A wholesale murderer executed on December 31th, 1857; evoked on January 29 th,1858.
(Evocation) – A. I am here.
What is your feeling on seeing us?
3. Did you retain your self-possession up to the last moment?
4. Did you become conscious of your new existence immediately after your execution?
A. I was thrown into a state of confusion, from which I have not yet entirely emerged. I felt an immense pain; and it seemed to be my heart that felt it. I saw something – I knew not what – roll to the foot of the scaffold; I saw blood flowing; and my pain became all the more acute.
Q. Was the pain merely physical, similar to what would be caused by a severe wound, by the amputation of a limb, for instance?
A. No, it was a sense of remorse, a great moral pain.
Q. When did you begin to feel that pain?
A. As soon as I was free of my body.
5. Was it your spirit, or your body, that felt the physical pain of the execution?
A. The moral pain was in my spirit; the physical pain was felt by the body, but my spirit felt it also, although separated from the body.
6. Did you see your mutilated body?
A. I saw a shapeless mass that I seemed not to have quitted, and yet I felt myself to be entire: I was still myself.
Q. What impression did this sight make on you?
A. I felt my pain too strongly to heed it; I was lost in suffering.
7. Is it true that the body continues to live for some moments after being decapitated, and that the patient preserves his mental consciousness?
A. The spirit retires gradually from his body; the more tightly he is held in the meshes of matter, the less rapid is the separation.
8. Some observers have thought they saw an expression of anger, and movements indicating a desire to speak, in the faces of heads that had been separated from their bodies; were those appearances caused by contractions of the nerves or by an act of the will?
A. By the will, for the spirit, in such cases, has not yet quitted the body.
9. What was your first feeling on entering upon your new state of existence?
A. An intolerable suffering; a sort of poignant remorse of which I could not make out the cause.
10. Did you find yourself among your accomplices who were executed along with you?
A. For our great misery! Our sight of one another is a perpetual torture; each of us reproaches the others as the cause of his crimes.
11. Do you meet your victims?
A. I see them; they are happy; their glance follows me; I feel it pierce to the bottom of my soul; it is in vain that I try to escape from them.
Q. What do you feel on seeing them?
A. Shame and remorse. I have built them up with my own hands, and I hate them still.
Q. What do they feel on seeing you?
12. Do they feel hatred and the desire for vengeance?
A. They pray that I may expiate my crimes. You cannot imagine what a horrible torture it is to owe everything to those we hate.
13. Do you regret your terrestrial life?
A. I regret nothing but my crimes. If I had my life still in my hands, I would not give way to temptation.
14. Was the tendency to evil in your nature, or were you drawn into evil by the surroundings amidst which you lived?
A. The tendency to crime was in my nature, for I was but a low spirit. I wished to raise myself quickly; but what I asked for was above my strength. I overestimated my strength; I chose a terrible trial; and I yielded to the temptations of evil.
15. If the good principles had been instilled into your mind by education, would you have been turned away from wickedness?
A. Yes, but I chose the position into which I was born.
Q. Would it have been possible for you to be a good man?
A. I might have been a weak man, neither good nor bad; I might have corrected the evil tendency of my nature during my last existence; but I could not have raised myself to goodness.
16. During your last life, did you believe in God?
Q. It is said, however, that you repented at the moment of death. Is it true?
A. I believed in a God of vengeance, and I dreaded His justice.
Q. Is your repentance more sincere at present?
A. Alas! I see what I have done.
Q. What do you now think of God?
A. I feel Him, but I do not understand Him.
17. Do you regard, as just, the punishment that was inflicted on you upon the earth?
18. Do you hope to obtain the forgiveness of your crimes?
A. I don’t know.
Q. How do you hope to redeem them?
A. By undergoing new trials, but it seems to me there is an eternity between them and me.
19. Where are you now?
A. I am in misery.
Q. We ask you in what place you are?
A. Close to the medium.
20. If we could see you, under what form would you appear to us?
A. Under the form I had in your world, with my head severed from my body.
Q. Could you make yourself visible to us?
A. No, leave me to myself!
21. Will you tell us how you managed to escape from the Montdidier prison?
A. I don’t remember anything about it; my suffering is so dreadful, that I remember nothing but my crimes. Leave me to myself!
22. Can we do anything to lessen your suffering?
A. Pray that my expiation may soon begin!