The rapping spirit of Bergzabern *
We continue to cite Mr. Blanck’s brochure, editor of the Bergzabern newspaper.
“The facts which we will report took place between Friday 4th and Wednesday 9th, March 1853.
Nothing similar happened after that period. Filipina then no longer slept in the room already known
to us: her bed had been transferred to the next-door room where it is still today. The manifestations
acquired such a strange character that it is impossible to admit their explanation by human
intervention. In fact, these are so different from the ones observed previously that all initial
hypotheses went down the drain.
It is a known fact that in the bedroom, where she slept, the chairs and other pieces of furniture were
scrambled and the windows violently opened through repetitive strikes. For five weeks she had been
installed in the common room where there is always light from the onset of the evening to dawn
breal. Anyone can perfectly see what happens in the room.
Here is what was observed on March 4th.
Filipina was not in bed yet. She was with some people talking about the rapping spirit. Suddenly a
drawer from a heavy table in the middle of the room was noisily pulled and pushed back with
extraordinary speed. Those present were surprised by such a new manifestation. At the same time
the table itself was set in motion, moving in all directions and then advancing towards the fireplace,
close to where Filipina was sitting. She was, to say, chased by the furniture, having to leave her
place and run towards the middle of the room but the table came back in that direction, stopping at
fifteen centimeters from the wall. It was then put back in its normal place from where it did not
move again but the boots that were under the table were thrown in the middle of the room, seen by
all with great horror. One of the drawers moved back and forth on its supporting tracks, for a couple
of times, in the beginning very fast but progressively slowing down. When it was wide open it
would shake violently. A package of tobacco, left on the table, changed places continuously. Noises
and scratches were heard from over the table. Filipina, who was then very healthy, by no means
seemed uneasy by such strange things, repeatedly happening every evening since Friday.
But the events were still more remarkable on Sunday. The drawer was violently pulled in and out
several times. Once settled in her former bedroom Filipina was suddenly taken by the magnetic
sleep, falling on an armchair from where the scratches were heard several times. While she had her
hands resting on her knees the chair would move sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left or
forward and backward. When Filipina was transported to the middle of the room it was easy to
observe that new phenomenon. Then, to a single command, the chair turned, advanced, backed up
with a higher or smaller speed, sometimes in one direction sometimes in another. During that
original dance, the girl’s feet would drag on the floor, as if paralyzed; she complained of headache,
moaned and placed her hands on her forehead. Then, suddenly awaken, looked around in all
directions, not understanding the situation, but her sudden illness had disappeared. She lied down.
Then the raps and scratches, which were heard earlier from the table, were now heard in the bed,
playfully and with strength.
A few moments earlier a bell had spontaneously rung, giving some people the idea of tying her up
to the bed. The bell then immediately began to swing and ring. Once the bed was raised and moved,
remarkable thing, the bell remained quiet and motionless. Just about midnight all noises had ceased
and the participants left.
Monday evening, May 15th, a big bell was attached to the bed. A disgusting and deafening noise
was immediately heard. On the same day, in the afternoon, the windows and the bedroom door were
opened, but quietly.
We have to say that the armchair used by Filipina on Friday and Saturday, taken by the old Sänger
to the middle of the living room, appeared lighter than usual. It seemed that an invisible force lifted
it up. If one of the presents wanted to push it, there was no resistance: the chair seemed to glide by
itself on the floor.
The rapping spirit remained silent for three days during Easter Holiday: Thursday, Friday and
Saturday. Only on Easter Sunday the rings of the bell restarted: rhythmical hits, composing an Aria.
On April 1st, during the change of the guard, the troops that were leaving town were marching by
the tune of a military music. As they were marching across from the front of Mr. Sänger’s house the
rapping spirit executed in the bed, on his own way, the same music that was played in the street. A
few moments earlier someone’s steps were heard in the bedroom and also the sound of something
like sand thrown on the floor.
Worried about the facts we have just described, the Palatinate Government proposed that Mr.
Sänger should take his daughter into the Frankenthal health clinic, which was accepted. We were
informed that Filipina’s presence produced the same prodigies of Bergazabern and that the
Frankenthal doctors, as well as those in our city, cannot determine their cause. Besides, we are also
informed that only the doctors have access to the girl.
Why such a measure? We ignore and cannot criticize it but if what has motivated it is not the result
of any particular circumstance, we believe that not everybody should have access to the interesting
girl but at least those commendable persons.”
OBSERVATION: We have only received news about the published fact through Mr. Blanck’s
report. A fact, however, has just put us in touch with one of the persons that is more frequently
shown in this case and that, with respect to the event, kindly provided us with the most interesting
circumstantial documents. By evocation, we had the addition of very curious and instructive
explanations about the rapping spirit, given by him. As such documents got to our hands a little bit
late we will postpone its publication to the next issue of the Review.
* We owe the translation of this interesting brochure to the kindness of one of our friends, Mr. Alfred
Pireaux, employee of the Post Office administration.