Eugene Manceau is still convinced that his wife has dreamed.  He tells her that she must have seen the cigarette packet earlier in the evening and included it in her dream.  They go back upstairs and are soon fast asleep.

Exactly one month later, Eugene Manceau suddenly dies from a heart attack.  On the day of his funeral, while the Funeral Parlour employees are doing their work, Leonie, shattered, is crying in her bedroom.  Suddenly, she hears noises coming from downstairs, tinkling bells, objects clicking as they are unhooked, furniture creaking as it is moved.  Everything that she had heard one month before.  Then she descends.  And in the shop that has been emptied of its harnesses, its reins, its yokes, its collars, in the shop that is empty the way she had already seen it, there is the coffin, on two trestles, covered by a pall, surrounded by candles…

***

This story was told to Guy Breton by two people.  Firstly, by a canon from Val-Andre who had known the harness maker Eugene Manceau and his wife; and secondly, by an old doctor from Saint-Brieuc, Doctor Le Rouzic, who throughout his career, has gathered a quantity of stories of this type.  It was Madame Leonie Manceau who told it to him, herself.

***

Either Leonie really heard and saw what she said she did, and in that case we must believe that she lived a scene from the future one month before it happened;  or she had a premonitory dream of extreme clarity.  In either case, there is no rational explanation.

***

People will probably prefer to believe that Leonie had a dream because dreams are more familiar to them.  But there are many other cases of premonitory hallucination while the person is awake.  Jean Riverain, the author of an excellent work on Nos pouvoirs occultes, cites, for example, the case of a student friend of his who, returning home after a lecture at the Sorbonne, climbs on foot, as he usually does, the five floors of the building in which he lives.  As he is arriving at the third floor landing, he sees the lift stopped and, inside it, “like a Musee Grevin figure”, he would later say, his father dead.  Frightened, he presses the button to send the lift back and goes to his apartment.  Three days later, his father, a notary in the greater Paris area, dies from a heart attack while on his way to see a client…

Another case:  on 17 August 1952, in Greenwich, a young woman, Mrs Sunnel, is having tea in a garden with some friends.  The conversation is frivolous, the atmosphere relaxed.

Suddenly, she lets out a scream and her eyes widen as if a monster has suddenly appeared before her.  Incapable of uttering a word, she is panting, her face horror-struck.  Then she lets out another scream:  “Oh, Billy!”

And she falls, unconscious.

Revived, she remains in a state of prostration for over a quarter of an hour.  Then she explains to her friends that she has had an appalling vision:  two speeding cars telescoped and all of the occupants, killed on impact, were lying in the twisted wreckage, atrociously mutilated and covered in blood.

“This whole image was very clear.  The car on the right was light blue, an officer was driving it.  The one on the left was red and its driver wore glasses.  In this car, there were two men, a young blonde girl and my nephew Billy…”

She gets up suddenly:

“I must telephone my sister.  She has to stop Billy getting into the car…  Something is certainly going to happen to him…”

Her friends try to calm her, telling her that she has probably been affected by the sun and that she shouldn’t attach any importance to the thought that had come to her.

Mrs Sunnel protests:

“It wasn’t a thought, but a very precise vision that I had;  I am sure that it announces a great misfortune.”

She telephones her sister and asks where her nephew is.  She is told that he is out with friends.  She leaves a message for him to telephone her when he comes home.

And, without saying anything else, she hangs up.  Her anguish is such that her two friends decide to stay with her until Billy telephones.  It is five thirty in the afternoon.

Five hours pass, heavy, interminable, and at a quarter past ten, the telephone rings.  Mrs Sunnel rushes to it.  At the first words that she hears, she bursts into tears.  Her friends hurry to her.  She murmurs “He is dead.”.

Later, the three women were to learn that the accident happened at nine o’clock, that is to say four hours after Mrs Sunnel’s vision.  All of the details given by her to her friends concerning the cars and their occupants were right.  Mrs Sunnel had had, like so many other people, a premonitory vision…

Such phenomena are not rare, but we do not know why and how the veil which hides the future from us sometimes tears, for a second, for certain individuals, who often have only one of these visions in their whole lifetime.

***

Maurice Maeterlinck, who has studied these problems, notably in his work L’Hote inconnu, writes:

“It could be said that future events, accumulated ahead in our lives, weigh with enormous weight against the indecisive and fallacious dam of the present which can no longer contain them.  They seep through it.  They seek a crack through which to flow to us.”

He adds:

“These passive, independent and indocile premonitions are like vagabond and furtive emanations of the unknown…”

Each of us can therefore receive, while awake or dreaming, one of these “emanations” of the future, of that future which is there, nearby, behind the veil of the present, with its unimaginable deeds, its festivals, its wars, its cataclysms, and all the stages of our ageing bodies…

Frederic Myers, the founder of the Society for Psychical Research said:

“It can be asked whether the past and the future are really anything other than words;  if we do not take as a torrent of consequences that which is an ocean of coexistences…”

And Jean Riverain, in the work previously cited, writes:

“Since Einstein has established that Time, like Space, is relative, the hypothesis of the eternal present has become a strong scientific doctrine.”

For numerous relativists, Time does not pass, it is our conscience which passes in Time, a sort of immovable “decor” where, since the initial “big bang”, all is already the way it should be until the end of Time…

***

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