One evening, while on her way to a celebration organised near the Barriere-Blanche, Mlle Clairon and her chambermaid Louise are in a hackney carriage, passing through the Rue du Rempart.  Louise asks her mistress if it isn’t in this street that Mr de S. died.  The actress confirms that it is and points out the house.

At the same moment, from the house that she is indicating, a gunshot goes through the hackney.  Frightened, the horse takes off at a gallop, the carriage careering wildly through the streets, with the two women and the coachman, completely terrorised, on board.

Mademoiselle Clairon in "Jason and Medea", by C. Van Loo

After this feat, the “ghost” abandons firearms.  For a while, every night at eleven o’clock, the sound of clapping hands is heard outside Mlle Clairon’s door.  Clapping hands, for an actress used to applause, is not very frightening.  On the contrary.  The “ghost” appears to be becoming gentler.  Later, this gentleness will increase, because in the evening, still at eleven o’clock, Mlle Clairon hears, for weeks on end, a celestial voice singing operatic airs.

Then, all of these manifestations, which have lasted for nearly two years, suddenly stop.  And one day, having decided to go to live in the fashionable Marais quarter of Paris, Mlle Clairon places a sign Rue de Buci, to show that her apartment is for rent.  She then receives a visit from an elderly lady who tells her:

“For a long time, Mademoiselle, I have had a great desire to meet you.  Your sign gives me the occasion to do so today.  But it is not your apartment which draws me here.  I was the best friend of Mr de S.  And the only one he wanted to see during the last year of his life.  We counted every day and every hour speaking of you.  I, always urging him to forget you;  he, always protesting that he would love you from the other side of the tomb…  Must I say that your last refusal to see him hastened his death?  He was waiting for you, counting the minutes, when at half-past-ten, his lackey came to tell him that, decidedly, you would not come.  He remained silent for a very long moment, as if annihilated.  Then he took my hand with even more despair which frightened me and said to me:  “What a barbarian… it won’t do her any good;  I will pursue her as much after my death as I have pursued her during my life.. ”  Then he died.  It was exactly eleven o’clock at night… “

***

Mlle Clairon wrote her Memoires, which were published in 1799.  The chapter which describes this phenomenon is really a letter that the actress sent to one of her friends, Henri Meister, who “wanted to have this anecdote”.

***

From what we know of the dead, it seems that they remain, for a certain time, attached to their habits, their beliefs, their way of thinking and their earthly worries.  Some come back, tormented by a Will that they have hidden too well, by work that they haven’t had time to finish, or by a debt that they haven’t paid back before dying.  Here is something that happened at the end of the XIXth Century, to Monsignor Pavie, Bishop of Algiers.

One day, the prelate is reading in his study when he hears a door open behind him.  He turns around and remains frozen on the spot.  There, near a bookcase, is one of his friends who had died a few days earlier.  The Bishop doesn’t dare move.  But the “ghost” speaks:

“Monsignor, you who loved me, help me!… “

Monsignor Pavie, a bit shaken, is expecting a request for prayers, but he hears:

“I have an unpaid debt (he gives the amount and the name of the creditor, as well as his address).  Pay this debt, I beg you, so that I cease to suffer… “

And the form disappears.  The next day, the Bishop goes to the home of the person indicated and asks him if he knows Mr X.  The gentleman says that he does.  The Bishop asks him if he had lent money to this person.  The gentleman says that he had, but that Mr X. had died before having the time to repay him.  The Bishop asks him the amount owed, and hears the same amount that had been indicated by the “ghost”.  The Bishop pays his friend’s debt.

***

According to authors who have studied these survival phenomena, Flammarion, Myers, Jean Prieur, Paul Misraki, etc., the dead remain attached to their earthly lives for a certain time, then gradually seem to forget their little material problems, their little worries, their little rancours, their little vanity, to try, at least some of them like Roland de Jouvenel, Pierre Monnier, Jean Quelavoine, Christopher, Jim Pike, among others, to transmit highly spiritual messages to us.  Then they seem to refine themselves and distance themselves from us to go on to mysterious occupations and interest themselves in problems that we cannot understand.

In Les Temoins de l’invisible, Jean Prieur tells us:

“The visitors from the ultra-world speak of actions, of missions that they have to accomplish on Earth and elsewhere.  Their parents, their friends, their scriptures are part of these missions which are given to them by higher entities.”

Paul Misraki says:

“The man who has just died finds himself just as he was on Earth, his story continues.  Later, it is possible that his spiritual evolution, more or less long according to the individual, permits him to progressively acquire new knowledge, as he “climbs” toward higher “levels”.  At least, this is what appears very clearly from witness statements which come to us from up there… “

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