Roland de Jouvenel photographed some time before his death.

On the evening of 2 May 1946, in the heart of a big apartment whose windows open onto the flowering sweet chestnut trees of the Tuileries, a young boy dies from typhoid.  He was going on fifteen and was called Roland de Jouvenel.

For a few days, his mother, Madame Marcelle de Jouvenel, crushed with grief, no longer opens the shutters, forgets to eat, doesn’t answer the telephone, receives no-one.  She is haunted by the idea of suicide.

One evening, like an automaton, she rises, opens the French window which leads to the balcony, looks at the street, leans over and is about to leap from the fourth floor when she suddenly feels a hand on her shoulder.  She turns around.  There is no-one there;  but the invisible hand is still holding her with authority.  So, she goes back inside the bedroom, closes the window and collapses into an armchair, crying.

A few days later, she speaks of this incident to a female friend who immediately says to her:

“Your son is near you, you should try to enter into communication with him.”

Mme de Jouvenel shrugs her shoulders.  She doesn’t believe in spiritism and finds ridiculous those people who try to make Victor Hugo or Napoleon speak to them via a side-table.  Her friend tells her:

“It’s got nothing to do with spinning tables.  You just have to take a pencil and let your hand do what it wants.”

Mme de Jouvenel refuses.  All that touches the supernatural, by near or by far, frightens her.

Madame Marcelle de Jouvenel when, under the name Marcelle Prat, she was a journalist and published little novels.

So, each morning, her friend telephones her, insisting that she at least consent to try.  Finally, annoyed, Mme de Jouvenel makes up her mind.  She thinks that at least she will be able to tell her friend that nothing has happened and she will at last leave her alone.

She takes a writing pad and a pencil.

And after a few minutes, the incredible happens:  her hand, as if traversed by an electrical current, begins to write in a relaxed, regular fashion, without crossing out or hesitating, in a big, sloping handwriting which is not her own, nor that of Roland.

When her hand stops, she can read this:

“Since you ask me to come, here I am.  Don’t be sad.  I’m here, right beside you.  I love you.  You will be happy.  Maman, your son is alive…  Believe these words:  death is life…”

She is overcome;  she can’t believe it, but the words are there…  So, she places the pencil on the writing pad once more and, again, the sentences line up without her will intervening.

The following day and the one after that, she does it again.  And from then on, each evening, Mme de Jouvenel writes under her son’s dictation.  The first messages contain a sort of religious teaching, as if Roland, from the other world, is taking control of his mother’s conversion and spiritual evolution.  For example, she receives:

“Each one, on Earth, must already forge his future life, for eternal life is only a prolongation.  Tell yourself that your human life is only a root in the ground, a seed in clay, and that your eclosion will be in Heaven…”

Then, the messages take a scientific turn.  It seems that Roland is annoyed to see that scholars are so little interested in researches on the essential.  And Mme de Jouvenel, who has no scientific culture, nor philosophical culture, writes “under dictation”:

“Pure science in its highest prolongations can sometimes explain the invisible world.  Scholars have already proven the disintegration of matter;  magicians without knowing it, they have surmounted incredible difficulties, split the atom, conceived the reality of an intermediary substance between the body and the ether.  But they do not extend their research to the soul and do not carry their investigations onto this…  The analysis of human radiations interests them a thousand times less than that of luminous radiations.  The attraction of particles of matter captivates them more than that of Man’s fluidic irradiation.  Who will direct curiosity to these unexplored horizons?”

“Science will be the vehicle used to give back to the world the idea that the unthinkable is a reality.  It is only by the perfect scientific path that Man will be converted to the mysterious…”

Then the messages proclaim that everything is alive, even matter.  And Mme de Jouvenel’s hand writes:

“Matter lives, dust lives, water lives, iron, copper, crystal, everything is alive;  and this collection of atoms is moved by the same principle as that which rules Man…  In each stone there are centuries of accumulated fluid;  layers of vibrations sleep in it like alguae at the bottom of the sea…”

Later, new message on this subject:

“This is very important:  Know that thought can influence matter, this will finally be discovered by Science.  But within this phenomenon, there is another:  connected thoughts, that is to say connected to us…  The important thing is that thought in itself becomes a fairly strong instrument, a fairly strong lever to dig matter out of its opacity, its immobility.  Through the relay of our brains, which emit waves, matter can become an associate.  Each intelligence has its wave length…  I keep telling you:  purify yourself and work to increase your wave-length…”

And as Mme de Jouvenel is asking herself about the concrete form that a thought must have to act on matter, her hand suddenly writes:

“A spinning propeller becomes invisible at a certain acceleration.  You don’t see thoughts because of the speed of their vibrations…”

Over months, then years, Mme de Jouvenel receives messages like this on all subjects:  the fourth dimension, telluric currents, stellar space, microphysics…  One day in 1961, antimatter is even the subject, a word that Mme de Jouvenel had never heard spoken:

“The principle of antimatter is perhaps the biggest discovery of the epoch…  Inside this absolute zero, a superstructure spreads…”

It is only very much later that Mme de Jouvenel learns that two Nobel Prizewinners, Doctors Cowan and Libby, admit the possibility of stars and galaxies composed of antimatter…

From time to time, the messages contain views of the future.  One day, Mme de Jouvenel receives this:

“I am able to affirm, without fixing a date nor giving more ample explanations, that you will traverse new anguish.  Some currents will again shake men, banks of chaotic waves shaking up brains.  There will not be war now;  the electricities of combat are going to suspend their effects, but guerillas will ceaselessly scrape your planet;  there has to be an open wound for the blood not to stop flowing.  Foyers of expiation will ceaselessly fly above the world and will land from place to place.  The guilty and the innocent will die together…”

In 1962, the messages clearly announce a time that we know well:

“The world, by desanctifying itself, has engendered its suicide.  You are entering into the era of autodestruction.  Terrorist attacks, suicides, accidents, conflicts which attack in great number are the proof of this.  Killing each other, demolishing, destroying, are incorporating themselves into the social automatisms…”

And, for twenty-five years, from 1946 to 1971, the year of her death, Mme de Jouvenel will receive thousands and thousands of messages on subjects of which she knew nothing, written in a style which corresponds in no way to her own, but which open vertiginous perspectives on physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, as if someone, “somewhere else”, someone who already knows, was trying to help us and open our eyes a little…

***

To be continued.

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