Allan Kardec

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The outcries of St. Bartholomew’s night

In the Histoire de l’Ordre du Saint-Espirit, 1778 edition, De Saint-Foy cites the following passage from a collection of the Marquis Juvenal des Ursins, lieutenant general of Paris, written around the end of 1572 and published in 1601.

“On August 31st, 1572, eight days after St. Bartholomew’s massacre, I had dined at the Louvre, in Mrs. de Fiesque’s home. The whole day had been scorching hot. We sat under a small arbor by the creek, breathing fresh air. Suddenly we heard a horrible noise of tumultuous voices, mixed with groans and screams of rage and furor. We remained still, chilled by the amazement, glancing at each other from time to time, not having the courage to speak. I believe that the noise lasted for half an hour. It is certain that King Charles IX heard it too and was terrified, not being able to sleep for the rest of the night; however, he did not make any comment on the following day but his somber, thoughtful and crazy looks were noticeable. If any prodigy should not meet incredulity this is one, attested by Henry IV. In his book I, Chapter 6, page 561, d’Aubigné says: several times that prince told us, the most intimate family members and court goers – and I have living witnesses that he had never repeated it to us without showing great horror – that eight days after the Night of St. Bartholomew, he had seen a large amount of vultures landing and cawing over the Louvre’s pavilion; that in the same evening Charles IX, two hours after having gone to bed, got up, sending the chamber maids to search around since he had heard a loud noise of voices and groans, very similar to the ones that were heard at the night of the massacre; that all those screams were so shocking, so much marked and distinctly articulated that Charles IX thought that the enemies of Montmorency and his followers were attacking by surprise, hence he sent a platoon of his guard to impede a new massacre. The guards informed him that Paris was quiet and that all the noise was only in the air.”

OBSERVATION: The fact reported by Saint-Foy and by Juvenal des Ursins have lots of analogies with the story of the ghost that appeared to Mademoiselle Clairon, reported in our January issue, with the difference that in her case it was only one spirit to manifest during two and a half years, while after the Night of St. Bartholomew there seems to have been a large number of spirits who made the air vibrate just for a few moments. As a matter of fact, these two phenomena have obviously the same principle as the other contemporary facts of the same nature, already reported by us, not differing from them but by the detail of the form. Once questioned about the cause of such manifestation several spirits responded that it was a punishment from God, which is easy to understand.

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