Louis Michel.

We continue with the article published in Revue britannique on 30 December 1838.

“This is assuredly the most unheard-of mental exaltation ever mentioned in the annals of human psychology.

“Although, according to Monsieur Garcin, this navigation tired the somnambulist a lot because of the variations in temperature which he felt as if he had really changed places, he was sent on other trips, in the same seance, with the same exactitude, and thanks to the simple power of imagination.  For the rest, he lived the seige of Constantine, at the epoch when this military operation was undertaken, with General Damremont receiving the fatal blow, on the very day of the catastrophe.  Finally, to return to his instinct for remedies, questioned about the illness of a local lady, Michel prescribed a plant to which he gave a particular name, the Mila Donna, which was unknown in Botany, and locally.  This plant had to be found;  Michel declared that it was growing inside a forest, at the foot of a green oak, 400 metres from a cabin whose owner he even designated.  The somnambulist was led on a search for this unknown plant;  not finding it, in spite of all his efforts, Michel lay down on the ground in the forest, went to sleep and, in the magnetic sleep, he indicated the same tree, North-East of the cabin and still at a distance of 400 metres;  the distance was measured and the plant was discovered at the foot of a green oak.

“It appears, on top of that, that the subjects of the questions addressed to the Figanieres somnambulist, make a sort of revolution around his body and that, if Michel does not seize them the first time around, he rarely misses them on the following turns.  Awake, the somnambulist remembers only a vast scene, which forms a circular panorama, from which he takes the facts, the ideas and the words of which his answers are composed.”

This article, taken up by the world’s press, makes a lot of noise, and Louis Michel’s renown extends to the United States.

From then on, there is a continual parade at the home of the “Figanieres clairvoyant”.  People come to ask him the strangest things:  the style of the furniture of a cousin who has retired to Limoges;  the state of health of a family member living in Switzerland;  the colour of the dress worn by a young girl from Aubagne on the day of her engagement;  details on the comportment of a husband travelling in the diligence from Marseille to Lyon, etc.  His consultants – of whom he never asks for payment – find him always disposed to help them.  It is true that, since he is living from the revenue of the vines inherited at the death of his father, he has abandoned any kind of activity and can consecrate himself entirely to sleep.

This curious existence lasts a certain number of years.  Then Louis Michel gradually transforms;  He holds edifying discourses, speaks of saving suffering Humanity, says that he is inspired by the Spirit, heals a few sick people and draws up texts of meditation of an elevation and a style which would have very much astonished his former teachers at the Lorgues College…  Naturally, it isn’t long before he is surrounded by fervent zealots and austere priestesses, among whom there are writers, poetesses, philosophers, lawyers, scholars, politicians and a quantity of Free Masons imbued with Deist theories and humanitarian sentiments.  All of them consider him as the new Messiah, with the task of renewing morality…

In spite of his new responsibilities, the former chair- and cabinet-maker, whom some call respectfully “Beloved” or “Redeemer”, still continues his “dream travels” whenever any worried person comes to knock on his door.

But his mind now visits regions that it hadn’t yet explored.  Under the influence of the mystical climate in which he lives, his “travels” sometimes take him to the moon, to the stars, and even to the feet of the Supreme Being…  The extraordinary Journal which is religiously kept by an adept, gives us an idea of the overflowing activity which he deploys – in dreams – for the last thirty years of his life.  Here is an extract:

“Le Muy, 4 September 1850, afternoon.  By the mind, Michel is transported to Paris, into a grocery shop managed by a man named Bluis.  He finds this man compulsing old papers, then reads, aloud, one of the documents that the man has in his hand.

“Le Muy, same day, evening.  He goes to Frankfurt where he sees a seance given by the famous somnambulist Mademoiselle Josephine, sent formerly to the Saint-Ange Castle, in Rome.

“Figanieres, 9 September 1850, 9 o’clock in the morning.  The Virgin appears to him.

“Figanieres, 12 September 1850.  He has a conversation with the Supreme Being of whom he asks to go to relieve, over the waters, his uncle Jean Geraud, who is ill in Corsica;  The Supreme Being refuses this favour.

“Figanieres, 19 September 1850.  He goes “to the centre of the fire of the planet Earth, there where the motor is”.

“Draguignan, 9 February 1851.  He contemplates a dove, a parrot, a chariot harnessed with four pigeons, etc., then goes to Lyon, on the Place Bellecour, where he sees only hens, ducks and teal.

“Bourigaille, 15 December 1851.  The Spirit says to him:  ‘Michel, you shall be the precursor and, when it is time, I will give you the key that you see and we will open the great box of Truth.’

“Draguignan, 9 March 1852.  He goes to London, to Brussels, to Geneva, to Nice, to Rome, to Timbuktu, to Algiers, to Madrid, to Paris, towns on which he formulates political remarks.

“Marseille, 11 October 1852.  He travels ‘in the immensity of space’.

“Marseille, 5 February 1853.  He goes to Spain, searching for a treasure, wrestles with the Spirit of Evil, then goes to England, to Paris, on the Tiber.

“Marseille, 23 October 1853, 9:15 in the evening.  He gives political advice to the young King of Piemont.

“Marseille, 4 December 1853.  He goes to Spain, to Italy which, with France, constitute ‘the trinity of nations’.

“Marseille, 20 May 1854.  He converses with the Holy Spirit.

“Marseille, 1 June 1854.  He visits the planet Uranus.

“Marseille, 4 June 1854.  He goes ‘on reconnaissance to the four (sic) parts of the world’.

“Marseille, 11 June 1854.  He traces the history of the creation of the world.

“Figanieres, 15 August 1854.  He is carried ‘into high regions’ by ‘the enchanting, regenerating and luminous wind, ;  he arrives at the centre of all the perfections of the worlds which still hold material worlds, but which are neighbours to the spiritual worlds;  he sees the clock of clocks and its great pendulum…’

“Paris, 26 March 1857.  He travels ‘the distant infinity’.

“Marseille, 25 June 1858, 10 o’clock in the evening.  He travels among the planets which he implores to throw a little of their ‘pure rays onto the Earth’.”

***

To be continued.

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