Miss Annie Moberly and Miss Leonore Jourdain found that the young man with the wide-brimmed hat and the cloak, whom they met at the kiosque near the Petit Trianon in 1901, was probably one of Marie-Antoinette’s pages, whose name was Breton.  This young man had said to them:  “Look for the house.”  [“Cherchez la maison.”]  The word “maison”, or “house” in English, did not seem to fit the building which it designated, and intrigued them for a long time.  Then one day, they discovered that, at the time, no-one said “the Palace” [“le chateau”] to designate the Petit Trianon, but “the house” [“la maison”] because it was the Queen’s house.

The rustic bridge, which no-one at Versailles remembered – not even the Conservator – was the subject of passionate controversy.  And the two English ladies were almost definitively classed as mythomaniacs, because of it.  Until the day that someone discovered in the Souvenirs d’un page, by the Count d’Hezecques, a detailed description of a small hill with a little ravine, a waterfall, a ruin and “a rustic bridge like those found in the Swiss mountains”.  All had been destroyed during the Revolution and the Empire.

This portrait of Marie-Antoinette by Adolf Ulrik Wertmuller is in the Stockholm National Museum

The English ladies learned from the Journal of Mme Eloffe, milliner to the Queen, that in July and September 1789, Marie-Antoinette had worn a white gown with a short skirt, and a green bodice.

Plus, one day, by chance, they found the portrait of the Queen by Wertmuller, in which Marie-Antoinette’s appearance is rather unflattering.  Miss Moberly received a shock.  This was the woman she had seen on the lawn.

Mme Campan, who was the Queen’s secretary, writes in her Memoires that the Wertmuller portrait is the only one which really resembles her.

In view of all this, the two English ladies come to the conclusion, along with some historians who had helped them in their research, that they had lived a moment of August 1789.

Some physicists have seen in this the confirmation of the coexistence of the past, the present and the future.  As for Einstein, who totally admitted the reality of this story, he used this beautiful formula to describe it:

“These two women tripped in Time… like others miss a step on a staircase.”

In 1908, an American family, the Crookes, who were walking near the Grand Trianon, twice saw a young woman in a big hat who was sketching.  They didn’t doubt for one moment that she was a spirit

“because of the bizarre way she had of appearing and disappearing, seeming to surge from the surroundings and return into it with a little shiver”.

Another time, Mrs Crooke saw a man in an XVIIIth Century costume, wearing a tricorn.  It is interesting to note that, at each of these meetings, the Americans also had an impression of suffocation and oppression.  But they couldn’t have been influenced by the story of Miss Moberly and Miss Jourdain because it didn’t appear for another three years.

In October 1928, two English ladies also met a few strange people during a visit to the Petit Trianon.  After suddenly feeling very sad, they noticed a woman wearing an ancient headdress who was looking at them through the window of a ruined farmhouse.  A bit farther along, they met an old man wearing a green livery with silver trimmings.  He had a tricorn on his head.  One of the two tourists having asked him for some information, the man answered in an unintelligible French.  Then he disappeared as if by enchantment.

It was only on their return to England that the two women, having told their story, learned of the existence of Miss Moberly’s and Miss Jourdain’s book.

On 21 May 1955, a London lawyer and his wife met, not far from the Hameau – after having felt oppressed – three strange people:  a woman dressed in a long yellow gown and two men wearing black coats, silk breeches, stockings and shoes with silver buckles.  They had hardly appeared, when the three people vanished like smoke.

These feelings of depression have been explained by the fact that there are telluric currents crossing Versailles, which are so strong that they favour mediumnity.  But there is another phenomenon which merits being mentioned:  most of the witnesses say that, before each “apparition of a person”, they heard a sort of bizarre whistling, “as if the air was charged with waves of electricity and unknown vibrations”.

The Bureau des longitudes has revealed that, the 10 August 1901, was marked by an electric storm over the whole of Europe.  This could have some bearing on the case.

The French newspapers of 11 August 1901, report a rather curious story.  At the same time that our two English ladies were experiencing their adventure in the Versailles park, a group of around thirty people, richly clothed, was seen to arrive at the Saint-Denis railway station, near Paris,

“the women in silk gowns of bright colours and strewn with sparkling stones, the men in jackets of fine cloth with sleeves of silk and enormous silver buttons”.

After having  jabbered a few words, shown a small sack full of gold pieces, and having made it understood that they wanted to buy horses, these mysterious and elegant people, whom the station master took for “gypsies”, had left the waiting-room and gone off in the direction of Enghien.  No paper makes any mention of them after that.

Jean Cocteau studied our English ladies’ adventure, too.  He says:

“If, in the future, aeroplanes get to the speed of light, they would have to go through a “wall”, and perhaps they’ll pass into a dimension, whose door opened by mistake on 10 August 1901 for Miss Moberly and Miss Jourdain…  Their “adventure” is without doubt the most considerable of all epochs and it is a shame that science ignores these exceptional phenomena, for if it didn’t, it would definitely learn something!… “