In November 1846, in Paris, everyone is talking about the haunted house on the Left Bank.  A new road is under construction, the Rue des Gres, which is to join the Sorbonne to the Pantheon.  On the edge of the demolition works, there is a storehouse belonging to a wood and coal merchant.  This storehouse is bordered by a house with a first floor and an attic.  The house is separated from the lodgements which are being pulled down, by the thick constructions of the old Parisian defensive walls, built under Philippe Auguste, and unearthed by the roadworks.

Its owner is called Mr Lerrible.   He lives there.  Or rather, he is trying to remain there.  It’s not easy.  It’s even dangerous.  Because his house is bombarded.  It is bombarded every night.  By stones.  Stones from nowhere.  Thrown by no-one.  Or, if someone is throwing these paving-stones, it’s a giant.  Unless the unknown person has a catapult.  Because it makes holes in the walls, it rips out window-frames.  It knocks down doors.

The police commissionary, his policemen, his inspectors, have mounted a 24 hour surveillance.  Nothing.  The head of the Surete has come, in person, to direct the enquiry.  Nothing.  And the projectiles continue to rain down noisily, in front of the crowd of on-lookers.  They are thrown from a great height, far above the heads of the spectators perched on rooves to be able to see it better.  If you look up in the air, you don’t see the trajectory.  You only see the stones at the moment when they hit the house.

All the newspapers have sent reporters.  The Gazette des Tribunaux writes:

“In similar circumstances, which produced a great sensation in Paris, a rain of small coins attracted, each night, spectators Rue Montesquieu, and all of the doorbells of the Rue de Malte were rung by invisible hands.  All enquiries reached a dead-end.  It was impossible to arrive at any discovery, to find any explanation, any cause at all.  We doubt that, this time either, any solution will be found.”

One evening, at eleven o’clock, while policemen are posted all around, an enormous stone comes to hit and tear the barricaded door of the house.  At three o’clock in the morning, the acting head of the Surete and six deputies are interrogating Mr Lerrible and his wife in the dining-room, when a hunk of paving-stone falls at their feet and explodes like a bomb.

Interrogated by the journalists, Mr Lerrible takes them on a visit of his home:  broken windows, boarded up, holes in the walls, smashed furniture.  Mr Lerrible is indignant about being suspected of bombarding his own house.  He has been to the police more than thirty times to complain about the attacks.  A unit of light infantry of the 24th Battalion has been sent for his protection.  He asks the journalists if they really think that he would break his own furniture, his crockery, his flower-pots, and wound himself in the head.

He leads his visitors into a bedroom filled with stones and pieces of tiles, all of them long and flat.  The newspapermen are surprised that they all have this form.  They ask him why.  He answers that it is because he had closed his shutters, but a crack had remained, through which all the stones had arrived.

These strange phenomena last about three weeks.  Then everything stops.  After which, the police announces that it has discovered who is responsible.  A man has been caught in the act.  He has been taken to prison.  No name is given.  The act is not described.  The name of the prison isn’t mentioned.  People lose interest.

The newspaper La Patrie having accused Mr Lerrible of himself being the bombarder, he, through the intermediary of Maitre Aubin-Jules Demonchy, process server, 43 rue des Fosses-Saint-Victor, serves notice on the paper’s manager, Mr Garat, to oblige him to insert the text of the summation to appear before the Sixth Chamber of the Tribunal of First Instance.  He wins his case.

The solution, however, was not found.  The mystery remained complete.

At the time, different convoluted theories were put forward by distinguished and eminently learned gentlemen, but no mention was made of the presence of an adolescent on the premises.  Although we still don’t know very much about these things, we do know that they are connected to the presence of a boy or a girl in full puberty.

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