There are many people now that accept magnetism and have for a long time contested the
somnambulistic lucidity. Truly, that faculty knocked down every notion that we had with respect to
the perception of the material world. However, for a long time we have had the example of the
natural somnambulists who enjoyed similar faculties that, by a bizarre contradiction, had never
being investigated. Today the somnambulistic clairvoyance is an established fact and if it is still
contested by some people it is due to the fact that it takes long for the new ideas to ingrain,
particularly when it proves necessary to abandon the old ones that we cherished for so long.
Many people believed, as some still do today with respect to the spiritist manifestations, that
somnambulism could be experienced like one does with a machine, without taking into account the
special conditions of the phenomenon. That is why they have concluded by the denial in the first
opportunity since satisfactory results have not been achieved. Such delicate phenomena require a
lengthy, frequent and perseverant observation so that the most subtle nuances can be captured. Also
due to the incomplete observation of the facts certain people admit the clairvoyance of the
somnambulists, but contest their independence. Their vision, they say, do not go beyond the thought
of those who interrogate them. Some even say that there is no vision but simply intuition and
transmission of thoughts, citing numerous examples to support these ideas.
No one doubts that the somnambulist may capture the thought, translate it and sometimes operate as
its echo. No one contests the fact either that, in certain cases, thought may influence them. By only
admitting that the phenomenon is limited to that, wouldn’t this alone be a curious fact, worthy of
observation? Thus the problem is not to determine if a somnambulist is or can be influenced by an
alien thought, what in itself is not questioned, but if she is always influenced and if that results from
experimental investigations. If the somnambulist only says what you already know then it is
unquestionable that she only translates your thoughts. But if in certain cases she says something that
you don’t know; if what she says is contrary to your opinion and to the way you may see things, her
independence and the fact that she follows her own impulses become evident.
For that kind of phenomenon a well characterized case would be enough to prove that the
somnambulist is not absolutely subjected to someone else’s thought. Well, there are thousands of
examples so that we will mention two among those that we are aware of, as follows:
Mr. Marillon, a Bercy resident, Rue Charenton 43, disappeared last January 13th. Every effort to find
any trace of him proved useless. None of this friends and colleagues had seen him. None of his
business could be associated to such a prolonged absence. His position, character and mental state
ruled out any suicide attempt. The remaining hypothesis was that he could have been a victim of a
crime or an accident. In the latter case, however, he could have been easily identified and taken
back home or even to the morgue. All likelihoods then indicated a crime. That idea gained support
particularly considering the fact that he left home to make a payment. But where and how such a
crime would have taken place? That was the question. Then, his daughter resorted to a
somnambulist, Mrs. Roger, who had given demonstration of a remarkable lucidity in many other
circumstances that we ourselves had the opportunity to verify.
Mrs. Roger tracked Mr. Marillon since he left his house, around three pm, up until seven pm, when
he was ready to return home; she saw him walking down the Seine banks due to an imperious
biological need; according to her, he then had an episode of apoplexy and fell head first on a rock,
breaking his head open, falling into the waters. There was no crime or suicide. She even saw money
and keys in one pocket of his jacket. She indicated the place of the accident but said that the body
was no longer there as it had been dragged by the currents and would be found in another given
Everything happened according to her description. The man had a wound on the head, the money
and keys in his pocket and besides, his clothes left no doubt as for the reason that had taken him to
the river bank.
Where could one find the transmission of any thought by analyzing so many details?
Another fact where the somnambulistic independence is not less evident is given below.
The Belhomme couple, ranch owners from Rueil at Rue Saint-Denis 19, had saved about 800-900
francs. For security reasons, Mrs. Belhomme hid the money in a closet which was used to keep new
clothes on one side as well as worn out on the other. She placed the money where the new clothes
were hanging. Someone suddenly showed up forcing Mrs. Belhomme to quickly shut the closet’s
door. Since she needed the money later, Mrs. Belhomme went back to recover the cash, assured to
have placed it among the old, worn clothes; this was her intention from the beginning, for being less
tempting to an eventual thief. However she misplaced the money due to the unexpected arrival of
the visitor the other day. She was so much convinced that she had the money among the shabby
clothes that she did not even bother to look somewhere else. The place was empty, she had the
unsolicited visit then, she thought, she had been seen hiding the money and consequently robbed;
her suspicions then naturally fell onto the visitor.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Belhomme knew Ms Marillon, the daughter of the disappeared man that we
mentioned above, telling her about her unfortunate loss. Ms Marillon in turn told her the story of
her father and how he had been found, advising her to seek the somnambulist’s help, before taking
any other action. The Belhoummes went to Mrs. Roger place, convinced that they had been robbed,
hoping that they could have the thief’s name confirmed; it could not be that of anyone else but the
unexpected visitor. It was their only thought.
Well, after a lengthy description of the place the somnambulist said: “You were not robbed; your
money remains untouched in the closet; you thought that you had it among the worn clothes; it is
among the new clothes. Go home to find it.” That is exactly what happened.
Reporting these two cases – and we could mention many others – our aim was to demonstrate that
the somnambulistic clairvoyance is not always the reflection of a foreign thought. Hence the
somnambulist can have her own lucidity, absolutely independent. This leads to consequences of
paramount importance from the physiological view point. We have here the key to more than one
problem that we shall examine in due course, when we will then analyze the relationships between
somnambulism and Spiritism, shedding an entirely new light onto the issue.