does, a religious
significance to her powers, she would deem it a sacrilege to traffic in


  _July, 1900_.

                     FROM INDIA TO THE PLANET MARS

                               CHAPTER I


In the month of December, 1894, I was invited by M. Aug. Lemaître,
Professor of the College of Geneva, to attend some seances of a
non-professional medium, receiving no compensation for her services,
and of whose extraordinary gifts and apparently supernormal faculties I
had frequently heard.

Having gladly accepted the invitation of my worthy colleague, I found
the medium in question, whom I shall call Mlle. Hélène Smith, to be a
beautiful woman about thirty years of age, tall, vigorous, of a fresh,
healthy complexion, with hair and eyes almost black, of an open and
intelligent countenance, which at once invoked sympathy. She evinced
nothing of the emaciated or tragic aspect which one habitually ascribes
to the sibyls of tradition, but wore an air of health, of physical and
mental vigor, very pleasant to behold, and which, by-the-way, is not
often encountered in those who are good mediums.

The number of those invited to take part in the seance being
complete, we seated ourselves in a circle, with our hands resting
upon the traditional round table of spiritistic circles. Mlle.
Smith—who possesses a triple mediumship: visual, auditive, and
typtological[1]—began, in the most natural manner, to describe the
various apparitions which passed before her eyes in the partially
darkened room. Suddenly she stops and listens; she hears a name spoken
in her ear, which she repeats to us with astonishment; then brief
sentences, the words of which are spelled out by raps on the table,
explain the meaning of the vision. Speaking for myself alone (there
were three of us to divide the honor of the seance), I was greatly
surprised to recognize in scenes which passed before my eyes events
which had transpired in my own family prior to my birth. Whence could
the medium, whom I had never met before, have derived the knowledge of
events belonging to a remote past, of a private nature, and utterly
unknown to any living person?

The astounding powers of Mrs. Piper, the famous Boston medium, whose
wonderful intuition reads the latent memories of her visitors like
an open book, recurred to my mind, and I went out from that seance
with renewed hope of finding myself some day face to face with the
“supernormal”—a true and genuine supernormal—telepathy, clairvoyance,
spiritistic manifestations, it matters not by what name it be called,
provided only that it be wholly out of the ordinary, and that it
succeed in utterly demolishing the entire framework of established
present-day science.

I was able at this time to obtain general information only concerning
the past of Mlle. Smith, but it was all of a character favorable to
her, and has since been fully confirmed.

Of modest bearing and an irreproachable moral character, she has for
years earned an honorable living as an employée of a commercial house,
in which her industry, her perseverance, and her high character have
combined to secure her a very responsible and important position.

Some three years prior to the date of my introduction to her she
had been initiated into a spiritistic group, where her remarkable
psychic powers almost immediately manifested themselves; and she
then became a member of various other spiritistic circles. From its
commencement her mediumship manifested the complex type to which I
have already alluded, and from which it has never deviated. Visions
in a waking state, accompanied by typtological dictation and auditive
hallucinations, alternately appeared. From the point of view of their
content these messages had generally a bearing on past events usually
unknown to the persons present, but which were always verified by
referring to biographical dictionaries or to the traditions of the
families interested. To these phenomena of retrocognition or of
hypermnesia were joined occasionally, according to the environment,
moral exhortations, communicated through the table, more frequently in
poetry than in prose, addressed to the sitters; medical consultations,
accompanied by prescriptions generally appropriate; communications
from parents or friends recently deceased; or, finally, revelations as
piquant as they were unverifiable concerning the _antériorités_ (that
is, the previous existences) of the sitters, almost all of whom, being
profound believers in spiritism, would not have been at all surprised
to learn that they were the reincarnations respectively of Coligny, of
Vergniaud, of the Princess Lamballe, or of other notable personages. It
is necessary, finally, to add that all these messages seemed to be more
or less bound up with the mysterious presence of a “spirit” answering
to the name of Leopold, who assumed to be the guide and protector of
the medium.

I at once undertook to improve my acquaintance with Hélène Smith. She
freely consented to give seances for my benefit, alternating with a
series which she was giving M. Lemaître, and another for the benefit
of Prof. Cuendet, vice-president of the Geneva Society (spiritistic)
for Psychic Studies, all of which I was permitted to attend. In this
way I have been able to be present at the greater part of Hélène’s
seances during the past five years. The personal observations that I
have thus been able to make, reinforced by notes on sittings which I
was unable to attend, kindly furnished me by MM. Lemaître and Cuendet,
form the basis of the study which follows; to which must be added,
however, certain letters of Mlle. Smith, as well as the numerous and
very interesting conversations I have held with her either immediately
preceding or following her seances, or at her home, where I also have
had the advantage of being able to talk with her mother. Finally,
various documents and accessory information, which will be cited
in their respective time and place, have also been of assistance
in enabling me partially to elucidate certain obscure points.
Notwithstanding all these sources of information, however, I am still
very far from being able to disentangle and satisfactorily explain the
complex phenomena which constitute Hélène’s mediumship.

Dating from the period at which I made the acquaintance of Mlle. Smith
(_i. e._, from the winter of 1894-95), while most of her spiritistic
communications have continued to present the same character as to form
and content as before, a double and very important modification in her
mediumship has been observed.

1. As to their psychological form.—While up to that time Hélène had
experienced partial and limited automatisms only—visual, auditive,
typtomotor hallucinations—compatible with the preservation to a
certain extent of the waking state, and not involving noticeable loss
of memory, from that time and with increasing frequency she has been
subject to an entire loss of consciousness and a failure to retain, on
returning to her normal state, any recollection of what has transpired
during the seance. In physiological terms, the hemisomnambulism without
amnesia, which had been her stopping-point up to that time, and which
the sitters mistook for the ordinary waking state, was now transformed
into total somnambulism with consecutive amnesia.

In spiritistic parlance, Mlle. Smith now became completely entranced,
and having formerly been an ordinary visual and auditive medium, she
now advanced to the higher plane of an “incarnating medium.”

I fear that this change must in a great measure be attributed to my
influence, since it followed almost immediately upon my introduction
to Hélène’s seances. Or, even if the total somnambulism would
have inevitably been eventually developed by virtue of an organic
predisposition and of a tendency favorable to hypnoid states, it is
nevertheless probable that I aided in hastening its appearance by my
presence as well as by a few experiments which I permitted myself to
make upon Hélène.

As is well known, mediums are usually surrounded by a halo of
veneration, which prevents any one from touching them during their
trances. The idea would never occur to any ordinary frequenter of
spiritistic circles to endeavor to ascertain the condition of the
medium’s sensory and motor functions by feeling her hands, pinching
the flesh, or pricking the skin with a pin. Silence and immobility are
the strict rule, in order not to hinder the spontaneous production
of the phenomena, and a few questions or brief observations on the
receipt of a message is all that is permissible by way of conversation,
and no one therefore would, under ordinary circumstances, dare to
attempt any manipulation of the medium. Mlle. Smith had always been
surrounded by this respectful consideration, and during the first
three seances I conformed myself strictly to the passive and purely
contemplative attitude of the other sitters. But at the fourth
sitting my discretion vanished. I could not resist a strong desire to
ascertain the physiological condition of the charming seeress, and I
made some vigorous elementary experiments upon her hands, which lay
temptingly spread out opposite me on the table. These experiments,
which I renewed and followed up at the succeeding seance (February
3, 1895), demonstrated that there is present in Mlle. Smith, _during
her visions_, a large and varied assortment of sensory and motor
disturbances which had hitherto escaped the notice of the sitters,
and which are thoroughly identical with those that may be observed
in cases of hysteria (where they are more permanent), and those that
may be momentarily produced in hypnotic subjects by suggestion. This
was not at all astonishing, and was to have been expected. But one
consequence, which I had not foreseen, did occur when, four days after
my second experimental seance, Mlle. Smith fell completely asleep for
the first time at a sitting with M. Cuendet (February 7th), at which
I was not present. The sitters were somewhat frightened, and, in
trying to awaken her, discovered the rigidity of her arms, which were
considerably contractured. Leopold however, communicating by means of
the table upon which she was leaning, fully reassured them, and gave
them to understand that such sleep was not at all prejudicial to the
medium. After assuming various attitudes and indulging in some amusing
mimicry, Mlle. Smith awoke in excellent spirits, retaining as a last
recollection of her dream that of a kiss which Leopold had imprinted
upon her forehead.

From that day on somnambulisms were the rule with Hélène, and the
seances at which she did not fall completely asleep for at least a
few moments formed rare exceptions to the course of events during the
next four years. It is a great deprivation for Mlle. Smith that these
slumbers ordinarily leave her no memory upon her awakening of what
has transpired in her trance, and she longs for the seances of former
times when the visions unfolded themselves before her eyes, furnishing
her with a pleasing spectacle which was always unexpected, and which,
continually being renewed, caused the seances to be to her a source
of great delight. For the sitters, on the other hand, these scenes of
somnambulism and incarnation, together with the various physiological
phenomena of catalepsy, lethargy, contractures, etc., which accompanied
them, added great variety and additional interest to Hélène Smith’s
remarkable and instructive triple mediumship.

The greater sometimes implies the less: simultaneously with the access
of complete somnambulism came new forms and innumerable shades of
hemisomnambulism. The triple form of automatism which distinguished
the first years of Mlle. Smith’s spiritistic experiences has been
wonderfully developed since 1895, and it would now be difficult to
name any principal forms of psychic mediumship of which she has not
furnished curious specimens. I shall have occasion to cite several
of them in the course of this work. Hélène constitutes the most
remarkable medium I have ever met, and very nearly approaches the ideal
of what might be called the polymorphous, or multiform, medium, in
contradistinction to the uniform mediums, whose faculties only concern
themselves with one kind of automatism.

2. A modification analogous to that which took place in the psychologic
form of the messages consisting of a marked improvement in their depth
and importance, was noticeable simultaneously in their content.

Alongside of the unimportant communications, complete at one sitting
and independent one of another, which filled up a large part of each
of Hélène’s seances and in no wise differentiated her faculties from
those of the majority of mediums, she manifested from the beginning a
marked tendency to a superior systematization and a more lofty chain of
visions; communications were often continued through several seances,
and reached their conclusion only at the end of several weeks. But
from the period at which I made the acquaintance of Mlle. Smith this
tendency towards unity began to assert itself still more strongly.
Several long somnambulistic dreams began to appear and to develop, the
events of which continued to be unfolded through months, even years,
and indeed still continue; a species of romance of the subliminal
imagination analogous to those “continued stories” which so many of our
race tell themselves in their moments of _far niente_, or at times when
their routine occupations offer only slight obstacles to day-dreaming,
and of which they themselves are generally the heroes.

Mlle. Smith has no fewer than three distinct somnambulistic romances,
and if to these is added the existence of that secondary personality
to which I have already alluded, and which reveals itself under the
name of Leopold, we find ourselves in the presence of four subconscious
creations of vast extent, which have been evolved on parallel lines for
several years, and which manifest themselves in irregular alternation
during the course of different seances, or often even in the same

All of these have undoubtedly a common origin in Hélène’s subliminal
consciousness; but in practice, at least, and to all appearance,
these imaginative constructions present a relative independence and a
diversity of content sufficiently great to render it necessary to study
them separately. I shall confine myself at present to a general view of

Two of these romances are connected with the spiritistic idea of
previous existences. It has, indeed, been revealed that Hélène Smith
has already lived twice before on this globe. Five hundred years ago
she was the daughter of an Arab sheik, and became, under the name of
Simandini, the favorite wife of a Hindoo prince named Sivrouka Nayaka,
who reigned over Kanara, and built in the year 1401 the fortress of
Tchandraguiri. In the last century she reappeared in the person of the
illustrious and unfortunate Marie Antoinette. Again reincarnated, as a
punishment for her sins and the perfecting of her character, in the
humble circumstances of Hélène Smith, she in certain somnambulistic
states recovers the memory of her glorious avatars of old, and becomes
again for the moment Hindoo princess or queen of France.

I will designate under the names of “Hindoo” or “Oriental” cycle and
“Royal” cycle the whole of the automatic manifestations relative to
these two previous existences. I shall call the third romance the
“Martian” cycle, in which Mlle. Smith, by virtue of the mediumistic
faculties, which are the appanage and the consolation of her present
life, has been able to enter into relation with the people and affairs
of the planet Mars, and to unveil their mysteries to us. It is in
this astronomical somnambulism that the phenomenon of glossolalia[2]
appears, which consists of the fabrication and the use of an unknown
language, and which is one of the principal objects of this study; we
shall see, however, that analogous facts are likewise presented in the
Hindoo cycle.

The personality of Leopold maintains very complex relations with the
preceding creations. On the one hand, it is very closely connected with
the Royal cycle, owing to the fact that the name of Leopold is only a
pseudonym under which is concealed the illustrious Cagliostro, who, it
appears, was madly infatuated with Queen Marie Antoinette, and who now,
discarnate and floating in space, has constituted himself the guardian
angel in some respects of Mlle. Smith, in whom after a long search he
has again found the august object of his unhappy passion of a century

On the other hand, this rôle of protector and spiritual guide which
he assumes towards Hélène confers upon him a privileged place in her
somnambulisms. He is more or less mixed up in the greater part of
them; assists at them, watches over them, and perhaps in a measure
directs them. He also occasionally appears in the midst of a Hindoo
or a Martian scene, delivering his message by certain characteristic
movements of the hand.

To sum up: sometimes revealing himself by raps upon the table, the
taps of a finger, or by automatic writing; sometimes incarnating
himself completely and speaking by the mouth of Mlle. Smith while
entranced—Leopold fulfils in these seances the multiple and varied
functions of spirit-guide, giving good advice relative to the manner
of acting towards the medium; of stage-manager hidden behind the
scenes watching the performance and ready at any time to intervene;
of benevolently disposed interpreter willing to furnish explanations
of all that is obscure; of censor of morals sharply reprimanding the
sitters when he deems it necessary; of sympathetic physician prompt at
diagnosis and well versed in the pharmacopœia, etc. He also appears
under his own name of Cagliostro to the somnambulistic gaze of the
resuscitated Marie Antoinette and answers her questions by means of
auditive hallucinations. Nor is this all: to make our summary complete,
it is necessary also to investigate the personal connection of Mlle.
Smith with her invisible protector. She often invokes and questions
Leopold at her own convenience, and while he remains sometimes for
weeks without giving any sign of life, he at other times readily
responds to her by means of voices or visions which surprise her while
fully awake in the course of her daily duties, and in which he lavishes
upon her in turn material or moral advice, useful information, or the
encouragement and consolation of which she has need.

Although I have accused myself of perhaps having had much to do with
the transformation of Hélène’s hemisomnambulism into complete trances,
I believe myself, however, altogether innocent of the origin, and
therefore of the subsequent development, of the great subliminal
creations of which I have spoken. The first, that of Leopold, is of
very early date, even going back probably, as we shall see, prior to
Mlle. Smith’s initiation into spiritism. As to the three cycles, they
did not, it is true, commence to display their full amplitude until
after I had made Hélène’s acquaintance; and since they start from the
time when she first became subject to veritable trances, it would seem
as though that supreme form of automatism is the only one capable of
allowing the full expansion of productions so complex, and the only
psychological _container_ appropriate and adequate to such a _content_.
But the first appearance of all three was clearly prior to my presence
at the seances. The Hindoo dream, where I shall be found playing a rôle
which I did not seek, evidently began (October 16, 1894) eight weeks
before my admission to Mlle. Smith’s seances. The Martian romance,
which dates from the same period, is closely connected, as I shall
also show, with an involuntary suggestion of M. Lemaître, who made
the acquaintance of Hélène in the spring of 1894, nine months before
my introduction to her. The Royal cycle, finally, had been roughly
outlined at seances held at the home of M. Cuendet, in December, 1893.
Nevertheless, I repeat, only since 1895 have the exuberant growth and
magnificent flowering of that subliminal vegetation taken place under
the stimulating and provocative influence, albeit wholly unintentional
and altogether unsuspected at the time, of the varied environments of
Mlle. Smith’s seances.

As far as the indiscreet revelations in regard to my own family,
which so much astonished me at my first meeting with Mlle. Smith, are
concerned, as well as the innumerable extraordinary facts of the same
kind with which her mediumship abounds, and to which she owes her
immense reputation in spiritistic circles, it will suffice to return in
the closing chapters of this book.

                              CHAPTER II


The psychological history of Mlle. Smith and her automatisms is
naturally divided into two separate periods by the important fact of
her initiation into spiritism at the beginning of 1892. Before that
time, not suspecting the possibility of voluntary communication with
the world of disincarnate spirits, she naturally manifested nothing
more than a few spontaneous phenomena, the first flutterings of her
mediumistic faculties which still lay dormant, the exact nature
and progress of which it would be interesting to know in detail;
unfortunately, in the absence of written documents concerning that
pre-spiritistic period, we are confined to the statements of Hélène and
her parents in regard to it, and the untrustworthiness of the memory in
connection with events of a remote past is only too well known.

The spiritistic period, on the contrary, extending over the last seven
years, and infinitely more fertile in artificially promoted (_e.g._,
the seances) as well as in spontaneous manifestations, is much better
known to us; but in order to comprehend it intelligently, it is
necessary first to pass in review the few facts which we have been
able to gather relating to the pre-spiritistic period—that is to say,
the childhood and youth of Mlle. Smith. That will be the subject of
this chapter.

Mlle. Smith has lived in Geneva since her infancy. After attending
school, she entered as an apprentice, at the age of fifteen, a large
commercial house, where, as I have already stated, she still remains,
and where, little by little, she has risen to a very responsible
position. Her father, a merchant, was a Hungarian, and possessed a
remarkable facility for languages, which is of interest to us in
presence of the phenomena of glossolalia, a subject which will be
discussed hereafter. Her mother is a Genevese. Both enjoyed excellent
health and attained a venerable old age. Hélène had a younger sister
who died in early childhood, and two brothers older than herself, who
are now fathers of families and established abroad, where they have had
successful business careers.

I am not aware that M. Smith, who was a man of positive character, ever
displayed any phenomena of automatisms. Mme. Smith, however, as well
as her grandmother, has experienced several thoroughly characteristic
phenomena of that kind, and one, at least, of Hélène’s brothers, it
appears, could easily have become a good medium. This is another
instance of the distinctly hereditary tendency of mediumistic faculties.

M. Smith, a man of active and enterprising character, died quite
suddenly, probably of an embolism, at the age of seventy-five years.
He had left Hungary in his youth, and finally established himself at
Geneva, after having travelled extensively in Italy and Algiers, where
he remained for several years. He spoke fluently Hungarian, German,
French, Italian, and Spanish, understood English fairly well, and
also knew Latin and a little Greek. It would seem that his daughter
has inherited these linguistic aptitudes, but only in a latent and
subliminal manner, for she has always detested the study of languages,
and rebelled against learning German, in which she took lessons for
three years.

Mme. Smith, who is a kind-hearted woman, with much good, practical
sense, is sixty-seven years of age. Neither she nor her husband was
ever a nervous or psychopathic subject, but both showed a marked
tendency to broncho-pulmonary affections of a somewhat alarming type.
Mme. Smith has, besides, suffered frequently from rheumatism. Hélène
does not appear to have inherited these tendencies; she has always
enjoyed robust health, and has not even had the slight diseases usually
incidental to childhood.

Although both M. and Mme. Smith were Protestants, through a chain of
peculiar circumstances their daughter was baptized a Catholic shortly
after her birth, her name being inscribed some months later on the
register of the Protestant church of Geneva. The memory of this unusual
baptism has certainly not been lost by Hélène’s subliminal imagination,
and has duly contributed to the hypothesis of a mysterious origin. Of
the years of childhood I know nothing specially interesting. At the
intermediate school, at which she passed only a year, and where I have
consulted the records of her class, she was not distinguished either
for good or ill from the point of view of deportment, but she certainly
did not reveal the full measure of her intelligence, since she failed
to pass the examinations at the end of the year, a fact which decided
her entrance upon an apprenticeship. On the other hand, the worthy
pastor who gave her religious instruction somewhat later, and who has
never lost sight of her since, has furnished me with most eulogistic
testimonials as to her character; he remembers her as a young girl of
serious disposition, intelligent, thoughtful, faithful in the discharge
of her duties, and devoted to her family.

M. Smith never showed the least trace of mediumistic phenomena; from
having been very indifferent, or even hostile, to spiritism until his
daughter began to interest herself in it, he finally succumbed to her
influence and became a believer in that doctrine towards the close of
his life. Mme. Smith, on the contrary, has always been predisposed
to it, and has experienced several phenomena of that nature in the
course of her life. At the period of the epidemic of “table-tipping”
which raged in our country about the middle of this century, she too
experimented quite successfully for a while upon the table with her
friends and acquaintances. Later, she had some sporadic visions. The
following is one of the most typical. While her little daughter three
years old was ill, Mme. Smith awoke in the middle of the night and saw
an angel, of dazzling brightness, standing by the side of the little
bed with its hands stretched out above the child; after some moments
the apparition gradually dissolved. Mme. Smith awakened her husband and
told him of the fatal significance which she attached to the vision,
but he, unable to see anything, ridiculed her superstitious fears. As
a matter of fact, the child died on the following day, to the great
surprise of the physician attending her. This is a fine example of true
maternal presentiment, subconsciously felt and transferring itself into
the normal consciousness by a visual hallucination which borrowed for
its symbolic content an appropriate popular image.

Mme. Smith never knew her mother, who died shortly after her birth; but
she recalls and has related to me some characteristic visions of her
grandmother, who brought her up; various phenomena connected with one
of Hélène’s brothers (hearing of steps in the night, etc.) have proved
to her that one of her sons, at least, is a medium.

Hélène Smith was certainly predisposed, both by heredity
and temperament, to become a medium, as soon as the outward
opportunity—that is, the suggestions of spiritism—should present itself.

It is evident, indeed, from her recital of events, that she was more
or less visionary from her infancy. It does not appear, however, that
she ever manifested phenomena capable in themselves of attracting
the attention of her family. I have not been able to discover any
indication whatever of crises or attacks of an abnormal nature, not
even of sleep-walking. Her automatisms have been always almost entirely
confined to the sensory or mental sphere, and it is only from her
own narratives that other people have any knowledge of them. They
assume the double form of reveries more or less conscious, and of
hallucinations properly so called.

1. _Reveries._—The habit of falling into reverie, of building castles
in the air, of transporting one’s self into other conditions of
existence, or of telling one’s self stories in which one plays the
chief rôle, is more frequent among women than among men, and in
childhood and youth than in mature years. This propensity seems to
have always been extremely marked in the case of Mlle. Smith, since
from her school-girl days she has shown herself to be of a sedentary
and domestic temperament, preferring the quiet companionship of her
mother to the games of her comrades, and her needle-work to out-door
recreations. The fragments which have survived in Hélène’s conscious
memory are all that is known to us of the content of these reveries,
but it suffices, nevertheless, to reveal to us the general tone of her
fictions, and to show us that the images suddenly surging up before
her mental vision had a peculiar, often very fantastic, character,
and which enables us to see in them the beginnings of her later great
somnambulistic romances. It is to be noticed also that the designs,
embroideries, varied artistic works, which were always the favorite
occupations of her moments of leisure and in which she excels, were
almost always, from her infancy, not copies of exterior models, but the
products of her own invention, marked with the bizarre and original
stamp of her internal images. Moreover, these pieces of work grew under
her fingers with an ease and rapidity that astonished herself. They
made themselves, as it were.

She was always fond of indulging in day-dreams, and recalls many a
half-hour passed motionless in an easy-chair, on which occasions she
was accustomed to see all kinds of strange things, but, being of a very
reticent nature, she seldom mentioned them to her parents for fear of
not being understood. She used to see highly colored landscapes, a lion
of stone with a mutilated head, fanciful objects on pedestals, etc. She
does not remember the details, but does clearly recollect that they all
bore a close resemblance to her Hindoo and Martian visions of later

These phantasmagoria also appeared to her in the night. She remembers,
among other things, to have seen, when about fourteen or fifteen
years old, a bright light thrown against the wall of her room, which
then seemed to be filled with strange and unknown beings. She had the
impression of being fully awake, but it suddenly occurred to her that
she must have been dreaming, and it was only then that she comprehended
that it was really a “vision” which she had experienced.

2 _Hallucinations._—In the foregoing examples it would be difficult to
say to exactly which category the psychologic facts belong, especially
the nocturnal phenomena, and one may hesitate whether to regard them as
simple dreams of a very vivid character, hypnagogic or hypnopompic[3]
visions, or as veritable hallucinations. On the other hand, we
undoubtedly have the right to give the latter designation to the
numerous apparitions which Mlle. Smith has when in full possession of
her senses in the daytime.

One day, for example, as she was playing out-of-doors with a friend,
she saw some one following her, and mentioned the fact to her
companion, who could not see any one. The imaginary individual, after
having followed her around a tree for a moment, disappeared, and she
was unable to find him again.

Of an entirely different order are the strange characters which she
remembers having sometimes involuntarily substituted for French letters
when writing to her friends, which must be regarded as graphomotor
hallucinations. These were undoubtedly the same characters which at
other times appeared to her in visual images.

This was the prelude to the phenomenon so frequently experienced
by her in the last few years, and of which we shall hereafter see
many examples—namely, automatic writing, mingling with her ordinary
chirography in her waking state.

Alongside of hallucinations like these, which do not show any
intentional or useful character and are only a capricious and
fortuitous irruption into the normal consciousness, mere dreams or
fancies filling up the subconscious strata, there are also manifested
in Hélène’s case some hallucinations of a manifest utility, which have
in consequence the sense of messages addressed by the subliminal
consciousness of the subject to her normal consciousness, by way of
warning and protection. It is to be noted that these hallucinations,
which might be called teleological, have lately been claimed by
Leopold, although he has no recollection of, and does not assert
himself to be the author of, the earlier ones.

The following is a curious example: At about the age of seventeen or
eighteen, Hélène was returning from the country one evening, carrying
a fine bouquet of flowers. During the last minutes of the journey
she heard behind her a peculiar cry of a bird, which seemed to her
to warn her against some danger, and she hastened her steps without
looking behind. On her arrival at home the cry followed her into her
room without her having been able to see the creature from which it
emanated. She went tired to bed, and in the middle of the night awoke
in great pain, but was unable to cry out. At that moment she felt
herself gently lifted, together with the pillow on which she lay, as
if by two friendly hands, which enabled her to recover her voice and
call her mother, who hastened to comfort her, and carried the flowers,
which were too odorous, out of the room. Leopold, on being interrogated
recently during a somnambulism of Hélène as to this incident, coming
up again after so many years, has a very clear recollection of it and
gives the following explanation.

It was not really the cry of a bird, but it was he, Leopold, who
caused Hélène to hear a sort of whistle, hoping thereby to attract her
attention to the danger lurking in the bouquet of flowers, in which
was a great deal of garden-mint of powerful odor. Unfortunately Hélène
did not understand, and retained the bouquet in her room. He adds that
his failure to give a more clear and intelligible warning was due to
the fact that it was at that time impossible for him to do so. The
whistle which Hélène took for the cry of a bird was all that it was in
his power to utter. It was again he who intervened at the moment of her
nocturnal illness by raising her head in order to enable her to call
for help.

I have no reason to doubt the substantial accuracy either of the
account given by Hélène and her mother, or of the explanation
recently furnished by Leopold. The incident belongs to the category
of well-known cases where a danger of some sort not suspected by the
normal personality, but which is subconsciously known or recognized,
is warded off by a preservative hallucination, either sensory (as
here—the cry of the bird) or motor (as in the lifting of the body). The
subliminal consciousness is not always able to give a clear message;
in the present case, the auditive automatism remained in a state of
elementary hallucination, a simple whistle, without being able to
elevate it to a distinct verbal hallucination. Its general warning
sense, however, was understood by Hélène, thanks to the confused
feeling of danger that she felt at the same time. Moreover, this
confused feeling, which caused her to quicken her steps, it seems to
me, ought not to be considered as the consequence of the whistle she
heard, but rather as a parallel phenomenon; the appearance or the odor
of the mint she was carrying, while not attracting her conscious
attention, nevertheless dimly roused in her an idea of the danger
lurking in the flowers, and that idea in turn affected her clear
consciousness under the double form of a vague emotion of danger and
a verbo-auditive translation which did not go so far as to formulate
itself explicitly.

Under circumstances of a nature calculated to cause a strong emotional
shock, and especially when the psychic sphere which involves the
sentiment of modesty is strongly acted upon, Hélène has a visual
hallucination of a man clothed in a long, brown robe, with a white
cross on his breast, like a monk, who comes to her aid, and accompanies
her in silence as long as the necessity for his presence continues.
This unknown protector, always silent, each time appearing and
disappearing in a sudden and mysterious manner, is no other than
Leopold himself, according to the recent affirmations of the latter.

We should naturally expect that Hélène would have had in her youth many
striking experiences of prevision, marvellous intuition, divination,
etc., which are among the most diffuse forms of teleological
automatism. Such, however, does not seem to have been the fact;
neither she nor her mother has recounted to me anything remarkable of
this nature, and they confine themselves to a general affirmation of
frequent presentiments, which were subsequently justified as to the
persons and events with which they were connected.

All the examples which I have above cited concur in bringing to light
the strong penchant of Mlle. Smith towards automatism. But from the
point of view of their meaning there is a notable difference between
the teleological phenomena, presentiments or hallucinations of a
manifest utility, and those which have none—mere reveries and other
perturbations, which are altogether superfluous, if not actually
detrimental, to Hélène’s normal personality.

There are dreams and other automatisms absolutely useless which have
insinuated themselves without rhyme or reason into Hélène’s normal
life. One does not know how or in what manner to interpret these
phenomena, capricious and fortuitous as they seem to be, and they
remain isolated, inconsiderable facts, without bearing and without
interest, since they cannot be attached to any central principle, to
one mother-idea or fundamental emotion.

We are, therefore, reduced to certain conjectures, the most reasonable
of which is that these diverse fragments make part of some vast
subconscious creation, in which all the being of Mlle. Smith, crushed
and bruised by the conditions which the realities of life have imposed
upon her, as is more or less the case with each one of us, gave free
wing to the deep aspirations of its nature and expanded into the
fiction of an existence more brilliant than her own. All that we know
of Hélène’s character, both as a child and as a young girl, shows us
that her dominant emotional note was a sort of instinctive inward
revolt against the modest environment in which it was her lot to be
born, a profound feeling of dread and opposition, of inexplicable
_malaise_, of bitter antagonism against the whole of her material and
intellectual environment. While showing herself always very devoted
to her parents and brothers, she had only feeble natural affinities
for them. She felt like a stranger in her family and as one away from
home. She had a feeling of isolation, of abandonment, of exile, which
created a sort of gulf between her and her family. So strong were these
feelings that she actually one day seriously asked her parents if it
was absolutely certain that she was their daughter, or whether it was
not possible that the nurse might some day by mistake have brought home
another child from the daily walk.

This want of adaptation to her environment, this sort of mysterious
homesickness for an unknown country, shows itself in a characteristic
manner in the following fragment of narrative, in which Hélène, who has
always attributed great importance to dreams, tells of one in which
an isolated house figured. “To me this retired mansion, in which I
lived alone, isolated, represents my life, which from my infancy has
been neither happy nor gay. Even while very young I do not remember to
have shared any of the tastes or any of the ideas of the members of
my family. Thus during the whole of my childhood I was left in what I
call a profound isolation of heart. And in spite of all, in spite of
this complete want of sympathy, I could not make up my mind to marry,
although I had several opportunities. A voice was always saying, ‘Do
not hurry: the time has not arrived; this is not the destiny for
which you are reserved.’ And I have listened to that voice, which has
absolutely nothing to do with conscience, and I do not regret it, for
since I have engaged in spiritism I have found myself so surrounded
with sympathy and friendships that I have somewhat forgotten my sad

This quotation speaks volumes in regard to the turn of mind and the
emotional disposition which ruled Hélène as a little girl. It is
surely, so to speak, the vulgar story and the common lot of all; many
a child, many a youth, many an unrecognized genius, feel themselves
suffocating in their too narrow environment when the latent energies
of life begin to ferment. But there are differences in kind and in
degree. With Mlle. Hélène Smith the sentiment of not having been made
for her environment, and of belonging by nature to a higher sphere, was
intense and lasting. Her mother always had the impression that Hélène
was not happy, and wondered that she was so serious, so absorbed, so
wanting in the exuberance of spirits natural to her age. Her father
and her brothers, not comprehending the real reasons for this absence
of gayety, taxed her very unjustly with pride and hauteur, and accused
her sometimes of despising her humble surroundings. There are shades of
feeling which can only be understood when they have been experienced.
Hélène well knew that she really had no contempt for her material and
social environment, which, on the contrary, inspired her with respect,
but which simply was not congenial to her nature and temperament.

To this fundamental feeling of imprisonment in a too paltry sphere was
joined, in Hélène’s case, a timid disposition. Darkness, the least
noise, the creaking of the furniture, made her tremble; by day, a
person walking behind her, an unexpected movement, the ringing of
the door-bell, gave her the impression that some one wishing to harm
her had come to seize her and carry her off. On the whole, Hélène’s
tendency to be startled by everything and nothing constituted with her
a grievous panophobia, a state of fear and insecurity which greatly
strengthened her impression of want of union—of _mésalliance_—with an
environment to which she was decidedly superior.

It is easy now to see the connection between that depressing
emotionalism which was the attribute of Hélène’s childhood and the
slightly megalomaniac tone of her later subliminal romances. The idea
intrudes itself that, in spite of—or by reason of—their apparent
contrast, these two traits are not independent of each other, but
bound by the tie of cause and effect. But this causal connection is
in great danger of being interpreted in a precisely inverse sense by
the empirical psychologist and the metaphysical occultist. The latter
will explain Mlle. Smith’s curious impression of strangeness and
superiority to the base conditions of her actual existence, by her
illustrious previous incarnations; the psychologist, on the contrary,
will see in that same impression the wholly natural origin of her
grandiose somnambulistic personifications. In default of a complete
understanding, always dubious, between these so different points of
view, of which we shall speak later, it will be advisable to adopt at
least a provisional _modus vivendi_, based on the party-wall of the
native constitution or individual character of Mlle. Smith. On the
farther side of that wall, _in eternity_, so to speak, _a parte ante_
which precedes the arrival of Hélène into this life, the occultist
will have full latitude to imagine such a succession of existences as
it shall please him in order to explain the character she has had from
her infancy. But on this side of the wall—that is to say, within the
limits of her present life—the psychologist will have the right to
ignore all these prenatal metempsychoses, and taking for his point of
departure the innate constitution of Hélène, without troubling himself
about anything she may have received by the accidents of heredity or
preserved from her royal pre-existences, he will endeavor to explain
by that same constitution, as it reveals itself in her daily life, the
genesis of her subliminal creations under the action of occasional
exterior influences. The occultist, then, can have the pleasure
of regarding Mlle. Smith’s characteristic trait as a child, that
impression of solitude and wandering about in a world for which she
was not made, as _the effect_ of her real past greatnesses, while the
psychologist will be permitted to see in it _the cause_ of her future
dreams of grandeur.

The emotional disposition which I have depicted, and which is one of
the forms under which the maladaptation of the organism, physical and
mental, to the hard conditions of the environment, betrays itself,
seems therefore to me to have been the source and starting-point
for all the dreamings of Hélène in her childhood. Thence came these
visions, always warm, luminous, highly colored, exotic, bizarre; and
these brilliant apparitions, superbly dressed, in which her antipathy
for her insipid and unpleasant surroundings betrays itself, her
weariness of ordinary, commonplace people, her disgust for prosaic
occupations, for vulgar and disagreeable things, for the narrow house,
the dirty streets, the cold winters, and the gray sky. Whether these
images, very diverse, but of the same brilliant quality, were already
existent in Hélène’s subconscious thought while still a child or a
young girl, we are unable to say. It is, however, probable that their
systematization was far from attaining to such a degree of perfection
as they have presented during the past few years under the influence of

All the facts of automatism to which Hélène can assign a vaguely
approximate date group themselves around her fifteenth year, and are
all included between the limits of her ninth and twentieth years.

This evident connection with a phase of development of major importance
has been confirmed to me by Leopold on various occasions, who says
that he appeared to Hélène for the first time in her tenth year, on an
exceptional occasion of extreme fright, but after that, not until about
four years later, because the “physiological conditions” necessary to
his apparition were not yet realized. The moment they were realized,
he says, he began to manifest himself, and it is at the same period,
according to him, that Hélène commenced to recover memories of her
Hindoo existence, under the form of strange visions of which she
comprehended neither the nature nor the origin.

After the age of about twenty years, without affirming or believing
that her visions and apparitions ceased altogether, Mlle. Smith has no
striking recollections of any, and she has not told me of any psychic
phenomenon experienced by her in the series of years immediately
preceding her entrance into spiritism. We may infer from this, with
some reason, that the ebullitions of the imaginative subconscious
life gradually became calm after the explosion of the period we have
mentioned. They had been appeased. The conflict between Hélène’s inner
nature and the environment in which she was forced to live became less
fierce. A certain equilibrium was established between the necessities
of practical life and her inward aspirations. On the one hand, she
resigned herself to the necessities of reality; and if her native pride
could not yield to the point of condescending to a marriage, honorable
undoubtedly, but for which she felt she was not intended, we must
nevertheless pay homage to the perseverance, the fidelity, the devotion
which she always brought to the fulfilment of her family and business
duties. On the other hand, she did not permit the flame of the ideal to
be extinguished in her, and it reacted upon her environment as strongly
as possible, making its imprint upon her personality well marked.

She introduced a certain stamp of elegance into the modest home of
her parents. She arranged for herself a small _salon_, coquettish and
comfortable in its simplicity. She took lessons in music, and bought
herself a piano. She hung some old engravings on her walls, secured
some Japanese vases, a jardinière filled with plants, cut flowers in
pretty vases, a hanging lamp with a beautiful shade of her own make,
a table-cover which she had put together and embroidered herself, some
photographs curiously framed according to her own design; and out of
this harmonious whole, always beautifully kept, she evolved something
original, bizarre, and delightful, conforming well to the general
character of her fantastic subconsciousness.

At the same time that Mlle. Smith succeeded in accommodating herself to
the conditions of her existence, the state of latent timidity in which
she lived gradually diminished. She is still occasionally overcome
by fear, but much less frequently than formerly, and never without a
legitimate exterior cause.

Indeed, judging her by these latter years, I do not recognize in her
the child or young girl of former days, always timid, trembling, and
frightened, taciturn and morose, who has been depicted to me by herself
and her mother.

It seems to me, then, that the wildness of the dreams and automatisms,
which were symptoms of a tendency to mental disintegration, which
marked the years of puberty, was succeeded by a progressive diminution
of these troubles and a gradual gaining of wisdom on the part of
the subliminal strata. We may presume that this harmonization, this
reciprocal adaptation of the internal to the external, would in time
have perfected itself, and that the whole personality of Mlle. Smith
would have continued to consolidate and unify itself, if spiritism had
not come all of a sudden to rekindle the fire which still slumbered
under the ashes and to give a new start to the subliminal mechanism
which was beginning to grow rusty.

The suppressed fictions aroused themselves, the reveries of former
years resumed their sway, and the images of subliminal phantasy began
to be more prolific than ever under the fertile suggestions of occult
philosophy, rallying-points or centres of crystallization—such as the
idea of former existences and reincarnations—around which they had
only to group and organize themselves in order to give birth to the
vast somnambulistic constructions the development of which we shall be
obliged to follow.

                              CHAPTER III


Having endeavored in the preceding chapter to reconstruct in its
chief characteristics the history of Mlle. Smith up to the time when
spiritism begins to be mixed up with it, I would have preferred in the
present chapter to make a detailed study of her psychological life
during these last years, without however, as yet, touching upon the
content, properly so called, of her automatisms. Not having been able
to accomplish this design to my satisfaction, for want of time and
patience, I shall endeavor at least to systematize my notes somewhat
by grouping them under four heads. I shall trace the birth of Hélène’s
mediumship as far as it is possible for me to do so from the meagre
accounts I have been able to procure concerning a time at which I was
not acquainted with her. Then, passing to facts with which I am more
familiar, I will describe rapidly her normal state as I have been able
to see it for the last five years. This would have been the place for
a study of individual psychology, but I have been compelled to abandon
the idea on account of multiple difficulties. Finally, I will offer
a few remarks on the abnormal side of her existence, which it is
convenient to divide into two groups, namely, _the spontaneous_—that
is to say, springing up of themselves in the course of her ordinary
life; or those _provoked_ by the voluntary seeking for favorable
circumstances, and which constitute the seances properly so called.


In the winter of 1891-92 Mlle. Smith heard spiritism spoken of
by one of her acquaintances, Mme. Y., who lent her Denis’s book,
_Après la Mort_. The perusal of this work having vividly excited
Hélène’s curiosity, Mme. Y. agreed to accompany her to her friend,
Mlle. Z., who was interested in the same questions, and who produced
automatic writing. They then decided to form a circle for regular
experimentation. I take from the notes which Mlle. Z. has had the
kindness to furnish me, the account, unfortunately very brief, of
the seances at which Hélène’s mediumistic faculties first made their

“It was on the 20th of February, 1892, that I made the acquaintance
of Mlle. Smith. She was introduced to me by Mme. Y., for the purpose
of endeavoring to form a spiritistic group. She was then altogether
a novice in spiritism, never having attempted anything, and did not
suspect the faculties that have since developed themselves in her.

“February 20.—First reunion: We seat ourselves at the table; we succeed
in making it oscillate. We regard Mme. Y. as the medium upon whom we
can reckon. We try for writing. We receive through me encouragements
to proceed.

“February 26.—Progress; the table moves itself considerably, salutes
one by one all the members of the group, and gives us certain names, of
which only one is recognized.... Writing: Mlle. Smith, who tries for
the first time, writes mechanically, her eyes closed, some phrases, of
which we can decipher some words.

“March 11.—Nothing at this seance, except a communication written by

“March 18.—Progress; clear communication by the table. Attempt to
experiment in the darkness (which was not absolute, the hall outside
having some incandescent lights which diffused a feeble light; we could
distinguish each other with difficulty). Mlle. Smith sees a balloon,
now luminous, now becoming dark: she has seen nothing up to this time.
Writing: Mlle. Smith writes mechanically a quite long communication
from the father of M. K. [a Bulgarian student present at the seance];
advice to him.”

At this point the sitters became so numerous that they broke up into
two groups, of which the one continuing to meet with Mlle. Z. does not
concern us. Mlle. Smith became a member of the other, which met at the
house of a lady named N., where weekly seances were held for a year and
a half (up to the end of June, 1893). The records of these meetings,
kept by Mme. N., are unfortunately very brief and obscure on many
points of interest to the psychologist. Those of the first months are
in the handwriting of Mlle. Smith, who acted as secretary of the group
for thirty seances. As she only took down at the time the headings of
the communications of the spirits and wrote out the remainder on the
following day, we cannot rely very strongly on the objective accuracy
of these accounts, which, however, have the advantage of presenting
to us the mediumship of Hélène, as related by herself. She speaks of
herself in the third person.

The following is a summary of the two first seances held in this new

“March 25, 1892.—Eleven persons around a large and heavy dining-table
of oak with two leaves. The table is set in motion, and several spirits
come and give their names (by raps), and testify to the pleasure it
gives them to find themselves among us. It is at this seance that Mlle.
Smith begins to distinguish vague gleams with long white streamers
moving from the floor to the ceiling, and then a magnificent star,
which in the darkness appears to her alone throughout the whole of the
seance. We augur from this that she will end by seeing things more
distinctly and will possess the gift of clairvoyance.

“April 1.—Violent movements of the table, due to a spirit who calls
himself David and announces himself as the spiritual guide of the
group. Then he gives way to another spirit who says he is Victor Hugo,
and the guide and protector of Mlle. Smith, who is very much surprised
to be assisted by a person of such importance. He soon disappears.
Mlle. Smith is very much agitated; she has fits of shivering, is very
cold. She is very restless, and sees suddenly, balancing itself above
the table, a grinning, very ill-favored face, with long red hair. She
is so frightened that she demands that the lights be lit. She is calmed
and reassured. The figure disappears. Afterwards she sees a magnificent
bouquet of roses of different hues being placed on the table before
one of the sitters, M.P. All at once she sees a small snake come out
from underneath the bouquet, which, crawling quickly, perceives the
flowers, looks at them, tries to reach the hand of M.P., withdraws for
an instant, comes back slowly, and disappears in the interior of the
bouquet. Then all is dissolved and three raps are given on the table,
terminating the seance. [M.P. interprets the meaning of the vision of
the bouquet and the serpent as a symbolic translation of an emotional
impression experienced by Mlle. Smith].”

Such was the birth of Hélène’s mediumship. Scarcely anything happened
on the 20th of February, when the movements of the table were not
attributed to her (although in all probability she caused them); in the
following seances she appeared in two attempts at automatic writing
(unfortunately lost) in imitation of the writing medium with whom she
was sitting. The outcome of this second attempt leads us to suppose
that Hélène’s faculties would have developed rapidly in that direction
if she had not abandoned it and changed her environment.

Her visual faculty, suggested by the experiments at obscure seances,
shows itself on the 18th and 25th of March in the form of elementary
hallucinations or vague figures having their point of departure
probably in the simple entoptical phenomena, the retina’s own light,
consecutive images, etc. Then, encouraged by the predictions of the
sitters, she attained on the 1st of April to visions properly so
called, having a varied content and a real or symbolic signification.
At the same time her typtological automatism was perfecting itself. We
recognize it in the name of Victor Hugo, coming especially for Mlle.
Smith, and suspect it to have been a name already given at the second

Auditive hallucinations follow closely upon the visual, but it is
impossible to know at just what date, as the records do not clearly
indicate whether the messages recorded had that origin or were rapped
out on the table. To these known forms of automatism must be added
the frequent phenomena of emotion, shiverings, sadness, restlessness,
fear, etc., which are experienced by Hélène without knowing why, and
are afterwards found to be in perfect conformity to, and in evident
connection with, the content of those emotional phenomena which they
generally precede by a few moments.

Thus, in a half-dozen weekly seances, the mediumship of Mlle. Smith
was invested with a complex psychological aspect, which from that time
it preserved intact for three years, and of which I was a witness
after I made her acquaintance. This rapidity of development is not
at all unusual; but there is this peculiarity about Hélène, that her
mediumistic faculties, after their first appearance, remained for a
long time stationary, and then underwent all at once, in the spring
of 1895, the enormous transformation and tremendous expansion which
I have described in the first chapter, and to which I will not again


I was about to say that in her normal state Mlle. Smith is normal.
Certain scruples restrain me, and I correct myself by saying that
in her ordinary state she seems just like anybody else. By this I
mean that outside of the gaps which the seances and the spontaneous
eruptions of automatism make in her life, no one would suspect,
observing her performance of her various duties, or in talking with her
on all sorts of subjects, all that she is capable of in her abnormal
states, or the curious treasures which are concealed in her subliminal

With a healthy and ruddy complexion, of good height, well proportioned,
of regular and harmonious features, she breathes health in everything.
She presents no visible stigmata of degeneration. As to psychic defects
or anomalies, with the exception of her mediumship itself, I know
of none, the timidity of her youth having entirely disappeared. Her
physical strength is marvellous, as shown by the fact that she bears
up under the strain of a business which demands nearly eleven hours of
her time each day, nearly all of which she is compelled to stand on
her feet, and from which she takes only one week’s vacation in summer.
Besides this confining work away from home, she assists her mother
about the house morning and evening, in the housekeeping duties, and
finds time besides to read a little, to practise at her piano, and to
make the lovely handiwork, which she designs and executes herself with
remarkable originality and good taste. To a life so full must be added,
besides, the spiritistic seances which she is generally willing to give
on Sunday, and sometimes on a weekday evening, very disinterestedly,
to persons who are interested in psychic questions or who desire to
consult Leopold on important subjects.

While hesitating to affirm that a person presenting phenomena so
extraordinary as those of mediumship is perfectly normal in other
respects, I am pleased to discover that as far as Mlle. Smith is
concerned, through my conversations with her and as the result of
my investigations concerning her, she does not present a single
abnormality, physical, intellectual, or moral, between the periods
of the irruptions of her automatisms. Her field of vision, which she
has permitted me to measure with a Landolt perimeter, is normal for
white as well as for colors, for which latter she has a very delicate
perception. There is no trace of tactile anæsthesia in her hands. There
is no known motor trouble. The tremor of the index-finger gives a line,
of four oscillations per second on an average, differing not at all
from the fines obtained from persons perfectly normal (see Fig. 2).

It cannot be expected that I should paint a full moral and intellectual
portrait of Mlle. Smith, as I should be in danger of hurting her
feelings in case my attempt should come to her notice. I can only
touch on a few points. One of the most striking is her great native
dignity; her bearing, her manners, her language are always perfect,
and have a certain quality of _noblesse_ and pride which accords well
with her somnambulistic rôles. On occasion she shows a stately and
regal hauteur. She is very impressionable, and feels little things
very keenly. Her antipathies as well as her sympathies are quick,
lively, and tenacious. She is energetic and persevering. She knows
very well what she wants, and nothing passes her by unperceived, nor
does she forget anything in the conduct of others towards her. “I
see everything, nothing escapes me, and I forgive but never forget,”
she has often said to me. Perhaps a severe moralist would find in
her a certain exaggeration of personal sensibility, but that sort of
self-love is a very common characteristic of human nature, and is very
natural in mediums who are continually exposed to public criticism.

She is very intelligent and highly gifted. In conversation she shows
herself vivacious, sprightly, and sometimes sarcastic. Psychic
problems, and all questions connected with mediumistic phenomena, of
which she is herself so striking an example, occupy her mind a great
deal and form the principal subject of her private thoughts and of her
conversations with people in whom she is interested.

Her philosophical views are not wanting in originality or breadth. She
does not believe in spiritism, in the generally accepted sense of the
term, and has never consented, in spite of the advances which have been
made to her, to become a member of the Geneva Society (spiritistic)
for Psychic Studies, because, as she says, she has no fixed ideas on
subjects so obscure, does not care for theories, and “does not work
in the interest of any party.” She investigates, she observes, she
reflects and discusses, having adopted for her motto, “The truth in all
things, for all things, and always.”

There are two points in regard to which she is uncompromising—namely,
the objective reality of Leopold, and the supernormal content of her
automatisms. No one dares tell her that her great invisible protector
is only an illusory apparition, another part of herself, a product of
her subconscious imagination; nor that the strange peculiarities of her
mediumistic communications—the Sanscrit, the recognizable signatures
of deceased persons, the thousand correct revelations of facts unknown
to her—are but old forgotten memories of things which she saw or heard
in her childhood. Such suppositions being contrary to her inmost
beliefs, and seemingly false in fact, easily irritate her, as being in
defiance of good sense and an outrage on truth. But outside of these
two subjects she will examine and discuss coolly any hypothesis one
chooses. The idea that she should be the reincarnation of a Hindoo
princess or of Marie Antoinette, that Leopold is really Cagliostro,
that the visions called Martian are really from the planet Mars, etc.,
all seem to her to conform fully to the facts; but these beliefs are
not indispensable to her, and she is ready, should they prove to be
false, to change to other theories—as, for example, telepathy, a
mixture of occult influences, a mysterious meeting in her of intuitions
coming from some higher sphere, etc.

Undoubtedly the supposition of her pre-existences in India and on the
throne of France seems to her to explain in a plausible manner the
feeling, which has followed her from childhood, of belonging to a world
higher than that in which the chance of birth has imprisoned her for
this life; but she does not affirm a positive belief in that brilliant
past, is not wholly convinced of it, and remains in a sensible state of
expectancy of the true explanation of these ultimate mysteries of her

There is another subject, also, which is close to her heart. She has
heard it said that in the eyes of scientists and physicians mediums
are considered to be fools, hysterical subjects, or insane, or, in
any event, abnormal, in the bad sense of the word. But, in the light
of the experience of every day of her life, she protests vigorously
against this odious insinuation. She declares emphatically that she is
“perfectly sane in body and mind, not in the least unbalanced,” and
repels with indignation the idea there can be any serious abnormality
or the least danger in mediumship such as she practises. “I am far from
being abnormal,” she wrote me recently, “and I have never been so clear
of vision, so lucid, and so apt to judge correctly as since I have
begun to develop as a medium.”

Leopold, too, speaking through her voice during her trances, has
more than once solemnly testified as to her perfect health. He has
also returned to the subject by letter; we shall find farther on a
very interesting certificate of mental equilibrium dictated by him
and written by him with her hand, as if to give more weight to his
declarations (see Fig. 8, p. 137.)

It is incontestable that Hélène has a very well-organized brain, as is
evidenced by the admirable manner in which she manages the important
and complicated department which is under her direction in the
commercial establishment in which she is employed. To accuse her of
being insane, simply because she is a medium, as some charitable souls
(the world is full of them) do not hesitate to do sometimes, is, to say
the least, a most inadmissible _petitio principii_.

The opinion which Mlle. Smith holds in her normal state concerning her
automatic faculties is altogether optimistic; and there is nothing
to prove her in the wrong. She regards her mediumship as a rare and
precious privilege, with which nothing in the world would induce her
to part. True, she also sees in it the reason for the malevolent
and unjust judgments, the jealousies, the base suspicions, to which
the ignorant multitude have in all ages subjected those who have
succeeded in elevating themselves above it through the possession
of faculties of this kind. But, on the whole, the disadvantages are
more than counterbalanced by gains of a high order, and the inward
satisfaction attached to such a gift. And here I desire to emphasize
the statement, once for all, that Hélène does not belong to the class
of professional mediums, nor to those who use their mediumship for
the purpose of coining money. Mlle. Smith, who earns her living in
the position which her intelligence and fitness have secured for her,
and through which her family enjoys a modest ease, never accepts any
pecuniary compensation for her seances or consultations. Such a traffic
in faculties which have a sort of religious signification in her eyes
would be absolutely repugnant to her feelings.

Hélène’s spontaneous automatisms have often aided her in, without
ever having interfered with, her daily occupations. There is, happily
for her, a great difference in intensity between the phenomena of her
seances and those which break in upon her habitual existence, the
latter never having caused such disturbance of her personality as the

In her daily life she has only passing hallucinations limited to one
or two of the senses, superficial hemisomnambulisms, compatible with
a certain amount of self-possession—in short, ephemeral perturbations
of no importance from a practical point of view. Taken as a whole, the
interventions of the subliminal in her ordinary existence are more
beneficial to her than otherwise, since they often bear the stamp of
utility and appropriateness, which make them very serviceable.

Phenomena of hypermnesia, divination, lost objects mysteriously
recovered, happy inspirations, true presentiments, correct
intuitions—in a word, teleological automatisms of every sort—she
possesses in so high a degree that this small coin of genius is more
than sufficient to compensate for the inconveniences resulting from
the distraction and momentary absence of mind with which the vision is

In the seances, on the contrary, she presents the most grave functional
alterations that one can imagine, and passes through accesses of
lethargy, catalepsy, somnambulism, total change of personality, etc.,
the least of which would be a very disagreeable adventure for her if it
should happen to occur in the street or at her office.

But here I am obliged to leave Hélène’s ordinary state to enter upon
the study of her automatisms.


The automatisms which occur outside the seances in Mlle. Smith’s
every-day life, those, at least, which she is able to recall and
narrate, are of a frequency very variable and utterly independent of
any known circumstances; sometimes presenting themselves two or three
times in the same day; at others, two or three weeks will elapse
without a single one. Extremely diverse in their form and content,
these phenomena may be divided into three categories, based upon
their origin. The first proceed from impressions received by Hélène
in moments of special suggestibility; the second are the fortuitous
apparitions above the ordinary level of her consciousness, the romances
in process of elaboration to which we are coming; the last, which
differ from the two preceding species (which are always useless, if
not detrimental) by their beneficial character and their adaptation to
the needs of the moment, are roused by those teleological automatisms
to which I have already called attention as having occurred in her
childhood, and which have shared in the general recrudescence of her
subconscious life under the lash of the spiritistic experiences.

Let us pass these different cases rapidly in review.

1. _Permanence of exterior suggestions._—The spiritistic reunions are
naturally their principal source. I do not mean that she has there been
subjected to experiments in post-hypnotic suggestion. Justice to all
those who have attended the seances compels the statement that they
have never abused the suggestibility which she shows on such occasions,
by suggesting ideas of such a nature as to cause her annoyance on
the following days. The most that has been attempted has been the
suggestion of some small matters by way of harmless experiment, to be
executed by her a few moments after awaking from her trance. There
is no need of intentional suggestions to influence her in a lasting
manner; therefore we have avoided as far as possible everything that
might leave disagreeable traces behind, and have suggested to her
before the end of the seance that she have on the morrow no headache,
fatigue, etc.; but it sometimes happens that certain incidents,
often absolutely insignificant, are engraved on her memory in a most
unlooked-for manner and assail her as inexplicable obsessions during
the ensuing week. The following are some specimens of involuntary
suggestion, which generally linger for three or four days, but may
occasionally continue for twelve or fifteen.

Hélène told me one Sunday that she had been possessed several times
during the day by the hallucinatory image of a straw hat, the inside of
which was turned towards her, and which remained vertically in the air
about three or four feet in front of her, without being held by any
one. She had the feeling that this hat belonged to me, and I happened
finally to recollect that at the seance of the preceding Sunday I
happened to fan myself with this very hat during her final trance, the
image of which had been engraved on her mind in one of the flashes in
which she opened her eyes and closed them again instantly before her
final awaking. This obsession, said she, was very strong on Monday and
the following day or two, but lessened somewhat towards the end of the

At another time she preserved during a whole week the sensation of the
pressure of my thumb on her left eyebrow. (Compression of the external
frontal and suborbital nerves is a means I often employ to hasten her
awaking, after a hint given by Leopold.)

There happened to her also twice in the same day an auditive and visual
hallucination of an aged person whom she did not recognize, but the
extremely characteristic description of whom corresponds so well with
that of a gentleman of Geneva who had been mentioned to her a few days
previously, immediately before the commencement of a seance (when she
was probably already in her state of suggestibility), that there is
scarcely any doubt but that these apparitions were the consequence of
that conversation.

Following another seance where she had, at the beginning of a Hindoo
scene, made vain efforts to detach a bracelet from her left wrist, she
preserved for three days the feeling of something grasping that wrist,
without understanding what it could be.

In the same way, various feelings of sadness, anger, a desire to laugh
or to weep, etc., the cause of which she was unable to explain, have
often followed her for a considerable length of time after the seances
of which these feelings were the manifest emotional echo. This is often
the effect of our dreams on our waking state: we forget the dreams, but
their influence remains, and is often more marked in the dreams of a
hypnotized person or a somnambulist than in those of ordinary sleep.

The seances are not the exclusive source of the involuntary suggestions
which trouble Mlle. Smith in her daily life without any benefit to
herself. It is evident that on every occasion when she finds herself
in that particular condition of least resistance which we, in our
ignorance of its intrinsic nature, designate by the convenient name of
“suggestibility,” she is exposed to impressions capable of returning
to assail her in the course of her daily occupations. Fortunately this
condition of suggestibility does not seem to develop itself readily in
her outside of the spiritistic reunions.

2. _Irruptions of subliminal reveries._—I shall have too many occasions
to cite concrete examples of visions, voices, and other spontaneous
outpourings of the work of imagination, which are continually going on
under the ordinary consciousness of Mlle. Smith, to dwell long on this
point. Some general remarks will suffice.

The connection which the unforeseen phenomena maintain with those
of the seances themselves is very varied. Sometimes we are able to
recognize them as reproductions, more or less incomplete, of episodes
which occurred at the preceding seances, and consider them simple
echoes or post-hypnotic repetitions of these last. Sometimes, on the
contrary, it appears that we have to deal with preparatory rehearsals
of scenes which will unfold themselves at length and will be continued
at some later seance. Finally, sometimes it is a question of tableaux,
having no connection with those which fill up the seances; they
are like leaves, flying away never to return, romances which are
continually being fabricated in the deep subliminal strata of Mlle.
Smith’s consciousness.

Hélène, in fact, does not long remember, nor in much detail, with a few
exceptions, those visions which take place in her ordinary state, and
which occur most frequently early in the morning, while she is still
in bed, or just after she has arisen and while working by the light
of her lamp; sometimes in the evening, or during the brief moments of
rest in the middle of the day, and, much more rarely, while in the full
activity of waking hours she is at her desk. If she had not long since,
at my request, and with great good will, acquired the habit of noting
in pencil the essential content of these apparitions, either during
the apparition itself (which she is not always able to do) or else
immediately afterwards, we should have still more deficiencies in the
plot of her romances to deplore. Hélène’s psychological state, during
her spontaneous visions, is known to me only by her own descriptions.
She is fortunately a very intelligent observer and a good psychologist.

Her narratives show that her visions are accompanied by a certain
degree of obnubilation. For a few moments, for instance, the room, the
light of the lamp, disappear from before her eyes; the noise of the
wheels in the street ceases to be heard; she feels herself becoming
inert and passive, while a feeling of bliss and ecstatic well-being
permeates her entire individuality in the presence of the spectacle
which appears to her; then the vision, to her great regret, slowly
fades from her view, the lamp and the furniture reappear, the outside
noises again make themselves heard, and she is astonished that the
idea did not occur to her to put down in pencil the strange words
she has heard, or that she did not touch or caress, for example, the
beautiful birds of many-colored plumage flying and singing around her.
Sometimes she has maintained sufficient presence of mind to scribble
from dictation the words striking her ear; but the wretched handwriting
proves that her attention, all absorbed by the apparition, could not
follow the pencil, and that the hand directed it badly. At other times
the reverse is the fact. It appears in the course of the vision as
though some one took hold of her arm and guided it in spite of herself;
the result is splendid calligraphies, wholly different from her own
handwriting, executed without her knowledge, and during the execution
of which her mind was wholly absent, if we can judge from the surprise
she shows on awaking when she finds before her these strange writings,
and from analogous scenes which transpire at the seances.

The preceding is applicable especially to the more frequent cases—that
is, to the morning or evening visions which happen to her at home,
in that intermediate condition between sleep and waking, always so
favorable, as we know, to the development of unconscious cerebration.
But there are innumerable shades and gradations between this middle
type, so to speak, and its opposite extremes; on the one hand is the
fortunately very exceptional case where she is seized with ecstasy
while at her place of business; and, on the other hand, that in which
the automatism limits itself to inscribing some unknown characters
or words in another hand than her own in her correspondence and
writings—peculiar _lapsus calami_, which she is not slow to perceive on
coming to herself.

The following is an example of a case of ecstasy:

Having ascended one day to an upper story, to look for something in a
dark store-room, she had an apparition of a man in a turban and large
white cloak, whom she had the impression of recognizing,[4] and whose
presence filled her with a delightful calm and profound happiness. She
could not recall the conversation which passed between them, which,
though in an unknown language, she nevertheless had the feeling of
having perfectly comprehended. On the departure of the mysterious
visitor she was astonished to find herself brought back to sombre
reality, and stupefied on noting by her watch that the interview had
lasted much longer than it had seemed to do. She preserved all that
day a delicious feeling of well-being as the effect of the strange

The phenomenon of mingling strange writing with her own is of
relatively frequent occurrence, and we shall see divers specimens of
it in the following chapters, apropos of the romances to which it
especially belongs. I will give here only one complex example, which
will serve at the same time as an illustration of a special kind of
automatism, very harmless, to which Hélène is also subject, and which
consists in making verses, not without knowing, but at least without
intending to do so, and in connection with the most trifling matters.

There are times when, in spite of herself, she feels compelled to speak
in distinct rhymes of eight feet, which she does not prepare, and does
not perceive until the moment she has finished uttering them.[5] In
this particular case it is by a quatrain (a very unusual occurrence)
that she replies to some one who had consulted her in regard to some
blue ribbon. But this quatrain, by its style, by the vision of the
blond head of a child which accompanies it, and by the manner also in
which she writes it, causes us to hazard the conjecture that it is
an inspiration depending on the underlying Royal cycle; while in the
following letter, in which she narrates the affair to M. Lemaître, her
pen inscribes, all unknown to her, strange characters evidently due
to the cropping out of the Martian cycle, of which she speaks in the
letter (see Fig. 1, a passage of that letter making a Martian M and V
in the words _vers_ and _rimait_):

[Illustration: Fig. 1. Fragment of a letter (normal handwriting)
of Mlle. Smith, containing two Martian letters. (Collection of M.

“I have heard some Martian words this afternoon, but have not been
able to retain them in my mind. I send you those heard a few days
ago, when I had the vision of which I am about to make you the design
(Martian lamp). Yesterday morning I for the first time spoke in verse,
without being aware of it; it was only on finishing the sentence that
I perceived that it rhymed, and I reconstructed it to assure myself
of the fact. A little later, on examining some ribbons, I began anew
to speak in verse, and I send those also; they will amuse you. It
is a curious thing that I had at that same moment the vision of the
blond curly head of a child bound with a blue ribbon. The vision
lasted more than a minute. What is still more curious, I do not at all
recollect having worn ribbons of that shade as a child: I remember some
rose-colored, some red, but I have no recollection whatever of any blue
ribbons. I really do not know why I spoke these words; it is the more
amusing. I was obliged to speak them, I assure you, in spite of myself.
I was eager to put them on paper, and I noticed in writing them down
that, for a moment, the handwriting was not regular, that is, it was
slightly different from mine.”

Here is the quatrain, the pencil impression of which is too faint to
enable a fac-simile to be reproduced here, and in it I have indicated
by italics the words and syllables the calligraphy or orthography of
which differs from that of Hélène and becomes the style of automatic
handwriting called that of Marie Antoinette:

    “Les nuances de ces rubans
    _Me_ rappelent _mes_ jeunes ans;
    Ce bleu _ver_di, je m’en sou_vien_,
    Sans mes cheveux _alloit_ si bien!”

The head of curly blond hair, ornamented with blue ribbons, also
figures in the visions of the Royal cycle, and appears to belong, as is
here the case, sometimes to Marie Antoinette herself, sometimes to one
or other of her children, especially the Dauphin.

While it is generally easy to connect these eruptions of the subliminal
volcano with the various dreams from which they emanate, such is
not always the case, and there are visions the origin of which is
doubtful and ambiguous. We must not forget that, alongside of the
grand cycles of Hélène which are better known, there also float in
her latent imagination innumerable small accessory systems, more or
less independent, which supply a large part of the seances, such
as revelations of former events connected with the families of the
sitters, etc.; it is not always possible to identify the fragments
coming from these isolated dreams.

3. _Teleological automatisms._—The spontaneous phenomena of this
category, possessing as a common characteristic a practical utility
for Hélène more or less marked, can be subdivided into two classes,
according to their direct attachment to the personality of Leopold, or
their not belonging to any distinct personality, and which only express
in a vivid manner the result of the normal working, although more or
less unconscious, of the faculties of memory and of reason. I confine
myself now to citing one case of each of these classes, of which we
shall see other examples in the chapters relating to Leopold and to
supernormal appearances.

One day Mlle. Smith, wishing to take down a large and heavy object
from a high shelf, was prevented from so doing by the fact that her
uplifted arms seemed as though petrified and incapable of being moved
for some seconds; she saw in this a warning and gave up her intention.
In a later seance Leopold said that it was he himself who had caused
Hélène’s arms to become rigid, in order to prevent her from attempting
to lift the object which was too heavy for her and would have caused
some accident to befall her.

On another occasion a clerk who sought vainly for a certain pattern
asked Hélène if she knew what had become of it. Hélène replied
mechanically and without reflection, “Yes, it was sent to Mr. J.” (a
customer of the firm); at the same time there appeared before her in
large black figures about eight or ten inches in height the number
18, and she added, instinctively, “It was eighteen days ago.” This
statement caused the clerk to smile, because of its improbability,
the rule of the house being that customers to whom patterns were lent
for examination must return them inside of three days or a messenger
would be sent for them. Hélène, struck by this objection, and having
no conscious recollection of the affair, replied, “Really, perhaps I
am wrong.” Meanwhile, an investigation of the date indicated in the
records of the house showed that she was perfectly correct. It was
through various negligences, with which she had nothing at all to do,
that the pattern had not been sent for or recovered. Leopold, on being
asked, has no recollection of this circumstance, and does not appear to
have been the author of this automatism of cryptomnesia, nor of many
other analogous phenomena through which Hélène’s subconscious memory
renders her signal services and has gained for her a well-merited and
highly valued reputation.

Thus we see that if the spontaneous automatisms of Mlle. Smith are
often the vexatious result of her moments of suggestibility, or the
tempestuous irruption of her subliminal reveries, they also often
assume the form of useful messages. Such compensation is not to be


Mlle. Smith has never been hypnotized. In her instinctive aversion,
which she shares with the majority of mediums, to anything that seems
like an attempt to experiment upon her, she has always refused to allow
herself to be put to sleep. She does not realize that in avoiding the
idea she has actually accepted the reality, since her spiritistic
experiences in reality constitute for her an autohypnotization, which
inevitably degenerates into a hetero-hypnotization, as she is brought
under the influence of one or other of the persons present at the

All her seances have somewhat of the same psychologic form, the
same method of development running through their immense diversity
of content. She places herself at the table with the idea and the
intention of bringing into play her mediumistic faculties. After an
interval, varying from a few seconds to a quarter of an hour, generally
in a shorter time if the room is well darkened and the sitters are
perfectly silent, she begins to have visions, preceded and accompanied
by very varied sensory and motor disturbances, after which she passes
into a complete trance. In that state, it rarely happens, and then only
for a few moments, that she is entirely unconscious of the persons
present, and, as it were, shut up within her personal dream and plunged
into profound lethargy (hypnotic syncope). Ordinarily she remains
in communication, more or less close, with one of the sitters, who
thus finds himself in the same relation towards her as a hypnotizer
towards his subject, and able to take advantage of that _rapport_, by
giving her any immediate or future suggestions that he may desire.
When the seance consists only of waking visions, it lasts generally
only a short time—an hour to an hour and a half—and is ended quickly
by three sharp raps upon the table, after which Mlle. Smith returns
to her normal state, which she scarcely seems to have left. If the
somnambulism has been complete, the seance is prolonged to double that
length of time, and often longer, and the return to the normal state
comes slowly through phases of deep sleep, alternating with relapses
into somnambulistic gestures and attitudes, moments of catalepsy, etc.
The final awakening is always preceded by several brief awakenings,
followed by relapses into sleep.

Each of these preliminary awakenings, as well as the final one, is
accompanied by the same characteristic movements of the features. The
eyes, which have been for a long time closed, open wide, stupidly
staring into vacancy, or fix themselves slowly on the objects and
the sitters within their range of vision, the dilated pupils do not
react, the face is an impassive and rigid mask, devoid of expression.
Hélène seems altogether absent. All at once, with a slight heaving
of the breast and raising of the head, and a quick breath, a gleam
of intelligence illumines her countenance, the mouth is gracefully
opened, the eyes become brilliant, the entire countenance lights up
with a pleasant smile and gives evidence of her recognition of the
world and of her return to herself. But with the same suddenness with
which it appeared, that appearance of life lasts but a second or two,
the physiognomy resumes its lifeless mask, the eyes becoming haggard
and fixed close again, and the head falls on the back of the chair.
This return of sleep will be followed by another sudden awaking, then
perhaps by several more, until the final awaking, always distinguished,
after the smile at the beginning, by the stereotyped question, “What
time is it?” and by a movement of surprise on learning that it is so
late. There is no memory of what has transpired during the seance.

A complete description of the psychological and physiological phenomena
which present themselves, or which might be obtained in the course
of the seances, would detain me too long, since there is absolutely
nothing constant either in the nature or in the succession of the
phenomena, and no two seances are evolved exactly in the same manner. I
must confine myself to some striking characteristics.

Three principal symptoms, almost contemporaneous generally, announce
that Mlle. Smith is beginning to enter into her trance.

There are on the one side emotional or cœnæsthetic modifications, the
cause of which is revealed a little later in the subsequent messages.
Hélène is, for instance, seized by an invincible desire to laugh, which
she cannot or will not explain; or she complains of sadness, fear, of
different unpleasant sensations, of heat or of cold, of nausea, etc.,
according to the nature of the communications which are approaching and
of which these emotional states are the forerunners.

There are, on the other hand, phenomena of systematic anæsthesia
(negative hallucinations), limited to those sitters whom the coming
messages concern. Hélène ceases to see them, while continuing to
hear their voices and feel their touch; or, on the contrary, she
is astonished to no longer hear them, though she sees their lips
moving, etc.; or, finally, she does not perceive them in any manner,
and demands to know why they are leaving when the seance is hardly
begun. In its details this systematic anæsthesia varies infinitely,
and extends sometimes to but one part of the person concerned, to
his hand, to a portion of his face, etc., without it always being
possible to explain these capricious details by the content of the
following visions; it would seem that the incoherence of the dream
presides over this preliminary work of disintegration, and that the
normal perceptions are absorbed by the subconscious personality eager
for material for the building up of the hallucinations which it is

Systematic anæsthesia is often complicated with positive
hallucinations, and Hélène will manifest her surprise at seeing, for
example, a strange costume or an unusual coiffure. This, in reality, is
the vision which is already being installed.

The third symptom, which does not manifest itself clearly in her,
but the presence of which can be often established before all the
others by investigation, is a complete allochiria,[6] ordinarily
accompanied by various other sensory and motor disturbances. If, at
the beginning of the seance, Hélène is asked, for example, to raise
her right hand, to move the left index-finger, or to close one eye,
she begins straightway to carry into effect these different acts; then
all at once, without knowing why and without hesitation, she deceives
herself in regard to the side, and raises her left hand, moves her
right index-finger, closes the other eye, etc. This indicates that she
is no longer in her normal state, though still appearing to retain her
ordinary consciousness, and with the liveliness of a normal person
discusses the question of her having mistaken her right hand or eye
for her left, and vice versa. It is to be noted that Leopold, on such
occasions of pronounced allochiria, does not share this error in regard
to the side. I have assisted at some curious discussions between him
and Hélène, she insisting that such a hand was her right, or that the
Isle Rousseau is on the left as one passes the bridge of Mont Blanc or
coming from the railway station, and Leopold all the while, by means of
raps upon the table, giving her clearly to understand she was wrong.[7]

A little after the allochiria, and sometimes simultaneously with it,
are to be found various other phenomena, extremely variable, of which I
here cite only a few. One of her arms is contractured as it rests upon
the table, and resists the efforts of the sitters to lift it up, as
though it were a bar of iron; the fingers of the hand also participate
in this rigidity. Sometimes this contracture does not exist before,
but establishes itself at the same instant that some one touches the
forearm, and increases in proportion to the efforts which are made
to overcome it. There is no regularity in the distribution of the
anæsthesia (changing from one instant to another), the contractures, or
convulsions which the hands and arms of Hélène exhibit. It all seems
due to pure caprice, or to depend only on underlying dreams, of which
little is known.

Certain analogous and likewise capricious phenomena of anæsthesia,
paralysis, sensations of all sorts, of which Hélène complains, often
appear in her face, her eyes, her mouth, etc. In the midst of all these
disturbances the visions announce themselves, and the somnambulism is
introduced with modifications, equally variable, of other functions,
evidenced by tears, sobbings, sighs, repeated hiccoughs, various
changing of the rhythm of respiration, etc.

If Hélène is experimented upon and questioned too long, the development
of the original visions is obstructed, and she easily reaches a degree
of sensibility where she falls into the standard class of public
representations of hypnotism—a charmed and fascinated state in which
she remains riveted before some brilliant object, as, for example,
the ring, trinkets, or cuff-button of one of the sitters; then
precipitates herself in a frenzy upon the object, and tries to secure
it; or assumes emotional attitudes and poses under the influence of
joyous airs upon the piano; experiences suggested hallucinations of
all kinds, sees terrible serpents, which she pursues with a pair of
pincers; beautiful flowers, which she smells with deep respirations and
distributes to the sitters; or, again, bleeding wounds which have been
made on her hand, and which cause her to shed tears. The commonplace
character of these phenomena causes their long continuance to be
deprecated, and the ingenuity of all is exercised in endeavoring by
different means, none of which is very efficacious or very rapid, to
plunge her into profound and tranquil sleep, from which she is not long
in passing of her own accord into complete somnambulism and in taking
up the thread of her personal imaginations.

If all these disturbing investigations have been successfully avoided,
the spontaneous development of the automatisms is effected with
greater rapidity and fulness. It is possible then to behold, in the
same seance, a very varied spectacle, and to listen, besides, to
certain special communications made in a semi-waking state to one or
other of the sitters; then, in complete somnambulism, a Hindoo vision
is presented, followed by a Martian dream, with an incarnation of
Leopold in the middle, and a scene of Marie Antoinette to wind up
with. Ordinarily two of these last creations will suffice to fill up a
seance. One such representation is not performed without the loss of
considerable strength by the medium, which shows itself by the final
sleep being prolonged sometimes for an hour, interrupted, as I have
said, by repetitions of the preceding somnambulistic scenes, easily
recognizable by certain gestures or the murmuring of characteristic
words. Passing through these diverse oscillations and the ephemeral
awaking, of which I have spoken above, Hélène finishes by returning to
her normal state; but the seances which have been too long continued or
too full of movement leave her very much fatigued for the rest of the
day. It has also sometimes happened to her to re-enter the somnambulism
(from which she had probably not completely emerged) during the course
of the evening or on returning home, and only to succeed in recovering
her perfectly normal state through the assistance of a night’s sleep.

As to the real nature of Hélène’s slumbers at the end of the seances,
and her states of consciousness when she awakes, it is difficult for me
to pronounce, having only been able to observe them under unfavorable
conditions—that is, in the presence of sitters more or less numerous
and restless. The greater part certainly consist of somnambulisms, in
which she hears all that passes around her, since although she seems
profoundly asleep and absent, the suggestions then given her to be
carried out after awaking are registered and performed wonderfully—at
least when Leopold, who is almost always on hand and answers by
movements of one finger or another to questions put to him, does not
make any opposition or declare that the suggestion shall not be carried
out! There are also brief moments when Hélène seems to be in a profound
state of coma and kind of syncope without trace of psychic life; her
pulse and respiration continue to be regular, but she does not react to
any excitation, her arms, if raised, fall heavily, no sign of Leopold
can be obtained, and suggestions made at that instant will not be acted

These lethargic phases, during which all consciousness seems to be
abolished, are generally followed by cataleptic phases in which the
hands and arms preserve every position in which they may be placed,
and continue the movements of rotation or of oscillation which may be
forced upon them, but never for more than one or two minutes.

In default of more complete experiments, I submit the following
comparison of Hélène’s muscular force and of her sensibility to pain
before and after a seance lasting nearly three hours, the second half
being in full somnambulism. At 4.50 o’clock, on sitting down at the
table three dynamometric tests with her right hand gave kilos. 27.5,
27, 25—average, 26.5. The sensibility to pain measured on the back
of the median phalanx of the index-finger with the algesiometer of
Griesbach, gave for the right, grs. 35, 40, 20, 20—average, 29; for
the left, 35, 20, 20, 15—average, 22.5 grs. (Sensibility slightly more
delicate than that of another lady present at the seance, not a medium
and in perfect health.)

At 7.45 o’clock, some minutes after the final awaking: dynamometer,
right hand, 8, 4.5, 4.5—average, 5.7; algesiometer, complete analgesia
both as to right and left, on the whole of the back of the index as
well as the rest of the hand and wrist, the maximum of the instrument
(100 grs.) was attained and passed without arousing any painful
sensation but only an impression of contact.

One hour later, after dinner: dynamometer 22, 22, 19—average, 21;
algesiometer, 20, 18 for the right; 15, 20 for the left. It is
possible, then, to say that her muscular force and sensibility to pain,
both normal immediately before her entrance upon the seance, are still
abolished in the first fifteen minutes after awaking, but are found to
be restored in about an hour. Perception of colors, on the contrary,
appeared to be as perfect immediately after awaking as before the
seance. The tremor of the index-finger, normal before the seance, is
very much exaggerated in its amplitude for a certain time after awaking
and reflects sometimes the respiratory movements, as can be seen by
the curves of Fig. 2. This denotes a great diminution of kinesthetic
sensibility and of voluntary control over the immobility of the hand.

 [Illustration: Fig. 2. Tremor of right index-finger. A, B, C,
 fragments of curves taken in the normal state before the seance (A and
 C with closed eyes; B, with open eyes looking at the index-finger); D,
 E, F, fragments of curves received in succession a quarter of an hour
 after the seance. The curve F reflects the respiratory oscillations.
 The curves go from right to left, and the interval between the two
 vertical lines is ten seconds.]

The state in which Mlle. Smith carries out the post-hypnotic
suggestions made to her in the course of her somnambulisms, when they
do not come into collision with either the pronounced opposition
of Leopold or the states of lethargy of which I have spoken, is
interesting on account of its varied character, which seems to depend
upon the greater or less ease with which the hallucination or the act
suggested can be reconciled with Hélène’s normal personality. Their
execution in the full waking state seems to be confined to suggestions
of simple acts, free from absurdity, the idea of which would be easily
accepted and carried out by the normal self when the desired moment
arrived. If, on the contrary, it is a question of more complicated and
difficult things, compatible, however, with the rational points of view
of the normal waking state, Hélène falls momentarily into somnambulism
for the execution of the order given, unless she has permanently
remained in that state, in spite of her apparent awaking, in order not
to re-enter definitely and completely upon her ordinary state until
after the execution of the order, of which there then remains to her no
recollection whatever.

From the foregoing facts we may conclude that little or nothing of that
which goes on around her escapes her subconscious intelligence, and
it is from this source that her somnambulistic romances are nourished

A word more as to the preparation for the seances. I do not refer to a
conscious preparation, but to a subliminal incubation or elaboration,
unknown by her, showing itself on the level of her ordinary personality
in the form of fugitive gleams and fragmentary images during her sleep
at night or the moments of awaking in the morning. Mlle. Smith, in
reality, has no hold, possesses no influence, upon the nature of her
visions and somnambulisms. She is able, undoubtedly, up to a certain
point, to aid their appearance in a general way, by cultivating
tranquillity of mind, securing darkness and silence in the room, and by
abandoning herself to a passive attitude of mind; or to hinder it, on
the other hand, by movement, or distraction of attention; but with the
fixed and concrete content itself of her automatisms she has nothing
to do and no share in the responsibility for it. So far as her great
cycles or her detached messages are concerned, they are fabricated in
her in spite of herself, and without her having a word to say about
their production, any more than one has in the formation of his dreams.
When it is recollected, on the other hand, that the phenomena of
incubation, of subliminal preparation, or unconscious cerebration, are
universal facts, playing their rôle in the psychology of every human
being, we can rely upon finding them also among the mediums, and upon
their holding a place with them much more important than with others,
owing to the fact that their subconscious life is so much more fully

With each one of us the expectation or the simple perspective of any
event—a departure, a visit, an errand, or undertaking to do anything,
a letter to write, in short, all the more insignificant incidents of
daily existence, when they are not absolutely unforeseen—promote a
psychological adaptation more or less extended and profound.

Alongside of and underneath the conscious expectancy, certain physical
or mental attitudes, voluntarily assumed in view of the event, always
effect an underlying preparation of an inward kind, a change which
we may regard, according to the side from which we consider the
individual, as a peculiar psychical orientation or cerebral adjustment,
a modification in the association of ideas or in the dynamics of the
cortical nerves. But everything points to the fact that in persons
gifted with mediumship this underlying preparation is capable of
assuming on occasion a greater importance than is the case with
ordinary mortals, a much more complete independence of the ordinary

To return to Mlle. Smith, when she knows some time in advance who
will be present at her next seance, and what people she will almost
surely meet there, it would be altogether natural that such previous
knowledge of the environment and of the sitters would influence her
subliminal thoughts and in some degree direct the course of the latent
incubation. It may well be asked, therefore, whether the varied
spectacle which the seances furnish is really always impromptu and has
its birth on the spur of the moment like ordinary dreams, or whether
it has been subconsciously thought out, the seance being only the
performance of an arrested programme, the representation _coram populo_
of scenes already ripened in the deep subliminal strata of the medium.

Neither of these two hypotheses, held to exclude the other, answers to
the facts, but there is some truth in both of them.

The _menu_ of the seances—if the expression is permissible—is always
composed of one or two _plats de résistance_, carefully prepared in
advance in the subliminal laboratories, and of various _hors d’œuvres_
left to the inspiration of the moment. To speak more exactly, the
general plot, the chief lines and more striking points of the scenes
which unfold themselves are fixed according to a previous arrangement,
but the details of execution and accessory embellishments are entirely
dependent upon chance circumstances. The proof of this is found, on the
one hand, in the suppleness, the perfect ease, the appropriateness with
which Hélène’s automatisms—if we can still apply the word automatism
to those cases in which spontaneity, self-possession, free use of all
the faculties constitute the dominant characteristics—often adapt
themselves to unexpected situations in the environment or capricious
interruptions on the part of the sitters; on the other hand, in
the fact that Leopold, interrogated at the beginning of the seance,
ordinarily knows very well and announces the principal vision or
incarnations which are about to make their appearance, provided,
at least, the spectators do not hinder their unfolding by their
tempestuous clamor for something else.

The animated conversations, sometimes full of spirited repartee,
between Leopold or Marie Antoinette and the sitters, could not have
been prepared in advance, and are altogether opposed to the stereotyped
repetition which is generally expected of automatic phenomena. But, on
the other hand, such repetition, almost entirely mechanical and devoid
of sense, presents itself on frequent occasions. I have, for instance,
seen somnambulistic scenes presented which were entirely misplaced,
and constituted at the time veritable anachronisms, which would have
perfectly fitted the situation eight days previously in another
environment, and for which the aforesaid scenes had been evidently
intended; but, having been withheld until the last moment by unforeseen
circumstances, the following seance gets the benefit of these postponed

Here is proof that Hélène’s subliminal imagination prepares up to a
certain point her principal productions, in view of the conditions
and surroundings under which the seance will probably take place, and
also that these products, once elaborated, must be eliminated and
poured forth with a sort of blind necessity, at the right or the wrong
time, whenever the entrance of Hélène into a favorable hypnoid state
furnishes them an opportunity so to do. It follows also that her
normal personality has nothing whatever to do with the preparation of
the seances, since she can neither suppress nor change scenes badly
adapted to the actual environment, the appearance of which sometimes
greatly annoys Mlle. Smith when they are recounted to her after the
seance; nor can she provoke the messages, the production of which she
desires and vainly hopes for—as, for example, a medical consultation
with Leopold, the incarnation of a deceased parent, or a scene from
one cycle rather than from the others, for the benefit of a sitter who
particularly desires it, and whom she is very desirous to please.

Much more could be said concerning the psychological side of the
seances of Mlle. Smith, but I must limit myself. It will be possible to
gain a more complete idea of this subject by studying the illustrations
in the following chapters on the chief cycles of her brilliant
subliminal fantasy.

                              CHAPTER IV

                      THE PERSONALITY OF LEOPOLD

Is Leopold really Joseph Balsamo, as he pretends? Or, since he has
nothing in common with the famous thaumaturgist of the last century,
save a certain superficial resemblance, is he, at any rate, a real
being, separate from, and independent of, Mlle. Smith? Or, finally, is
he only a pseudo-reality, a kind of allotropic modification of Hélène
herself, a product of her subliminal imagination, just like our dream
creations and the rôles suggested to a hypnotic subject?

Of these three suppositions it is the last which to my mind is
undoubtedly the true one, while in Mlle. Smith’s eyes it is as
certainly the false view. It would be hard to imagine a more profound
difference of opinion than that which exists between Mlle. Smith
and myself on this subject. It is I, always, who get the worst of a
discussion with her concerning it. I yield for two reasons. First, out
of politeness; and, secondly, because I understand Hélène perfectly,
and, putting myself in her place, realize that I should think exactly
as she does about the matter.

Given her surroundings and personal experiences, it is impossible for
her to do otherwise than believe in the objective distinct existence
of that mysterious being who constantly enters into her life in a
sensible and quasi-material way, leaving her no room to doubt. He
presents himself before her endowed with corporeality like that of
other people, and hides objects which are behind him exactly as an
ordinary individual of flesh and bone would do. He talks into her ears,
generally into the left, in a characteristic voice, which appears to
come from a variable distance, sometimes about six feet off, sometimes
much farther. He jars the table on which she has placed her immobile
arms, takes hold of her wrist and writes with her hand, holding the pen
in a manner unlike her, and with a handwriting wholly different from
hers. He puts her to sleep without her knowledge, and she is astonished
to learn upon awaking that he has gesticulated with her arms and spoken
through her mouth in the deep bass voice of a man, with an Italian
accent, which has nothing in common with the clear and beautiful
quality of her feminine voice.

Moreover, he is not always on hand. He by no means answers Hélène’s
appeals on all occasions; is not at her mercy; far from it. His
conduct, his manifestations, his comings and goings cannot be predicted
with any certainty, and testify to an autonomous being, endowed with
free-will, often otherwise occupied or absent on his own affairs, which
do not permit of his holding himself constantly at the disposal of
Mlle. Smith. Sometimes he remains for weeks without revealing himself,
in spite of her wishing for him and calling upon him. Then, all at
once, he makes his appearance when she least expects him. He speaks
for her in a way she would have no idea of doing, he dictates to her
poems of which she would be incapable. He replies to her oral or mental
questions, converses with her, and discusses various questions. Like a
wise friend, a rational mentor, and as one seeing things from a higher
plane, he gives her advice, counsel, orders even sometimes directly
opposite to her wishes and against which she rebels. He consoles her,
exhorts her, soothes, encourages, and reprimands her; he undertakes
against her the defence of persons she does not like, and pleads the
cause of those who are antipathetic to her. In a word, it would be
impossible to imagine a being more independent or more different from
Mlle. Smith herself, having a more personal character, an individuality
more marked, or a more certain actual existence.

Hélène is also fortified in this conviction by the belief not only
of members of her own family, but by that of other cultivated people
who, having attended many of her seances, have no doubt whatever
of Leopold’s objective and separate existence. There are those who
believe so firmly in the reality of this superior being, invisible
to them, that they are in the habit of calling upon him during the
absence of Mlle. Smith. Naturally they obtain responses, through the
table or otherwise, and that causes unforeseen complications sometimes
when she comes to learn of it. For while she admits theoretically—and
Leopold himself has often declared the same thing—that he extends
his surveillance and protection from afar over other spiritistic
groups, and especially over all Hélène’s friends and acquaintances,
in practice and in fact, however, it happens that neither he nor she
will willingly admit the authenticity of those pretended communications
from Leopold obtained in the absence of the medium of his predilection.
It is generally some deceiving spirit who has manifested in his place
on these occasions. These denials, however, do not prevent those who
have become believers from continuing to believe in the omnipresence
of this good genius, or from teaching their children to revere him, to
make vows and address prayers to him. It must not be forgotten that
spiritism is a religion. This also explains the great respect shown to
mediums, which is like that accorded to priests.

It follows that, without in the least refraining from speaking ill of
them whenever they think they have a grievance against them, on the
other hand they bestow on them the same marks of respect as are only
accorded to the most sublime product of the human race.

I have known a _salon_ where, on the centre table, in full view and
in the place of honor, were two photographs in beautiful frames: on
the one side the head of Christ, on the other the portrait of—Mlle.
Hélène Smith. Among other believers, with less ideal but more practical
aspirations, no business matter of importance is closed, no serious
decision made, until Leopold has been consulted through Hélène as an
intermediary, and the cases are too numerous to mention in which he
has furnished important information, prevented a heavy pecuniary loss,
given an efficacious medical prescription, etc.

It is easily seen how all the successes obtained by Leopold, and the
mystical veneration which many very estimable persons accord him,
must contribute to strengthen the faith of Hélène in her all-powerful
protector. It is in vain that, against this absolute assurance, one
seeks to avail one’s self of the arguments of contemporary psychology.
The example of the fictions of the dream, the analogies taken
from hypnotism and from psychopathology, considerations of mental
disintegration, the division of the consciousness and the formation
of second personalities, all these refined subtleties of our modern
scientists break in pieces like glass against immovable rock. I shall
not undertake to combat a proposition which, for her, has incontestably
so much evidence in its favor, and which resolves all difficulties in
the most felicitous manner and in conformity to good common-sense.

Nevertheless, since each individual has a right to his own opinion in
the world, I beg leave to assume, for the time being, that Leopold does
not exist outside of Mlle. Smith, and to try to discover his possible
genesis in the mental life of the latter—solely by hypothesis and by
means of psychological experiment. Therefore, readers who have little
taste for this kind of academic composition had better skip this


A description of the development of Leopold is not easy, since he has a
double origin, apparent and real, like the cranial nerves which give so
much trouble to the students of anatomy.

His apparent origin, or, I should say, the moment when he is
outwardly separated from the personality of Hélène, and manifests as
an independent “spirit,” is relatively clear and well marked; but
his actual origin, profoundly enfolded in the most inward strata of
Hélène’s personality and inextricably mixed up with them, presents
great obscurities and can only be determined in a very conjectural
manner. Let us begin with the apparent origin, or the first appearance
of Leopold at the seances.

It is easy to understand that, once initiated into spiritism and
plunged into a current of ideas where the comforting doctrine of
spirit-guides and protectors holds an important place, Mlle. Smith
did not delay in coming into possession of, like all good mediums, a
disincarnate spirit specially attached to her person. She even had
two in succession, Victor Hugo and Cagliostro. It is not a question
of a simple change of name of the guide of Hélène, who presented
himself first under the aspect and the name of the great poet and then
afterwards adopted that of the renowned thaumaturgist, but there were,
at least at the beginning, two different personalities, apparently
hostile to each other, one of whom by degrees supplanted the other,
after a struggle, a trace of which is found in the very incomplete
reports of the seances of that period. Three phases can also be
distinguished in the psychogenesis of Mlle. Smith’s guide: an initial
phase of five months, during which Victor Hugo reigns alone; a phase of
transition of about a year, when the protection of Victor Hugo is seen
to be powerless to protect Hélène and her spiritistic group against
the invasion of an intruder called Leopold, who claims and manifests an
increasing authority over the medium by virtue of mysterious relations
in the course of a previous existence; finally, the present period,
which has lasted for six years past, in which Victor Hugo no longer
figures, and which may be dated approximately from the moment when it
was revealed that Leopold is only an assumed name, under which he hides
in reality the great personality of Joseph Balsamo.

I do not find any fact worthy of mention in the first phase, in which
Victor Hugo, who seems to have appeared as the guide of Mlle. Smith
about the 1st of April, 1892 (see above, p. 38), played a rôle of no
importance. In the second phase, however, it is necessary to cite some
extracts from the reports of the seances of the N. group, in order to
throw light upon the singular character which Leopold manifested there
from the beginning.

August 26, 1892.—“A spirit announces himself under the name of Leopold.
He comes for Mlle. Smith, and seems to wish to have a great authority
over her. She sees him for some moments, he appears to be about
thirty-five years of age, and is clothed altogether in black. The
expression of his countenance is rather pleasing, and through answers
to some questions which we put to him we are given to understand that
he knew her in another existence, and that he does not wish her to give
her heart to any one here below.... Mlle. Smith recognizes her guide,
Victor Hugo. She is made happy by his arrival, and asks his protection
against the obsession of this new spirit. He answers that she has
nothing to fear, that he will always be present. She is joyful at being
guarded and protected by him, and feels that she has nothing to fear.”

September 2.—... “Leopold comes also, but Mlle. Smith fears nothing,
since her guide (Victor Hugo) is there to protect her.”

September 23.—... “An unpleasant evening. A spirit announces himself.
It is Leopold. He speaks to us at once: ‘I am here. I wish to be master
of this sitting.’ We are very much disappointed, and do not expect any
good of him. He tries, as he had already done once before, to put Mlle.
Smith to sleep, who has great difficulty in struggling against this
sleep. She rises from the table, hoping by this means to rid herself of
him, and that he will give up his place to others. She returns in about
ten minutes, but he is still there, and apparently has no intention of
abandoning his place. We summon our friends (spiritual) to our aid....
They take Leopold’s place momentarily, but very soon Leopold returns;
we struggle with him, we desire him to go away, but neither soft nor
hard words have any effect; before that dogged determination we realize
that all our efforts will be useless, and we decide to close the

October 3.—“[Manifestation by the favorite spirits of the group, who
declare] that they have not been able to come, as they would have liked
to do; that they were prevented by the spirit of Leopold, who is
trying to introduce himself to us; that we should repulse him as much
as possible, persuaded that he does not come for any good end. I do not
know whether we shall be able to rid ourselves of him, but we greatly
fear that he will injure us and retard our advancement.”

October 7.—... “Leopold announces himself. We try to reason with him;
we do not wish to forbid his coming, but we ask of him that he shall
come as a friend to all, and not in the rôle of master. He is not
satisfied; appears to bear much malice. We trust he will come to have
better feelings. He shows himself, walks around the table, bows to us,
and salutes each one with his hand, and retires again, leaving his
place to others.”

October 14.—“[After a quarter of an hour of motionless and silent
waiting in darkness around the table Mlle. Smith is questioned, and she
is shaken in vain.] She is asleep. By the advice of persons present we
allow her to remain asleep, when, at the end of five minutes, the table
raises itself, a spirit announces himself. It is Victor Hugo; we ask
if he has anything to say; he answers yes, and spells out: _Wake her;
do not allow her ever to sleep_. We try to do so. We are nervous about
that sleep; we have great difficulty in awakening her.”

January 6, 1893.—“After twenty minutes of waiting, Leopold arrives,
and, as is his habit, puts the medium to sleep for some minutes; he
torments us, and prevents our friends (disincarnate) from coming to
the table. He vexes us in every way, and goes contrary to all our
wishes. In presence of that rancor the sitters regret the indications
of ill-humor they have shown towards him, and deplore having to pay so
dear for them. It is with difficulty that the medium can be awakened.”

February, 1893.—“In one of the seances of this month a remarkable
thing happened: the spirit of Leopold, who was very much irritated
on that day, twice in succession took away her chair from our medium
and carried it to the farther end of the room, while Mlle. Smith
fell heavily to the floor. Not expecting this wretched farce, Mlle.
Smith struck her knee so hard that for several days she suffered pain
in walking. We were obliged to terminate the seance; we were not
comfortable. Why this animosity?”

This word _animosity_ describes very well the conduct and the feelings
that Leopold seemed to have towards the N. group and against his placid
rival, Victor Hugo. The personal recollections of the sitters whom I
have been able to interrogate confirm the substantial physiognomy of
the two figures. That of Hugo is, in effect, effaced and altogether
eclipsed by the totally opposite character of the arrogant Leopold,
who takes a peculiar pleasure in the rôle of vindictive and jealous
mischief-maker, obstructing the appearance of the “spirits” desired by
the group, putting the medium to sleep, or causing her to fall on the
floor, forbidding her to give her heart to another, and breaking up
the seances as far as he is able. It seems to have finally resulted in
the meetings of the N. group coming to an end at the beginning of the
summer; then comes a break of six months, after which I find Mlle.
Smith on the 12th of December inaugurating a new series of seances,
with an entirely different spiritistic group organized by Prof.
Cuendet. Here Victor Hugo very rarely appears, and never in the rôle of
guide, which rôle is freely accorded, without objection, to Leopold,
whose real identity (Cagliostro) was no secret to any one in the new
environment. It was, therefore, in the course of the year 1893, at a
period which cannot be precisely determined from the records, that
the rivalry of these two personalities was terminated by the complete
triumph of the second.

It follows from the preceding recital that the appearance of Leopold
in seances of the N. group was a phenomenon of manifest contrast, of
hostility, and of antagonism towards that group.

It is a difficult and delicate task to pronounce upon the complex
spirit of an environment of which one was not a part, and in regard to
which one possesses only a few and not very concordant incidents. The
following, however, seem to be the facts:

The N. group, much more numerous than is convenient in seances of
that kind, was composed of very varied elements. Alongside of serious
believers were ordinarily some students who boarded with one of the
ladies of the group, and who do not appear to have felt the seriousness
of spiritistic reunions.

That age has no mercy, and the profound signification of the seances
often escaped their superficial and frivolous intelligence. Under such
conditions Mlle. Smith was inevitably compelled to experience two
contrary impressions. On the one hand, she perceived herself admired,
made much of, fêted, as the unrivalled medium, which she really was,
and upon whom the group depended for its existence; on the other
hand, her secret instincts and high personal dignity could not but be
offended by the familiarities to which she was exposed in this mixed

I regard the two rival and successive guides of Hélène as the
expression of this double sentiment. If she had been brought up like
an American woman, or if her nature had been a degree less fine, the
frivolity of the seances would undoubtedly have only given more warmth
and brilliancy to Victor Hugo; instead of which, the victorious colors
of Leopold are raised over a nature of great native pride, extremely
sensitive on the point of feminine dignity, and whose severe and
rigid education had already exalted her sense of self-respect. After
a struggle of a year between these two personifications of opposite
emotional tendencies, the second, as we have seen, finally triumphs;
and Mlle. Smith withdraws from the N. group, which at the same time
breaks up.

The idea I have formed of Leopold is now apparent. He represents,
to my mind, in Mlle. Smith, the synthesis, the quintessence—and
the expansion, too—of the most hidden springs of the psychological
organism. He gushes forth from that deep and mysterious sphere into
which the deepest roots of our individual existence are plunged,
which bind us to the species itself, and perhaps to the Absolute,
and whence confusedly spring our instincts of physical and moral
self-preservation, our sexual feelings. When Hélène found herself in an
environment not exactly dangerous, but where she simply ran the risk,
as in the N. group, of yielding to some inclination contrary to her
fundamental aspirations, it is then that Leopold suddenly springs up,
speaking as the master, taking possession of the medium for himself,
and indicating his unwillingness that she should attach herself to any
one here below. We here recognize the same principle of self-protection
and self-preservation which was already active in her as a young girl
in the teleological automatisms arising on the occasion of certain
emotional shocks, of which I have spoken on p. 25.

But, by these considerations, we have travelled very far from the
original appearance of Leopold in the seance of the 26th of August,
1892, towards his actual, more ancient origin. This seems to date from
a great fright which Hélène had in the course of her tenth year. As
she was walking along the street, on her way home from school, she
was attacked by a big dog. The terror of the poor child can well be
imagined, and from which she was happily delivered by a personage
clothed in a long brown robe with flowing sleeves and with a white
cross on the breast, who, appearing to her suddenly and as by a
miracle, chased the dog away, and disappeared before she had time to
thank him. But, according to Leopold, this personage was no other than
himself, who on this occasion for the first time appeared to Hélène,
and saved her by driving away the dog.

This explanation was given by Leopold on the 6th of October, 1895, in
a seance in which Hélène experienced, in a somnambulistic state, a
repetition of that scene of fright, with heart-rending cries, gestures
of struggle and defence, attempts at flight, etc. In the waking state
she very well recalls this episode of her childhood, but cannot accept
Leopold as the person who came to her rescue, but believes it to have
been a priest or member of some religious order who rushed to her
assistance and drove the animal away. Her parents also recollected
the incident, which she told them one day on returning from school in
a very excited state, and after which she could not for a long time
encounter a dog in the street without hiding herself in the folds of
her mother’s dress. She has since always preserved an instinctive
aversion towards dogs.

We have seen (p. 31) that after this first incident, matters remained
_in statu quo_ for four years, up to the time when the age of puberty
began to favor the development of the Oriental visions. Here, Leopold,
to whom we owe this information, does not altogether agree with
himself, for at one time he says that it was he himself who furnished
Mlle. Smith with her visions of India, at another time he says that
they are reminiscences of one of her former existences.

Alongside of these varied visions, Leopold has clearly appeared under
the form of the protector in the dark robe in a number of cases. I will
only cite two examples, one very remote, the other quite recent.

One day Hélène went to consult her family physician for some trifling
ailment, who, having known her for a long time and being an old friend
of her family, presumed to give her an innocent kiss. He was quite
unprepared for the explosion of wrath which this familiarity provoked,
and hastened to make his apologies: but what is of interest to us in
this connection is the fact that under the shock of this emotion her
defender of the brown robe appeared before her in the corner of the
room, and did not leave her side until she had reached home.

A short time ago this same protector, always in the same costume,
accompanied her several days in succession while she was traversing a
little-frequented part of the route towards her place of business. One
evening, also, he appeared to her at the entrance to the street leading
to the locality in question, in the attitude of barring the way, and
obliged her to make a detour to regain her house.

Mlle. Smith has the impression—and several indications go to show that
she is not deceived—that it is with the purpose of sparing her some
unpleasant sight or a dangerous encounter that Leopold, in the brown
robe, appears to her under perfectly well-known conditions. He rises
before her always at a distance of about ten yards, walks, or rather
glides, along in silence, at the same rate as she advances towards him,
attracting and fascinating her gaze in such a manner as to prevent her
turning her eyes away from him either to the right or the left, until
she has passed the place of danger. It is to be noted that whereas
Leopold, under other circumstances—for instance, at the seances—shows
himself to her in the most varied costumes and speaks on all subjects,
it is always under his hieratic aspect, silent, and clothed in his long
dark robe, that he appears to her on those occasions of real life in
which she is exposed to feelings of fright peculiar to her sex, as he
appeared to her on that first occasion in her tenth year.

The hints I have given sufficiently justify, I think, my opinion that
the real and primordial origin of Leopold is to be found in that deep
and delicate sphere in which we so often encounter the roots of hypnoid
phenomena, and to which the most illustrious visionaries, such as
Swedenborg,[8] seem to owe a great part not only of the intellectual
content but of the imaginative form, the hallucinatory wrapping, of
their genius. There is a double problem to be solved in Mlle. Smith’s
case. Why have these instinctive feelings and emotional tendencies
which are common to the entire human race succeeded in developing in
her a product so complex and highly organized as is the personality of
Leopold? and why, in the second place, does that personality believe
itself to be Joseph Balsamo?

I instantly reply that these two results are, to my mind, entirely the
effect of autosuggestion. To explain the first, the simple fact of her
being occupied with spiritism and engaged in mediumistic experiments,
is sufficient. Take any individual having in her subconsciousness
memories, scruples, emotional tendencies, put into her head spiritistic
leanings, then seat her at a table, or put a pencil in her hand:
even though she may not be of a very impressionable or suggestible
temperament, or inclined to the mental disintegration which the
general public calls the mediumistic faculty, nevertheless, it will
not be long before her subliminal elements group themselves and arrange
themselves according to the “personal” form to which all consciousness
tends,[9] and which discloses itself outwardly by communications which
have the appearance of coming directly from disincarnate spirits.

In the case of Mlle. Smith, Leopold did not exist under the title of
a distinct secondary personality before Hélène began to be occupied
with spiritism. It was at the seances of the N. group, by an emotional
reaction against certain influences, as we have seen, that he began,
little by little, to take shape, aided by memories of the same general
tone, until he finally grew into an apparently independent being,
revealing himself through the table, manifesting a will and a mind of
his own, recalling analogous former incidents of Hélène’s life, and
claiming for himself the merit of having intervened in it in the rôle
of her protector.

Once established, this secondary self could not do otherwise than
to grow, and to develop and strengthen itself in all directions,
assimilating to itself a host of new data favoring the state of
suggestibility which accompanies the exercise of mediumship. Without
the spiritism and the autohypnotization of the seances, Leopold
could never have been truly developed into a personality, but would
have continued to remain in the nebulous, incoherent state of vague
subliminal reveries and of occasional automatic phenomena.

The second problem, that of explaining why this secondary personality,
once established, believes itself to be Cagliostro rather than any
other celebrated personage, or of remaining simply the anonymous
guardian angel of Mlle. Smith, would demand a very complete knowledge
of the thousand outside influences which have surrounded Hélène since
the beginning of her mediumship, and which may have involuntarily
influenced her.

But on this point I have only succeeded in collecting a very few
incidents, which leave much still to be desired, and are of such a
character that it is entirely permissible for any one to claim that
the purely psychological origin of that personality is not clearly
established, and to prefer, if he chooses, the actual intervention of
the disincarnate Joseph Balsamo to my hypothesis of autosuggestion.

The following, however, are the facts advanced by me in support of the

The authoritative and jealous spirit, the evident enemy of the N.
group, who manifested himself on the 26th of August, 1892, under the
name of Leopold, did not reveal his identity as that of Cagliostro
until some time afterwards, under the following circumstances:

One of the most regular attendants at the reunions of the N. group
was a Mme. B., who had long been an adherent of spiritism, and who
had previously attended numerous seances at the house of M. and Mme.
Badel, a thoroughly convinced couple of amateurs, now deceased, whose
_salon_ and round table have held a very honorable place in the history
of Genevese occultism. But I learned from Mme. B. that one of the
disincarnate spirits who manifested himself oftenest at the seances of
M. and Mme. Badel was this very Joseph Balsamo. There is, indeed, no
figure in history which accords better with the idea of a posthumous
return to the mysteries of the round table than that of the enigmatic
Sicilian, especially since Alexandre Dumas, _père_, has surrounded him
with an additional halo of romance.

Not content with the public reunions of the N. group, Mme. B. often
invited Hélène to her house for private seances, of which no record
was made. At one of these, Hélène having had a vision of Leopold, who
pointed out to her with a wand a decanter, Mme. B. suddenly thought
of a celebrated episode in the life of Cagliostro, and after the
seance she proceeded to take from a drawer and show to Hélène an
engraving taken from an illustrated edition of Dumas, representing
the famous scene of the decanter between Balsamo and the Dauphin at
the château of Taverney. At the same time she gave utterance to the
idea that the spirit who manifested himself at the table by means of
Hélène’s hands was certainly Joseph Balsamo; and she expressed her
astonishment that Hélène had given him the name of Leopold, to which
Hélène replied that it was he himself who had given that name. Mme.
B., continuing her deductions, told Mlle. Smith that perhaps she had
formerly been the medium of the great magician, and consequently had
been Lorenza Feliciani in a former life. Hélène at once accepted the
idea, and for several weeks considered herself to be the reincarnation
of Lorenza, until one day a lady of her acquaintance remarked that it
was impossible, Lorenza Feliciani having never existed save in the
imagination and the romances of Alexandre Dumas, _père_.[10]

Thus dispossessed of her supposed former existence, Hélène was not
long in declaring through the table that she was Marie Antoinette. As
to Leopold, a short time after Mme. B. had hypothetically identified
him with Cagliostro, he himself confirmed that hypothesis at a seance
of the N. group, dictating to the table that his real name was Joseph

The origin of the name of Leopold is very obscure, and many hypotheses
have been advanced to account for it without our being able to
establish any of them with certainty.

One fact, however, is certain, namely, that save for the vague
affirmation that he had known Hélène in a previous existence, Leopold
had never pretended to be Cagliostro, or given any reason for being
thought so, before the reunion where Mme. B., who had been for some
time accustomed to manifestations of that personage, announced the
supposition and showed Mlle. Smith immediately after the seance (at
a moment when she was probably still in a very suggestible state) an
engraving from Dumas’ works representing Balsamo and the Dauphin. From
that day Leopold, on his part, never failed to claim that personality,
and progressively to realize the character of the rôle in a very
remarkable manner, as we shall see.


There is no need, I think, to remind the reader of the well-known
fact—so often described under the names of objectivity of types,
personification, change of personality, etc.—that a hypnotized subject
can be transformed by a word into such other living being as may be
desired, according to the measure in which his suggestibility on the
one hand and the vividness of his imagination and the fulness of his
stored-up knowledge or memories on the other, enables him to fulfil
the rôle which is imposed upon him. Without investigating here to what
extent mediums may be likened to hypnotized subjects, it is undeniable
that an analogous phenomenon takes place in them; but the process is
more gradual, and may extend itself over several years. In place of the
immediate metamorphosis which modifies at one stroke and instantly,
conformably to a prescribed type, the attitude, the physiognomy,
the gestures, the words, the intonations of voice, the style, the
handwriting, and other functions besides, we are, in the case of the
medium, in the presence of a development formed by successive stages
arranged according to grades, with intervals of different lengths,
which finally succeed in creating a complete personality, all the more
astonishing, at first sight, because the involuntary suggestions have
not been noticed, the accumulations of which have little by little
caused its birth. This process of development is present in a high
degree in the case of Mlle. Smith, in the elaboration of her secondary
personality, Leopold-Cagliostro.

In the beginning, in 1892 and 1893, this “spirit” only manifested
himself by the brief periods of sleep which he induced in Hélène at
certain seances, by raps struck upon the table, by visions in which he
showed himself clothed in black and of youthful appearance, and, more
rarely, by auditive hallucinations. His character and the content of
his messages were summed up in imperious, authoritative, domineering
manners, with the pretension of claiming Mlle. Smith all for himself,
of defending her against the influences of the N. group, and, finally,
of detaching her from that environment.

There was nothing, however, in this general character of monopoly
and of protection which specially recalled the Balsamo of history
or of romance. The personification of complete objectivity of this
established type really began only in 1894, when Leopold had no longer
to struggle with an environment foreign to his nature. The subconscious
psychological task of realization of the proposed model could then
be followed by him more freely; in spiritistic terms, Joseph Balsamo
was able to manifest himself and make himself known in a manner more
complete through Hélène as an intermediary, while continuing to follow
and protect her as the reincarnation of the royal object of his passion.

At the seances held with M. Cuendet, Leopold frequently showed himself
to Hélène clothed after the fashion of the last century and with a face
like that of Louis XVI., under the different phases of his multiplex
genius. He also showed himself to her in his laboratory, surrounded by
utensils and instruments appropriate to the sorcerer and alchemist that
he was; or, again, as the physician and possessor of secret elixirs,
the knowledge of which is productive of consultations or remedies
for the use of sitters who need them; or, again, as the illumined
theosophist, the verbose prophet of the brotherhood of man, who
diffuses limping Alexandrine verses—which seem to have been inherited
from his predecessor, Victor Hugo—containing exhortations a little
weak at times, but always stamped with a pure moral tone, elevated
and noble sentiments, and a very touching religious spirit—in short,
a fine example of that “ethico-deific verbiage” (if I may be allowed
the expression, which is an Americanism), which, both in prose and in
verse, is one of the most frequent and estimable products of mediumship.

But it was not until 1895 that Leopold, benefiting by the progress made
by the automatic phenomena in Hélène, multiplied and perfected his
processes of communication. The first step consisted in substituting,
in his dictations by spelling, the movements of the hand or of a single
finger for those of the whole table. This was the immediate result of a
suggestion of mine.

 [Illustration: Fig. 3. Handwriting of Leopold. Fragments of two
 letters, one in Alexandrine verse, the other in prose, entirely in the
 hand of Leopold, automatically written by Mlle. Smith in spontaneous

 [Illustration: Fig. 4. Normal handwriting of Mlle. Smith.]

The second step in advance was the handwriting, which shows two
stages. In the first, Leopold gave Hélène the impression of a phrase
(verbo-visual hallucination), which she copied in pencil on a sheet
of paper, in her own handwriting. The second, which was only
accomplished five months later, and which consisted in writing directly
with Hélène’s hand, permitted the immediate establishment of three
curious facts. One is, that Leopold holds his pen in the usual manner,
the handle resting between the thumb and the index-finger, while
Hélène, in writing, always holds her pen-handle or pencil between the
index and middle fingers, a very rare habit with us. The next is that
Leopold has an entirely different handwriting from that of Hélène, a
calligraphy more regular, larger, more painstaking, and with marked
differences in the formation of the letters (see Figs. 3 and 4). The
third is that he uses the style of handwriting of the last century, and
puts an _o_ instead of an _a_ in the tenses of the verbs, _j’amois_,
for _j’amais_, etc. These three characteristics he has never departed
from during all the four years that I have been accumulating specimens
of his handwriting.

The following is a résumé of the seances at which these two innovations
took place.

April 21, 1895.—As I had just asked Leopold a question which he did not
like, Hélène, being in a state of hemisomnambulism, with a pencil and
some sheets of paper placed before her, in the hope of obtaining some
communication (not from Leopold), seemed about to plunge into a very
interesting perusal of one of the blank sheets; then, at my request,
which she with difficulty comprehended, she commenced to write rapidly
and nervously on another sheet, in her usual handwriting, a copy of the
imaginary text which Leopold was showing her (“in fluid letters,” as
he said afterwards at the seance) as follows: “_My thoughts are not thy
thoughts, and thy wishes are not mine, friend Flournoy—Leopold._” At
the final awakening Hélène recognized perfectly her own handwriting in
his phrase, but had no recollection of the occurrence.

September 22, 1895.—After different visions and some stanzas of Victor
Hugo, dictated by the table, Hélène appeared to suffer considerably in
her right arm, which she was holding at the wrist with her left hand,
when the table at which she was seated gave out the following, dictated
by Leopold: “I shall hold her hand,” meaning that it was he, Leopold,
who was causing Mlle. Smith to suffer pain by seizing her right hand.
As she seemed to feel very badly and began to weep, Leopold was asked
to desist; but he refused, and, still speaking through the table,
said, “Give her some paper,” then, “More light.” Writing material was
furnished her and the lamp brought in, which Hélène gazed at fixedly,
while Leopold continued to dictate (this time with the little finger
of her left hand), “Let her gaze on the lamp until she forgets the
pain in her arm.” She then seemed, in fact, to forget her pain, and to
find satisfaction in looking at the lamp; then she fastened her eyes
on the paper, and seemed to read something there which she endeavored
to copy in pencil. But here the right hand began a curious alternation
of contrary motions, expressing in a very clear manner a contest with
Leopold, who was trying to compel her to hold the pencil in a certain
way, which Hélène refused to do, with a great pretence of anger.
She persisted in holding it between the index and middle fingers, as
was her wont, while Leopold wanted her to hold it in the usual way,
between the thumb and the index-finger, and said: “I do not wish her
to ... she is holding the pencil very badly.” The right index-finger
then went through a very comical gymnastic performance, being seized
with a tremor, which caused her to place it on one side or the other
of the pencil, according to whether it was Leopold or Hélène who was
victorious; during this time she frequently raised her eyes, with a
look sometimes reproachful, sometimes supplicating, as if to gaze at
Leopold standing by her side endeavoring to force her to hold the
pencil in the manner he preferred. After a contest of nearly twenty
minutes, Hélène, vanquished and completely subdued by Leopold, seemed
to be absent, while her hand, holding the pencil in the manner she did
not like, wrote slowly the two following lines, followed by a rapid and
feverish signature of Leopold:

    “Mes vers sont si mauvais que pour toi j’aurois dû
    Laisser à tout jamais le poète têtu.—LEOPOLD.”

An allusion, which was of no importance, to a remark made by me at the
commencement of the seance on the verses of Victor Hugo and those of
Leopold frequently dictated by the table. The seance lasted some time
longer; on awakening, Hélène vaguely remembered having seen Leopold,
but knew nothing more concerning the handwriting scene.

It is a fact that while her other incarnations are always accomplished
passively and without any struggle, that of Leopold has the
peculiarity of regularly provoking more or less resistance on the
part of Hélène. “I do not make of her all that I wish ... she is
headstrong.... I do not know whether I shall succeed.... I do not
believe I can master her to-day....” replies he often when asked to
incarnate himself or write with her hand, and, indeed, his efforts
often fail. There exists between Hélène and her guide a curious
phenomenon of contrast and opposition, which only breaks out in the
higher and more recent forms of motor automatism, the handwriting,
the speech, or the complete incarnation, but from which the sensory
messages and simple raps on the table or of the finger are free.
It is very possible that the idea, very antipathetic to Hélène, of
the hypnotizer mastering his subjects in spite of themselves—of the
disincarnated Cagliostro using his medium as a simple tool—has been
subconsciously the origin of this constant note of revolt against
the total domination of Leopold, and of the intense suffering which
accompanied his first incarnations, and which has slowly diminished
through her becoming accustomed to the process, though it has never
been completely banished.

After the handwriting, in its turn came speech, which also was attained
by means of two stages. In a first attempt Leopold only succeeded
in giving Hélène his intonation and pronunciation after a seance in
which she suffered acutely in her mouth and in her neck, as though her
vocal organs were being manipulated or removed; she began to talk in
a natural tone, and was apparently wide awake and feeling well, but
spoke with a deep bass voice, and a strong, easily recognizable Italian
accent. It was not until a year later that Leopold was finally able to
speak himself by the mouth of Mlle. Smith, while she was completely
entranced, and who did not retain on awakening any memory of this
strange occurrence. Since then the complete control of the medium
by her guide is a frequent occurrence at the seances, and affords a
tableau very characteristic and always impressive.

Leopold succeeds in incarnating himself only by slow degrees and
progressive stages. Hélène then feels as though her arms had been
seized, or as if they were absent altogether; then she complains
of disagreeable sensations, which were formerly painful, in her
throat, the nape of her neck, and in her head; her eyelids droop;
her expression changes; her throat swells into a sort of double
chin, which gives her a likeness of some sort to the well-known
figure of Cagliostro. All at once she rises, then, turning slowly
towards the sitter whom Leopold is about to address, draws herself
up proudly, turns her back quickly, sometimes with her arms crossed
on her breast with a magisterial air, sometimes with one of them
hanging down while the other is pointed solemnly towards heaven, and
with her fingers makes a sort of masonic sign, which never varies.
Soon after a series of hiccoughs, sighs, and various noises indicate
the difficulty Leopold is experiencing in taking hold of the vocal
apparatus; the words come forth slowly but strong; the deep bass
voice of a man, slightly confused, with a pronunciation and accent
markedly foreign, certainly more like Italian than anything else.
Leopold is not always easily understood, especially when his voice
swells and thunders out a reply to some indiscreet question or to the
disrespectful remarks of some skeptical sitter. He speaks thickly,
pronounces _g_ like _j_, and all his _u’s_ like _ou_, accents the final
syllables, embellishes his vocabulary with obsolete words, or words
which do not fit the circumstances, such as _fiole_ for _bouteille_,
_omnibus_ for _tramways_, etc. He is pompous, grandiloquent, unctuous,
sometimes severe and terrible, sometimes also sentimental. He says
“thee” and “thou” to everybody, and appears to believe that he is
still grand-master of the secret societies, from the emphatic and
sonorous manner in which he pronounces the words “Brother” or “And
thou, my sister,” by which he addresses the sitters. Although he
generally addresses himself to one of them in particular, and holds
very little collective discourse, he is in touch with every one,
listens to everything that is said, and each one may have his turn in
conversation with him. Ordinarily he keeps his eyelids closed: he has,
nevertheless, been persuaded to open his eyes in order to permit the
taking of a photograph by a flash light. I regret that Mlle. Smith
would not consent to the publication of her photographs, either in her
normal state or in that of Leopold, in connection with the reproduction
of a portrait of Cagliostro.[11] The reader may assure himself that
when she incarnates her guide she really assumes a certain resemblance
of features to him, and there is something in her attitude which is
sometimes somewhat theatrical, but sometimes really majestic, which
corresponds well to the generally received idea of this personage,
whether he is regarded as a clever impostor or as a wonderful genius.

Speech is the apogee of the incarnations of Leopold; often interrupted
by fits of hiccoughs and spasms, it seems to be injurious to Hélène’s
organism, and there are some seances at which attempts to produce it
fail to succeed. Leopold, on these occasions, indicates his impotence
and the fatigue of the medium by his gestures, and is then reduced
to the necessity of expressing himself by digital dictations or
handwriting, or else to giving Hélène verbo-auditive hallucinations,
the content of which she repeats in her natural voice.

From the point of view of ease and mobility of the entire organism,
there is a notable difference between Leopold and the other
incarnations of Hélène: these last seem to be effected with much more
facility than in the case of that of her guide _par excellence_. In
the case of the Hindoo princess and that of Marie Antoinette, the
perfection of the play, the suppleness and freedom of movement, are
always admirable. It is true there is no question here, according to
the spiritistic doctrine and the subconscious ideas of Mlle. Smith, of
incarnations properly so called, since it is she herself who simply
returns to that which she formerly was, by a sort of reversion or
prenatal ecmnesia; she does not undergo, in consequence, any foreign
possession, and can in these rôles preserve her natural identity and
the entire disposition of her faculties. But still the occasional
incarnation of different personalities, such as those of deceased
parents or friends of the spectators, are often more easily and quickly
effected than that of Leopold. Hélène moves in these cases with more
vivacity and changes of attitude. In the rôle of Cagliostro, on the
other hand, with the exception of the grandiose and not very frequent
movements of the arms, once standing, she remains motionless, or only
with difficulty advancing a little way towards the person to whom she
addresses her discourse.

The content of the oral conversations of Leopold, as well as of his
other messages by the various sensory and motor processes, is too
varied for me to describe here: the numerous examples scattered through
this work only can give an idea of it.


It would naturally be supposed that Leopold would have given us,
by means of the psychological perfection of his partial or total
incarnations and by the content of his messages, such a living likeness
of Cagliostro that there would have been occasion to ask whether it
is not really the latter who actually “returns,” in the same way that
Dr. Hodgson and his colleagues ask themselves whether it is not
actually George Pelham who manifests himself through Mrs. Piper. Let
us suppose, for example, that Leopold possessed a handwriting, an
orthography, a style identical with that which is found here and there
in the manuscripts of Joseph Balsamo; that he spoke French, Italian,
or German, as that cosmopolitan adventurer did, and with all the same
peculiarities; that his conversations and messages were full of precise
allusions to actual events in his life, and also of unpublished but
verifiable facts, etc. In that case the difficult and delicate task
of proving that Mlle. Smith had no knowledge through normal methods
of these thousand exact features would still remain, and we should
not be forced to ask whether this _soi-disant_ authentic revenant is
simply a very well-gotten-up simulacrum, an admirable reconstruction,
a marvellous imitation, such as the subliminal faculties are only
too glad to produce for the diversion of psychologists and the
mystification of the simple.

This problem is not given to us. I regret it, but it is true,
nevertheless—to my mind, at least, for in these matters it is prudent
to speak only for one’s self—that there is no reason to suspect the
real presence of Joseph Balsamo behind the automatisms of Mlle. Smith.

That there are very curious analogies between what is known to us of
Cagliostro and certain characteristic traits of Leopold, I do not deny,
but they are precisely such as accord very well with the supposition of
the subliminal medley.

 [Illustration: Fig. 5. Handwriting of Joseph Balsamo. Fragment of a
 letter to his wife, reproduced in _L’Isographie des Hommes célèbres_.]

Let us consider first the handwriting. To facilitate the comparison, I
have reproduced here (see pp. 109 and 111) some fragments of letters
of Cagliostro and of Leopold and of Hélène. Let us suppose—which is,
perhaps, open to discussion—that the handwriting of Leopold, by its
regularity, its firmness, resembles that of Balsamo more than that of
Mlle. Smith; the degree of resemblance does not, I think, go beyond
that which might be expected considering the notorious fact that
handwriting reflects the psychological temperament and modifies itself
in accordance with the state of the personality.[12]

It is well known how the calligraphy of a hypnotized subject varies
according to the suggestion that he shall personate Napoleon, Harpagon,
a little girl, or an old man; there is nothing surprising in the fact
that the hypnoid secondary personality of Hélène, which imagines
itself to be the powerful and manly Count of Cagliostro, should be
accompanied by muscular tensions communicating to the handwriting
itself a little of that solidity and breadth which are found in the
autograph of Balsamo. To this, however, the analogy is limited. The
dissimilarities in the detail and the formation of the letters are
such that the only conclusion which they warrant is that Mlle. Smith,
or her subconsciousness, has never laid eyes on the manuscripts of
Cagliostro. They are, indeed, rare, but the facilities she might have
had, of which she has not thought of taking advantage, for consulting
in the Geneva public library the same volume from which I took Fig. 5,
would prove, at least, her good faith and her honesty, if it were in
the least necessary. The extravagant signature of Leopold with which
all his messages are subscribed (see Fig. 7) recalls in no wise that of
Alessandro di Cagliostro at the bottom of Fig. 5.

 [Illustration: Fig. 6. Normal handwriting of Mlle. Smith.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 7. Handwriting of Leopold. Fragment and signature
 of one of his letters, written by Mlle. Smith, in spontaneous

The archaic forms of orthography, _j’aurois_ for _j’aurais_, etc.,
which appear above the first autograph of Leopold (see p. 99), and
which occur again in the messages of Marie Antoinette, constitute
a very pretty hit, of which the ordinary self would probably never
dream by way of voluntary imitation, but by which the subconscious
imagination has seen fit to profit. It is undoubtedly a matter for
wonderment that Mlle. Smith, who has not gone very deep into literary
studies, should, nevertheless, have retained these orthographic
peculiarities of the eighteenth century; but we must not overlook
the fineness of choice, the refined sensibility, the consummate,
albeit instinctive, art which presides over the sorting and storing
away of the subconscious memories. By some natural affinity, the
idea of a personage of a certain epoch attracts and gathers into its
net everything that the subject can possibly learn or hear spoken
concerning the fashion of writing, of speaking, or acting, peculiar to
that epoch. I do not know whether Balsamo ever used the French language
and the orthography that Leopold employs. Even if he did, it would not
weaken the hypothesis of the subliminal imitation, but if, on the other
hand, it should be ascertained that he did not, the hypothesis would
be greatly strengthened thereby.

As for the speech, I am ignorant as to how, with what accent and what
peculiarities of pronunciation, Balsamo spoke the French tongue, and to
what degree, in consequence, his reconstruction by Hélène’s subliminal
fantasy correctly hits it. If this point could be cleared up, it would
probably be found to be just like that of the handwriting. Nothing
could be more natural than to ascribe to the _chevalier d’industrie_ of
Palermo a very masculine, deep-bass voice, and, it goes without saying,
as Italian as possible. It must be noted, too, that Mlle. Smith often
heard her father speak that language, which he knew very well, with
several of his friends; but that, on the other hand, she does not speak
it, and has never learned it. Leopold, however, does not know Italian,
and turns a deaf ear when any one addresses him in that language. The
intonation, the attitude, the whole physiognomy, in short, accord with
these remarks. As to the extremely varied content of the conversations
and messages of Leopold, we are not obliged to consider Balsamo as
their necessary author. When everything relating to Mlle. Smith and the
sitters, but which has nothing to do with the last century, has been
swept aside, together with the spiritistic dissertations in regard to
the “fluid” manner in which Leopold exists, perceives, and moves, the
three subjects or categories of communications still remain, which
merit a rapid examination.

In the first place, there are the answers of Leopold to the questions
put to him concerning his terrestrial life. These answers are
remarkably evasive or vague. Not a name, not a date, not a precise
fact does he furnish. We only learn that he has travelled extensively,
suffered greatly, studied deeply, done much good, and healed a great
many sick folk; but now he sees things too lofty to think any more
about historic details of the past, and it is with unconcealed disgust
or direct words of reproach for the idle curiosity of his carnal
questioners that he hastens to turn the conversation, like Socrates,
to moral subjects and those of a lofty philosophy, where he feels
evidently more at ease. When he is further pressed he becomes angry
sometimes, and sometimes ingenuously avows his ignorance, enveloping it
meanwhile in an air of profound mystery. “They are asking the secret of
my life, of my acts, of my thoughts. I cannot answer.” This does not
facilitate investigation of the question of identity.

In the second place come the consultations and medical prescriptions.
Leopold affects a lofty disdain for modern medicine and phenic acid.
He is as archaic in his therapeutics as in his orthography, and treats
all maladies after the ancient mode. Baths of pressed grape-skins for
rheumatism, an infusion of coltsfoot and juniper-berry in white wine
for inflammations of the chest, the bark of the horse-chestnut in red
wine and douches of salt water as tonics, tisanes of hops and other
flowers, camomile, oil of lavender, the leaves of the ash, etc.; all
these do not accord badly with what Balsamo might have prescribed a
century or more ago. The misfortune, from the evidential point of
view, is that Mlle. Smith’s mother is extremely well versed in all
the resources of popular medicine where old recipes are perpetuated.
She has had occasion to nurse many sick people in her life, knows the
virtues of different medicinal plants, and constantly employs, with a
sagacity which I have often admired, a number of those remedies spoken
of as “old-women’s,” which make the young doctors fresh from the clinic
smile, but to which they will more than once resort in secret after a
few years of medical experience.

Finally, there still remain the sentiments of Leopold for Hélène, which
he claims are only the continuation of those of Cagliostro for Marie
Antoinette. My ignorance of history does not permit me to pronounce
categorically on this point. That the Queen of France did have some
secret interviews with the famous “gold-maker,” due to simple curiosity
or to questions of material interest, there is no doubt, I believe; but
that his feelings for his sovereign were a curious combination of the
despairing passion of Cardinal Rohan for the queen, with the absolute
respect which Alexandre Dumas, _père_, ascribes to Joseph Balsamo
towards Lorenza Feliciani, appears to me less evident.

In short, if the revelations of Leopold have truly unveiled to us
shades of feeling of Count Cagliostro hitherto unsuspected, and
of which later documentary researches shall confirm the historic
correctness—why, so much the better, for that will finally establish a
trace of the supernormal in the mediumship of Hélène!


The connection between these two personalities is too complex for a
precise description. There is neither a mutual exclusion, as between
Mrs. Piper and Phinuit, who appear reciprocally to be ignorant of each
other and to be separated by the tightest of partitions; nor a simple
jointing, as in the case of Felida X., whose secondary state envelops
and overflows the whole primary state. This is more of a crossing
of lines, but of which the limits are vague and with difficulty
assignable. Leopold knows, foresees, and recalls very many things of
which the normal personality of Mlle. Smith knows absolutely nothing,
not only of those which she may simply have forgotten, but of those of
which she never had any consciousness. On the other hand, he is far
from possessing all the memories of Hélène; he is ignorant of a very
great part of her daily life; even some very notable incidents escape
him entirely, which explains his way of saying that, to his great
regret, he cannot remain constantly by her, being obliged to occupy
himself with other missions (concerning which he has never enlightened
us) which oblige him often to leave her for a time.

These two personalities are, therefore, not co-extensive; each one
passes beyond the other at certain points, without its being possible
for us to say which is, on the whole, the more extended. As to their
common domain, if it cannot be defined by one word with entire
certainty, it appears, nevertheless, to be chiefly constituted by its
connection with the innermost ranges of the being, both physiological
and psychological, as might be suspected from what I remarked above
concerning the real origin of Leopold. Physician of the soul and of the
body, director of conscience, and at the same time hygienic counsellor,
he does not always manifest himself immediately, but he is always
present when Hélène’s vital interests are involved. This will be made
clearer by two or three concrete examples, which will at the same
time illustrate some of the psychological processes by which Leopold
manifests himself to Hélène.

It must be admitted that there is a disagreement and opposition as
complete as possible (but how far does this “possible” go?) when
Hélène, in at least an apparently waking state, converses with her
guide, manifestly by a partial sensory or motor automatism; for
example, in the case cited on page 64, where Leopold, not sharing
the allochiria of Hélène, declared by the table that she was wrong,
so emphatically that she protested and became angry; also, when in
verbo-auditive hallucinations, or by automatic handwriting, he enters
into discussion with her, and she holds her own with him; or, again,
when the organism seems to be divided up between two different persons,
Leopold speaking by Hélène’s mouth, with his accent, and uttering his
own ideas to her, and she complaining, in writing, of pains in her head
and throat, without understanding their cause. Nevertheless, in these
cases of division of the consciousness, which appear to amount to its
cutting in two, it is doubtful whether this plurality is more than
apparent. I am not positive of having ever established with Hélène a
veritable simultaneity of different consciousnesses. At the very moment
at which Leopold writes by her hand, speaks by her mouth, dictates
to the table, upon observing her attentively I have always found her
absorbed, preoccupied, as though absent; but she instantaneously
recovers her presence of mind and the use of her waking faculties at
the end of the motor automatism. In short, that which from the outside
is taken for the coexistence of distinct simultaneous personalities
seems to me to be only an alternation, a rapid succession between the
state of Hélène-consciousness and the state of Leopold-consciousness;
and, in the case where the body seems to be jointly occupied by two
independent beings—the right side, for instance, being occupied by
Leopold, and the left by Hélène, or the Hindoo princess—the psychical
division has never seemed to me to be radical, but many indications
have combined to make me of the opinion that behind all was an
individuality perfectly self-conscious, and enjoying thoroughly, along
with the spectators, the comedy of the plural existences.

A single fundamental personality, putting the questions and giving
the answers, quarrelling with itself in its own interior—in a
word, enacting all the various rôles of Mlle. Smith—is a fitting
interpretation, which accords very well with the facts as I have
observed them in Hélène, and very much better than the theory of a
plurality of separate consciousnesses, of a psychological polyzoism,
so to speak. This last theory is doubtless more convenient for a clear
and superficial description of the facts, but I am not at all convinced
that it conforms to the actual condition of affairs.

It is a state of consciousness _sui generis_, which it is impossible
adequately to describe, and which can only be represented by the
analogy of those curious states, exceptional in the normal waking life,
but less rare in dreams, when one seems to change his identity and
become some one else.

Hélène has more than once told me of having had the impression of
_becoming_ or _being_ momentarily Leopold. This happens most frequently
at night, or upon awakening in the morning. She has first a fugitive
vision of her protector; then it seems that little by little he is
submerged in her; she feels him overcoming and penetrating her entire
organism, as if he really became her or she him. These mixed states
are extremely interesting to the psychologist; unhappily, because they
generally take place in a condition of consecutive amnesia, or because
the mediums do not know how, or do not wish, to give a complete account
of them, it is very rare that detailed descriptions are obtained.

Between the two extremes of complete duality and complete unity
numerous intermediate states are to be observed; or, at least, since
the consciousness of another cannot be directly penetrated, these mixed
states may be inferred from the consequences which spring from them.

It has happened, for example, that, believing they were dealing with
Leopold alone, thoroughly incarnated and duly substituted for the
personality of Mlle. Smith, the sitters have allowed to escape them on
that account some ill-timed pleasantry, some indiscreet question or too
free criticisms, all innocent enough and without evil intention, but
still of a nature to wound Hélène if she had heard them, and from which
the authors would certainly have abstained in her presence in a waking

Leopold has not stood upon ceremony in putting down these imprudent
babblers, and the incident, generally, has had no further consequences.
But sometimes the words and bearing of Mlle. Smith for days or weeks
afterwards show that she was aware of the imprudent remarks, which
proves that the consciousness of Leopold and her own are not separated
by an impenetrable barrier, but that osmotic changes are effected from
the one to the other. It is ordinarily pointed and irritating remarks
which cause the trouble, which goes to prove that it is the feelings
of self-love or personal susceptibility that form in each one of us
the inmost fortifications of the social self, and are the last to be
destroyed by somnambulism, or that they constitute the fundamental
substratum, the common base by which Leopold and Mlle. Smith form a
whole and mingle themselves in the same individuality.

The psychological process of this transmission is varied from another
cause. Sometimes it appears that the consecutive amnesia of the trance
has been broken as to the most piquant details, and that Hélène clearly
remembers that which has been said, in the presence of Leopold,
disagreeable to herself. Sometimes it is Leopold himself who repeats to
her the unpleasant expressions which have been used, with commentaries
calculated to lessen their effect and to excuse the culprits: for
it is an interesting trait of his character that he undertakes with
Hélène the defence of those same persons whom he reprimands and blames,
a contradiction not at all surprising when it is psychologically
interpreted, considering the habitual conflict of emotional motives or
tendencies, the warfare which opposite points of view is incessantly
carrying on in our inmost being. Sometimes, again, it is in a dream
that the junction is effected between the somnambulistic consciousness
of Leopold and the normal consciousness of Hélène.

Apropos of the last case, here is an example containing nothing
disagreeable, in which Hélène remembered in her waking state a
nocturnal dream, which was itself a repetition or echo, in natural
sleep, of a somnambulistic scene of the previous evening.

In a seance at which I assisted, shortly after my recovery from an
attack of congestion of the lungs, Hélène, completely entranced,
has a vision of Leopold-Cagliostro, who, in the rôle of sympathetic
physician, comes to hold a consultation with me. After some
preliminaries she kneels down by my chair, and, looking alternately at
my chest and at the fictitious doctor standing between us, she holds a
long conversation with him, in which she explains the condition of my
lungs, which she sees in imagination, and the treatment which Leopold
prescribes, somewhat as follows:

“ ... It is the lungs ... it is darker ... it is one side which has
been affected.... You say that it is a severe inflammation—and can that
be healed?... Tell me, what must be done.... Oh, where have I seen any
of these plants?... I don’t know what they are called ... those ... I
don’t understand very well ... those synantherous?... Oh, what a queer
name.... Where are they to be found?... You say it belongs to the
family of ... then it has another name? Tell me what it is ... some
_tissulages_ [sic].... Then you think this plant is good for him?...
Ah! but explain this to me ... the fresh leaves or the dried flowers?
Three times a day, a large handful in a pint ... and then honey and
milk.... I will tell him that he must drink three cups a day....”
etc. Then followed very detailed directions as to treatment, various
infusions, blisters, etc. The whole scene lasted more than an hour,
followed by complete amnesia, and nothing was said to Hélène about
it, as it was half-past six in the evening, and she was in haste to
return home. The next day she wrote me a seven-page letter in which
she described a very striking dream she had had during the night.
“... I fell asleep about two o’clock in the morning and awaked at about
five. Was it a vision? Was it a dream I had? I don’t really know what
to consider it and dare not say; but this I do know, I saw my dear
friend Leopold, who spoke to me a long time about you, and I think I
saw you also. I asked him what he thought of your state of health....
He replied that in his opinion it was far from re-established. That the
pain you feel in the right side came from an inflammation of the lung
which has been seriously affected.... You will doubtless laugh when
I tell you that he also described the remedies you ought to take....
One of them is a simple plant, which is called, as nearly as I can
remember, Tissulage or Tussilache, but has also another name, which I
cannot recollect, but the first name will doubtless suffice, since he
says you are familiar with the plant ...” etc.

What I have said concerning Leopold is also applicable to the other
personifications of Mlle. Smith. The normal consciousness of Hélène
mingles and fuses itself in every way with the somnambulistic
consciousness of Simandini, of Marie Antoinette, or some other
incarnation, as we shall soon see. I pass now to the examination of
some detailed examples, destined to throw light upon the rôle which
Leopold plays in Hélène’s existence.

Let us begin by listening to Leopold himself. Among his numerous
messages, the following letter, written in his fine handwriting by the
hand of Mlle. Smith—in response to a note in which I had begged him
(as a spiritual being and distinct from her) to aid me in my “psychic
researches”—contains information for which I had not asked, but which
was none the less interesting. It must not be forgotten that it is the
disincarnate adorer of Marie Antoinette who is writing:

 “FRIEND,—I am pleased and touched by the mark of confidence you have
 deigned to accord me. The spiritual guide of Mademoiselle [Smith],
 whom the Supreme Being in his infinite goodness has permitted me
 to find again with ease, I do all I can to appear to her on every
 occasion when I deem it necessary; but my body, or, if you prefer,
 the matter of little solidity of which I am composed, does not
 always afford me the facility of showing myself to her in a positive
 human manner. [He, in fact, appeared to her often under the form of
 elementary visual hallucinations, a luminous trail, whitish column,
 vaporous streamer, etc.]

 “That which I seek above all to inculcate in her is a consoling and
 true philosophy, which is necessary to her by reason of the profound,
 unhappy impressions, which even now still remain to her, of the whole
 drama of her past life. I have often sown bitterness in her heart
 [when she was Marie Antoinette], desiring only her welfare. Also,
 laying aside everything superfluous, I penetrate into the most hidden
 recesses of her soul, and with an extreme care and incessant activity
 I seek to implant there those truths which I trust will aid her in
 attaining the lofty summit of the ladder of perfection.

 “Abandoned by my parents from my cradle, I have, indeed, known sorrow
 early in life. Like all, I have had many weaknesses, which I have
 expiated, and God knows that I bow to His will!

 “Moral suffering has been my principal lot. I have been full of
 bitterness, of envy, of hatred, of jealousy. Jealousy, my brother!
 what a poison, what a corruption of the soul!

 “Nevertheless, one ray has shone brightly into my life, and that ray
 so pure, so full of everything that might pour balm on my wounded
 soul, has given me a glimpse of heaven!

 “Herald of eternal felicity! Ray without spot! God deemed best to take
 it before me! But to-day it is given back to me! May His holy name be

 “Friend, in what manner shall I reply to you? I am ignorant myself,
 not knowing what it will please God to reveal to you, but through her
 whom you call Mademoiselle [Smith], God willing, perhaps we shall be
 able to satisfy you.

  “Thy friend,


We can see, under the flowing details of the spiritistic ideas and his
rôle as the repentant Cagliostro, that the dominant characteristic
of Leopold is his deep platonic attachment for Mlle. Smith, and an
ardent moral solicitude for her and her advance towards perfection.
This corresponds perfectly with the character of the numerous messages
which he addresses to her in the course of her daily existence, as may
be seen from the following specimen. He is referring to a case where,
after having warned her on two occasions during the day by auditive
hallucinations that he would manifest himself in the evening, he gives
her, in fact, by automatic writing in his own hand, the encouragement
she was actually in need of under the circumstances in which she found

One morning, at her desk, Hélène heard an unknown voice, stronger and
nearer to her than is usual with Leopold, say to her: “_Until this
evening_”; a little later the same voice, which she now recognized as
that of Leopold, but of a quality rougher and nearer to her than was
his habit, said to her: “_You understand me well, until this evening._”
In the evening, having returned home, she was excited at supper, left
the table in haste towards the end of the meal, and shut herself up in
her room with the idea that she would learn something; but, presently,
the instinctive agitation of her hand indicated to her that she should
take her pencil, and having done so, she obtained in the beautiful
calligraphy of Leopold the following epistle. (She says that she
remained wide awake and self-conscious while writing it, and it is the
only occasion of a similar character when she had knowledge of the

 “MY BELOVED FRIEND,—Why do you vex yourself, torment yourself so? Why
 are you indignant, because, as you advance in life, you are obliged to
 acknowledge that all things are not as you had wished and hoped they
 might be? Is not the route we follow on this earth always and for all
 of us strewn with rocks? is it not an endless chain of deceptions, of
 miseries? Do me the kindness, my dear sister, I beg of you, to tell me
 that from this time forth you will cease from endeavoring to probe too
 deeply the human heart. In what will such discoveries aid you? What
 remains to you of these things, except tears and regrets? And then
 this God of love, of justice, and of life—is not He the one to read
 our hearts? It is for Him, not for thee, to see into them.

 “Would you change the hearts? Would you give them that which they have
 not, a live, ardent soul, never departing from what is right, just,
 and true? Be calm, then, in the face of all these little troubles. Be
 worthy, and, above all, always good! In thee I have found again that
 heart and that soul, both of which will always be for me all my life,
 all my joy, and my only dream here below.

 “Believe me: be calm: reflect: that is my wish.

  “Thy friend,


I have chosen this example for the sake of its brevity. Hélène has
received a number of communications of the same kind, sometimes in
verse, in which the moral and religious note is often still more
accentuated. In the greater part we meet with, as in the next to the
last phrase of the foregoing letter, an allusion to the presumed
affection of Cagliostro for Marie Antoinette. It is to be noticed that
there is nothing in these excellent admonitions that a high and serious
soul like that of Mlle. Smith could not have drawn from its own depths
in a moment of contemplation and meditation.

Is it a benefit or an injury to the moral and truly religious life to
formulate itself thus clearly in verbal hallucinations rather than
to remain in the confused but more personal state of experienced
aspirations and strongly expressed emotions? Do these inspirations
gain or lose in inward authority and subjective power by assuming this
exterior garb and this aspect of objectivity? This is a delicate
question, probably not susceptible of a uniform solution.

In the following incident, which I relate as an example among many
other similar ones, it is no longer, properly speaking, the moral and
religious sentiments personified in Leopold, but rather the instinct
of reserve and of defence peculiar to the weaker sex, the sense of the
proprieties, the self-respect, tinctured with a shade of exaggeration
almost amounting to prudery.

In a visit to Mlle. Smith, during which I inquired whether she had
received any recent communications from Leopold, she told me she had
only seen him two or three times in the last few days, and had been
struck by his “restless and unhappy” air, instead of the air “so
pleasant, so sweet, so admirable,” which he generally has. As she did
not know to what to attribute this change of countenance, I advised her
to take her pencil and to wrap herself in meditation, with the hope of
obtaining some automatic message.

In about a minute her expression indicated that she was being taken
possession of; her eyes were fixed on the paper, upon which her left
hand rested, the thumb and little finger being agitated and continually
tapping (about once a second), the right hand having tried to take the
pencil between the index and middle finger (the manner of Hélène),
ended by seizing it between the thumb and the index finger, and traced
slowly in the handwriting of Leopold:

“Yes, I am restless | pained, even in anguish. | Believest thou,
friend, that it is with satisfaction | that I see you every day
accepting the attentions, the flatteries; | I do not call them
insincere, but of little worth, and little praiseworthy | on the part
of those from whom they come.” |

This text was written at six separate times (marked by the vertical
bars), separated by brief moments of full wakefulness, when the
tappings of the left hand ceased, and when Hélène, repeating in a loud
voice what she was about to write, is very much astonished, does not
know to what Leopold alludes, then at my request takes her pencil to
obtain an explanation, and falls asleep again during the following
fragment. At the end of this bit, as she persists in saying that she
is ignorant of what he refers to, I proceed to question Leopold, who
replies that for several days Hélène has permitted herself to be
courted by a M. V. (perfectly honorably), who often found himself on
the same street-car with her, had made a place for her beside him the
last few mornings, and had paid her some compliments on her appearance.

These revelations excited the laughter and protestations of Hélène, who
commenced to deny that it could have come from Leopold, and accused
me of having suggested it to her little finger; but the right hand
took the pencil and traced these words in the handwriting and with the
signature of Leopold: “I only say what I think, and I desire that you
refuse henceforth all the flowers that he may offer you.—Leopold.”
This time Hélène remembered the incident, and recollected that
yesterday morning he had offered her a rose which he was wearing as a

Eight days later I paid another visit to Hélène, and after an effort
to secure some handwriting, which was not successful, but resulted
in a Martian vision (see Martian text No. 14), she had a visual
hallucination of Leopold, and losing consciousness of the actual
environment and of my presence also, as well as that of her mother,
she flung herself into a running conversation with him in regard to
the incident of eight days previously: “Leopold ... Leopold ... don’t
come near me [repulsing him]. You are too severe, Leopold!... Will
you come on Sunday? I am going to be at M. Flournoy’s next Sunday.
You will be there ... but take good care that you do not.... No, it
is not kind of you always to disclose secrets.... What must he have
thought?... You seem to make a mountain out of a mole-hill.... And
who would think of refusing a flower? You don’t understand at all....
Why, then? It was a very simple thing to accept it, a matter of no
importance whatever ... to refuse it would have been impolite.... You
pretend to read the heart.... Why give importance to a thing that
amounts to nothing?... It is only a simple act of friendship, a little
token of sympathy ... to make me write such things on paper before
everybody! not nice of you!” In this somnambulistic dialogue, in which
we can divine Leopold’s replies, Hélène took for the moment the accent
of Marie Antoinette (see below, in the “Royal cycle”). To awaken her,
Leopold, who had possession of Hélène’s arms, made some passes over
her forehead, then pressed the frontal and suborbital nerves of the
left side, and made me a sign to do the same with those of the right.
The seance of the next day but one, at my house, passed without any
allusion by Leopold to the incident of the street-car, evidently on
account of the presence of certain sitters to whom he did not wish to
reveal Hélène’s secrets. But, three days after, in a new visit, during
which she told me of having had a waking discussion concerning the
future life (without telling me with whom), she again wrote, in the
hand of Leopold: “It is not in such society as this that you ought so
seriously to discuss the immortality of the soul.” She then confessed
that it was again on the street-car, and with M. V., that she had
held that conversation while a funeral procession was passing. There
was never anything that might have been of a compromising character
in the exchange of courtesies and the occasional conversations of
Mlle. Smith with her neighbor of the street-car. The trouble that it
caused poor Leopold was very characteristic of him, and well indicated
the severe and jealous censor who formerly had worried the N. group;
there can be heard again the echo of that voice, “which has absolutely
nothing to do with the conscience” (see pp. 27 and 82), and which
has hitherto prevented Hélène from accepting any of the suitors whom
she has encountered in the course of her journey through life. This
austere and rigorous mentor, always wide awake, and taking offence at
the least freedom which Mlle. Smith allows herself in the exchange of
trifling courtesies, represents, in fact, a very common psychological
attribute; it is not every well-bred feminine soul that carries stored
in one of its recesses, where it manifests its presence by scruples
more or less vaguely felt, certain hesitations or apprehensions,
inhibiting feelings or tendencies of a shade of intensity varying
according to the age and the temperament.

It is not my part to describe this delicate phenomenon. It suffices
me to remark that here, as in the ethico-religious messages, the
personality of Leopold has in no way aided the essential content of
those inward experiences of which Mlle. Smith is perfectly capable by
herself; the form only of their manifestation has gained in picturesque
and dramatic expression in the _mise-en-scène_ of the automatic
handwritings and of the somnambulistic dialogue. It seems as though the
suggestive approach of my presence and my questions had been necessary
to excite these phenomena; it is, however, very probable, to judge
from other examples, that my influence only hastened the explosion
of Leopold in formulated reproaches, and that his latent discontent,
hitherto noticed in the “restless and suffering air” of his fugitive
visual apparitions, would have terminated, after a period of incubation
more or less prolonged, in breaking out into spontaneous admonitions,
auditive or written.

It can be divined that in this rôle of vigilant guardian, of an
almost excessive zealousness for the honor or the dignity of Mlle.
Smith, Leopold is again, to my mind, only a product of psychological
duplication. He represents a certain grouping of inward desires and
secret instincts, which the hypnoid predisposition, encouraged by
spiritism, has brought into a peculiar prominence and given an aspect
of foreign personality; in the same way, in the phantasmagoria of the
dream, certain after-thoughts, almost unperceived while awake, rise to
the first plane and become transformed into contradictory fictitious
personages, whose cutting reproaches astonish us sometimes on awakening
by their disturbing truthfulness.

A final example will show us Leopold, in his rôle of watcher over the
health of Mlle. Smith and adviser of precautions which she ought to
take. He is not troubled about her general health; when she had _la
grippe_, for instance, or when she is simply worn out with fatigue,
he scarcely shows himself. His attention is concentrated upon certain
special physiological functions, of the normal exercise of which he
takes care to be assured. He does not otherwise seem to exercise a
positive action upon them, and cannot modify them in any way; his
office seems to be confined to knowing beforehand their exact course,
and to see that Hélène is not guilty of any imprudence which may impede

Leopold here shows a knowledge and prevision of the most intimate
phenomena of the organism which has been observed in the case of
secondary personalities, and which confers upon them, in that respect
at least, an unquestionable advantage over the ordinary personality.
In the case of Mlle. Smith, the indications of her guide are always of
a prohibitive nature, calculated to prevent her from talking part in
spiritistic reunions at a time at which she believes herself able to do
so with impunity, but which he, endowed with a more refined cœnæsthetic
sensibility, thinks she ought not to undertake. He has for several
years formally laid his ban upon every kind of mediumistic exercises at
certain very regular periods.

He has also on numerous occasions compelled her by various messages,
categorical auditive hallucinations, diverse impulses, contractures
of the arms, forcing her to write, etc., to modify her plans and
to abandon seances already arranged. This is a very clear form of
teleological automatism.

As a specimen of this spontaneous and hygienic intervention of Leopold
in the life of Hélène, I have selected the letter given below, because
it combines several interesting traits. It well depicts the energy with
which Mlle. Smith is compelled to obey her guide.

The passage from the auditive to the graphic form of automatism is
also to be noticed in it. Apropos of this, in the page of this letter
reproduced in Fig. 8 (see p. 137), it is made clear that the transition
of the hand of Hélène to that of Leopold is accomplished brusquely and
in a decided manner. The handwriting is not metamorphosed gradually,
slowly, but continues to be that of Mlle. Smith, becoming more and more
agitated, it is true, and rendered almost illegible by the shocks to
the arm of which Leopold takes hold up to the moment when, suddenly and
by a bound, it becomes the well-formed calligraphy of Cagliostro.

  “_January 29_, 6.15 A.M.

 “MONSIEUR,—I awoke about ten minutes ago, and heard the voice of
 Leopold telling me in a very imperious manner, ‘Get up out of your
 bed, and quickly, very quickly, write to your dear friend, M.
 Flournoy, that you will not hold a seance to-morrow, and that you will
 not be able to go to his house for two weeks, and that you will not
 hold any seance within that period.’ I have executed his order, having
 felt myself forced, compelled in spite of myself, to obey. I was so
 comfortable in bed and so vexed at being obliged to write you such a
 message; but I feel myself forced to do what he bids me.

 “At this moment I am looking at my watch; it is 6.25 o’clock. I feel
 a very strong shock in my right arm—I might better speak of it as an
 electric disturbance—and which I perceive has made me write crooked. I
 hear also at this instant the voice of Leopold. I have much difficulty
 in writing what he tells me: ‘6.42½. Say to him this: _I am, sir,
 always your very devoted servant, in body and mind, healthy and not

 “I stopped for some moments after writing these words, which I saw
 very well, after having written them, were in the handwriting of
 Leopold. Immediately afterwards, a second disturbance, similar to
 the first, gave me a fresh shock, this time from my feet to my head.
 It all passed so quickly that I am disturbed and confused by it. It
 is true that I am not yet quite well. Is this the reason why Leopold
 prevents my going to Florissant to-morrow? I do not know, but,
 nevertheless, am anxious to follow his advice....”

Mlle. Smith always submits obediently to the commands of her guide,
since, whenever she has transgressed them, through forgetfulness or
neglect, she has had cause to repent it.

It is clear that in this rôle of special physician of Mlle. Smith,
always _au courant_ of her state of health, Leopold could easily be
interpreted as personifying those vague impressions which spring forth
continually from the depths of our physical being, informing us as to
what is passing there.

A neuralgic toothache is felt in a dream hours before it makes itself
felt in our waking consciousness, while some maladies are often thus
foreshadowed several days before they actually declare themselves. All
literature is full of anecdotes of this kind; and the psychiatrists
have observed that in the form of circular alienation, where phases of
melancholic depression and maniacal excitation alternately succeed one
another more or less regularly with intervals of normal equilibrium,
it is frequently in sleep that the first symptoms of the change of
humor can be detected which has already begun in the depths of the
individuality, but will only break forth on the outside a little
later. But all the hypnoid states are connected, and it is not at all
surprising that, in the case of a subject inclined to automatism,
these confused presentiments should arise with the appearance of a
foreign personality which is only a degree higher than the process of
dramatization already so brilliantly at work in our ordinary dreams.

 [Illustration: Fig. 8. A page from a letter of Mlle. Smith, showing
 the spontaneous irruption of the personality and the handwriting of
 Leopold during the waking state of Hélène.]

It will be useless to lengthen or further multiply examples of the
intervention of Leopold in the life of Mlle. Smith. Those which
I have given show him under his essential aspects, and suffice to
justify Hélène’s confidence in a guide who has never deceived her, who
has always given her the best counsel, delivered discourses of the
highest ethical tone, and manifested the most touching solicitude for
her physical and moral health. It is easy to understand that nothing
can shake her faith in the real, objective existence of this precious

It is really vexatious that the phenomena of dreams should be so little
observed or so badly understood (I do not say by psychologists, but
by the general public, which prides itself on its psychology), since
the dream is the prototype of spiritistic messages, and holds the key
to the explanation of mediumistic phenomena. If it is regrettable to
see such noble, sympathetic, pure, and in all respects remarkable
personalities as Leopold reduced to the rank of a dream creation,
it must be remembered, however, that dreams are not always, as idle
folk think, things to be despised or of no value in themselves: the
majority are insignificant and deserve only the oblivion to which they
are promptly consigned. A very large number are bad and sometimes even
worse than reality; but there are others of a better sort, and “dream”
is often a synonym for “ideal.”

To sum up, Leopold certainly expresses in his central nucleus a very
honorable and attractive side of the character of Mlle. Smith, and
in taking him as her “guide” she only follows inspirations which are
probably among the best of her nature.

                               CHAPTER V

                           THE MARTIAN CYCLE

The title of this book would naturally commit me to a review of the
Hindoo romance before investigating the Martian cycle. Considerations
of method have caused me to reverse this order. It is better to
advance from the simple to the complex, and while we certainly know
less concerning the planet Mars than of India, the romance which it
has inspired in the subliminal genius of Mlle. Smith is relatively
less difficult to explain than the Oriental cycle. In fact, the former
seems to spring from pure imagination, while in the latter we meet with
certain actual historical elements, and whence Hélène’s memory and
intelligence have gained a knowledge of them is an extremely difficult
problem for us to solve. There is, then, only _one_ faculty at work in
the Martian romance, as a professional psychologist would say, while
the Oriental cycle calls several into play, making it necessary to
treat of it later, on account of its greater psychological complexity.

While the unknown language which forms the vehicle of many of the
Martian messages cannot naturally be dissociated from the rest of the
cycle, it merits, nevertheless, a special consideration, and the
following chapter will be entirely devoted to it. It does not figure
in the present chapter, in which I shall treat of the origin and the
content only of the Martian romance.


“We dare to hope,” says M. Camille Flammarion, at the beginning of
his excellent work on the planet Mars, “that the day will come when
scientific methods yet unknown to us will give us direct evidences of
the existence of the inhabitants of other worlds, and at the same time,
also, will put us in communication with our brothers in space.”[13]
And on the last page of his book he recurs to the same idea, and
says: “What marvels does not the science of the future reserve for
our successors, and who would dare to say that Martian humanity and
terrestrial humanity will not some day enter into communication with
each other?”

This splendid prospect seems still far off, along with that of wireless
telegraphy, and almost an Utopian dream, so long as one holds strictly
to the current conceptions of our positive sciences. But break these
narrow limits; fly, for example, towards the illimitable horizon which
spiritism opens up to its happy followers, and as soon as this vague
hope takes shape, nothing seems to prevent its immediate realization;
and the only cause for wonder is found in the fact that no privileged
medium has yet arisen to have the glory, unique in the world, of being
the first intermediary between ourselves and the human inhabitants
of other planets; for spiritism takes no more account of the barrier
of space than of time. The “gates of distance” are wide open before
it. With it the question of means is a secondary matter; one has only
the embarrassment of making a choice. It matters not whether it be by
intuition, by clairvoyance, by telepathy, or by double personality that
the soul is permitted to leave momentarily its terrestrial prison and
make the voyage between this world and others in an instant of time,
or whether the feat is accomplished by means of the astral body, by
the reincarnation of disincarnate omnisciences, by “fluid beings,”
or, in a word, by any other process whatever. The essential point is,
according to spiritism, that no serious objection would be offered
to the possibility of such communication. The only difficulty would
be to find a mediumistic subject possessing sufficient psychical
faculties. It is a simple question of fact; if such a one has not yet
been found, it is apparently only because the time is not yet ripe.
But now that astronomers themselves appeal to those “unknown methods
of actual science” to put us _en rapport_ with other worlds, no doubt
spiritism—which is the science of to-morrow, as definite as absolute
religion—will soon respond to these legitimate aspirations. We may,
therefore, expect at any moment the revelation so impatiently looked
for, and every good medium has the right to ask herself whether she is
not the being predestined to accomplish this unrivalled mission.

These are the considerations which, to my mind, in their essential
content inspired in the subliminal part of Mlle. Smith the first idea
of her Martian romance. I would not assert that the passages from M.
Flammarion which I have quoted came directly to the notice of Hélène,
but they express and recapitulate wonderfully well one of the elements
of the atmosphere in which she found herself at the beginning of her
mediumship. For if there are no certain indications of her ever having
read any work on the “heavenly worlds” and their inhabitants, either
that of M. Flammarion or of any other author, she has, nevertheless,
heard such subjects discussed. She is perfectly familiar with the name
of the celebrated astronomical writer Juvisy, and knows something of
his philosophical ideas, which, by-the-way, is not at all surprising
when we consider the popularity he enjoys among spiritists, who
find in him a very strong scientific support for their doctrine of
reincarnation on other planets.

I also have evidence that in the circle of Mme. N., of which Hélène
was a member in 1892, the conversation more than once turned in the
direction of the habitability of Mars, to which the discovery of the
famous “canals” has for some years specially directed the attention
of the general public. This circumstance appears to me to explain
sufficiently the fact that Hélène’s subliminal astronomy should be
concerned with this planet. It is, moreover, quite possible that the
first germs of the Martian romance date still further back than the
beginning of Hélène’s mediumship. The Oriental rôle shows indications
of concerning itself with that planet, and the very clear impression
which she has of having in her childhood and youth experienced many
visions of a similar kind “without her noticing them particularly,”
gives rise to the supposition that the ingredients of which this cycle
is composed date from many years back. Possibly they may have one
and the same primitive source in the exotic memories, descriptions,
or pictures of tropical countries which later branched out under the
vigorous impulsion of spiritistic ideas in two distinct currents, the
Hindoo romance on the one side and the Martian on the other, whose
waters are mingled on more than one occasion afterwards.

While, on the whole, therefore, it is probable that its roots extend
back as far as the childhood of Mlle. Smith, it is nevertheless with
the Martian romance, as well as with the others, not a mere question
of the simple cryptomnesiac return of facts of a remote past, or of
an exhumation of fossil residua brought to light again by the aid of
somnambulism. It is a very active process, and one in full course of
evolution, nourished, undoubtedly, by elements belonging to the past,
but which have been recombined and moulded in a very original fashion,
until it amounts finally, among other things, to the creation of an
unknown language. It will be interesting to follow step by step the
phases of this elaboration: but since it always, unfortunately, hides
itself in the obscurity of the subconsciousness, we are only cognizant
of it by its occasional appearances, and all the rest of that
subterranean work must be inferred, in a manner somewhat hypothetical,
from those supraliminal eruptions and the scanty data which we have
concerning the outward influences which have exerted a stimulating
influence upon the subliminal part of Hélène. It was in 1892, then,
that the conversations took place which were to prepare the soil for
this work of lofty subliminal fantasy, and planted in Hélène’s mind the
double idea, of enormous scientific interest, that she could enter into
direct relation with the inhabitants of Mars, and of the possibility,
unsuspected by scientists, but which spiritism furnishes us, of
reaching there by a mediumistic route. I doubt, however, whether that
vague suggestion on the part of the environment would have sufficed
to engender the Martian dream—since for more than two years no sign
of its eruption manifested itself—without the intervention of some
fillip more concrete, capable of giving a start to the whole movement.
It is not easy, unfortunately, for want of records of the facts, to
assign with precision the circumstances under which and the moment when
Hélène’s subconscious imagination received that effective impulsion,
but an unequivocal trace is discovered, as I am about to show in the
contemporaneous report of the proceedings of the first distinctly
Martian seance of Mlle. Smith.

In March, 1894, Hélène made the acquaintance of M. Lemaître, who, being
exceedingly interested in the phenomena of abnormal psychology, was
present with others at some of her seances, and finally begged her to
hold some at his house. At the first of these (October 28, 1894),
Hélène met a lady, a widow, who was greatly to be pitied. Besides
suffering from a very serious affection of the eyes, Mme. Mirbel had
been terribly afflicted by the loss of her only son, Alexis, seventeen
years old, and a pupil of M. Lemaître. While not yet fully convinced
of the truth of spiritism, it is easy to understand that Mme. Mirbel
was very anxious to believe in that consolatory doctrine, and ready
to accept it, if only some proofs could be furnished her; and what
more convincing testimony could she ask or receive than that of a
message from her beloved child? Moreover, it was probably not without
a secret hope of procuring a communication of this nature that she
accepted the invitation which M. Lemaître had sent her with the idea
of procuring some moments of distraction for the unhappy mother. As
happens frequently in Hélène’s case, this first seance fully satisfied
the desires of the sitters and surpassed their expectations. Speaking
only of that which concerns Mme. Mirbel, Hélène had the vision, first,
of a young man, in the very detailed description of whom there was no
difficulty in recognizing the deceased Alexis Mirbel; then of an old
man whom the table called Raspail, brought by the young man that he
might treat his mother’s eyes, who thus had the double privilege of
receiving through the table words of tenderness from her son, and from
Raspail directions for the treatment of the affliction of her eyes.
Nothing in that seance recalled in any way the planet Mars, and it
could not be foreseen from anything that occurred there that Alexis
Mirbel, disincarnated, would return later under the name of Esenale as
official interpreter of the Martian language.

It was altogether different a month later (November 25), at the second
reunion at M. Lemaître’s, at which Mme. Mirbel was again present. On
this occasion the astronomical dream appeared at once and dominated the
entire seance.

From the beginning, says the report of the seance, Mlle. Smith
perceived, in the distance and at a great height, a bright light. Then
she felt a tremor which almost caused her heart to cease beating, after
which it seemed to her as though her head were empty and as if she
were no longer in the body. She found herself in a dense fog, which
changed successively from blue to a vivid rose color, to gray, and
then to black: she is floating, she says; and the table, supporting
itself on one leg, seemed to express a very curious floating movement.
Then she sees a star, growing larger, always larger, and becomes,
finally, “as large as our house.” Hélène feels that she is ascending;
then the table gives, by raps: “Lemaître, that which you have so long
desired!” Mlle. Smith, who had been ill at ease, finds herself feeling
better; she distinguishes three enormous globes, one of them very
beautiful. “On what am I walking?” she asks. And the table replies:
“On a world—Mars.” Hélène then began a description of all the strange
things which presented themselves to her view, and caused her as much
surprise as amusement. Carriages without horses or wheels, emitting
sparks as they glided by; houses with fountains on the roof; a cradle
having for curtains an angel made of iron with outstretched wings,
etc. What seemed less strange, were people exactly like the inhabitants
of our earth, save that both sexes wore the same costume, formed of
trousers very ample, and a long blouse, drawn tight about the waist and
decorated with various designs. The child in the cradle was exactly
like our children, according to the sketch which Hélène made from
memory after the seance.

Finally, she saw upon Mars a sort of vast assembly hall, in which was
Professor Raspail, having in the first row of his hearers the young
Alexis Mirbel, who, by a typtological dictation, reproached his mother
for not having followed the medical prescription which he gave her a
month previously: “Dear mamma, have you, then, so little confidence in
us? You have no idea how much pain you have caused me!” Then followed a
conversation of a private nature between Mme. Mirbel and her son, the
latter replying by means of the table; then everything becomes quiet,
the vision of Mars effaces itself little by little; the table takes
the same rotary movement on one foot which it had at the commencement
of the seance; Mlle. Smith finds herself again in the fogs and goes
through the same process as before in an inverse order. Then she
exclaims: “Ah! here I am back again!” and several loud raps on the
table mark the end of the seance.

I have related in its principal elements this first Martian seance, for
the sake of its importance in different respects.

The initial series of cœnæsthetic hallucinations, corresponding to a
voyage from the earth to Mars, reflects well the childish character of
an imagination which scientific problems or the exigencies of logic
trouble very little. Without doubt spiritism can explain how the
material difficulties of an interplanetary journey may be avoided in a
purely mediumistic, fluid connection; but why, then, this persistence
of physical sensations, trouble with the heart, tremor, floating
sensation, etc.? However it may be, this series of sensations is from
this time on the customary prelude, and, as it were, the premonitory
_aura_ of the Martian dream, with certain modifications, throughout all
the seances; sometimes it is complicated with auditive hallucinations
(rumbling, noise of rushing water, etc.), or sometimes olfactory
(disagreeable odors of burning, of sulphur, of a coming storm), oftener
it tends to shorten and simplify itself, until it is either reduced to
a brief feeling of _malaise_, or to the initial visual hallucination
of the light, generally very brilliant and red, in which the Martian
visions usually appear.

But the point to which I wish to call special attention is that
singular speech of the table, on the instant at which Mlle. Smith
arrives on the distant star, and before it is known what star is
concerned: “Lemaître, that which you have so much wished for!” This
declaration, which may be considered as a dedication, so to speak,
inscribed on the frontispiece of the Martian romance, authorizes us,
in my opinion, in considering it and interpreting it in its origin,
as a direct answer to a wish of M. Lemaître, a desire which came at a
recent period to Hélène’s knowledge, and which has enacted with her
the initiatory rôle of her astronomical dream.

It is true that M. Lemaître himself did not understand at the moment to
what this preliminary warning referred, but the note which he inserted
at the end of his report of that seance is instructive in this regard:
“I do not know how to explain the first words dictated by the table:
‘Lemaître, that which you have so much wished for!’ M. S. reminds me
that in a conversation which I had with him last summer I said to him:
‘It would be very interesting to know what is happening upon other
planets.’ If this is an answer to the wish of last year, very well.”

It must be added that M. S., who had been sufficiently struck by this
wish of M. Lemaître to remember it for several months, was, during
all of the time referred to, one of the most regular attendants upon
the seances of Mlle. Smith; and, to one who knows by experience all
that happens at the spiritistic reunions, before, after, and during
the seance itself, there could hardly be any doubt but that it was
through M. S., as intermediary, that Mlle. Smith had heard mentioned
M. Lemaître’s regret at our relative ignorance of the inhabitants
of other planets. This idea, probably caught on the wing during the
state of suggestibility which accompanies the seances, returned with
renewed force when Hélène was invited to hold a seance at the house of
M. Lemaître, and made more vivid also by the desire, which is always
latent in her, of making the visions as interesting as possible to the
persons among whom she finds herself. Such is, in my opinion, the seed
which, falling into the ground and fertilized by former conversations
concerning the inhabitants of Mars and the possibility of spiritistic
relations with them, has served as the germ of the romance, the further
development of which it remains for me to trace.

One point which still remains to be cleared up in the seance, as I
come to sum up, is the singularly artificial character and the slight
connection between the Martian vision, properly so called, and the
reappearance of Raspail and Alexis Mirbel. We do not altogether
understand what these personages have to do with it. What need is there
of their being to-day found on the planet Mars simply for the purpose
of continuing their interview with Mme. Mirbel, begun at a previous
seance, without the intervention of any planet? The assembly-hall at
which they are found, while it is located on Mars, is a bond of union
all the more artificial between them and that planet in that there is
nothing specifically Martian in its description and appears to have
been borrowed from our globe. This incident is at bottom a matter out
of the regular course, full of interest undoubtedly for Mme. Mirbel,
whom it directly concerns, but without intimate connection with the
Martian world. It was evidently the astronomical revelation, intended
for M. Lemaître, and ripened by a period of incubation, which should
have furnished the material for this seance; but the presence of Mme.
Mirbel awoke anew the memory of her son and of Raspail, which had
occupied the preceding seance, and these memories, interfering with
the Martian vision, become, for good or ill, incorporated as a strange
episode in it without having any direct connection with it. The work
of unification, of dramatization, by which these two unequal chains
of ideas are harmonized and fused the one with the other through the
intermediation of an assembly-hall, is no more or no less extraordinary
than that which displays itself in all our nocturnal phantasmagoria,
where certain absolutely heterogeneous memories often ally themselves
after an unexpected fashion, and afford opportunity for confusions of
the most bizarre character.

But mediumistic communications differ from ordinary dreams in
this—namely, the incoherence of the latter does not cause them to
have any consequences. We are astonished and diverted for a moment as
we reflect upon a dream. Sometimes a dream holds a little longer the
attention of the psychologist, who endeavors to unravel the intricate
plot of his dreams and to discover, amid the caprices of association
or the events of the waking state, the origin of their tangled
threads. But, on the whole, this incoherence has no influence on the
ultimate course of our thoughts, because we see in our dreams only the
results of chance, without value in themselves and without objective

It is otherwise with spiritistic communications, by reason of the
importance and the credit accorded them.

The medium who partially recollects her automatisms, or to whom the
sitters have detailed them after the close of the seance, adding also
their comments, becomes preoccupied with these mysterious revelations;
like the paranoiac, who perceives hidden meanings or a profound
significance in the most trifling coincidences, she seeks to fathom the
content of her strange visions, reflects on them, examines them in the
light of spiritistic notions; if she encounters difficulties in them,
or contradictions, her conscious or unconscious thought (the two are
not always in accord) will undertake the task of removing them, and
solving as well as possible the problems which these dream-creations,
considered as realities, impose upon her, and the later somnambulisms
will bear the imprint of this labor of interpretation or correction.

It is to this point we have come at the commencement of the
astronomical romance of Mlle. Smith. The purely accidental and
fortuitous conjunction of the planet Mars and Alexis Mirbel in the
seance of the 25th of November determined their definitive welding
together. Association by fortuitous contiguity is transformed into a
logical connection.


This development was not effected in a regular manner; but for the
most part by leaps and bounds, separating stoppages more or less
prolonged. After its inauguration in the seance of November 25, 1894,
it suffered a first eclipse of nearly fifteen months, attributable to
new preoccupations which had installed themselves on the highest plane
of Mlle. Smith’s subconsciousness and held that position throughout the
whole of the year 1895.

Compared with the seance of November, 1894, that of February, 1896
(of which a résumé follows), shows interesting innovations. Raspail
does not figure in it and henceforth does not appear again, which was
probably due to the fact that Mme. Mirbel had failed to make use of the
method of treatment which he had prescribed for her eyes. Young Mirbel,
on the contrary, sole object of the desires and longings of his poor
mother, occupies the highest plane, and is the central figure of the
vision. He now speaks Martian and no longer understands French, which
complicates the conversation somewhat. Further, not possessing the
power of moving tables upon our globe, it is through the intervention
of the medium, by incarnating himself momentarily in Mlle. Smith, that
he henceforth communicates with his mother. These two latter points
in their turn cause certain difficulties to arise, which, acting as a
ferment or a suggestion, will later usher in a new step in the progress
of the romance: Alexis Mirbel cannot return to incarnate himself in
a terrestrial medium if he is imprisoned in his Martian existence;
he must first terminate that and return to the condition in which he
again floats in interplanetary space; which “fluid” or wandering state
permits him at the same time to give us the French translation of
the Martian tongue; since, according to spiritism, a complete memory
of previous existences, and consequently of the various languages
pertaining to them, is temporarily recovered during the phases of

These anticipatory hints will assist the reader in following more
easily the thread of the somnambulistic romance in the résumé of its
principal stages.

February 2, 1896.—I sum up, by enumerating them, the principal
somnambulistic phases of this seance, which lasted more than two hours
and a half, and at which Mme. Mirbel assisted.

1. Increasing hemisomnambulism, with gradual loss of consciousness of
the real environment—at the beginning the table bows several times to
Mme. Mirbel, announcing that the coming scene is intended for her.
After a series of elementary visual hallucinations (rainbow colors,
etc.), meaning for Mme. Mirbel that she would finally become blind,
Hélène arose, left the table, and held a long conversation with an
imaginary woman who wished her to enter a curious little car without
wheels or horses. She became impatient towards this woman, who, after
having at first spoken to her in French, now persisted in speaking in
an unintelligible tongue, like Chinese. Leopold revealed to us by the
little finger that it was the language of the planet Mars, that this
woman is the mother of Alexis Mirbel, reincarnated on that planet,
and that Hélène herself will speak Martian. Presently Hélène begins
to recite with increasing volubility an incomprehensible jargon, the
beginning of which is as follows (according to notes taken by M.
Lemaître at the time, as accurately as possible): “=Mitchma mitchmon
mimini tchouainem mimatchineg masichinof mézavi patelki abrésinad
navette naven navette mitchichénid naken chinoutoufiche=”.... From this
point the rapidity prevented the recognition of anything else, except
such scraps as “=téké ... katéchivist ... méguetch=,” ... or “=méketch
... kété ... chiméké=.” After a few minutes, Hélène interrupts
herself, crying out, “Oh, I have had enough of it; you say such words
to me I will never be able to repeat them.” Then, with some reluctance,
she consents to follow her interlocutrix into the car which was to
carry her to Mars.

2. The trance is now complete. Hélène thereupon mimics the voyage to
Mars in three phases, the meaning of which is indicated by Leopold:
a regular rocking motion of the upper part of the body (passing
through the terrestrial atmosphere), absolute immobility and rigidity
(interplanetary space), again oscillations of the shoulders and the
bust (atmosphere of Mars). Arrived upon Mars, she descends from the
car, and performs a complicated pantomime expressing the manners of
Martian politeness: uncouth gestures with the hands and fingers,
slapping of the hands, taps of the fingers upon the nose, the lips, the
chin, etc., twisted courtesies, glidings, and rotation on the floor,
etc. It seems that is the way people approach and salute each other up

3. This sort of dance having suggested to one of the sitters the idea
of performing upon the piano, Hélène suddenly fell upon the floor in an
evidently hypnotic state, which had no longer a Martian character. At
the cessation of the music she entered into a mixed state, in which the
memory of the Martian visions continually mingle themselves with some
idea of her terrestrial existence. She talks to herself. “Those dreams
are droll, all the same.... I must tell that to M. Lemaître. When he
[the Martian Alexis Mirbel] said ‘Good-day’ to me, he tapped himself
upon the nose.... He spoke to me in a queer language, but I understood
it perfectly, all the same,” etc. Seated on the ground, leaning
against a piece of furniture, she continues, soliloquizing in French,
in a low voice, to review the dream, mingling with it some wandering
reflections. She finds, for example, that the young Martian (Alexis)
was a remarkably big boy for one only five or six years old, as he
claimed to be, and that the woman seemed very young to be his mother.

4. After a transitory phase of sighs and hiccoughs, followed by
profound sleep with muscular relaxation, she enters into Martian
somnambulism and murmurs some confused words: “=Késin ouitidjé=” ...
etc. I command her to speak French to me; she seems to understand, and
replies in Martian, with an irritated and imperious tone, I ask her
to tell me her name; she replies, “=Vasimini Météche=.” With the idea
that, perhaps, she “is incarnating” the young Alexis, of whom she has
spoken so much in the preceding phase, I urge Mme. Mirbel to approach
her, and thereupon begins a scene of incarnation really very affecting;
Mme. Mirbel is on her knees, sobbing bitterly, in the presence of her
recovered son, who shows her marks of the most profound affection and
caresses her hands “exactly as he was accustomed to do during his
last illness,” all the time carrying on a discourse in Martian (=tin
is toutch=), which the poor mother cannot understand, but to which an
accent of extreme sweetness and a tender intonation impart an evident
meaning of words of consolation and filial tenderness. This pathetic
duet lasted about ten minutes, and was brought to an end by a return
to lethargic sleep, from which Hélène awakened at the end of a quarter
of an hour, pronouncing a short Martian word, after which she instantly
recovered the use of her French and her normal waking state.

5. Questioned as to what had passed, Hélène, while drinking tea,
narrates the dream which she has had. She has a sufficiently clear
memory of her journey and of what she has seen on Mars, with
the exception of the young man, of whom she has retained only a
recollection of the scene of incarnation.

But suddenly, in the midst of the conversation, she begins to speak in
Martian, without appearing to be aware of it, and while continuing to
chat with us in the most natural manner; she appeared to understand
all our words, and answered in her strange idiom, in the most normal
tone, and seemed very much astonished when we told her that we did
not understand her language; she evidently believes she is speaking
French.[14] By questioning her concerning a visit which she had made
a few days before to M. C., and asking her the number and the names
of the persons whom she met there, we succeed in identifying the four
following Martian words: =Métiche S.=, _Monsieur S._; =Médache C.=,
_Madame C._; =Métaganiche Smith=, _Mademoiselle Smith_; =kin’t’che=,
_four_. After which she resumes definitively her French. Interrogated
as to the incident which has transpired, she is astounded, has only a
hesitating and confused memory of her having spoken at all this evening
of her visit to M. C., and does not recognize nor understand the four
Martian words given above when they are repeated to her. On several
occasions during this seance I had made the suggestion to Hélène that
at a given signal, after her awaking, she would recover the memory of
the Martian words pronounced by her and of their meaning. But Leopold,
who was present, declared that this command would not be obeyed, and
that a translation could not be obtained this evening. The signal,
though often repeated, was, in fact, without result.

It has seemed to me necessary to describe with some detail this seance,
at which the Martian language made its first appearance, in order to
place before the reader all the fragments which we have been able to
gather, without, of course, any guarantee of absolute accuracy, since
every one knows how difficult it is to note the sounds of unknown
words. A curious difference is to be noticed between the words picked
up in the course of the seance and the four words several times
repeated by Hélène, the meaning and pronunciation of which have been
determined with complete accuracy in the post-hypnotic return of the
somnambulistic dream. Judged by these latter, the Martian language
is only a puerile counterfeit of French, of which she preserves in
each word a number of syllables and certain conspicuous letters. In
the other phrases, on the contrary, also making use of later texts
which have been translated, as we shall see hereafter, it cannot be
discovered what it is. We are constrained to believe that these first
outbreaks of Martian, characterized by a volubility which we have
rarely met with since then, was only a pseudo-Martian, a continuation
of sounds uttered at random and without any real meaning, analogous
to the gibberish which children use sometimes in their games of
“pretending” to speak Chinese or Indian, and that the real Martian was
only created by an unskilful distortion of French, in a post-hypnotic
access of hemisomnambulism, in order to respond to the manifest desire
of the sitters to obtain the precise significance of some isolated
Martian words.

The impossibility, announced by Leopold, of procuring a translation
that same evening of the pretended Martian spoken for the first time
during that seance, and the fact that it could not again be obtained,
give some support to the preceding theory.

The circumstance that Hélène, in remembering her dream in phase No.
3, had the sentiment of having _well understood_ this unknown jargon,
is not an objection, since the children who amuse themselves by
simulating an uncouth idiom—to recur to that example—do not retain
the least consciousness of the ideas which their gibberish is assumed
to express. It seems, in short, that if this new language was already
really established at that time in Hélène’s subliminal consciousness
to the point of sustaining fluently discourses of several minutes’
duration, some phrases at least would not have failed to gush forth,
spontaneously sometimes, in the course of ordinary life, and in order
to throw light upon visions of Martian people or landscapes. More
than seven months had to elapse before that phenomenon, which was so
frequent afterwards, began to appear.

May we not see in this half-year a period of incubation, employed in
the subliminal fabrication of a language, properly so called—that is
to say, formed of precise words and with a definite signification, in
imitation of the four terms just referred to—to replace the disordered
nonsense of the beginning?

However it may be, and to return to our story, one can imagine the
interest which that sudden and unexpected apparition of mysterious
speech aroused, and which the authority of Leopold would not allow to
be taken for anything other than the language of Mars. The natural
curiosity of Hélène herself, as well as that of her friends, to know
more about our neighbors of other worlds and their way of expressing
themselves should naturally have contributed to the development of the
subliminal dream. The following seance, unhappily, did not justify the
promise with which it began.

February 16, 1896.—“At the beginning of this seance, Hélène has a
vision of Alexis Mirbel, who announces, by means of the table, that he
has not forgotten his French, and that he will give a translation of
the Martian words another day. But this prediction is not fulfilled.
Whether Hélène, for the reason that she is not feeling well to-day,
or that the presence of some one antipathetic to her has hindered the
production of the phenomena, the Martian somnambulism, which seemed
on the point of breaking forth, did not make its appearance. Hélène
remains in a crepuscular state, in which the feeling of present reality
and the Martian ideas on the level of consciousness interfere with and
mutually obscure each other. She speaks in French with the sitters,
but mingling with it here and there a strange word (such as =méche=,
=chinit=, =chéque=, which, according to the context, seem to signify
_pencil_, _ring_, _paper_), and appears far away from her actual
surroundings. She is astonished, in particular, at the sight of M. R.
occupied in taking notes by the _procès verbal_, and seems to find
that manner of writing with a pen or pencil strange and absurd, but
without explaining clearly how it was to be otherwise accomplished.
The importance of this seance is in the fact that the idea stands out
clearly (which was not to be realized until a year and a half later) of
a mode of handwriting peculiar to the planet Mars.”

This seance, which was almost a failure, was the last of that period.
Hélène’s health, which became more and more impaired by standing too
long on her feet and overwork at her desk, necessitated her taking a
complete rest. I have mentioned the fact that during these six months,
without any regular seances, she was subject to a superabundance
of spontaneous visions and somnambulisms; but these automatisms
belonged to the Hindoo or other cycles, and I do not believe that
she experienced during that time any phenomena which were clearly
related to the Martian romance. On the other hand, as soon as she was
re-established in and had returned to her normal mode of life, the
latter appeared again with all the more intensity, dating from the
following nocturnal vision. (See Fig. 9.)

September 5, 1896.—Hélène narrates that having arisen at a quarter-past
three in the morning to take in some flowers that stood upon the
window-sill and were threatened by the wind, instead of going back
to bed immediately she sat down upon her bed and saw before her
a landscape and some peculiar people. She was on the border of a
beautiful blue-pink lake, with a bridge the sides of which were
transparent and formed of yellow tubes like the pipes of an organ,
of which one end seemed to be plunged into the water. The earth was
peach-colored; some of the trees had trunks widening as they ascended,
while those of others were twisted. Later a crowd approached the
bridge, in which one woman was especially prominent. The women wore
hats which were flat, like plates. Hélène does not know who these
people are, but has the feeling of having conversed with them. On
the bridge there was a man of dark complexion (Astané), carrying in
his hands an instrument somewhat resembling a carriage-lantern in
appearance, which, being pressed, emitted flames, and which seemed
to be a flying-machine. By means of this instrument the man left the
bridge, touched the surface of the water, and returned again to the
bridge. This tableau lasted twenty-five minutes, since Hélène, upon
returning to consciousness, observed that her candle was still burning
and ascertained that it was then 3.40 o’clock. She is convinced that
she did not fall asleep, but was wide awake during all of this vision.
(See Figs. 10 and 11.)

From that time the spontaneous Martian visions are repeated and
multiplied. Mlle. Smith experiences them usually in the morning, after
awaking and before rising from her bed; sometimes in the evening, or
occasionally at other times during the day. It is in the course of
these visual hallucinations that the Martian language appears again
under an auditive form.

September 22, 1896.—During these last days Hélène has seen again
on different occasions the Martian man, with or without his
flying-machine; for example, he appeared to her while she was taking a
bath, at the edge of the bath-tub. She has had several times visions
of a strange house the picture of which followed her with so much
persistency that she finally painted it (see Fig. 12). At the same
time she heard on three different occasions a sentence the meaning of
which she does not know, but which she was able to take down with her
pencil as follows: “=Dodé né ci haudan té méche métiche Astané ké dé mé
véche.=” (As was ascertained six weeks after, by the translation given
in the seance of the 2d of November, this phrase indicates that the
strange house is that of the Martian man, who is called Astané.)

This phrase was undoubtedly Martian, but what was the meaning of it?
After having hoped in vain for nearly a month that the meaning would be
revealed in some way or other, I decided to try a disguised suggestion.
I wrote to Leopold himself a letter, in which I appealed to his
omniscience as well as to his kindness to give me some enlightenment
in regard to the strange language which piqued our curiosity, and,
in particular, as to the meaning of the phrase Hélène had heard. I
asked him to answer me in writing, by means of Hélène’s hand. We did
not have to wait long for a reply. Hélène received my letter the
20th of October, and on the evening of the 22d, seized with a vague
desire to write, she took a pencil, which placed itself in the regular
position, between the thumb and the index-finger (whereas she always
held her pen between the middle and index-finger), and traced rapidly,
in the characteristic handwriting of Leopold and with his signature,
a beautiful epistle of eighteen Alexandrine lines addressed to me, of
which the ten last are as follows, being an answer to my request that
the secrets of Martian be revealed to me:

    “Ne crois pas qu’en t’aimant comme un bien tendre frère
    Je te diroi des cieux tout le profond mystère;
    Je t’aideroi beaucoup, je t’ouvriroi la voie,
    Mais à toi de saisir et chercher avec joie;
    Et quand tu la verras d’ici-bas détachée,
    Quand son âme mobile aura pris la volée
    Et planera sur Mars aux superbes couleurs;
    Si tu veux obtenir d’elle quelques lueurs,
    Pose bien doucement, ta main sur son front pâle
    Et prononce bien bas le doux nom d’Esenale!”[15]

I have been very sensible to the pledges of fraternal affection that
Leopold has accorded me, but this time I was especially moved, and
although the very uncommon name of Esenale meant absolutely nothing
to me, I took care not to forget the singular rule which had been
furnished me. At the following seance an opportunity for using it
presented itself, and Leopold went so far as to direct himself the
application of his method by giving us his instructions, sometimes with
one finger, sometimes with another, during Hélène’s Martian trance.

Monday, November 2, 1896.—After various characteristic symptoms of the
departure for Mars (vertigo, affection of the heart, etc.), Hélène went
in a deep sleep. I had recourse to the prescribed method, but Leopold,
by the fingers of the right hand, indicated that the proper moment had
not yet arrived, and said: “When the soul shall again have regained
possession of itself thou shalt execute my order; she will then
describe to you, while still asleep, that which she shall have seen
on Mars.” Shortly after he adds, “Make her sit down in an easy-chair”
(instead of the uncomfortable one which she had taken, as was her
wont); then, as her peaceful sleep still continued, he informs us
again that she is _en route_ towards Mars; that once arrived up there
she understands the Martian spoken around her, although she has never
learned it; that it is not he, Leopold, who will translate the Martian
for us—not because he does not wish to do so, but because he cannot;
that this translation is the performance of Esenale, who is actually
disincarnate in space, but who has recently lived upon Mars, and also
upon the earth, which permits him to act as interpreter, etc.

After half an hour of waiting, Hélène’s calm sleep gave way to
agitation, and she passed into another form of somnambulism, with
sighs, rhythmic movements of the head and hands, then grotesque Martian
gestures and French words murmured softly to the hearing of Leopold,
who seems to accompany her on Mars, and to whom she confides some of
her impressions in regard to that which she perceives. In the midst of
this soliloquy a vertical movement of the arm, peculiar to Leopold,
indicates that the moment has arrived for carrying out his directions.
I place my hand on Hélène’s forehead, and utter the name of Esenale,
to which Hélène replies in a soft, feeble, somewhat melancholy, voice:
“Esenale has gone away ... he has left me alone ... but he will return,
... he will soon return.... He has taken me by the hand and made me
enter the house [that which she saw in her vision, and of which she
made the drawing a month ago—see Fig. 12].... I do not know where
Esenale is leading me, but he has said to me, ‘=Dodé né ci haudan té
méche métiche Astané ké dé mé véche=,’ but I did not understand; ...
=dodé=, _this_; =né=, _is_; =ci=, _the_; =haudan=, _house_; =te=, _of
the_; =méche=, _great_; =métiche=, _man_; =Astané=, _Astané_; =ké=,
_whom_; =dé=, _thou_; =mé=, _hast_; =véche=, _seen_.... This is the
house of the great man Astané, whom thou hast seen.... Esenale has told
me that.... Esenale has gone away.... He will return ... he will soon
return ... he will teach me to speak ... and Astané will teach me to

I have abridged this long monologue, constantly interrupted by
silences, and the continuation of which I only obtained by having
constant recourse to the name of Esenale as the magic word, alone
capable of extracting each time a few words from Hélène’s confused
brain. After the last sentence or phrase, in which one can see a
categorical prediction of the Martian writing, her weak, slow voice
was finally hushed, and Leopold directs by means of his left middle
finger the removal of the hand from the forehead. Then follow the
customary alternations of lethargic sleep, sighs, catalepsy, momentary
relapses into somnambulism, etc. Then she opens her eyes permanently,
very much surprised to find herself in the easy-chair. Her brain is
greatly confused. “It seems to me as though I had a great many things
on my mind, but I cannot fix upon anything.” By degrees she regains
a clear consciousness, but of the entire seance, which has lasted an
hour and a half, there only remain some fragments of Martian visions
and no recollection whatever of the scene with Esenale and that of the

This process of translation, the first application of which is here
presented, becomes from this time the standard method.

For more than two years and a half, the imposition of the hand upon
Hélène’s forehead and the uttering of the name of Esenale at the
proper moment during the trance constitute the “open sesame” of the
Martian-French dictionary buried in the subliminal strata of Hélène’s
consciousness. The idea of this ceremonial is evidently to awaken by
suggestion—in a certain favorable somnambulistic phase, which Leopold
recognizes and himself announces by a gesture of the arm—the secondary
personality which has amused itself by composing the phrases of this
extra-terrestrial language.

In spiritistic terms, it amounts to invoking the disincarnate Esenale,
otherwise called Alexis Mirbel, who, having lived on both planets, can
easily devote himself to the functions of an interpreter.

The only difference between this scene of translation and other seances
is in the ease and rapidity with which it is performed. Esenale seems
sometimes to be thoroughly asleep and difficult to awaken; Hélène
persists in replying by the stereotyped refrain, and incessantly
repeats, in her soft and melancholy voice, “Esenale has gone away—he
will soon return—he has gone away—he will soon return.” Then some more
energetic passes or friction on the forehead are necessary, instead of
the simple pressure of the hand, in order to break up this mechanical
repetition, which threatens to go on forever, and in order to obtain,
finally, the repetition and translation, word by word, of the Martian
texts. Otherwise the voice continues identical with that of the
refrain, soft and feeble, and one can never know whether it is Esenale
himself who is making use of Hélène’s phonetic apparatus without
modifying it, or whether it is she herself, repeating in her sleep what
Esenale has told her; the categorical distinctness and absence of all
hesitation in pronunciation of the Martian are in favor of the former
supposition, which is also corroborated by the fact that it was also
in this same voice that Alexis Mirbel (Esenale) spoke to his mother in
the scenes of incarnation. (See Fig. 13.)

 [Illustration: Fig. 13. Martian landscape. Greenish-yellow sky. A
 man with a yellow complexion, dressed in white, in a boat of brown,
 yellow, black, and red colors on a blue-green lake; rose-tinted rock,
 with white and yellow spots; dark green vegetation; buildings of
 brown, red, and rose-lilac tints, with white window-panes and curtains
 of bright blue.]

It would be wearisome to recount in detail all the further
manifestations of the Martian cycle, which occur frequently in numerous
seances and also under the form of spontaneous visions in the daily
life of Mlle. Smith. The reader can gain an idea of them both from the
remarks of the following paragraph, as well as from the explanatory
résumés added to the Martian texts, which will be collected in the
following chapter. It merely remains for me to say a word here as
to the manner in which the pictures of Hélène relative to Mars, and
reproduced in autotype in the Figs. 9 to 20, have been made.

None of these pictures has been executed in complete somnambulism, and
they have not, consequently, like the drawings of certain mediums, the
interest of a graphic product, absolutely automatic, engendered outside
of and unknown to the ordinary consciousness. They are nothing more
than simple compositions of the normal consciousness of Mlle. Smith.
They represent a type of intermediary activity, and correspond to a
state of hemisomnambulism. We have seen above (p. 20) that already in
her childhood Hélène seems to have executed various pieces of work in
a semi-automatic manner. The same performance is often reproduced on
the occasion of the Martian visions, which sometimes pursue her so
persistently that she decides to execute them with pencil and brush;
work which, in anticipation, often frightens her by its difficulty,
but which, when the time comes, accomplishes itself, to her great
astonishment, with an ease and perfection almost mechanical. Here is an

One Tuesday evening, having already retired, Hélène saw on her bed some
magnificent flowers, very different from ours, but without perfume,
and which she did not touch, for during her visions she has no idea of
moving, and remains inert and passive. The afternoon of the following
day, at her desk, she found herself enveloped in a red light, and at
the same time felt an indefinable but violent affection of the heart
(_aura_ of the voyage to Mars). “The red light continues about me, and
I find myself surrounded by extraordinary flowers of the kind which I
saw on my bed, but they had no perfume. I will bring you some sketches
of them on Sunday.” She sent them to me, in fact, on Monday, with the
following note: “I am very well satisfied with my plants. They are the
exact reproduction of those which it afforded me so much pleasure to
behold [No. 3, in Fig. 16, which, beforehand, Hélène despaired of being
able to render well], which appeared to me on the latter occasion, and
I greatly regret that you were not here to see me execute the drawing:
the pencil glided so quickly that I did not have time to notice what
contours it was making. I can assert without any exaggeration that
it was not my hand alone that made the drawing, but that truly an
invisible force guided the pencil in spite of me. The various tints
appeared to me upon the paper, and my brush was directed in spite of
me towards the color which I ought to use. This seems incredible, but
it is, notwithstanding, the exact truth, The whole was done so quickly
that I marvelled at it.”

 [Illustration: Fig. 9. Martian landscape. Pink bridge, with yellow
 railings plunging down into a pale-blue and purple-tinted lake. The
 shores and hills of a red color, no green being visible. All the trees
 are of a brick-red, purple, or violet tint. [From the collection of M.

[Illustration: Fig. 15, Fig. 16, Fig. 17

 Fig. 15. Light-brown and yellow trunk and leaves; double-lobed flowers
 of a vivid red, out of which proceed yellow stamens like black
 threads. Fig. 16. Large leaves, light yellowish brown; flowers with
 purple petals with black stamens and black stems covered with little
 purple leaves like petals. Fig. 17. Large violet fruit with black
 spots, surmounted by a yellow and violet plume. The trunk of brown
 color with black veins, with six branches of the same character ending
 in a yellow hook. Red-brick soil.]

The house of Astané (Fig. 12), and the extensive landscapes of Figs.
13 and 14, are also the products of a quasi-automatic activity, which
always gives great satisfaction to Mlle. Smith. It is, in a way, her
subliminal self which holds the brush and executes, at its pleasure,
its own tableaux, which also have the value of veritable originals.
Other drawings, on the contrary (for example, the portrait of Astané,
Fig. 11), which have given Hélène much trouble without having satisfied
her very well, should be regarded as simple copies from memory, by the
ordinary personality, of past visions, the memory of which is graven
upon her mind in a manner sufficiently persistent to serve as a model
several days afterwards. In both cases, but especially in the first,
Hélène’s paintings may be considered as faithful reproductions of the
tableaux which unfold themselves before her, and consequently give us
better than most verbal descriptions an idea of the general character
of her Martian visions.

Let us see now what kind of information the messages and somnambulisms
of Hélène furnish us in regard to the brilliant planet whose
complicated revolutions formerly revealed to a Kepler the fundamental
secrets of modern astronomy.


In using the word “romance” to designate the Martian communications,
taken as a whole, I wish to state that they are, to my mind, a work
of pure imagination, but not that there are to be found in them
characteristics of unity and of internal co-ordination, of sustained
action, of increasing interest to the final dénouement. The Martian
romance is only a succession of detached scenes and tableaux, without
order or intimate connection, and showing no other common traits beyond
the unknown language spoken in it, the quite frequent presence of the
same personages, and a certain fashion of originality, a color or
quality badly defined as “exotic” or “bizarre” in the landscapes, the
edifices, the costumes, etc.

Of a consecutive plot or intrigue, properly so called, there is no
trace. I naturally speak only of that which we have learned from the
seances of Mlle. Smith, or from the spontaneous visions which she
recollects sufficiently to narrate afterwards. But this fails to shadow
forth the hidden source whence they all spring.

Without determining the question, I am inclined, nevertheless, to
accord to the Martian romance, in some profound stratum of Hélène’s
being, a much greater continuity and extent than would appear from
judging it solely by the fragments known to us. We have only, in my
opinion, a few pages, taken at hazard from different chapters; the bulk
of the volume is wanting, and the little we possess does not enable
us to reconstruct it in a satisfactory manner. We must, therefore, be
content with sorting this _débris_ of unequal importance, according to
their content, independently of their chronological order, and grouping
them around the principal personages which figure in them.

The anonymous and mixed crowd which forms the base of some of the
Martian visions only differs from that of our own country by the large
robe common to both sexes, the flat hats, and the sandals bound to the
feet by straps. The interest is confined to a small number of more
distinct personages having each his own name, always terminating in an
_e_ with the men and in an _i_ with the women, except only in the case
of Esenale, who occupies, however, a place by himself in his quality of
disincarnated Martian, fulfilling the function of interpreter. Let us
begin by saying a few words about him.


We have seen (p. 164) that this name was hinted at by Leopold on the
22d of October, 1896, without any other explanation as a means of
obtaining the signification of the Martian words. Then at the first
recurrence to this talisman (November 2d, see p. 166) we learn only
that he was a deceased inhabitant of Mars, whose acquaintance Leopold
had recently made in interplanetary space. It was only at the following
seance (November 8th), where we find Mme. Mirbel, that, after an
incarnation of her son Alexis, followed by the scene of translation
(see text 3) and in response to questions of the sitters—which
answered very well the purpose of suggestion—Leopold affirmed by
the left index-finger that Esenale was Alexis Mirbel. It cannot be
determined whether that identification constituted a primitive fact
which it pleased Leopold to keep secret, only revealing it at the
end of a seance at which Mme. Mirbel was present, or whether, as
I am inclined to regard it, it was only established at that same
seance, under the domination of the circumstances of the moment. As a
translator of Martian, Esenale did not show great talent. He had to be
entreated, and it was necessary often to repeat his name while pressing
or rubbing Hélène’s forehead, in order to obtain the exact meaning
of the last texts which had been given. He possessed, it is true, an
excellent memory, and faithfully reproduced, before giving it word by
word, the French for the Martian phrases which Hélène had heard several
weeks before and only seen again five or six months afterwards (text
24), and of which there had been no previous opportunity to obtain a
translation. But it was to these latter texts, not yet interpreted,
that he confined his willingness; on two occasions only did he add, of
his own accord, some words of no importance (texts 15 and 36.) Text
No. 19, for instance, has always remained untranslated, and my later
efforts (June 4, 1899) to obtain the meaning of the unknown words =milé
piri= have been in vain; moreover, Esenale has not been able to fill up
the gaps in text No. 24.

Alexis Mirbel, after the two first Martian seances, reported on pp.
146 and 154, called Esenale, often accorded his mother, in scenes of
incarnation, somewhat pathetic, touching messages of filial tenderness
and consolation (texts 3, 4, 11, 15, and 18). It is to be noted that,
although opportunities for continuing this rôle were not wanting,
he appears to have completely abandoned it for the last two years.
His last message of this kind (October 10, 1897, text 18) followed a
month after a curious seance in which Leopold sought to explain to
us spontaneously—no one had mentioned the subject—certain flagrant
contradictions in the first manifestations of Alexis-Esenale. Here is a
résumé of that scene, with the text of Leopold’s communication:

September 12, 1897.—After sundry waking visions, Mlle. Smith hears
Leopold speaking; her eyes are closed, and, appearing to be asleep, she
repeats, mechanically and in a slow and feeble voice, the following
words, which her guide addresses to her: “Thou art going to pay close
attention. Tell them now [the sitters] to keep as quiet as possible,
that is what often mars the phenomena, the comings and goings, and the
idle chatter of which you are never weary. You recollect there was,
several months ago, a young man, that young man Alexis Mirbel, who
came to give counsel to his mother at a reunion you held with M. (I do
not understand the name he gave) ... at Carouge[16].... Well, at that
moment he happened—that is to say, two days before—to die on ... (I
could not understand the name) ... where he had been ... or he had
regained life.[17] This is why I have come to tell you to-day he was
in that phase of separation of the material part from the soul which
permitted him to recollect his previous existence—that is to say, his
life here below in this state; he not only recollects his first mother,
but can speak once more the language he used to speak with her. Some
time after, when the soul was finally at rest, he no longer recollected
that first language; he returns, he hovers about (his mother), sees her
with joy, but is incapable of speaking to her in your language.[18]
Whether it will return to him I do not know and cannot say, but I
believe that it will. And now listen.” Here Mlle. Smith seems to awake,
opens her eyes, and has a long Martian vision, which she describes in
detail. She now sees a little girl in a yellow robe, whose name she
hears as =Anini Nikaïné=, occupied with various childish games—_e. g._,
with a small wand she makes a number of grotesque little figures dance
in a white tub, large and shallow, full of sky-blue water. Then come
other persons, and, finally, Astané, who has a pen in his fingers, and,
little by little, takes hold of Hélène’s arm and throws her into a deep
trance for the purpose of causing her to write text No. 17.

These spontaneous explanations of Leopold are interesting in that they
betray clearly the subliminal desire to introduce some order and logic
into the incoherences of the mediumistic reveries. It is a form of
the process of justification and retrospective interpretation intended
to make the incidents of the past accord with the dominant ideas of
the present (see p. 95). In appearance, the theory upon which Leopold
rested, after having doubtless meditated long, is quite awkward;
but perhaps it was difficult for him to do better, since no one can
accomplish the impossible.


“The great man Astané” is the reincarnation on Mars of the Hindoo
fakir Kanga, who was a devoted companion and friend of Simandini. He
has preserved in his new existence the special character of savant or
of sorcerer, which he formerly possessed in India, and he has equally
retained all his affection for his princess of old, who has been
restored to him in Mlle. Smith; he frequently utilizes his magic powers
to _evoke_ her—that is to say, to re-enter into spiritual communication
with her, notwithstanding the distances between their actual places
of habitation. The ways and means of that evocation remain, however,
enveloped in mystery. We cannot say whether it was Hélène that rejoined
Astané on Mars during her somnambulism, or whether it was he who
descended “fluidly” towards her and brought to her the odors of the
far-distant planet.

When Astané says to Hélène, during a seance: “Come to me an instant.
Come and admire these flowers,” etc. (text 8), or shows her the
curiosities of his Martian abode, it seems as though he had really
called her to him through space; but when he appears to her, while
awake, at the edge of her bath-tub, and expresses his chagrin at
finding her still on this miserable earth (text 7), it must be admitted
that it is he who has descended to her and inspires her with these
visions of an upper world. It is of no importance, on the whole. It
is here to be noted that, in these evocations, Astané only manifests
himself in visual and auditive hallucinations, never in tactile
impressions or those of general sensibility; in the sphere of emotion
his presence is accompanied by a great calm on the part of Hélène, a
profound bliss, and an ecstatic disposition, which is the correlative
and pendant of the happiness experienced by Astané himself (texts 10,
17, etc.) at finding himself in the presence of his idol of the past.
The social state of Astané—I should rather say his name, his quality
of sorcerer, and his previous terrestrial existence in the body of
Kanga—was not immediately revealed.

Nevertheless, at his first apparition (September 5, 1896, see p.
162), he rises superior to the crowd, inasmuch as he alone possesses
a flying-machine incomprehensible to us. In the following weeks Mlle.
Smith hears his name, and sees him again on many occasions, as well as
his house (Fig. 12), but it is only at the end of two months and a half
that his identity and his “evocative” powers become known, at a seance
at which I was not present, and during which Hélène did not, contrary
to her usual custom, fall completely asleep. The following is a résumé
of the notes, which I owe to the kindness of M. Cuendet:

November 19, 1896.—Contrary to the experience of the preceding seances,
Mlle. Smith remained constantly awake, her arms free on the table,
conversing and even laughing all the while with the sitters. The
messages were obtained by means of visions and typtological dictations.
Hélène having asked Leopold how it happens that she had been able to
communicate with a being living on Mars, she has a vision in which
Astané appears to her in a costume more Oriental than Martian. “Where
have I seen that costume?” asks she; and the table replies “_In
India_,” which indicates that Astané is an ex-Hindoo reincarnated on
Mars. At the same time Hélène has a vision of an Oriental landscape
which she believes she has already seen before, but without knowing
where. She sees Astané there, carrying under his arm rolls of paper of
a dirty white color, and bowing in Oriental fashion before a woman,
also clothed in Oriental garments, whom she also believes she has seen
before. These personages appear to her to be “inanimate, like statues.”
The sitters ask whether the vision was not a simple tableau (of the
past) presented by Leopold; the table replies in the affirmative,
then inclines itself significantly towards Mlle. Smith, when some one
asked who that Oriental woman might be, and the idea is put forth that
possibly she represents Simandini. Finally, to further questions of the
sitters, the table (Leopold) dictates again that Astané in his Hindoo
existence was called _Kanga_, who was a “_sorcerer of the period_”;
then that “_Astané on the planet Mars possesses the same faculty of
evocation which he had possessed in India_.” Leopold is then asked if
the power of Astané is greater than his. “_A different power, of equal
strength_,” replies the table. Finally, Hélène desiring to know whether
Astané when he evokes her sees her in her real character or that of her
Hindoo incarnation, the table affirms that he sees her in her Hindoo
character, and adds: “_and, in consequence, under those characteristics
which she [Hélène] possesses to-day and which are in such striking
harmony with those of _Sima_N_dini_,” insisting on the _N_ in the middle
of the name.

It is to be remarked that at this sitting it was Leopold who gave all
the information in regard to the past of Astané, and that he recognizes
in him a power over Hélène almost equal to his own. It is strange that
the accredited guide of Mlle. Smith, ordinarily so jealous of his
rights over her and ready to take offence at all rival pretensions,
so freely accords such prerogatives to Astané. This unexpected
mildness is still more surprising when the singular similarity of
position of these two personages in regard to Hélène is considered.
Kanga, the Hindoo fakir, holds in the life of Simandini exactly the
same place as Cagliostro in the life of Marie Antoinette, the place
of a sorcerer giving beneficial counsel, and at the same time of a
platonic adorer, and both of them in their actual rôles of Astané and
of Leopold preserve for Mlle. Smith the respectful attachment which
they had for her illustrious former existences. How is it these two
extra-terrestrial pretenders do not hate each other the more cordially
since their rival claims upon Hélène have identical foundations? But,
far from in the least disputing her possession, they assist each
other in the most touching fashion. When Astané writes in Martian by
Mlle. Smith’s right hand that the noise of the sitters threatens to
make him insane (see text 20) it is Leopold who comes to his rescue
in making them keep silent by his gestures with the left arm. When
Leopold indicates to me that the moment for pressing Hélène’s forehead
has arrived, it is Astané who lends him his pencil in order that the
message may be written (see below, seance of September 12, 1897, and
Fig. 23), and the exchange of powers takes place between them without
the medium experiencing the least shock, and without its betraying
itself outwardly otherwise than by the difference of their handwriting.
It is true that Leopold’s apparitions to Hélène are infinitely more
frequent and his incarnations much more complete than those of Astané,
who shows himself to her at increasing intervals, and has never
attained to speaking by her mouth. It makes no difference: these two
personages resemble each other too much for mutual toleration—if they
are really two.

My conclusion presses. Astané is, at bottom, only a copy, a double, a
transposition in the Hindoo-Martian manner of Leopold. They are two
variations of one primitive theme. In regarding these two beings, as I
do, in the absence of proof to the contrary, not as real and objective
individualities, but as pseudo-personalities, dream fictions, fantastic
subdivisions of the hypnoid consciousness of Mlle. Smith, it may be
said that it is the same fundamental emotion which has inspired these
twin rôles, the details of which have been adapted by the subliminal
imagination to correspond to the diversity of the circumstances. The
contradiction painfully felt between the proud aspirations of the
_grande dame_ and the vexing ironies of reality has caused the two
tragic previous existences to gush forth—intrinsically identical,
in spite of the differences of place and epoch—of the noble girl of
Arabia, having become Hindoo princess, burned alive on the tomb of her
despot of a husband, and of her Austrian highness, having become Queen
of France and sharing the martyrdom of her spouse.

On parallel lines, in these two dreams issuing from the same emotional
source, it is the universal and constant taste of the human imagination
for the marvellous, allied to the very feminine need of a respectful
and slightly idolatrous protector, which on the one side has created
out of whole cloth the personage of Kanga-Astané, and on the other
hand has absorbed, without being careful in modifying authentic
history, that of Cagliostro-Leopold. Both are idealistic sorcerers, of
profound sagacity, tender-hearted, who have placed their great wisdom
at the service of the unfortunate sovereign and made for her, of their
devotion, amounting almost to adoration, a tower of strength, a supreme
consolation in the midst of all the bitternesses of real life. And as
Leopold acts as guide for Hélène Smith in the general course of her
actual earthly existence, so Astané seemingly plays the same rôle in
the moments of that life in which Hélène leaves our sublunar world to
fly away to the orb of Mars.

 [Illustration: Fig. 12. House of Astané. Blue sky; soil, mountains,
 and walls of a red color. The two plants, with twisted trunks, have
 purple leaves; the others have long green lower leaves and small
 purple higher leaves. The framework of the doors, windows, and
 decorations are in the shape of trumpets, and are of a brownish-red
 color. White glass (?) and curtains or shades of a turquoise-blue. The
 railings of the roof are yellow, with blue tips.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 14. Martian landscape. Sky of yellow; green lake;
 gray shores bordered by a brown fence; bell-towers on the shore, in
 yellow-brown tones, with corners and pinnacles ornamented with pink
 and blue balls; hill of red rocks, with vegetation of a rather dark
 green interspersed with rose, purple, and white spots (flowers);
 buildings at the base constructed of brick-red lattice-work; edges and
 corners terminating in brown-red trumpets; immense white window-panes,
 with turquoise-blue curtains; roofs furnished with yellow-brown
 bell-turrets, brick-red battlements, or with green and red plants
 (like those of Astané’s house, Fig. 12). Persons with large white
 head-dresses and red or brown robes.]

If, then, Astané is only a reflection, a projection of Leopoldd in
the Martian sphere, he has there assumed a special coloring, and has
outwardly harmonized himself with this new situation.

He is clothed in a voluminous, embroidered robe; he has long hair, no
beard, a yellow complexion, and carries in his hand a white roll, on
which he writes with a point fastened to the end of the index-finger.

His house (Fig. 12) is quadrangular, with gates and windows, and
reminds one by its exterior aspect of some Oriental structure, with a
flat roof embellished with plants.

The inside is also appropriate. The furniture recalls ours by force
of contrast. We have few details; with the exception of a musical
instrument with vertical cylinders, closely related to our organs, upon
which Hélène sometimes sees and hears Astané playing, seated on a stool
with one foot, resembling a milking-stool.

When we pass to the garden the same amalgam of analogies and
unlikenesses to our flora are discovered. We have seen that Hélène has
been often haunted in the waking state by visions of Martian plants and
flowers, which she finally draws or paints with a facility approaching
automatism; these specimens, as also the trees scattered over the
landscapes, show that Martian vegetation does not differ essentially
from ours. Of the animals we do not know much. Astané has often with
him an ugly beast, which caused Hélène much fright on account of its
grotesque form—about two feet long, with a flat tail; it has the “head
of a cabbage,” with a big green eye in the middle (like the eye of
a peacock feather), and five or six pairs of paws, or ears all about
(see Fig. 18). This animal unites the intelligence of the dog with the
stupidity of the parrot, since on the one hand it obeys Astané and
fetches objects at his command (we do not know how), while, on the
other hand, it knows how to write, but in a manner purely mechanical.
(We have never had a specimen of this handwriting). (See Fig. 18.)

In fact, as to other animals, beyond the little black bird cited,
without description (text 20), and a species of female deer for the
purpose of nursing infants (text 36), Hélène saw only horrid aquatic
beasts like big snails, which Astané caught by means of iron nets
stretched over the surface of the water.

Astané’s property is enclosed by large red stones, on the border of the
water, where Hélène loves to retire with her guide to converse in peace
and to recall to mind with him the ancient and melancholy memories of
their Hindoo existence; the general tone of these conversations is
entirely the same as that of her conversations with Leopold.

There is a mountain also of red rocks, where Astané possesses some
excavated dwelling-places, a kind of grotto appropriate to the
sorcerer-savant which he is.

 [Illustration: Fig. 18. Astané’s ugly beast. The body and tail are
 rose-colored; the eye is green with a black centre; the head is
 blackish; the lateral appendices are brownish-yellow, covered, like
 the whole body, with pink hair.]

[Illustration: Fig. 11, Fig. 19

 Fig. 11. Astané. Yellow complexion, brown hair; brown sandals; roll
 of white paper in his hand; variegated costume, or red and white;
 brick-red belt and border. Fig. 19. Martian lamp, standing against a
 rose and blue-colored tapestry.]

The corpse of Esenale, admirably preserved, is also to be seen there,
among other things, about which the disincarnate Esenale sometimes
floats in “fluid” form, and which Hélène still finds soft to the
touch, when, after much hesitation, and not without fright, she gained
courage to touch it with the end of her finger, at the invitation of
Astané. It is also in this house, excavated in the rock, that Astané
has his observatory, a pit traversing the mountain, by means of which
he contemplates the heavens (text 9), our earth included, by means of a
telescope, which the beast with the head of a cabbage brings him.

To these qualities of savant Astané joins those of wise counsellor and
of patriarchal governor. We also see a young girl named Matêmi coming
to consult him frequently (texts 22 and 28), perhaps on matrimonial
affairs, since Matêmi reappears on several occasions with her lover
or her _fiancé_, Siké, and, among others, at a great family _fête_,
presided over by Astané. (See Fig. 19.)

The following are some details concerning that vision, which occupied
the greater part of a seance (November 28, 1897). Hélène sees, in a
vast, red, initial light, a Martian street appear, lighted neither by
lamps nor electricity, but by lights shining through small windows in
the walls of the houses. The interior of one of these houses becomes
visible to her: a superb, square hall, lighted at each angle by a kind
of lamp, formed of four superposed globes,—two blue and two white—not
of glass (Fig. 19); under each lamp a small basin, over which was a
kind of cornucopia pouring forth water. There were many ornamental
plants. In the middle of the hall, a grove, around which are placed a
number of small tables with a polished surface like nickel. There are
young people in Martian robes; young girls with long hair hanging down
their backs, and wearing at the back of the head a head-dress of roses;
colored blue or green butterflies attached to the neck.

There were at least thirty speaking Martian (but Hélène did not hear
them distinctly). Astané appeared “in a very ugly robe to-day,” and
showed himself full of friendly gallantry towards the young girls. He
seats himself alone at one of the tables while the young people take
their places at others, two couples at each. These tables are adorned
with flowers different from ours: some blue, with leaves in the shape
of almonds; others starry, and as white as milk, scented like musk;
others, again, the most beautiful, have the form of trumpets, either
blue or fire colored, with large rounded leaves, with black figures.
(See Fig. 20.)

Hélène hears Astané pronounce the name “Pouzé.” Then come two men in
long white trousers with a black sash; one wears a coat of rose color,
the other a white one. They carry ornamented trays, and, passing in
front of each table, they place square plates upon them, with forks
without handles, formed of three teeth an inch in length: for glasses
they had goblets like tea-cups, bordered with a silver thread. Then
they brought in a kind of basin a cooked animal resembling a cat, which
is placed before Astané, who twists it and cuts it rapidly with his
fingers, tipped with sharp silver tips; square pieces are distributed,
among the guests, on square plates with furrows around the edges for
the juice. Every one is filled with a wild gayety. Astané sits at each
table in succession, and the girls pass their hands through his hair.
New plates are brought, and pink, white, and blue basins tipped with
flowers. These basins melt, and are eaten like the flowers. Then the
guests wash their hands at little fountains in the corners of the room.

 [Illustration: Fig. 10. Flying-machine held by Astané, emitting yellow
 and red flames. [From the collection of M. Lemaître.]]

 [Illustration: Fig. 20. Plant of Martian design. Fire-red flowers;
 violet-gray leaves.]

Now one of the walls is raised, like the curtain of a theatre, and
Hélène sees a magnificent hall adorned with luminous globes, flowers,
and plants, with the ceiling painted in pink clouds on a pink sky, with
couches and pillows suspended along the walls. Then an orchestra of ten
musicians arrive, carrying a kind of gilded funnel about five feet in
height, with a round cover to the large opening, and at the neck a kind
of rake, on which they placed their fingers. Hélène hears music like
that made by flutes and sees every one moving; they arrange themselves
by fours, make passes and gestures, then reunite in groups of eight.
They glide about gently, for it could not be called dancing. They do
not clasp each other’s waists, but place their hands on each other’s
shoulders, standing some distance apart. It is terribly warm. It is
“boiling hot.” They stop, walk, talk, and it is then that Hélène hears
a tall young brunette (Matêmi) and a short young man (Siké) exchange
the first words of text No. 20. Then they depart in the direction of a
large bush with red flowers (_tamiche_) and are soon followed by Ramié
and his companion.

At this moment the vision, which has lasted an hour and a quarter,
passes away. Hélène, who had remained standing during the whole
description, now enters into complete somnambulism, and Astané causes
her to write Martian phrases which she had heard and repeated a short
time before. During the entire vision Leopold occupied her left hand,
which was hanging anæsthetically down her body, and replied by his
index-finger to the questions which I asked in a low voice. I thus
learned that this Martian scene was not a wedding, or any special
ceremony, but a simple family _fête_; that it was no recollection or
product of Hélène’s imagination but a reality actually passing on Mars:
that it was not Leopold but Astané who furnished this vision and caused
her to hear the music: that Leopold himself neither saw nor heard
anything of it all, yet knows all that Mlle. Smith sees and hears, etc.

This résumé of a family _fête_, presided over by Astané, gives the
measure of the originality of the people of Mars. The visions relating
to other incidents are of the same order: read the description of
the Martian nursery (text 36), of the voyage in a _miza_ a sort of
automobile, the mechanism of which is entirely unknown to us (text
23), of the operation of chirurgery (text 29), of the games of the
little Anini (p. 176, etc.). We see always the same general mixture
of imitation of things which transpire among us, and of infantile
modifications of them in the minute details.


Of the other personages who traverse the Martian visions we know too
little to waste much time upon them. The name of the one who appears
most frequently is Pouzé. He is present at the banquet, and we meet
him also in the company of a poor little withered old man with a
trembling voice, in connection with whom he occupies himself with
gardening or botany, in an evening promenade by the shore of the lake
(text 14). He also figures again by the side of an unknown person named
Paniné, and he has a son, Saïne, who had met with some accident to his
head and had been cured of it, to the great joy of his parents (texts
23 and 24).

Finally, we must devote a few words to Ramié, who manifests himself for
the first time in October, 1898, as the revealer of the ultra-Martian
world, of which we shall soon take cognizance. Ramié seems to be a
relative of Astané, an astronomer, not so brilliant as Astané, but
possessing the same privilege, which the ordinary Martians do not seem
to enjoy, of being able to take hold of Hélène’s arm, and of writing
with her hand. There is, to my mind, no fundamental difference between
Leopold, Astané, and Ramié, in their relation to Hélène; they are only
a reproduction in triplicate of one identical emotional relation, and
I do not think I am mistaken in regarding these three figures as three
very transparent disguises of the same fundamental personality, which
is only a hypnoid subdivision of the real being of Mlle. Smith.

It is much wiser to leave to the future—if the Martian and
ultra-Martian romances continue to develop—the task of enlightening
ourselves more completely as to the true character of Ramié. Possibly
some day we shall also know more concerning the couple called Matêmi
and Siké, as well as many others, such as Sazéni, Paniné, the little
Bullié, Romé, Fédié, etc., of whom we now know scarcely more than their
names, and understand nothing in regard to their possible relationships
to the central figures of Astané and Esenale.


The general ideas which the Martian cycle suggests will most assuredly
differ, according to whether it is considered as an authentic
revelation of affairs on the planet Mars, or only as a simple fantasy
of the imagination of the medium; and meanwhile, holding, myself, to
the second supposition, I demand from the Martian romance information
in regard to its author rather than its subject-matter.

There are two or three points concerning this unknown author which
strike me forcibly:

First: He shows a singular indifference—possibly it may be due to
ignorance—in regard to all those questions which are most prominent
at the present time, I will not say among astronomers, but among
people of the world somewhat fond of popular science and curious
concerning the mysteries of our universe. The canals of Mars, in the
first place—those famous canals with reduplication—temporarily more
enigmatical than those of the Ego of the mediums; then the strips of
supposed cultivation along their borders, the mass of snow around the
poles, the nature of the soil, and the conditions of life on those
worlds, in turn inundated and burning, the thousand and one questions
of hydrography, of geology, of biology, which the amateur naturalist
inevitably asks himself on the subject of the planet nearest to us—of
all this the author of the Martian romance knows nothing and cares
nothing. Questions of sociology do not trouble him to a much greater
extent, since the people occupying the most prominent place in the
Martian visions, and making the conversation, in no wise enlighten us
as to the civil and political organization of their globe, as to the
fine arts and religion, commerce and industry, etc. Have the barriers
of the nations fallen, and is there no longer a standing army up there,
except that of the laborer occupied in the construction and maintenance
of that gigantic net-work of canals for communication or irrigation?
Esenale and Astané have not deigned to inform us. It seems probable
from certain episodes that the family is, as with us, at the foundation
of Martian civilization; nevertheless, we have no direct or detailed
information in regard to this subject. It is useless to speculate.
It is evident that the author of this romance did not care much for
science, and that, in spite of her desire to comply with the wishes
of M. Lemaître (see p. 149), she had not the least conception of the
questions which arise in our day, in every cultivated mind, as to the
planet Mars and its probable inhabitants.

Secondly: If, instead of quarrelling with the Martian romance about
that which it fails to furnish us, we endeavor to appreciate the full
value of what it does give us, we are struck by two points, which I
have already touched upon more than once in passing—viz., the complete
identity of the Martian world, taken in its chief points, with the
world in which we live, and its puerile originality in a host of minor
details. Take, for example, the family _fête_ (p. 188). To be sure, the
venerable Astané is there saluted by a caress of the hair instead of a
hand-shake; the young couples while dancing grasp each other not by the
waist but by the shoulder; the ornamental plants do not belong to any
species known to us: but, save for these insignificant divergences from
our costumes and habits, as a whole, and in general tone, it is exactly
as with us.

The imagination which forged these scenes, with all their decoration,
is remarkably calm, thoughtful, devoted to the real and the probable.
The _miza_, which runs without a visible motor power, is neither more
nor less extraordinary to the uninitiated spectator than many of
the vehicles which traverse our roads. The colored globes placed in
an aperture of the walls of the houses to light the streets recall
strongly our electric lamps. Astané’s flying-machine will probably soon
be realized in some form or other. The bridges which disappear under
the water in order to allow boats to pass (text 25) are, save for a
technical person, as natural as ours which accomplish the same result
by lifting themselves in the air. With the exception of the “evocative”
powers of Astané, which only concern Mlle. Smith personally and do
not figure in any Martian scene, there is nothing on Mars which goes
beyond what has been attained or might be expected to be accomplished
by ingenious inventors here below.

A wise little imagination of ten or twelve years old would have deemed
it quite droll and original to make people up there eat on square
plates with a furrow for the gravy, of making an ugly beast with a
single eye carry the telescope of Astané to him, of making babies to be
fed by tubes running directly to the breasts of animals like the female
deer, etc. There is nothing of the _Thousand and One Nights_, the
_Metamorphoses_ of Ovid, fairy stories, or the adventures of Gulliver,
no trace of ogres nor of giants nor of veritable sorcerers in this
whole cycle. One would say that it was the work of a young scholar to
whom had been given the task of trying to invent a world as different
as possible from ours, but _real_, and who had conscientiously applied
himself to it, loosening the reins of his childish fancy in regard to
a multitude of minor points in the limits of what appeared admissible
according to his short and narrow experience.

Thirdly: By the side of these arbitrary and useless innovations the
Martian romance bears in a multitude of its characteristics a clearly
Oriental stamp, upon which I have already often insisted. The yellow
complexion and long black hair of Astané; the costume of all the
personages—robes embroidered or of brilliant hues, sandals with thongs,
flat white hats, etc., the long hair of the women and the ornaments in
the form of butterflies for their coiffures; the houses of grotesque
shapes, recalling the pagoda, kiosk, and minaret, the warm and glowing
colors of the skies, the water, the rocks, and the vegetation (see
Figs. 13 and 14), etc.: all this has a sham air of Japanese, Chinese,
Hindoo. It is to be noted that this imprint of the extreme East is
purely exterior, not in any wise penetrating to the characters or
manners of the personages.

All the traits that I discover in the author of the Martian romance can
be summed up in a single phrase, its profoundly infantile character.
The candor and imperturbable naïveté of childhood, which doubts
nothing because ignorant of everything, is necessary in order for one
to launch himself seriously upon an enterprise such as the pretended
exact and authentic depictions of an unknown world. An adult, in the
least cultivated and having some experience of life, would never waste
time in elaborating similar nonsense—Mlle. Smith less than any one,
intelligent and cultivated as she is in her normal state.

This provisional view of the author of the Martian cycle will find its
confirmation and its complement in the following chapters, in which
we shall examine the Martian language, from which I have until now

                              CHAPTER VI


Of the various automatic phenomena, the “speaking in tongues” is one
which at all times has most aroused curiosity, while at the same
time little accurate knowledge concerning it has been obtainable, on
account of the difficulty of collecting correctly the confused and
unintelligible words as they gush forth.

The phonograph, which has already been employed in some exceptional
cases, like that of Le Baron, will doubtless some day render
inestimable service to this kind of study, but it leaves much still
to be desired at the present moment, from the point of view of its
practical utilization in the case of subjects not in their right mind,
who are not easily manageable, and who will not remain quiet long
enough while uttering their unusual words to allow the instrument to be
adjusted and made ready.

There are different species of glossolalia. Simple, incoherent
utterances, in a state of ecstasy, interspersed with emotional
exclamations, which are sometimes produced in certain surcharged
religious environments, is another matter altogether from the creation
of neologisms, which are met with in the dream, in somnambulism,
mental alienation, or in children. At the same time this fabrication of
arbitrary words raises other problems—as, for example, the occasional
use of foreign idioms unknown to the subject (at least, apparently),
but which really exist. In each of these cases it is necessary to
examine further whether, and in what measure, the individual attributes
a fixed meaning to the sounds which he utters, whether he understands
(or has, at least, the impression of understanding) his own words,
or whether it is only a question of a mechanical and meaningless
derangement of the phonetic apparatus, or, again, whether this jargon,
unintelligible to the ordinary personality, expresses the ideas of
some secondary personality. All these forms, moreover, vary in shades
and degrees, and there are, in addition, those mixed cases, possibly
the more frequent, where all the forms are mingled and combined. The
same individual, and sometimes in the course of the same spasm, also
exhibits a series of neologisms, comprehended or uncomprehended, giving
way to a simple, incoherent verbiage in common language, or vice versa,

A good description and rational classification of all these categories
and varieties of glossolalia would be of very great interest. I cannot
think of attempting such a study here, having enough already to fully
occupy my attention, by reason of having involved myself with the
Martian of Mlle. Smith. This somnambulistic language does not consist,
as we have already discovered, either in speaking ecstatically or in
religious enthusiasm, nor yet in the use of a foreign language which
really exists; it represents rather neologism carried to its highest
expression and practised in a systematic fashion, with a very precise
signification, by a secondary personality unknown to the normal self.
It is a typical case of “glosso-poesy,” of complete fabrication of all
the parts of a new language by a subconscious activity. I have many
times regretted that those who have witnessed analogous phenomena—as,
for example, Kerner, with the _Seeress of Prevost_—have not gathered
together and published in their entirety all the products of this
singular method of performing their functions on the part of the
verbal faculties. Undoubtedly each case taken by itself seems a simple
anomaly, a pure arbitrary curiosity, and without any bearing; but who
knows whether the collection of a large number of these psychological
bibelots, as yet few enough in their total, would not end in some
unexpected light? Exceptional facts are often the most instructive.

In order to avoid falling into the same errors of negligence, not
knowing where to stop, in case I wished to make a choice, I have taken
the course of setting forth here in full all the Martian texts which
we have been able to gather. I will have them follow a paragraph
containing certain remarks which that unknown language has suggested
to me; but, very far from flattering myself that I have exhausted the
subject, I earnestly hope that it will find readers more competent
than myself to correct and complete my observations, since I must
acknowledge that as a linguist and philologist I am very much like
an ass playing the flute. It is expedient, in beginning, to give
some further details regarding the various psychological methods of
manifestation of that unknown tongue.


I have described in the preceding chapter, and will not now return
to it, the birth of the Martian language, indissolubly bound up with
that of the romance itself, from the 2d of February, 1896, up to the
inauguration of the process of translation by the entrance of Esenale
upon the scene on the 2d of November following (see pp. 154-165).
During several months thereafter the Martian language is confined to
the two psychological forms of apparition in which it seems to have
been clothed during the course of that first year.

First: _Verbo-auditive_ automatism, hallucinations of hearing,
accompanying visions in the waking state. In the case of spontaneous
visions, Hélène notes in pencil, either during the vision itself or
immediately afterwards, the unintelligible sounds which strike her ear;
but to her great regret many of them escape her, since she is sometimes
only able to gather the first or the last phrase of the sentences which
her imaginary personages address to her, or scattered fragments of
conversations which she holds with herself; these fragments themselves
often contain inaccuracies, which are ultimately rectified at the
moment of translation, Esenale having the good habit of articulating
very clearly each Martian word before giving its French equivalent.
In the case of the visions which she has at the seances, Hélène slowly
repeats the words she hears without understanding them, and the sitters
make note of them more or less correctly.

Secondly: _Vocal_ automatism (“verbo-motor hallucinations of
articulation,” in the cumbersome official terminology). Here again it
is the sitters who gather as much as they can of the strange words
pronounced in a state of trance, but that is very little, since Hélène,
in her Martian state, often speaks with a tremendous volubility.
Moreover, a distinction must be made between the relatively clear and
brief phrases which are later translated by Esenale, and the rapid and
confused gibberish the signification of which can never be obtained,
probably because it really has none, but is only a pseudo-language (see
pp. 154-159).

A new process of communication, the handwriting, made its appearance in
August, 1897, with a delay of perhaps eighteen months as to the speech
(the reverse of Leopold’s case, who wrote a long time before speaking).
It is produced, also, under two forms, which constitute a pendant to
the two cases given above, and also complete the standard quartette of
the psychological modalities of language.

Thirdly: _Verbo-visual_ automatism—that is, apparitions of exotic
characters before Hélène’s eyes when awake, who copies them as
faithfully as possible in a drawing, without knowing the meaning of the
mysterious hieroglyphics.

Fourthly: _Graphic_ automatism—_i.e._, writing traced by the hand of
Hélène while completely entranced and incarnating a Martian personage.
In this case the characters are generally smaller, more regular, better
formed than in the drawings of the preceding case. A certain number of
occasions, when the name has been pronounced by Hélène before being
written, and especially the articulation of Esenale at the moment of
translation, have permitted the relations between her vocal sounds and
the graphic signs of the Martian language to be established.

It is to be noted that these four automatic manifestations do not
inflict an equal injury upon the normal personality of Mlle. Smith.
As a rule, the verbo-auditive and verbo-visual hallucinations only
suppress her consciousness of present reality; they leave her a freedom
of mind which, if not complete, is at least sufficient to permit her to
observe in a reflective manner these sensorial automatisms, to engrave
them on her memory, and to describe them or make a copy of them, while
she often adds remarks testifying to a certain critical sense. On the
contrary, the verbo-motor hallucinations of articulation or of writing
seem to be incompatible with her preservation of the waking state, and
are followed by amnesia. Hélène is always totally absent or entranced
while her hand writes mechanically, and if, as seldom happens, she
speaks Martian automatically, outside of the moments of complete
incarnation, she is not aware of it, and does not recollect it. This
incapacity of the normal personality of Mlle. Smith to observe at the
time or remember afterwards her verbo-motor automatisms denotes a more
profound perturbation than that she experiences during her sensory

The Martian handwriting only appeared at the end of a prolonged period
of incubation, which betrayed itself in several incidents, and was
certainly stimulated by various exterior suggestions during a year
and a half at least. The following are the principal dates of this

February 16, 1896.—The idea of a special handwriting belonging to the
planet Mars occurs for the first time to Hélène’s astonishment in a
Martian semi-trance (see p. 161).

November 2.—Handwriting is clearly predicted in the phrase, “Astané
will teach me to write,” uttered by Hélène in a Martian trance, after
the scene of the translation by Esenale (see p. 166).

November 8.—After the translation of text No. 3, Leopold, being
questioned, replies that Astané will write this text for Mlle. Smith,
but the prediction is not fulfilled.

May 23, 1897.—The announcement of Martian handwriting becomes more
precise. “Presently,” says Astané to Hélène, “thou wilt be able
to trace our handwriting, and thou wilt possess in thy hands the
characters of our language” (text 12).

June 20.—At the beginning of a seance, a Martian vision, she demands
of an imaginary interlocutor “a large ring which comes to a point, and
with which one can write.” This description applies to M. R., who has
with him some small pocket-pens of this kind, capable of being adjusted
to the end of the index-finger.

June 23.—I hand Hélène the two small pocket-pens which M. R. has
brought for her, but they do not please her. After trying to use one,
she throws it away and takes up a pencil, saying that if she must write
Martian, the ordinary means will suffice as well as those peculiar
pocket-pens. In about a minute she falls asleep, and her hand begins
automatically to trace a message in Leopold’s handwriting. I then
ask that individual whether the pocket-pens of M. R. do not meet the
exigencies of Martian, and whether Mlle. Smith will some day write
that language, as has already been announced. Hélène’s hand thereupon
responds in the beautiful calligraphy of Leopold: “I have not yet seen
the instrument which the inhabitants of the planet Mars use in writing
their language, but I can and do affirm that the thing will happen, as
has been announced to you.—LEOPOLD.”

June 27.—In the scene of the translation of text 15, Hélène adds to her
usual refrain, “Esenale has gone away; he will soon return; _he will
soon write_.”

August 3.—Between four and five o’clock in the afternoon Hélène had
a vision at her desk, lasting ten or fifteen minutes, of a broad,
horizontal bar, flame-colored, then changing to brick-red, and which
by degrees became rose-tinted, on which were a multitude of strange
characters, which she supposes to be the Martian letters of the
alphabet, on account of the color. These characters floated in space
before and round about her. Analogous visions occur in the course of
the weeks immediately following.

August 22.—Hélène for the first time writes in Martian. After various
non-Martian visions Mlle. Smith turns away from the window (it rained
hard, and the sky was very gray) and exclaims, “Oh, look, it is all
red! Is it already time to go to bed? M. Lemaître, are you there? Do
you see how red it is? I see Astané, who is there, in that red; I only
see his head and the ends of his fingers; he has no robe; and here
is the other (Esenale) with him. They both have some letters at the
ends of their fingers on a bit of paper. Quick, give me some paper!”
A blank sheet and the pocket-pen are handed to her, which latter she
disdainfully throws down. She accepts an ordinary pencil, which she
holds in her customary fashion, between her middle and index-finger,
then writes from left to right the three first lines of Fig. 21,
looking attentively towards the window at her fictitious model before
tracing each letter, and adding certain oral notes, according to which
there are some words which she sees written in black characters on
the three papers—or, more correctly, on three white wands, a sort of
narrow cylinder, somewhat flattened out—which Astané, Esenale, and a
third personage whose name she does not know but whose description
corresponds with that of Pouzé, hold in their right hands. After which
she again sees another paper or cylinder, which Astané holds above his
head, and which bears also some words which she undertakes to copy (the
three last lines of Fig. 21, p. 205). “Oh, it is a pity,” says she, on
coming to the end of the fourth line, “it is all on one line, and I
have no more room.” She then writes underneath the three letters of
line 5, and without saying anything adds line 6. Then she resumes: “How
dark it is with you ... the sun has entirely gone down” (it still rains
very hard). “No one more! nothing more!” She remains in contemplation
before that which she has written, then sees Astané again near the
table, who again shows her a paper, the same, she thinks, as the former
one. “But no, it is not altogether the same; there is one mistake, it
is there [she points to the fourth line towards the end] ... Ah, I
do not see more!” Then, presently she adds: “He showed me something
else; there was a mistake, but I was not able to see it. It is very
difficult. While I was writing, it was not I myself, I could not feel
my arms. It was difficult, because when I raised my head I no longer
saw the letters well. It was like a Greek design.”

At this moment Hélène recovered from the state of obscuration, from
which she emerged with difficulty, which had accompanied the Martian
vision and the automatic copy of the verbo-visual text. But a little
later in the evening she only vaguely remembered having seen strange
letters, and was altogether ignorant of having written anything.

The very natural supposition that the three first words written were
the names of the known personages (Astané, Esenale, Pouzé), who bore
them on their wands, led to the discovery of the meaning of many of the
Martian characters and permitted the divining of the sense of the three
last words.

 [Illustration: Fig. 21. Text No. 16; seance of August 22, 1897.—First
 Martian text written by Mlle. Smith (according to a visual
 hallucination). Natural size. [Collection of M. Lemaître.]—Herewith
 its French notation.

  mene simand

The new alphabet was enriched by certain other signs on the following
days, thanks to the echos of that seance in the ordinary life of
Hélène, who happened on several occasions to write not the true Martian
as yet, but French in Martian letters, to her great stupefaction when
she found herself after a while in the presence of these unknown

 [Illustration: Fig. 22. Examples of isolated French words
 (_française_, _lumière_, _prairie_) automatically traced in Martian
 characters by Mlle. Smith in her normal handwriting. See also Fig. 1,
 p. 56.]

The first manifestation of that graphic automatism, being as yet
concerned only with the form of the letters and not the vocabulary,
dates from the day after the following seance:

August 23.—“Here,” wrote Hélène to me at noon, sending me some
memoranda from which I have taken the three examples of Fig. 22—“here
are some labels which I made it my business to make this morning at ten
o’clock, and which I have not been able to finish in a satisfactory
manner. I have only just now emerged from the rose-colored fog in which
I have been continuously enwrapped for almost two hours.”

Three weeks later a complete automatic Martian handwriting was produced
in a seance at my house, of which the following is a summary.

September 12, 1897.—At the end of a quite long Martian vision, Mlle.
Smith sees Astané, who has something at the end of his finger and
who signs to her to write. I offer her a pencil, and after various
tergiversations she slowly begins to trace some Martian characters
(Fig. 23). Astané has possession of her arm, and she is, during this
time, altogether anæsthetic and absent. Leopold, on the contrary, is at
hand, and gives various indications of his presence. At the end of the
sixth line she seems to half awaken, and murmurs, “I am not afraid; no,
I am not afraid.” Then she again falls into a dream in order to write
the four last words (which signify “_Then do not fear_,” and which are
the response of Astané to her exclamation).

Almost immediately Leopold substitutes himself for Astané and traces
on the same sheet, in his characteristic handwriting (considerably
distorted towards the end): “_Place thy hand on her forehead_,” by
means of which he indicates to me that the time has arrived to pass on
to the scene of translation by Esenale.

 [Illustration: Fig. 23. Martian text No. 17; seance of September 12,
 1897. Written by Mlle. Smith incarnating Astané (then Leopold for the
 French words at the end). See the translation, p. 222. Too many _l_’s
 at the end of the first line immediately produced the scrawls intended
 to strike them out. (Reproduction one-half natural size.)]

 [Illustration: Fig. 24. Martian alphabet, summary of the signs
 obtained. (Never has been given as such by Mlle. Smith.)]

We may conclude from these successive stages that the Martian
handwriting is the result of a slow autosuggestion, in which the
idea of a special writing instrument, and its handling, for a long
time played the dominant rôle, then was abandoned, without doubt, as
impracticable to realize. The characters themselves then haunted for
several weeks Hélène’s visual imagination before they appeared to her
on the cylinders of the three Martians in a manner sufficiently clear
and stable to enable her to copy them and afterwards to be capable of
subduing her graphomotor mechanism. Once manifested outwardly, these
signs, which I have assembled under the form of an alphabet in Fig. 24,
have not varied for two years.

Moreover, some trifling confusion, of which I shall speak a little
later, shows well that the personality which employs them is not
absolutely separated from that of Hélène, although the latter, in a
waking state, might hold the same relation to Martian which she holds
to Chinese—that is, she knows its general very characteristic aspect,
but is ignorant of the signification of the characters, and would be
incapable of reading it.

Hélène’s Martian handwriting is not stereotyped, but presents,
according to circumstances, some variations in form, especially in the
size of the letters.

This may be established by Figs. 21 to 32, in which I have reproduced
the greater part of the texts obtained by writing. When the Martian
gushes forth in verbo-visual hallucinations, Hélène transcribes it in
strokes of large dimensions, lacking firmness, full of repetitions
(Figs. 21, 26, 31), and she always remarks that the original, which
is before her eyes, is much smaller and clearer than her copy. In the
texts which have come automatically from her hand—_i.e._, supposedly
traced by the Martians themselves—the handwriting is really smaller and
more precise. Here again are some curious differences. Astané has a
calligraphy less voluminous than that of Esenale, and Ramié has a much
finer one than Esenale (Figs. 28 and 29).

It would be altogether premature for me to launch myself upon the
study of Martian graphology, and, therefore, leaving that line to my
successors, I take up the texts which have been collected in their
chronological order.


It is not always easy to represent a language and its pronunciation by
means of the typographical characters of another. Happily the Martian,
in spite of its strange appearance and the fifty millions of leagues
which separate us from the red planet, is in reality so near neighbor
to French that there is scarcely any difficulty in this case.

The dozen written texts[19] which we possess, and which Mlle. Smith
either copied from a verbo-visual hallucination, or which were
traced by her hand in an access of graphomotor automatism, are
readily translated into French, since each Martian letter has its
exact equivalent in the French alphabet. I have confined myself
to placing accents on the vowels (there are none in the Martian
writing), conformably to the pronunciation of Esenale at the moment of
translation. It is only necessary to read the following texts aloud,
articulating them as though they were French, in order to secure the
Martian words almost exactly as they proceed from the mouth of Mlle.
Smith; I say _almost_, because there still remains, naturally, in
the speech of Esenale, as in that of every one, a special mannerism
of strengthening certain syllables and slurring others—in short,
that of delicate shades of accentuation, which cannot be adequately
represented, and which the hearers did not attempt to take note of at
the seances.

In the auditive or vocal texts, those which have not been obtained by
writing, I have adopted the more probable orthography, according to the
pronunciation of Esenale, but (with the exception of words known by
means of the written texts) I naturally cannot guarantee their absolute

The manner in which Hélène takes down in pencil the Martian phrases
which strike her ear is not of great assistance to us in that respect,
because, as I have said above (p. 158), she finds herself at the time
of these verbo-auditive hallucinations in the situation of a person who
hears some unknown words, and spells them as well as she is able, after
a quite arbitrary and often faulty fashion. She writes, for example,
“=hezi darri né ciké taisse=,” which, according to the pronunciation
of Esenale and other written texts, should be “=êzi darié siké tés=”;
or, again, “=misse messe as si lé=,” instead of “=mis mess ass ilé=.”
We cannot, therefore, depend upon the orthography of Hélène, but I have
naturally followed it in every case in which there seemed to be no good
reason to depart from it. In stating that the following texts should be
articulated like French, two remarks must be added: First, the final
consonant, very rare in Martian, is always aspirated; the word =ten=
is pronounced as in the French _gluten_; =essat=, like _fat_; =amès=,
like _aloes_; =mis= and =mess=, like _lis_ (flower), and mess (of an
officer), etc. In the second place, for the different values of the _e_
I have adopted the following rule: the _e_ broad is always indicated
by the accent grave _è_; the _e_ medium, which is only found at the
beginning and in the middle of a word, is marked with the acute accent
_é_; the _e_ short, by the acute accent at the end of a word (or before
a final _e_ mute), and by the circumflex at the beginning or in the
middle; the _e_ mute, or demi-mute, remains without accent.

The pronunciation, therefore, will be, for example, the _e_’s of the
Martian words =mété=, =bénézee=, like those of the French words _été_,
_répétée_; =êvé=, like _rêvé_, =tès=, as in _Lutèce_, etc.

There will be found in italics, underneath the Martian texts, their
French equivalents, word for word, as given by Esenale in the manner
described above (see pp. 166-168).[20] I have also indicated the kind
of automatism—auditive, visual, vocal, or graphic—by means of which
each text was obtained, also the date of its appearance, and (in
parentheses) that of the seance, often quite remote, at which it was
translated. I have also added such explanations as seemed to me to be

  1. =métiche C.=   =médache C.=  =métaganiche S.=   =kin’t’che=
     _Monsieur C._  _Madame C._   _Mademoiselle S._  _quatre_.
        Mr. C.        Mrs. C.          Miss C.         Four.

Vocal. February 2, 1896. See above, p. 157.

  2. =dodé né ci haudan té mess métiche astané ké dé=
  _Ceci est la maison du grand homme Astané que tu_

  =mé véche.=
  _as vu._

 This is the house of the great man Astané, whom thou hast seen.

Auditive. About September 20, 1896 (translated November 2).—Heard by
Hélène at the same time at which she had the vision of Fig. 12 (see p.

  3. =modé iné cé di cévouitche ni êvé ché kiné liné=
  _Mère adorée, je te reconnais et suis ton petit Linet._

 Adored mother, I recognize thee, and am thy little Linet.

Words addressed to Mme. Mirbel by her son Alexis (Esenale) in a scene
of incarnation altogether analogous to that described on p. 156.

  4. =i modé mété modé modé iné palette is=
  _O mère, tendre mère, mère bien-aimée, calme tout_

  =ché péliché ché chiré né ci ten ti vi=
  _ton souci, ton fils est près de toi._

 Oh, mother, tender mother, dearly loved mother, calm all thy care, thy
 son is near thee.

Vocal. November 29, 1896 (translated same seance).—Spoken by Esenale
and addressed to Mme. Mirbel, in a scene of incarnation analogous to
the preceding. At the moment of translation, Esenale repeated, very
distinctly, the last words, as follows: “=né ci=, _est près_ [“is
near”], =ten ti vi=, _de toi_ (“thee”).” This was evidently an error,
since it appears from numerous later texts that _est près de toi_
corresponds to =né ten ti vi=; it follows that it would be natural
to translate the word =ci= by _là_, _ici_, or _tout_, if these words
had not been differently rendered in other texts. (A confusion of the
adverb _là_ with the article _la_, translated by =ci= in text 2, might
also be suspected.)

  5. =i kiché ten ti si ké di êvé dé étéche mêné=
  _Oh! pourquoi près de moi ne te tiens-tu toujours, amie_

  =izé bénézée=
  _enfin retrouvée!_

 Oh! Why dost thou not keep thyself always near me, friend, at last
 found again?

Auditive. December 4, 1896 (translated December 13). Fragment of a long
discourse by Astané to Hélène, during an apparition which she had of
him about nine o’clock in the evening, as she was about to go to bed.
This sentence, which he uttered twice, is the only one which she has
been able to recall with sufficient precision to note down immediately
after the vision. She has the feeling of having understood Astané’s
whole discourse while he was delivering it, and thinks she would have
been able to translate it into French, perhaps not word for word, but
in its general sense. She expected to transcribe it the following day,
but in the morning when she awoke she was unable to recall either the
words of Astané or their meaning, not even that of this sentence,
written on the previous evening. Heard again, as the second part of the
following text, in the seance of the 13th of December.

  6. =ti iche cêné éspênié ni ti êzi atèv astané êzi=
  _De notre belle “Espénié” et de mon être Astané, mon_

  =érié vizé é vi... i kiché ten ti si ké di êvé=
  _âme descend à toi... oh! pourquoi près de moi ne te tiens-tu_

  =dé étéche mêné izé bénézée=
  _toujours, amie enfin retrouvée!_

 From our beautiful “Espénié” and from my being Astané, my soul
 descends to thee—Oh! why dost thou not keep thyself always near to me,
 friend, at last found again?

Auditive. December 13, 1896 (translated same seance).—Heard in the
far-away voice of Astané, Hélène having all the while a painful
sensation, as though the skin of her face around her eyes, on the
back of her wrists and hands, was being torn off. In the translation
the word _Espénié_ remains as it is, being a proper name; the left
index-finger (Leopold) points heavenward, and says that it might be
rendered by _terre_, _planète_, _demeure_.

  7. =cé êvé plêva ti di bénèz éssat riz tès midée=
  _Je suis chagrin de te retrouver vivant sur cette laide_

  =durée cé ténassé riz iche éspênié vétéche ié ché atèv hêné=
  _terre; je voudrais sur notre Espénié voir tout ton être s’élever_

  =ni pové ten ti si éni zée métiché oné gudé ni zée darié=
  _et rester près de moi; ici les hommes sont bons et les cœurs_


 I am sorry to find you again living on this wretched earth; I would on
 our Espénié see all thy being raise itself and remain near me; here
 men are good and hearts large.

Auditive. December 15, 1896 (translated January 17, 1897).—Words spoken
by Astané to Hélène in a morning vision. The following fragment of the
letter in which she sent me this text merits being cited as an example
of those quite frequent cases in which Mlle. Smith, without knowing
the exact translation of the foreign words, nevertheless divines
their general signification and comprehends them by their emotional
equivalent. “This morning, at a quarter before six, I saw Astané at the
foot of my bed. The general sense of his language was at that moment
quite clear to my mind, and I give it to you as I understood it—that
is, in as clear a manner as possible, having noted it down afterwards:
‘How much I regret your not having been born in our world; you would be
much happier there, since everything is much better with us, people as
well as things, and I would be so happy to have you near me.’ That is
about what it seemed to me to mean; perhaps some day we may be able to
be sure of it.”

  8. =amès mis tensée ladé si—amès ten tivé avé=
  _Viens un instant vers moi, viens près d’un vieil_

  =men—koumé ié ché pélésse—amès somé têsé=
  _ami fondre tout ton chagrin: viens admirer ces_

  =misaïmé—ké dé surès pit châmi—izâ méta ii=
  _fleurs, que tu crois sans parfum, mais pourtant si_

  =borêsé ti finaïmé—iâ izi dé séïmiré=
  _pleines de senteurs!... Mais si tu comprendras!_

 Come towards me a moment, come near an old friend to melt away all
 thy sorrow; come to admire these flowers, which you believe without
 perfume, but yet so full of fragrance! But if thou couldst understand.

Auditive and vocal. January 31, 1897 (translated same seance).—Hélène,
in hemisomnambulism, sees Astané, who tells her to repeat his words;
she replies to him: “But speak plainly ... I will gladly repeat them
... but I do not understand very well....” Then she pronounces slowly
and very distinctly the foregoing text, in groups of words, separated
by a moment of silence (marked in the text by the sign—). It is
remarked that these groups, with the exception of the sixth, correspond
to the hemistiches of the French translation obtained in the same
seance. After the sixth group Hélène remains silent for a long time,
and finally says: “I cannot understand;” then utters the four last
words, which are the reply of Astané to her objection.

  9. =ané éni ké éréduté cé ilassuné té imâ ni=
  _C’est isi que, solitaire, ie m’approche du ciel et_

  =bétiné chée durée=
  _regarde ta terre._

 It is here that, alone, I bring myself near to heaven and look upon
 the earth.

Auditive. February 24, 1897 (translated March 14).—Reclining in her
easy-chair, after the noonday meal, Hélène hears this sentence, while
at the same time she has the vision of a house, constructed by digging
into a Martian mountain, and traversed by a sort of air-shafts, and
which represents Astané’s observatory.

  10. =simandini lé lâmi mêné kizé pavi kiz atimi=
  _Simandini, me voici! amie! quelle joie, quel bonheur!_

 Simandini, here I am! friend! what joy! what happiness!

Auditive. March 14, 1897 (translated same seance).—See following text.

  11. =i modé duméïné modé kêvi cé mache povini=
  _O mère, ancienne mère, quand je peux arriver_

  =poénêzé mûné é vi saliné éziné mimâ nikaïné modé=
  _quelques instants vers toi j’oublie mes parents Nikaïné, mère!_

  =—i men=
  _—ô ami!_

 Oh, mother, former mother, when I can arrive a few instants near thee,
 I forget my parents Nikaïné, mother!—Oh friend!

Vocal. March 14, 1897 (translated same seance).—From the beginning of
this seance Hélène complained of cold hands, then a great desire to
weep, and of a buzzing in the ears, which kept increasing and in which
she finally heard Astané address to her the Martian words of text 10.
Immediately after she passes into full somnambulism; her respirations,
very short and panting, rise to three per second, accompanied by
synchronous movements of the left index-finger; then she stops suddenly
with a long expiration, immediately followed by a deep inspiration:
then her breast heaves, her face assumes an expression of suffering,
and the left index-finger announces that it is Esenale (Alexis Mirbel)
who is incarnated. After a series of spasms and hiccoughs, Hélène
arises, and, placing herself behind Mme. Mirbel, takes her neck in her
hands, bows her head upon hers, tenderly pats her cheek, and addresses
to her the words of text No. 11 (except the two last words). Then she
raises her head, and again, with panting respiration (accelerated to
thirty inspirations in sixteen seconds), walks towards M. Lemaître
(whose pupil Alexis Mirbel had been at the time of his death). She
places her hands upon his shoulders, affectionately grasps his right
hand, and with emotion and continued sobbing addresses to him the two
words =i men!= After which she goes through the pantomime of extending
her hand to Leopold and of allowing him to conduct her to a couch,
where the translation of texts Nos. 10, 11, and 9 is obtained by the
customary process, but not without difficulty.

  12. =lassuné ké nipuné ani tis dé machir mirivé=
  _Approche, ne crains pas; bientôt tu pourras tracer_

  =iche manir sé dé évenir toué chi amiché zé forimé=
  _notre écriture, et tu posséderas dans tes mains les marques_

  =ti viche tarviné=
  _de notre langage._

 Approach, fear not; soon thou wilt be able to trace our writing, and
 thou wilt possess in thy hands the signs of our language.

Auditive. May 23, 1897 (translated same seance).—Shortly after the
beginning of the seance, Hélène, still being awake, has a vision of
Astané, who addresses her in these words, which she repeats slowly and
in a feeble voice. I give the text as it was heard and uniformly noted
by several sitters, both at the moment of its utterance and at its
subsequent translation. Many corrections, however, would be necessary,
in order to make it correspond with the later written texts: =ké nipuné
ani=, _et ne crains pas_ (“and I am not afraid,” or, “and I do not
fear”) should be changed to =kié nipuné ani=, _ne crains pas_ (see text
17); =sé= or =cé= only stands here for _et_, which everywhere else is
given as =ni=; =viche= is used in error for =iche= (unless the =v= was
added for the sake of euphony, of which there is no other example) and
=tis= for =tiche=.

  13. (adèl) =ané sini= (yestad) =i astané cé fimès astané mirâ=
  _C’est vous, ô Astané, je meurs! Astané, adieu!_

 It is you, oh Astané, I am dying! Astané, farewell!

Vocal. Same seance as the preceding text, after which Hélène passes
into full somnambulism, begins to weep, pants, holds her hand on her
heart, and pronounces this sentence, mingling with it the two words
_Adèl_ and _yestad_, which are not Martian, but belong to the Oriental
cycle; they also do not appear in the text as it was repeated at
the time of its translation. This intrusion of terms foreign to the
Martian dream is explained by the imminence of a Hindoo scene ready to
appear, which occupied the latter half of the seance in which the Arab
servant, Adèl, plays a leading rôle. The mingling of the two romances
is greatly accentuated a few moments later, in a long discourse,
devoid of _r_’s and very rich in sibilants, and spoken with so great
volubility that it was impossible to gather a single word. At the
time of the translation, at the close of the seance, this tirade was
repeated with the same rapidity, preventing any notation; according to
the French translation which followed, it concerned memories of the
life of Simandini which Hélène recalled to Astané and in which there is
much mention of the aforesaid Adèl (see Hindoo Cycle, Chap. VII.).

  14. =eupié zé palir né amé arvâ nini pédriné évaï=
  _Eupié, le temps est venu; Arva nous quitte; sois_

  =diviné lâmée ine vinâ té luné—pouzé men hantiné=
  _heureux jusque au retour du jour.—Pouzé, ami fidèle_,

  =êzi vraïni né touzé med vi ni ché chiré saïné—ké=
  _mon désir est même pour toi et ton fils Saïné.—Que_

  =zalisé téassé mianiné ni di daziné—eupié—pouzé=
  _l’élément entier t’enveloppe et te garde!—Eupié!—Pouzé!_

 Eupié, the time has come; Arva leaves us; be happy till the return
 of the day. Pouzé, faithful friend, my wish is even for thee,
 and thy son Saïné.—May the entire element envelop thee and guard

Auditive. June 18, 1897 (translated June 20).—During a visit I made to
Mlle. Smith she has a vision of two Martian personages walking on the
shore of a lake, and she repeats this fragment of their conversation
which she has heard. According to another text (No. 20), Arva is the
Martian name of the sun.

  15. =modé tatinée cé ké mache radziré zé tarvini va=
  _Mère chérie, je ne puis prononcer le langage où_

  =nini nini triménêni ii adzi cé zé seïmiré vétiche i=
  _nous nous comprenions si bien! Je le comprends cependant; ô_

  =modé inée kévi bérimir m hed kévi machiri cé di triné=
  _mère adorée, quand reviendra-t-il? Quand pourrai-je te parler_

  =ti éstotiné ni bazée animina i modé cé méï adzi=
  _de ma dernière et courte existence? O mére, je t’ai bien_

  =ilinée i modé inée cé ké lé nazère ani—mirâ=
  _reconnue, ô mère adorée, je ne me trompe pas!—Adieu_

  =modé itatinée mirâ mirâ mirâ=
  _mère chérie, adieu, adieu, adieu!_

 My dearest, I cannot pronounce the language in which we understood
 each other so well! I understand it, however; oh! adored mother, when
 will it return? When shall I be able to speak to thee of my last
 and short existence? Oh! mother, I have well recognized thee, oh!
 adored mother, I am not mistaken!—Farewell, dearest mother, farewell,
 farewell, farewell!

Auditive. June 27, 1897 (translated same seance).—Mme. Mirbel being
present, Hélène perceives Esenale, who remains in the vicinity of his
mother and addresses these words to her. The “adieux” at the close
were not spoken at that time, but were uttered by Esenale immediately
following and as a complement of the translation; this is the only
case (outside of text 36) in which he did not confine himself strictly
to the texts already gathered and in which he permitted himself to
introduce a new phrase, which otherwise does not contain a single
unknown word; =itatinée=, _chérie_, is evidently a slip which should
be corrected either to =tatinée=, _chérie_, or to =it atinée=, _ô
chérie_. The precise French equivalent of =triménêni= is probably

  *16. =astané ésenâle pouzé mêné simandini mirâ=
  (_Astané. Esenale. Pouzé. Amie Simandini, adieu!_)

 Astané. Esenale. Pouzeé. Friend Simandini, farewell!

Visual. August 22, 1897.—This text, for which there is no need of
a translation, constitutes the first appearance of the Martian
handwriting. See above, Fig. 21, and the résumé of that seance, pp.

  *17. =taniré mis méch med mirivé éziné brimaξ ti tès=
  _Prends un crayon pour tracer mes paroles de cet_

  =tensée—azini dé améir mazi si somé iche nazina=
  _instant. Alors tu viendras avec moi admirer notre nouveau_

  =tranéï.—Simandini cé kié mache di pédriné tès luné ké cé=
  _passage. Simandini, je ne puis te quitter ce jour. Que je_

  =êvé diviné—patrinèz kié nipuné ani=
  _suis heureux!—Alors ne crains pas!_

 Take a pencil to trace my words of this moment. Then thou wilt come
 with me to admire our new passage. Simandini, I cannot leave thee this
 day. How happy I am!—Then fear not!

Graphic. September 12, 1897 (translated same seance).—See p. 207 and
Fig. 23.

  *18. =modé tatinée lâmi mis mirâ ti ché bigâ kâ=
  _Mère chérie, voici un adieu de ton enfant qui_

  =ébrinié sanâ é vi idé di zé rénir—zé mess métich kâ é=
  _pense tant à toi. On te le portera, le grand homme qui a_

  =zé valini iminé—ni z [é]  grani sidiné=
  _le visage mince et le corps maigre._

 My dearest, this is a farewell from thy child, who thinks so much of
 thee. The big man, who has a thin face and a slender body, will bear
 it to thee.

 [Illustration: Fig. 25. Text No. 18 (October 10, 1897), written in
 pencil by Mlle. Smith, incarnating Esenale. Reproduction in autotype
 two-thirds of the natural size.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 26. Text No. 26 (August 21, 1898), which appeared
 in visual hallucination, and was copied by Mlle. Smith. Reproductions
 in autotype.]

Auditive, then Graphic. October 10, 1897 (translated same
seance).—Hélène has a vision of a Martian landscape, in which Esenale
floats discarnate around the plants and speaks these words, which she
repeats. (It is understood from the translation that this text was
intended for Mme. Mirbel, who was then in the country, but to whom
the person very clearly indicated by the final characteristic was
about to pay a visit and could carry the message.) I then offer Hélène
a pencil in the hope of obtaining this same text in writing; after
various tergiversations and grimaces, denoting a state of increasing
somnambulism, she finally takes the pencil between her index and middle
fingers, tells Esenale that she still sees him and makes him sit down
by her side, and then begins to write, completely absent and fascinated
by the paper. The left index-finger (Leopold) informs us that it is
Esenale himself who is writing by means of Hélène’s arm. Twice she
interrupts herself in order to say to Esenale, “Oh! do not go yet, stay
a little while longer!” She appears nervous and agitated, and often
stops writing to stab her paper with her pencil or to make erasures
or scribble on it (see Fig. 25); in the =zé= of the last line, she
forgets the =é= (this did not prevent Esenale from pronouncing the word
correctly at the time of its translation).

[Illustration: Fig. 25. Text No. 18 (October 10, 1897), written in
pencil by Mlle. Smith, incarnating Esenale. Reproduction in autotype
two-thirds of the natural size.]

[Illustration: Fig. 26. Text No. 26 (August 21, 1898), which appeared
in visual hallucination, and was copied by Mlle. Smith. Reproductions
in autotype.]

  *19. =m[en] cé kié mache di triné sandiné téri=
  (_Amie, je ne puis te parler longtemps comme_

  =né êzi vraïni zou réch mirâ milé piri mirâ=
  _est mon désir; plus tard, adieu     adieu._)

 (Friend, I cannot speak to thee a long time, as is my desire; later,
 farewell, farewell!)

Graphic, then Auditive. October 24, 1897 (there has never been any
translation of this text, two words of which are still unknown).—Hélène
first sees the table illumined by a green light in which some designs
appear which she copies, and which give this text, except the two
last letters of the first word, the place of which remains blank.
Immediately after she hears Martian spoken, which she repeats. It is
the same text; then she has a vision of Astané, Esenale, and a little
girl whose name she hears as Niké; but this soon gives way to other
non-Martian somnambulisms. (See Fig. 25.)

  *20. =Siké évaï diviné zé niké crizi capri né amé=
  _Siké, sois heureux! Le petit oiseau noir est venu_

  =orié antéch é êzé carimi ni êzi érié é nié pavinée hed=
  _frapper hier à ma fenêtre, et mon âme a été joyeuse; il_

  =lé sadri dé zé véchir tiziné Matêmi misaïmé kâ lé=
  _me chanta: tu le verras demain.—Matêmi, fleur qui me_

  =amèz essaté Arvâ ti éziné udâniξξ amès tès uri amès=
  _fais vivre, soleil de mes songes, viens ce soir, viens_

  =sandiné ten ti si évaï divinée Romé va né Siké=
  _longtemps près de moi; sois heureuse!—Romé où est Siké?—Là-bas,_

  =atrizi ten té taméch épizi=
  _près du “taméche” rose._

 Siké, be happy! The little black bird came yesterday rapping at my
 window, and my soul was joyful; he sang to me: Thou wilt see him
 to-morrow. Matêmi, flower which makes me live, sun of my dreams, come
 this evening; come for a long time to me; be happy!—Romé, where is
 Siké?—Yonder, near the “taméche” rose.

Auditive, then Graphic. November 28, 1897 (translated same
seance).—Fragments of conversation heard during the vision of the
Martian _fête_ described on p. 185. Siké (a young man) and Matêmi (a
young girl) form the first couple who pass by and walk off in the
direction of a large bush with red flowers (=taméche=); then a second
couple exchange the last words of the text while going to rejoin the
first. After this vision, which she contemplated standing and described
with much animation, Hélène seated herself and began to write the same
Martian phrases. It is ascertained from Leopold that it was Astané
who held her hand (in holding the pencil between the thumb and the
index-finger—that is, after the manner of Leopold and not that of
Hélène as she had held it in writing text No. 17). The writing being
finished, Leopold directs that Hélène shall be made to seat herself on
the couch for the scene of translation.

  21. =véchêsi têsée polluni avé métiche é vi ti=
  _Voyons cette question, vieux homme; à toi de_

  =bounié seïmiré ni triné=
  _chercher, comprendre et parler._

 Now this question, old man; it is for thee to seek, to understand and

Auditive. January 15, 1898 (translated February 13).—Fragment of
conversation between two Martian personages seen in a waking vision.

  22. =astané cé amès é vi chée brimi messé téri=
  _Astané, je viens à toi; ta sagesse grande comme_

  =ché pocrimé lé...=
  _ton savoir me..._

 Astané, I come to thee; thy great wisdom as well as thy knowledge to

Auditive. About January 25, 1898 (translated February 13).—Vision,
at six o’clock in the morning, of a young Martian girl (Matêmi?)
traversing a tunnel through a mountain and arriving at the house of
Astané, to whom she addresses this utterance, followed by many others
which Hélène could not grasp with sufficient distinctness to note them

  23. [A] =paniné évaï kirimé zé miza ami grini=
  _Panine, sois prudent, le “miza” va soulever;_

  =ké chée éméche rès pazé—=[B] =pouzé tès luné soumini=
  _que ta main se retire!—Pouzé, ce jour riant..._

  =arvâ ii cen zé primi ti ché chiré kiz pavi luné—=
  _Arva si beau... le revoir de ton fils... quel heureux jour—_

  [C] =saïné êzi chiré izé lineï kizé pavi êzi mané=
  _Saïné, mon fils, enfin debout! quelle joie!... Mon père_

  =ni êzé modé tiziné êzi chiré êzi mané cé êvé adi=
  _et ma mère... Demain, mon fils... Mon père, je suis bien_


 Paniné, be prudent, the “miza” is about to arise; remove thy hand!
 Pouzé, this laughing day ... Arva so beautiful ... The return of thy
 son ... What happy day—Saïné, my son, finally standing! What joy!...
 My father and my mother ... To-morrow, my son ... My father, I am well

Auditive. February 20, 1898 (translated same seance).—Very complicated
Martian vision. First, three small, movable houses, like pavilions
or Chinese kiosks, going about on little balls; in one of these, two
unknown personages, one of whom puts her hand out of a small oval
window, which occasions, on the part of her companion, the observation
of the first sentence (A) of the text; at this instant, in fact, these
rolling pavilions (=miza=) assume an oscillatory movement, which makes
a noise like “tick-tack,” and then glide like a train upon rails. They
go around a high red mountain and come into a sort of magnificent gorge
or ravine, with slopes covered with extraordinary plants, and where
they find white houses on an iron framework resembling piles. The two
men then alight from their “=miza=,” chatting together, but Hélène can
only hear fragments (B) of their conversation. A young man of sixteen
to eighteen years of age comes to meet them, who has his head tied up
in a kind of nightcap, and having no hair on the left side. Martian
salutations are exchanged; they mutually strike their heads with their
hands, etc. Hélène complains of hearing very confusedly that which they
are saying, and can only repeat ends of sentences (C). She has pain
in her heart, and Leopold dictates to me by the left index-finger,
“_Put her to sleep_,” which presently leads to the customary scene of
translation of the text.

  24. =saïné êzi chiré iée êzé pavi ché vinâ ine ruzzi=
  _Saïné, mon fils, toute ma joie, ton retour au milieu_

  =ti nini né mis mess assilé atimi... itéche...=
  _de nous est un grand, immense bonheur... toujours..._

  =furimir... nori=
  _aimera... jamais._

 Saïné, my son, all my joy; thy return to our circle is a great, an
 immense happiness ... always will love ... ever.

Auditive. March 11, 1898 (translated August 21).—“Yesterday morning,
on jumping out of bed,” wrote Hélène to me, when sending me this text,
“I had a vision of Mars, almost the same as that which I had before
(at the seance of February 20). I saw again the rolling pavilions, the
houses on piling, several personages, among them a young man who had
no hair on one side of his head. I was able to note some words. It was
very confused, and the last words were caught on the wing, when here
and there something a little clear came to me....”

  25. =dé véchi ké ti éfi mervé éni=
  _Tu vois que de choses superbes ici._

 Thou seest what superb things (are) here.

Auditive. August 21, 1898 (translated same seance).—Waking vision of a
river between two rose-colored mountains, with a bridge (like that in
Fig. 9) which lowered itself into the water and disappeared in order to
allow five or six boats to pass (like that in Fig. 13), then reappeared
and was restored to its place. As Hélène describes all this, she hears
a voice speaking to her the above Martian words of the text.

  *26. =Astané né zé ten ti vi=
  _Astané est là près de toi._

 Astané is there, near to thee.

Visual. August 21, 1898 (translated same seance).—Following the
preceding scene: Hélène perceives “in the air” (illumined and red—that
of her Martian vision) some characters unknown to her, which she copies
(see Fig. 26). I ask her, showing her the word =zé= (which elsewhere
always stands for _le_), if she is not mistaken. She verifies it by
comparing it with the imaginary model before her and affirms it to be

  27. =siké kiz crizi hantiné hed é ébrinié rès amêré é=
  _Siké, quel oiseau fidèle! il a pensé se réunir à_

  =nini éssaté ti iche atimi matêmi hantiné hed né=
  _nous, vivre de notre bonheur!—Matêmi fidèle, il est_

  =hantiné êzi darié siké tès ousti ké zé badêni lassuné=
  _fidèle mon cœur!—Siké, ce bateau que le vent approche_

  =mazi trimazi hed é ti zi mazêté é poviné é nini zé priâni=
  _avec force! il a de la peine à arriver à nous; le flot_

  =é fouminé ivraïni idé é ti zi mazêté é vizêné zé=
  _est puissant aujourd’hui; on a de la peine à distinguer le_


 [Illustration: Fig. 27. Text No. 28 (October 8, 1898), written by
 Mlle. Smith, copying a text of Matêmi, seen in a visual hallucination.
 [The slight tremor of some of the lines is not in the original, but
 occurred in the copying of the text in the ink, which was written in
 pencil and
 too pale for reproduction.]]

 Siké, what (a) faithful bird! he has thought to reunite himself to us,
 to live of our happiness!—Matêmi faithful, my heart is faithful!—Siké,
 this boat which the wind brings near with force! it has some
 difficulty in reaching us; the current is strong to-day; one has some
 difficulty in distinguishing the “=chodé=.”

Auditive. About the 4th of September, 1898 (translated October
16).—Hélène heard and noted this phrase at the same time at which she
had the vision of the two young Martian people who were walking in a
kind of flower-garden, and saw a boat arrive, like that in Fig. 13. The
meaning of =chodé= has not been ascertained.

  *28. =men mess Astané cé amès é vi itéch li tès=
  _Ami grand Astané, je viens à toi toujours par cet_

  =alizé néümi assilé kâ ianiné êzi atèv ni lé=
  _élément mystérieux, immense, qui enveloppe mon étre et me_

  =tazié é vi med iéeξ éziné rabriξ ni tibraξ. men amès di=
  _lance à toi pour toutes mes pensées et besoins. Ami, viens te_

  =ouradé ké Matêmi uzénir chée kida ni ké chée brizi pi=
  _souvenir que Matêmi attendra ta faveur, et que ta sagesse lui_

  =dézanir. évaï diviné tès luné=
  _répondra. Sois heureux ce jour._

 Friend great Astané, I come to thee always by this element,
 mysterious, immense, which envelops my being and launches me to thee
 by all my thoughts and desires. Friend, come thou to remember that
 Matêmi will await thy favor, and that thy wisdom will answer him. Be
 happy to-day.

Visual. October 3, 1898 (translated October 16).—At a quarter before
nine in the evening Mlle. Smith, desiring to obtain a communication
from Leopold for herself and her mother, sat down in an easy-chair and
gave herself up to meditation. Presently she hears the voice of Leopold
telling her that he cannot manifest himself that evening, but that
something much more interesting and important is being made ready. The
room seems to her to become completely obscured, except the end of the
table at which she is sitting, which is illumined with a golden light.
A young Martian girl in a yellow robe and with long tresses then comes
and seats herself beside her and begins to trace, without ink or paper,
but with a point on the end of her index-finger, black figures on a
white cylinder, at first placed on the table, afterwards on her knees,
and which is unrolled as she writes. Hélène is near enough to see the
characters clearly, and copies them in pencil on a sheet of paper (see
Fig. 27), after which the vision vanishes and her mother and the room

  29. =sazêni kiché nipunêzé dodé né pit léziré bèz=
  _Sazeni pourquoi craindre? Ceci est sans souffrance ni_

  =neura évaï dastrée firêzi zé bodri né dorimé zé=
  _danger, sois paisible; certainement le os est sain, le_

  =pastri tubré né tuxé=
  _sang seul est malade._

 Sazeni, why fear? This is without suffering or danger, be peaceful;
 certainly the flesh is well, the blood alone is ill.

Auditive. October 14, 1898 (translated October 16).—Morning vision
of an unknown gentleman and lady, the latter having her arm, spotted
with red, applied to an instrument with three tubes placed on a shelf
fastened to the wall. These words were spoken by the man; the lady said

  30. =modé ké hed oné chandêné têsé mûné ten ti= _Mère, que ils sont
  délicieux ces moments près de_

  =vi bigâ va bindié idé ti zâmé tensée zou réche= _toi!—Enfant, où
  trouve on de meilleurs instants? plus tard_

  =med ché atèv kiz fouminé zati= _pour ton être quel puissant souvenir._

 Mother, how delightful they are, these moments near to thee!—Child,
 where finds one better moments? later for thy being what (a) powerful

Auditive. October 22, 1898 (translated December 18).—“At a quarter-past
six in the morning; vision of a pebbly shore; earth of a red tint;
immense sheet of water, of a bluish green. Two women are walking side
by side. This was all I could gather of their conversation.”

 [Illustration: Fig. 28. Text No. 31 (October 27, 1898), written by
 Mlle. Smith, incarnating Ramié. Natural size.]

  *31. =Râmié bisti ti Espênié ché dimé ûni zi=

  _Ramié habitant de Espénié, ton semblable par la_

  =trimazi tié vadâzâξ di anizié banâ mirâξ Ramié di=

  _force des “vadazas,” te envoie trois adieux. Ramié te_

  =trinir tié toumaξ ti bé animinâ ni tiche di uzir nâmi=

  _parlera des charmes de sa existence et bientôt te dira beaucoup_

  =ti Espênié. évaï divinée=

  _de Espénié. Sois heureuse!_

 Ramié, dweller in Espénié, thy like, by the force of the “vadazas,”
 sends thee three adieux. Ramié will speak to thee of the charms of his
 existence, and presently will tell thee much of Espénié. Be happy!

Graphic. October 27, 1898 (translated December 18).—“Ten minutes to one
in the afternoon. No vision, but a severe cramp in the right arm and
a strong impulse to take pencil and paper. I write, I know not why.”
(It is seen by the translation given two months later that the text
refers to the first manifestation of Ramié and is an announcement of
the ultra-Martian vision which came a few days later.) See Fig. 28.
The term =vadazas=, which has never been explained, has not a Martian
appearance, and appears to have been borrowed from the Hindoo cycle. As
to _Espénié_, see text No. 6.

  32. =anâ évaï maniké é bétiné mis tié attanâ=
  _Maintenant sois attentive à regarder un des mondes_

  =kâ di médinié bétinié tès tapié ni bée atèv kavivé=
  _qui te entourent. Regarde ce “tapié” et ses êtres étranges._

  =danda anâ=
  _Silence maintenant!_

 Now be attentive to behold one of the worlds which surround thee. Look
 at that “tapié” and its strange beings. Silence now!

Auditive. November 2, 1898 (translated December 18).—Hélène has a
morning vision of a Martian (Ramié) who encircles her waist with one
arm and with the other shows her, while speaking these words, a strange
tableau (=tapié=) containing extraordinary beings speaking the unknown
language of the following text. At the moment the vision is effaced
Hélène writes, without perceiving that she has done so, text No. 34.
(For further details, see the following chapter on the Ultra-Martian.)

  =sirima nêbé viniâ-ti-mis-métiche ivré toué=
  _rameau vert nom de un homme sacré dans_

  =viniâ-ti-misé-bigâ azâni maprinié imizi kramâ ziné=
  _nom de une enfant mal entré sous panier bleu_

  =viniâ-ti-mis-zaki datrinié tuzé vâmé gâmié=
  _nom de un animal caché malade triste pleure._

 Branch green—name of a man—sacred—in—name of a
 child—bad—entered—under—basket—blue—name of an

Auditive, as to the non-Martian text (see following chapter) which
Hélène heard spoken on the 2d of November by the strange beings of the
tableau of the preceding vision. Vocal, as to the Martian translation
of this text, which was given by Astané (incarnated in Hélène and
speaking the unknown language by her mouth, followed by its Martian
equivalent for each word), in the seance of the 18th of December, 1898.
Immediately after, Astané yielded his place to Esenale, who in turn
repeated the Martian phrase, translating it word for word into French
by the customary process.

 [Illustration: Fig. 29. Text No. 34 (November 2, 1898), written by
 Mlle. Smith, incarnating Ramié. Natural size.]

  *34. =Ramié di pédrinié anâ né ériné diviné=
  _Ramié te quitte maintenant, est satisfait, heureux_

  =té mûné ten ti vi. hed dassinié mis abadâ ti ché=
  _du moment près de toi. Il garde un peu de ton_

  =atèv ni di parêzié banâ mirâξ.—évaï divinée=
  _être et te laisse trois adieux. Sois heureuse!_

 Ramié leaves thee now, is satisfied, happy for the moment near to
 thee. He retains a little of thy being and leaves thee three adieux.
 Be happy.

Graphic. November 2, 1898 (translated December 18).—Hélène only
perceived after its accomplishment that her hand, which she felt
“firmly held,” had written this text at the close of the preceding
vision (see Fig. 29).

  35. [A] =attanâ zabiné pi ten té iche tarvini mabûré=
  _Monde arriéré, très près du nôtre, langage grossier,_

  =nubé téri zée atèv [B] Astané êzi dabé fouminé ni=
  _curieux comme les êtres!—Astané, mon maître puissant et_

  =ié ti takâ tubré né bibé ti zé umêzé=
  _tout de pouvoir, seul est capable de le faire._

 Hidden world, very near to ours, coarse language, curious like the
 beings.—Astané, my powerful master and all powerful, alone is capable
 of doing it.

Auditive. December 5, 1898 (translated December 18).—Working by
lamp-light at seven o’clock in the morning, Hélène again had a vision
of the Martian (Ramié) who had clasped her waist with one arm while
showing her something with a gesture of the other (probably the tableau
of the preceding vision, though Hélène did not see it) and uttering
the first phrase of it (A). The second phrase (B) is the reply of this
same Martian to a mental question of Hélène asking him to translate
the strange language of the other day. (She must, therefore, have
understood the meaning of the first phrase in order to have replied to
it by her appropriate mental question.)

 [Illustration: Fig. 30. Text No. 37 (March 24, 1899), written by Mlle.
 Smith, incarnating Astané. [Collection of M. Lemaître.] Owing to a
 defect of the stereotype plate a dot is lacking on the first letter.]

  36. [A] =aé aé aé aé lassunié lâmi rêzé aé aé aé=
  _Aé, aé, aé, aé!—Approche; voici Rêzé... aé, aé, aé,_

  =aé niké bulié va né ozâmié zitêni primêni—[B] ozâmié=
  _aé, petit Bulié... où est Ozamié? Zitêni, Primêni... Ozamié,_

  =viniâ ti mis bigâ kêmâ zitêni viniâ ti misé bigâ kêmisi=
  _nom de un enfant mâle; Zitêni, nom de une enfant femelle;_

  =primêni viniâ ti misé bigâ kêmisi=
  _Priméni, nom de une enfant femelle._

 Aé, aé, aé, aé! Approach, here is Rézá ... aé, aé, aé, aé, little
 Bulié ... where is Ozamié? Zitêni, Primêni ... Ozamié, name of a male
 child; Zitêni, name of a female child; Primêni, name of a female child.

 [Illustration: Fig. 31. Text No. 38 (March 30, 1899), written by
 Mlle. Smith copying a text of Ramié, who appeared to her in a visual
 hallucination. [Collection of M. Lemaître.]]

Auditive. March 8, 1899 (translated June 4).—Hélène heard the phrase
(A) during the vision of which the description follows. At the
translation, as the sitters did not at once understand that the three
first words are proper names, Esenale adds the phrase (B) with its
French signification. “I was unable to go to sleep yesterday evening.
At half-past eleven everything around me was suddenly lighted up, and
the vivid light permitted me to distinguish surrounding objects. I
arose this morning with a very clear remembrance of that which I then
saw. A tableau was formed in that light, and I had more before me than
the interior of a Martian house—an immense square hall, around which
shelves were fastened, or rather little tables suspended and fastened
to the wall. Each of these tables contained a baby, but not at all
bundled up; all the movements of these little infants were free, and
a simple linen cloth was thrown round the body. They might be said to
be lying on yellow moss. I could not say with what the tables were
covered. Some men with strange beasts were circulating round the hall;
these beasts had large flat heads, almost without hair, and large, very
soft eyes, like those of seals; their bodies, slightly hairy, resembled
somewhat those of roes in our country, except for their large and flat
tails; they had large udders, to which the men present fitted a square
instrument with a tube, which was offered to each infant, who was thus
fed with the milk of these beasts. I heard cries, a great hurly-burly,
and it was with difficulty that I could note these few words [of this
text]. This vision lasted about a quarter of an hour; then everything
gradually disappeared, and in a minute after I was in a sound sleep.”

  *37. =Astané bounié zé buzi ti di triné nâmi ni=
  _Astané cherche le moyen de te parler beaucoup et_

  =ti di umêzé séïmiré bi tarvini=
  _de te faire comprendre son langage._

 Astané searches for the means to speak to thee much and to make thee
 understand his language.

Graphic. March 24, 1899 (translated June 4).—“Half-past six in the
morning. Vision of Astané. I was standing, about to put on my slippers.
He spoke to me, but I could not understand him. I took this sheet of
paper and a pencil; he spoke to me no more, but seized my hand which
held the pencil. I wrote under this pressure; I understood nothing, for
this is as Hebrew to me. My hand was released; I raised my head to see
Astané, but he had disappeared” (see Fig. 30).

  *38. =fédié amès Ramié di uzénir tès luné amès zé=
  _Fédié, viens; Ramié te attendra ce jour; viens, le_

  =boua trinir=
  _frère parlera._

 Fédié, come; Ramié will await thee to-day; come, the brother will

Visual. March 30, 1899 (translated June 4).—Seated at her toilet-table,
at half-past nine o’clock in the evening, Hélène found herself suddenly
enveloped in a rose-colored fog, which hid one part of the furniture
from her, then was dissipated, allowing her to see, at the farther end
of her room, “a strange hall, lighted with rose-colored globes fastened
to the wall.” Nearer to her appeared a table suspended in the air, and
a man in Martian costume, who wrote with a kind of nail fastened to his
right index-finger. “I lean towards this man; I wish to place my left
hand on this imaginary table, but my hand falls into empty space, and
I have great difficulty in restoring it to its normal position. It was
stiff, and for some moments felt very weak.” Happily the idea occurred
to her to take pencil and paper and copy “the characters which the
Martian, whom I had seen several times before [Ramié], traced; and with
extreme difficulty—since they were much smaller than mine—I succeeded
in reproducing them” (the Martian text of Fig. 31). All this lasted
about a quarter of an hour. I went immediately to bed, and saw nothing
more that evening, nor on the following day.

 [Illustration: Fig. 32. Text No. 39 (April 1, 1899), written by Mlle.
 Smith, incarnating Ramié. [Collection of M. Lemaître.] Natural size.]

  *39. =Ramié pondé acâmi andélir téri antéch=
  _Ramié, savant astronome, apparaîtra comme hier_

  =iri é vi anâ. riz vi banâ mirâξ ti Ramié ni=
  _souvent à toi maintenant. Sur toi trois adieux de Ramié et_

  =Astané. évaï divinée=
  _Astané. Sois heureuse!_

 Ramié, learned astronomer, will appear as yesterday often to thee now.
 Upon thee three adieux from Ramié and Astané. Be happy!

Graphic. April 1, 1899 (translated June 4).—“Again, on going to bed at
five minutes past ten, a new vision of the personage seen day before
yesterday [Ramié]. I thought he was about to speak, but no sound issued
from his lips. I quickly take pencil and paper, and feel my right arm
seized by him, and I begin to trace the strange handwriting attached
hereto (see Fig. 32). He is very affectionate; his bearing, his look,
everything breathes both goodness and strangeness. He leaves me really

  40. =ramié ébanâ dizênâ zivênié ni bi vraïni=
  _Ramié, lentement, profondément, étudie, et son désir_

  =assilé né ten ti rès kalâmé astané êzi dabé né zi=
  _immense est près de se accomplir. Astané mon maître est là_

  =med lé godané ni ankôné évaï bané zizazi divinée=
  _pour me aider et réjouir. Sois trois fois heureuse!_

 Ramié, slowly, deeply studies, and his great desire is near to being
 accomplished. Astané, my master, is there to aid me and to rejoice.
 Mayst thou be thrice happy!

Auditive. June 4, 1899 (translated same seance).—Hemisomnambulism, in
which Hélène, without having a vision, hears a voice addressing words
to her, from which, with some difficulty, she collected the preceding

41. To these texts, forming sentences, in order to complete the whole,
some isolated words must be added, gathered on various occasions, the
meaning of which is obtained with sufficient certainty, either from the
French context in which they were framed, or from Hélène’s description
of the objects which they designated. These words are =chèke=, _papier_
(“paper”); =chinit=, _bague_ (“ring”); =asnète=, _espèce de paravent_
(“kind of screen”). =Anini Nikaîné=, proper name of a little girl (see
p. 176), probably the Martian sister of Esenale, who floats beside her,
invisible to her, and watches over her during an illness, after the
fashion of spirit protectors. =Béniel=, proper name of our earth, as
seen from Mars (which is called =Durée= in texts 7 and 9).


Provided the reader has given some attention to the foregoing texts, if
only to the two first, he undoubtedly will have been easily satisfied
as to the pretended language of the planet Mars, and perhaps will be
astonished that I have spent so much time upon it. But, as many of the
_habitués_ of the seances of Mlle. Smith—and, naturally, Mlle. Smith
herself—hold seriously to its authenticity, I cannot absolve myself
from stating why the “Martian” is, in my opinion, only an infantile
travesty of French. Even in default of the astronomical importance
which is claimed for it on the authority of Leopold, this idiom
preserves all the psychological interest which attaches to automatic
products of subconscious activities of the mind, and it well deserves
some minutes of examination.

It is necessary at the start to render this justice to the
Martian (I continue to designate it by that name, for the sake of
convenience)—namely, that it is, indeed, a language and not a simple
jargon or gibberish of vocal noises produced at the hazard of the
moment without any stability. It cannot be denied the following
characteristics—First: It is a harmony of clearly articulated sounds,
grouped so as to form words. Secondly: These words when pronounced
express definite ideas. Thirdly, and finally: Connection of the
words with the ideas is continuous; or, to put it differently, the
signification of the Martian terms is permanent and is maintained
(apart from slight inconsistencies, to which I will return later on)
from one end to the other of the texts which have been collected in the
course of these three years.[21] I will add that in speaking fluently
and somewhat quickly, as Hélène sometimes does in somnambulism (texts
4, 11, 15, etc.), it has an acoustic quality altogether its own, due
to the predominance of certain sounds, and has a peculiar intonation
difficult to describe. Just as one distinguishes by ear foreign
languages which one does not understand, the whole dialect possessing
a peculiar accent which causes it to be recognized, so in this case
one perceives, from the first syllables uttered, whether Hélène is
speaking Hindoo or Martian, according to the musical connection, the
rhythm, the choice of consonants and vowels belonging to each of the
two idioms. In this the Martian, indeed, bears the stamp of a natural
language. It is not the result of a purely intellectual calculation,
but influences of an æsthetic order, emotional factors, have combined
in its creation and instinctively directed the choice of its assonances
and favorite terminations. The Martian language has certainly not
been fabricated in cold blood during the normal, habitual, French (so
to speak) state of Mlle. Smith, but it bears in its characteristic
tonalities the imprint of a peculiar emotional disposition, of a
fixed humor or psychical Orientation, of a special condition of mind,
which may be called, in one word, the _Martian_ state of Hélène. The
secondary personality, which takes pleasure in linguistic games, seems,
indeed, to be the same, at its source, as that which delights in the
exotic and highly colored visual images of the planet of red rocks, and
which animates the personages of the Martian romance.

A glance at the _ensemble_ of the foregoing texts shows that Martian,
as compared with French, is characterized by a superabundance of _é_,
_ê_, and _i’s_, and a scarcity of diphthongs and the nasal sounds. A
more accurate statistical table of sounded vowels which strike the
ear in reading aloud the Martian texts on the one hand, and their
translation into French on the other, gives me the percentages of
Table I., which follows. But it is well known that the vowels are
distinguished, from the acoustic point of view, by certain fixed
characteristic sounds, and that they are distributed at different
heights in the musical scale.


                                             Martian  French
  _a_                                     %   16.3     13.7
  _e_ mute (like those of _casemate_)     “    3.6     20.8
  _e_ closed or half-closed (like those
     of _hébété_, _rêvé_)                 “   36.9     14.3
  _e_ open (like that of _aloès_)         “    2.1      4.6
  _i_                                     “   34.3     13.4
  _o_                                     “    2.3      5.7
  _u_                                     “    2.3      3.1
  Diphthongs and nasals (_ou_, _oi_,
      _eu_, _an_, _in_, _on_, _un_)       “    2.1     24.5


                                             Martian  French
  Vowels, high (_i_ and _e_ sounded)      %   73.3     32.3
  Vowels, middle (_a_ and _o_)            “   18.6     19.4
  Vowels, low or hollow (_u_; diphthongs
      and nasals; _e_ mute)               “    8.0     48.4

_i_ and _é_ are the highest, _a_ and _o_ occupy the middle place,
_u_ and _ou_ are found in the lower part of the scale. In adding to
the latter, therefore, the nasals, which are always hollow, and also
_e_ mute, Table I. divides itself into the three groups of Table II.
from the point of view of height and sonorousness. It is, therefore,
clear that the Martian is of a general tonality much higher than the
French; since, while the two languages have almost the same proportion
of middle vowels, the low, hollow, or mute sounds, which constitute
almost one-half of the French vowels, amount to scarcely one-twelfth in
Martian, in which the high sounds, on the contrary, represent in bulk
three-quarters of the vowels, against one-third only in the French.
On the other hand, researches in the field of colored audition have
demonstrated that a close psychological connection exists, based on
certain emotional analogies and an equivalence of organic reactions,
between the high sounds and the bright or vivid colors, and the low
or hollow sounds and the sombre colors. But this same correlation is
found in the somnambulistic life of Mlle. Smith, between the brilliant,
luminous, highly colored visions which characterize her Martian cycle
and the language of the high and sonorous vowels which gushes forth in
the same cycle. It is allowable to conclude from this that it is really
the same emotional atmosphere which bathes and envelops these varied
psychological products, the same personality which gives birth to these
visual and phonetic automatisms. The imagination cannot, however, as is
easily understood, create its fiction out of nothing; it is obliged to
borrow its materials from individual experience. The Martian tableaux
are, therefore, only a reflection of the terrestrial world, but of that
part of it which possesses the most warmth and brilliancy—the Orient;
in the same way, the Martian language is only French metamorphosed and
carried to a higher diapason.

I admit, then, that Martian is a language, and a natural language,
in the sense that it is automatically brought forth in the emotional
state, or by the secondary personality, which is the source of all the
remainder of the cycle without the conscious participation of Mlle.
Smith. It remains for me now to mention some of the characteristics
which seem to indicate that the inventor of this subliminal linguistic
work had never known any idiom other than French, that it is much more
sensible to verbal expression than to logical connection of ideas,
and that it possesses in an eminent degree that infantile and puerile
character which I have already pointed out in the author of the Martian
romance. It now becomes necessary to examine rapidly this unknown
language, from the point of view of its phonetics and its writing, its
grammatical form, its syntax, and its vocabulary.

1. _Martian Phonetics and Handwriting._—Martian is composed of
articulate sounds, all of which, consonants as well as vowels, exist in
French. While on this globe languages geographically our neighbors (not
to mention those farther away) differ each from the other by certain
special sounds—_ch_, German, _th_, English, etc.—the language of the
planet Mars does not permit of similar phonetic originalities. It
seems, on the contrary, poorer in this respect than the French. As yet
I have not found in it the hissing _j_ or _ge_ (as in _juger_), nor the
double sound _x_. Martian phonetics, in a word, are only an incomplete
reproduction of French phonetics.

The Martian alphabet, compared with ours, suggests a remarkable
analogy. The graphic form of the characters is certainly novel, and
no one would divine our letters in these designs of exotic aspect.
Nevertheless, each Martian sign (with the single exception of that of
the plural) corresponds to a French sign, although the inverse is not
the case, which indicates that here again we are in the presence of a
feeble imitation of our system of handwriting.

The twelve written texts upon which I base my comparison comprise
about 300 words (of which 160 are different) and 1200 signs. There are
altogether twenty-one different letters, all of which have their exact
equivalents in the French alphabet, which also has five others which
Martian lacks; _j_ and _x_, of which the sounds themselves have not
been observed, and _q_, _w_, and _y_, of which there is a double use,
with _k_, _v_, and _i_. This reduction of graphic material manifests
itself in two other details. First, there are neither accents nor
punctuation marks, with the exception of a certain sign, resembling
the French circumflex, used sometimes in the shape of a point at the
end of phrases. In the second place, each letter has only one form,
the diversity of capitals and small letters not seeming to exist in
Martian. Of ciphers we know nothing.

There are still three small peculiarities to notice:

1. In default of capitals, the initials of proper names are often
distinguished by a point placed above the ordinary character.

2. In the case of double letters the second is replaced by a point
situated at the right of the first.

3. Finally, there exists, in order to designate the plural of
substantives and of some adjectives, a special graphic sign, answering
to nothing in the pronunciation and having the form of a small
vertical undulation, which reminds one a little of an amplification
of the French _s_, the usual mark of the plural in French. These
peculiarities, outside the ordinary form of the letters, constitute the
sum total of ingenuity displayed in Martian handwriting.

It must be added that this handwriting, which is not ordinarily
inclined, goes from left to right, like the French. All the letters are
of nearly the same height, except that the _i_ is much smaller, and
that they remain isolated from each other; their assembly into words
and phrases offers to the eye a certain aspect of Oriental hieroglyphic

The Martian alphabet never having been revealed as such, we are
ignorant of the order in which the letters follow each other. It would
seem as though the letters had been invented by following the French
alphabet, at least in great part, if one may judge according to the
analogies of form of the Martian characters corresponding to certain
series of French letters: compare _a_ and _b_; _g_ and _h_; _s_ and
_t_; and also the succession _k_, _l_, _m_, _n_.

It is in the phonetic value of the letters—that is to say, in the
correspondence of the articulated sounds with the graphic signs—that
the essentially French nature of the Martian may be seen. The only
notable difference to be pointed out here between the two languages
is the much greater simplicity of the Martian orthography, resulting
in the employment of no useless letters. All are pronounced, even the
final consonants, such as _s_, _n_, _z_, etc., which are generally
silent in French. This gives the impression that the Martian
handwriting is moulded on the spoken language, and is only the notation
of the articulated sounds of the latter by the most economical means.
In so far it realizes the type of a handwriting truly phonetic—that
is to say, where each sign corresponds to a certain elementary
articulation, constant and invariable, and vice versa. It is full, on
the other hand, of equivocations, of exceptions, of irregularities,
which make one and the same letter to have very different
pronunciations, according to circumstances, and, reciprocally,
which causes the same sound to be written in different ways without
our being able to perceive any rational explanation for all these
ambiguities—were it not for the fact that the very same thing is to be
found in French!

Martian is only disguised French. I will mention only the most curious
and striking coincidences, all the more striking from the fact that the
field from which I have collected them is very limited, being confined
to the dozen texts written and pronounced, which contain only 160
different words.

The simple vowels of the Martian alphabet correspond exactly to the
five French vowels, _a_, _e_, _i_, _o_, _u_, and have the same shades
of pronunciation.

The Martian _c_ plays the triple part which it also fulfils in French.
The _s_ has the same capricious character as in our language. It is
generally hard, but between two vowels it becomes soft, like _z_.

2. _Grammatical Forms._—The _ensemble_ of the texts which we possess
does not as yet permit us to make a Martian grammar. Certain
indications, however, warrant the prediction that the rules of that
grammar, if it ever sees the light of day, will be only the counterpart
of, or a parody upon, those of French.

Here, for example, is a list of personal pronouns, articles, possessive
adjectives, etc., which have appeared hitherto:

  _je_ =cé=      _me_ =lé=,    _ton_ =ché=    _ce_ =tès=,     _de_ =ti=
                  _moi_ =si=                    _ces_ =têsé=

  _tu_ =dé=      _te_ =di=,    _ta_ =chée=    _cette_ =tês=,  _des_ =tié=
                   _toi_ =vi=                   =têsée=

  _il_ =hed=     _se_ =rès=,   _tes_ =chi=    _le_ (pron.)    _du_ =té=
                   _lui_ =pi=                  =zé=

  _nous_ =nini=  _mon_ =êzi=   _son_ =bi=     _qui_ =kâ=,     _au_ =ine=
                                                _que_ =ké=

  _vous_ =sini=   _ma_ =êzé=   _sa_ =bé=      _quel_ =kiz=,
                                                _quelle_ =kizé=

  _ils_ =hed=    _mes_ =éziné=   _ses_ =bée=   _un_ =mis=, _une_ =misé=

  _on_ =idé=     _notre_ =iche=                _le_, _la_ _les_ (art.)
                                                =zé=, =zi=, =zée=.

There are some texts where the feminine is derived from the masculine
by the addition of an _e_ mute, and the plural by the small,
unpronounced sign, which has all the appearance of being a reminiscence
of French _s_.

Between these two languages there is another order of points
of contact, of a more special interest, because it shows the
preponderating rôle which verbal images have often played in the
making of Martian to the prejudice of the intrinsic, logical nature
of the ideas. I should say that at all times the Martian translates
the French word, allowing itself to be guided by auditive analogies
without regard to the real meaning, in such a way that we are surprised
to discover in the idiom of the planet Mars the same peculiarities of
homonyms as in French. It is also the case that two vocables identical
as to pronunciation, but of entirely heterogeneous signification, as
the preposition _à_ and the _a_ of the verb _avoir_, are rendered in
Martian by the same word, _é_.

Other curious coincidences are to be noted. In French the conjunction
_et_ only slightly differs, from the point of view of phonic images,
from the verb _est_; in Martian also there is a great analogy, between
=ni= and =né=, which translate these two words. Between the past
participle =nié= of the verb _to be_ and the conjunction =ni= there
is only the difference of an =_é_=, just as between their French
equivalents =_été_= and =_et_=.

It must be admitted that all these coincidences would be very
extraordinary if they were purely fortuitous.

3. _Construction and Syntax._—The order of the words is absolutely the
same in Martian as in French. This identity of construction of phrases
is pursued sometimes into the minutest details, such as the division
or amputation of the negation _ne_ ... _pas_ (texts 15 and 17), and
also the introduction of a useless letter in Martian to correspond to
a French euphemistic _t_ (see text 15), =Kèvi bérimir m hed=, _quand
reviendra-t-il?_ (“when will he return?”)

If it is admitted hypothetically that the succession of words,
such as is given us in these texts, is not the natural ordering of
the Martian language, but an artificial arrangement, like that of
juxtalinear translations for the use of pupils, the very possibility
of that correspondence absolutely word for word would remain an
extraordinary fact without a parallel, since there is not a single
language that I know of in which each term of the French phrase is
always rendered by _one_ term, neither more nor less, of the foreign
phrase. The hypothesis referred to is, moreover, inadmissible, since
the Martian texts, of which Esenale gives the literal translation,
were not previously arranged by him with that end in view; they are
the identical words which Mlle. Smith heard and noted in her visions,
often weeks and months before Esenale repeats them for the purpose of
translating them, and which constitute the conversation, as such, taken
from life, of the Martian personages. We must conclude from this that
these in their elocution follow step by step and word by word the order
of the French language, which amounts almost to saying that they speak
a French the sounds of which have simply been changed.

4. _Vocabulary._—From an etymological point of view, I have not been
able to distinguish any rule of derivation, even partial, that would
permit the suspicion that the Martian words had come from French words,
according to some law. Apart from the entire first text, where it is
difficult to deny that the people of Mars have stolen French terms of
politeness, at the same time distorting them, no clear resemblance
is to be seen between Martian words and the French equivalents; at
most, there are traces of borrowing, like =merve=, _superbe_, which
might have been abridged from _merveille_ (text 25), and =vechi=, an
imitation of _voir_.

Still less does the Martian lexicon betray the influence of other
known languages (at least to my knowledge). A term which suggests such
similarity is hardly ever met with—_e.g._, =modé=, _mère_ (“mother”),
and =gudé= _bon_ (“good”), cause us to think of German or English
words; =animina= (“existence”) is like _anima_; various forms of the
verbs _être_ and _vivre_ (“to be” and “to live”), =êvé=, =évaï=,
=essat=, recall the Latin _esse_ or the Hebrew _évé_, and that passage
of the Biblical story of the Creation where Eve is called the mother
of all living beings. A linguist who happened to be at the same time
a savant and a humorist would doubtless succeed in lengthening this
list of etymologies, after the mode of the eighteenth century. But,
_cui bono_? In that rarity of points of contact between the idioms of
our terrestrial sphere and the Martian glossary, an argument might be
found in favor of the extra-terrestrial origin of the latter, if, on
the other hand, it did not seem to betray the influence of the French
language from the fact that a notable proportion of its words reproduce
in a suspicious manner the same number of syllables or letters as their
French equivalents; note, for example, besides the terms of politeness
already mentioned, the words =tarvine=, _langage_; =haudan=, _maison_;
=dodé=, _ceci_; =valini=, _visage_, etc., and the great majority of the
little words, such as =cé=, _je_; =ké=, _que_; =ti=, _de_; =dé=, _tu_;

With the exception of such examples as these, it must be acknowledged
that there is no trace of parentage, filiation, of any resemblance
whatever between the Martian and French vocabularies, which forms a
singular contrast to the close identity which we have established
between the two languages in the preceding paragraphs.

This apparent contradiction carries its explanation in itself, and
gives us the key to Martian. This fantastic idiom is evidently the
naïve and somewhat puerile work of an infantile imagination, to which
occurred the idea of creating a new language, and which, while giving
to its lucubrations certain strange and unknown appearances, without
doubt caused them to run in the accustomed moulds of the only real
language of which it had cognizance. The Martian of Mlle. Smith, in
other words, is the product of a brain or a personality which certainly
has taste and aptitude for linguistic exercises, but which never knew
that French takes little heed of the logical connection of ideas,
and did not take the trouble to make innovations in the matter of
phonetics, of grammar, or of syntax.

The process of creation of Martian seems to have consisted in simply
taking certain French phrases as such and replacing each word by
some other chosen at random. That is why, especially in the texts at
the beginning, the structure of French words is recognized under the
Martian. The author herself was undoubtedly struck by it, and from that
time exerted herself to complicate her lexicon, to render her words
more and more unrecognizable.

This research of originality—which, however, she has never extended
beyond the purely material part of the language, never having an idea
that there might be other differences in languages—represents an effort
of imagination with which she must be credited. Homage must also be
rendered to the labor of memorizing, which the making of a dictionary
has necessitated. She has sometimes, indeed, fallen into errors; the
stability of her vocabulary has not always been perfect. But, finally,
after the first hesitation and independently of some later confusions,
it gives evidence of a praiseworthy terminological consistency, and
which no doubt in time, and with some suggestive encouragement, would
result in the elaboration of a very complete language—perhaps even of
several languages, as we may augur from text 33, to which we shall
return in the following chapter.

5. _Style._—It remains to investigate the style. If it is true
that “manners make the man”—that is to say, not the impersonal and
abstract understanding, but the concrete character, the individual
temperament, the humor and emotional vibration—we ought to expect to
find in the style of the Martian texts the same special stamp which
distinguishes the visions, the sound of the language, the handwriting,
the personages—in short, the entire romance, that is to say, the
curious mixture of Oriental exoticism and of childish puerility of
which the secondary personality of Mlle. Smith, at work in this cycle,
seems to be composed. It is difficult to pronounce upon these matters
of vague æsthetic impression rather than of precise observation; but,
as well as I can judge, there seems to me to be in the phraseology of
the texts collected an indefinable something which corresponds well
with the general character of the entire dream. As these words are
evidently first thought in French—then travesties in Martian by a
substitution of sounds, the choice of which, as has been seen, apropos
of the high tonality of this language, reflects the general emotional
disposition—it is, naturally, under their French aspect that we ought
to consider them in judging of their actual style. Unfortunately, we
do not know how far the translation given by Esenale is identical
with the primitive original; certain details seem to hint that there
are divergences sometimes. However that may be, it is clearly to be
perceived that the literary form of the majority of the texts (taken
in French) is more akin to poetry than to prose. While no one of
them is in verse, properly speaking, the large number of hemistiches
which are met with, the frequency of inversion, the choice of terms,
the abundance of exclamations and of broken phrases, betray a great
intensity of sentimental and poetic emotion. The same character is
found, with a strong shade of exotic and archaic originality, in the
formulas of salutation and farewell (“be happy to-day,” “three adieux
to thee,“ etc.), as well as in many expressions and terms of phrases
which rather recall the obscure and metaphorical parlance of the Orient
than the dry precision of our language of to-day (”_il garde un peu de
ton être; cet élément mystérieux, immense_,” etc.)

If, now, it is recollected that everywhere in literary history poetry
precedes prose, imagination comes before reason, and the lyric style
before the didactic, a conclusion according with that of the preceding
paragraphs is reached. Which is, that, by its figures and its style,
the Martian language (or the French phrases which serve it for a
skeleton) seems to bring to us the echo of a past age, the reflex of a
primitive state of mind, from which Mlle. Smith to-day finds herself
very far removed in her ordinary and normal states of mind.


The preceding analysis of the Martian language furnishes its support
to the considerations which the content of the romance has already
suggested to us in regard to its author (p. 194). To imagine that by
twisting the sounds of French words a new language capable of standing
examination could actually be created, and to wish to make it pass for
that of the planet Mars, would be the climax of silly fatuity or of
imbecility were it not simply a trait of naïve candor well worthy of
the happy age of childhood.

The whole Martian cycle brings us into the presence of an infantine
personality exuberant of imagination, sharing, as to their light,
color, Oriental exoticism, the æsthetic tendencies of the actual normal
personality of Mlle. Smith, but contrasting with it outside its puerile
character in two points to be noted.

First: It takes a special pleasure in linguistic discussions and the
fabrication of unknown idioms, while Hélène has neither taste nor
facility for the study of languages, which she cordially detests and in
which she has never met with success.

Secondly: Notwithstanding this aversion, Hélène possesses a certain
knowledge, either actual or potential, of German—in which her parents
caused her to take lessons for three years—whereas the author of
Martian evidently knows only French. It is, in fact, difficult to
believe that, if that author had only a very slight knowledge of the
German language (so different from the French by the construction
of its sentences, pronunciation, its three genders, etc.), that
some reminiscences of it, at least, would not have slipped into its
lucubrations. I infer from this that the Martian secondary personality
which gives evidence of a linguistic activity so fecund, but so
completely subject to the structural forms of the mother-tongue,
represents a former stage, ulterior to the epoch at which Hélène
commenced the study of German.

If one reflects, on the other hand, on the great facility which Mlle.
Smith’s father seems to have possessed for languages (see p. 17),
the question naturally arises whether in the Martian we are not in
the presence of an awakening and momentary display of an hereditary
faculty, dormant under the normal personality of Hélène, but which she
has not profited from in an effective manner. It is a fact of common
observation that talents and aptitudes often skip a generation and seem
to pass directly from the grandparents to the grandchildren, forgetting
the intermediate link. Who knows whether Mlle. Smith, some day, having
obtained Leopold’s consent to her marriage, may not cause the polyglot
aptitudes of her father to bloom again with greater brilliancy, for the
glory of science, in a brilliant line of philologists and linguists of

Meanwhile, and without even invoking a special latent talent in
Hélène’s case, the Martian may be attributed to a survival or a
reawakening under the lash of mediumistic hypnoses of that general
function, common to all human beings, which is at the root of language
and manifests itself with the more spontaneity and vigor as we mount
higher towards the birth of peoples and individuals.

Ontogenesis, say the biologists, reproduces in abridged form and
_grosso-modo_ phylogenesis; each being passes through stages analogous
to those through which the race itself passes; and it is known that
the first ages of ontogenic evolution—the embryonic period, infancy,
early youth—are more favorable than later periods and adult age to the
ephemeral reappearances of ancestral tendencies, which would hardly
leave any trace upon a being who had already acquired his organic
development. The “poet who died young” in each one of us is only the
most common example of those atavic returns of tendencies and of
emotions which accompanied the beginnings of humanity, and remain
the appanage of infant peoples, and which cause a fount of variable
energy in each individual in the spring-time of his life, to congeal or
disappear sooner or later with the majority; all children are poets,
and that in the original, the most extended, acceptation of the term.
They create, they imagine, they construct—and language is not the least
of their creations.

I conclude from the foregoing that the very fact of the reappearance of
that activity in the Martian states of Hélène is a new indication of
the infantile, primitive nature left behind in some way and long since
passed by her ordinary personality, of the subliminal strata which
mediumistic autohypnotization with her puts in ebullition and causes
to mount to the surface. There is also a perfect accord between the
puerile character of the Martian romance, the poetic and archaic charms
of its style, and the audacious and naïve fabrication of its unknown

                              CHAPTER VII


All things become wearisome at last, and the planet Mars is no
exception to the rule. The subliminal imagination of Mlle. Smith,
however, will probably never tire of its lofty flights in the society
of Astané, Esenale, and their associates. I myself, I am ashamed to
acknowledge, began, in 1898, to have enough of the Martian romance.

Once having satisfied myself as to the essential nature of the Martian
language, I did not desire to make a profound study of it, and since
the texts had made their appearance so slowly, for two years, as to
threaten to continue during the remainder of my natural existence,
as well as that of the medium, without coming to an end; finding, on
the other hand, that the texts, considered as simple psychological
curiosities, varied but little and were at length likely to become
burdensome, I decided to try some experiment which, without drying up
their source, might at least break through this monotony. Up to that
time, without giving a positive opinion as to the Martian, I had always
manifested a very real interest in these communications, as well as in
Mlle. Smith in her waking state, and in Leopold in his incarnations.
Both of these showed themselves fully persuaded of the objective verity
of this language, and of the visions which accompanied it. Leopold
had not ceased, from the first day, to affirm its strictly Martian
authenticity. Hélène, without maintaining absolutely that it came from
Mars rather than from any other planet, shared the same faith in the
extra-terrestrial origin of these messages; and, as appeared from many
details of her conversations and conduct, she saw in it a revelation of
the loftiest import, which might some day cause “all the discoveries
of M. Flammarion” to sink into insignificance. What would happen if I
made up my mind to strike this strange conviction a telling blow, and
demonstrate that the pretended Martian was only a chimera, a product,
pure and simple, of somnambulistic autosuggestion?

My first tentative experiment, addressed to Leopold, had no appreciable
influence on the course of the Martian cycle. It was at the seance
of February 13, 1898. Hélène was profoundly asleep, and Leopold was
conversing with us by gestures of the arm and spelling on the fingers.
I categorically informed him of my certainty that the Martian was of
terrestrial fabrication, and that a comparison with the French proved
it so to be. As Leopold responded by emphatic gestures of dissent,
I detailed to him some evidences, among others the accord of the
two languages as to their pronunciation of _ch_, as to the homonym
of the pronoun and article _le_. He listened to me, and seemed to
understand my arguments, but he refused to admit the force of these
characteristic coincidences, and said: “There are some things more
extraordinary,” and was unwilling to give up the authenticity of the
Martian. We stood by our respective opinions, and the later texts do
not show any trace of our interview. It seemed, therefore, that it was
not through the intervention of Leopold that a modification of the
Martian romance was to be suggested.

I allowed some months to pass, then tried a discussion with Hélène
while she was awake. On two occasions, in October, 1898, I expressed
to her my utter skepticism as to the Martian. The first time, on the
6th of October, in a visit which I made to her outside of any seance,
I confined myself to certain general objections to it, to which she
replied, in substance, as follows: First, that this unknown language,
by reason of its intimate union with the visions, and in spite of its
possible resemblances to the French, must necessarily be Martian, if
the visions are. Then nothing seriously opposes that actual origin of
the visions, and, consequently, of the language itself; since there are
two methods of explaining this knowledge of a far-off world—namely,
communications properly _spiritistic_ (_i. e._, from spirits to
spirits, without material intermediary) the reality of which cannot be
held to be doubtful; _and clairvoyance_, that faculty, or undeniable
sixth sense, of mediums which permits them both to see and hear at any
distance. Finally, that she did not hold tenaciously to the distinctly
Martian origin of that strange dream, provided it is conceded that it
comes from somewhere outside herself, it being inadmissible to regard
it as the work of her subconsciousness, since she had not, during her
ordinary life, absolutely any perception whatever, any sentiment, not
the shadow of a hint of that alleged interior work of elaboration to
which I persisted in attributing it against all the evidence and all

Some days later (October 16th), as Mlle. Smith, perfectly awake after
an afternoon seance, passed the evening at my house, and seemed to be
in the fulness of her normal state, I returned to the charge with more
of insistence.

I had until then always avoided showing her the full translation of the
Martian texts, as well as the alphabet, and she only knew by sight, so
to speak, the Martian handwriting, and was ignorant of the value of the

This time I explained to her in detail the secrets of the language,
its superficial originalities and fundamental resemblances to French;
the frequent occurrence of _i_ and _e_, its puerile construction,
identical with French, even to the slipping in of a superfluous
euphonic =m= between the words =bérmier= and =hed= in order to imitate
the expression _reviendra-t-il?_ its numerous caprices of phonetics
and homonyms, evident reflexes of those to which we are accustomed,
etc. I added that the visions seemed to me to be also suspicious
through their improbable analogies with that which we see on our globe.
Supposing that the houses, the vegetation, and the people of Mars
were constructed on the same fundamental plan as those here below, it
was nevertheless very doubtful whether they had the same proportions
and typical aspect; in short, astronomy teaches us that on Mars the
physical conditions—the length of the year, the intensity of weight,
etc.—are all other than with us: the last point, in particular, should
act on all the products, natural and artificial, in such a way as to
alter greatly the dimensions as well as the proportions of height
and size which are familiar to us. I observed, again, that there are
doubtless on Mars, as on the earth, a great variety of idioms, and
the singular chance which made Esenale speak a language so similar to
French was very astonishing. I concluded, finally, by remarking that
all this was easily explicable, as well as the Oriental aspect of
the Martian landscapes and the generally infantile character of that
romance, if it were regarded as a work of pure imagination, due to a
secondary personality or to a dream state of Mlle. Smith herself, who
recognized having always had “great taste for that which is original
and connected with the Orient.”

For more than an hour Hélène followed my demonstration with a lively
interest. But to each new reason, after having appeared at first a
little disconcerted by it, she did not hesitate to repeat, like a
triumphal refrain and as an unanswerable argument, that science is
not infallible; that no scientist has yet been on Mars; and that
consequently it is impossible to affirm with any certainty that affairs
there are not conformable to her visions. To my conclusion she replied
that, as far as concerns Mars or anything else, her revelations did
not, in any case, spring from sources within herself, and that she did
not understand why I was so implacable against that which is the most
simple supposition, that of their authenticity, or why I should prefer
to it this silly and absurd hypothesis of an underlying self plotting
in her, unknown to her, this strange mystification.

Maintaining all the while that my deductions appeared to me strictly
correct, I felt bound to admit that science is not infallible, and that
a voyage to Mars could alone solve all our doubts as to what takes
place there. We parted good friends, but that conversation left me with
a very clear impression of the complete uselessness of my efforts to
make Mlle. Smith share my conceptions of the subliminal consciousness.
But this, however, neither surprises nor grieves me, since from her
point of view it is perhaps better that she thus believes.

The following shows, however, that my reasonings on that evening,
sterile in appearance, were not without effect. If they have not
modified Mlle. Smith’s _conscious_ manner of seeing, and, above
all, the opinion of Leopold, they have nevertheless penetrated to
the profound strata where the Martian visions are elaborated, and,
acting there as a leaven, have been the source of new and unexpected
developments. This result brilliantly corroborates the idea that the
whole Martian cycle is only a product of suggestion and autosuggestion.
Just as formerly the regret of M. Lemaître at not knowing that
which passes on other planets had furnished the first germ of that
lucubration, so now my criticisms and remarks on the language and
peoples of that upper world served as a point of departure for new
circuits of Hélène’s subliminal imagination. If, in fact, the content
of our discussion of the 16th of October, which I have above briefly
summed up, is compared with the visions of the following months (see
beginning with text 30), it is clear that these latter contain an
evident beginning of an answer, and are an attempt to satisfy the
questions which I raised. A very curious attempt is there made, naïve
and infantine, like the whole Martian romance, to escape the defects of
which I complained on that occasion, not by modifying and correcting
it—that would have been to reverse and to contradict herself—but
by going beyond it in some sort, and by superposing upon it a new
construction, an _ultra-Martian_ cycle, if I may be permitted that
expression, hinting at the same time that it unfolds itself on some
undetermined planet still farther away than Mars, and that it does not
constitute an absolutely independent narrative, but that it is grafted
on the primitive Martian romance.

The suggestive effect of my objections of the 16th of October was
not immediate, but became a work of incubation. Text 30, coming the
following week, differed but slightly from the preceding, save for the
absence of a euphonic letter, which, however, had been better in place
between the words =bindié idé=, _trouve-t-on_, than in the =bèrimir m
hed= of text 15, to which I had attracted Hélène’s attention; possibly
it is allowable to regard this little detail as a first result of my
criticisms. The apparition, a little later, of a new Martian personage,
Ramié, who promised Hélène some near revelations as to a planet not
otherwise specified (text 31), proves that the ultra-Martian dream
was in process of subconscious ripening, but it did not burst forth
until the 2d of November (seventeen days after the suggestion with
which I connect it), in that curious scene in which Ramié reveals to
Mlle. Smith an unsuspected and grotesque world, the language of which
singularly differs from the usual Martian. The detailed description
of that strange vision, which Hélène sent me, is worth the trouble of
citing (see also texts 32 to 35):

“I was awakened, and arose about twenty minutes ago. It was about a
quarter-past six in the morning, and I was getting ready to sew. Then,
for an instant, I noticed that my lamp was going out, and I ended by
not seeing anything more. At the same moment I felt my waist clasped,
strongly held by an invisible arm. I then saw myself surrounded by a
rose-colored light, which generally shows itself when a Martian vision
is coming. I quickly took paper and pencil, which are always within
reach on my toilet-table, and placed these two things on my knees, in
case some words should come to be noted.

“Hardly were these preparations concluded when I saw at my side a man
of Martian visage and costume. It was, in fact, the personage [Ramié]
who had clasped my waist with his left arm, showing me with his right
hand a tableau, at first indistinct, but which finally outlined itself
quite clearly. He spoke also some sentences, which I can note very
well, it seems to me [text 32, where Ramié attracts the attention
of Hélène to one of the worlds which surround him and makes her see
strange beings.]

“I saw then a section of country peopled by men altogether different
from those which inhabit our globe. The tallest of all were three feet
high, and the majority were an inch or two shorter. Their hands were
immense, about ten inches long by eight broad; they were ornamented
with very long black nails. Their feet also were of great size.

“I did not see any tree, any bit of verdure. I saw a medley of houses,
or rather cabins, of the most simple style, all low, long, without
windows or doors; and each house had a little tunnel, about ten feet
long [see Fig. 33] running from it into the earth.

 [Illustration: Fig. 33. Ultra-Martian houses. Drawn by Mlle. Smith
 after her vision of November 2, 1898.]

“The roofs were flat, supplied with chimneys, or tubes. The men,
with arms and bodies bare, had for all clothing only a sort of skirt
reaching to the waist and supported by a kind of suspenders thrown over
the shoulders, which were apparently very strong. Their heads were very
short, being about three inches high by six inches broad, and were
close shaven. They had very small eyes, immense mouths, noses like
beans. Everything was so different from what we are accustomed to in
our world that I should have almost believed it to be an animal rather
than a man I saw there, had there not suddenly issued from the lips of
one of them some words, which, fortunately—I hardly know how—I was able
to note down. This vision lasted a quarter of an hour. Then I found my
waist liberated, but my right hand was still firmly held, in order to
trace strange characters on the paper” (text 34, adieux of Ramié to

A little later there was a continuation, or an abortive repetition, of
the same vision; the table did not appear distinctly, and Ramié (text
35) contented himself with teaching Hélène things concerning a world
beyond, a near neighbor to Mars, and a coarser language, of which
Astané alone could furnish a translation. This is, in effect, what took
place two weeks later: Astané incarnated himself with gestures and
peculiar spasmodic movements, and repeated (in Hélène’s ordinary voice)
the barbaric text, followed word by word by its Martian equivalents,
which Esenale, in turn, succeeding Astané, interpreted in French, in
his customary manner. Leopold also informed us, in reply to a question
of one of the sitters, that this uncouth and primitive world was one
of the smaller planets; but it is to be presumed that he would also
have answered in the affirmative if he had been asked if it were called
Phobos or Deimos; and, in short, one of the satellites of Mars would
answer better than the asteroids to the globe “very near to ours,” of
which Ramié spoke.

Up to this point the ultra-Martian messages were confined to the
preceding. The last texts obtained (37 to 40) seem to announce that
the end has not been reached on that side, and cause us to hope for
new revelations, when the astronomer Ramié, as the result of his
having studied under the skilful direction of his master Astané, shall
be in a position to make further discoveries in the Martian sky.
Psychologically speaking, this amounts to saying that the process of
latent incubation continues; a new ultra-Martian language is in a
state of development in the subliminal depths. If it bursts forth some
day, I shall hasten to bring it to the knowledge of the scientific
world—in another edition of this book. For the present I limit myself
to remarking how much the little ultra-Martian we possess already
indicates the wish to answer my questions of the 16th of October.

I had accused the Martian dream of being a mere imitation, varnished
with brilliant Oriental colors, of the civilized environment which
surrounds us—and here is a world of terrifying grotesqueness, with
black soil, from which all vegetation is banished, and the coarser
people of which are more like beasts than human beings. I had
insinuated that the people and things of that upper world ought really
to have other dimensions and proportions than with us—and here are the
inhabitants of that farther world veritable dwarfs, with heads twice as
broad as they are high, and houses to match. I had made allusion to the
probable existence of other languages, referred to the superabundance
in Martian of _i_ and _e_, impeached its syntax and its _ch_, borrowed
from the French, etc.—and here is a language absolutely new, of a very
peculiar rhythm, extremely rich in _a_, without any _ch_ at all up to
the present moment, and of which the construction is so different from
the French that there is no method of discovering it.

This latter point, above all, seems to me to present in its apogee the
character of childishness and puerility which clearly shows itself in
that unexpected appendix to the Martian cycle, as in the entire cycle
itself. Evidently the naïve subliminal philologist of Mlle. Smith has
been struck by my criticisms on the identical order of the words in
Martian and in French, and has endeavored to avoid that defect in her
new effort at an unknown language.

But not knowing in just what syntax and construction consist, she has
found nothing better to suit her purpose than the substitution of
chaos for the natural arrangement of the terms in her thought, and the
fabrication of an idiom which had decidedly nothing in common with the
French in this respect. Here is where the most beautiful disorder is
practically a work of art. It has, moreover, succeeded, since, even
with the double translation, Martian and French, of text 33, it is
impossible to know exactly what is meant.

It is possibly the little girl _Etip_ who is sad, and who _weeps_
because the man _Top_ has done _harm_ to the _sacred_ animal _Vanem_
(which had _hidden_, _sick_, _under_ some _green branches_), wishing
to _enter in_ to a _blue basket_. At least it could not have been the
_branch_, the _man_, or the _basket_ which was _sacred_, the child
sick, etc.

The green branch is out of harmony with a world in which, according to
Hélène’s vision, there were neither trees nor verdure; but Esenale
has not specified whether it means _vert_ or _ver_, _vers_, etc., nor
whether _caché_ and _entré_ are participles or infinitives. I leave
this rebus to the reader and come to my conclusion, which will be
brief, since it accords with the considerations already given at the
end of the two preceding chapters.

The whole Martian cycle, with its special language and its
ultra-Martian appendix, is only, at bottom, a vast product of
occasional suggestions on the part of the environment, and of
autosuggestions which have germinated, sprouted, and borne abundant
fruit, under the influence of incitement from the outside, but without
coming to amount to anything but a shapeless and confused mass, which
imposes on one by its extent much more than its intrinsic worth, since
it is supremely childish, puerile, insignificant in all aspects,
save as a psychological curiosity. The author of this lucubration is
not the real adult and normal personality of Mlle. Smith, who has
very different characteristics, and who feels herself, in the face
of these automatic messages, as though in the presence of something
foreign, independent, exterior, and finds herself constrained to
believe in their objective reality and in their authenticity. It seems,
indeed, rather a former, infantine, less evolved state of Hélène’s
individuality, which has again come to light, renewed its life, and
once more become active in her Martian somnambulisms.

It is hardly necessary to add, in conclusion, that the whole
spiritistic or occult hypothesis seems to me to be absolutely
superfluous and unjustified in the case of the Martian of Mlle. Smith.
Autosuggestibility set in motion by certain stimulating influences
of the environment, as we come to see through the history of the
ultra-Martian, amply suffices to account for this entire cycle.

                             CHAPTER VIII

                           THE HINDOO CYCLE

While the Martian romance is purely a work of fantasy, in which the
creative imagination was able to allow itself free play through
having no investigation to fear, the Hindoo cycle, and that of Marie
Antoinette, having a fixed terrestrial setting, represent a labor
of construction which was subjected from the start to very complex
conditions of environments and epochs. To keep within the bounds of
probability, not to be guilty of too many anachronisms, to satisfy the
multiple demands of both logic and æsthetics, formed a particularly
dangerous undertaking, and one apparently altogether beyond the
powers of a person without special instruction in such matters. The
subconscious genius of Mlle. Smith has acquitted itself of the task
in a remarkable manner, and has displayed in it a truly wonderful and
delicate sense of historic possibilities and of local color.

The Hindoo romance, in particular, remains for those who have taken
part in it a psychological enigma, not yet solved in a satisfactory
manner, because it reveals and implies in regard to Hélène, a knowledge
relative to the costumes and languages of the Orient, the actual
source of which it has up to the present time not been possible to
discover. All the witnesses of Mlle. Smith’s Hindoo somnambulisms who
are of the same opinion on that subject (several refrain from having
any) unite in seeing in it a curious phenomenon of cryptomnesia,
of reappearances of memories profoundly buried beneath the normal
waking state, together with an indeterminate amount of imaginative
exaggeration upon the canvas of actual facts. But by this name of
cryptomnesia, or resurrection of latent memories, two singularly
different things are understood. For me it is only a question of
memories of her present life; and I see nothing of the supernormal in
that. For while I have not yet succeeded in finding the key to the
enigma, I do not doubt its existence, and I will mention later certain
indications which seem to me to support my idea that the Asiatic
notions of Mlle. Smith have a wholly natural origin.

For the observer inclined towards spiritism, on the contrary, the
sleeping memory which is awakened in somnambulism is nothing less
than that of a previous existence of Mlle. Smith, and that piquant
explanation, which was first given by Leopold, profits in their eyes
from the impossibility which I find in proving that it is anything else.

Doubtless, if one was familiar with all the incidents of Hélène’s life
from her earliest childhood, and if it were absolutely certain that her
knowledge of India had not been furnished her from the outside, through
the normal channel of the organs of sense, it would be necessary to
seek elsewhere for the solution of the riddle, and to choose between
the hypothesis of an atavic memory, hereditarily transmitted across
fifteen generations, and actual telepathic communication with the brain
of some Indian savant, or a spiritistic reincarnation. But we do not
find ourselves in that position. There is nothing less known, in its
details, than the daily life of Mlle. Smith in her childhood and youth.
But, when all the feats of which the subconscious memory of our present
life is capable are considered, it is not scientifically correct to
have recourse to a pretended “anteriority,” of which the only guarantee
is the authority of Leopold, in order to explain the somnambulistic
apparitions of facts of which Mlle. Smith in her waking state has no
remembrance, I admit, but the origin of which may well have been hidden
in the unknown recesses of her past life (reading, conversation, etc.).

The plot of the Hindoo romance, which I have already briefly hinted at
on divers occasions, is as follows:

Hélène Smith was, at the end of the fourteenth century of our era,
the daughter of an Arab sheik, possibly named Pirux, whom she left
in order to become, under the name of Simandini, the eleventh wife
of Prince Sivrouka Nayaka, of whom I have the honor to be the actual
reincarnation. (I pray the reader once for all to pardon me the
immodest rôle which has been imposed upon me in this affair against my

This Sivrouka, who reigned over Kanara, and built there, in 1401,
the fortress of Tchandraguiri, does not seem to have been a very
accommodating person; although not bad at heart, and quite attached to
his favorite wife, he had a wild humor and very uncouth manners. More
could not be expected of an Asiatic potentate of that epoch. Simandini,
nevertheless, passionately loved him, and at his death she was burned
alive on his grave, after the fashion of Malabar.

Around these two principal personages are grouped some secondary
figures, among others a faithful domestic named Adèl, and a little
monkey, Mitidja, which Simandini had brought to India with her from
Arabia; then the fakir Kanga, who occupies a much more important place
in the Martian romance, in which we have seen him reincarnated as
Astané, than in the Hindoo cycle.

Some other individuals, all masculine—Mougia, Miousa, Kangia,
Kana—appear in obscure rôles, concerning which nothing certain can be

The hypnoid states, in which this romance has manifested itself
with Hélène, present the greatest variety and all degrees, from the
perfect waking state (apparently), momentarily crossed by some visual
or auditive hallucination, the memory of which is preserved intact
and allows a detailed description, up to total somnambulism, with
amnesia upon awakening, in which the most striking scenes of ecstasies
or incarnations are unfolded. We shall see divers examples in the
following pages.


Without recurring to the strange and little-known visions which already
haunted the childhood and youth of Mlle. Smith (see pp. 20-25), I will
retrace the principal stages of her Asiatic romance from the birth of
her mediumship.

During the three first years there were but few manifestations of this
sort, in the seances, at least, while as to the automatisms which
developed at other times, especially at night, or in the hypnagogic
state, we know nothing.

In November, 1892, two seances of the N. group are occupied with the
apparition of a Chinese city—Pekin, according to the table—in which a
disincarnate spirit, a parent of one of the group, is found performing
a mission to a sick child.

In her seances of 1894, Hélène had on several occasions detached
visions belonging to the Orient, as appeared from their content, or
hints dictated by the table. She also saw Teheran; then the cemetery
of the missions at Tokat (June 12th); a cavalier with a white woollen
cloak and a turban bearing the name of Abderrhaman (September 2d); and,
finally, an Oriental landscape, which depicted a ceremony of Buddhist
aspect (October 16th). This latter vision, more especially, seemed to
be a forerunner of the Hindoo romance, since the records of the seances
of that period show an _ensemble_ of characteristic traits which will
be again met with in the later Hindoo scenes—_e.g._, an immense garden
of exotic plants, colonnades, rows of palm-trees, with enormous stone
lions at the head; rugs of magnificent design, a temple surrounded by
trees, with a statue, apparently that of Buddha; a procession of twelve
women in white, who kneel, holding lighted lamps; in the centre another
woman, with very black hair, detaches herself from the procession,
balances a lamp, and burns a powder which expands into a white stone
(the continuation of the romance shows this woman to be Simandini, of
whom this was the first appearance).

February 17, 1895.—At the end of a rather long seance, the table
dictates _Pirux sheik_, and replies to our questions that it refers to
an Arab sheik of the fifteenth century. At this moment Hélène awakes,
saying that she had seen a man with a black mustache and curly hair,
wearing a cloak and a turban, who seemed to be laughing at and mocking
her. The spelling out of Pirux was not very clear, and Leopold, when
interrogated later, neither affirmed categorically, nor did he deny,
that this name was that of the sheik, father of Simandini.

March 3.—Seance with six persons present, all having their hands upon
the table. After a brief waiting, Hélène is surprised at no longer
being able to see my left middle finger, while she can see all my other
fingers quite clearly. My bunch of keys, which I then place upon my
middle finger, likewise disappears from her view. This very limited,
systematic, visual anæsthesia authorizes the prediction, following
numerous examples of former seances, that the phenomena about to
appear will concern me. Presently begins a long vision, consisting of
scenes which Hélène believes she has already partially seen before.

She describes a pagoda, which she draws with her left hand, with a
few strokes of her pencil; then an avenue of palms and statues, a
procession, and ceremonies before an altar, etc.

The principal rôles are played by a personage in sandals, a great
yellow robe, a helmet of gold, ornamented with precious stones (first
appearance of Sivrouka) and by the woman with black hair and white
robe, already seen on the 12th of October (Simandini).

In the first part of the vision, Hélène, who follows that woman with
ecstatic gaze, describing her to us, sees her coming towards me, but
at that moment the invisibility of my finger was extended to my entire
person, and Hélène neither sees nor hears me. While she was fully
conscious of the other sitters, she was astonished at seeing this
woman make “on the empty air” certain gestures of laying-on of hands
and benediction, which were made upon my head. On several occasions
I change my place, and seat myself in different parts of the room.
Each time, after a few seconds, Hélène turns towards me, and, without
perceiving me, sees the woman with black hair place herself behind
my seat and repeat her gestures of benediction in space, at a height
corresponding to that of my head.

As the vision continues, I do not play any further rôle, but it has to
do with a ceremony during which the Hindoo woman with a diadem on her
head burns incense in the midst of her twelve companions, etc.

During all this time the table, contrary to its custom, gave no
explanation; but Hélène, having herself asked some questions, remarks
that the imaginary woman replies to her by certain signs of her
head and reveals to her many things that she had known in a former
existence. At the moment of the disappearance of the vision, which
had lasted more than an hour, Mlle. Smith hears the words (“Until
presently”). The continuation, in fact, was not long delayed.

March 6.—Repetition and continuation of the preceding seance, with
this degree of progress—viz., that the visual hallucination of the
woman with the black hair was changed into a total cœnæsthetic
hallucination—_i.e._, instead of a simple vision an incarnation was
produced. After a very impressive scene of benediction, Hélène gave
herself up to a succession of pantomimes in which she seemed to take
part in a fearful spectacle and to struggle with enemies (scene of
the funeral pile). She ended by seating herself on the divan when she
recovered her normal state, after a series of psychical oscillations,
various attitudes, etc. The last of her phases of mimicry was to tear
off and throw away all the ornaments which an Asiatic princess could
wear—rings on all her fingers, bracelets on her arms and wrists, a
necklace, diadem, ear-rings, girdle, anklets. Once awake, she had no
recollection of the scene of benediction, but recalled quite distinctly
the dreams corresponding to the other pantomimes. She saw again the
black-haired woman, the Oriental landscape of the preceding seance,
etc. In the course of her description the passage of the simple vision
into the scene of incarnation was reflected in a change of the form
of her narrative; she spoke to us of the woman in the third person,
then suddenly adopted the first person, and said “I” in recounting
among other things that she—or the black-haired woman—saw a corpse on
the funeral pile, upon which four men, against whom she struggled,
endeavored to force her to mount. When I drew her attention to this
change of style, she replied that, in fact, it seemed as though she
herself was that woman.

Independently of the Hindoo romance, these two seances are interesting
from a psychological point of view, because the change from a
visual, objective hallucination into total cœnæsthetic and motor
hallucination occurs in it, constituting a complete transformation
of the personality. This generalization of partial automatism at the
beginning, this subjugation and absorption of the ordinary personality
by the subliminal personality, does not always produce amnesia with
Hélène, that unique impression which she might describe on awakening as
being herself and some one else at the same time. (Compare, p. 119.)
It must be noted that in the particular case of the identification
of the black-haired Hindoo woman with Mlle. Hélène Smith of Geneva,
the problem of the causal connection is susceptible of two opposite
solutions (and the same remark will be equally appropriate in the case
of Marie Antoinette).

For the believing spiritist it is because Mlle. Smith is the
reincarnation of Simandini—that is to say, because these two
personages, in spite of the separation of their existences in time and
space, are substantially and metaphysically identical—that she really
again becomes Simandini, and feels herself to be a Hindoo princess in
certain favorable somnambulistic states. For the empirical psychologist
it is, on the contrary, because the visual memory of a Hindoo woman
(her origin is of no importance) grows like a parasite and increases
in surface and in depth like a drop of oil, until it invades the whole
impressionable and suggestible personality of the medium—this is why
Mlle. Smith feels herself becoming this woman, and concludes from it
that she formerly actually was that person (see p. 28-30). But we must
return from this digression to the Hindoo dream.

March 10.—After various waking visions relating to other subjects,
Hélène enters into somnambulism. For twenty minutes she remains seated
with her hands on the table, by means of raps struck upon which Leopold
informs us that a scene of previous existence concerning me is being
prepared; that I was formerly a Hindoo prince, and that Mlle. Smith,
long before her existence as Marie Antoinette, had then been my wife,
and had been burned on my tomb; that we should ultimately know the name
of this Hindoo prince, as well as the time and place of these events,
but not this evening, nor at the next seance. Then Hélène leaves the
table, and in a silent pantomime of an hour’s duration, the meaning of
which, already quite clear, is confirmed by Leopold, she plays, this
time to the very close, the scene of the funeral pile as outlined in
the preceding seance.

She goes slowly around the room, as if resisting and carried away in
spite of herself, by turns supplicating and struggling fiercely with
these fictitious men who are bearing her to her death.

All at once, standing on tiptoe, she seems to ascend the pile, hides,
with affright, her face in her hands, recoils in terror, then advances
anew as though pushed from behind. Finally she falls on her knees
before a soft couch, in which she buries her face covered by her
clasped hands. She sobs violently. By means of her little finger,
visible between her cheek and the cushion of the couch, Leopold
continues to reply very clearly by yes and no to my questions. It is
the moment at which she again passes through her agony on the funeral
pile: her cries cease little by little; her respiration becomes more
and more panting, then suddenly stops and remains suspended during
some seconds which seem interminable. It is the end! Her pulse is
fortunately strong, though a little irregular. While I am feeling it,
her breathing is re-established by means of a deep inspiration. After
repeated sobs she becomes calm, and slowly rises and seats herself
on a neighboring sofa. This scene of fatal _dénouement_ lasted eight
minutes. She finally awakens, remembering to have seen in a dream the
dead body of a man stretched on a funeral pile, and a woman whom some
men were forcing to ascend the pile against her will.

There was nothing Oriental in the succeeding seances, and the Hindoo
dream did not appear again until four weeks later.

April 7.—Mlle. Smith went quickly into a mixed state, in which the
Hindoo dream was mingled and substituted, but only so far as concerns
me, for the feeling of present reality. She believes me absent, asks
other sitters why I have gone away, then rises and begins to walk
around me and look at me, very much surprised at seeing my place
occupied by a stranger with black curly hair and of brown complexion,
clothed in a robe with flowing sleeves of blue, and with gold
ornaments. When I speak to her she turns around and seems to hear my
voice from the opposite side, whither she goes to look for me; when I
go towards her she shuns me; then, when I follow her, she returns to
the place I had just left. After some time occupied in these manœuvres
she ceases to be preoccupied with me and my substitute in the blue
robe, and falls into a deeper state. She takes on the look of a
seeress, and describes a kind of embattled château on a hill, where she
perceives and recognizes the before-mentioned personage with the curly
hair, but in another costume and surrounded by very ugly black men, and
women “who are good looking.”

Interrogated as to the meaning of this vision, Leopold replies: “_The
city of Tchandraguiri in Kanaraau_” (_sic_); then he adds, a moment
later, “_There is a letter too many in the last word_,” and ends by
giving the name _Kanara_, and adding the explanation “_of the fifteenth
century_.” Upon awaking from this somnambulistic state, which lasted
two hours, Hélène recalls having had a dream of a personage with curly
hair, in a blue robe, richly ornamented with precious stones, with a
cutlass of gold, bent backward, suspended from a hook. She recollects
having held a long conversation with him in a strange language which
she understood and spoke very well herself, although she no longer
knows the meaning of it.

April 14.—Very soon passing into a deep sleep, Mlle. Smith leaves the
table and gives herself up to a silent pantomime, at first smiling,
then finishing in sadness and by a scene of tears.

The meaning of this is explained by Leopold as follows: Hélène is
in India, in her palace of Tchandraguiri, in Kanara, _in 1401_, and
she receives a declaration of love from the personage with the curly
hair, who is the Prince Sivrouka Nayaka, to whom she has been married
for about a year. The prince has flung himself upon his knees, but he
inspires in her a certain fright, and she still regrets having left
her native country in order to follow him. Leopold affirms that she
will remember, on awaking, in French, all that the prince has said to
her in Sanscrit, and that she will repeat to us a part of it, but not
all, because it is too private. After awaking she seems in reality to
recall clearly her entire dream, and tells us that she found herself
on a hill, where they were building; that it was not exactly a city,
nor even a village, since there were no streets; that it was rather an
isolated place in the country, and that which was being built was not
in the form of a house; it had holes rather than windows (a fortress
and loop-holes).

She found herself in a fine palace, very beautiful as to its interior,
but not its exterior. There was a great hall, decorated with greens,
with a grand staircase at the end, flanked by statues of gold. She held
a long conversation there, not in French, with the swarthy personage
with the black curly hair and magnificent costume; he finally ascended
the staircase, but she did not follow him.

She appeared to recall well the meaning of all that he said to her in
their conversation in a foreign language, but seemed embarrassed by
these memories, and would not consent to relate them to us.

May 26.—In the course of this seance, as Hélène, in a silent
somnambulism, incarnates the Hindoo princess, I hand her a sheet of
paper and a pencil in the hope of obtaining some text or drawing. After
divers scribblings she traces the single word _Simadini_ in letters
which are not at all like her usual hand (see Fig. 34).

 [Illustration: Fig. 34.  Simadini]

Then taking a fresh sheet, she seems to write on it with a happy smile,
folds it carefully and thrusts it in her corsage, takes it out again,
and rereads it with rapture, etc. Leopold informs us that Simadini is
the name of the Hindoo princess, and that she is reading a love-letter
from Sivrouka. On awaking she remembers having been “in such a
beautiful palace,” and of having received there a very interesting
letter, but the contents of which she refused to disclose to us, being
evidently too confidential.

I intercalate here two remarks apropos of the name Simadini, which is
one of the first known examples of a handwriting of Mlle. Smith other
than her own normal hand.

First: When, four months later, Leopold began to communicate in writing
(pp. 98-103), a certain analogy in the formation of the letters, and
the identical way of holding the pencil, caused us to believe that it
was he who had already traced the word in Fig. 34. But he has always
denied it, and we have never been able to discover the author of it.
Secondly: I said above, (p. 204), that there had been divergences in
the orthography of this name. Here, in substance, is a fragment of a
letter which Mlle. Smith wrote me in the winter following (February 18,
1896), depicting to me the vexatious impressions which she still had
concerning it.

“... I am very sad, and I cannot tell why. I have a heavy heart, and
for what reason I do not know myself. It came to such a pass to-day
(you are going to laugh) that it seemed to me as though my left cheek
had grown perceptibly thinner. I am sure that at this moment you would
not recognize Simadini, so piteous and discouraged is her countenance!
Think, that at the very moment in which I trace these words, I hear a
voice speaking to me in my right ear: “_Not Simadini, but Simandini!_”
What do you think that can be? It is very strange, is it not? Have
we misunderstood that name? Or, perhaps, may it not be I who have
misunderstood it?...”

Mlle. Smith here forgets that the name did not come to her on the first
occasion by auditive hallucination, in which case it might be that she
had misunderstood it, but by writing in somnambulism, which excludes
any mistake of her ordinary consciousness. We must confine ourselves
to registering as a fact, inexplicable hitherto, this correction of
a graphic automatism by an auditive automatism at the end of several
months. Between the two orthographies, I have adopted the second, which
has undergone no further changes, and figures only in the Martian texts
(10, 16).

June 16.—Fuller repetition of the scene of the letter of the Hindoo
prince. Impossible to learn the contents of it. I suggest to her to
remember and to relate them to us upon awakening, but Leopold replies:
“_She will not reveal it. Why have you not gained her confidence
sufficiently, that she may tell you everything without fear?_” and the
suggestion had no effect.

June 30.—Somnambulism with silent pantomime, the meaning of which is
given by Leopold: It is the scene of the betrothal of Simandini and
Sivrouka at Tchandraguiri. There is first a phase of oppression, with
sighs and gestures as of a struggle against various pretenders who wish
to seize her; then laughter and ecstasy, provoked by the arrival of
Sivrouka, who delivers her and drives off his rivals; finally, joy and
admiration on accepting the flowers and jewels which he offers her.

I have reported, too much at length perhaps, though still greatly
abridged, these first appearances of the Oriental romance, because
they form a continuous series, in the reverse of the chronological
order, conformably to a spiritistic theory which holds that in these
memories of previous existences the mediumistic memory goes back and
recovers the “images” of the more recent events before those which
are more remote. During this first period of four months, the Hindoo
cycle made irruption into eight seances (about one-twentieth of those
at which I have been present since I have had knowledge of them), and
has manifested itself somewhat like the panorama of a magic lantern,
unfolding itself in successive tableaux.

This whole history can be summed up by a few principal tableaux: there
was the scene of the death on the funeral pile, prepared in vision
in the seance of the 6th of March and executed on the 10th; then the
scene of the interior of the palace and the fortress in process of
construction (7th and 14th of April); that of the love-letter (26th of
May and 16th of June); finally, the betrothal (30th of June). There
must be added to these the grand tableau at the beginning, first
presented in vision the 3d of March, then realized three days later
with the astonishing exclamation Atièyâ Ganapatinâmâ. The meaning of
this scene has never been explained by Leopold, but seems to be quite
clear. A species of prologue can be seen in it, or even apotheosis,
inaugurating the entire romance; it is the Hindoo princess of four
centuries ago recognizing her lord and master in flesh and blood, under
the unexpected form of a university professor, whom she greets with
an emphasis wholly Oriental in blessing him, very appropriately, in
the name of the divinity of science and of wisdom—since Ganapati is an
equivalent of Ganesâ, the god with the head of an elephant, patron of
sages and savants.

It can be easily conceived that these two words of Oriental resonance,
spoken aloud at a period at which the Martian was not yet born—and
followed by all the conversations unfortunately unheard by us, which at
the waking at the subsequent seances Hélène recalled having held in a
strange language (in _Sanscrit_, according to Leopold) with the Hindoo
prince of her dreams—would excite a lively curiosity and a desire to
obtain longer audible fragments of this unknown idiom. It was only
in September, 1895, that this satisfaction was afforded us, during a
seance at which the Oriental romance, which had given no further sign
of life since the month of June, made a new outbreak. Starting from
that moment, it has never ceased during these four years to reappear
irregularly, and, suffering some eclipses, accompanied on each occasion
by words of a _Sanscritoid_ aspect. But the plot of the romance has no
longer the same clearness that it showed at the beginning. In place of
tableaux linking themselves in a regular chronological order, they are
often no more than confused reminiscences, memories, without precise
bonds between them, which gush forth from the memory of Simandini. As
the fragments of our youthful years surge up incoherent and pell-mell
in our dreams, Mlle. Smith, too, finds herself easily assailed in her
somnambulisms by visions connected with certain episodes, and not
forming an entire continuation of supposed Asiatic pre-existence.

Some of these scenes concern her life as a young Arab girl. One sees
her there, for example, playing joyously with her little monkey,
Mitidja; or copying an Arab text (see Fig. 35, p. 312), which her
father, the sheik, surrounded by his tribes, furnishes her; or
embarking on a strange boat, escorted by black Hindoos, for her new
country, etc. But much the larger number of her somnambulistic trances
and her spontaneous visions have reference to her life in India and
to the details of her daily existence. Her bath, which the faithful
domestic Adèl prepares for her; her walks and reveries in the splendid
gardens of the palace, all full of a luxurious vegetation and rare
birds of brilliant colors; her scenes of tenderness and of affectionate
effusions—always stamped, this is to be noted, with the most perfect
propriety—towards the Prince Sivrouka, when he is kindly disposed;
scenes of regret also and abundant tears for the memory of her far-off
native land, when the capricious and brutal humor of the Oriental
despot makes itself too severely felt; conversation with the fakir
Kanga; devotions and religious ceremonies before some Buddhist image,
etc., all this forms an _ensemble_ extremely varied and full of local
color. There is in the whole being of Simandini—in the expression of
her countenance (Hélène almost always has her large eyes open in this
somnambulism), in her movements, in the quality of her voice when she
speaks or chants Hindoo—a languishing grace, an abandon, a melancholy
sweetness, a something of languor and of charm, which corresponds
wonderfully with the character of the Orient, as the spectators
conceive it to be, who, like me, have never been there, etc. With all
this a bearing always full of _noblesse_ and dignity conforms to that
which one would expect of a princess; there are no dances, for example,
nothing of the _bayadère_.

Mlle. Smith is really very wonderful in her Hindoo somnambulisms. The
way in which Simandini seats herself on the ground, her legs crossed,
or half stretched out, nonchalantly leaning her arms or her head
against a Sivrouka, who is sometimes real (when in her incomplete
trance she takes me for her prince), sometimes imaginary; the religious
and solemn gravity of her prostrations when, after having for a long
time balanced the fictitious brazier, she crosses her extended hands
on her breast, kneeling and bowing herself three times, her forehead
striking the ground; the melancholy sweetness of her chants in a minor
key, wailing and plaintive melodies, which unfold themselves in certain
flute-like notes, prolonged in a slow decrescendo, and only dying away
at the end of a single note held for fully fourteen seconds; the agile
suppleness of her swaying and serpentine movements, when she amuses
herself with her imaginary monkey, caresses it, embraces it, excites
it, scolds it laughingly, and makes it repeat all its tricks—all this
so varied mimicry and Oriental speech have such a stamp of originality,
of ease, of naturalness, that one asks in amazement whence it comes
to this little daughter of Lake Leman, without artistic education or
special knowledge of the Orient—a perfection of play to which the best
actress, without doubt, could only attain at the price of prolonged
studies or a sojourn on the banks of the Ganges.

The problem, as I have already stated, is not yet solved, and I am
obliged still to endeavor to discover whence Hélène Smith has derived
her ideas in regard to India. It seems that the more simple method
would be to take advantage of the hypnotic state of the seances to
obtain a confession from Hélène’s subconscious memory, and persuade it
to disclose the secret; but my efforts in that direction have not as
yet succeeded. It is doubtless incompetency on my part, and I will end,
perhaps—or some one better qualified than I—in finding the joint in the
armor. The fact is that hitherto I have always run up against Leopold,
who will not allow himself to be ejected or ridiculed, and who has
never ceased to affirm that the Sanscrit, Simandini, and the rest are
authentic. All the trails which I have thought I have discovered—and
they are already numerous—have proved false. The reader must pardon me
for not going into the details of my failures in this regard.

If it was only a question of the Hindoo pantomime the mystery would not
be so great: some recitations at school, newspaper articles concerning
the incineration of the widows of Malabar, engravings and descriptions
relative to the civil and religious life of India, etc.—in short, the
varied sources of information which, in a civilized country and at our
epoch of cosmopolitanism, inevitably meet some time or other the eyes
or ears of every one of us and form part of the equipment (conscious
or unconscious) of every individual who is not altogether uncultured,
would more than suffice to explain the scene of the funeral pile,
the prostrations, and the varied attitudes. There are, indeed, some
well-known examples showing how small a thing a cunning intelligence,
furnished with a good memory and a fertile and plastic imagination,
needs in order to reconstruct or fabricate out of nothing a complex
edifice, having every appearance of authenticity, and capable of
holding in check for a considerable length of time the perspicacity
even of skilled minds. But that which conscious and reflecting labor
has succeeded in accomplishing in the cases referred to, the subliminal
faculties can execute to a much higher degree of perfection in the case
of persons subject to automatic tendencies.

But two points remain, which complicate the case of the Hindoo romance
and seem to defy—thus far, at least—all normal explanation, because
they surpass the limits of a simple play of the imagination. These are
the precise _historical_ information given by Leopold, some of which
can be, in a certain sense, verified; and the Hindoo _language_ spoken
by Simandini, which contains words more or less recognizable, the real
meaning of which is adapted to the situation in which they have been
spoken. But, even if Hélène’s imagination could have reconstructed
the manners and customs and scenes of the Orient from the general
information floating in some way in cosmopolitan atmosphere, still one
cannot conceive whence she has derived her knowledge of the language
and of certain obscure episodes in the history of India. These two
points deserve to be examined separately.


When Kanara, Sivrouka, Simandini, etc., successively made their
appearance, slowly spelled out by Leopold, with the date of 1401, my
companions of the seance and I hastened to investigate Brouillet, who
brought to mind the province of Malabar in connection with the first
of these names, but left us in utter darkness as to the others. The
geography of Vivien Saint-Martin revealed the existence of no fewer
than three Tchandraguiris—a hill, a river, and a small town in the
district of Arcot-Nord (Madras). The latter—or rather its citadel
on the summit of the hill—answered quite well to the description
given by Hélène in her visions of the 7th and 14th of April, but
the construction of this fortress dates back only to 1510, and this
locality is very far removed from the Kanara where Leopold locates this
entire story (see pp. 286-288).

As to Sivrouka and his surroundings, neither biographical dictionaries
nor encyclopædias were able to furnish me the least hint on this
subject. Living historians or Orientalists to whom I addressed
myself were of a discouraging unanimity in replying that they did
not recognize even the names, the historic correctness of which they
regarded as doubtful, and they did not at all remember having met with
them in works of fiction.

“I have there,” said a learned professor of history, showing me a
good-sized bookcase, “numerous works on the history of India; but they
relate only to the north of the peninsula; and as to what transpired
in the south during the period to which you refer, we know almost
nothing. Your names are unknown to me and do not recall to my mind any
personage, real or fictitious.”

“The very name of Sivrouka seems to me improbable as a Hindoo name”
replied another, who was unable to give me any more information on the

“I greatly regret,” wrote a third, on receipt of Hélène’s texts, “not
to have succeeded in getting upon the trail of the recollections of
your medium. I cannot think of any book which would be likely to
furnish the information. Tchandraguiri and Mangalore (where several
scenes of the Hindoo cycle are located) are correct, but Madras (_id._)
did not exist in 1401. Its name and foundation do not go further back
than the seventeenth century. That region was then a dependency of the
kingdom of Vijayanagara, and a naïk in the service of those princes
resided successively at Tchandraguiri and at Mangalore. I can make
nothing of Sivrouka; the king of Vijayanagara, in 1402, was Bukkha II.,
or Bukkha called Siribukkha, Tiribukkha. But the naïk who so often
changed his residence was evidently not a ruling prince. Was it a
romance? Certain details caused me to doubt it. A romancer so careful
in regard to local coloring as to introduce into his narrative Indian
words, would not have given the title of the prince under the Sanscrit
form _Nayaka_, but would have used the vulgar form naïk; he would not
have made the wife, in speaking to her husband, call him by his name
Sivrouka (as Hélène constantly does in this somnambulism). I have no
recollection of having read anything of this kind, and I know of no
work of fiction from which the story might have been taken.”

It will be readily understood that I was annoyed at not being able to
establish clearly my presumed Asiatic previous existence. However,
while professional science was administering to me these cold douches,
I continued, on my own account, to search the libraries at my disposal,
and here one fine day I accidentally came across, in an old history of
India, in six volumes, by a man named De Marlès, the following passages:

“Kanara and the neighboring provinces on the side towards Delhi may be
regarded as the Georgia of Hindustan; it is there, it is said, that the
most beautiful women are to be found; the natives, however, are very
jealous in guarding them, and do not often allow them to be seen by

“Tchandraguiri, which signifies _Mountain of the Moon_, is a vast
fortress constructed, in 1401, by the rajah Sivrouka Nayaka. This
prince, as also his successors, belonged to the sect of the Djaïns.”

At last! With what a beating heart did I fasten my eyes on that
irrefutable historic evidence that my preceding incarnation, under the
beautiful skies of India was not a myth! I felt new life in my veins.
I reread twenty times those blessed lines, and took a copy of them to
send to those pretended savants who were ignorant even of the name of
Sivrouka, and allowed doubts to be cast upon his reality.

Alas! my triumph was of brief duration. It seems that the testimony
of De Marlès is not of the highest order. This author is held in
slight esteem in well-informed circles, as may be seen from the
following passage in a letter of M. Barth, which merely expresses, in
a vigorous and lively manner, an opinion which other specialists have

“It is through a letter of M. Flournoy that I learn that there has
existed since 1828 in Paris, printed in Roman characters, a history
of India by De Marlès containing a statement that the fortress of
Candragiri was built in 1401, and that its founder was Sivrouka Nayaka.
What new facts there are in books one no longer consults! And that
of De Marlès is, indeed, one of those that are no longer consulted.
I found it yesterday at the library of the Institute. It would have
been impossible to have done worse, even in 1828. But sometimes we
find pearls in a dung-hill, and perhaps this Sivrouka Nayaka is one of
them. Unfortunately, the author gives no hint as to the sources of his
information; and later, in his fourth volume, in which he narrates the
history of the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries, he does not say a
word more either of Candragiri or of Sivrouka.”

Here was a terrible blow to my Hindoo existence, which poor M. de
Marlès had so well established for me.

Nevertheless, the hope still lingers that his information, although not
reproduced by later writers more highly esteemed, may perhaps still be
correct. This is quite possible, since science has not yet spoken its
last word in this department, hardly even its first, if men still more
competent may be believed, beginning with M. Barth himself.

“Up to the present moment,” says he, “there is no trustworthy history
of the south of the peninsula.... The Dravidian languages of India is
a domain very unfamiliar to the majority of Indian scholars.... There
is nothing to draw upon but some works and monographs on the aboriginal
chronicles and legendary traditions; and it would be necessary to know
the Dravidian languages on the one hand and Arabic on the other, to be
able to examine or even consult them with profit. The only works which
we are able to follow are those which undertake to make this history by
epigraphic documents, but these, thus far, say nothing of Simandini, of
Adèl, of Mitidja, or even of Sivrouka.”

This silence of epigraphy is certainly to be regretted; but who knows
whether it will not some day enlighten us by proving De Marlès to
be right—and also Leopold—by narrating to us the true story of the
Hindoo princess, the Arabian monkey, and the slave Adèl! It costs
nothing to hope! Already, thanks again to M. Barth, I have gained
information concerning another Tchandraguiri than the one of the
District of North Arcot mentioned by Vivien de Saint-Martin—_i.e._, a
Tchandraguiri, situated in South Kanara, and in the citadel of which a
hitherto unknown inscription has been discovered which must date back
to the time of King Harihara II., of Vijayanagara, who reigned at the
beginning of the fifteenth century.[23] Here is something approaching
the somnambulistic revelations of Mlle. Smith. While awaiting their
definite confirmation by new archæological discoveries, traces of
Sivrouka may be sought for in the earlier works upon which De Marlès
must have drawn. Unfortunately these works are not easy to find, and
are inconvenient to consult. Professor Michel, of the University of
Liège, has had the kindness to run through those of Buchanan[24] and of
Rennell,[25] but without result.

If De Marlès did not invent Sivrouka out of whole cloth, which is
hardly supposable, it was very probably in the translation of Ferishta
by Dow,[26] that he found his facts. I have, unhappily, not yet been
able myself to consult that very rare work, which is not to be found
in Geneva, so far as I am aware, nor to obtain accurate information
regarding its contents.

The uncertainty which hovers over the historical problem extends,
naturally, to the psychological problem also. It is clear that if
certain inscriptions, or even some old work, should come some day to
tell us not only of Sivrouka, but of Simandini, of Adèl, and the other
personages who figure in Hélène’s Hindoo romance, but of whom De Marlès
does not whisper a word, we should no longer care about the latter
author, and the question would then be as follows: Could Mlle. Smith
have had cognizance of these early works, and if not, how do their
contents reappear in her somnambulism? But in the actual condition of
things, and all allowance made for possible surprises in the future,
I do not hesitate to regard as the more probable and more rational
supposition, that it was really the passage of De Marlès, quoted above,
which furnished the subliminal memory of Hélène the precise date of
1401—and the three names of the fortress, the province, and the rajah.

Various other traits of the visions of Mlle. Smith betray likewise the
same inspiration. The scene in which she sees them engaged in building,
and her description of that which is being built, suggest clearly the
idea of a fortress furnished by the text. The translation _Mountain of
the Moon_ contributed to causing her to locate the scene upon a hill.
The beauty of the women of the country, on which De Marlès dwells, has
its echo in the remark of Hélène that the women whom she sees are “good
looking.” Finally, the princely character of Sivrouka, mentioned by
De Marlès, is found throughout the length of the entire romance, and
displays itself in the splendor of his costume, of the palace, of the
gardens, etc.

It is possible that the names and the nationality of the other
personages—Simandini, Adèl, the monkey, the sheik, etc.—may have been
borrowed from some unknown work, which would be, for the Arabian
portion of the narrative, the pendant to De Marlès for the Hindoo past.

This may be, but it is not necessary. It is permissible to regard,
provisionally, the imaginations built up around Sivrouka, as an
ingenious expedient, by means of which Hélène’s imagination finds a way
of binding to that central figure, and also of blending in a single
whole, her other Oriental memories not specifically Hindoo.

The hypothesis which I am about to assume, which connects directly
with De Marlès the data of Hélène’s Asiatic dream, contained likewise
in the work of that author, arouses, nevertheless, two objections. The
first is drawn from the slight differences of orthography between the
text of De Marlès and the words spoken by Leopold. This difficulty
is only insurmountable by elevating the inerrancy of the subliminal
memory to the plane of absolute infallibility, though the latter
must be admitted to be ordinarily very much superior to that of the
conscious memory. But the favorite comparison of the forgotten
memories, reappearing in somnambulisms, to unchangeable, absolutely
true photographic impressions, causes us readily to exaggerate the
fidelity of the unconscious memory-images. The example of certain
dreams—in which memories of childhood sometimes return with a startling
clearness, but, nevertheless, altered or distorted in some details,
conformably to later experiences or to recent events—suffices to show
that automatisms of the memory are not always sheltered by influences
of the imagination, nor absolutely free from error.

In this particular case there are two divergences between De Marlès and
Leopold: the latter has substituted a _k_ for the _c_ in Nayaca, and
has omitted the _n_ in Tchandraguiri (compare pp. 286 and 288). Another
mistake, which he immediately corrected, consisting in dictating first
_Kanaraau_, was evidently a confusion such as frequently occurs in
writing, occasioned by a too rapid passing from the word _Kanara_ to
the information following, and already about to come—“_au_ fifteenth
century.” The spelling Nayaka, instead of Nayaca, is attributable to
the termination of the word _Sivrouka_, which precedes it. Identity of
pronunciation has produced identity of orthography.

The second objection is of a negative character. It consists in the
impossibility of showing where, when, or how Mlle. Smith obtained
cognizance of the text of De Marlès.

I admit frankly that I know nothing about it, and I give full credit to
Hélène for the indomitable and persevering energy with which she has
never ceased to protest against my hypothesis, which has the faculty of
exasperating her in the highest degree—and one readily understands that
it would naturally do so. For it is in vain that she digs down to the
very bottom of her memories; she does not discover the slightest trace
of this work. And not only that, but how can one seriously suppose
that she has ever had the slightest intimation of it, since she never
studied the history of India, has neither read nor heard anything on
the subject, the very name of De Marlès having been utterly unknown to
her up to the day on which she learned that I suspected that author of
being the source of the Hindoo romance? It must, indeed, be admitted
that the idea of the passage in question having come before the eyes
or ears of Mlle. Smith through any ordinary channel seems a trifle
absurd. I only know in Geneva of two copies of the work of De Marlès,
both covered with dust—the one belonging to the Société de Lecture, a
private association of which none of the Smith family nor any friend
of theirs was ever a member; the other in the Public Library, where,
among the thousands of more interesting and more modern books, it is
now very rarely consulted. It could only have happened, therefore,
by a combination of absolutely exceptional and almost unimaginable
circumstances that the work of De Marlès could have found its way into
Hélène’s hands; and how could it have done so and she not have the
slightest recollection of it?

I acknowledge the force of this argument, and that the wisest thing
to do is to leave the matter in suspense. But if the question must
be decided, though there is scarcely any choice, extravagance for
extravagance, I still prefer the hypothesis which only invokes natural
possibilities to that which appeals to occult causes.

Possibly the work of De Marlès may have been heard of by Mlle. Smith
without her normal consciousness taking note of it. Either when among
her friends or acquaintances, or with her parents, she might have heard
some passages read in her young days, etc. The fact that she has no
conscious recollection of it proves nothing against such a supposition
to any one who is at all familiar with the play of our faculties.

It goes without saying that my method of reasoning is the inverse of
that which generally prevails in spiritistic circles. Witness the
celebrated Aksakoff, as a single example, who, discovering that a
curious typtological message was found already in print in a book
which could not readily have come to the knowledge of the medium, and
recognizing the fact that the message came from that book, says: “But
in what way could the brain of the medium have been made aware of the
contents of the book? There is the mystery. _I refuse to admit that it
could have been through natural means. I believe it was by some occult

Very well! this is plain language, and the frankness of the declaration
charms me to such a degree that I cannot resist the temptation to
appropriate it for myself in the case of Mlle. Smith and M. de Marlès,
transposing only two words: “_I refuse to admit that it could have
been through occult means. I believe it was by some natural process._”
Evidently, in doubtful cases (which are in an enormous majority), in
which the natural and the occult explanations are in direct opposition,
without the possibility of a material demonstration as to which is
true in fact, a decision must be reached in accordance with personal
taste and feeling. Between these two methodological points of view
a reconciliation is scarcely possible. The reader may think what he
will. But, right or wrong, I claim the first of these as my opinion,
and regard the tendency of the supernatural and occult to substitute
themselves, on account of the insufficiency of our knowledge, for the
acquired rights of natural hypothesis, as an unjustifiable reversal of

To those who shall find my hypothesis decidedly too extravagant—or
too simple—remains a choice between the multiple forms of occult
hypothesis. Shall it be Leopold who, in his all-powerful state of
disincarnation, has read in the closed volume of De Marlès? Or has
there, indeed, been a telepathic transmission of this passage from the
brain of some unknown terrestrial reader to that of Mlle. Smith? Shall
it be with her a case of clairvoyance, of lucidity, of intuition in
the astral body; or, again, of trickery on the part of some facetious
spirit? And if, taking the reincarnationist theory seriously, it is
admitted that Sivrouka, 1401, and Tchandraguiri, are indeed really
reminiscences of the past life of Simandini, how explain that curious
coincidence in their choice and their spelling with precisely the
designations used by M. de Marlès?

Verily my brain reels in the midst of all these alternatives, and I
hasten to pass to another subject.


Here is a problem for the partisans of the Oriental pre-existence of
Mlle. Smith: How comes it that, recovering in her trances the use of
the Hindoo which she formerly spoke at the court of Sivrouka, she has
totally forgotten Arabian, which, however, had been her mother-tongue
in that same previous existence, and which she was accustomed to use
exclusively up to the time of her departure from her native land, in
her eighteenth year?

If the emotions caused by her royal marriage had destroyed all memory
of the past, one could understand how the idiom might have become
obscured along with the rest in that loss of memory of her life as a
young girl.

But such was not the case. She preserved very vivid memories of her
father the sheik, of his tents gleaming in the sunlight, of the
people, of the camels and landscapes of Arabia. In many seances and
spontaneous visions she finds herself carried back to that first half
of her Asiatic existence. But then she narrates in French that which is
unfolded before her eyes, or gives herself up to a silent pantomime.
She has never spoken or written anything at all resembling Arabian. Can
it be supposed that already in her Hindoo life she had assimilated the
language of her adopted country to the point of losing even the latent
memories of her maternal language? That would be contrary to all known
psychological analogies.

However, in saying that Hélène has never written or spoken Arabian
I exaggerate. On one occasion she spoke four words of it. It is the
exception which proves the rule. In fact, not only did she fail to
accompany that single text with any pronunciation, but she executed it
as a drawing, and apparently copied, without comprehending, a model
which an imaginary person presented to her.

Here is a review of that incident:

October 27, 1895.—Shortly after the beginning of the seance Mlle.
Smith has an Arabian vision: “Look at those tents! There are no stones
here—it is all sand ... [she counts the tents one by one]. There
are twenty of them. That one is beautiful. Don’t you find it so, M.
Lemaître—that largest one? It is fastened by cords and small stakes
...“ etc. Then she describes the personages: The one who is smoking,
seated in a corner, with his legs crossed; others all black (the table
says they are negroes, and that the scene takes place in Arabia);
then a man clothed in white, whom Hélène has the feeling of knowing
without being able to recognize him; she places her finger upon her
forehead, in the attitude of a person trying to remember, and the table
(on which she has her left hand) informs us then that she lived in
Arabia in her life as Simandini, and that she is trying to recollect
those far-distant times. A quite long scene follows, in which her Arab
reminiscences alternate and mingle with the consciousness of the real
environment, though she neither sees nor hears us. At this point a
state of mental confusion ensues, which seems to be very painful to her.

“... M. Lemaître! M. Flournoy! are you there? Answer me, then. Did I
not come here this evening? If only I could ... however, I am not _en
voyage_.... I really believe it is Sunday at last ... I understand
nothing more about it. I think my brain is so tired that all my ideas
are mixed up ... however, I am not dreaming.... It seems to me that I
have also lived with them ... [the sitters at the table], and with them
[the Arabs of her vision].... But I know them—all those men. Tell me,
then, who you are! Did you arrive in Geneva lately? [They are, says the
table, Arabs who lived five centuries ago, among them the father of
Simandini.] Come nearer, then, come here. I want you to speak to me!
M. Lemaître! Oh, that pretty little sketch! What is that sketch? [The
table having said that it is a drawing which her father is presenting
to her, and that she can copy it, a pencil and a sheet of paper are
placed before her, the latter of which seems to be transformed into
papyrus in her dream.] That green leaf is pretty. Of what plant is
it the leaf? I think I have a pencil; I am going to try to make this

After the usual struggle between the two methods of holding the pencil
(see pp. 100-102), she yields to Leopold’s manner of holding it,
saying, “So much the worse”; then traces, slowly and with great care,
Fig. 35, from left to right, often raising her eyes to her imaginary
model, as if copying a drawing. After which she goes profoundly
asleep; then other somnambulisms come.

On awaking she recollects the state of confusion through which she had
passed. “Wretched evening,” said she. “I was unhappy. I felt that I was
living here, as I always have, and I saw some things as though I were a
foreigner. I was with you, but I was living elsewhere,” etc.

This whole scene gives the distinct impression that the Arab phrase
only existed in Hélène’s recollection as a visual memory, without
meaning or any verbal images. It was for her an incomprehensible piece
of writing, a simple drawing, like Chinese or Japanese characters would
be for us. Evidently it was a text which had come before her eyes at
some propitious moment, and, having been absorbed by the subliminal
imagination—always on the watch for matters of Oriental aspect—had been
incorporated in a scene of the Asiatic dream.

 [Illustration: Fig. 35. Arabian text drawn from left to right by Mlle.
 Smith in hemisomnambulism: elqalil men elhabib ktsir, _the little from
 the friend (is) much_. Natural size.]

Such, at least, is the supposition which seems to me the most
plausible. For, to regard it as a fragment of Arabian, which Hélène
could speak and write fluently if she were in an appropriate state of
somnambulism—as Leopold pretended one day to be the fact—seems to me an
hypothesis still more arbitrary, and little in accord with the other
trance phenomena of Mlle. Smith.

Occasions have not been wanting to her in the five years during which
her exotic romances have been unfolding themselves to make use of her
supposed philological reserves by speaking and writing Arabian, if her
subliminal memory had so desired.

She has presented all degrees and kinds of somnambulism, and more
visions of Arabia than could have failed to awaken by association the
corresponding idiom, if it really was slumbering in her. The complete
and total isolation of the text given above, in the midst of this flood
of Oriental scenes, seems to me, therefore, to testify strongly in
favor of my supposition that it has to do with a visual flash, unique
in its kind, accidentally encountered and stored up, and that the
Asiatic secondary personality of Mlle. Smith is absolutely ignorant of

Concerning the other details of the Arab somnambulisms of Hélène, I
have nothing to say; they do not go beyond the ideas which she could
unconsciously have gathered from the surrounding environment; and to
the other sources of her knowledge must be added whatever she might
have heard from her father, who had at one time lived in Algeria.

The proper names connected with the Arab scenes, with the possible
exception of Pirux, awaken certain associations of ideas, without
making it possible to affirm anything with certainty as to their


The nature of the Hindoo language of Hélène is less easy to explain
clearly than that of the Martian, because it has never been possible to
obtain either a literal translation of it or written texts. Besides,
being ignorant of the numberless dialects of ancient and modern India,
and not believing it to be incumbent upon me to devote myself to
their study solely that I might be able to appreciate at their proper
value the philological exploits of an entranced medium, I am not in
a situation to allow myself any personal judgment in regard to this

There is not even left to me the resource of placing the parts of the
process as a whole before the reader, as I have done in the case of the
Martian, for the reason that our ignorance of Hélène’s Hindoo, added
to her rapid and indistinct pronunciation—a real prattle sometimes—has
caused us to lose the greater part of the numerous words heard in the
course of some thirty Oriental scenes scattered over a space of four

Even the fragments which we have been able to note down present for
the most part so much uncertainty that it would be idle to publish all
of them. I have communicated the best of them to several distinguished
Oriental scholars. From certain information which they have kindly
given me, it appears that the _soi-disant_ Hindoo of Hélène is not
any fixed idiom known to these specialists; but, on the other hand,
there are to be found in it, more or less disfigured and difficult
to recognize, certain terms or roots which approach more nearly to
Sanscrit than any actual language of India, and the meaning of which
often very well corresponds with the situations in which these words
have been uttered. I proceed to give some examples of them:

       *       *       *       *       *

1. The two words, =atiêyâ ganapatinâmâ=, which inaugurated the Hindoo
language on the 6th of March, 1895 (see p. 282), and which were
invested at that moment, in the mouth of Simandini, with the evident
meaning of a formula of salutation or of benediction, addressed to her
late husband, inopportunely returned, were articulated in a manner so
impressive and so solemn that their pronunciation leaves scarcely any
room for doubt.

It is all the more interesting to ascertain the accord of my scientist
correspondents upon the value of these two words; the first recalls to
them nothing precise or applicable to the situation, but the second
is a flattering and very appropriate allusion to the divinity of the
Hindoo Pantheon, which is more actively interesting to the professional

M. P. Oltramare, to whom I sent these words, without saying anything
as to their source, replied: “There is nothing more simple than the
word =ganapatinâmâ=; it means, ‘_who bears the name of Ganapati_,’
which is the same as _Ganesa_.... As to =atiêyâ=, that word has not
a Hindoo appearance; it might perhaps be =atreya=, which, it seems,
serves as a designation for women who have suffered an abortion, an
explication which, however, I do not guarantee. [In order to affirm
more concerning these words, it would be necessary to know] whether
they are really Sanscrit, since if they belong to the vulgar languages,
I excuse myself absolutely.”

M. Glardon, who is more familiar with the vulgar languages and
speaks Hindustani fluently, did not hint to me of any other meaning
for =atiêyâ= and saw also in the other word “an epithet of honor,
literally, ‘_named Ganapati_,’ familiar name of the god Ganesa.”

M. de Saussure also found no meaning whatever for the first term, in
which he inclines now to see an arbitrary creation of the Martian
order, and he remarked that in the second, “the two words, =Ganapati=,
well-known divinity, and =nâmâ=, _name_, are constructed together,
in some inexplicable manner, but not necessarily false. It is quite
curious,” adds he, “that this fragment, which is mixed up with the name
of a god, may be properly pronounced with a kind of solemn emphasis
and a gesture of religious benediction. This denotes, indeed, an
intelligent and intentional use.”

According to this first brief specimen, therefore, Hélène’s Hindoo
appears to be a mixture of improvised articulations and of veritable
Sanscrit words adapted to the situation. Later specimens only serve to
corroborate this impression.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. The next outbreak of Hindoo took place five months later (September
15, 1895), in the midst of a very long Oriental seance, in which I only
refer to points especially interesting to us—to wit, Hélène’s supposed
Sanscrit, the French interpretation which Leopold gave of it, and the
curious evidences of agreement of these two texts.

In one tender scene, with sighs and tears, in connection with Sivrouka,
Hélène uttered in an exceedingly sweet voice the following words:
=ou mama priva= (or =prira, priya=)—=mama radisivou=—=mama sadiou
sivrouka=—=apa tava va signa damasa=—=simia damasa bagda sivrouka=.
During the various phases which precede the awaking, I ask Leopold the
meaning of these words. He at first refused to give it, saying, “Find
it out yourself”; then, as I insist, “I would have preferred that
you found it out yourself.” I beg him to give at least the correct
spelling of an Oriental text furnished us in so uncertain a manner,
but he disappeared, saying he was ignorant of Sanscrit. By means of
later questions which he answers by “yes” and “no,” it is discovered
that they are words of love from Simandini to her husband, who was
about to leave her for a voyage to his principality. Then suddenly, as
the awaking seems to be approaching, Leopold moves the index-finger
feverishly, and commences to dictate impatiently: “_Hasten_ [to spell]
... My good, my excellent, my dearly loved Sivrouka, without thee where
to find happiness?” His answers to our questions lead us to understand
that this is the substantial meaning of all the Sanscrit spoken that
evening (and given above), that it is not he, Leopold, who speaks this
language to Hélène, because he does not understand it, but that it is
indeed he who gives us the French equivalent for it, not by a literal
translation of the words themselves, since he does not understand them,
but by interpreting the inmost feelings of Mlle, Smith, with which
he is perfectly familiar. Shortly afterwards Hélène awakes without

According to M. de Saussure there are certainly in this text some
Sanscrit fragments answering more or less to the interpretation of
Leopold. The most clear are =mama priya=, which signifies _my dear,
my dearly loved_, and =mama sadiou= (corrected to =sâdhô=), _my good,
my excellent_. The rest of the phrase is less satisfactory in its
present condition; =tava= could well be _of thee_, but =apa tava= is
a pure barbarism, if it is intended for _far from thee_. In the same
way the syllable =bag= in =bagda= seems to mean, independently of the
translation of Leopold, =bhâga=, _happiness_, but is surrounded by
incomprehensible syllables.

       *       *       *       *       *

3. In a subsequent seance (December 1, 1895), Hélène gave herself up
to a varied series of somnambulistic pantomimes representing scenes in
the life of Simandini, which were thought to be located at Mangalore,
and in the course of which several Hindoo words escaped her, of which,
unhappily, no interpretation could be obtained from Leopold. But here
again, if one is not too difficult to satisfy, a meaning more or less
adapted to the pantomime is finally discovered.

In the midst of a playful scene with her little monkey, Mitidja, she
tells him in her sweetest and most harmonious tones (A), =mama kana
sour= (or =sourde=) =mitidya= ... =kana mitidya= (_ter_). Later,
answering her imaginary prince, who, according to Leopold, has just
given her a severe admonition (the reason for which is not known), and
to which she listened with an air of forced submission, and, almost
sneeringly, she tells him (B), =adaprati tava sivrouka= ... =nô simyô
sinonyedô= ... =on yediô sivrouka=. Returning to a better feeling and
leaning towards him, she murmurs with a charming smile (C) =mama plia=
... =mama naximi= (or =naxmi=) =sivrouka= ... =aô laos, mi sivrouka=.

In the fragment (A), one may suppose the =mama kana= to be a term of
affection, taking the =kana= to be equivalent to the Sanscrit _kânta_,
“beloved,” or _kanistha_, “darling,” unless it be translated, as M.
Glardon does, =kana= (corrected to =khana=) =mitidya= _to eat for

In the phrase (B), according to M. de Saussure, “the last words might,
with some show of reason, make us think of the word =anyediuh=, _the
following day_, or, _another day_, repeated twice; and, on the other
hand, the first word might be transformed into =adya-prabhrti=,
_starting from to-day_; which, combined with other syllables,
themselves conventionally triturated, might give something like:
=adya-pra-bhrti tava, sivruka= ... =yôshin= ... =na anyediuh, any
ediuh=: _from to-day, of thee, Sivrouka, that I am_ ... _wife_ ... _not
another day, another day_—which, besides (if it has any meaning at
all,) has scarcely any connection with the scene.”

In the phrase (C) the words =mama plia= evidently mean the same as the
words above, =mama priya=, _my beloved_; =naxmi= might be =lakshmî=,
_beauty and fortune_; and the last words might contain =asmi=, _I am_.

While, therefore, recognizing some words of pure Sanscrit, the whole
appearance of these first texts presents, on the other hand, certain
matters quite suspicious, from the point of view of construction, of
the order of the words, and possibly also the correctness of the forms.

“_E. g._,” observes M. de Saussure, “I do not remember that one can
say in Sanscrit, ‘my Sivrouka,’ nor ‘my dear Sivrouka.’ One can well
say =mama priya=, _my well beloved_, substantively; but =mama priya
Sivruka= is quite another thing: but it is _my dear Sivrouka_ which
occurs most frequently. It is true,” adds my learned colleague, “that
nothing can be affirmed absolutely, especially concerning certain
epochs at which much bad Sanscrit was made in India. The resource
always remains to us of assuming that, since the eleventh wife of
Sivrouka was a child of Arabia, she had not had time to learn to
express herself without error in the idiom of her lord and master,
up to the moment at which the funeral pile put an end to her brief

The misfortune is, in assuming by hypothesis the point of view of
the romance, one exposes himself to another difficulty. “The most
surprising thing,” remarks M. de Saussure, “is that Mme. Simandini
spoke Sanscrit, and not Pracrit (the connection of the first with the
second is the same as that between Latin and French, the one springing
from the other, but the one is the language in which the savants
write, while the other is the spoken language). While in the Hindoo
drama the kings, the brahmins, and the personages of high degree are
observed habitually to use Sanscrit, it is questionable if such was
constantly the case in real life. But, under all circumstances, all
the women, even in the drama, speak Pracrit. A king addresses his wife
in the noble language (Sanscrit); she answers him always in the vulgar
language. But the idiom of Simandini, even though it be a Sanscrit very
hard to recognize, is not in any case the Pracrit.”

The numerous Hindoo speeches of Mlle. Smith during these latter years
give rise to certain analogous observations, and do not throw any new
light on their origin. I shall confine myself to a few examples, which
I have chosen less for the sake of the Sanscritoid texts themselves,
which are also always defective and distorted, than for the reason that
the varied circumstances in which they have been produced afford a
certain psychological interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

4. Scene of Chiromancy. In the course of a long Arab seance, then
Hindoo (February 2, 1896), Hélène knelt down by the side of my chair,
and, taking me for Sivrouka, seized and examined my hand, all the while
carrying on a conversation in a foreign language (without seeming to
notice my actual words). It seems that this conversation contained
some expression of anxiety in regard to my health, which had inspired
several somnambulisms of Mlle. Smith during the preceding months (an
example will be found on pp. 121-122).

At the same time at which she attentively examines the lines of my
hand, she pronounces the following fragmentary sentences, separated
by silences corresponding to the hallucinatory replies of Sivrouka:
“=Priya sivrouka= ... =nô= [signifying No, according to Leopold] ...
=tvandastroum sivrouka= ... =itiami adia priya= ... =itiami sivra
adia= ... =yatou= ... =napi adia= ... =nô= ... =mama souka, mama baga
sivrouka= ... =yatou=.” Besides sivra, which, Leopold says, is an
affectionate name for Sivrouka, we can divine in this text other terms
of affection: =priya=, _beloved_; =mama soukha, mama bhâga=, “_Oh, my
delight, oh, my happiness!_” M. Glardon also calls attention to the
word =tvandastroum=, which approaches the Hindustani _tandarast_ (or
_tandurust_), “who is in good health”—_tandurusti_, “health,” coming
from the two words _tan_, “physical condition,” and _durust_, “good,
true,” of Persian origin. But he adds that it is possibly only a
coincidence, and seems to me doubtful whether he would have thought of
the connection if it were not found in a scene of chiromancy.

       *       *       *       *       *

5. The Hindoo cycle, like the others, makes numerous irruptions into
the ordinary life of Mlle. Smith, and affects her personality in most
varied degrees, from the simple waking vision of Oriental landscapes
or people up to the total incarnations of Simandini, of which Hélène
preserves no memory whatever. One frequent form of these spontaneous
automatisms consists in certain mixed states, in which she perceives
personages who seem to her objective and independent, while continuing
to have the feeling of a subjective implication or identification in
regard to them, the impression of an indefinable _tua res agitur_.
It then easily happens that the conversations she has with them are a
mixture of French and a foreign language which she is wholly ignorant
of, though feeling the meaning of it. The following is an example:

March 1, 1898.—Between five and six in the morning, while still in bed
but wide awake, as she affirms, Hélène had “a superb Hindoo vision.”
Magnificent palace, with a huge staircase of white stone, leading to
splendid halls furnished with low divans without cushions, of yellow,
red, and more often of blue materials. In a boudoir a woman (Simandini)
reclining and leaning nonchalantly on her elbow; on his knees near her
a man with black curly hair, of dark complexion (Sivrouka), clothed
in a large, red, embroidered robe, and speaking a foreign language,
not Martian, which Hélène did not know, but which, however, she had
the feeling of comprehending inwardly, and which enabled her to write
some sentences of it in French after the vision. While she _listened_
to this man speaking, she _saw_ the lips of the woman open, without
hearing any sound come from her mouth, in such a way that she did not
know what she said, but Hélène had at the same time the impression
of answering _inwardly, in thought_, to the conversation of the man,
and she noted his reply. (This means, psychologically, that the words
of Sivrouka gushed forth in auditive images or hallucinations, and
the answers of Simandini-Hélène in psycho-motor-spoken images of
articulation, accompanied by the usual representation of Simandini
effectuating the corresponding labial movements.) Here is a fragment
of conversation noted by Hélène in pencil at the outset of the vision,
in her ordinary handwriting, but very irregular, attesting that she had
not yet entirely regained her normal state.

(Sivrouka.) “My nights without repose, my eyes red with tears,
Simandini, will not these touch at last thy =attamana=? Shall this day
end without _pardon, without love_?” (Simandini.) “Sivrouka, no, the
day shall not end without pardon, without love; the =sumina= has not
been launched far from me, as thou hast supposed; it is there—dost thou
see?” (Sivrouka.) “Simandini, my =soucca, maccanna baguea=—pardon me
again, always!“

This little scrap of conversation, it may be remarked in passing,
gives quite correctly the emotional note, which is strong throughout
the whole length of the Hindoo dream in the relationship of its two
chief personages. As to the Sanscritoid words which are there mingled
with the French, they have not an equal value. “=Sumina=,” says M. de
Saussure, “recalls nothing. =Attamana=, at most =âtmânam= (accusative
of =âtmâ=), _l’âme_, ‘the soul’; but I hasten to say that in the
context in which =attamana= figures one could not make use of the
Sanscrit word which resembles it, and which at bottom only signifies
(_âme_) ‘soul’ in philosophical language, and in the sense of ‘_l’âme
universelle_,’ or other learned meanings.”

       *       *       *       *       *

6. The apparition of isolated Hindoo words, or words incorporated in
a non-Hindoo context, is not very rare with Hélène, and is produced
sometimes in auditive hallucinations, sometimes in her writings (see,
_e. g._, Fig. 37, p. 333); sometimes, again, in the course of words
uttered in hemisomnambulism more or less marked. The list which has
been collected of these detached terms shows the same mixture of pure
Sanscrit and unknown words, which can only be connected with that
language by some transformation so arbitrary or forced as to destroy
altogether the value of such comparison.

To this second category belong, for example, =gava=, =vindamini=,
=jotisse=, also spelled by Mlle. Smith. These terms, of whose
signification she is absolutely ignorant, struck her ear in the
course of a Hindoo vision which occurred in the morning when she
first awoke. The last of these words recalls to M. de Saussure the
Sanscrit _jyôtis_, “a constellation”; but then he would pronounce it
_djiôtisse_, which hardly corresponds to the manner in which Hélène
heard and wrote it. There must be added to these examples certain
Hindoo words which have made irruptions into some Martian texts.

These are _Adèl_, a proper name, and _yestad_, “unknown,” in text
13; and (in text 31) _vadasa_, which, according to the rest of the
sentence, seems to designate some divinities or some powers, and in
which MM. de Saussure and Glardon suspect a mangled reminiscence of the
Sanscrit term _dévâ-dâsa_, “slave of the gods.”

       *       *       *       *       *

7. To crown these specimens of the Sanscrit of Hélène, let us cite her
“Hindoo chant,” which has made half a dozen appearances in the last two
years, and of which Leopold deigned, on a single occasion, to outline
the translation.

The utterances consist essentially of the Sanscrit word _gaya_ “chant,”
repeated to satiety, with here and there some other terms, badly
articulated and offering discouraging variations in the notes taken by
the different hearers. I will confine myself to two versions.

 [Illustration: Fig. 36. Modulation of a Hindoo song. The final _G_ of
 the three variations was held with perfect steadiness during fourteen
 seconds. The series A was often doubled and trebled before the

One of them is by Hélène herself. In a spontaneous vision (May 18,
1898, in the morning, upon awaking), she perceived a man, richly
dressed in yellow and blue (Sivrouka), reclining upon beautiful
cushions near a fountain surrounded by palm-trees; a brunette woman
(Simandini) seats herself on the grass, sings to him in a strange
language a ravishing melody. Hélène gathers the following fragments of
it in writing, in which may be recognized the disfigured text of her
ordinary song, “=Ga haïa vahaïyami= ... =vassen iata= ... =pattissaïa

The other version is that of M. de Saussure, very much better qualified
than we are to distinguish the Hindoo sounds. He was quite near
Hélène, who sang seated upon the ground, whose voice for the moment
articulated so badly that several words escaped him, and he does not
vouch for the accuracy of his text, which is as follows, as he wrote
it to the measure: “=Gâya gaya naïa ia miya gayä briti= ... =gaya vaya
yâni pritiya kriya gayâni i gâya mamatua gaya mama nara mama patii si
gaya gandaryô gâya ityami vasanta= ... =gaya gaya yâmi gaya priti gaya
priya gâya patisi=....”

It was towards the end of this same seance that Leopold, undoubtedly
with the idea of doing honor to the distinguished presence of M. de
Saussure, decided, after a scene of Martian translation (text 14, by
Esenale), to give us, in Hélène’s voice, his interpretation of the
Hindoo chant, which follows, _verbatim_, with its mixture of Sanscrit
words: “Sing, bird, let us sing! =Gaya!= Adèl, Sivrouka, sing of the
spring-time! Day and night I am happy! Let us sing! Spring-time bird,
happiness! =ityâmi mamanara priti=, let us sing! let us love! my king!
Miousa, Adèl!”

In comparing these translations of the Hindoo text, certain points of
resemblance are discovered between them. Outside the two perfectly
correct words, =gâya=, _song_, and =vasanta=, _spring-time_, the idea
of “_let us love_” is discovered in =priti= and =briti= (Sanscrit
_prîti_, the act of loving), and an approximate equivalent of “_my
king_” in =mama patii=, recalling the Sanscrit _mama patê_, “my
husband, my master.”

It is, unfortunately, hardly possible to carry the identification
further, except perhaps for _bird_, which, with some show of reason,
might be suspected in =vayayâni=, vaguely recalling =vâyasân=
(accusative plural of =vâyasa= _bird_).

As to the melody of this plaintive ditty, M. Aug. de Morsier, who heard
it at the seance of the 4th of September, 1898, has kindly noted it as
exactly as possible (see Fig. 36).

The preceding examples suffice to give an idea of Hélène’s Hindoo, and
it is time to conclude.

It apparently does not belong to any actually existing dialect. M.
Glardon declares that it is neither ancient nor modern Hindustani, and,
after having put forth at the beginning, by way of simple hypothesis,
the idea that it might be Tamil, or Mahratta, he now sees in it a
_mélange_ of real terms, probably Sanscrit and invented words. M.
Michel, likewise, is of the opinion that the grotesque jargon of
Simandini contains fragments of Sanscrit quite well adapted to the
situation. All my correspondents are, on the whole, of exactly the same
view, and I could not better sum up their opinion than by quoting the
words of M. de Saussure:

“As to the question of ascertaining whether all this really represents
Sanscrit, it is evidently necessary to answer, _No_. One can only say:

“First: That it is a medley of syllables, in the midst of which there
are, incontestably, some series of eight to ten syllables, constituting
a fragment of a sentence which has a meaning (especially exclamatory
phrases—_e. g._, =mama priya=, _mon bien-aimé_ (“my well-beloved”);
=mama soukha=, _mes délices_ (“my delight”)).

“Secondly: That the other syllables, of unintelligible aspect, never
have an anti-Sanscrit character— _i. e._, do not present groups
materially contrary or in opposition to the general figure of the
Sanscrit words.

“Thirdly and finally: That the value of this latter observation is, on
the other hand, quite considerably diminished by the fact that Mlle.
Smith seldom launches out into complicated forms of syllables, and
greatly affects the vowel _a_; but Sanscrit is a language in which the
proportion of the _a_’s to the other vowels is almost four to one, so
that in uttering three or four syllables in _a_, one could hardly avoid
vaguely encountering a Sanscrit word.”

It follows from this last remark of M. de Saussure that it ought not to
be very difficult to fabricate Sanscrit after the mode of Simandini, if
only one is possessed of some veritable elements which can serve as a
model and give tone to the remainder. And there is no need to know very
much of it, either, as M. Barth remarks:

“Has Mlle. Smith been in communication with any person from whom she
could have taken some scraps of Sanscrit and of history? That would
suffice, in this case, for the original germ, even though it were but
slight. Imagination would do the rest. Children are very frequently

But it is, naturally, Mlle. Smith herself who furnishes us, in her
own Martian, the fact most likely to throw light upon her Hindoo.
It evidently is not difficult for a subconscious activity capable
of manufacturing a language out of whole cloth to make another by
imitation and by spinning out some real data. Also, as to the beginning
of the Martian (a year later, as we have seen, to that of the Hindoo),
M. de Saussure does not hesitate to make this comparison, and explains,
_e.g._, the initial Sanscritoid text, the famous phrase of benediction,
=atiêyâ ganapatinâmâ=, by the same process of fabrication which shone
forth in the words of Esenale or Astané.

I am not convinced that the general process of replacing word for word
the French terms by terms of Oriental aspect, which is certainly the
process employed in the fabrication of the Martian, has been made use
of in the case of Hélène’s Oriental words. Leopold, who has laid so
much stress on procuring us a _quasi_-magical means of obtaining the
literal translation of the Martian, has never condescended to do the
same thing for the Hindoo, but has confined himself to outlining for
us some free and vague interpretations, which scarcely add anything to
that which the pantomime permits us to divine. This leads us to think
that an entire precise translation of the Hindoo is impossible—in
other terms, that Hélène does not fabricate her _pseudo_-Sanscrit
by following step by step a French plot, and by maintaining in her
neologisms the meaning which has been once adopted, but that she
improvises and leaves the result to chance, without reflection (with
the exception of some words of true Sanscrit, the meaning of which she
knows and which she applies intelligently to the situation).

It is not, then, to the Martian texts proper, in my opinion, that we
must compare Hélène’s Hindoo, but to that _pseudo_-Martian jargon
spoken with volubility in certain seances, and which have never been
noted with certainty nor translated by Esenale.

It is understood, too, that while Hélène’s subliminal self can safely
give itself up to the creation of a definite language in the freedom
which the planet Mars affords, where there is no pre-existing system
to be conformed to nor any objective control to fear, it would be very
imprudent and absurd to repeat the process in connection with India:
the few words of pure Sanscrit which were at its disposal kept it
from inventing others, the falseness of which would be evident at the
first attempt at a literal and _verbatim_ translation. It, therefore,
contented itself with these veridical elements, insufficient in
themselves alone for the construction of complete sentences, being a
jargon devoid of meaning, but in harmony through their dominant vowels
with the authentic fragments.

Now how could these authentic fragments have come into the possession
of Mlle. Smith, who has no recollection whatever (nor has her
family) of ever having studied Sanscrit, or of having ever been in
communication with Oriental scholars? This is the problem which my
researches have encountered hitherto, and as a solution of which I can
think of nothing more likely than that of a fortunate chance, analogous
to that which enabled me to discover the passage of De Marlès. I am,
for the time being, reduced to vague conjectures as to the extent of
Mlle. Smith’s latent knowledge of Sanscrit, and the probable nature of
its manner of acquisition.

I had long thought that Hélène might have absorbed her Hindoo
principally by _auditive_ means, and that she had, perhaps, in her
infancy lived in the same house with some Indian student, whom she had
heard, across the street or through an open window, speaking aloud
Sanscrit texts with their French translation. The story of the young
domestic without education is well known, who, seized with a fever,
spoke both Greek and Hebrew, which had been stored up in her mind,
unknown to her, while she was in the service of a German savant. _Se
non è vero è ben trovato._ In spite of the just criticisms of Mr. Lang,
apropos of its poorly established authenticity, this standard anecdote
may be considered as a type of many other facts of the same kind
which have since been actually observed, and as a salutary warning to
distrust subconscious memories of auditive origin. But Indian scholars
are rare in Geneva, and this trail has yielded me nothing.

I am really inclined to admit the exclusively _visual_ origin of
Hélène’s Sanscrit. First, it is not necessary for her to have heard
that idiom. Reading of texts printed in French characters coincides
very well with a pronunciation so confused and badly articulated as
hers; and, further, it alone can account for certain inexplicable
errors of pronunciation if Mlle. Smith had acquired that language by

The most characteristic of her errors is the presence in Hindoo of the
French sound _u_, which does not exist in Sanscrit, but is naturally
suggested by reading if it has not been previously ascertained that
that letter is pronounced _ou_ in the Sanscrit words in which it

Other observations militate in favor of the same supposition. Never in
the seances has Simandini ventured _to write_ Sanscrit, and it is in
French letters that her name was given (see p. 288).

 [Illustration: Fig. 37. Fragment. Final sentence of a letter of Mlle.
 Smith, finished (or rather remaining unfinished), during the irruption
 of a spontaneous access of Hindoo somnambulism. Note foreign words,
 _boulboul_ (Persian name for nightingale), _Kana_ (Hindoo slave of
 Simandini), and _radyiva_ (Sanscrit name for blue lotus); also the
 Sanscrit letters _a_, _e_, _i_, _d_, _r_, taking the place of the
 French initials. Note also the change of form of the _t_’s.]

Still, Hélène subconsciously possesses a part, at least, of the
Devanagari alphabet, since sometimes certain characters belonging to it
slip into her normal writing. But it is to be noted that her knowledge
of this kind does not seem in any way to go beyond that which might
have resulted from a rapid glance at a Sanscrit grammar.

In certain cases this irruption of foreign signs (altogether analogous
to that which has been seen in the case of the Martian) is connected
with an access of spontaneous somnambulism and makes part of a whole
troop of images and of Oriental terms.

An interesting example is found in Fig. 37, which reproduces the end
of a letter which Hélène wrote me from the country. All the rest of
this six-page letter is perfectly normal, both as to handwriting and
content, but suddenly, tired by her effort of prolonged attention, she
begins to speak of her health, sleep overcomes her, and the last lines
show the invasion of the Oriental dream.

Kana, the slave, with his tame birds, and the brilliant plants of the
tropics, substitute themselves little by little for the actual room.
The letter reached me unfinished and without signature, as is shown in
Fig. 37; Hélène closed it mechanically during her somnambulism, without
knowledge of this unusual termination, at which she was surprised and
annoyed when I showed it to her later.

Examination and comparison of all these graphomotor automatisms show
that there are in Hélène’s subconsciousness some positive notions,
albeit superficial and rudimentary, of the Sanscrit alphabet. She knows
the exact form of many isolated characters, and their general value,
in the abstract, as it were, but she does not seem to have any idea of
their concrete use in connection with other letters.

In a word, these fragments of graphic automatisms betray a knowledge
of Hindoo writing such as a curious mind might be able to acquire by
perusing for some moments the first two or three pages of a Sanscrit
grammar. It would retain certain detached forms; first, the _a_ and
the _e_, which, striking the eye at the commencement of the two first
lines (containing the vowels, and usually separated from the following
lines containing the consonants) of the standard arrangement of the
Hindoo letters in ten groups; then the series of ciphers, occupying a
line by themselves and easy to retain; finally, some other simple signs
gleaned at hazard; but there will probably not be retained any of the
too complicated figures resulting from the union of several characters
in order to form words. This supposed genesis entirely corresponds with
the extent of the notions as to Sanscrit writing of which Mlle. Smith’s
subconsciousness gives evidence.

It will suffice in summing up, to account for Mlle. Smith’s Hindoo
language, that perhaps in the N. group, or in some other spiritistic
environment of which I am ignorant, some one, for the sake of
curiosity, may have shown her and allowed her to glance over a Sanscrit
grammar or lexicon, immediately after a seance, during that state of
suggestibility in which the exterior suggestions are registered very
strongly in her case, often without leaving traces in her conscious
memory. The fact will also be explained that Hélène has no memory
whatever of it, is absolutely convinced that she never saw or heard the
least fragment of Sanscrit or any other Oriental language.

 [Illustration: Fig. 38. Examples of Sanscrit characters, automatically
 substituted for French words and ciphers, in words and figures
 appearing in the normal writings of Mlle. Smith (_la_me, _ru_bis,
 1_6_6, _pli_s, 2_86_5, 15_4_). Natural size.]

I ought also to add that the information which I have up to the present
time been able to gather has furnished me with no positive indication
of the truth of my supposition, while, on the other hand, it has not
tended to establish its falsity.


This paragraph will have no meaning whatever for those who hold
the Oriental cycle to be in reality the reappearance in Mlle.
Smith’s somnambulistic states, of memories belonging to an anterior
existence in which she was an Asiatic princess, and I myself naik of
Tchandraguiri, Professor Seippel, an Arab slave, etc.

I shall confine myself in this case to an expression of regret that the
chance which has united us afresh, after five centuries of separation,
did not leave us in the midst of those tropical splendors instead of
transporting us to the banks of the Rhône just where the fog is densest
in winter. It is a severe punishment for our past misdeeds. But when
one pushes his skepticism so far as only to see in the entire Hindoo
dream a fantastic product elaborated out of certain scattered facts,
as I have done in the preceding paragraphs, one is likewise punished
for his want of faith by the obscure problems which are met with on
the subject of the sources of this dream. I would say also that it is
difficult to understand why the hypnoid imagination of Mlle. Smith gave
itself up to such pranks, and distributed as it did the rôles of this

It is easy to understand how a nature given to subconscious reveries,
and such as I have described in the first chapters of this book, has
taken pleasure in the fiction of the tragic destiny of Simandini, and
also that she felt specially attracted towards the career of Marie

But M. Seippel, whom I quoted above, has nothing about him of the
Arab, and still less of the slave, neither in outward appearance
nor in character; and as to myself, let us say here, M. F.—if I may
be permitted to substitute harmless initials for the always odious
“I”—as for M. F., there is generally to be met with in him, under some
diffidence, a certain mildness of manner and disposition, which would
scarcely seem to predestinate him to the energetic and wild rôle of a
violent, whimsical, capricious, and jealous Oriental despot.

As to the psychological origins of the Hindoo dream—considered not so
much in its Oriental decoration, but in its essential note, which is
the relation of Simandini to Sivrouka (the pretended anteriority of
M. F.)—two hypotheses can be framed, between which it is difficult to

First. From the point of view of psychopathology I should be tempted to
cause this entire somnambulistic romance to be included in that which
Freud calls _Abwehrpsychosen_, resulting from a sort of autotomy which
frees the normal self from an affective idea incompatible with it;
which idea revenges itself by occasioning very diverse perturbations,
according to the subjects, from disorders of innervation, coming to
disturb the daily life (hysteria by somatic conversion of the affective
coefficient of the repulsed idea), up to the case in which the self
only escapes the intolerable contradiction between the given reality
and the idea which besets it by plunging itself entirely into the
latter (mental hallucinatory confusion, delirium, etc.).

Between these varied results may be found that in which the idea
excluded from the consciousness becomes the germ of hypnoid
developments, the point of departure of a secondary consciousness
unknown to the ordinary personality, the centre of a somnambulistic
life in which the tendencies which the normal self has driven far away
from it may take refuge and give themselves free play.

This is, perhaps, the happiest solution, from a practical and social
point of view, since it leaves the individual in a state of perfect
equilibrium and free from nervous troubles, outside of the very limited
moments in which the underlying processes break out in accesses of

Such may be the case of the Hindoo dream and the origin of the
attributing of the rôle of Sivrouka to M. F. Nothing, assuredly, in
the normal life or being of Mlle. Smith would cause the suspicion that
she had ever consciously felt towards the latter the absurd sentiments
which good sense would have condemned in advance; but divers hints of
her subliminal life, independently of the Hindoo cycle itself (certain
dreams, etc.), have sometimes seemed to betray a latent conflict,
which the sane and reasonable self would have quickly gotten rid of
by the banishment from the ordinary personality of the affective
idea, inadmissible in the given conditions of reality. Hence, with
a temperament accustomed to mediumistic doubling of personality
and imbued with spiritistic doctrines, the birth and development,
underneath the level of the normal consciousness, of this romance of a
former existence, in which emotional tendencies incompatible with the
present life have found on occasion a sort of theoretic justification
and a free field for expansion.

Secondly: It may also be presumed, and I prefer to admit, that the
sentiments of Simandini towards her fictitious rajah, far from being
the reflection and somnambulic transposition of an impression really
felt by Mlle. Smith in regard to some one real and determined, are only
a fantastic creation—like the passion with which juvenile imaginations
are sometimes inflamed for an ideal and abstract type while awaiting
the meeting with a concrete realization more or less like it—and that
the assimilation of Sivrouka to M. F. is only a coincidence due to
the simple chance of Mlle. Smith having made the acquaintance of M.
F. at the time when the Hindoo dream was about to begin. Two points
strengthen this hypothesis of a contingent and superficial confusion
between M. F. and Sivrouka. First, the Hindoo dream was evidently begun
by a characteristic vision in which Simandini appeared, almost two
months before the admission of M. F. to the seances (see pp. 279-281).
Instead of supposing that the subconsciousness of Mlle. Smith foresaw
already the probable arrival of this new spectator, and reserved for
him in advance a leading rôle in the romance of former existence which
she was in process of elaborating (which is not altogether impossible,
it is true), it hardly seems as though M. F. could have stood for
anything in the dream-personage of Sivrouka. In the second place,
it is only in the light somnambulisms and her mixed or crepuscular
states that Mlle. Smith happens to take M. F. for the Hindoo prince
and to seat herself at his feet in attitudes of tenderness and
abandon (without otherwise ever departing from the bounds of perfect
propriety); as soon as the trance becomes profound and the Hindoo
somnambulism complete, M. F. ceases to exist for her, as well as the
others present, and she then is concerned only with an absolutely
hallucinatory Sivrouka. This is the place to state that Hélène has
never presented any phenomenon similar to—far from it—certain cases in
which have been seen the awakening in the hypnotic subject of gross
and more or less bestial tendencies, for which the subjects would have
blushed in their waking state. There is nothing of that nature in Mlle.
Smith. Somnambulism does not detract in any way from the elevation of
her moral sense. The same is true of her deepest trances or when she
“incarnates” personages very different from her ordinary character—she
never departs from that real dignity which is a trait of her normal

To sum up—the hypothesis of a purely accidental identification, a
kind of association by simple contiguity between the Hindoo prince
and M. F., seems to me, on the whole, the most natural. It releases
the latter, besides, from all responsibility (altogether involuntary,
however) for the sentiments so profound, so disinterested, so worthy of
a less tragic fate, which the imaginary personage of Sivrouka Nayaka
inspires in the poor Princess Simandini.

                              CHAPTER IX

                            THE ROYAL CYCLE

If I were obliged to give this cycle a place proportioned to that
which it occupies in the somambulic life of Mlle. Smith, a hundred
pages would not suffice. But permit me to pass rapidly over facts
concerning which I should only be obliged to repeat the greater part of
the observations called forth by the preceding romances, which apply
equally well, _mutatis mutandis_, to the personification of Marie
Antoinette by Hélène.

The choice of this rôle is naturally explained by the innate tastes
of Mlle. Smith for everything that is noble, distinguished, elevated
above the level of the common herd, and by the fact that some exterior
circumstance fixed her hypnoid attention upon the illustrious queen
of France in preference to the many other historic figures equally
qualified to serve as a point of attachment for her subconscious
megalomaniac reveries.

In default of absolutely certain information on this point, I strongly
suspect the engraving from the _Memoirs of a Physician_, representing
the dramatic scene of the decanter between Balsamo and the Dauphiness,
of having given birth to this identification of Hélène with Marie
Antoinette, as well as to that of her secondary personality of Leopold
with Cagliostro.

We have, in fact, seen that this engraving (pp. 94-95), so well
calculated to impress the imagination, was shown to Mlle. Smith by Mme.
B. at the end of a seance—that is, at a moment when one is never sure
that Hélène’s return to her normal state is complete, and in which
her hypnoid personality, still on a level with consciousness, so to
speak, is very prone to absorb the interesting suggestions which the
environment may furnish. It was several months—a year and a quarter,
possibly—after this incident (the precise date of which, in 1892 or
1893, it is impossible to determine) that announcement was made by the
table, on the 30th of January, 1894, that Hélène was the reincarnation
of Marie Antoinette. It is to be recollected that in the interval she
had for some time believed herself to be the reincarnation of Lorenza
Feliciani; it is, however, to be noted that these two successive
identifications did not have the same guarantee or psychological
signification. In fact, it was Mlle. Smith, in the waking states—that
is, in her normal personality—who accepted the supposition of Mme. B.,
that she was the reincarnation of Lorenza; but the table—_i.e._, her
subconsciousness—always remained silent on this point. On the contrary,
the idea of having been Marie Antoinette does not seem to have occurred
to Hélène’s ordinary consciousness up to the time at which Leopold
revealed this secret, by the table. If any conclusion may be drawn from
this, it is that, under the multiple suggestions of the engraving from
Dumas’ works and the suppositions of Mme. B., the hypnoid imagination
of Mlle. Smith at first preferred to the rôle of Lorenza that of Marie
Antoinette, which is undoubtedly more flattering and more conformable
to Hélène’s temperament, and then elaborated and matured it, very
slowly, it is true, but not excessively so, in comparison with other
examples of subliminal incubations of Mlle. Smith.

From the point of view of its psychological forms of manifestation, the
Royal cycle from that time followed an evolution analogous to that of
its congeners described in the preceding chapters. After some months,
during which it unfolded itself in visions described by Hélène and
accompanied by typtological explanations dictated by the table, the
trance became more profound. Mlle. Smith began to personate the queen
in pantomime, of which Leopold gave the exact signification by digital
indications. Speech was added the year following, at a date which I
cannot fix, but the first occasion on which I was a witness to it was
on the 13th of October, 1895. Handwriting only made its appearance,
as far as I am aware, two years later (November 1, 1897, see Fig.
39), when the royal incarnation attained its apogee and Hélène was
in the habit of retaining in memory the somnambulistic rôle of Marie
Antoinette for several hours. Since then the rôle has maintained itself
at a very remarkable level of perfection, but it scarcely seems to me
progressing, and seems likely to become stereotyped. The objectivity
of the general type of queen must be distinguished in this brilliant
personality, or at least that of a lady of great distinction, as well
as a realization of the individual characteristics of Marie Antoinette
of Austria. As to the first point there is almost nothing left to be
desired. Mlle. Smith seems by nature to possess all that this rôle
demands, and hypnoid autosuggestion finds no lack of material upon
which to work.

 [Illustration: Fig. 39. First known example of automatic irruption of
 the orthography and handwriting called that of Marie Antoinette among
 the normal writings of Mlle. Smith. Fragments of a letter of Hélène of
 November 1, 1897, narrating a seance during which she had successfully
 incarnated the queen of France and the Hindoo princess. [Collection of
 M. Lemaître.] See also p. ]

When the royal trance is complete no one can fail to note the grace,
elegance, distinction, majesty sometimes, which shine forth in Hélène’s
every attitude and gesture.

She has verily the bearing of a queen. The more delicate shades of
expression, a charming amiability, condescending hauteur, pity,
indifference, overpowering scorn flit successively over her countenance
and are manifested in her bearing, to the filing by of the courtiers
who people her dream. The play of her hands with her real handkerchief
and its fictitious accessories, the fan, the binocle with long handle,
the scent-bottle which she carries in a pocket in her girdle; her
courtesyings, the movement, full of grace and ease, by which she never
forgets at each turning around, to throw back her imaginary train;
everything of this kind, which cannot be described, is perfect in its
ease and naturalness. Special personification of the unhappy Austrian
wife of Louis XVI. is of a less evident, and moreover doubtful,
accuracy. To judge of it from the only objective point of comparison
at our disposal, the handwriting (see Figs. 39 to 41), the Marie
Antoinette of Hélène’s somnambulisms little resembles her supposed
prototype, for there is less of difference between the autographs of
Cagliostro and of Leopold (see p. 109) than there is between that of
the real queen and that of her pretended reincarnation in Mlle. Smith,
the latter having a rounded, inclined calligraphy, much more regular
than in her normal state, instead of the angular and illegible writing
which was characteristic of the queen of France, to say nothing of the
glaring differences in formation of many letters. Some orthographic
analogies (Hélène writes _instans_, _enfans_, _étois_, etc.) have
nothing specific about them, and simply recall the general habits of
the last century (see p. 112).

 [Illustration: Fig. 40. Writing of Mlle. Smith incarnating Marie
 Antoinette. Seance of November 7, 1897. Beginning of a letter, written
 in ink and addressed to Philippe d’Orléans (M. Aug. de Morsier, who
 was not present at the seance). After the ink-stains of the last line,
 Hélène threw down her pencil, then began again and finished her letter
 in pencil in a still more regular and slanting hand than the above.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 41. Writing and signature of Marie Antoinette.
 Fragment of a letter written from the Temple to General de Jarnayes,
 and reproduced in the _Isographie des Hommes célèbres_. [Collection
 of fac-similes published under the direction of Duchesne, Sr., Paris,

Not having discovered any indication as to Marie Antoinette’s manner
of speaking, I do not know whether the hypnoid imagination of Hélène
has succeeded better than with the handwriting in adopting in her royal
incarnations certain intonations and a pronunciation which have nothing
of German in them, and would rather recall the English accent. The
timbre of her voice does not change, but her speech becomes trailing,
with a slight rolling of the _r_’s, and takes on something precise
and affected, very pretty, but slightly irritating by its length. We
already know that there is not an absolute wall of separation between
Hélène’s various trances. Just as is the case with the Martian and
the Hindoo, the handwriting or the spelling of the queen sometimes
slips into the correspondence of Mlle. Smith (see Fig. 39), and she
also sometimes assumes the accent of Marie Antoinette, if not in the
ordinary waking state (I do not know whether that is ever the case), at
least outside her Royal cycle, especially in the phases of transition
in which she begins or ends by incarnating Leopold, the Martians, etc.
(see, for example, p. 56).

From the point of view of its content, the Royal cycle forms a
collection of scenes and varied tableaux, like the Martian dream,
lacking any continuous plot, and in which marked historic events
scarcely hold a place—_e. g._, in it the queen is never seen to mount
the scaffold as Simandini ascends her funeral pile. One does not
always even know whether the spectacle before our eyes is supposed to
be the repetition, the exact recollection, of unknown but real episodes
in the life of Marie Antoinette, or indeed whether it has to do with
new, actual incidents passing now between the reincarnated queen and
her old acquaintances whom she discovers in the persons present at
the seance or in the disincarnate spirits in mediumistic relationship
with her. That depends on the case—_e. g._, on the 25th of December,
1896, Mlle. Smith, entranced, addresses touching exhortations to a lady
present whom she took for the Princess Lamballe, which, according to
Leopold, is a reproduction of the last evening which the unhappy queen,
sustained by her companion in captivity, passed in this world. (It is
true that at Christmas, 1792, the princess had already, three months
previously, fallen a victim to the massacres of September.) Again
the Abbé Grégoire dictates by the table, which bows significantly to
Hélène, “_I desired to save you, but I was not able_”; or the sinister
Hébert says to her by the same process, “_I was the cause of your
death.... I suffer; pray for me._” Ought we to consider real the homage
and the posthumous remorse which these two disincarnate spirits bring
after the lapse of a century to their sovereign, finally recognized in
the person of Mlle. Smith?

Generally it is impossible to decide whether the incident transpiring
pretends simply to republish the past or constitutes a new fact.

The location of the royal scenes and visions is often undetermined.
Many are located in the gardens or the apartments of the Petit Trianon,
and the furniture which Hélène describes there is, indeed, always pure
Louis XVI. More rarely Marie Antoinette is found at the Temple, or at
certain rendezvous—innocent, but very imprudent—in some secret abode in
Paris. She is never seen in Austria, since, unlike the Hindoo princess
still filled with her Arab memories, she seems to have completely lost
sight of her past as a young girl.

In the surroundings of the queen, the king is conspicuous by his
absence; very rarely she makes some allusions to him with a marked
indifference. The greater part of the personages known to that epoch,
whom I refrain from enumerating, figure in it incidentally, but there
are three who continually reappear and hold the first rank. There
is, first, the Count of Cagliostro, “_mon sorcier_,” or “_ce cher
sorcier_,” as the queen familiarly calls him, who never has enough of
his visits and his conversations, which are very varied, including
the discussion of philosophic subjects, such as the future life and
the existence of God as well as the gossip of the last _fête_ at
Versailles. There is, secondly, Louis Philippe d’Orléans (Equality);
while the third is the old Marquis de Mirabeau; all of whom, especially
the first, have served as hallucinatory interlocutors towards Hélène
in numerous scenes—up to the time at which, to the great amusement of
the sitters, the somnambulistic monologue was transformed into real
and lively conversation, in consequence of the introduction into the
seances of M. Eugène Demole, then of M. Aug. de Morsier, in whom
Marie Antoinette immediately recognized the two personages last above

Since this unexpected meeting with her two contemporaries,
reincarnated, like herself, the somnambulistic queen freely permits
herself, on occasion, the pleasure of renewing the little suppers and
joyous evenings of long ago. When a seance which has lasted from four
o’clock until seven in the afternoon seems to have come to an end,
and Mlle. Smith, after having awakened from a long series of Hindoo,
Martian, and other scenes, has been invited to dine and refresh
herself before taking up her household duties, it often happens that,
perceiving M. Demole or M. de Morsier among the persons present, she
gives a slight start, with a change of countenance, sometimes barely
perceptible, but which there is no mistaking; then, in her very
characteristic accent of Marie Antoinette, exclaims, “Oh, marquis, you
have been here, and I had not noticed you before!” And then follows a
somnambulistic vigil which may be prolonged until nearly ten o’clock in
the evening, maintained by means of the suggestive amiability of her
improvised companions in sustaining their rôles of Mirabeau or Philippe

They descend to the dining-room. The queen takes her place at the table
alongside of the marquis (or of Philippe). She has eyes and ears for
him alone, the other guests and the servants remaining shut out from
her dream. She eats and drinks only that which he sets before her, and
it is no sinecure to supply the wants of this august neighbor, since
she possesses a truly royal appetite. The amount of food which she
devours and the goblets of wine which she drinks off one after another,
without suffering any inconvenience, are astounding, as in her normal
state Mlle. Smith is sobriety itself and eats very little. After dinner
they pass into the _salon_, with many compliments and obeisances, and
Marie Antoinette takes coffee. On the first occasions of this kind,
she also accepted a cigarette from Philippe and smoked it—Mlle. Smith
never smokes in her waking state—but the remarks of the persons present
upon the historical untruthfulness of this feature must have been
registered, and bore fruit, since at the following seances she did
not seem to understand the use of tobacco in that form; she accepted,
on the other hand, with eagerness, a pinch of imaginary snuff, which
almost immediately brought about by autosuggestion a series of sneezes
admirably successful.

The evening passes in most varied conversation, until, evidently
feeling fatigue, the queen becomes silent, closes her eyes, and goes
to sleep in an easy-chair. At that instant Leopold, who gives no
sign of life, and from whom no response can be obtained during the
royal somnambulism, reappears and answers by the fingers or manifests
himself in spontaneous gestures. Hélène’s hand, _e. g._, is raised,
and makes passes on her forehead to accentuate the restorative sleep
which is about to bring her back to her normal state. At the end of
some time—half an hour or more—she awakes without any recollection of
the evening, believing that she has not yet dined, and complaining
of hunger and thirst, as if her stomachic sensibility participated
in the amnesia and other modifications which accompany the change of
personality. Nevertheless, at such times I have never seen her accept
anything more than a couple of glasses of water, after which she feels
wide awake.

In escorting her home, I was witness on one occasion to a return of the
royal somnambulism. She was exceedingly desirous of going to the house
of a well-known personage (whom she had perceived in her vision during
the seance), who had been received at the court of Marie Antoinette,
and who died in Geneva in the first quarter of this century; it was
only upon arriving before the house in which he had lived, and as
she was upon the verge of entering it, that I finally succeeded in
awakening and restoring her to herself, without memory of the incident,
and very much astonished at the unaccustomed streets in which we found

It is useless to give a more circumstantial narration of these dinners
and _soirées_ of Marie Antoinette. They are very entertaining for the
spectators, but lose much of their interest when related in their
entirety. Their details are exactly what might be expected of a lively
subliminal imagination, alert and full of verve, abundantly supplied,
on account of the illustrious queen, with notions still more easily
explicable, thanks to the intellectual atmosphere of France, than those
of the Hindoo cycle.

Numerous anachronisms, however, slip into them, and her Majesty
sometimes falls into the snares which the marquis or Philippe take
a malicious pleasure in setting for her. She often escapes them when
they are too clumsy, and, with a most comical display of temper, is at
first confused, then curiously questions, or manifests uneasiness in
regard to the mental state of her interlocutors when they introduce
the telephone, the bicycle, steamships, or the modern scientific
vocabulary into their eighteenth-century conversation. But, on the
other hand, she herself employs terms still more malapropos, such as,
“to derail” (figuratively), “metre” and “centimetre,” etc. Certain
words, such as “tramway” and “photography,” have occasioned serious
conflicts. Marie Antoinette first allows the treacherous word to pass
unnoticed, and it is evident that she perfectly understood it, but her
own reflection, or the smile of the sitters, awakens in her the feeling
of incompatibility; she returns to the word just used, and pretends a
sudden ignorance and astonishment in regard to it. Spiritism explains
these blunders by accusing the Machiavelian companions of the queen
of grossly abusing the suggestibility attached to the trance state by
jumbling her ideas and throwing her into confusion. Psychology is not
surprised that the subliminal imitation, however remarkable it may be,
presents some little defects, and every one is in accord in regard to
her thoughtless manner of expressing herself, in attributing these
anachronisms to an accidental mingling of the memories of her ordinary
personality and of the present life with those of the royal personality
revived during the somnambulism. In her rôle as queen, Mlle. Smith
gives evidence of a great deal of ingenuity. She is full of witty
repartées, which disconcert her interlocutors, the style of which is
sometimes perfectly after the manner of the epoch.

This ease and readiness of dialogue, excluding all reflective or
calculating preparation, denote a great freedom of mind and a wonderful
facility for improvisation. There are mixed with these, on the other
hand, some witticisms and episodes which are not at all impromptu,
but are the evident result of a preliminary elaboration in the course
of the subconscious reveries and various automatisms which the royal
romance causes to surge up in Hélène’s ordinary life.

There are some scenes whose development or repetition can be followed
in a series of seances and spontaneous visions as it passes through the
other cycles. The following is one example among many:

At the end of a seance at which M. de Morsier was present (October 10,
1897), Mlle. Smith enters into her dream of Marie Antoinette. During
dinner she makes several allusions to her son, the Dauphin, speaks of
her daughter, tells of having demanded of her sorcerer the sex of her
next child, etc.—matters all foreign to the conversation of Philippe,
and which seem to announce some underlying scene ready to break forth.
In fact, in the middle of the _soirée_ the queen becomes absorbed
and distrait, and finally falls on her knees in a dark corner of the
_salon_; her monologue indicates that she is before the cradle where
the little Dauphin and his sister are lying asleep. Presently she
returns to seek Philippe and to conduct him to admire the sleeping
children, to whom, in a very soft voice, she sings an unknown nursery
rhyme (“Sleep in peace,” etc.) of a plaintive melody analogous to that
of the Hindoo chant; the tears gush from her eyes; tender kisses upon
the imaginary cradle and a fervent prayer to the Virgin terminate this
extremely touching maternal scene.

Several weeks after (the 1st of December), a new romance makes its
appearance in a spontaneous access of visual, auditive, and graphic
automatism, the recital of which Hélène sent me the following day. That
evening, while alone with her mother, she had interrogated Leopold
upon an affair in which she was greatly interested, and had obtained
from him an answer: “As soon as his communication was ended, I saw
everything disturbed around me; then at my left, at a distance of about
thirty feet, a Louis XVI. _salon_, not very large, was outlined, in the
middle of which was a square piano, open. Before this piano was seated
a woman, still young, the color of whose hair I could not distinguish.
Whether it was blond or gray I could not clearly see. She played and
sang at the same time. The sounds of the piano, the voice even, reached
me, but I could not catch the words of the song. A young girl and a boy
stood on either side of the piano. Not far from them was seated a young
lady holding an infant on her lap.[27] This charming vision lasted a
very short time, not longer than ten minutes.”

After the disappearance of the vision, Hélène had the idea of taking
up her pencil. “With pencil in hand, I was asking myself what I should
write, when all at once I heard again the melody; then, this time very
distinctly, the words, but without any vision. The whole passed into my
head, into my brain, and instinctively I pressed my hand to my forehead
in order to hear and understand better. I felt myself compelled to hold
the pencil in a manner different from my habitual way of holding it.
Here are the words of the song heard and traced at that instant. As you
see, the handwriting is not like mine; there are also some very glaring
errors of orthography.”

 “Approchez-vous approchez-vous | enfans chéris approchez-vous | quand
 le printemps sur nous ramène | ses frais parfums ses rayons d’or
 | venez enfans sous son haleine | gazouiller bas mes doux trésors
 | approchez-vous approchez-vous | enfans chéris approchez-vous |
 êtres chéris enfans bénis—approchez-vous de votre mère | son doux
 baiser petits amis | calme et guérit toutes misères | approchez-vous
 approchez-vous | enfans chéris approchez-vous.”[28]

Some months later the two preceding scenes were reproduced, with
variations of detail, on the same evening, during which Marie
Antoinette first conducts Philippe towards the fictitious cradle of her
cherubs and sings to them her first song: “Sleep in peace,” etc. Then
she leads him to the piano, and, displaying an imaginary sheet of music
beneath his eyes, obliges him to accompany her while she sings the
“Song of Elizabeth.”

M. de Morsier, who, fortunately, is not easily embarrassed, improvised
an accompaniment to which the queen accommodated herself after some
criticism, and to which she sings in a very sweet, pure voice some
words which were found to be, word for word, identical with those
automatically written by Hélène on the preceding 1st of December.
In this example is seen the mixture of preparation, of repetition,
and of impromptu, which are inferred from the varied incidents which
constitute the royal _soirées_.

It is probable that if it were possible to be a witness of, or if
Mlle. Smith could remember all the spontaneous automatisms which
aid in nourishing the royal romance, nocturnal dreams, hypnagogic
visions, subconscious reveries during the waking state, etc., there
would be presented interminable imaginary conversations with the
marquis, Philippe, Cagliostro, and all the fictitious personages who
occasionally make their appearance in the somnambulistic scenes of
Marie Antoinette.

It is by this underlying and unknown work, perhaps never interrupted,
that the personality of the queen of France is slowly prepared and
elaborated, and which shines forth and displays itself with so much of
magnificence in the _soirées_ with Philippe d’Orléans and the Marquis
de Mirabeau.

I have stated that, except these two gentlemen, who always form
part of the royal dream when they are present (and even sometimes
when absent), the others present at the seances are excluded. It is
understood that they do not pass unperceived on this account.

In the same manner as in the negative hallucinations or systematic
anæsthesia of hypnotized subjects, that which seems to be not felt
is nevertheless registered; so, in like manner, it is altogether
probable that nothing of that which passes around her escapes the
fundamental individuality of Mlle. Smith. The royal personality which
occupies the foreground of the scene and finds itself in an elective
_rapport_, limited to Philippe and the marquis, merely causes the
other personalities to be relegated to the background without breaking
their connection with the environment. There are many proofs of this.
For example, in walking, Marie Antoinette never runs against any of
the others present. The remarks and criticisms of the latter are not
lost upon her, since very frequently her conversation betrays their
influence after some minutes. At the same time, if any one pinches her
hand or tickles her ear, her lips, her nostrils, she seems anæsthetic;
still, at the end of a few seconds she turns her head away, and if
the tickling is persisted in, she experiences a kind of agitation
accommodated to the circumstances of her dream, changes her position on
some pretext, etc.

It is manifest, in short, that the excitations to which she seems to
be insensible at the moment, far from having no effect, are stored up
and produce, by their sum total, reactions which are retarded for some
minutes and which are intelligently adapted to the somnambulistic
scene, but with an intensity much more exaggerated than diminished by
this period of latency.

Music also affects her, precipitating her out of the dream of Marie
Antoinette into a common hypnotic state, in which she assumes
passionate attitudes, which have in them nothing of the regal, and
which conform to the varied airs which follow each other upon the piano.

In her phases as Marie Antoinette, Hélène has an accent characteristic
of it; she recognizes me vaguely; she has some allochiria, a complete
insensibility of the hands, and a large appetite; she does not know who
Mlle. Smith is; if she is asked to give the actual date, she replies
correctly as to the month and day, but indicates a year of the last
century, etc. Then all at once her state changes; the royal accent
gives way to her ordinary voice, she seems wide awake, all mental
confusion has disappeared, she is perfectly clear as to persons, dates,
and circumstances, but has no memory of the state from which she has
just emerged, and she complains of a sharp pain in her finger (where I
had pinched it while in her preceding phase). I took advantage one day
of these alternations to offer her a pencil, and dictated to her the
sentence of Fig. 42. In her normal moments she holds the pencil in her
accustomed manner, between the index and middle fingers, and writes in
her usual hand; during the returns of the royal somnambulism she holds
it between the thumb and index-finger and assumes her handwriting and
orthography known as that of Marie Antoinette, exactly as her voice
is invested with the accent. It is to be presumed that all her other
functions, if one could examine them, would show parallel analogous
variations, the changing of the personality being naturally accompanied
by connected changes not only of the memory and the sensibility, but of
motility of the emotional disposition—in brief, of all the faculties of
the individuality.

 [Illustration: Fig. 42. Differences of handwriting of Mlle. Smith at
 the end of an incarnation of Marie Antoinette, according to whether
 she is in her normal state (upper lines, in her usual handwriting), or
 in a return of the royal dream (lower lines; note the word _foisoit_).
 Natural size. The tremor of some of the strokes is not in the
 original, but occurred in the reproduction in ink.]

I must add that in each of her states Hélène has the memory of
preceding periods of the same kind, but not of another state: it was,
for example, necessary to dictate anew, for the second test, the
sentence of Fig. 42, which she did not remember having heard or written
a few minutes previously. This separation into distinct memories is
not, however, absolute, nor very profound: the personality of Marie
Antoinette is, in short, a modification—of an intensity and extent
which vary greatly with the seances—of the ordinary personality of
Mlle. Smith, rather than an alternating and exclusive personality, of
which so many striking cases have been observed.

For the mere spectators, the royal somnambulism is perhaps the most
interesting of all of Hélène’s cycles, on account of the brilliancy and
life of the rôle, the length of time during which it may be sustained,
the unexpected happenings which the presence of other real persons
brings into it. It is truly a comedy.

But for the lovers of the supernormal it is the least extraordinary
of the subliminal creations of Mlle. Smith, because the general
environment, being in France, is so imbued with historic or legendary
memories of the illustrious and unfortunate queen that there is nothing
surprising in the hypnoid reconstruction of a personage so well known.

Finally, the psychologist and moralist who undertakes to reflect on the
inner meaning of things cannot escape the impression of sharp contrast
as compared with reality which this sparkling romance affords.

In themselves, Mlle. Smith’s royal somnambulisms are almost always gay
and joyous; but, considering their hidden source, in so far as they
are the ephemeral and chimerical revenge of the ideal upon the real,
of impossible dreams upon daily necessities, of impotent aspirations
upon blind and crushing destiny, they assume a tragic signification.
They express the sensation lived through, felt, of the bitter irony
of things, of futile revolt, of fatality dominating the human being.
They seem to say that all happy and brilliant life is only an illusion
soon dissipated. The daily annihilation of the dream and the desire by
implacable and brutal reality cannot find in the hypnoid imagination
a more adequate representation, a more perfect symbol of an emotional
tonality, than her royal majesty whose existence seemed made for the
highest peaks of happiness and of fame—and ended on the scaffold.

                               CHAPTER X

                        SUPERNORMAL APPEARANCES

The mediumship of Mlle. Smith is full of facts supernormal in
appearance, and the question which offers itself for our solution is
that of determining to what extent they are supernormal in reality.

The title of this chapter, I must assert, is not to be understood in a
partisan sense. The term “appearances” is not used in its unfavorable
acceptation, as meaning that they are deceptive, and that there is
nothing behind them. It is taken in a frank and impartial sense, to
designate simply the exterior and immediate aspect of a thing, without
prejudging its real nature, in order, by the very force of this
neutrality, to provoke investigation destined to separate the true
from the false, the pure gold from the dross. It is precisely this
investigation which constitutes my present task.

A rather difficult task, for it is always risky to touch upon a
subject which is an apple of discord among psychologists, and which
has even been considered the “Dreyfus case of science.” The matter
is complicated, too, in this particular case, by the absolute faith
of Mlle. Smith and her friends in the supernormal character of her
phenomena; a state of mind extremely worthy of respect, but which is
not calculated to facilitate research, all desire of ordinary analysis
and explanation being resented by them as an unjustifiable suspicion,
interpreted as being an indication of invincible skepticism.


The term “supernormal” has been used for some years by the
investigators of the Society for Psychical Research to take the place
of the old word “supernatural,” which has become impracticable on
account of interloping connections, which finally caused its use to
be limited to theological and philosophical environments. Mr. Meyers,
to whom the credit is due, if I am not mistaken, of coining this as
well as many other new terms used to-day in the psychical vocabulary,
applies it to every phenomenon or faculty which passes beyond ordinary
experience, and reveals either a degree of higher evolution not yet
attained by the mass of humanity, or an order of transcendental things
superior to the world of sense. In these two cases one finds one’s
self, indeed, in the presence of facts which are above the normal, but
which are by no means to be taken as foreign or contrary to the true
laws of human nature (as the word “supernatural” would imply).

It is to be observed that the definition of Mr. Meyers lays stress
upon the character of superiority of supernormal phenomena. I shall,
however, separate this character from it in the present chapter, and
in spite of the etymology, and for lack of any better term, shall
simply use the word “supernormal” to designate facts which come within
the actual framework of the science of to-day, and the application of
which would necessitate principles not yet admitted—without occupying
myself, however, with endeavoring to ascertain whether these facts
are messengers of a superior economy or forerunners of a future
evolution rather than the survival of a condition of things which has
disappeared, or whether they are purely accidental, _lusus naturae_,
denuded of signification.

It goes without saying that in treating of the supernormal we must
admit theoretically its possibility, or—which amounts to about the
same thing—fail to believe in the infallibility and perfection
of present-day science. If I consider it, _à priori_, absolutely
impossible for an individual to know, some time before the arrival of
a telegram containing the news, of an accident by which his brother at
the antipodes has been killed, or that another can voluntarily move
an object at a distance without having a string attached to it, and
contrary to the laws of mechanics and physiology, it is clear that I
will shrug my shoulders at every mention of telepathy, and I shall not
move a step to be present at a seance of Eusapia Paladino. What an
excellent means of enlarging one’s horizon and of discovering something
new, by being satisfied with one’s ready-made science and preconceived
opinion, quite convinced beforehand that the universe ends at the wall
opposite, and that there is nothing to be obtained beyond that which
the daily routine has accustomed us to look upon as the limit of the
Real! This philosophy of the ostrich, illustrated formerly by those
grotesque monuments of erudition—over whom Galileo did not know whether
to laugh or weep—who refused to put their eyes to the glass for fear
of seeing something that had no official right to existence; and,
again, that of many brains petrified by the unseasonable reading of
works of scientific vulgarization, and the unintelligent frequenting of
universities—these are the two great intellectual dangers of our time.

If, on the other hand, the philosophical doubt degenerates in
the presence of these scientific impossibilities into blind
credulity; if it suffices that a thing be unheard of, upsetting,
contrary to common-sense and to accepted truths, in order to be
immediately admitted, practical existence, without speaking of other
considerations, becomes unbearable. The convinced occultist ought never
to allow the creaking of a piece of furniture to pass without assuring
himself that it is not the desperate call of some great-grandaunt
trying to enter into conversation with him; nor to complain to the
police when he finds his house upset during his absence—for how is he
to know that it is not some “elementals” from the world beyond who have
done the deed? It is by the fortunate failure of consequences alone,
and a continual forgetting of the doctrine, that one can continue to
live in a universe constantly exposed to the capricious incursions of
the “invisibles.”

These opposite turns of the mind—the invincible fatuity of some and
the silly superstition of others—inspire many people with an equal
repugnance. The need of a happy medium between these opposed excesses
has been felt for some time. Here are, for example, a few lines, which
have lost nothing after the lapse of two centuries:

“What are we to think of magic and witchcraft [to-day we would
say ‘occultism’ and ‘spiritism’]? Their theory is obscure, their
principles vague, uncertain, approaching the visionary; but—they are
embarrassing facts, affirmed by grave men, who have seen them, or who
have heard of them from persons like themselves; to admit them all, or
to deny them all, seems equally embarrassing, and I dare to assert that
in this, as in all extraordinary things which depend upon customary
rules, there is a happy medium to be found between credulous souls and
strong minds.”

It is the voice of reason itself that the sagacious author of _Les
Caractères_ permits us to hear. We must, however, add that this
“happy medium to be found” would not consist in a theory, a doctrine,
a ready-made and entire system, from the height of which, as from a
tribunal of arbitration, we would judge the “embarrassing cases” which
reality places in the path of the seeker; for this system—however
perfect it might be—would again be one more infallibility added to all
those which already encumber the road to truth. The “happy medium”
dreamed of by La Bruyère can be but a “method” always perfectible in
its application and prejudging in nothing the results of investigation
which go against the grain of the dogmatic points of view, equally
authoritative and sterile, which characterize the two extremes of the
“credulous souls” and “strong minds.”

To develop here this methodology of psychical research which
might guide the investigator struggling with the apparent or real
supernormal, would take me too far from Mlle. Smith. But I will briefly
indicate its essence and general spirit, of which an excellent summary
may be found in the following passage of Laplace:

“We are so far from knowing all the agents of nature and their divers
modes of action that it would not be philosophical to deny phenomena
solely because they are inexplicable in the actual state of our
knowledge. But we ought to examine them with an attention all the more
scrupulous as it appears more difficult to admit them.”

In writing these words Laplace hardly thought of telepathy, of the
spirits, or the movements of objects without contact, but only of
animal magnetism, which represented the supernormal of his time. This
passage remains none the less the rule of conduct to be followed
concerning all the possible manifestations of this multiform subject.
Two inseparable facts, completing each other, as the faces of a medal,
may be distinguished in it; but it is advisable, in order to place
them the better in the light, to formulate them separately into two
propositions representing the governing principles, the axioms of
all investigations of the supernormal. The one, which I shall call
“PRINCIPLE OF HAMLET,” may be condensed. in these words: _All is
possible_. The other, to which it is but just to leave the name of
“PRINCIPLE OF LAPLACE,” is susceptible of many forms of expression.
I shall express it thus: _The weight of the evidence should be
proportioned to the strangeness of the facts_.

The forgetfulness of the “Principle of Hamlet” makes the “strong
minds,” for whom the limits of nature would not exceed those of their
system, the simpleton popes of all times and of all kinds, from the
burlesque adversaries of Galileo to the poor Auguste Comte, declaring
that the physical constitution of the stars would never be known, and
to his noble rivals of the learned societies, denying the aërolites
or condemning railroads beforehand. In its turn, the ignorance of the
“Principle of Laplace” makes the “credulous souls,” who have never
reflected that, if all is possible to the eyes of the modest seeker,
all is, however, not certain, or even equally possible, and that some
evidence would yet be necessary in order to suppose that a stone
falling on the floor in an occult reunion arrived there through the
walls by the aid of a dematerialization, rather than to admit that it
came there in the pocket of a joker.

Thanks to these axioms, the investigator will avoid the doubly
signalled danger, and will advance without fear into the labyrinth
of the supernormal in advance of the monsters of the occult. However
fantastic and magical the things may be which will spring up before
his eyes or which will fill his ears, he will never be taken unawares,
but, expecting all in the name of the “Principle of Hamlet,” he will
not be astonished at anything, and simply say: “Be it so! Why not? We
shall see.” On the other hand, he will not allow the wool to be pulled
over his eyes, and he will not easily be satisfied in the matter of
evidence; but, firmly intrenched behind the “Principle of Laplace,” he
will show himself all the more exacting as to the proofs, in proportion
to the degree in which the phenomena or the conclusion, which they
may wish him to accept, may be extraordinary, and he will oppose
a merciless _non liquet_ to every demonstration which still seems
suspicious or lame.

I wish to speak a word here of the inevitable rôle which the
personal coefficient of the turn of mind and character plays in the
concrete application of the “Principle of Laplace.” This latter is
of a vagueness and a deplorable elasticity which opens the door to
all divergences of individual appreciation. If we could express in
a precise manner and translate in ciphers, on the one hand, the
_strangeness_ of a fact, which makes it improbable; on the other
hand, the _weight of evidence_ which tends to make it admissible;
and, finally, the demandable _proportion_ between these two contrary
factors, so that the second may counterbalance the first and secure
assent—that would be perfect, and everybody would soon come to an
agreement. Unhappily, the means to accomplish this result is not yet

We must pass now to the weight of the evidence. We may, up to a
certain point, submit it to an objective judgment and to an impartial
estimation by following the rules and methods of logic, in the broadest
sense of the term. But the strangeness of the facts, or, as Laplace
said, the difficulty in admitting them! Who, then, is to be the judge
of them, and by what universal standard can we measure them?

We must recognize that we are here in presence of an eminently
subjective and emotional factor, changeable from one individual to

It is necessary to take some stand. In the matter of the supernormal
there are too many interior and personal factors (intellectual
idiosyncrasies, æsthetic temperaments, moral and religious sentiments,
metaphysical tendencies, etc.) tending to determine the quality and
intensity of the characteristic of the strangeness in the facts in
litigation, to enable one to flatter himself upon a disinterested,
objective, and _quasi_-scientific verdict upon their degree of
probability or improbability. It is only when, after the accumulation
of cases and evidences of similar character, a tacit agreement shall
finally have been reached by those who have studied the subject, that
the problem can be said to be solved, either by the relegation of
pretended supernormal phenomena to the domain of vanished illusions
and abandoned superstitions, or by the recognition of new laws and
forces in nature. The phenomena considered till then as supernatural
will cease to be so; they will form a part of established science, they
will have nothing more in them that is strange, and will be admitted
by everybody. As long as this mile-post is not reached, as long as the
supernormal phenomenon is discussed as such, there are but individual
opinions on this subject, subjective certitudes or probabilities,
verdicts in which reality is only reflected as closely welded to the
personality of their authors.

Two suggestions seem to me to spring from this. First, authors who
take it upon themselves to give their advice upon the extraordinary
facts coming to their knowledge ought always to begin by making their
confession, so that the reader may the better distinguish the intimate
factors which may have influenced them. It is true that we are not
always thoroughly acquainted with ourselves, but it would be something
to say frankly what we believe we have discovered in ourselves as to
the position involuntarily taken by us, obscure inclinations for or
against the hypothesis involved in the phenomena in question. This
is what I shall try to do here, by confining myself to the problems
raised by the mediumship of Mlle. Smith, and without entering upon the
boundless domain of “psychical research.” I shall, therefore, begin
each of the following paragraphs by giving my personal advice and my
subjective sentiment on the point upon which Hélène’s supernormal
appearances touch.

It seems to me, in the second place, that the only rational position
to take, concerning the supernormal, is, if not a complete suspension
of judgment, which is not always psychologically possible, at least
that of a wise probability, exempt from all dogmatic obstinacy. The
fixed beliefs, the unshakable opinions as to the reality and the
meaning of life, are certainly subjective conditions, indispensable
to all properly moral conduct, to all human existence truly worthy
of this name—that is to say, all that which pretends to be above the
animal routine of inherited instincts and social slavery. But these
firm convictions would be absolutely misplaced on the objective
ground of science, and consequently also that of supernormal facts,
which, though still situated outside of the scientific realm, hope
shortly to be received within its pale. Practical necessities make
us but too often forget that our knowledge of the phenomenal world
never attains absolute certitude, and as soon as one passes beyond
the brutal facts of the senses, the best-established truths, as well
as the most thoroughly refuted propositions, do not rise above a
probability which, however great or insignificant we may suppose it
to be, never equals infinity or zero. The intellectual attitude which
common-sense prescribes in the supernormal consists, for very strong
reasons, in never absolutely and irrevocably denying or affirming,
but provisionally and by hypothesis, as it were. Even in cases when,
after having examined everything scrupulously, one imagines he has
finally reached certitude, it must not be forgotten that this word
is but a mode of expressing one’s self; because, in point of fact,
one does not rise above a probable opinion, and the possibility of an
unsuspected error, vitiating the most apparently evident experimental
demonstration, is never mathematically excluded.

This reserve is particularly indicated in cases of phenomena like
those of Mlle. Smith, which often leave much to be desired concerning
accessory information, which would be necessary in order to express
one’s self categorically on their account. My appreciation of these
phenomena, far from pretending to an infallible and definite character,
demands, therefore, from the start, the right of modification under
the influence of new facts which may be produced subsequently.

For the sake of clearness I shall set off again in four groups the
supernormal appearances with which I shall have to occupy myself in
this chapter—viz., so-called physical phenomena, telepathy, lucidity,
and spirit messages. The boundaries of these three last categories are
but poorly defined and might easily be fused into one. But my division
is but a kind of a measure of order, and not a classification.


This designation again covers several rather diverse categories of
strange facts. I shall only speak of the two kinds of which Mlle.
Smith has furnished samples (and which I have never personally
witnessed)—that is to say, “apports” and “movements of objects without

1. _Apports._[29]—Besides the unknown causes presiding over their
aërial transportation, the arrival of exterior objects in a closed
space, often coming from a considerable distance, implies, in order
that they may pass through the walls of the room, either the subterfuge
of a fourth dimension of space, or the penetration of the matter—that
is to say, the passage of the molecules or atoms of the object (its
momentary _dematerialization_) between the molecules or atoms of
the wall. All these impediments to our vulgar conception as to the
stability of matter, or, what is worse, to our geometrical intuition,
seem to me so hard to digest that I am tempted to apply to them the
words of Laplace: “There are things that are so extraordinary that
nothing can counterbalance their improbability.” This is not to declare
as false, _à priori_, all the stories of this kind, for we know that
the true is not always the probable; but assuredly, even in the case of
the good Mr. Stainton Moses, the weight of the proof does not, in my
opinion, equal the strangeness of the facts.

So far as concerns the _apports_ obtained at the seances of Mlle.
Smith, they all took place in 1892-93, in the reunions of the N. group,
where the obscurity favored the production of marvellous things in
close relation with the visions and typtological messages.

I will cite from memory certain acoustic phenomena mentioned in the
reports: The piano sounded several times under the touch of the
favorite disincarnate spirits of the group; the same happened to a
violin and to a bell; once we also heard metallic sounds that seemed
to come from a small musical box, although there was none in the room.
As to the _apports_, always received with delight by the members of
the group, who are ever anxiously wishing for them and asking their
spirit friends for them, they were frequent and varied enough. In
mid-winter roses showered upon the table, handfuls of violets, pinks,
white lilacs, etc., also green branches; among other things there
was an ivy leaf having engraved upon it in letters, as though by a
punching-machine, the name of one of the principal disincarnate
spirits at play. Again, at the tropical and Chinese visions sea-shells
were obtained that were still shining and covered with sand, Chinese
coins, a little vase containing water, in which there was a superb
rose, etc. These last objects were brought in a straight line from the
extreme East by the spirits, in proof of which they had the honor of
a public presentation at a seance of La Société d’Études Psychiques
de Genève, and were placed upon the desk of the president, where all,
myself included, could satisfy themselves at their leisure as to their

2. _Movements of objects without contact._—The displacing, without
contact and in the absence of all known mechanical processes, of
objects situated at a distance (telekinesis), is very strange. However,
it only upsets physiological notions, and does not, as is the case with
the _apports_, go as far as to overthrow our conceptions in regard
to the constitution of matter or our spatial intuitions. It only
supposes that the living being possesses forces acting at a distance,
or the power of putting forth at intervals a species of invisible
supernumerary prehensile organs, capable of handling objects, as our
hands do (ectenic forces of Thury, ectoplasms of Richet, dynamic
members of Ochorowicz, etc.). Such are the ephemeral but visible
pseudopodes that the amœba puts forth in all directions.

It may be conceived that, as the atom and the molecule are the centre
of a more or less radiating influence of extension, so the organized
individual, isolated cell or colony of cells, is originally in
possession of a sphere of action, where it concentrates at times its
efforts more especially on one point, and again on others _ad libitum_.
Through repetition, habit, selection, hereditary and other principles
loved by biologists, certain more constant lines of force would be
differentiated in this homogeneous primordial sphere, and little by
little could give birth to motor organs. For example—our four members
of flesh and blood, sweeping the space around us, would be but a more
economic expedient invented by nature, a machine wrought in the course
of better adapted evolution, to obtain at the least expense the same
useful effects as this vague primitive spherical power. Thus supplanted
or transformed, these powers would thereafter manifest themselves only
very exceptionally, in certain states, or with abnormal individuals, as
an atavic reapparition of a mode of acting long ago fallen into disuse,
because it is really very imperfect and necessitates, without any
advantage, an expenditure of vital energy far greater than the ordinary
use of arms and limbs. Unless it is the cosmic power itself, the amoral
and stupid demiurge, the unconsciousness of M. de Hartman, which comes
directly into play upon contact with a deranged nervous system, and
realizes its disordered dreams without passing through the regular
channels of muscular movements.

But enough of these vapory metaphysical or pseudo-biological
speculations to give an account of a phenomenon for which it will be
time enough to find precise explanation when its authenticity shall be
beyond dispute, if that time shall ever arrive.

Three groups of proofs, of a diverse nature, have gradually brought me
to look upon the reality of these phenomena—in spite of the instinctive
difficulty of admitting them—as an infinitely more probable hypothesis
than its opposite.

First: I was first unsettled by the reading of the too-much-neglected
memoir of Professor Thury, which seems to me to be a model of
scientific observations, the weight of which I could only overlook by
rejecting, _à priori_—in the name of their strangeness—the possibility
itself of the facts in question, which would have been against the
Principle of Hamlet. The conversations which it was my privilege
to hold with M. Thury have greatly contributed to arouse in me a
presumption in favor of these phenomena, which the book would evidently
not have done in the same degree if the author had not been personally
known to me.

Secondly: Once created, my idea of the probability of these facts
became rather strengthened than weakened by a number of foreign works
of more recent date; but I doubt whether any, or all of these combined,
would have been sufficient to create it. The displacement of objects
without contact being once hypothetically admitted, it seems easier to
me to explain Crookes’s observations on the modifications of the weight
of bodies in the presence of Home by authentic phenomena of this kind
(in spite of the well-deserved criticisms that Crookes’s publications
brought upon him) than to suppose that he was simply Home’s dupe. The
same is true with the cases of _Esprits tapageurs_ (_Poltergeister_),
published by the Society for Psychical Research, the exclusive
hypothesis of the “_naughty little girl_,” without the addition of
any trace of telekinesis, which seems to me a less adequate and more
improbable explanation than that of real phenomena, which would have
tempted fraud. Naturally all depends on the preconceived opinion one
may have as to the general possibility or impossibility of these facts,
and my feeling in regard to the matter would certainly be different
without the preceding or the following groups of evidence.

Thirdly: The probability of the movement of objects without contact
has reached with me a degree practically equivalent to certitude,
thanks to M. Richet, to whom I am indebted for my presence at his house
last year at several seances of Eusapia Paladino, under conditions of
control which gave no room for doubt—at least without challenging the
combined witness of the senses of sight, hearing, and touch, as well
as the average quantity of critical sense and perspicacity with which
every ordinary intelligence flatters itself it is endowed; or, again,
of suspecting the walls of M. Richet’s study had been tampered with,
and he himself, with his attending colleagues, of being impostors,
in collusion with the amiable Neapolitan herself—a supposition which
the most elementary sense of propriety would absolutely forbid me to
entertain. From that moment I believed in telekinesis by constraint
of the perception, _sensata et oculata certitudine_, to borrow
the expression of Galileo, who certainly did not mean by that an
unreflecting adhesion to the evidences of the senses, like that of the
casual onlooker at the tricks of the prestidigitator, but rather the
final crowning of an edifice having for its rational framework the
reasoned analysis of the conditions of observation, and of the concrete
circumstances surrounding the production of the phenomenon.

In saying that I believe in these facts, I will add that there
is no question here of a conviction, in the moral, religious, or
philosophical sense of the term. This belief is for me devoid of all
vital importance; it does not move any essential fibre of my being,
and I would not feel the least inclination to submit to the slightest
martyrdom in its defence. Whether the objects move or do not move
without contact is absolutely indifferent to me. Should any one
some day succeed in unveiling the physical tricks or the fallacious
psychological processes which have led into error the best observers of
telekinesis, from M. Thury down to M. Richet, with a number of other
witnesses, myself included, I would be the first to laugh at the trick
that art and nature had played upon me, to applaud the perspicacity of
the one who discovered it, to congratulate myself, above all, in seeing
supernormal appearances returning to the ordinary course of things.

This is a disproportionally lengthy preamble to facts of which I shall
have to speak here, for they are reduced to a few displacements of
objects without contact (raising of tables, transporting or projecting
of flowers and diverse things placed out of reach), of which Hélène
and her mother were witnesses on several occasions at their house. I
cannot be accused of stubborn skepticism, since I admit the reality
of telekinesis. In the present case, however, all the stories which
have been told me leave much to be desired from an evidential point
of view. Without suspecting in any way the perfect good faith of
both Mme. and Mlle. Smith, it suffices to recall the possibility of
malobservation and errors of memory in the stories of supernormal
events in order not to attribute a great evidential value to the
absolutely sincere evidence of these ladies.

Incapacitated as I am from pronouncing judgment upon phenomena of which
I was not a witness, I shall, however, put forth a fact which might
militate in favor of their authenticity (their possibility having
been first hypothetically admitted)—namely, that these phenomena have
always been produced under exceptional conditions, at a time when
Hélène was in an abnormal state and a prey to a deep emotion. On the
one side, this circumstance increases the chances of malobservation,
while, on the other, the day on which it shall be well established
that (as divers observations cause us to think) certain abnormal and
emotional states set at liberty in the organism latent forces capable
of acting at a distance, it will be permitted us to suppose that
perhaps something analogous has taken place in Mlle. Smith’s case. Here
is, as an example of these perplexing cases, a fact which happened to
her during a period of general indisposition. Abridging the story, I
reproduce it as Hélène sent it to me the following day:

“Last night I had a visit from M. H. I do not need to give you an
analysis of my impressions; you will understand them as well as I do.
He came to tell me that he had held a seance with a lady who was a
stranger to me, and that this lady had seen Leopold, who had given her
a remedy for the indisposition from which I was suffering. I could not
refrain from telling him that Leopold had assured me that he manifested
himself only to me, and that it would consequently be difficult for me
to admit his alleged utterances to others.” But that is not the most
interesting part of the story.

“While M. H. spoke to me I felt a sharp pain in my left temple, and,
perhaps two minutes afterwards, my eyes, constantly directed towards
the piano, on which I had placed two oranges the evening before, were
entirely fascinated with I know not what. Then, suddenly, at the
moment when we least expected it—we were all three (M. H., my father,
and myself) seated at a reasonable distance from the piano—one of the
oranges displaced itself and rolled to my feet. My father maintained
that it had no doubt been placed too near the edge of the lid, and at
a certain moment had fallen in a natural way. M. H. saw immediately
in this incident the intervention of some spirit. I myself dared not
pass my opinion on it. Finally, I picked up the orange, and we spoke of
other things.

“M. H. remained about an hour; he went away exactly at nine. I went
to my mother’s room to give her a few details of M. H.’s visit. I
described to her the fall of the orange, and what was my surprise when,
on returning to the drawing-room and stepping up to the piano to take
the lamp I had placed on it, I found the famous orange no longer there.
There was but one left; the one I had picked up and replaced by the
side of the other had disappeared. I looked for it everywhere, but
without success. I went back to my mother, and while I spoke to her
we heard something fall in the vestibule. I took the lamp to see what
might have fallen. I distinguished at the farthest end (towards the
door of the entrance to the apartment) the much-sought-for orange!

“Then I asked myself quite frankly whether I was in presence of some
spiritistic manifestation. I tried not to be frightened. I took the
orange to show it to my mother. I returned to the piano to take the
second orange, so as not to be frightened in a similar way. But it,
in its turn, had disappeared! Then I felt a considerable sensation of
trembling. I returned to my mother’s room, and, while we discussed the
matter, we heard again something thrown with violence, and, rushing out
to see what had happened, I saw the second orange placed in exactly the
same spot where the other had been, and considerably bruised. Imagine
how astonished we were! I took both oranges, and, without losing an
instant, went to the kitchen and put them in a cupboard, where I found
them again the following morning; they had not moved. I did not go to
bed without some fear, but fortunately I quickly went to sleep. My
mother is sure that it is M. H. who brought some evil spirit into the
house, and she is quite uneasy....”

From the oral explanations of Mlle. Smith and her mother, and also
from the location of the places, it follows that the oranges had
been thrown at a distance of ten yards from the piano, through the
wide-open parlor door leading to the vestibule, against the door of the
apartment, as if to follow and strike fictitiously M. H., who a few
moments before had left by this door.

One has undoubtedly always the right of discarding at the outset, as
presenting too little guarantee of genuineness, the extraordinary
stories of a person subject to hallucinations. In the present case, all
that I know of Mlle. Smith and her parents keeps me from doing so, and
persuades me that her story is thoroughly exact, which, however, does
not amount to saying that there is anything of the supernormal about
it. One has, in fact, the choice between two interpretations.

First: In the hypothesis of veritable telekinesis, the following is
the manner in which the adventure would be summed up: the emotion due
to the unexpected and unpleasant visit of M. H. had brought about
a division of consciousness. The feeling of irritation, anger, and
repulsion against him had condensed themselves into some secondary
personality, which, in the general perturbation of the entire
psychophysiological organism, had momentarily recovered the use of
these primitive forces of action at a distance, entirely removed from
the will, and without the participation of the ordinary self, and thus
automatically accomplished outwardly the instinctive idea of bombarding
this ill-bred visitor. Notice is to be taken of the painful _aura_ at
the temple and the fascination of gaze, which, according to Hélène’s
story, preceded the first signs of the phenomenon, the orange falling
and rolling at her feet.

Secondly: But the most natural supposition is certainly that Mlle.
Smith, by the ordinary use of her limbs, had taken and thrown these
projectiles in an access of unconscious muscular automatism. It is true
that this would not agree with the presence of her father, mother,
or M. H., who did not see her make the supposed movements. But an
absent-mindedness of even normal witnesses will seem easier to admit
than the authentic production of a supernormal phenomenon.

These episodes which have happened to Mlle. Smith and her mother since
I have known them are very few, amounting to half a dozen at the most,
and I will not dwell longer upon this subject. Hélène is not conscious
of possessing any faculty of movement at a distance, and she always
attributes these phenomena to spirit intervention. Leopold, on the
other hand, has never acknowledged that he is the author of them. He
claims that Hélène possesses within herself supernormal powers, and
that, in order to succeed, she would only have to set them to work,
but that she did not wish to do so. All my suggestions and repeated
entreaties with Leopold and Hélène—either awake or in a state of
somnambulism—in the hope of obtaining in my presence some physical
phenomenon, have been in vain up to the present time.


One may almost say that if telepathy did not exist one would have to
invent it. I mean by this that a direct action between living beings,
independent of the organs of the senses, is a matter of such conformity
to all that we know of nature that it would be hard not to suppose it
_à priori_, even if we had no perceptible indication of it. How is it
possible to believe that the foci of chemical phenomena, as complex as
the nervous centres, can be in activity without giving forth diverse
undulations, _x_, _y_, or _z_ rays, traversing the cranium as the sun
traverses a pane of glass, and acting at a distance on their homologues
in other craniums? It is a simple matter of intensity.

The gallop of a horse or the leap of a flea in Australia causes
the terrestrial globe to rebound on its opposite side to an extent
proportional to the weight of these animals compared to that of our
planet. This is little, even without taking into account the fact
that this infinitesimal displacement runs the risk at every moment
of being neutralized by the leaps of horses and fleas on the other
hemisphere, so that, on the whole, the shocks to our terrestrial globe
resulting from all that moves on its surface are too feeble to prevent
our sleeping. Perhaps it is the same with the innumerable waves which
coming from all other living beings, shock at every moment a given
brain: their efforts are counterbalanced, or their resultant too
slight to be perceived. But they exist none the less in reality, and
I confess I do not understand those who reproach telepathy with being
strange, mystical, occult, supernormal, etc.

As to the knowledge whether this theoretical telepathy offers results
open to experimental demonstration—that is to say, whether this chain
of intercerebral vibrations into which we are plunged exercises any
notable influence on the course of our psychic life; and whether, in
certain cases, we happen to feel emotions, impulses, hallucinations,
which the psychological state of one or another of our own kind
exercises directly upon us, across the ether and without the ordinary
intermediary of the channel of our senses—that is a question of fact
arising from observation and experience. We know how much this question
has actually been discussed, and how difficult it is to solve it in
a decisive way, as much on account of all the sources of errors and
illusions, to which one is exposed in this domain, as on account of a
probably always necessary concurrence of very exceptional circumstances
(which we do not as yet know how to accomplish at will), in order
that the particular action of a determined _agent_ should sweep away
all rival influences, and betray itself in a manner sufficiently
marked and distinct in the life of the _percipient_. Everything
considered, I strongly lean towards the affirmative. The reality of
telepathic phenomena seems to me difficult to reject in presence of
the cluster of very diverse evidences, entirely independent of each
other, that militate in its favor. Undoubtedly none of these evidences
is absolutely convincing when taken separately; but their striking
convergence towards the same result gives to their entirety a new
and considerable weight, which tips the scale, in my opinion, while
awaiting an inverse oscillation, which may some day destroy this
convergence, or explain it by a common source of error. Besides, I
understand very well why those to whom telepathy remains a mystic,
and to our scientific conceptions heterogeneous, principle, should
obstinately resist it. But, seeing nothing strange in it myself, I
do not hesitate to admit it, not as an intangible dogma, but as a
provisional hypothesis, corresponding better than any other to the
condition of my certainly very incomplete knowledge of this department
of psychological research.

Although predisposed in favor of telepathy, I have failed in finding
striking proofs of it in Mlle. Smith, and the few experiments I have
attempted with her on this subject offered nothing encouraging.

I tried several times to make an impression upon Hélène from a distance
and to appear before her during the evening, when I thought she had
returned to her home, which is a kilometre distant from mine. I
obtained no satisfactory result. My only case of striking success, lost
among a number of nonsuccesses, can be explained by mere coincidence
as well, and, after taking all the accessory circumstances into
consideration, does not deserve a lengthy discussion.

As to spontaneous telepathy, a few indications would make me think
that Mlle. Smith sometimes involuntarily submits to my influence. The
most curious is a dream (or a vision) that she had one night at a
time when I had suddenly fallen ill during a stay in the country some
twenty leagues distant from Geneva. She heard the ringing of a bell at
her door, then saw me entering, so emaciated and apparently so tired
that she could not refrain from speaking to her mother on the following
morning of her uneasiness concerning me. Unfortunately these ladies
took no note of the exact date of this incident, and Hélène did not
speak of it to M. Lemaître until three weeks later, when he told her
about my illness, the beginning of which dated back to the approximate
time of the dream. The evidential value of this case is weak. On other
occasions Mlle. Smith announced to me that, to judge from her dreams
or vague intuition in a waking state, I was to have on a certain day
an unexpected vexation, a painful preoccupation, etc. But the cases
in which she was right were counterbalanced by those in which she was
wrong. It does not appear that Hélène’s telepathic relations with other
persons are closer than with me, and among the cases known to me there
is not one that deserves the trouble of being related. An exception
must, however, be made on behalf of a M. Balmès (pseudonym), who was
for some time employed in the same business house as Mlle. Smith, and
concerning whom she had several really curious phenomena. This M.
Balmès was himself “a sensitive medium” of a very nervous and vibrating
nature. He was working in the story above that of Hélène, and stopped
sometimes to talk concerning spiritism with her. Their relations, which
they did not extend beyond the office, ended there. There never seemed
to be any personal sympathy or special affinity between them, and it is
not known how to account for the telepathic bond that seemed to exist
between them. The following are examples:

1. One morning M. Balmès lent a newspaper to Hélène in which there was
an article on spiritism. He himself had received this paper from one
of his friends, M. X., a Frenchman who had been in Geneva for some
three weeks only and who did not know Hélène even by name. This M. X.
had marked the interesting article in red and had added on the margin
an annotation in black. During her noon meal at home Hélène read the
article rapidly, but for lack of time did not read the annotation
marked in black. Having returned to her office she began again to work.
However, at a quarter-past three her eyes fell on the annotation of the
paper, and as she was taking up her pen to make some calculation in
her note-book, “I do not know,” she wrote to me, “either how or why I
began to draw on this writing-tablet the head of a man entirely unknown
to me. At the same time I heard the voice of a man, of a high, clear,
and harmonious quality, but unfortunately I could not understand the
words. A great desire came over me to run and show this drawing to M.
Balmès. He examined it, and seemed astonished, for the head drawn in
ink was no other than that of his friend who had lent him the paper
marked in pencil. The voice and the French accent were, as it seems,
entirely correct also. How was it that at the sight of an annotation I
found myself in communication with a stranger? M. Balmès, in presence
of this curious phenomenon, hastened that very evening to his friend
and learned that at the time when I drew his portrait there was a very
serious discussion in progress concerning him (M. Balmès) between M. X.
and other persons.”

Strictly speaking, this case may be normally explained by supposing:
First, that Mlle. Smith, without consciously noticing or remembering
him, had seen M. X. during his short stay in Geneva, walking in the
street with M. Balmès, and that the paper, which she knew had been lent
to M. Balmès by one of his friends, had, by means of a subconscious
induction, awakened the latent memory of the face and voice of the
stranger whom she had seen with him. Secondly, that there is but a
fortuitous coincidence in the fact that M. X. spoke of M. Balmès at
precisely the hour when Hélène traced the face and heard the voice of
the aforesaid M. X. in an access of automatism, set free at the sight
of his annotation on the paper.

In the telepathic hypothesis, on the contrary, the incident would
have been explained somewhat as follows: The conversation of M.
X. concerning M. Balmès (which was, as it appears, of an excited
nature) had telepathically impressed the latter and awakened in him
subliminally the remembrance of M. X. M. Balmès, in his turn, without
consciously suspecting it, had transmitted this remembrance to Mlle.
Smith, who was already predisposed to suggestion on that day by the
loan of the paper, and with whom the said remembrance broke forth into
a graphic, auditive, and impulsive (the desire of showing her drawing
to M. Balmès) automatism. The subconscious strata of M. Balmès had thus
served as a link between M. X. and Mlle. Smith.

2. “Some eight days after the preceding case, being a few minutes
after noon in an open street-car, I saw before me this same M. Balmès
talking to a lady in a room apparently close to the street-car. The
picture was not very clear. A kind of mist seemed to extend over the
whole, which was, however, not strong enough to hide from me the
personages. M. Balmès, especially, was quite recognizable, and his
somewhat subdued voice made me overhear these words: ‘It is very
curious, extraordinary.’ Then I felt a sudden, violent commotion, and
the picture vanished at the same time. Soon I found myself again riding
in the street-car, and, according to the progress which it had made, I
understood that the vision had lasted but three minutes at the most.
Notice must be taken of the fact that during these few minutes I did
not lose for a single moment the consciousness of my situation; I knew
and felt that I was riding home, as I was in the habit of doing each
day, and I felt entirely like myself, without the slightest mental

“Two hours later I went up to M. Balmès. Approaching him frankly—yes,
even a little abruptly—I said to him: ‘Were you satisfied with the
short visit you made a few minutes after twelve, and would it be
indiscreet to ask what you found so _curious_, so _extraordinary_?’ He
seemed confused, astonished, pretended even to be vexed, and looked
as if he wished to ask me by what right I permitted myself to control
his actions. This movement of indignation passed as quickly as it
came, to give way to a sentiment of the greatest curiosity. He made
me tell him in detail my vision, and confessed to me that he really
had gone at noon to call upon a lady, and that they had discussed the
incident about the newspaper. He had really pronounced the words that
I had heard: ‘It is curious, extraordinary,’ and, strange to say, I
also learned that at the end of these words a violent ringing of the
bell had been heard, and that the conversation between M. Balmès and
his friend had suddenly come to an end by the arrival of a visitor.
The commotion felt by me was, therefore, nothing more than the violent
ringing of the bell, which, putting an end to the conversation, had
also put an end to my vision.”

3. At the beginning of a seance one Sunday afternoon at a quarter to
four, I handed to Hélène a glass ball, of the kind used for developing
clairvoyance by means of gazing into a crystal. Shortly afterwards she
saw in it M. Balmès and his friend, and above their heads an isolated
pistol, but which seemed to have nothing to do with them. She told
me then that M. Balmès had received the day before at his office a
telegram which very much upset him, and which obliged him to leave
Geneva that very evening for S. She seemed to apprehend some misfortune
about to befall M. Balmès, but soon fell asleep. By his digital
dictations Leopold tells us that he sent her to sleep to save her some
painful visions seen in the crystal, and that she, Hélène, has a
mediumistic consciousness in regard to all that is passing at S., and
that the pistol is connected with M. Balmès. It was impossible to learn
more, and the remainder of the seance was taken up with other matters.

M. Balmès, who returned to Geneva on the following Monday, and whom
I saw the same evening, was very much struck with Hélène’s vision,
for, on Sunday afternoon he really took part in a scene which came
near being tragic, and in the course of which his friend X. had
offered him a pistol which he always carried with him. Mlle. Smith
and M. Balmès did not hesitate to see in this coincidence a highly
characterized supernormal phenomenon. This case offers, however, some
difficulty—viz., that the incident of the pistol at S. did not take
place till more than two hours after Hélène’s visions, and that M.
Balmès, as he affirms, had no premonition of the affair at the time
when Hélène had her vision. It follows from this that there was a
kind of anticipated telepathy, a premonition experienced by another
than the interested principal, and this raises the great question of
the supernormal knowledge of future events. I find it easier to admit
that, although M. Balmès did not consciously foresee the incident of
the pistol, he foresaw subconsciously the event, and that this idea
passed telepathically to Hélène. Perhaps this case might be explained
without having recourse to the supernormal at all. Mlle. Smith,
knowing M. Balmès’ character, and up to a certain point his personal
circumstances, having been present the evening before when M. Balmès
received the telegram, and foreseeing (as she said at the seance), the
gravity of the situation, could easily imagine the intervention of a
fire-arm in the affair. Besides, no detail of the vision indicates that
the pistol seen in the glass ball corresponds to that of M. X.

How far the delicate sense of probabilities can go, and how often
spontaneous inferences, with people of a quick imagination, are
correct, one never knows. Undoubtedly we often see a supernormal
connection where there is, in reality, only a striking coincidence, due
to a happy divination and prevision, which is very natural. I ought
to add that this manner of evicting the supernormal and reducing the
vision of the pistol to a mere creation of the subliminal fantasy,
seems inadmissible to Hélène, who remains absolutely certain that this
was a convincing case of telepathy.

The above example, 2, which is the best of all, in my opinion, is still
not irreproachable.


All the facts of lucidity (clairvoyance, second-sight, etc.) which are
attributed to Mlle. Smith may be explained by telepathic impressions
proceeding from living persons. This means that I not only admit
from the start the _possibility_ of such phenomena by virtue of the
“Principle of Hamlet,” but, since telepathy is not, in my opinion,
anything very strange, I shall feel no subjective difficulty in
accepting the reality of Hélène’s supernormal intuitions, provided
that they present some serious guarantee of authenticity, and do not
explain themselves still more simply by normal and ordinary processes.

Leopold, who appears in almost all of these veridical messages—whether
he recognizes himself as the author or whether he accompanies simply by
his presence their manifestation through Hélène—has never deigned to
grant me one under entirely satisfactory conditions, and he censures
my insistence as vain and puerile curiosity. As to the innumerable
phenomena with which others more fortunate than myself have been
gratified, they have always offered this singularity: when they
appeared to be really of a nature calculated to furnish a decisive and
convincing proof as to their supernormal origin, I never succeeded in
obtaining a written, precise, and circumstantial account, but only
uncertain and incomplete tales, too intimate and too personal to be
divulged by those interested in them; and, again, when my friends were
quite willing to write out a detailed account and to answer to my
demand for exact information, the fact reduced itself to such a small
matter that it was beyond my power to see anything of the supernormal
in it.

Taking everything into consideration, I am inclined to believe that
Mlle. Smith, in truth, possesses real phenomena of clairvoyance, not,
however, passing beyond the possible limits of telepathy; only, in
order that they may be produced, it is necessary that Leopold—that is
to say, the special psychic state of Hélène which is necessary for the
reception and externalization of these telepathic impressions—be aided
from the outside by the influence of certain favorable temperaments,
more frequently met with among convinced spiritists than among persons
who are normal, and that he be not impeded, on the other hand, by the
paralyzing presence of hostile temperaments, such as that of a critical
observer. It is greatly to be regretted that the naïve believers who
inspire and succeed in obtaining magnificent phenomena of lucidity
usually care so little for the desiderata of science, and, above all,
refuse to submit themselves to an examination which might explain the
phenomena in a natural manner; while the investigators in search of
“convincing” proofs are not inspiring and obtain almost nothing.

However it may be, I shall give a few examples of Mlle. Smith’s proofs
of lucidity, which are not very varied, and can be divided into the
three categories of the medical prescriptions and diagnoses, of lost
objects found again, and of retrocognitions of events more or less

1. _Medical Consultations._—In promising specimens of extraordinary
facts of this kind I have gone too far. Many such have been told me—as,
for instance, Leopold dictating an unknown and complicated recipe
of a hair tonic for a gentleman living abroad, a single bottle of
which was sufficient to bring forth a full growth of hair on a head
which had become bald before middle age; or, again, Leopold, being
consulted about the health of a lady living at a great distance from
Geneva, revealing both the veridical nature of her illness, which was
unknown till then to her physicians, and its origin, which was due
to certain unsuspected but perfectly true incidents connected with
her childhood, and, finally, the treatment, which was crowned with
success. But the absence of written testimony and precise information
as to the concomitant circumstances of these marvellous cures reduce
them to the rank of amusing stories, the value of which cannot
positively be estimated. As to better-attested episodes, it is true
I have been able to obtain authentic stories, but they are those in
which the probability of a supernormal element has been reduced to a
minimum—imperceptible to me. I will cite but one case.

M. and Mme. G. having invited Mlle. Smith during the month of August
to pass a day with them in the country, a few leagues distant from
Geneva, took advantage of the visit to hold a seance in order to
consult Leopold on the health of one of their children. I will tell the
incident from a written account sent me by Mme. G. soon afterwards:

“Our little girl was suffering from anæmia, and fell frequently into a
state of weakness, in spite of intervals of improvement. Dr. d’Espine
had been recommended to us for the time of our return to Geneva. The
medium [Mlle. Smith] knew nothing of this; we had taken the precaution
to keep it from her.” The seance begins with a few kind words from
Leopold, whom M. G. then asks whether he would do well in consulting
Dr. d’Espine. “_And I_,” replied Leopold, “_can I do nothing for you?
Ungrateful people!_” But when he was asked to indicate some treatment,
he replied: “_Wait till your return to Geneva._” Then, upon being asked
whether an egg mixed with brandy would be good for the child, he
replied that the egg would be good, but the brandy was not necessary
in her case. Then he recommended that the child be taken for an hour’s
walk in the open air every day. As to the prescription relating to her
food, he repeated: “_I told you to wait till your return to Geneva._”

On their return to Geneva in the middle of September, M. and Mme. G.
held a second seance. This time Leopold was more exact; he advised:
“_Not too much milk, but rather a few glasses of good pure wine at each
meal._” Then he added: “_Treat the anæmia first and you will triumph
over the throat trouble, which would finally weaken her too much. Her
blood is so weak that the least cold, the slightest emotion, I will
go so far as to say that the expectation of a pleasure even, would be
sufficient to bring the angina to a crisis. You ought to have foreseen
that._” “Leopold,” M. G. notes here, “has enabled us to put our finger
upon such of the details as we did not know how to explain. At each
sentence my wife and I looked at each other with stupefaction.” Leopold
ordered also many green vegetables, warm salt-water douches of three
minutes’ duration in the evening, and: “_The principal thing now is
five drops of iron in half a glass of water twice a day before the
meal. Do this and you will see the result in a month._” In two weeks’
time the little girl was hardly recognizable.

I have cited this case because it is among those that have most struck
M. and Mme. G., and upon which they build their conviction of the
independent existence and supernormal knowledge of Leopold, and because
it shows how little is needed to kindle the faith among spiritists.
I forgot to say that the G. family was well known by Mlle. Smith, and
that during the whole winter and the preceding spring she had held
weekly seances at their home. There is but one thing that astonishes
me, and that is, that Leopold, at the time of the first improvised
consultation, should have been taken unawares up to the point of
postponing his orders until later, and adhering to such commonplace
things as a walk in the open air and the suppression of brandy. In the
second seance one sees the effect of a month’s incubation. Leopold
has had time to recover in Hélène’s memory the remembrance concerning
the little girl who was anæmic and subject to sore throat; also the
prescription which, in the given case, surely proved most efficacious,
but which hardly denotes a supernormal knowledge. One does not even
need here telepathy to explain messages which are amply accounted for
by the subconscious functions of Mlle. Smith’s ordinary faculties.

Examples of this kind, drawn from Mlle. Smith’s mediumship, might
be almost indefinitely multiplied; but _cui bono_? Once more, I do
not claim that Leopold has never given any medical consultation
surpassing Hélène’s latent knowledge and implying supernormal powers
of clairvoyance. I only say that I have not yet succeeded in finding a
single case where the proofs reached the height of that conclusion.

2. _Objects Recovered._—I do not know any case in which Mlle. Smith
has indicated the situation of an object which had been hidden, and as
to the location of which she could have had no information through
natural channels. All her discoveries consist, so far as I have been
able to judge, in the return, under a spiritistic and with a dramatic
aspect, of memories either simply forgotten or properly subliminal,
which depended upon the incidents concerned having first belonged to
the ordinary consciousness, or their having always escaped it and
having been from their origin registered in the subconsciousness.

These are facts of cryptomnesia pure and simple—_i. e._, explicable by
a normal psychological process very common in its essence, while the
picturesque embellishments added by the mediumistic imagination give
to these teleological automatisms a certain mysterious and supernormal
appearance which in other surroundings would certainly create for
Hélène—or rather for Leopold—a place alongside St. Anthony of Padua.
I confine myself to two examples. Mlle. Smith being charged with the
duty of making ready the merchandise sent out from her department, was
handed a telegram one day from a customer who asked that four yards of
No. 13,459 be despatched to him immediately. “This brief order,” said
Hélène, “was not calculated to hasten the forwarding of the goods. How
could I readily find this No. 13,459, in the midst of six or seven
thousand others in the store? Pondering, telegram in hand, I was
wondering how I could find it, when a voice outside of but very near me
said to me: ‘_Not there, but here_,’ and involuntarily I turned round,
without knowing why, and my hand laid itself mechanically on a piece of
goods which I drew towards me, and which actually bore the No. 13,459.”

It is not necessary to be a medium to know by experience these happy
reminiscences or inspirations which sometimes come to free us from
embarrassment by shining forth like a light at an opportune moment;
but that which in the case of ordinary persons remains in the feeble
condition of an idea or internal image, among mediumistic temperaments
assumes readily the fixed and vivid form of an hallucination. Instead
of simply “suddenly recollecting” in the case of the No. 13,459, as
would have happened to any one else, Hélène hears an exterior voice,
and perceives her hand moving involuntarily in a given direction. It is
noted that this automatism assumed an auditive and motor form which is
the pendant of the vocal and visual automatism which I have referred to
on pp. 58-59. It is to this same class of facts, well known and almost
common to-day, that the following example likewise belongs, although
the subliminal imagination had surrounded it with the form of an
intervention on the part of Leopold.

One Sunday evening, on returning home, Mlle. Smith noticed that she
had lost a small breastpin which had been fastened to her corsage, and
which she greatly valued as a souvenir. The following day she returned
to look for it where she had been the evening before, but in vain,
and a notice which she caused to be inserted in the “lost” columns of
a daily newspaper gave no result. Here I leave the narration of the
story to her: “Persuaded that my pin was really lost, I did my best
to think no more about it, but this was a difficult matter, since one
night I was awakened suddenly by three raps struck against my bed.
Somewhat frightened, I looked around, but saw nothing. I tried to go
to sleep, but again many raps were struck, this time near my head. I
seated myself on my bed (I was agitated), trying to discover what was
happening, and hardly had I seated myself when I saw a hand shaking my
lost breastpin before my eyes. This vision lasted only a minute, but
that was long enough for it to make a deep impression upon me.”

The following Tuesday evening (ten days after the loss of the trinket)
Hélène held a seance at the house of M. Cuendet, at which two other
persons were also present. She told of the loss of her pin and the
curious vision above described; then all seated themselves at the
table. After a typtological dictation upon an altogether different
subject, the following incident occurred, the account of which I have
borrowed from notes taken by M. Cuendet (it was in 1894, and I only
knew Mlle. Smith by reputation at the time):

“We notice that from the beginning of the seance Mlle. Smith describes
to us our familiar spirit [Leopold] as holding a lantern in his
hand. Why? The table is shaken anew, about to tell us something. The
following is then dictated to us by it: ‘_Arise. Take a lantern. Extend
your walk to the Municipal Building. Take the path which crosses the
meadow, and which ends at the Street of the Baths. In the middle of the
path, to the left, a few yards distant, a block of white stone will be
found. Starting from the block of stone, only one yard away from it,
towards the setting sun, the pin so much sought for will be found. Go,
I accompany you._’

“I copy _verbatim_ this communication, which was obtained letter by
letter. I add nothing, take nothing from it. General stupefaction! We
hesitate! Finally, we all four rise, we light a lantern and set out. It
was twenty minutes to ten o’clock.

“We walk slowly; we arrive at the Municipal Building, and take the
path which leads from it to the Street of the Baths. In the middle,
to the left, some yards distant, we, in fact, find the block of stone
indicated. We search for a moment without result, and begin to fear
we shall find nothing. Finally, towards the setting sun, a yard from
the block of stone, I find buried in the grass, covered with sand, and
consequently badly soiled, the pin indicated.

“Some one had evidently stepped on it, as it was slightly bent. Mlle.
Smith uttered an exclamation of surprise, and we all four returned to
the house, to recover from our very natural emotion.”

This case has remained in the eyes of Mlle. Smith and her spiritistic
friends as one of the most striking and irrefragible proofs of the
objective and independent reality of Leopold. For the psychologist it
constitutes a very beautiful and interesting example of cryptomnesia,
well worthy to figure among the very instructive cases collected by
Mr. Myers, in which the memory of a subliminal perception (_i. e._,
registered immediately without striking the normal personality) appears
as a revelation in a dream of ordinary sleep, or under some other
equivalent form of automatism. Here is “Leopold”—the subconsciousness
of Hélène—who, having felt the pin fall and noticed where it rolled,
first manifested himself in a passing nocturnal vision, and then took
advantage of the next spiritistic gathering to restore completely her
latent memories. It is not necessary to see anything intentional in
this restitution, the simple play of association of ideas sufficing
to explain that the memory of the situation of the pin stored up in
a subliminal stratum and stimulated by a desire to recover the lost
object might have mechanically reappeared at the moment of the seance,
thanks to mediumistic autohypnotization, and gushed forth under
the dramatic form, naturally appropriate to the environment, of an
apparently supernormal piece of information furnished by Leopold.

3. _Retrocognitions._—The apparently supernormal revelations in regard
to the past, furnished at the seances of Mlle. Smith, can be divided
into two groups—namely, whether they concern universal history, or deal
with private interests relative to the families of the sitters.

First: The messages of the first group abound, under the form of
visions accompanied by typtological explanations, in Hélène’s seances
of 1894, but have almost wholly come to an end since I made her
acquaintance, and I have never been witness of any. According to the
reports which I have seen, all these retrocognitions have reference to
the history of Protestantism, or that of the French Revolution—_i. e._,
to two classes of facts which are among the best known in France to-day.

It goes without saying that the firmly convinced spiritistic group in
which these messages were received have never had a doubt that the
apparitions which Hélène perceived were the veritable personages they
asserted themselves to be, habited as they were in the costume of the
period to which they belonged, communicating by means of the table, and
speaking in the first person (except when Leopold acted as showman and
dictated in his own name the explanations asked for).

But as the content of these messages is always the _verbatim_
reproduction or almost exact equivalent of information which is to be
found in historical and biographical dictionaries, I cannot avoid being
inclined to the impression that we here are concerned with common facts
of cryptomnesia.

If the intervention of the supernormal be absolutely insisted upon in
this case, it can only be manifested under the form of a telepathic
transmission from the sitters to the medium. In favor of that
supposition two facts may be urged: first, that Mlle. Smith passed
in that group as devoid of all historical knowledge, and was very
much surprised at these revelations of facts totally unknown to her;
secondly, that there were regularly in attendance at these seances one
or more members of the teaching body, who by their general education
possessed, without any doubt whatever, either consciously or in a
latent manner, all the historical knowledge, which, after all, was not
very great, displayed by Leopold.

But these arguments are not of much weight in my opinion. To begin with
the second: as the sitters had their hands on the table at the same
time with the medium, according to the spiritistic custom, they could
themselves, without any telepathy, properly speaking, and simply by
their slight, unconscious muscular contractions, have directed, unknown
to themselves, the movements of that piece of furniture, Mlle. Smith
only augmenting these shocks proceeding from her neighbors.

As to the supposed ignorance of Mlle. Smith, it is not at all so great
as has been imagined, and the historical revelations obtained at her
seances do not in any degree surpass the level of that which she could
have absorbed, consciously or unconsciously, at school and in her

Moreover, the hypothesis which appears to me the most probable, and
on which I rest, is that the messages come essentially from Hélène
herself—I ought rather to say from her subliminal memory; that,
however, does not exclude a certain amount of co-operation on the
part of the sitters, whose conversation, on the one hand, and their
unconscious muscular action upon the table, on the other, have often
maintained and directed the course of the subconscious ideas of the
medium and the automatic unfolding of her latent memories.

Secondly: Retrocognition of family events, which are exhibited in
Mlle. Smith’s seances, have generally the savor of the unknown for the
sitters, from the fact that they concern incidents of the past which
have never been printed save in the memories of certain aged persons or
of a few lovers of local anecdotes.

I do not hesitate to see in these stories of other days, gushing forth
in visions and in dictations by the table in the course of Hélène’s
hemisomnambulisms, narratives heard in her childhood and long since
forgotten by her ordinary personality, but which reappear by the aid
of mediumistic autohypnotization, bringing the deepest strata to the
surface; the simple play of association, in an entirely natural manner,
then causes the memories relative to the families of the persons
present at the seance to be poured forth. There is nothing whatever of
the supernormal in all this, in spite of the dramatic form, the piquant
and unexpected art, the amusing embellishments, of which the subliminal
imagination bethinks itself—or I should rather say Leopold, in his rôle
of historiographer and scene-shifter of the past.

The judgment which I have pronounced is the result of a course of
inductive reasoning based on the retrocognitions of Mlle. Smith
concerning my own family. I trust it may be allowable for me to enter
upon some details designed to justify my opinion.

I note first that all these retrocognitions with which Leopold honored
me took place in the first six seances which I had with Hélène, after
which there has not been a single one in the whole five years which
have since elapsed. This argues in favor of a limited group of latent
memories, which my introduction to the seances set free, a sort of
subliminal sac or pocket which was emptied once for all on the first
occasions of my presence.

In the second place, this knowledge only concerns outside details,
susceptible of striking the attention of the gallery and of being
carried from mouth to mouth. Since family histories have no great
interest for the ordinary reader, I will confine myself to citing,
by way of example, the vision which so astonished me at my first
meeting with Hélène (p. 2), and which has already been published by M.
Lemaître. I reproduce his narrative, giving real names:

“The medium [Mlle. Smith] perceives a long trail of smoke, which
envelopes M. Flournoy. ‘A woman!’ cries the medium, and, a moment
after, ‘Two women ... quite pretty, brunettes ... both are in bridal
toilet!... This concerns you, M. Flournoy!’ [The table approves by a
rap.] They remain motionless; they have white flowers in their hair and
resemble each other a little; their eyes, like their hair, are black,
or, at all events, very dark. The one in the corner appears under two
different aspects; under both forms she is young—perhaps twenty-five
years old; on the one hand she remains with the appearance already
described (bridal toilet), and on the other she appears very luminous
in a great space, a little more slender of visage, and surrounded by
a number of pretty children, in the midst of whom she appears very
happy; her happiness manifests itself by her expression, but still more
in her surroundings. Both women seem ready to be married. The medium
then hears a name, which at first escapes her, then returns little by
little. ‘=An!... An!... Dan ... Ran ... Dandi ... Dandiran!=’

“‘To which of these two women does this name belong?’ demands M.
Flournoy—‘to the one you see under two aspects, or to the other?’
Answer: ‘To the one who is presented under two forms.’ The medium does
not see the other woman as distinctly as the first, but all at once
distinguishes a tall man by her side, who only passes by, when the
table dictates: ‘I am his sister; we will return!’ after which the
scene changes and we pass to another subject.”

This vision revolves altogether around the facts that my mother and her
sister were married on the same day; that they were brunettes, quite
pretty, and looked alike; that my father was tall; that my aunt married
M. Dandiran and died while still young, without children; all matters
which should have been of public notoriety in a small city like Geneva.
But the same is true of all the other retrocognitions of Mlle. Smith;
their content is always veridical, but at the same time is also such as
could not fail to be known to a host of people. This causes me to doubt
whether there is at the base of these phenomena a really supernormal
faculty of retrocognition.

A third striking feature is, that all Hélène’s retrocognitions
concerning me are relative to the family of my mother, and are
connected with two quite precise and brief periods, the first of which
is many years previous to Mlle. Smith’s birth. This limitation as to
times and persons seems to me significant.

To clear up the matter, if possible, I addressed myself to the last
representative of the present generation of my family, Professor
Dandiran, of Lausanne, and laid the case before him. He did not
immediately remember whether my grandparents Claparède had any
communication, nearly half a century before, with the Smith family,
but on the following day he wrote me that he distinctly recalled a
young woman of that name in whom his mother and aunt had been greatly
interested, and who had been employed by them as a dressmaker previous
to her marriage to a Hungarian.

One understands that I had a reason for not addressing myself first to
Mme. Smith herself; but I must do her the justice to state that when I
questioned her in turn, she very obligingly gave me all the information
I desired, and which was in perfect accord with the statements of M.

Without entering into details wearisome to the reader, it will be
sufficient for me to state that all the retrocognitions in which I
was involved were connected with two periods in which Mme. Smith had
relations with my mother’s family, periods separated by an interval
during which these relations were suspended by the fact of M. and Mme.
Smith making a sojourn of several years in a foreign country. It would
have been possible for Hélène to know directly the facts of the second
period, at which time she was about five or six years of age. As to the
first period, which was many years prior to her birth (the time of the
double marriage of my mother and her sister in 1853), it is evident
that Mme. Smith has had many opportunities at a later date to narrate
these facts to her daughter; and it would have been altogether natural
for her to have done so.

_Ab uno disce omnes._ Although I am less familiar with the
retrocognitions of Mlle. Smith concerning other families, everything
contributes to prove to me that they are explicable in the same
manner. In two cases, at least, proof has been obtained that the
mother of Mlle. Smith was found to have been in direct and personal
communication with the families concerned, exactly as was the case
with my grandparents, and this circumstance is sufficient to account
for the knowledge, very astonishing at first sight, contained in the
revelations of Leopold.

To sum up—pure cryptomnesia seems to me to furnish a sufficient and
adequate explanation for Hélène’s retrocognitions, both as to family
events as well as historic facts.

And no more in this domain of knowledge of the past than in those of
recovered objects and medical consultations have I thus far succeeded
in discovering in her the least serious indication of supernormal


The time having arrived to speak of spiritism, I feel ill at ease and
embarrassed by my surroundings, for divers reasons, some of which
I will set forth, without, however, endeavoring to explain them at
length, since my aim is simply, as has been seen above (p. 373), to
indicate my subjective ideas as to the standing of that doctrine, in
order that the reader may share, if he pleases, in my appreciation of
the phenomena of this class presented by Mlle. Smith. 1 confess, in
the first place, that spiritism is a subject which has the faculty of
arousing my mirth, and develops a spirit of playfulness. I really do
not know why this should be the case, since that which concerns the
dead and the great beyond ought not to be a matter for joking. Perhaps
the cause is to be found in the nature of the intermediaries, and
the character of the messages with which the spirits are accustomed
to favor us. However it may be, I have ordinarily much difficulty in
preserving a serious countenance in the presence of manifestations of

But I reproach myself bitterly with this facetious humor when I reflect
that it is indulged in at the expense of conceptions and beliefs
which supported the first steps of our race on its painful ascent,
the survival or atavic reapparition of which is yet, even to-day, a
source of moral strength, of happy certitude, of supreme consolation
for a host of my contemporaries, many of whom I have learned to know,
and who, moreover, inspire me with respect as well as admiration by
their uprightness of life, their nobility of character, the purity and
elevation of their sentiments.

In the second place, I have often had the deceptive experience that,
when it comes to a discussion of it, spiritism possesses a great
advantage for its defenders, but which is most inconvenient for those
who would investigate it closely—of being fugitive and incapable of
being grasped on account of the fact of its double nature—a science
and religion at the same time—which never permits it to be wholly and
entirely the one or the other.

When we come to analyze and criticise, according to strict scientific
methods, the positive facts upon which it pretends to base its
fundamental argument —the reality of communication with the spirits
of the departed, through the intervention of mediums—as soon as the
adepts begin to unpack for you their stock of theories (I was about
to say their stock theories!) they are astonished at the lack of
ideal on the part of these terrible materialist-scientists, who are
intent upon searching for the “hidden rat” in the demonstrations of
spiritism, instead of falling on their knees before the splendor of its

A third cause of my uneasiness whenever obliged to approach this
subject is the fear of being misunderstood or misinterpreted, thanks to
the naïve and simple classification which prevails in the environments
which the “disincarnates” frequent.

Spiritism or materialism—these are the brutal alternatives to which one
finds himself driven in spite of himself. If you do not admit that the
spirits of the dead reveal themselves by raps on the table or visions
of the mediums, you are, therefore, a materialist! If you do not
believe that the destiny of the human personality is terminated at the
grave, you are a spiritist! This mode of nomenclature and labelling is
surely puerile. Moreover, no one willingly consents to be thrust into
the company of those with whom, no matter how honorable they may be, he
is not in sympathy.

I also wish to state that I absolutely repudiate the above alternative.
There is greater variety of choice in the cabinet of human thought. In
the last century, for example, outside the spiritism of Swedenborg and
the materialism of Baron d’Holbach, there was yet the criticism of one
named Kant, who made some noise in the world and whose vogue is even
now not absolutely extinct. I should not fear to range myself among his
followers. And in our own times, if it was necessary for me to choose
between Büchner and Allan Kardec, as the spiritist seems sometimes to
believe, I would not hesitate to choose—in favor of M. Renouvier, or my
deceased compatriot Charles Secrétan.

I hold to no other philosophy, and it suffices me, in order to repulse
the whole of materialism and spiritism, to be the disciple—unworthy,
but convinced—of the Nazarene, who replied to the materialists of his
time, not by spiritistic evocations, but by the simple words, “God is
not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live unto Him.” I am
not sure whether this argument convinced the Sadducees, but it pleases
me by its simplicity, and I have no desire for any other.

If God exists—I should say, if the supreme reality is not the
unconscious and blind force-substance of conventional monism, but that
sovereign personality (or _supra_ personality) which in the clear
consciousness of Christ made its paternal presence to be continually
felt—if God exists, it is not, apparently, in order to play the rôle of
a perpetual undertaker of funereal pomp that he consents to exist, or
to allow to fall forever into nothingness the poor creatures who wait
upon Him.

They may disappear from before our eyes, but they do not disappear from
before His; for they are dead to us, but for Him, and, consequently,
in actual reality, they are living. Otherwise He would not be God.
This is all I need. I see nothing clearly, it is true, as to the
concrete conditions of that other existence, of which the manner even,
if it were revealed to me, would probably remain a sealed book to my
intelligence, hampered by the bonds of space and time. But of what
importance is it? That which I am ignorant of, God knows; and while
waiting for Him to call me to rejoin those who have preceded me, He
is great enough for me to leave to Him the mysterious fate of our
personalities. “Since all live unto Him,” I ask no more than that, and
as for the pretended demonstrations of spiritism, true or false, I do
not care a farthing.

Or I would prefer them to be false. And if they are true, if it is
actually a law of nature that during long years to come, after this
terrestrial existence, we must drag ourselves miserably from table to
table and medium to medium, the best of us (not to speak of the others)
displaying without shame the proofs of our mental decrepitude in
pitiable nonsense and wretched verses—oh, so much the worse!

It is one misery and shame the more added to all those of which this
satanic world is made up, a new calamity coming to crown the physical
and moral ills of a world against which the Christian continually
protests as he repeats “_Thy kingdom come_,” an additional scandal
condemned to disappear when “His kingdom shall have come.”

There is nothing in common between the empirical, spatial, and temporal
survivals which spiritism pretends to establish and that “eternal life”
proclaimed by the Prophet of Nazareth. These things, said Pascal, are
not of the same order. That is why I am not a spiritist.

Here rises a last point, which worries me when I ought to speak my
mind in regard to spiritism in the presence of spiritists. “You do
not personally hold,” it has been often objected to me, “to these
communications of the living with those who have gone before us into
the great unknown, and you cry out against spiritistic demonstrations.
It is all very well for you, who are a mystic, and to whom the
existence of God in Jesus Christ seems a sufficient guarantee of the
destinies of human personality and its ultimate palingenesis. But
every one has not the same temperament, and does not take so blithely
his ignorance of the kind of life which awaits him beyond the tomb.
To believe in God, and to abandon to Him with closed eyes the fate of
those who leave us, carrying away with them the best portions of our
being, is all very well, but it is very difficult. The times of the
psalmist who could say ‘_Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him_’
are no more; and as for Christ, He was certainly a very remarkable
medium, but His simple affirmation would scarcely be taken to-day for
gospel words. The solid and the palpable are necessary to the ‘fools’
of our epoch. They are not capable of admitting a higher world than
that of sense, unless they are enabled to touch it with their finger
by means of messages and the return of the dead themselves. Whence it
results that every attack, every hostile attitude towards spiritism
tends directly to break down the only rampart which might henceforth
be efficacious against materialism and its disastrous consequences
—infidelity, egotism, vice, despair, suicide, and, finally, the
destruction and annihilation of the entire social organism. On the
other hand, when science at length shall recognize and consecrate
spiritism officially, thereupon, simultaneously with the tangible
certainty of another life, courage and strength will return to the
hearts of individuals, devotion and all virtues will begin to flourish
once again, and an elevated humanity will soon see heaven descend upon
the earth, thanks to the connection established and daily practised
between the living and the spirits of the dead.”

My embarrassment is easily seen. On the one hand, I do not in any way
admit the foregoing objection. I do not think that the gospel has had
its day or is above the reach of “fools,” since it was for them that
its author designed it. I believe, on the contrary, that the Christian
faith, the faith of Christ or faith in Christ, is, in its inmost
essence, a psychological reality, a personal experience accessible to
the most humble, a fact of consciousness which will survive when all
theological systems shall have been forgotten and all the clergy shall
have been abolished. That vital and regenerating power will save our
civilization (if anything can save it) by means of the individuals
whom it shall have regenerated, without owing anything to spiritistic
theories or practices. Inversely, I do not share the optimism of those
who would make of spiritism a social panacea, and who imagine that when
the moral consciousness on the one side and the religious consciousness
on the other have ceased to make themselves heard, the messages of the
“disincarnates” will have better success. (“If they hear not Moses and
the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the

But, on the other hand, there are individual cases which are
interesting and which certainly merit consideration. And for millions,
and by a hundred different titles—religious belief, moral consolation,
solemn and mysterious rites, old habit, etc.—spiritism is to-day the
pivot around which existence turns, and also its only support; would
not the destruction of it, then, be productive of more harm than good,
and would it not be better to let matters take their course? Why
prevent man from delighting in dreams, if he so pleases?

_All things are possible_, and was it not of the revenants that Hamlet
was thinking in his celebrated apostrophe, from which I have taken this

These are the things which perplex me: while waiting to find a way
out of them, and by way of summing up, it seems to me indispensable
to separate distinctly spiritism-religion, which is an assemblage
of beliefs and practices dear to many, from spiritism-science, a
simple hypothesis designed to explain certain phenomena arising from
observation. The first tells me nothing, or rather it amuses me or
repels me according to circumstances; but the more elevated sentiments,
and those worthy of all respect, which it inspires in its adepts,
impose upon me the duty of passing it by and ignoring it here. The
second, on the contrary, does not fail to interest me, as it does all
who are curious in regard to natural phenomena.

For the question, Do human or animal individualities continue to
intervene in an effective manner in the physical, physiological, or
psychological phenomena of this universe after the loss of their
corporeal and visible organism? is not an ordinary one. If there
are facts which peremptorily establish an affirmative answer, what
problems will arise, what an unexpected field of investigation will it
not open up to our experimental sciences! And even if the hypothesis
is false, how captivating the study of the singular phenomena which
have been able to give it birth, which simulate the return of the
dead to our observable world! It is understood, therefore, that, even
despoiled of all the emotional accessories in which it so easily wraps
itself in the heart and imagination of men, the empirical question of
immortality and spiritistic interventions, apparent or real, preserves
its scientific importance, and merits being discussed with the calm
serenity, independence, and strictness of analysis which belong to the
experimental method.

It goes without saying that, _à priori_, the hypothesis of _spirits_
to explain the phenomena of mediums has in it nothing of the
impossible or the absurd. It does not even necessarily contradict,
as is sometimes imagined, the directing principle of physiological
psychology—the psychological parallelism—which demands that every
mental phenomenon shall have a physical correlative. For, in spite
of our habit of considering the molecular or atomic phenomena of
the brain, the katabolism of the nerves, as the true concomitant of
conscious processes, it may well be—it is even very probable—that
these molecular movements do not constitute the ultimate physical term
immediately paralleling the mental world, but that the real physical
correlatives (spatial) of the (non-spatial) psychological phenomena
should be sought for in the vibrations of imponderable matter, the
ether, in which the ponderable atoms and molecules are plunged somewhat
like grains of dust in the atmosphere, in order to make a sensible
though somewhat inaccurate comparison.

The ethereal body, perispiritistic, astral, fluid, etc., of the
occultists, and of many thinkers who are not believers in occultism, is
only a notion scientifically absurd when it is made to be an equivocal
and cloudy intermediary between the soul and the body, an unassignable
_tertium quid_, a plastic mediator of which nothing is known as to
its being material or spiritual or something else. But conceived as
a system of movements of the ether, it contains nothing absolutely
anti-or extra-scientific in its nature; the connection between the
subjective facts of consciousness and the objective, material facts,
remains essentially the same whether one considers the material world
under the imponderable form of ether or under the ponderable form of
chemical atoms, of physical molecules, and of anatomical elements.
Nothing, then, would be radically opposed, from the point of view
of the natural sciences, to the existence of disincarnate spirits
wandering through space.

The foregoing will doubtless please my spiritistic friends. Here are
two facts which will please them less. First: I separate myself from
them when they pass prematurely from mere abstract possibilities to
the affirmation of actualities. Perhaps the outcome will prove them
right some day; perhaps in the near future, but we have not yet reached
that point. I freely admit that never have circumstances been so
favorable for the spiritistic doctrines as at present. The authentic
return of George Pelham and other deceased persons, through Mrs. Piper
entranced, as intermediary, seems to be admitted by so many acute
observers, the phenomena observed for fifteen years past in the case of
this incomparable medium are at times so marvellous and surrounded with
such solid scientific guarantees—the case is, in a word, so unheard of
and astounding in all respects, that those who are only acquainted with
it from a distance, by printed reports and oral narratives of immediate
witnesses, feel themselves in a poor position for formulating their
doubts and reservations upon this subject.

I fear, in the second place, for mediums and practical spiritists, that
when their hypothesis shall have been scientifically demonstrated the
result may be very different from that which they now imagine it will

It might well happen that the cult of the table, mechanical writing,
seances, and all other mediumistic exercises, may receive their
death-blow from the official recognition of spirits by science.
Suppose, in fact, that contemporaneous researches should at last have
proved clearly that messages actually come from the disincarnate;
it has already followed from the same researches that in the most
favorable cases the veritable messages are very difficult to
distinguish from those which are not authentic. When people come to
understand that this sorting of messages is almost always beyond their
power, they will, perhaps, be put out of conceit with experiments in
which they have ninety-nine chances against one of being dupes of
themselves or others, and in which—a still more vexatious matter—if
they should even be so fortunate as to light upon the hundredth chance,
they would have no certain means of knowing it.

This subject, decidedly, is fatal to me. I lose myself in digressions
when discussing it—very useless they are, too, since the verdict which
the future will pronounce upon the theory of spirits, with or without
an ethereal body, matters little as far as the actual examination of
the messages furnished by Mlle. Smith is concerned. Even having become
scientifically verified, spiritism will never absolve us from bringing
to the analysis of the pretended communications less care and rigor
than while it was only an undemonstrated hypothesis; each particular
case will always demand to be scrutinized by itself, in order to make
the distinction between that which in all probability only arises from
many non-spiritistic causes, and the residue eventually proceeding from
the disincarnate.

I ought to state at the outset that, as far as Hélène’s mediumistic
phenomena are concerned, their careful analysis has not revealed
to me in them any evident vestige of the other world, not even of
traces of a telepathic transmission on the part of the living. I have
only succeeded in perceiving in them very beautiful and instructive
examples of the well-known tendency of the subliminal imagination
to reconstruct the deceased and to feign their presence, especially
when the favorable suggestions of the surrounding environment incites
them to do so. Not being infallible, and bearing in mind Hamlet’s
principle, I will guard myself well from affirming that these
subliminal imitations and simulacra are absolutely free from any
spirit collaboration; I content myself with repeating that I have
not discovered any, and that it seems to me in the highest degree
improbable, and with leaving it to others to demonstrate its reality,
if they think they are able to do so. Some examples taken from the
principal incarnations of Mlle. Smith will enable me to show after a
more concrete fashion my manner of regarding them.

1. _Case of Mlle. Vignier._—This case has no evidential value whatever,
since (as has been seen, p. 411), there were formerly relations
between the Vignier family and Mme. Smith which suffice to explain the
veridical knowledge manifested by Hélène in this incarnation.

I give an abridged recital of it, nevertheless, for the sake of
certain points of psychological interest. None of the spectators had
any suspicion of these relations at the time of this scene, which was
absolutely enigmatical to all of them.

In a seance at my house (on March 3, 1895, after a Hindoo vision,
described p. 280), Mlle. Smith saw an unknown lady appear, of whom she
gave the following description: “A nose bent and hooked like the beak
of an eagle; small gray eyes, very close together; a mouth with three
teeth only; a wicked smile, mocking expression; simple dress; a collar
not of the fashion of to-day; she draws near to this portrait,[30] and
gazes at it not ill-naturedly.”

The name of this person is asked, and the table (Leopold) commences to
spell: “_Mademoiselle_”—but refuses to go further, while Hélène sees
the apparition laughing, “with a sly air”; as the name is insisted on,
the table dictates: “_That does not concern you_,” then she begins to
jump and skip as though glad of an opportunity to mock us.

Presently Hélène falls asleep and enters into somnambulism; she leaves
the table and moves towards the portrait in question, before which she
remains fixed, completely incarnating the unknown lady of her vision.
I take down the portrait and place it in its frame upon an easy-chair;
immediately she kneels before it and contemplates it with affection;
then, taking the frame in her right hand, while the left, very much
agitated, plays with the cord, she ends, after many vain attempts, by
saying with a great stammering, “_J—j—je l’aimais b—b—beaucoup: je
n’aime pas l’autre—j—j—je ne l’ai jamais aimée l’autre—j’amais bien mon
neveu—adieu!—je le vois._” “I liked it very much: I do not like the
other one: I never liked the other one. I was very fond of my nephew.
Adieu! I see him.”

It was impossible to obtain any explanation of this incomprehensible
scene, until, having slipped a pencil and a writing-tablet into
Hélène’s hand, she scribbled feverishly, in a hand not her own, these
two words “_Mademoiselle Vignier_”; then she fell into a cataleptic
phase, from which she awakened without memory at the end of half an

This name of Vignier evoked in me far-off memories and vaguely recalled
to my mind the fact that Professor Dandiran (who had married, as we
have seen, my mother’s sister) had an ancestress of that name; was it
she who returned to express to me by means of Mlle. Smith her affection
for my mother, whose portrait she had so attentively regarded, and her
regrets, perhaps, that her nephew had not been preferred to my aunt?

On the other hand, M. Cuendet recollected a Mlle. Vignier who had been
a friend of his family, but who did not correspond at all with the
description of Hélène’s visions; he promised to obtain information,
and, in fact, wrote me on the following day: “Dear Sir,—Here is some
information on the subject of our seance of yesterday. This morning I
asked my mother: ‘Did you ever know another Mlle. Vignier than the one
who was your friend?’ After an instant of reflection: ‘Yes,’ replied
she; ‘I did know another. She was M. Dandiran’s aunt, of Lausanne, his
mother’s sister. She stammered, and was not always very good-natured;
she had three large teeth which projected, and a hooked nose.’ It is
useless to state to you that this was the first time I had heard her
spoken of.”

This information, coinciding with my remembrances and Hélène’s
vision, was later confirmed by M. Dandiran, who gave me the following
information: “Your aunt, Mlle. Vignier, who died about thirty-five
or forty years ago, loved her nephew very much; but she was made very
angry by his marriage, and the sentence uttered before my mother’s
portrait could not have referred to a difference of sentiment in
regard to the two sisters, for whom she always had an equal affection.
This sentence, on the contrary, is wonderfully well explained by the
following facts: My mother and her sister having become betrothed at
the same time, oil-paintings of both, of natural size, were made by
the same painter. These portraits were not of equal merit, and Mlle.
Vignier, who was herself something of an artist, always considered
that of my mother excellent, while the other, that of my aunt, she did
not like at all. Mlle. Vignier was very lively, and M. Dandiran finds
that the epithet ‘sly’ and the table dictating ‘_That does not concern
you_,’ very well express her character; she was, however, not at all
malicious or mocking at heart, but it is true that persons who knew
her slightly could easily have gained that impression of her. She had
three or four prominent teeth and stammered badly. In her photograph
she wears a white collar, has a nose long and arched, but the eyes are
rather large and wide apart. She always wore gold eye-glasses, of which
the medium did not speak.”

If the reader has had patience to read these details, he will have
remarked that the distinctive traits of Mlle. Vignier in the vision
and her incarnation by Hélène (the stammering, the teeth, the shape
of the nose, the ill-natured air) coincide with those spontaneously
indicated by M. Cuendet, who had known her slightly; and that while
M. Dandiran, better posted as to his aunt’s character, finds the note
of maliciousness or want of good-nature false, he acknowledges that
people outside of her family could have been deceived concerning it.
That is to say, has not the imagination of Mlle. Smith produced the
exterior memory, the description according to public notoriety, as it
were, which Mlle. Vignier left behind her? And if it be recalled that
at the period at which the two _fiancées_ were painted, Mme. Smith was
in communication with my maternal grandparents through the only sister
of Mlle. Vignier, there would be a probability amounting almost to a
certainty that these are contemporary remembrances, narrated some time
or other to Hélène by her mother, and which furnished the material for
this somnambulic personification.

In this example, to which I might add several analogous ones, the
apparent _spirit control_ is reduced to latent memories of recitals
formerly heard by Hélène.

In other cases, in which, for lack of information, it has hitherto been
impossible to discover this wholly natural filiation of facts, simple
analysis of the circumstances and of the content of the communications
indicates that, in all probability, they proceed from reminiscences
and impressions appertaining to living individuals much rather than
from disincarnates. In other words, these messages and personifications
too evidently reflect the point of view of the medium or other
living persons for it to be permissible to regard them as due to the
intervention of deceased persons, whose attitude towards them would,
in all probability, be wholly different.

2. _Case of Jean the Quarryman._—We have here to deal with a very
curious spirit message concerning Mme. Mirbel, in which I cannot fail
to see actual memories of the latter—transmitted I know not how (but
not necessarily in a supernormal manner) to Mlle. Smith—rather than an
authentic communication from a pretended disincarnate.

In a seance at which Mme. Mirbel was not present, Hélène had the
hallucination of a very strong odor of sulphur; then the vision of a
quarryman from the foot of Salève, in which she perceived and described
in detail an unknown man, who, by the dictations of the table, was
declared to be _Jean the Quarryman_, and charged the sitters with an
affectionate message for Mme. Mirbel. The latter, interrogated on the
following day, recognized in the very circumstantial description of
this man, and under all the features of Hélène’s vision, perfectly
correct facts connected with her childhood, and which had passed away
from the habitual circle of her ideas for more than twenty years. It
concerned a workman employed in her father’s quarries, and who, when
she was a little girl, had always evinced a special affection for her.

Let us suppose—in the absence of all proof that Mlle. Smith had ever
heard these remembrances of Mme. Mirbel’s childhood mentioned—that
recourse must be had to the supernormal in order to explain the case.
It still would not amount to an intervention of the deceased quarryman;
and M. Lemaître was perfectly right, in my opinion, in clinging to
telepathy and in hazarding the idea of an etheric influence, to which
Hélène was subjected by Mme. Mirbel, who at the hour of this seance
happened to be half a kilometre distant from the place of the seance.
Without going out of the domain of telepathy, I still would prefer
the hypothesis of a previous transmission in the course of one of the
seances at which Mme. Mirbel was present to that of telepathy at a
great distance at the time of the seance. It is, in fact, not contrary
to that which is believed to be known of mental suggestion, to admit
that Hélène’s subliminal, in the state of Esenale, for example, could
in some way draw from Mme. Mirbel’s subliminal the latent memories
which there lay buried for some time before being ready to reappear at
a seance at which she had some reason to think Mme. Mirbel would again
be present.

Whatever the mode of its transmission may have been, the content of
this vision seems to me to indicate clearly that it has its origin in
the personal memories of Mme. Mirbel rather than in the posthumous
memory of Jean the Quarryman. All the presumptions in this case are, to
my mind, in favor of a memory of Mme. Mirbel, and not of a veritable
communication from the other world. The personal aspect of the messages
supposed to be dictated by the quarryman do not constitute an obstacle
to my interpretation or a guarantee of spiritistic authenticity, this
aspect being the form that the automatisms habitually assume among

3. _Case of the Syndic Chaumontet and of the Curé Burnier._—The
following case is the last. It is a very recent one, in which the
spiritistic and the cryptomnesiac hypotheses exist face to face,
apropos of signatures written by Mlle. Smith in somnambulism which do
not lack similarity to the authentic signatures of the deceased persons
to whom they are supposed to belong.

In a seance at my house (February 12, 1899), Mlle. Smith has a vision
of a village on a height covered with vines; by a rocky road, she sees
descending from it a little old man, who has the air of a _quasi_
gentleman; he wears shoes with buckles, a large felt hat, the collar
of his shirt is unstarched, and has points reaching up to his cheeks,
etc. A peasant in a blouse, whom he meets, makes reverences to him, as
to an important personage; they speak a patois which Hélène does not
understand She has the impression of being familiar with the village,
but vainly searches her memory to discover where she has seen it.
Presently the landscape fades away, and the little old man, now clothed
in white and in a luminous space (_i. e._, in his actual reality
of a disincarnate), appears to draw near to her. At this moment,
as she leans her right arm upon the table, Leopold dictates by the
index-finger: “_Kiss her arm._” I execute the order; Hélène’s arm at
first resists strenuously, then yields suddenly. She seizes a pencil,
and in the midst of the customary struggle relative to the manner of
holding it (see p. 100), “_You are holding my hand too tightly_,” says
she to the imaginary little old man, who, according to Leopold, wishes
to make use of it in order to write. “_You hurt me very badly; do not
hold it so firmly.... What difference does it make whether it is a
pencil or a pen?_” At these words she throws away the pencil and takes
up a pen, and, holding it between the thumb and index-finger, slowly
traces in an unknown hand: “_Chaumontet, syndic_” (see Fig. 44).

Then the vision of the village returns; at our desire to know the
name of it she ultimately perceives a sign-post on which she spells
“_Chessenaz_,” a name which is unknown to us. Then, having by my advice
asked the little old man, whom she still sees, at what period he was
syndic, she hears him answer, “1839.”

It is impossible to learn more; the vision vanishes and gives way to a
total incarnation of Leopold, who, in his deep Italian voice, speaks
to us at length of various matters. I take advantage of it in order
to question him upon the incident of the unknown village and syndic;
his replies, interrupted by long digressions, may be summed up about
as follows: “I am searching.... I traverse in thought the ascent of
this great mountain pierced through at its foot by something, the
name of which I do not know; I see the name of Chessenaz, a village
on a height, and a road which ascends to it. Search in this village;
you will certainly find the name (Chaumontet); seek to examine his
signature; this proof you will find there; you will find that the
handwriting was that of this man.”

To my question whether he sees this in Hélène’s memories and whether
she has ever been at Chessenaz, he replies in the negative as to the
first point and evasively as to the second: “Ask her; she has a good
memory for everything. I have not followed her in all her wanderings.”

Awakened, Hélène could not furnish us any information. But the
following day I found on the map a little village called Chessenaz, in
the Department of Haute-Savoie, twenty-six kilometres, in a straight
line, from Geneva, and not far from the Crédo. As the Chaumontets are
not rare in Savoy, there was nothing unlikely in the fact of a person
of that name having been syndic there in 1839.

Two weeks later I made a visit to Mme. and Mlle. Smith—there was
no seance held—when Hélène suddenly assumed the voice and accent
of Leopold, without being aware of the change, and believing me to
be joking when I sought to cause her to notice it. Presently the
hemisomnambulism becomes accentuated; Hélène sees the vision of the
other day, the village and then the little old man (the syndic)
reappear, but the latter is accompanied this time by a _curé_ with whom
he seemed on good terms and whom he called (which she repeats to me all
the while with Leopold’s Italian accent), “_My dear friend Burnier_”
As I ask whether this _curé_ could not write his name with Hélène’s
hand, Leopold promised me by a digital dictation that I should have
that satisfaction at the next seance; then he begins to talk to me of
something else by Hélène’s mouth, she being now entirely entranced.

At the following seance at my house (the 19th of March), I remind
Leopold of his promise. He answers at first by the finger: “_Do you
very much desire that signature?_” and it is only upon my insisting
that he consents. Hélène then is not long in again seeing the village
and the _curé_, who after divers incidents takes hold of her hand
as the syndic had done, and traces very slowly with the pen these
words, “_Burnier greets you_” (Fig. 44); then she passes into other
somnambulisms. The moment had arrived to clear up the matter. I wrote
at hazard to the mayor’s office at Chessenaz. The mayor, M. Saussier,
had the kindness to answer without delay: “During the years 1838-39,”
stated he to me, “the syndic of Chessenaz was a Chaumontet, Jean,
whose signature I find attached to divers documents of that period.
We also had as _curé_ M. Burnier, André, from November, 1824, up to
February, 1841; during this period all the certificates of births,
marriages, and deaths bear his signature.... But I have discovered in
our archives a document bearing both signatures, that of the syndic
Chaumontet and that of the _curé_ Burnier. It is an order for the
payment of money. I take pleasure in transmitting it to you.” I have
caused to be reproduced in the middle of Fig. 44 the fragment of this
original document (dated July 29, 1838), bearing the names of these
two personages; the reader can thus judge for himself in regard to the
quite remarkable similarity which there exists between these authentic
signatures and those automatically traced by the hand of Mlle. Smith.

My first idea was, as may be supposed, that Mlle. Smith must some time
or other have seen some certificates or documents signed by the syndic
or by the _curé_ of Chessenaz, and that it was these forgotten visual
flashes, reappearing in somnambulism, which had served her as inner
models when her entranced hand retraced these signatures. One may
likewise imagine how angry such a supposition would make Hélène, who
has no recollection whatever of having ever heard the name of Chessenaz
nor of any of its inhabitants, past or present. I only half regret
my imprudent supposition, since it has availed to furnish us a new
and more explicit manifestation of the _curé_, who, again taking hold
of Mlle. Smith’s arm at a later seance (May 21st, at M. Lemaître’s)
comes to certify to us as to his identity by the attestation, in due
and proper form, of Fig. 43. As is there seen, he makes it twice;
being deceived as to the signature, he incontinently, with disgust,
crosses out that which he had so carefully written, and recommences
on another sheet; this second draft, in which he has omitted the word
“_soussigné_” (“undersigned”) of the first, took him seven minutes to
trace, but leaves nothing to be desired as to precision and legibility.
This painstaking calligraphy is very like that of a country _curé_ of
sixty years ago, and in default of another specimen for comparison, it
presents an undeniable analogy of hand with the authentic receipt of
the order for payment of money of Fig. 44.

 [Illustration: Fig. 43. Certificates written (May 21, 1899) by Mlle.
 Smith while in a trance. The one above was feverishly crossed out in
 finishing the faulty signature. The one below was afterwards written
 in seven minutes. Natural size. [From the collection of M. Lemaître.]]

Neither Mlle. Smith nor her mother had the least notion in regard to
the _curé_ or the syndic of Chessenaz. They nevertheless informed me
that their family formerly had some relatives and connections in that
part of Savoy, and that they are still in communication with a cousin
who lives at Frangy, an important town nearest the little village of
Chessenaz. Hélène herself made only a short excursion in that region,
some dozen years ago; and if, in following the road from Seyssel to
Frangy, she traversed some parts of the country corresponding well to
certain details of her vision of the 12th of February (which she had
the feeling of recognizing, as we have seen, p. 432), she has not, on
the other hand, any idea of having been at Chessenaz itself, nor of
having heard it mentioned. “Moreover,” says she, “for those who can
suppose that I could have been at Chessenaz without remembering it, I
would affirm that even had I gone there I would not have been apt to
consult the archives in order to learn that a syndic Chaumontet and a
_curé_ Burnier had existed there at a period more or less remote. I
have a good memory, and I positively affirm that no one of the persons
around me during those few days while I was away from my family ever
showed me any certificate, paper—anything, in a word—which could
have stored away in my brain any such memory. My mother, at the age
of fourteen or fifteen, made a trip into Savoy, but nothing in her
remembrances recalls her ever having heard these two names uttered.”

The facts are now presented, and I leave to the reader the privilege of
drawing such conclusion from them as shall please him.

 [Illustration: Fig. 44. Comparison of the signatures of the syndic
 Chaumontet and of the curate Burnier, with their pretended signatures
 as disincarnates given by Mlle. Smith in somnambulism. In the middle
 of the figure, reproduction of a fragment of an order for payment of
 money of 1838. Above and below, the signatures furnished by the hand
 of Hélène. Natural size.]

This case seemed to me worthy to crown my rapid examination of the
supernormal appearances which embellish the mediumship of Mlle. Smith,
because it sums up and puts excellently in relief the irreconcilable
and hostile respective positions of the spiritistic circles and mediums
on the one side, perfectly sincere but too easily satisfied—and
investigators somewhat psychological on the other, always pursued by
the sacrosanct terror of taking dross for gold. To the first class,
the least curious phenomenon—an unexpected vision of the past, some
dictation of the table or the finger, an access of somnambulism, a
resemblance of handwriting—suffices to give the sensation of contact
with the unknown and to prove the actual presence of the disincarnate
world. They never ask themselves what proportion there could well
be between these premises, however striking they may be, and that
formidable conclusion. Why and how, for example, should the dead,
returning at the end of a half-century to sign by the hand of another
person in flesh and blood, have the same handwriting as when alive?

The same people who find this altogether natural, although they have
never seen any absolutely certain cases of it, fall from the clouds
when the possibility of latent memories is invoked before them, of
which the present life furnishes them, moreover, daily examples—which
they have not, it is true, ever taken the trouble to observe.

The psychologists, on the contrary, have the evil one in them in going
to look behind the scenes of the memory and the imagination, and when
the obscurity prevents them from seeing anything, they have the folly
to imagine that they will end by finding that which they are seeking—if
only a light could be had.

Between these two classes of temperaments so unlike, it will, I fear,
be very difficult ever to arrive at any satisfactory and lasting

                              CHAPTER XI


This volume reminds me of the mountain which gave birth to a mouse.
Its length would be excusable if only it marked a step in advance in
the field of psychology or physiology, or as to the question of the
supernormal. As such is not the case, it is unpardonable, and nothing
more is left me to do except to make clear its deficiencies in this
triple aspect.

First: From the physiological point of view, it is apparent that
Mlle. Smith, as is doubtless true of all mediums, presents during her
visions and somnambulisms a plenitude of disturbances of motility and
sensibility, from which she seems entirely free in her normal state.

But these trifling observations do not suffice to solve the
neuropathological problem of mediumship, and the question still
remains open as to whether that term corresponds to a special category
of manifestations and to a distinct syndrome, or whether it merely
constitutes a happy euphemism for various scientific denominations
already in use.

To endeavor to fix the connections of mediumship with other functional
affections of the nervous system, it would first be necessary to
possess exact intelligence on a number of important points still
enveloped in obscurity. In regard to some of these, such as the
phenomena of periodicity, of meteorological and seasonal influences, of
impulses, and of fatigue, etc., we have only very vague and incomplete
hints. And we know almost nothing of other still more essential
questions, such as the relations of equivalence and substitution
between the various modalities of automatism (nocturnal visions,
crepuscular states, complete trances, etc.), the effect of spiritistic
exercises, and especially of that of the seances upon nutrition or
denutrition (variations of temperature, of urotoxicity, etc.), which
would permit the comparison of spontaneous seizures and those excited
by mediumship with those of the more serious nervous affections, the
phenomena of heredity, similar or reversed, etc.

Let us hope that a near future will establish some good mediums and
their observers in practical conditions favorable to the elucidation of
these various problems, and that the day will come when the true place
of mediumship in the framework of nosology will be discovered.

Secondly: From the psychological point of view, the case of Mlle.
Smith, although too complex to be reduced to a single formula, is
explicable _grosso modo_ by some recognized principle, the successive
or concurrent action of which has engendered her multiple phenomena.
There is, in the first place, the influence, so often verified, of
emotional shocks and of certain psychic traumatisms upon mental
dissociation. By means of these the birth of hypnoid states may become
the germ either of secondary personalities more or less strongly marked
(we have seen that the first manifestations of Leopold in the childhood
of Hélène are attributable to this cause) or of somnambulistic
romances, which hold the same relation towards the normal state as does
that exaggeration of stories and indulgence in reveries to which so
many are addicted—perhaps all of us.

We must also take into consideration the enormous suggestibility and
auto-suggestibility of mediums, which render them so sensitive to all
the influences of spiritistic reunions, and are so favorable to the
play of those brilliant subliminal creations in which, occasionally,
the doctrinal ideas of the surrounding environment are reflected
together with the latent emotional tendencies of the medium herself.
The development of the personality of Leopold-Cagliostro, starting
from the moment at which Mlle. Smith began her seances, is easily
explained in this manner, as well as the Martian dream and the previous
existences of the Hindoo princess and the queen of France.

And, finally, we must note the phenomena of cryptomnesia, the awakening
and setting to work of forgotten memories, which easily account for the
elements of truth contained in the great preceding constructions and in
the incarnations or casual visions of Mlle. Smith in the course of her

But besides this general explanation how many points of detail there
are which remain obscure! For example, the precise origin of Hélène’s
Sanscrit, and many of her retrocognitions, for want of information
concerning the thousand facts of her daily life whence the ideas which
nourish her somnambulism may have been drawn! And how difficult it
is to gain a correct idea of her case as a whole, on account of the
crudity of our actual notions as to the constitution and organization
of the human being, of our almost total ignorance of psychological

Without mentioning Hélène’s ephemeral incarnations (in which I have
shown there is no reason far seeing anything beyond the imitations due
to autosuggestion), the divers more stable personalities which manifest
themselves in her hypnoid life—Leopold, Esenale, and the actors of the
Martian romance, Simandini, Marie Antoinette, etc.—are only, in my
opinion, as I have hinted on many occasions, the varied psychological
states of Mlle. Smith herself—allotropic modifications, as it were,
or phenomena of polymorphism of her personality. For no one of these
personalities corresponds sufficiently with her ordinary personality by
intellectual faculties, the moral character, separation of memories, to
justify the hypothesis of a foreign _possession_.

But the theory of psychic polymorphism is still very imperfect, and
inadequate to explain the embryological shades which shine forth in
Hélène’s subliminal products—the retrograde perspective which they open
as to the different stages or periods of her evolution. The Martian
cycle, with its unknown language, evidently betrays an eminently
puerile origin and the display of an hereditary linguistic aptitude,
buried under Hélène’s ordinary self; whereas the Hindoo romance denotes
a more advanced age, and that of Marie Antoinette seems to have
sprung from still more recent strata, contemporaneous with the actual
normal personality of Mlle. Smith. The primitive nature and different
ages of the various hypnoid lucubrations of Mlle. Smith seem to me to
constitute the most interesting psychological fact of her mediumship.
It tends to show that the secondary personalities are probably, in
their origin, as the idea has been sometimes suggested, phenomena of
reversion of the ordinary actual personality, or of momentary returns
of inferior phases, long since passed, and which normally should have
been absorbed in the development of the individuality, instead of
breaking forth again in strange proliferations.

Thirdly: As to the supernormal, I believe I have actually found a
little telekinesis and telepathy. As to lucidity and spiritistic
messages, I have only encountered some brilliant reconstructions, which
the hypnoid imagination, aided by latent memory, excels in fabricating
in the case of mediums. I do not complain of this, since for
psychology, which is not specially enamoured of the marvellous, these
admirably successful imitations are also interesting and instructive on
account of the light which they throw upon the inward workings of our

Of course Mlle. Smith and her friends see things in a very different
light. With Hélène everything, or almost everything, is supernormal,
from the reminiscences of her lives as Marie Antoinette and Simandini,
to the Martian and the incarnations of Cagliostro, of Mlle. Vignier, or
of the _curé_ of Chessenaz.

And now let us admit, hypothetically, that I have not been able to see
the supernormal, which was plainly before my eyes, and that it is this
blindness of mine alone which has prevented me from recognizing the
real presence of Joseph Balsamo, my own mother, the Hindoo princess,
etc.—or, at all events, the presence of real, disincarnate, independent
spirits. It is, of course, to be regretted, but then it is I alone who
will be in disgrace on the day when the truth shall be made manifest.

For, as to progress in our knowledge of things, everything is to be
feared from easy credulity and obstinate dogmatism, but that progress
will not be arrested or seriously retarded by possible errors,
committed in good faith, through an exaggerated severity of application
and a too strict observance of the principles themselves of all
experimental investigation; while, on the contrary, the obstacles and
the difficulties which the necessities of the method multiply along
its path have always been a strong stimulant, producing new movements
forward and more durable conquests based on better demonstrations.

It is better, then, to follow my advice—in the well-understood interest
of and for the advancement of science, in a domain where superstition
is always ready to give itself free play—it is better to err through
excess of caution and strictness of method than to run the risk of
being sometimes deceived; it is better to allow some interesting fact
to escape for the moment, rather than to open the door to the follies
of the imagination by a relaxation of necessary caution.

As to Mlle. Hélène Smith, supposing that I have failed to recognize
in her phenomena which are really supernormal (which, in that case,
will some day be better set forth by other observers), she will,
nevertheless, accomplish more in the way of discovering the real truth,
whatever it may be, in submitting herself disinterestedly to my free
criticisms, than by doing as so many useless mediums have done, who,
afraid of the light, in their foolish eagerness for the triumph of a
cause very dear to their hearts, have shunned close investigation, and
would have us rely upon their word alone.

They forget the saying of Bacon, which is ever being confirmed: “_Truth
is the daughter of time, not of authority._”

                                THE END


[1] _I. e._, Spirit-rapping—the faculty of obtaining responses by means
of raps upon a table.

[2] Glossolalia signifies the “gift of tongues,” or the ability to
speak foreign languages without having consciously acquired them.

[3] This term is used to designate the visions which manifest
themselves at the moment of awakening from sleep immediately prior to
complete awakening, and which form a pendant to the well-known, much
more frequent hypnagogic hallucinations, arising in the intermediate
state between sleep and waking.

[4] Vision relating to the Oriental cycle; the man was the Arab sheik,
the father of Simandini.

[5] The following are some of these impromptu rhymes, surely up to the
level of the circumstances which inspired them, but by which we ought
not to judge the _conscious_ poetic faculties of Mlle. Smith:

To a little girl proud of her new shoes:

    “Marcelle est là, venez la voir,
    Elle a ses petits souliers noirs.”

In a “culinary” discussion:

    “Vous détestez les omelettes,
    Autant que moi les côtelettes.”

To a person slightly vain:

    “Vos richesses, ma chère amie,
    Ne me font point du tout envie!”

[6] The confusion of sensations in the two sides of the body, as when a
person locates in the right leg a touch upon the left leg.

[7] See, on allochiria, P. Janet, _Stigmates mentaux des hysteriques_,
pp. 66-71; and _Nevroses et idées fixes_, vol. i. p. 234.

[8] See Lehmann’s _Aberglaube und Zauberei_, p. 217 _et seq._
Stuttgart, 1898.

[9] W. James, “Thought Tends to Personal Form.” _Principles of
Psychology_, vol. i. p. 225 _et seq._ New York, 1890.

[10] Alexandre Dumas, _père_, _Memoirs of a Physician_, chap. xv.

[11] The one which is found, for example, at the beginning of the _Vie
de Joseph Balsamo_, etc., translated from the Italian (3d edition,
Paris, 1791), and which has been several times reproduced. Mlle. Smith
has hanging over her fireplace a fine copy of this portrait.

[12] See, _e.g._, Ferrari, Hericourt, and Richet, “Personality and
Handwriting,” _Revue philosophique_, vol. xxi. p. 414.

[13] C. Flammarion, _La Planète Mars et ses conditions d’habitabilité_,
p. 3. Paris, 1892.

[14] Compare the case of Mlle. Anna O. Brener et Frend, _Studien über
Hysterie_, p. 19. Vienna, 1895.


    “Do not think that in loving you as a tender brother
    I shall tell you all the profound mysteries of heaven;
    I shall help you much, I shall open for you the way,
    But it is for you to seize and seek with joy;
    And when you shall see her released from here below,
    When her mobile soul shall have taken flight
    And shall soar over Mars with its brilliant tints;
    If you would obtain from her some light,
    Place your hand very gently on her pale forehead
    And pronounce very softly the sweet name of Esenale!”

[16] Allusion to the seance of November 25, 1894, at M. Lemaître’s. See
p. 146.

[17] That is to say, he died on Mars, where he had been reincarnated.

[18] Allusion to seance of February 2, 1896. See p. 154.

[19] These are texts 16-20, 26, 28, 31, 34, 37-39. They are further
distinguished by an asterisk.

[20] A literal English translation of each text will be found
immediately beneath the French equivalents of the Martian words.

[21] If it is objected that the Martian lacks the essential character
of a language—that is to say, a practical sanction by use; by the fact
of its serving as a means of communication between living beings—I
will not answer, like Mlle. Smith, that after all we know nothing
about that, but will simply say that the social side of the question
does not concern us here. Even if Volapük and Esperanto are not used,
they are none the less languages, and the Martian has, in regard to
its artificial construction, the psychological superiority of being
a natural language, spontaneously created, without the conscious
participation, reflective or willing, of a normal personality.

[22] De Marlès’ _General History of India, Ancient and Modern, from the
Year 2000 B. C. to our Own Times._ Pp. 268-269. Paris, 1828.

[23] Robert Sewell. _Lists of Antiquarian Remains in the Presidency of
Madras._ Vol i. p. 238 (1882.) Citation by M. Barth. I have not been
able to consult this work.

[24] Buchanan. _A Journey from Madras through the Countries of Mysore,
Canara, and Malabar, etc._ 3 vols. 4to. London, 1807.

[25] James Rennell. _Description Historique et Géographique de
l’Indostan._ Translated from the English. Paris, an. VIII. (1800). 3
vols., 8vo and atlas 4to.

[26] Dow. _History of Hindustan._ Translated from the Persian of
Ferishta. London, 1803. M. Michel suggests Wilks’s _Historical Sketches
of the South of India_ (London, 1810) as having possibly served as
a source of information for De Marlès. If some learned reader may
discover any traces of Sivrouka antecedent to De Marlès, I shall be
under great obligation to him if he will communicate the information to

[27] It will be readily understood that this vision represents Marie
Antoinette with her three children and Madame Elizabeth.

[28] I have respected the orthography as well as the complete absence
of punctuation of this bit of automatic writing, confining myself to
marking by vertical bars its evident separation into verses of eight
feet. It is written in the inclined and regular hand called that of
Marie Antoinette (like that of Fig. 40), but with a pencil too pale to
permit its reproduction.

[29] By this is meant the bringing or conveying of material objects
into a closed space—the passage of one solid body through another.

[30] A small oil-portrait of my mother.

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