Monsieur Berard does not believe in premonitory dreams and has never been interested in what we call today paranormal phenomena.  However, it seems to him that his nightmare is connected to the drama in which Maitre Arnaud is the victim.  Finally, he talks about it to a friend to whom, three years before, he had recounted his bad night at the inn.  He tells him that he has the impression that he had witnessed an assassination – three years in advance.

His friend just shrugs his shoulders.  So, Mr Berard, who wants to find out if it is true, goes to find the judge who is in charge of the enquiry into the lawyer’s disappearance.  He knows this magistrate well.  He tells him that, for reasons which he will explain later, he is greatly interested in Me Arnaud’s disappearance, and he would like his authorisation to be present at the interrogation of the “Rendez-vous des amis” innkeepers.  The judge tells him that he is in luck.  The woman is to be heard a little later.  He invites his fellow magistrate to remain in his chambers.

Half an hour later, a guard ushers in the inn-keeper’s wife who sits down without recognizing Mr Berard.  Interrogated by the judge, she says that a traveller whose description corresponds to that of Me Arnaud – he had big side-whiskers – came to her inn on the evening of 24 August, but that he hadn’t spent the night there.  She adds:

“Anyway, there are only two chambers;  they are above the main room, and, that night, both of them were occupied by carters.”

The judge asks her if that is all that she has to declare.  She replies that that is all.

The clerk is about to read her statement back to her, when, suddenly, Mr Berard intervenes:

“And the third chamber?”

The woman gives him a nasty look.

“What chamber?”

“The one above the stable!”

The woman pales and the young magistrate continues:

“I am going to tell you how it all happened:  Me Arnaud slept in this third chamber.  During the night, you came with your husband, you, holding a lantern, he, holding a long knife.  You climbed the outside staircase, you opened the door which is hidden by a curtain;  your husband plunged his knife into the lawyer’s throat, then he stole his watch and his purse…”

The judge, thunderstruck, looks from his colleague to the woman, who seems terrified.  Mr Berard continues:

“Then, you took the cadaver, your husband holding the feet, you the shoulders, and you descended it to the courtyard.  To light you, your husband held the lantern’s ring with his teeth.  After which, you hid your victim’s body under a pile of dung…”

The innkeeper’s wife is livid, her hands are trembling.  She murmurs:

“You saw everything!”

Mr Berard agrees:

“Everything!”

Then the woman falls to her knees and confesses.

The next day, Me Arnaud’s body is found hidden under a pile of dung…

***

There are two sources for this story:  Mr Berard, himself, who published it in Revue des Revues of 15 September 1895;  and the Chief of the Surete, Goron, who related it in his Memoires.

***

This is a very exceptional case of premonition, for it is not just a vague impression, or one of those dreams whose symbols have to be interpreted by a Key to Dreams.  Mr Berard saw, in all its details, an assassination which would only be committed three years later…  This is more than a premonition:  it is a real vision of the future.

***

Many physicists emit the hypothesis of the co-existence of a past-present-future.  And time has been compared to a street down which we are travelling.  When we are at No 1, we cannot yet see the house at No 100.  But it already exists…  And when we are at No 100, No 1, which we have passed a long time ago, still exists…  It is a good image.

***

Our spirit often circulates in time while we are asleep.  This phenomenon happens more often than we think.  People often say “It’s never happened to me”,  but how do they know that?  Imagine, for example, that you have seen your own death in a childhood dream.  You were not struck by it at the time.  How could you have guessed that this old man or woman who is dying, was yourself seventy years later?

Doctor Richet says:  “Most of our dreams have a documentary value that we don’t even suspect.”

***

All premonitory dreams unfortunately do not have the precision of that of Mr Berard.  But they still remain troubling, even when they need to be interpreted.  Here are a few examples:

On 29 July 1589, Henri III dreams that the royal ornaments:  crown, tunics, blue satin mantel, sceptre and Hand of Justice, all bloody, are trampled by monks.  Three days later, on 1 August, he is assassinated by the monk Jacques Clement.

In the night of 13 to 14 May 1610, Henri IV dreams that he sees a rainbow over his head.  When he wakes, he talks about it to those around him.  Someone says that it is a very bad sign.  Throughout the ages, this dream has always meant violent death.  The King was advised not to leave the palace that day…

Henri IV shrugs his shoulders and, at ten minutes past four, he passes through the Rue de la Ferronnerie where he is assassinated by Ravaillac…

In the night of 17 to 18 June 1815, Napoleon dreams that a black cat twice runs from one army to the other, and sees his regiments torn to pieces.  He wakes, panting, thinking that this dream announces treason and defeat.  A few hours later, the Grand Army is annihilated in the plain of Waterloo…

In April 1865, a few days before being assassinated, Abraham Lincoln tells his wife and one of his friends about a dream that he had had.  He is walking through all of the rooms of the White House without meeting anyone;  but while walking, he can hear the sound of sobbing.  When he penetrates the East Room, he sees a great gathering, in mourning.  At the centre of the room there is a catafalque, on which reposes a dead person in ceremonial costume.   Soldiers are mounting guard around it.  He approaches and asks who, in the White House, has died.  One of the soldiers tells him that it is the President, who has been assassinated.  Then, he hears the crowd moan, which wakes him.  He doesn’t sleep any more that night.  He knows that it is only a dream, but the vision obsesses him.

Three days later, The President is shot by Booth…

To be continued.

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