François Riquier, a very commonplace person, an old miser and an old bachelor, died at C—— in 1857, leaving a considerable fortune to distant relations. He had formerly been the landlord of a lady who had quite forgotten him, and who did not even know whether he was alive or dead. In 1862, this lady’s daughter, who is subject to attacks of catalepsy followed by spontaneous magnetic sleep, and who is besides a very good writing medium, saw, when in this sleep, Mr. Riquier, who wished, she said, to say something to her mother. A few days afterwards, having been evoked for the purpose of enabling him to satisfy this wish by speaking with the lady, the following conversation occurred between them:
Q. What do you want of me?
A. My money, of which they have taken the whole, the wretches! Sharing it between them. They have sold off my farms, my houses, and all my property, to divide it among themselves! They have broken up my fortune, as though it did not belong to me. Make them give me my rights, for they will not listen to me, and I will not put up with such an infamous robbery. They call me a usurer, and they keep my money from me! Why do they not give it back to me, since they say it was ill gotten?
Q. But you are dead, my good man; you no longer need money! Ask of God to grant you a new existence, a life of poverty, that so you may expiate the avarice of your last one.
A. No, I could not live if I were poor. I must have my money to be able to live. Besides, I don’t need any other life, since I am living now.
Q. (The following question was put, in order to bring him to a sense of the reality of his position.) Do you suffer?
A. Oh yes! I am suffering tortures that are worse than the most painful disease, for it is my soul that endures them! I have constantly presented to my mind the thought of the iniquity of my life, which was a subject of scandal to many. I know that I am a miserable wretch unworthy of pity; but I suffer so much that you must help me to come out of this dreadful state.
Q. We will pray for you.
A. Thank you! Pray that I may forget my earthly riches, unless I do that, I shall never be able to
repent. Farewell; thanks.
FRANÇOIS RIQUIER NO. 14 RUE DE LA CHARITÉ.
It is curious to see the spirit giving his address, as though he were still alive. The lady, who had no idea where he had lived, went to the house indicated and found, to her surprise that it was really the last one in which he had lived. Thus, five years after his death, he did not know that he was dead and was still undergoing all the anxiety, terrible for a miser, of seeing his property divided among his heirs. The evocation, suggested, no doubt, by some friendly spirit, had the effect of making him understand his real position and of leading him to repentance.