Pascal Forthuny.

Sometimes Pascal Forthuny’s clairvoyance is expressed by plays on words, almost puns.

On 10 Febuary 1926, the writer addresses two young men who had come together to the Institut metapsychique:

“I see the name Cardinal.  I see masonry, brick constructions on which there are things in glass.  You aren’t crystal merchants, however…  It’s chemistry…  They are test tubes… ”


“You’re not a cardinal?”

“Oh, no!”

“However, I see a cardinal…  Do you work with little bodies, very tiny ones?”


“It’s a luminous matter that you manipulate, an explosive matter.  You don’t make powder, though.  Cardinal…  You make powder to blow up cardinals?”

“Not at all!”

“But, I am thinking of a cardinal of the Curia…  The Roman Court…  The Roman Curia…  Ah!  The Curie!  It’s radium that you manipulate!”

The two young men were in fact pupils of Madame Curie.


The name Pascal Forthuny was only a writer’s pseudonym.  His real name was Cochet.  The son of a Parisian architect, he was born in 1872 and died in 1962.  After brilliant studies, he was successively – or simultaneously – charge de mission by the Government, painter, composer, journalist, art critic, poet, novellist and playwright.  He published more than twenty works and had half-a-dozen plays performed in theatres.  Extremely gifted for languages (he spoke six) he entered the Ecole des langues orientales at the age of forty-one and was diplomed in Chinese three years later.


Before the famous 1921 seance at the Institut metapsychique where he had the revelation of his extraordinary clairvoyancy gift, he had had a strange premonition ten years earlier, while he was a journalist with Le Matin.  It happened on 12 January 1911, in the Sedan train station.  He had been given by his paper a story on the strikes in Alsace, and was about to go to Mulhouse with a photographer.

The two men were queuing in front of a ticket counter where they were supposed to take their tickets when, suddenly, Forthuny says to his companion:

“Listen, we have to return to Paris!”

The photographer is stunned.  What about Mulhouse and Colmar, where they are supposed to be going?

“You go if you want.  I’m going back!…  Don’t laugh at what I’m about to say:  I just saw, over there, beside the luggage, a coffin covered with a black pall and candles on each side of it.  Let’s get away!”

The photographer insists.  What about the story?  The people at Le Matin are going to be furious!

“I don’t care!  I’m going home!”

Half-an-hour later, he abandons the photographer and boards the train for Paris.

At home, he finds his worried wife.

“I’m glad that you came home earlier than you thought.  Your mother took cold and isn’t well… “

Forthuny rushed to Neuilly to his parents’ home.  His mother had pneumonia.  She died the following day…


He had no other similar premonitions.  Many serious events later occurred in his life without him having the slightest presentiment.  For example, at the time that his son Frederic was killed in an aeroplane accident, in 1919, he was classing documents on his desk “without the slightest emotion touching the threshhold of my conscience”, he would later say.


The death of his son had, naturally, thrown him into great disarray.  In an attempt to help him to recover, one of his friends lent him a book on spiritism.  Forthuny read it and concluded:

“It’s a fragile hypothesis.”

And he didn’t say anything else about it.  But on 18 July 1920, while he was at his desk writing a novel, his hand, as if compelled by an outside force, suddenly started to draw a series of sticks.  Astounded, Forthuny took another sheet of paper and placed his hand on it as it continued to draw sticks, then curves of all sorts, then finally, letters and words.  Very impressed, the writer called his wife.

And in front of her, he had another try.  Immediately, his hand started to write – in a jagged way – words with no logical connection.  This first seance of automatic writing lasted two hours.

Later, the words became better formed and the sentences were intelligible.  Even though his hand ran over the paper at lightning speed.  Sometimes, he even wrote from right to left and had to use a mirror to read what he had written.


They were messages of a spiritual order, advice on morality, a philosophical teaching and descriptions of the after-life…  It all happened as if his hand was guided by an invisible spirit that wanted to help him.  In the presence of these texts of a tone and style very different one from the other, it seemed to him that they came from two spiritual entities:  one, which would never give its name and signed “Your guide”, the other, Frederic, his own son.


This “impulsive” writing lasted six months.  Exactly from 18 July to 25 December 1920.  On the last day, because it was Christmas, Pascal Forthuny wanted to converse with his son.  He sat down at his desk.  Immediately, his hand started to move, but very weakly.  Slowly, it raced “Ad…”, then stopped forever.


Until the famous seance of 1921 at the Institut metapsychique, he lived quietly and, although his son had announced, in one of his last messages, that he would become a clairvoyant and a healer, he consecrated himself entirely to literature.


In Pascal Forthuny’s case, the clairvoyance was often “verbal”.  He saw – or received – words.  And it is through a rather bizarre approach that he arrived at his goal.  For example, he says one day to a lady:

“I see “geometry”.  You are a Mathematics professor?”

“Not at all.”

“Geometry…  Geometry in space…  Volume…  You work with voluminous things?

“No, but I’m a librarian and I sell volumes… “

His clairvoyance therefore expressed itself by verbal association.  Another day, he stops in front of a gentleman and says:

“Zola…  Why Zola?…  Zola…  I am thinking of La Faute de l’abbe Mouret…  Mouret…  Moutet…  Your name is Moutet?”

The gentleman’s name was Moutet…


Charles Richet says that what gives such importance to Pascal Forthuny’s experiments is that, with him, the processes through which the sixth sense becomes a detective of reality, can be followed.  Firstly, there is a vague impression, then a word, often only half-understood, comes which, by a series of verbal associations, by stumbling, often by puns, leads to reality.


Doctor Eugene Osty.

Forthuny participated in the experiments at the Institute for four years, from 1922 to the Spring of 1926.  In the beginning, he just walked around the audience and dialogued with a few people who had made a word or an image surge into his mind.  Then Doctor Eugene Osty, who was particularly interested in his case, had the idea of an experiment which was taken up by many parapsychologists, notably the famous American, J. B. Rhine.  It’s the famous “empty chair test”.  Doctor Osty had a chair designated in a room where the meeting was to take place.  Pascal Forthuny then described in detail the physical aspect and the life of the person who was going to sit in it.  At the opening of the doors, each spectator pulled a number from a hat.  The number corresponded to a chair.  It was therefore chance which indicated his place to him.  But the person who was going to sit on the chair, chosen the day before, corresponded exactly to the portrait made of him by Pascal Forthuny.  Everything was rigorously confirmed:  his name – or the initial of his name – his physical appearance, his age, his profession, his town of birth and all the details concerning his life…


There was no possiblity of fraud.  On top of which, Dr Osty personally controlled the unfolding of the operations and Pascal Forthuny was not a man capable of cheating on this sort of experiment.


Before a collection of facts which uncontestably prove the existence of this sixth sense of which Dr Richet speaks, or this faculty psi as parapsychologists call it, why are there still so many scientists who refuse the evidence and deny all paranormal faculties?  Lamarck said:

“It is often more difficult to make known the truth than to discover it…”