From India to the Planet Mars (04-05)
THE PERSONALITY OF LEOPOLD
IS Leopold really Joseph Balsamo, as he pretends? Or, since he has nothing in common with the famous thaumaturgist of the last century, save a certain superficial resemblance, is he, at any rate, a real being, separate from, and independent of, Mlle. Smith? Or, finally, is he only a pseudo-reality, a kind of allotropic modification of Hélène herself, a product of her subliminal imagination, just like our dream creations and the rôles suggested to a hypnotic subject?
Of these three suppositions it is the last which to my mind is undoubtedly the true one, while in Mlle. Smith's eyes it is as certainly the false view. It would be hard to imagine a more profound difference of opinion than that which exists between Mlle. Smith and myself on this subject. It is I, always, who get the worst of a discussion with her concerning it. I yield for two reasons. First, out of politeness; and, secondly, because I understand Hélène perfectly, and, putting myself in her place, realize that I should think exactly as she does about the matter.
Given her surroundings and personal experiences, it is impossible for her to do otherwise than believe
in the objective distinct existence of that mysterious being who constantly enters into her life in a sensible and quasi-material way, leaving her no room to doubt. He presents himself before her endowed with corporeality like that of other people, and hides objects which are behind him exactly as an ordinary individual of flesh and bone would do He talks into her ears, generally into the left, in a characteristic voice, which appears to come from a variable distance, sometimes about six feet off, sometimes much farther. He jars the table on which she has placed her immobile arms, takes hold of her wrist and writes with her hand, holding the pen in a manner unlike her, and with a handwriting wholly different from hers. He puts her to sleep without her knowledge, and she is astonished to learn upon awaking that he has gesticulated with her arms and spoken through her mouth in the deep bass voice of a man, with an Italian accent, which has nothing in common with the clear and beautiful quality of her feminine voice.
Moreover, he is not always on hand. He by no means answers Hélène's appeals on all occasions; is not at her mercy; far from it. His conduct, his manifestations, his comings and goings cannot be predicted with any certainty, and testify to an autonomous being, endowed with free-will, often otherwise occupied or absent on his own affairs, which do not permit of his holding himself constantly at the disposal of Mlle. Smith. Sometimes he remains for weeks without revealing himself, in spite of her wishing for him and calling upon him. Then, all at once, he makes his appearance when she least expects him. He
speaks for her in a way she would have no idea of doing, he dictates to her poems of which she would be incapable. He replies to her oral or mental questions, converses with her, and discusses various questions. Like a wise friend, a rational mentor, and as one seeing things from a higher plane, he gives her advice, counsel, orders even sometimes directly opposite to her wishes and against which she rebels. He consoles her, exhorts her, soothes, encourages, and reprimands her; he undertakes against her the defence of persons she does not like, and pleads the cause of those who are antipathetic to her. In a word, it would be impossible to imagine a being more independent or more different from Mlle. Smith herself, having a more personal character, an individuality more marked, or a more certain actual existence.
Hélène is also fortified in this conviction by the belief not only of members of her own family, but by that of other cultivated people who, having attended many of her seances, have no doubt whatever of Leopold's objective and separate existence. There are those who believe so firmly in the reality of this superior being, invisible to them, that they are in the habit of calling upon him during the absence of Mlle. Smith. Naturally they obtain responses, through the table or otherwise, and that causes unforeseen complications sometimes when she comes to learn of it. For while she admits theoretically—and Leopold himself has often declared the same thing—that he extends his surveillance and protection from afar over other spiritistic groups, and especially over all Hélène's friends and acquaintances, in practice and in fact,
however, it happens that neither he nor she will willingly admit the authenticity of those pretended communications from Leopold obtained in the absence of the medium of his predilection. It is generally some deceiving spirit who has manifested in his place on these occasions. These denials, however, do not prevent those who have become believers from continuing to believe in the omnipresence of this good genius, or from teaching their children to revere him, to make vows and address prayers to him. It must not be forgotten that spiritism is a religion. This also explains the great respect shown to mediums, which is like that accorded to priests.
It follows that, without in the least refraining from speaking ill of them whenever they think they have a grievance against them, on the other hand they bestow on them the same marks of respect as are only accorded to the most sublime product of the human race.
I have known a salon where, on the centre table, in full view and in the place of honor, were two photographs in beautiful frames: on the one side the head of Christ, on the other the portrait of—Mlle. Hélène Smith. Among other believers, with less ideal but more practical aspirations, no business matter of importance is closed, no serious decision made, until Leopold has been consulted through Hélène as an intermediary, and the cases are too numerous to mention in which he has furnished important information, prevented a heavy precuniary loss, given an efficacious medical prescription, etc.
It is easily seen how all the successes obtained by
[paragraph continues] Leopold, and the mystical veneration which many very estimable persons accord him, must contribute to strengthen the faith of Hélène in her all-powerful protector. It is in vain that, against this absolute assurance, one seeks to avail one's self of the arguments of contemporary psychology. The example of the fictions of the dream, the analogies taken from hypnotism and from psychopathology, considerations of mental disintegration, the division of the consciousness and the formation of second personalities, all these refined subtleties of our modern scientists break in pieces like glass against immovable rock. I shall not undertake to combat a proposition which, for her, has incontestably so much evidence in its favor, and which resolves all difficulties in the most felicitous manner and in conformity to good common-sense.
Nevertheless, since each individual has a right to his own opinion in the world, I beg leave to assume, for the time being, that Leopold does not exist outside of Mlle. Smith, and to try to discover his possible genesis in the mental life of the latter—solely by hypothesis and by means of psychological experiment. Therefore, readers who have little taste for this kind of academic composition had better skip this chapter.
I. PSYCHOGENESIS OF LEOPOLD
A description of the development of Leopold is not easy, since he has a double origin, apparent and real, like the cranial nerves which give so much trouble to the students of anatomy.
His apparent origin, or, I should say, the moment when he is outwardly separated from the personality of Hélène, and manifests as an independent "spirit," is relatively clear and well marked; but his actual origin, profoundly enfolded in the most inward strata of Hélène's personality and inextricably mixed up with them, presents great obscurities and can only be determined in a very conjectural manner. Let us begin with the apparent origin, or the first appearance of Leopold at the seances.
It is easy to understand that, once initiated into spiritism and plunged into a current of ideas where the comforting doctrine of spirit-guides and protectors holds an important place, Mlle. Smith did not delay in coming into possession of, like all good mediums, a disincarnate spirit specially attached to her person. She even had two in succession, Victor Hugo and Cagliostro. It is not a question of a simple change of name of the guide of Hélène, who presented himself first under the aspect and the name of the great poet and then afterwards adopted that of the renowned thaumaturgist, but there were, at least at the beginning, two different personalities, apparently hostile to each other, one of whom by degrees supplanted the other, after a struggle, a trace of which is found in the very incomplete reports of the seances of that period. Three phases can also be distinguished in the psychogenesis of Mlle. Smith's guide: an initial phase of five months, during which Victor Hugo reigns alone; a phase of transition of about a year, when the protection of Victor Hugo is seen to be powerless to protect Hélène
and her spiritistic group against the invasion of an intruder called Leopold, who claims and manifests an increasing authority over the medium by virtue of mysterious relations in the course of a previous existence; finally, the present period, which has lasted for six years past, in which Victor Hugo no longer figures, and which may be dated approximately from the moment when it was revealed that Leopold is only an assumed name, under which he hides in reality the great personality of Joseph Balsamo.
I do not find any fact worthy of mention in the first phase, in which Victor Hugo, who seems to have appeared as the guide of Mlle. Smith about the 1st of April, 1892 (see above, p. 38), played a rôle of no importance. In the second phase, however, it is necessary to cite some extracts from the reports of the seances of the N. group, in order to throw light upon the singular character which Leopold manifested there from the beginning.
August 26, 1892.—"A spirit announces himself under the name of Leopold. He comes for Mlle. Smith, and seems to wish to have a great authority over her. She sees him for some moments, he appears to be about thirty-five years of age, and is clothed altogether in black. The expression of his countenance is rather pleasing, and through answers to some questions which we put to him we are given to understand that he knew her in another existence, and that he does not wish her to give her heart to any one here below. . . Mlle. Smith recognizes her guide, Victor Hugo. She is made
happy by his arrival, and asks his protection against the obsession of this new spirit. He answers that she has nothing to fear, that he will always be present. She is joyful at being guarded and protected by him, and feels that she has nothing to fear."
September 2.—. . . "Leopold comes also, but Mlle. Smith fears nothing, since her guide (Victor Hugo) is there to protect her."
September 23.—. . . "An unpleasant evening. A spirit announces himself. It is Leopold. He speaks to us at once: 'I am here. I wish to be master of this sitting.' We are very much disappointed, and do not expect any good of him. He tries, as he had already done once before, to put Mlle. Smith to sleep, who has great difficulty in struggling against this sleep. She rises from the table, hoping by this means to rid herself of him, and that he will give up his place to others. She returns in about ten minutes, but he is still there, and apparently has no intention of abandoning his place. We summon our friends (spiritual) to our aid. . . . They take Leopold's place momentarily, but very soon Leopold returns; we struggle with him, we desire him to go away, but neither soft nor hard words have any effect; before that dogged determination we realize that all our efforts will be useless, and we decide to close the seance."
October 3.—"[Manifestation by the favorite spirits of the group, who declare] that they have not been able to come, as they would have liked to do; that they were prevented by the spirit of Leopold,
who is trying to introduce himself to us; that we should repulse him as much as possible, persuaded that he does not come for any good end. I do not know whether we shall be able to rid ourselves of him, but we greatly fear that he will injure us and retard our advancement."
October 7.—. . . "Leopold announces himself. We try to reason with him; we do not wish to forbid his coming, but we ask of him that he shall come as a friend to all, and not in the rôle of master. He is not satisfied; appears to bear much malice. We trust he will come to have better feelings. He shows himself, walks around the table, bows to us, and salutes each one with his hand, and retires again, leaving his place to others."
October 14.—"[After a quarter of an hour of motionless and silent waiting in darkness around the table Mlle. Smith is questioned, and she is shaken in vain.] She is asleep. By the advice of persons present we allow her to remain asleep, when, at the end of five minutes, the table raises itself, a spirit announces himself. It is Victor Hugo; we ask if he has anything to say; he answers yes, and spells out: Wake her; do not allow her ever to sleep. We try to do so. We are nervous about that sleep; we have great difficulty in awakening her."
January 6, 1893.—"After twenty minutes of waiting, Leopold arrives, and, as is his habit, puts the medium to sleep for some minutes; he torments us, and prevents our friends (disincarnate) from coming to the table. He vexes us in every way, and goes contrary to all our wishes. In presence of that rancor
the sitters regret the indications of ill-humor they have shown towards him, and deplore having to pay so dear for them. It is with difficulty that the medium can be awakened."
February, 1893.—"In one of the seances of this month a remarkable thing happened: the spirit of Leopold, who was very much irritated on that day, twice in succession took away her chair from our medium and carried it to the farther end of the room, while Mlle. Smith fell heavily to the floor. Not expecting this wretched farce, Mlle. Smith struck her knee so hard that for several days she suffered pain in walking. We were obliged to terminate the seance; we were not comfortable. Why this animosity?"
This word animosity describes very well the conduct and the feelings that Leopold seemed to have towards the N. group and against his placid rival, Victor Hugo. The personal recollections of the sitters whom I have been able to interrogate confirm the substantial physiognomy of the two figures. That of Hugo is, in effect, effaced and altogether eclipsed by the totally opposite character of the arrogant Leopold, who takes a peculiar pleasure in the rôle of vindictive and jealous mischief-maker, obstructing the appearance of the "spirits" desired by the group, putting the medium to sleep, or causing her to fall on the floor, forbidding her to give her heart to another, and breaking up the seances as far as he is able. It seems to have finally resulted in the meetings of the N. group coming to an end at the beginning of the summer; then comes a break of six months, after which I find
[paragraph continues] Mlle. Smith on the 12th of December inaugurating a new series of seances, with an entirely different spiritistic group organized by Prof. Cuendet. Here Victor Hugo very rarely appears, and never in the rôle of guide, which rôle is freely accorded, without objection, to Leopold, whose real identity (Cagliostro) was no secret to any one in the new environment. It was, therefore, in the course of the year 1893, at a period which cannot be precisely determined from the records, that the rivalry of these two personalities was terminated by the complete triumph of the second.
It follows from the preceding recital that the appearance of Leopold in seances of the N. group was a phenomenon of manifest contrast, of hostility, and of antagonism towards that group.
It is a difficult and delicate task to pronounce upon the complex spirit of an environment of which one was not a part, and in regard to which one possesses only a few and not very concordant incidents. The following, however, seem to be the facts:
The N. group, much more numerous than is convenient in seances of that kind, was composed of very varied elements. Alongside of serious believers were ordinarily some students who boarded with one of the ladies of the group, and who do not appear to have felt the seriousness of spiritistic reunions.
That age has no mercy, and the profound signification of the seances often escaped their superficial and frivolous intelligence. Under such conditions Mlle. Smith was inevitably compelled to experience two contrary impressions. On the one hand, she perceived
herself admired, made much of, fêted, as the unrivalled medium, which she really was, and upon whom the group depended for its existence; on the other hand, her secret instincts and high personal dignity could not but be offended by the familiarities to which she was exposed in this mixed environment.
I regard the two rival and successive guides of Hélène as the expression of this double sentiment. If she had been brought up like an American woman, or if her nature had been a degree less fine, the frivolity of the seances would undoubtedly have only given more warmth and brilliancy to Victor Hugo; instead of which, the victorious colors of Leopold are raised over a nature of great native pride, extremely sensitive on the point of feminine dignity, and whose severe and rigid education had already exalted her sense of self-respect. After a struggle of a year between these two personifications of opposite emotional tendencies, the second, as we have seen, finally triumphs; and Mlle. Smith withdraws from the N. group, which at the same time breaks up.
The idea I have formed of Leopold is now apparent. He represents, to my mind, in Mlle. Smith, the synthesis, the quintessence—and the expansion, too—of the most hidden springs of the psychological organism. He gushes forth from that deep and mysterious sphere into which the deepest roots of our individual existence are plunged, which bind us to the species itself, and perhaps to the Absolute, and whence confusedly spring our instincts of physical and moral self-preservation, our sexual feelings. When Hélène found herself in an environment not exactly dangerous,
but where she simply ran the risk, as in the N. group, of yielding to some inclination contrary to her fundamental aspirations, it is then that Leopold suddenly springs up, speaking as the master, taking possession of the medium for himself, and indicating his unwillingness that she should attach herself to any one here below. We here recognize the same principle of self-protection and self-preservation which was already active in her as a young girl in the teleological automatisms arising on the occasion of certain emotional shocks, of which I have spoken on p. 25.
But, by these considerations, we have travelled very far from the original appearance of Leopold in the seance of the 26th of August, 1892, towards his actual, more ancient origin. This seems to date from a great fright which Hélène had in the course of her tenth year. As she was walking along the street, on her way home from school, she was attacked by a big dog. The terror of the poor child can well be imagined, and from which she was happily delivered by a personage clothed in a long brown robe with flowing sleeves and with a white cross on the breast, who, appearing to her suddenly and as by a miracle, chased the dog away, and disappeared before she had time to thank him. But, according to Leopold, this personage was no other than himself, who on this occasion for the first time appeared to Hélène, and saved her by driving away the dog.
This explanation was given by Leopold on the 6th of October, 1895, in a seance in which Hélène experienced, in a somnambulistic state, a repetition of
that scene of fright, with heart-rending cries, gestures of struggle and defence, attempts at flight, etc. In the waking state she very well recalls this episode of her childhood, but cannot accept Leopold as the person who came to her rescue, but believes it to have been a priest or member of some religious order who rushed to her assistance and drove the animal away. Her parents also recollected the incident, which she told them one day on returning from school in a very excited state, and after which she could not for a long time encounter a dog in the street without hiding herself in the folds of her mother's dress. She has since always preserved an instinctive aversion towards dogs.
We have seen (p. 31) that after this first incident, matters remained in statu quo for four years, up to the time when the age of puberty began to favor the development of the Oriental visions. Here, Leopold, to whom we owe this information, does not altogether agree with himself, for at one time he says that it was he himself who furnished Mlle. Smith with her visions of India, at another time he says that they are reminiscences of one of her former existences.
Alongside of these varied visions, Leopold has clearly appeared under the form of the protector in the dark robe in a number of cases. I will only cite two examples, one very remote, the, other quite recent.
One day Hélène went to consult her family physician for some trifling ailment, who, having known her for a long time and being an old friend of her family, presumed to give her an innocent kiss. He was quite unprepared for the explosion of wrath
which this familiarity provoked, and hastened to make his apologies: but what is of interest to us in this connection is the fact that under the shock of this emotion her defender of the brown robe appeared before her in the corner of the room, and did not leave her side until she had reached home.
A short time ago this same protector, always in the same costume, accompanied her several days in succession while she was traversing a little-frequented part of the route towards her place of business. One evening, also, he appeared to her at the entrance to the street leading to the locality in question, in the attitude of baring the way, and obliged her to make a detour to regain her house.
Mlle. Smith has the impression—and several indications go to show that she is not deceived—that it is with the purpose of sparing her some unpleasant sight or a dangerous encounter that Leopold, in the brown robe, appears to her under perfectly well-known conditions. He rises before her always at a distance of about ten yards, walks, or rather glides, along in silence, at the same rate as she advances towards him, attracting and fascinating her gaze in such a manner as to prevent her turning her eyes away from him either to the right or the left, until she has passed the place of danger. It is to be noted that whereas Leopold, under other circumstances—for instance, at the seances—shows himself to her in the most varied costumes and speaks on all subjects, it is always under his hieratic aspect, silent, and clothed in his long dark robe, that he appears to her on those occasions of real life in which she is exposed to feelings of fright peculiar
to her sex, as he appeared to her on that first occasion in her tenth year.
The hints I have given sufficiently justify, I think, my opinion that the real and primordial origin of Leopold is to be found in that deep and delicate sphere in which we so often encounter the roots of hypnoid phenomena, and to which the most illustrious visionaries, such as Swedenborg, * seem to owe a great part not only of the intellectual content but. of the imaginative form, the hallucinatory wrapping, of their genius. There is a double problem to be solved in Mlle. Smith's case. Why have these instinctive feelings and emotional tendencies which are common to the entire human race succeeded in developing in her a product so complex and highly organized is is the personality of Leopold? and why, in the second place, does that personality believe itself to be Joseph Balsamo?
I instantly reply that these two results are, to my mind, entirely the effect of autosuggestion. To explain the first, the simple fact of her being occupied with spiritism and engaged in mediumistic experiments, is sufficient. Take any individual having in her subconsciousness memories, scruples, emotional tendencies, put into her head spiritistic leanings, then seat her at a table, or put a pencil in her hand: even though she may not be of a very impressionable or suggestible temperament, or inclined to the mental disintegration which the general
public calls the mediumistic faculty, nevertheless, it will not be long before her subliminal elements group themselves and arrange themselves according to the "personal" form to which all consciousness tends, * and which discloses itself outwardly by communications which have the appearance of coming directly from disincarnate spirits.
In the case of Mlle. Smith, Leopold did not exist under the title of a distinct secondary personality before Hélène began to be occupied with spiritism. It was at the seances of the N. group, by an emotional reaction against certain influences, as we have seen, that he began, little by little, to take shape, aided by memories of the same general tone, until he finally grew into an apparently independent being, revealing himself through the table, manifesting a will and a mind of his own, recalling analogous former incidents of Hélène's life, and claiming for himself the merit of having intervened in it in the rôle of her protector.
Once established, this secondary self could not do otherwise than to grow, and to develop and strengthen itself in all directions, assimilating to itself a host of new data favoring the state of suggestibility which accompanies the exercise of mediumship. Without the spiritism and the autohypnotization of the seances, Leopold could never have been truly developed into a personality, but would have continued to remain in the nebulous, incoherent
state of vague subliminal reveries and of occasional automatic phenomena.
The second problem, that of explaining why this secondary personality, once established, believes itself to be Cagliostro rather than any other celebrated personage, or of remaining simply the anonymous guardian angel of Mlle. Smith, would demand a very complete knowledge of the thousand outside influences which have surrounded Hélène since the beginning of her mediumship, and which may have involuntarily influenced her.
But on this point I have only succeeded in collecting a very few incidents, which leave much still to be desired, and are of such a character that it is entirely permissible for any one to claim that the purely psychological origin of that personality is not clearly established, and to prefer, if he chooses, the actual intervention of the disincarnate Joseph Balsamo to my hypothesis of autosuggestion.
The following, however, are the facts advanced by me in support of the latter:
The authoritative and jealous spirit, the evident enemy of the N. group, who manifested himself on the 26th of August, 1892, under the name of Leopold, did not reveal his identity as that of Cagliostro until some time afterwards, under the following circumstances:
One of the most regular attendants at the reunions of the N. group was a Mme. B., who had long been an adherent of spiritism, and who had previously attended numerous seances at the house of M. and Mme. Badel, a thoroughly convinced couple
of amateurs, now deceased, whose salon and round table have held a very honorable place in the history of Genevese occultism. But I learned from Mme. B. that one of the disincarnate spirits who manifested himself oftenest at the seances of M. and Mme. Badel was this very Joseph Balsamo. There is, indeed, no figure in history which accords better with the idea of a posthumous return to the mysteries of the round table than that of the enigmatic Sicilian, especially since Alexandre Dumas, père, has surrounded him with an additional halo of romance.
Not content with the public reunions of the N. group, Mme. B. often invited Hélène to her house for private seances, of which no record was made. At one of these, Hélène having had a vision of Leopold, who pointed out to her with a wand a decanter, Mme. B. suddenly thought of a celebrated episode in the life of Cagliostro, and after the seance she proceeded to take from a drawer and show to Hélène an engraving taken from an illustrated edition of Dumas, representing the famous scene of the decanter between Balsamo and the Dauphin at the château of Taverney. At the same time she gave utterance to the idea that the spirit who manifested himself at the table by means of Hélène's hands was certainly Joseph Balsamo; and she expressed her astonishment that Hélène had given him the name of Leopold, to which Helene replied that it was he himself who had given that name. Mme. B., continuing her deductions, told Mlle. Smith that perhaps she had formerly been the medium of the great magician, and consequently had been Lorenza Feliciani in a former life. Hélène at once accepted the
idea, and for several weeks considered herself to be the reincarnation of Lorenza, until one day a lady of her acquaintance remarked that it was impossible, Lorenza Feliciani having never existed save in the imagination and the romances of Alexandre Dumas, père. *
Thus dispossessed of her supposed former existence, Hélène was not long in declaring through the table that she was Marie Antoinette. As to Leopold, a short time after Mme. B. had hypothetically identified him with Cagliostro, he himself confirmed that hypothesis at a seance of the N. group, dictating to the table that his real name was Joseph Balsamo.
The origin of the name of Leopold is very obscure, and many hypotheses have been advanced to account for it without our being able to establish any of them with certainty.
One fact, however, is certain, namely, that save for the vague affirmation that he had known Hélène in a previous existence, Leopold had never pretended to be Cagliostro, or given any reason for being thought so, before the reunion where Mme. B., who had been for some time accustomed to manifestations of that personage, announced the supposition and showed Mlle. Smith immediately after the seance (at a moment when she was probably still in a very suggestible state) an engraving from Dumas’ works representing Balsamo and the Dauphin. From that day Leopold, on his part, never failed to claim that personality, and progressively to realize the character of the rôle in a very remarkable manner, as we shall see.
II. PERSONIFICATION OF BALSAMO BY LEOPOLD
There is no need, I think, to remind the reader of the well-known fact—so often described under the names of objectivity of types, personification, change of personality, etc.—that a hypnotized subject can be transformed by a word into such other living being as may be desired, according to the measure in which his suggestibility on the one hand and the vividness of his imagination and the fulness of his stored-up knowledge or- memories on the other, enables him to fulfil the rôle which is imposed upon him. Without investigating here to what extent mediums may be likened to hypnotized subjects, it is undeniable that an analogous phenomenon takes place in them; but the process is more gradual, and may extend itself over several years. In place of the immediate metamorphosis which modifies at one stroke and instantly, conformably to a prescribed type, the attitude, the physiognomy, the gestures, the words, the intonations of voice, the style, the handwriting, and other functions besides, we are, in the case of the medium, in the presence of a development formed by successive stages arranged according to grades, with intervals of different lengths, which finally succeed in creating a complete personality, all the more astonishing, at first sight, because the involuntary suggestions have not been noticed, the accumulations of which have little by little caused its birth. This process of development
is present in a high degree in the case of Mlle. Smith, in the elaboration of her secondary personality, Leopold-Cagliostro.
In the beginning, in 1892 and 1893, this "spirit" only manifested himself by the brief periods of sleep which he induced in Hélène at certain seances, by raps struck upon the table, by visions in which he showed himself clothed in black and of youthful appearance, and, more rarely, by auditive hallucinations. His character and the content of his messages were summed up in imperious, authoritative, domineering manners, with the pretension of claiming Mlle. Smith all for himself, of defending her against the influences of the N. group, and, finally, of detaching her from that environment.
There was nothing, however, in this general character of monopoly and of protection which specially recalled the Balsamo of history or of romance. The personification of complete objectivity of this established type really began only in 1894, when Leopold had no longer to struggle with an environment foreign to his nature. The subconscious psychological task of realization of the proposed model could then be followed by him more freely; in spiritistic terms, Joseph Balsamo was able to manifest himself and make himself known in a manner more complete through Hélène as an intermediary, while continuing to follow and protect her as the reincarnation of the royal object of his passion.
At the seances held with M. Cuendet, Leopold frequently showed himself to Hélène clothed after the fashion of the last century and with a face like
that of Louis XVI., under the different phases of his multiplex genius. He also showed himself to her in his laboratory, surrounded by utensils and instruments appropriate to the sorcerer and alchemist that he was; or, again, as the physician and possessor of secret elixirs, the knowledge of which is productive of consultations or remedies for the use of sitters who need them; or, again, as the illumined theosophist, the verbose prophet of the brotherhood of man, who diffuses limping Alexandrine verses—which seem to have been inherited from his predecessor, Victor Hugo—containing exhortations a little weak at times, but always stamped with a pure moral tone, elevated and noble sentiments, and a very touching religious spirit—in short, a fine example of that "ethico-deific verbiage" (if I may be allowed the expression, which is an Americanism), which, both in prose and in verse, is one of the most frequent and estimable products of mediumship.
But it was not until 1895 that Leopold, benefiting by the progress made by the automatic phenomena in Hélène, multiplied and perfected his processes of communication. The first step consisted in substituting, in his dictations by spelling, the movements of the hand or of a single finger for those of the whole table. This was the immediate result of a suggestion of mine.
The second step in advance was the handwriting, which shows two stages. In the first, Leopold gave Hélène the impression of a phrase (verbo-visual hallucination), which she copied in pencil on a sheet of paper, in her own handwriting. The second,
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Fig. 3. Handwriting of Leopold.
Fragments of two letters, one in Alexandrine verse, the other in prose, entirely in the hand of Leopold, automatically written by Mlle. Smith in spontaneous hemisomnambulism.
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Fig. 4. Normal handwriting of Mlle. Smith.
which was only accomplished five months later, and which consisted in writing directly with Hélène's hand, permitted the immediate establishment of three curious facts. One is, that Leopold holds his pen in the usual manner, the handle resting between the thumb and the index-finger, while Hélène, in writing, always holds her pen-handle or pencil between the index and middle fingers, a very rare habit with us. The next is that Leopold has an entirely different handwriting from that of Hélène, a calligraphy more regular, larger, more painstaking, and with marked differences in the formation of the letters (see Figs. 3 and 4). The third is that he uses the style of handwriting of the last century, and puts an o instead of an a in the tenses of the verbs, j’amois, for j’amais, etc. These three characteristics he has never departed from during all the four years that I have been accumulating specimens of his handwriting.
The following is a résumé of the seances at which these two innovations took place.
April 21, 1895.—As I had just asked Leopold a question which he did not like, Hélène, being in a state of hemisomnambulism, with a pencil and some sheets of paper placed before her, in the hope of obtaining some communication (not from Leopold), seemed about to plunge into a very interesting perusal of one of the blank sheets; then, at my request, which she with difficulty comprehended, she commenced to write rapidly and nervously on another sheet, in her usual handwriting, a copy of the imaginary text which Leopold was showing her ("in
fluid letters," as he said afterwards at the seance) as follows: "My thoughts are not thy thoughts, and thy wishes are not mine, friend Flournoy—Leopold." At the final awakening Hélène recognized perfectly her own handwriting in his phrase, but had no recollection of the occurrence.
September 22, 1895.—After different visions and some stanzas of Victor Hugo, dictated by the table, Hélène appeared to suffer considerably in her right arm, which she was holding at the wrist with her left hand, when the table at which she was seated gave out the following, dictated by Leopold: "I shall hold her hand," meaning that it was he, Leopold, who was causing Mlle. Smith to suffer pain by seizing her right hand. As she seemed to feel very badly and began to weep, Leopold was asked to desist; but he refused, and, still speaking through the table, said, "Give her some paper," then, "More light." Writing material was furnished her and the lamp brought in, which Hélène gazed at fixedly, while Leopold continued to dictate (this time with the little finger of her left hand), "Let her gaze on the lamp until she forgets the pain in her arm." She then seemed, in fact, to forget her pain, and to find satisfaction in looking at the lamp; then she fastened her eyes on the paper, and seemed to read something there which she endeavored to copy in pencil. But here the right hand began a curious alternation of contrary motions, expressing in a very clear manner a contest with Leopold, who was trying to compel her to hold the pencil in a certain way, which Hélène refused to do, with a great pretence
of anger. She persisted in holding it between the index and middle fingers, as was her wont, while Leopold wanted her to hold it in the usual way, between the thumb and the index-finger, and said: "I do not wish her to . . . she is holding the pencil very badly." The right index-finger then went through a very comical gymnastic performance, being seized with a tremor, which caused her to place it on one side or the other of the pencil, according to whether it was Leopold or Hélène who was victorious; during this time she frequently raised her eyes, with a look sometimes reproachful, sometimes supplicating, as if to gaze at Leopold standing by her side endeavoring to force her to hold the pencil in the manner he preferred. After a contest of nearly twenty minutes, Hélène, vanquished and completely subdued by Leopold, seemed to be absent, while her hand, holding the pencil in the manner she did not like, wrote slowly the two following lines, followed by a rapid and feverish signature of Leopold:
Laisser à tout jamais le poète têtu.—Leopold."
[paragraph continues] An allusion, which was of no importance, to a remark made by me at the commencement of the seance on the verses of Victor Hugo and those of Leopold frequently dictated by the table. The seance lasted some time longer; on awakening, Hélène vaguely remembered having seen Leopold, but knew nothing more concerning the handwriting scene.
It is a fact that while her other incarnations are always accomplished passively and without any
struggle, that of Leopold has the peculiarity of regularly provoking more or less resistance on the part of Hélène. " I do not make of her all that I wish . . . she is headstrong. . . . I do not know whether I shall succeed. . . . I do not believe I can master her to-day . . . " replies he often when asked to incarnate himself or write with her hand, and, indeed, his efforts often fail. There exists between Hélène and her guide a curious phenomenon of contrast and opposition, which only breaks out in the higher and more recent forms of motor automatism, the handwriting, the speech, or the complete incarnation, but from which the sensory messages and simple raps on the table or of the finger are free. It is very possible that the idea, very antipathetic to Hélène, of the hypnotizer mastering his subjects in spite of themselves—of the disincarnated Cagliostro using his medium as a simple tool—has been subconsciously the origin of this constant note of revolt against the total domination of Leopold, and of the intense suffering which accompanied his first incarnations, and which has slowly diminished through her becoming accustomed to the process, though it has never been completely banished.
After the handwriting, in its turn came speech, which also was attained by means of two stages. In a first attempt Leopold only succeeded in giving Hélène his intonation and pronunciation after a seance in which she suffered acutely in her mouth and in her neck, as though her vocal organs were being manipulated or removed; she began to talk in a natural tone, and was apparently wide awake
and feeling well, but spoke with a deep bass voice, and a strong, easily recognizable Italian accent. It was not until a year later that Leopold was finally able to speak himself by the mouth of Mlle. Smith, while she was completely entranced, and who did not retain on awakening any memory of this strange occurrence. Since then the complete control of the medium by her guide is a frequent occurrence at the seances, and affords a tableau very characteristic and always impressive.
Leopold succeeds in incarnating himself only by slow degrees and progressive stages. Hélène then feels as though her arms had been seized, or as if they were absent altogether; then she complains of disagreeable sensations, which were formerly painful, in her throat, the nape of her neck, and in her head; her eyelids droop; her expression changes; her throat swells into a sort of double chin, which gives her a likeness of some sort to the well-known figure of Cagliostro. All at once she rises, then, turning slowly towards the sitter whom Leopold is about to address, draws herself up proudly, turns her back quickly, sometimes with her arms crossed on her breast with a magisterial air, sometimes with one of them hanging down while the other is pointed solemnly towards heaven, and with her fingers makes a sort of masonic sign, which never varies. Soon after a series of hiccoughs, sighs, and various noises indicate the difficulty Leopold is experiencing in taking hold of the vocal apparatus; the words come forth slowly but strong; the deep bass voice of a man, slightly confused, with a pronunciation and accent
markedly foreign, certainly more like Italian than anything else. Leopold is not always easily understood, especially when his voice swells and thunders out a reply to some indiscreet question or to the disrespectful remarks of some skeptical sitter. He speaks thickly, pronounces g like j, and all his u’s like ou, accents the final syllables, embellishes his vocabulary with obsolete words, or words which do not fit the circumstances, such as fiole for bouteille, omnibus for tramways, etc. He is pompous, grandiloquent, unctuous, sometimes severe and terrible, sometimes also sentimental. He says "thee" and "thou" to everybody, and appears to believe that he is still grand-master of the secret societies, from the emphatic and sonorous manner in which he pronounces the words "Brother" or "And thou, my sister," by which he addresses the sitters. Although he generally addresses himself to one of them in particular, and holds very little collective discourse, he is in touch with every one, listens to everything that is said, and each one may have his turn in conversation with him. Ordinarily he keeps his eyelids closed: he has, nevertheless, been persuaded to open his eyes in order to permit the taking of a photograph by a flash light. I regret that Mlle. Smith would not consent to the publication of her photographs, either in her normal state or in that of Leopold, in connection with the reproduction of a portrait of Cagliostro. * The reader may assure himself
that when she incarnates her guide she really assumes a certain resemblance of features to him, and there is something in her attitude which is sometimes somewhat theatrical, but sometimes really majestic, which corresponds well to the generally received idea of this personage, whether he is regarded as a clever impostor or as a wonderful genius.
Speech is the apogee of the incarnations of Leopold; often interrupted by fits of hiccoughs and spasms, it seems to be injurious to Hélène's organism, and there are some seances at which attempts to produce it fail to succeed. Leopold, on these occasions, indicates his impotence and the fatigue of the medium by his gestures, and is then reduced to the necessity of expressing himself by digital dictations or handwriting, or else to giving Hélène verbo-auditive hallucinations, the content of which she repeats in her natural voice.
From the point of view of ease and mobility of the entire organism, there is a notable difference between Leopold and the other incarnations of Hélène: these last seem to be effected with much more facility than in the case of that of her guide par excellence. In the case of the Hindoo princess and that of Marie Antoinette, the perfection of the play, the suppleness and freedom of movement, are always admirable. It is true there is no question here, according to the spiritistic doctrine and the subconscious ideas of Mlle. Smith, of incarnations properly so called, since it
is she herself who simply returns to that which she formerly was, by a sort of reversion or prenatal ecmnesia; she does not undergo, in consequence, any foreign possession, and can in these rôles preserve her natural identity and the entire disposition of her faculties. But still the occasional incarnation of different personalities, such as those of deceased parents or friends of the spectators, are often more easily and quickly effected than that of Leopold. Hélène moves in these cases with more vivacity and changes of attitude. In the rôle of Cagliostro, on the other hand, with the exception of the grandiose and not very frequent movements of the arms, once standing, she remains motionless, or only with difficulty advancing a little way towards the person to whom she addresses her discourse.
The content of the oral conversations of Leopold, as well as of his other messages by the various sensory and motor processes, is too varied for me to describe here: the numerous examples scattered through this work only can give an idea of it.
III. LEOPOLD AND THE TRUE JOSEPH BALSAMO
It would naturally be supposed that Leopold would have given us, by means of the psychological perfection of his partial or total incarnations and by the content of his messages; such a living likeness of Cagliostro that there would have been occasion to ask whether it is not really the latter who actually "returns," in the same way that Dr. Hodgson and his
colleagues ask themselves whether it is not actually George Pelham who manifests himself through Mrs. Piper. Let us suppose, for example, that Leopold possessed a handwriting, an orthography, a style identical with that which is found here and there in the manuscripts of Joseph Balsamo; that he spoke French, Italian, or German, as that cosmopolitan adventurer did, and with all the same peculiarities; that his conversations and messages were full of precise allusions to actual events in his life, and also of unpublished but verifiable facts, etc. In that case the difficult and delicate task of proving that Mlle. Smith had no knowledge through normal methods of these thousand exact features would still remain, and we should not be forced to ask whether this soi-disant authentic revenant is simply a very well-gotten-up simulacrum, an admirable reconstruction, a marvellous imitation, such as the subliminal faculties are only too glad to produce for the diversion of psychologists and the mystification of the simple.
This problem is not given to us. I regret it, but it is true, nevertheless—to my mind, at least, for in these matters it is prudent to speak only for one's self—that there is no reason to suspect the real presence of Joseph Balsamo behind the automatisms of Mlle. Smith.
That there are very curious analogies between what is known to us of Cagliostro and certain characteristic traits of Leopold, I do not deny, but they are precisely such as accord very well with the supposition of the subliminal medley.
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Fig. 5. Handwriting of Joseph Balsamo.
Fragment of a letter to his wife, reproduced in L’Isographie des Hommes célèbres.
Let us consider first the handwriting. To facilitate the comparison, I have reproduced here (see pp. 109 and 111) some fragments of letters of Cagliostro and of Leopold and of Hélène. Let us suppose—which is, perhaps, open to discussion—that the handwriting of Leopold, by its regularity, its firmness, resembles that of Balsamo more than that of Mlle. Smith; the degree of resemblance does not, I think, go beyond that which might be expected considering the notorious fact that handwriting reflects the psychological temperament and modifies itself in accordance with the state of the personality. *
It is well known how the calligraphy of a hyptonized subject varies according to the suggestion that he shall personate Napoleon, Harpagon, a little girl, or an old man; there is nothing surprising in the fact that the hypnoid secondary personality of Hélène, which imagines itself to be the powerful and manly Count of Cagliostro, should be accompanied by muscular tensions communicating to the handwriting itself a little of that solidity and breadth which are found in the autograph of Balsamo. To this, however, the analogy is limited. The dissimilarities in the detail and the formation of the letters are such that the only conclusion which they warrant is that Mlle. Smith, or her subconsciousness, has never laid eyes on the manuscripts of Cagliostro. They are, indeed, rare, but the facilities she might have had, of which she has riot thought of taking
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Fig. 6. Normal Handwriting of Mlle. Smith
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Fig. 7. Handwriting of Leopold.
Fragment and signature of one of his letters, written by Mlle. Smith, in spontaneous hemisomnambulism.
advantage, for consulting in the Geneva public library the same volume from which I took Fig. 5, would prove, at least, her good faith and her honesty, if it were in the least necessary. The extravagant signature of Leopold with which all his messages are subscribed (see Fig. 7) recalls in no wise that of Alessandro di Cagliostro at the bottom of Fig. 5.
The archaic forms of orthography, j’aurois for j’aurais, etc., which appear above the first autograph of Leopold (see p. 99), and which occur again in the messages of Marie Antoinette, constitute a very pretty hit, of which the ordinary self would probably never dream by way of voluntary imitation, but by which the subconscious imagination has seen fit to profit. It is undoubtedly a matter for wonderment that Mlle. Smith, who has not gone very deep into literary studies, should, nevertheless, have retained these orthographic peculiarities of the eighteenth century; but we must not overlook the fineness of choice, the refined sensibility, the consummate, albeit instinctive, art which presides over the sorting and storing away of the subconscious memories. By some natural affinity, the idea of a personage of a certain epoch attracts and gathers into its net everything that the subject can possibly learn or hear spoken concerning the fashion of writing, of speaking, or acting, peculiar to that epoch. I do not know whether Balsamo ever used the French language and the orthography that Leopold employs. Even if he did, it would not weaken the hypothesis of the subliminal imitation, but if, on the other hand, it should be ascertained that he
did not, the hypothesis would be greatly strengthened thereby.
As for the speech, I am ignorant as to how, with what accent and what peculiarities of pronunciation, Balsamo spoke the French tongue, and to what degree, in consequence, his reconstruction by Hélène's subliminal fantasy correctly hits it. If this point could be cleared up, it would probably be found to be just like that of the handwriting. Nothing could be more natural than to ascribe to the chevalier d’industrie of Palermo a very masculine, deep-bass voice, and, it goes without saying, as Italian as possible. It must be noted, too, that Mlle. Smith often heard her father speak that language, which he knew very well, with several of his friends; but that, on the other hand, she does not speak it, and has never learned it. Leopold, however, does not know Italian, and turns a deaf ear when any one addresses him in that language. The intonation, the attitude, the whole physiognomy, in short, accord with these remarks. As to the extremely varied content of the conversations and messages of Leopold, we are not obliged to consider Balsamo as their necessary author. When everything relating to Mlle. Smith and the sitters, but which has nothing to do with the last century, has been swept aside, together with the spiritistic dissertations in regard to the "fluid" manner in which Leopold exists, perceives, and moves, the three subjects or categories of communications still remain, which merit a rapid examination.
In the first place, there. are the answers of Leopold
to the questions put to him concerning his terrestrial life. These answers are remarkably evasive or vague. Not a name, not a date, not a precise fact does he furnish. We only learn that he has travelled extensively, suffered greatly, studied deeply, done much good, and healed a great many sick folk; but now he sees things too lofty to think any more about historic details of the past, and it is with unconcealed disgust or direct words of reproach for the idle curiosity of his carnal questioners that he hastens to turn the conversation, like Socrates, to moral subjects and those of a lofty philosophy, where he feels evidently more at ease. When he is further pressed he becomes angry sometimes, and sometimes ingenuously avows his ignorance, enveloping it meanwhile in an air of profound mystery. " They are asking the secret of my life, of my acts, of my thoughts. I cannot answer." This does not facilitate investigation of the question of identity.
In the second place come the consultations and medical prescriptions. Leopold affects a lofty disdain for modern medicine and phenic acid. He is as archaic in his therapeutics as in his orthography, and treats all maladies after the ancient mode. Baths of pressed grape-skins for rheumatism, an infusion of coltsfoot and juniper-berry in white wine for inflammations of the chest, the bark of the horse-chestnut in red wine and douches of salt water as tonics, tisanes of hops and other flowers, camomile, oil of lavender, the leaves of the ash, etc.; all these do not accord badly with what Balsamo might have prescribed a century or more ago. The misfortune,
from the evidential point of view, is that Mlle. Smith's mother is extremely well versed in all the resources of popular medicine where old recipes are perpetuated. She has had occasion to nurse many sick people in her life, knows the virtues of different medicinal plants, and constantly employs, with a sagacity which I have often admired, a number of those remedies spoken of as "old-women's," which make the young doctors fresh from the clinic smile, but to which they will more than once resort in secret after a few years of medical experience.
Finally, there still remain the sentiments of Leopold for Hélène, which he claims are only the continuation of those of Cagliostro for Marie Antoinette. My ignorance of history does not permit me to pronounce categorically on this point. That the Queen of France did have some secret interviews with the famous "gold-maker," due to simple curiosity or to questions of material interest, there is no doubt, I believe; but that his feelings for his sovereign were a curious combination of the despairing passion of Cardinal Rohan for the queen, with the absolute respect which Alexandre Dumas, père, ascribes to Joseph Balsamo towards Lorenza Feliciani, appears to me less evident.
In short, if the revelations of Leopold have truly unveiled to us shades of feeling of Count Cagliostro hitherto unsuspected, and of which later documentary researches shall confirm the historic correctness—why, so much the better, for that will finally establish a trace of the supernormal in the mediumship of Hélène!
IV. LEOPOLD AND MLLE. SMITH
The connection between these two personalities is too complex for a precise description. There is neither a mutual exclusion, as between Mrs. Piper and Phinuit, who appear reciprocally to be ignorant of each other and to be separated by the tightest of partitions; nor a simple jointing, as in the case of Felida X., whose secondary state envelops and overflows the whole primary state. This is more of a crossing of lines, but of which the limits are vague and with difficulty assignable. Leopold knows, foresees, and recalls very many things of which the normal personality of Mlle. Smith knows absolutely nothing, not only of those which she may simply have forgotten, but of those of which she never had any consciousness. On the other hand, he is far from possessing all the memories of Hélène; he is ignorant of a very great part of her daily life; even some very notable incidents escape him entirely, which explains his way of saying that, to his great regret, he cannot remain constantly by her, being obliged to occupy himself with other missions (concerning which he has never enlightened us) which oblige him often to leave her for a time.
These two personalities are, therefore, not co-extensive; each one passes beyond the other at certain points, without its being possible for us to say which is, on the whole, the more extended. As to their common domain, if it cannot be defined by one word with entire certainty, it appears, nevertheless, to be
chiefly constituted by its connection with the innermost ranges of the being, both physiological and psychological, as might be suspected from what I remarked above concerning the real origin of Leopold. Physician of the soul and of the body, director of conscience, and at the same time hygienic counsellor, he does not always manifest himself immediately, but he is always present when Hélène's vital interests are involved. This will be made clearer by two or three concrete examples, which will at the same time illustrate some of the psychological processes by which Leopold manifests himself to Hélène.
It must be admitted that there is a disagreement and opposition as complete as possible (but how far does this "possible" go?) when Hélène, in at least an apparently waking state, converses with her guide, manifestly by a partial sensory or motor automatism; for example, in the case cited on page 64, where Leopold, not sharing the allochiria of Hélène, declared by the table that she was wrong, so emphatically that she protested and became angry; also, when in verbo-auditive hallucinations, or by automatic handwriting, he enters into discussion with her, and she holds her own with him; or, again, when the organism seems to be divided up between two different persons, Leopold speaking by Hélène's mouth, with his accent, and uttering his own ideas to her, and she complaining, in writing, of pains in her head and throat, without understanding their cause. Nevertheless, in these cases of division of the consciousness, which appear to amount to its cutting
in two, it is doubtful whether this plurality is more than apparent. I am not positive of having ever established with Hélène a veritable simultaneity of different consciousnesses. At the very moment at which Leopold writes by her hand, speaks by her mouth, dictates to the table, upon observing her attentively I have always found her absorbed, preoccupied, as though absent; but she instantaneously recovers her presence of mind and the use of her waking faculties at the end of the motor automatism. In short, that which from the outside is taken for the coexistence of distinct simultaneous personalities seems to me to be only an alternation, a rapid succession between the state of Hélène-consciousness and the state of Leopold-consciousness; and, in the case where the body seems to be jointly occupied by two independent beings—the right side, for instance, being occupied by Leopold, and the left by Hélène, or the Hindoo princess—the psychical division has never seemed to me to be radical, but many indications have combined to make me of the opinion that behind all was an individuality perfectly self-conscious, and enjoying thoroughly, along with the spectators, the comedy of the plural existences.
A single fundamental personality, putting the questions and giving the answers, quarrelling with itself in its own interior—in a word, enacting all the various rôles of Mlle. Smith—is a fitting interpretation, which accords very well with the facts as I have observed them in Hélène, and very much better than the theory of a plurality of separate consciousnesses,
of a psychological polyzoism, so to speak. This last theory is doubtless more convenient for a clear and superficial description of the facts, but I am not at all convinced that it conforms to the actual condition of affairs.
It is a state of consciousness sui generis, which it is impossible adequately to describe, and which can only be represented by the analogy of those curious states, exceptional in the normal waking life, but less rare in dreams, when one seems to change his identity and become some one else.
Hélène has more than once told me of having had the impression of becoming or being momentarily Leopold. This happens most frequently at night, or upon awakening in the morning. She has first a fugitive vision of her protector; then it seems that little by little he is submerged in her; she feels him overcoming and penetrating her entire organism, as if he really became her or she him. These mixed states are extremely interesting to the psychologist; unhappily, because they generally take place in a condition of consecutive amnesia, or because the mediums do not know how, or do not wish, to give a complete account of them, it is very rare that detailed descriptions are obtained.
Between the two extremes of complete duality and complete unity numerous intermediate states are to be observed; or, at least, since the consciousness of another cannot be directly penetrated, these mixed states may be inferred from the consequences which spring from them.
It has happened, for example, that, believing they
were dealing with Leopold alone, thoroughly incarnated and duly substituted for the personality of Mlle. Smith, the sitters have allowed to escape them on that account some ill-timed pleasantry, some indiscreet question or too free criticisms, all innocent enough and without evil intention, but still of a nature to wound Hélène if she had heard them, and from which the authors would certainly have abstained in her presence in a waking state.
Leopold has not stood upon ceremony in putting down these imprudent babblers, and the incident, generally, has had no further consequences. But sometimes the words and bearing of Mlle. Smith for days or weeks afterwards show that she was aware of the imprudent remarks, which proves that the consciousness of Leopold and her own are not separated by an impenetrable barrier, but that osmotic changes are effected from the one to the other. It is ordinarily pointed and irritating remarks which cause the trouble, which goes to prove that it is the feelings of self-love or personal susceptibility that form in each one of us the inmost fortifications of the social self, and are the last to be destroyed by somnambulism, or that they constitute the fundamental substratum, the common base by which Leopold and Mlle. Smith form a whole and mingle themselves in the same individuality.
The psychological process of this transmission is varied from another cause. Sometimes it appears that the consecutive amnesia of the trance has been broken as to the most piquant details, and that Hélène clearly remembers that which has been said, in the
presence of Leopold, disagreeable to herself. Some times it is Leopold himself who repeats to her the unpleasant expressions which have been used, with commentaries calculated to lessen their effect and to excuse the culprits: for it is an interesting trait of his character that he undertakes with Hélène the defence of those same persons whom he reprimands and blames, a contradiction not at all surprising when it is psychologically interpreted, considering the habitual conflict of emotional motives or tendencies, the warfare which opposite points of view is incessantly carrying on in our inmost being. Sometimes, again, it is in a dream that the junction is effected between the somnambulistic consciousness of Leopold and the normal consciousness of Hélène.
Apropos of the last case, here is an example containing nothing disagreeable, in which Hélène remembered in her waking state a nocturnal dream, which was itself a repetition or echo, in natural sleep, of a somnambulistic scene of the previous evening.
In a seance at which I assisted, shortly after my recovery from an attack of congestion of the lungs, Hélène, completely entranced, has a vision of Leopold-Cagliostro, who, in the rôle of sympathetic physician, comes to hold a consultation with me. After some preliminaries she kneels down by my chair, and, looking alternately at my chest and at the fictitious doctor standing between us, she holds a long conversation with him, in which she explains the condition of my lungs, which she sees in imagination, and the treatment which Leopold prescribes, somewhat as follows:
[paragraph continues] ". . . It is the lungs . . . it is darker . . . it is one side which has been affected . . . You say that it is a severe inflammation—and can that be healed? . . . Tell me, what must be done . . . Oh, where have I seen any of these plants? . . . I don't know what they are called . . . those . . . I don't understand very well . . . those synantherous? . . . Oh, what a queer name . . . Where are they to be found? . . . You say it belongs to the family of . . . then it has another name? Tell me what it is . . . some tissulages [sic] . . . Then you think this plant is good for him? . . . Ah! but explain this to me . . . the fresh leaves or the dried flowers? Three times a day, a large handful in a pint . . . and then honey and milk. . . . I will tell him that he must drink three cups a day . . ." etc. Then followed very detailed directions as to treatment, various infusions, blisters, etc. The whole scene lasted more than an hour, followed by complete amnesia, and nothing was said to Hélène about it, as it was half-past six in the evening, and she was in haste to return home. The next day she wrote me a seven-page letter in which she described a very striking dream she had had during the night. ". . . I fell asleep about two o'clock in the morning and awaked at about five. Was it a vision? Was it a dream I had? I don't really know what to consider it and dare not say; but this I do know, I saw my dear friend Leopold, who spoke to me a long time about you, and I think I saw you also. I asked him what he thought of your state of health. . . . He replied that in his opinion it was far from re-established, That the pain
you feel in the right side came from an inflammation of the lung which has been seriously affected . . . You will doubtless laugh when I tell you that he also described the remedies you ought to take. . . . One of them is a simple plant, which is called, as nearly as I can remember, Tissulage or Tussilache, but has also another name, which I cannot recollect, but the first name will doubtless suffice, since he says you are familiar with the plant . . ." etc.
What I have said concerning Leopold is also applicable to the other personifications of Mlle. Smith. The normal consciousness of Hélène mingles and fuses itself in every way with the somnambulistic consciousness of Simandini, of Marie Antoinette, or some other incarnation, as we shall soon see. I pass now to the examination of some detailed examples, destined to throw light upon the rôle which Leopold plays in Hélène's existence.
Let us begin by listening to Leopold himself. Among his numerous messages, the following letter, written in his fine handwriting by the hand of Mlle. Smith—in response to a note in which I had begged him (as a spiritual being and distinct from her) to aid me in my " psychic researches"—contains information for which I had not asked, but which was none the less interesting. It must not be forgotten that it is the disincarnate adorer of Marie Antoinette who is writing:
"Friend,—I am pleased and touched by the mark of confidence you have deigned to accord me. The spiritual guide of Mademoiselle [Smith], whom the
[paragraph continues] Supreme Being in his infinite goodness has permitted me to find again with ease, I do all I can to appear to her on every occasion when I deem it necessary; but my body, or, if you prefer, the matter of little solidity of which I am composed, does not always afford me the facility of showing myself to her in a positive human manner. [He, in fact, appeared to her often under the form of elementary visual hallucinations, a luminous trail, whitish column, vaporous streamer, etc.]
"That which I seek above all to inculcate in her is a consoling and true philosophy, which is necessary to her by reason of the profound, unhappy impressions, which even now still remain to her, of the whole drama of her past life. I have often sown bitterness in her heart [when she was Marie Antoinette], desiring only her welfare. Also, laying aside everything superfluous, I penetrate into the most hidden recesses of her soul, and with an extreme care and incessant activity I seek to implant there those truths which I trust will aid her in attaining the lofty summit of the ladder of perfection.
"Abandoned by my parents front my cradle, I have, indeed, known sorrow early in life. Like all, I have had many weaknesses, which I have expiated, and God knows that I bow to His will!
"Moral suffering has been my principal lot. I have been full of bitterness, of envy, of hatred, of jealousy. Jealousy, my brother! what a poison, what a corruption of the soul!
"Nevertheless, one ray has shone brightly into my life, and that ray so pure, so full of everything
that might pour balm on my wounded soul, has given, me a glimpse of heaven!
"Herald of eternal felicity! ray without spot! God deemed best to take it before me! But to-clay it is given back to me! May His holy name be blessed!
"Friend, in what manner shall I reply to you? I am ignorant myself, not knowing what it will please God to reveal to you, but through her whom you call Mademoiselle [Smith], God willing, perhaps we shall be able to satisfy you.
We can see, under the flowing details of the spiritistic ideas and his rôle as the repentant Cagliostro, that the dominant characteristic of Leopold is his deep platonic attachment for Mlle. Smith, and an ardent moral solicitude for her and her advance towards perfection. This corresponds perfectly with the character of the numerous messages which he addresses to her in the course of her daily existence, as may he seen from the following specimen. He is referring to a case where, after having warned her on two occasions during the day by auditive hallucinations that he would manifest himself in the evening, he gives her, in fact, by automatic writing in his own hand, the encouragement she was actually in need of under the circumstances in which she found herself.
One morning, at her desk, Hélène heard an unknown voice, stronger and nearer to her than is usual
with Leopold, say to her: "Until this evening"; a little later the same voice, which she now recognized as that of Leopold, but of a quality rougher and nearer to her than was his habit, said to her: "You understand me well, until this evening." In the evening, having returned home, she was excited at supper, left the table in haste towards the end of the meal, and shut herself up in her room with the idea that she would learn something; but, presently, the instinctive agitation of her hand indicated to her that she should take her pencil, and having done so, she obtained in the beautiful calligraphy of Leopold the following epistle. (She says that she remained wide awake and self-conscious while writing it, and it is the only occasion of a similar character when she had knowledge of the content.)
"My beloved Friend,—Why do you vex yourself, torment yourself so? Why are you indignant, because, as you advance in life, you are obliged to acknowledge that all things are not as you had wished and hoped they might be? Is not the route we follow on this earth always and for all of us strewn with rocks? is it not an endless chain of deceptions, of miseries? Do me the kindness, my dear sister, I beg of you, to tell me that from this time forth you will cease from endeavoring to probe too deeply the human heart. In what will such discoveries aid you? What remains to you of these things, except tears and regrets? And then this God of love, of justice, and of life—is not He the one to read our hearts? It is for Him, not for thee, to see into them.
"Would you change the hearts? Would you give them that which they have not, a live, ardent soul, never departing from what is right, just, and true? Be calm, then, in the face of all these little troubles. Be worthy, and, above all, always good! In thee I have found again that heart and that soul, both of which will always be for me all my life, all my joy, and my only dream here below.
"Believe me: be calm: reflect: that is my wish."
I have chosen this example for the sake of its brevity. Hélène has received a number of communications of the same kind, sometimes in verse, in which the moral and religious note is often still more accentuated. In the greater part we meet with, as in the next to the last phrase of the foregoing letter, an allusion to the presumed affection of Cagliostro for Marie Antoinette. It is to be noticed that there is nothing in these excellent admonitions that a high and serious soul like that of Mlle. Smith could not have drawn from its own depths in a moment of contemplation and meditation.
Is it a benefit or an injury to the moral and truly religious life to formulate itself thus clearly in verbal hallucinations rather than to remain in the confused but more personal state of experienced aspirations and strongly expressed emotions? Do these inspirations gain or lose in inward authority and subjective power by assuming this exterior garb and this aspect of objectivity? This is a delicate
question, probably not susceptible of a uniform solution.
In the following incident, which I relate as an example among many other similar ones, it is no longer, properly speaking, the moral and religious sentiments personified in Leopold, but rather the instinct of reserve and of defence peculiar to the weaker sex, the sense of the proprieties, the self-respect, tinctured with a shade of exaggeration almost amounting to prudery.
In a visit to Mlle. Smith, during which I inquired whether she had received any recent communications from Leopold, she told me she had only seen him two or three times in the last few days, and had been struck by his "restless and unhappy" air, instead of the air "so pleasant, so sweet, so admirable," which he generally has. As she did not know to what to attribute this change of countenance, I advised her to take her pencil and to wrap herself in meditation, with the hope of obtaining some automatic message.
In about a minute her expression indicated that she was being taken possession of; her eyes were fixed on the paper, upon which her left hand rested, the thumb and little finger being agitated and continually tapping (about once a second), the right hand having tried to take the pencil between the index and middle finger (the manner of Hélène), ended by seizing it between the thumb and the index finger, and traced slowly in the handwriting of Leopold:
"Yes, I am restless | pained, even in anguish. |
[paragraph continues] Believest thou, friend, that it is with satisfaction | that I see you every day accepting the attentions, the flatteries; | I do not, call them insincere, but of little worth, and little praiseworthy | on the part of those from whom they come." |
This text was written at six separate times (marked by the vertical bars), separated by brief moments of full wakefulness, when the tappings of the left hand ceased, and when Hélène, repeating in a loud voice what she was about to write, is very much astonished, does not know to what Leopold alludes, then at my request takes her pencil to obtain an explanation, and falls asleep again during the following fragment. At the end of this bit, as she persists in saying that she is ignorant of what he refers to, I proceed to question Leopold, who replies that for several days Hélène has permitted herself to be courted by a M. V. (perfectly honorably), who often found himself on the same street-car with her, had made a place for her beside him the last few mornings, and had paid her some compliments on her appearance.
These revelations excited the laughter and protestations of Hélène, who commenced to deny that it could have come from Leopold, and accused me of having suggested it to her little finger; but the right hand took the pencil and traced these words in the handwriting and with the signature of Leopold: "I only say what I think, and I desire that you refuse henceforth all the flowers that he may offer you.—Leopold." This time Hélène remembered the incident, and recollected that yesterday morning he had
offered her a rose which he was wearing as a boutonnière.
Eight days later I paid another visit to Hélène, and after an effort to secure some handwriting, which was not successful, but resulted in a Martian vision (see Martian text No. 14), she had a visual hallucination of Leopold, and losing consciousness of the actual environment and of my presence also, as well as that of her mother, she flung herself into a running conversation with him in regard to the incident of eight days previously: "Leopold . . . Leopold . . . don't come near me [repulsing him]. You are too severe, Leopold! . . . Will you come on Sunday? I am going to be at M. Flournoy's next Sunday. You will be there . . . but take good care that you do not . . . No, it is not kind of you always to disclose secrets. . . . What must he have thought? . . . You seem to make a mountain out of a mole-hill. . . . And who would think of refusing a flower? You don't understand at all. . . . Why, then? It was a very simple thing to accept it, a matter of no importance whatever . . . to refuse it would have been impolite. . . . You pretend to read the heart. . . . Why give importance to a thing that amounts to nothing? . . . It is only a simple act of friendship, a little token of sympathy . . . to make me write such things on paper before everybody! not nice of you!" In this somnambulistic dialogue, in which we can divine Leopold's replies, Hélène took for the moment the accent of Marie Antoinette (see below, in the "Royal cycle"). To awaken her, Leopold, who had possession of Hélène's arms, made
some passes over her forehead, then pressed the frontal and suborbital nerves of the left side, and made me a sign to do the same with those of the right. The seance of the next day but one, at my house, passed without any allusion by Leopold to the incident of the street-car, evidently on account of the presence of certain sitters to whom he did not wish to reveal Hélène's secrets. But, three days after, in a new visit, during which she told me of having had a waking discussion concerning the future life (without telling me with whom), she again wrote, in the hand of Leopold: "It is not in such society as this that you ought so seriously to discuss the immortality of the soul." She then confessed that it was again on the street-car, and with M. V., that she had held that conversation while a funeral procession was passing. There was never anything that might have been of a compromising character in the exchange of courtesies and the occasional conversations of Mlle. Smith with her neighbor of the street-car. The trouble that it caused poor Leopold was very characteristic of him, and well indicated the severe and jealous censor who formerly had worried the N. group; there can be heard again the echo of that voice, "which has absolutely nothing to do with the conscience" (see pp. 27 and 82), and which has hitherto prevented Hélène from accepting any of the suitors whom she has encountered in the course of her journey through life. This austere and rigorous mentor, always wide awake, and taking offence at the least freedom which Mlle. Smith allows herself in the exchange of trifling courtesies,
represents, in fact, a very common psychological attribute; it is not every well-bred feminine soul that carries stored in one of its recesses, where it manifests its presence by scruples more or less vaguely felt, certain hesitations or apprehensions, inhibiting feelings or tendencies of a shade of intensity varying according to the age and the temperament.
It is not my part to describe this delicate phenomenon. It suffices me to remark that here, as in the ethico-religious messages, the personality of Leopold has in no way aided the essential content of those inward experiences of which Mlle. Smith is perfectly capable by herself; the form only of their manifestation has gained in picturesque and dramatic expression in the mise-en-scène of the automatic handwritings and of the somnambulistic dialogue. It seems as though the suggestive approach of my presence and my questions had been necessary to excite these phenomena; it is, however, very probable, to judge from other examples, that my influence only hastened the explosion of Leopold in formulated reproaches, and that his latent discontent, hitherto noticed in the "restless and suffering air" of his fugitive visual apparitions, would have terminated, after a period of incubation more or less prolonged, in breaking out into spontaneous admonitions, auditive or written.
It can be divined that in this rôle of vigilant guardian, of an almost excessive zealousness for the honor or the dignity of Mlle. Smith, Leopold is again, to my mind, only a product of psychological duplication. He represents a certain grouping of inward
desires and secret instincts, which the hypnoid predisposition, encouraged by spiritism, has brought into a peculiar prominence and given an aspect of foreign personality; in the same way, in the phantasmagoria of the dream, certain after-thoughts, almost unperceived while awake, rise to the first plane and become transformed into contradictory fictitious personages, whose cutting reproaches astonish us sometimes on awakening by their disturbing truthfulness.
A final example will show us Leopold, in his rôle of watcher over the health of Mlle. Smith and adviser of precautions which she ought to take. He is not troubled about her general health; when she had la grippe, for instance, or when she is simply worn out with fatigue, he scarcely shows himself. His attention is concentrated upon certain special physiological functions, of the normal exercise of which he takes care to be assured. He does not otherwise seem to exercise a positive action upon them, and cannot modify them in any way; his office seems to be confined to knowing beforehand their exact course, and to see that Hélène is not guilty of any imprudence which may impede them.
Leopold here shows a knowledge and prevision of the most intimate phenomena of the organism which has been observed in the case of secondary personalities, and which confers upon them, in that respect at least, an unquestionable advantage over the ordinary personality. In the case of Mlle. Smith, the indications of her guide are always of a prohibitive nature, calculated to prevent her from
taking part in spiritistic reunions at a time at which she believes herself able to do so with impunity, but which he, endowed with a more refined cœnæsthetic sensibility, thinks she ought not to undertake. He has for several years formally laid his ban upon every kind of mediumistic exercises at certain very regular periods.
He has also on numerous occasions compelled her by various messages, categorical auditive hallucinations, diverse impulses, contractures of the arms, forcing her to write, etc., to modify her plans and to abandon seances already arranged. This is a very clear form of teleological automatism.
As a specimen of this spontaneous and hygienic intervention of Leopold in the life of Hélène, I have selected the letter given below, because it combines several interesting traits. It well depicts the energy with which Mlle. Smith is compelled to obey her guide.
The passage from the auditive to the graphic form of automatism is also to be noticed in it. Apropos of this, in the page of this letter reproduced in Fig. 8 (see p. 137), it is made clear that the transition of the hand of Hélène to that of Leopold is accomplished brusquely and in a decided manner. The handwriting is not metamorphosed gradually, slowly, but continues to be that of Mlle. Smith, becoming more and more agitated, it is true, and rendered almost illegible by the shocks to the arm of which Leopold takes hold up to the moment when, suddenly and by a bound, it becomes the well-formed calligraphy of Cagliostro.
"January 29, 6.15 a.m.
"Monsieur,—I awoke about ten minutes ago, and heard the voice of Leopold telling me in a very imperious manner, 'Get up out of your bed, and quickly, very quickly, write to your dear friend, M. Flournoy, that you will not hold a seance to-morrow, and that you will not be able to go to his house for two weeks, and that you will not hold any seance within that period.' I have executed his order, having felt myself forced, compelled in spite of myself, to obey. I was so comfortable in bed and so vexed at being obliged to write you such a message; but I feel myself forced to do what he bids me.
"At this moment I am looking at my watch; it is 6.25 o'clock. I feel a very strong shock in my right arm—I might better speak of it as an electric disturbance—and which I perceive has made me . write crooked. I hear also at this instant the voice of Leopold. I have much difficulty in writing what he tells me: '6.42½ . Say to him this: I am, sir, always your very devoted servant, in body and mind, healthy and not unbalanced.'
"I stopped for some moments after writing these words, which I saw very well, after having written them, were in the handwriting of Leopold. Immediately afterwards, a second disturbance, similar to the first, gave me a fresh shock, this time from my feet to my head. It all passed so quickly that I am disturbed and confused by it. It is true that I am not yet quite well. Is this the reason why Leopold prevents my going to Florissant to-morrow? I do not know, but, nevertheless, am anxious to follow his advice. . . ."
Mlle. Smith always submits obediently to the commands of her guide, since, whenever she has transgressed them, through forgetfulness or neglect, she has had cause to repent it.
It is clear that in this rôle of special physician of Mlle. Smith, always au courant of her state of health, Leopold could easily be interpreted as personifying those vague impressions which spring forth continually from the depths of our physical being, informing us as to what is passing there.
A neuralgic toothache is felt in a dream hours before it makes itself felt in our waking consciousness, while some maladies are often thus foreshadowed several days before they actually declare themselves. All literature is full of anecdotes of this kind; and the psychiatrists have observed that in the form of circular alienation, where phases of melancholic depression and maniacal excitation alternately succeed one another more or less regularly with intervals of normal equilibrium, it is frequently in sleep that the first symptoms of the change of humor can be detected which has already begun in the depths of the individuality, but will only break forth on the outside a little later. But all the hypnoid states are connected, and it is not at all surprising that, in the case of a subject inclined to automatism, these confused presentiments should arise with the appearance of a foreign personality which is only a degree higher than the process of dramatization already so brilliantly at work in our ordinary dreams.
It will be useless to lengthen or further multiply examples of the intervention of Leopold in the life
Click to enlarge
A page from a letter of Mlle. Smith, showing the spontaneous irruption of the personality and the handwriting of Leopold during the waking state of Hélène.
of Mlle. Smith. Those which I have given show him under his essential aspects, and suffice to justify Hélène's confidence in a guide who has never deceived her, who has always given her the best counsel, delivered discourses of the highest ethical tone, and manifested the most touching solicitude for her physical and moral health. It is easy to understand that nothing can shake her faith in the real, objective existence of this precious counsellor.
It is really vexatious that the phenomena of dreams should be so little observed or so badly understood (I do not say by psychologists, but by the general public, which prides itself on its psychology), since the dream is the prototype of spiritistic messages, and holds the key to the explanation of mediumistic phenomena. If it is regrettable to see such noble, sympathetic, pure, and in all respects remarkable personalities as Leopold reduced to the rank of a dream creation, it must be remembered, however, that dreams are not always, as idle folk think, things to be despised or of no value in themselves: the majority are insignificant and deserve only the oblivion to which they are promptly consigned. A very large number are bad and sometimes even worse than reality; but there are others of a better sort, and "dream" is often a synonym for "ideal."
To sum up, Leopold certainly expresses in his central nucleus a very honorable and attractive side of the character of Mlle. Smith, and in taking him as her "guide" she only follows inspirations which are probably among the best of her nature.
91:* See Lehmann's Auberglaube and Zauberei, p. 217 et seq. Stuttgart, 1898.
92:* W. James, "Thought Tends to Personal Form." Principles of Psychology, vol. i. p. 225 et seq. New York, 1890.
95:* Alexandre Dumas, père, Memoirs of a Physician, chap. xv.
105:* The one which is found, for example, at the beginning of the Vie de Joseph Balsamo, etc., translated from the Italian (3d edition, Paris, 1791), and which has been several times reproduced. p. 106 Mlle. Smith has hanging over her fireplace a fine copy of this portrait.
110:* See, e.g., Ferrari, Hericourt, and Richet, "Personality and Handwriting," Revue philosophique, vol. xxi. p. 414.
THE MARTIAN CYCLE
THE title of this book would naturally commit me to a review of the Hindoo romance before investigating the Martian cycle. Considerations of method have caused me to reverse this order. It is better to advance from the simple to the complex, and while we certainly know less concerning the planet Mars than of India, the romance which it has inspired in the subliminal genius of Mlle. Smith is relatively less difficult to explain than the Oriental cycle. In fact, the former seems to spring from pure imagination, while in the latter we meet with certain actual historical elements, and whence Hélène's memory and intelligence have gained a knowledge of them is an extremely difficult problem for us to solve. There is, then, only one faculty at work in the Martian romance, as a professional psychologist would say, while the Oriental cycle calls several into play, making it necessary to treat of it later, on account of its greater psychological complexity.
While the unknown language which forms the vehicle of many of the Martian messages cannot naturally be dissociated from the rest of the cycle, it merits, nevertheless, a special consideration, and
the following chapter will be entirely devoted to it. It does not figure in the present chapter, in which I shall treat of the origin and the content only of the Martian romance.
I. ORIGIN AND BIRTH OF THE MARTIAN CYCLE
"We dare to hope," says M. Camille Flammarion, at the beginning of his excellent work on the planet Mars, "that the day will come when scientific methods yet unknown to us will give us direct evidences of the existence of the inhabitants of other worlds, and at the same time, also, will put us in communication with our brothers in space." * And on the last page of his book he recurs to the same idea, and says: "What marvels does not the science of the future reserve for our successors, and who would dare to say that Martian humanity and terrestrial humanity will not some day enter into communication with each other?"
This splendid prospect seems still far off, along with that of wireless telegraphy, and almost an Utopian dream, so long as one holds strictly to the current conceptions of our positive sciences. But break these narrow limits; fly, for example, towards the illimitable horizon which spiritism opens up to its happy followers, and as soon as this vague hope takes shape, nothing seems to prevent its immediate
realization; and the only cause for wonder is found in the fact that no privileged medium has yet arisen to have the glory, unique in the world, of being the first intermediary between ourselves and the human inhabitants of other planets; for spiritism takes no more account of the barrier of space than of time. The "gates of distance" are wide open before it. With it the question of means is a secondary matter; one has only the embarrassment of making a choice. It matters not whether it be by intuition, by clairvoyance, by telepathy, or by double personality that the soul is permitted to leave momentarily its terrestrial prison and make the voyage between this world and others in an instant of time, or whether the feat is accomplished by means of the astral body, by the reincarnation of disincarnate omnisciences, by "fluid beings," or, in a word, by any other process whatever. The essential point is, according to spiritism, that no serious objection would be offered to the possibility of such communication. The only difficulty would be to find a mediumistic subject possessing sufficient psychical faculties. It is a simple question of fact; if such a one has not yet been found, it is apparently only because the time is not yet ripe. But now that astronomers themselves appeal to those "unknown methods of actual science" to put us en rapport with other worlds, no doubt spiritism—which is the science of to-morrow, as definite as absolute religion—will soon respond to these legitimate aspirations. We may, therefore, expect at any moment the revelation so impatiently looked for, and every
good medium has the right to ask herself whether she is not the being predestined to accomplish this unrivalled mission.
These are the considerations which, to my mind, in their essential content inspired in the subliminal part of Mlle. Smith the first idea of her Martian romance. I would not assert that the passages from M. Flammarion which I have quoted came directly to the notice of Hélène, but they express and recapitulate wonderfully well one of the elements of the atmosphere in which she found herself at the beginning of her mediumship. For if there are no certain indications of her ever having read any work on the "heavenly worlds" and their inhabitants, either that of M. Flammarion or of any other author, she has, nevertheless, heard such subjects discussed. She is perfectly familiar with the name of the celebrated astronomical writer Juvisy, and knows something of his philosophical ideas, which, by-the-way, is not at all surprising when we consider the popularity he enjoys among spiritists, who find in him a very strong scientific support for their doctrine of reincarnation on other planets.
I also have evidence that in the circle of Mme. N., of which Hélène was a member in 1892, the conversation more than once turned in the direction of the habitability of Mars, to which the discovery of the famous "canals" has for some years specially directed the attention of the general public. This circumstance appears to me to explain sufficiently the fact that Hélène's subliminal astronomy should be concerned with this planet. It is, moreover, quite
possible that the first germs of the Martian romance date still further back than the beginning of Hélène's mediumship. The Oriental rôle shows indications of concerning itself with that planet, and the very clear impression which she has of having in her childhood and youth experienced many visions of a similar kind "without her noticing them particularly," gives rise to the supposition that the ingredients of which this cycle is composed date from many years back. Possibly they may have one and the same primitive source in the exotic memories, descriptions, or pictures of tropical countries which later branched out under the vigorous impulsion of spiritistic ideas in two distinct currents, the Hindoo romance on the one side and the Martian on the other, whose waters are mingled on more than one occasion afterwards.
While, on the whole, therefore, it is probable that its roots extend back as far as the childhood of Mlle. Smith, it is nevertheless with the Martian romance, as well as with the others, not a mere question of the simple cryptomnesiac return of facts of a remote past, or of an exhumation of fossil residua brought to light again by the aid of somnambulism. It is a very active process, and one in full course of evolution, nourished, undoubtedly, by elements belonging to the past, but which have been recombined and moulded in a very original fashion, until it amounts finally, among other things, to the creation of an unknown language. It will be interesting to follow step by step the phases of this elaboration: but since it always, unfortunately, hides itself in the obscurity of the subconsciousness, we are only cognizant of it by its occasional
appearances, and all the rest of that subterranean work must be inferred, in a manner somewhat hypothetical, from those supraliminal eruptions and the scanty data which we have concerning the outward influences which have exerted a stimulating influence upon the subliminal part of Hélène. It was in 1892, then, that the conversations took place which were to prepare the soil for this work of lofty subliminal fantasy, and planted in Hélène's mind the double idea, of enormous scientific interest, that she could enter into direct relation with the inhabitants of Mars, and of the possibility, unsuspected by scientists, but which spiritism furnishes us, of reaching there by a mediumistic route. I doubt, however, whether that vague suggestion on the part of the environment would have sufficed to engender the Martian dream—since for more than two years no sign of its eruption mainfested itself—without the intervention of some fillip more concrete, capable of giving a start to the whole movement. It is not easy, unfortunately, for want of records of the facts, to assign with precision the circumstances under which and the moment when Hélène's subconscious imagination received that effective impulsion, but an unequivocal trace is discovered, as I am about to show in the contemporaneous report of the proceedings of the first distinctly Martian seance of Mlle. Smith.
In March, 1894, Hélène made the acquaintance of M. Lemaître, who, being exceedingly interested in the phenomena of abnormal psychology, was present with others at some of her seances, and finally begged her to hold some at his house. At the first of these
[paragraph continues] (October 28, 1894), Hélène met a lady, a widow, who was greatly to be pitied. Besides suffering from a very serious affection of the eyes, Mme. Mirbel had been terribly afflicted by the loss of her only son, Alexis, seventeen years old, and a pupil of M. Lemaître. While not yet fully convinced of the truth of spiritism, it is easy to understand that Mme. Mirbel was very anxious to believe in that consolatory doctrine, and ready to accept it, if only some proofs could be furnished her; and what more convincing testimony could she ask or receive than that of a message from her beloved child? Moreover, it was probably not without a secret hope of procuring a communication of this nature that she accepted the invitation which M. Lemaître had sent her with the idea of procuring some moments of distraction for the unhappy mother As happens frequently in Hélène's case, this first seance fully satisfied the desires of the sitters and surpassed their expectations. Speaking only of that which concerns Mme. Mirbel, Hélène had the vision, first, of a young man, in the very detailed description of whom there was no difficulty in recognizing the deceased Alexis Mirbel; then of an old man whom the table called Raspail, brought by the young man that he might treat his mother's eyes, who thus had the double privilege of receiving through. the table words of tenderness from her son, and from Raspail directions for the treatment of the affection of her eyes. Nothing in that seance recalled in any way the planet Mars, and it could not be foreseen from anything that occurred there that Alexis Mirbel, disincarnated, would return
later under the name of Esenale as official interpreter of the Martian language.
It was altogether different a month later (November 25), at the second reunion at M. Lemaître's, at which Mme. Mirbel was again present. On this occasion the astronomical dream appeared at once and dominated the entire seance.
From the beginning, says the report of the seance, Mlle. Smith perceived, in the distance and at a great height, a bright light. Then she felt a tremor which almost caused her heart to cease beating, after which it seemed to her as though her head were empty and as if she were no longer in the body. She found herself in a dense fog, which changed successively from blue to a vivid rose color, to gray, and then to black: she is floating, she says; and the table, supporting itself on one leg, seemed to express a very curious floating movement. Then she sees a star, growing larger, always larger. and becomes, finally, "as large as our house." Hélène feels that she is ascending; then the table gives, by raps: "Lemaître, that which you have so long desired!" Mlle. Smith, who had been ill at ease, finds herself feeling better; she distinguishes three enormous globes, one of them very beautiful. "On what am I walking?" she asks. And the table replies: "On a world—Mars." Hélène then began a description of all the strange things which presented themselves to her view, and caused her as much surprise as amusement. Carriages without horses or wheels, emitting sparks as they glided by; houses with fountains on the roof; a cradle having for curtains
an angel made of iron with outstretched wings, etc. What seemed less strange, were people exactly like the inhabitants of our earth, save that both sexes wore the same costume, formed of trousers very ample, and a long blouse, drawn tight about the waist and decorated with various designs. The child in the cradle was exactly like our children, according to the sketch which Hélène made from memory after the seance.
Finally, she saw upon Mars a sort of vast assembly hall, in which was Professor Raspail, having in the first row of his hearers the young Alexis Mirbel, who, by a typtological dictation, reproached his mother for not having followed the medical prescription which he gave her a month previously: "Dear mamma, have you, then, so little confidence in us? You have no idea how much pain you have caused me!" Then followed a conversation of a private nature between Mme. Mirbel and her son, the latter replying by means of the table; then everything becomes quiet, the vision of Mars effaces itself little by little; the table takes the same rotary .movement on one foot which it had at the commencement of the seance; Mlle. Smith finds herself again in the fogs and goes through the same process as before in an inverse order. Then she exclaims: "Ah! here I am back again!" and several loud raps on the table mark the end of the seance.
I have related in its principal elements this first Martian seance, for the sake of its importance in different respects.
The initial series of cœnæsthetic hallucinations,
corresponding to a voyage from the earth to Mars, reflects well the childish character of an imagination which scientific problems or the exigencies of logic trouble very little. Without doubt spiritism can explain how the material difficulties of an interplanetary journey may be avoided in a purely mediumistic, fluid connection; but why, then, this persistence of physical sensations, trouble with the heart, tremor, floating sensation, etc.? However it may be, this series of sensations is from this time on the customary prelude, and, as it were, the premonitory aura of the Martian dream, with certain modifications, throughout all the seances; sometimes it is complicated with auditive hallucinations (rumbling, noise of rushing water, etc.), or sometimes olfactory (disagreeable odors of burning, of sulphur, of a coming storm), oftener it tends to shorten and simplify itself, until it is either reduced to a brief feeling of malaise, or to the initial visual hallucination of the light, generally very brilliant and red, in which the Martian visions usually appear.
But the point to which I wish to call special attention is that singular speech of the table, on the instant at which Mlle. Smith arrives on the distant star, and before it is known what star is concerned: "Lemaître, that which you have so much wished for!" This declaration, which may be considered as a dedication, so to speak, inscribed on the frontispiece of the Martian romance, authorizes us, in my opinion, in considering it and interpreting it in its origin, as a direct answer to a wish of M. Lemaître, a desire which came at a recent period to
[paragraph continues] Hélène's knowledge, and which has enacted with her the initiatory rôle of her astronomical dream.
It is true that M. Lemaître himself did not understand at the moment to what this preliminary warning referred, but the note which he inserted at the end of his report of that seance is instructive in this regard: "I do not know how to explain the first words dictated by the table: 'Lemaître, that which you have so much wished for!' M. S. reminds me that in a conversation which I had with him last summer I said to him: 'It would be very interesting to know what is happening upon other planets.' If this is an answer to the wish of last year, very well."
It must be added that M. S., who had been sufficiently struck by this wish of M. Lemaître to remember it for several months, was, during all of the time referred to, one of the most regular attendants upon the seances of Mlle. Smith; and, to one who knows by experience all that happens at the spiritistic reunions, before, after, and during the seance itself, there could hardly be any doubt but that it was through M. S., as intermediary, that Mlle. Smith had heard mentioned M. Lemaître's regret at our relative ignorance of the inhabitants of other planets. This idea, probably caught on the wing during the state of suggestibility which accompanies the seances, returned with renewed force when Hélène was invited to hold a seance at the house of M. Lemaître, and made more vivid also by the desire, which is always latent in her, of making the visions as interesting as possible to the persons among whom she finds herself. Such is, in my opinion, the seed which, falling into
the ground and fertilized by former conversations concerning the inhabitants of Mars and the possibility of spiritistic relations with them, has served as the germ of the romance, the further development of which it remains for me to trace.
One point which still remains to be cleared up in the seance, as I come to sum up, is the singularly artificial character and the slight connection between the Martian vision, properly so called, and the reappearance of Raspail and Alexis Mirbel. We do not altogether understand what these personages have to do with it. What need is there of their being to-day found on the planet Mars simply for the purpose of continuing their interview with Mme. Mirbel, begun at a previous seance, without the intervention of any planet? The assembly-hall at which they are found, while it is located on Mars, is a bond of union all the more artificial between them and that planet in that there is nothing specifically Martian in its description and appears to have been borrowed from our globe. This incident is at bottom a matter out of the regular course, full of interest undoubtedly for Mme. Mirbel, whom it directly concerns, but without intimate connection with the Martian world. It was evidently the astronomical revelation, intended for M. Lemaître, and ripened by a period of incubation, which should have furnished the material for this seance; but the presence of Mme. Mirbel awoke anew the memory of her son and of Raspail, which had occupied the preceding seance, and these memories, interfering with the Martian vision, become, for good or ill, incorporated as a strange episode in it without having
any direct connection with it. The work of unification, of dramatization, by which these two unequal chains of ideas are harmonized and fused the one with the other through the intermediation of an assembly-hall, is no more or no less extraordinary than that which displays itself in all our nocturnal phantasmagoria, where certain absolutely heterogeneous memories often ally themselves after an unexpected fashion, and afford opportunity for confusions of the most bizarre character.
But mediumistic communications differ from ordinary dreams in this—namely, the incoherence of the latter does not cause them to have any consequences. We are astonished and diverted for a moment as we reflect upon a dream. Sometimes a dream holds a little longer the attention of the psychologist, who endeavors to unravel the intricate plot of his dreams and to discover, amid the caprices of association or the events of the waking state, the origin of their tangled threads. But, on the whole, this incoherence has no influence on the ultimate course of our thoughts, because we see in our dreams only the results of chance, without value in themselves and without objective signification.
It is otherwise with spiritistic communications, by reason of the importance and the credit accorded them.
The medium who partially recollects her automatisms, or to whom the sitters have detailed them after the close of the seance, adding also their comments, becomes preoccupied with these mysterious revelations; like the paranoiac, who perceives hidden meanings
or a profound significance in the most trifling coincidences, she seeks to fathom the content of her strange visions, reflects on them, examines them in the light of spiritistic notions; if she encounters difficulties in them, or contradictions, her conscious or unconscious thought (the two are not always in accord) will undertake the task of removing them, and solving as well as possible the problems which these dream-creations, considered as realities, impose upon her, and the later somnambulisms will bear the imprint of this labor of interpretation or correction.
It is to this point we have come at the commencement of the astronomical romance of Mlle. Smith. The purely accidental and fortuitous conjunction of the planet Mars and Alexis Mirbel in the seance of the 25th of November determined their definitive welding together. Association by fortuitous contiguity is transformed into a logical connection.
II. LATER DEVELOPMENT OF THE MARTIAN CYCLE
This development was not effected in a regular manner; but for the most part by leaps and bounds, separating stoppages more or less prolonged. After its inauguration in the seance of November 25, 1894, it suffered a first eclipse of nearly fifteen months, attributable to new preoccupations which had installed themselves on the highest plane of Mlle. Smith's subconsciousness and held that position throughout the whole of the year 1895.
Compared with the seance of November, 1894, that
of February, 1896 (of which a résumé follows), shows interesting innovations. Raspail does not figure in it and henceforth does not appear again, which was probably due to the fact that Mme. Mirbel had failed to make use of the method of treatment which he had prescribed for her eyes. Young Mirbel, on the contrary, sole object of the desires and longings of his poor mother, occupies the highest plane, and is the central figure of the vision. He now speaks Martian and no longer understands French, which complicates the conversation somewhat. Further, not possessing the power of moving tables upon our globe, it is through the intervention of the medium, by incarnating himself momentarily in Mlle. Smith, that he henceforth communicates with his mother. These two latter points in their turn cause certain difficulties to arise, which, acting as a ferment or a suggestion, will later usher in a new step in the progress of the romance: Alexis Mirbel cannot return to incarnate himself in a terrestrial medium if he is imprisoned in his Martian existence; he must first terminate that and return to the condition in which he again floats in interplanetary space; which "fluid" or wandering state permits him at the same time to give us the French translation of the Martian tongue; since, according to spiritism, a complete memory of previous existences, and consequently of the various languages pertaining to them, is temporarily recovered during the phases of disincarnation.
These anticipatory hints will assist the reader in following more easily the thread of the somnambulistic romance in the résumé of its principal stages.
February 2, 1896.—I sum up, by enumerating them, the principal somnambulistic phases of this seance, which lasted more than two hours and a half, and at which Mme. Mirbel assisted.
I. Increasing hemisomnambulism, with gradual loss of consciousness of the real environment—at the beginning the table bows several times to Mme. Mirbel, announcing that the coming scene is intended for her. After a series of elementary visual hallucinations (rainbow colors, etc.), meaning for Mme. Mirbel that she would finally become blind, Hélène arose, left the table, and held a long conversation with an imaginary woman who wished her to enter a curious little car without wheels or horses. She became impatient towards this woman, who, after having at first spoken to her in French, now persisted in speaking in an unintelligible tongue, like Chinese. Leopold revealed to us by the little finger that it was the language of the planet Mars, that this woman is the mother of Alexis Mirbel, reincarnated on that planet, and that Hélène herself will speak Martian. Presently Hélène begins to recite with increasing volubility an incomprehensible jargon, the beginning of which is as follows (according to notes taken by M. Lemaître at the time, as accurately as possible): "Mitchma mitchmon mimini tchouainem mimatchineg masichinof mézavi patelki abrésinad navette naven navette mitchichénid naken chinoutoufiche" . . . From this point the rapidity prevented the recognition of anything else, except such scraps as "téké. . . katéchivist. . . méguetch," . . . or "méketch . . . kété . . . chiméké." After a few minutes,
[paragraph continues] Hélène interrupts herself, crying out, "Oh, I have had enough of it; you say such words to me I will never be able to repeat them." Then, with some reluctance, she consents to follow her interlocutrix into the car which was to carry her to Mars.
2. The trance is now complete. Hélène thereupon mimics the voyage to Mars in three phases, the meaning of which is indicated by Leopold: a regular rocking motion of the upper part of the body (passing through the terrestrial atmosphere), absolute immobility and rigidity (interplanetary space), again oscillations of the shoulders and the bust (atmosphere of Mars). Arrived upon Mars, she descends from the car, and performs a complicated pantomime expressing the manners of Martian politeness: uncouth gestures with the hands and fingers, slapping of the hands, taps of the fingers upon the nose, the lips, the chin, etc., twisted courtesies, glidings, and rotation on the floor, etc. It seems that is the way people approach and salute each other up there.
3. This sort of dance having suggested to one of the sitters the idea of performing upon the piano, Hélène suddenly fell upon the floor in an evidently hypnotic state, which had no longer a Martian character. At the cessation of the music she entered into a mixed state, in which the memory of the Martian visions continually mingle themselves with some idea of her terrestrial existence. She talks to herself. "Those dreams are droll, all the same. . . . I must tell that to M. Lemaître. When he [the Martian Alexis Mirbel] said 'Good-day' to me, he tapped himself upon the nose. . . . He spoke to me in a
queer language, but I understood it perfectly, all the same," etc. Seated on the ground, leaning against a piece of furniture, she continues, soliloquizing in French, in a low voice, to review the dream, mingling with it some wandering reflections. She finds, for example, that the young Martian (Alexis) was a remarkably big boy for one only five or six years old, as he claimed to be, and that the woman seemed very young to be his mother.
4. After a transitory phase of sighs and hiccoughs, followed by profound sleep with muscular relaxation, she enters into Martian somnambulism and murmurs some confused words: "Késin ouitidjé" . . . etc. I command her to speak French to me; she seems to understand, and replies in Martian, with an irritated and imperious tone, I ask her to tell me her name; she replies, "Vasimini Météche." With the idea that, perhaps, she "is incarnating" the young Alexis, of whom she has spoken so much in the preceding phase, I urge Mme. Mirbel to approach her, and thereupon begins a scene of incarnation really very affecting; Mme. Mirbel is on her knees, sobbing bitterly, in the presence of her recovered son, who shows her marks of the most profound affection and caresses her hands "exactly as he was accustomed to do during his last illness," all the time carrying on a discourse in Martian (tin is toutch), which the poor mother cannot understand, but to which an accent of extreme sweetness and a tender intonation impart an evident meaning of words of consolation and filial tenderness. This pathetic duet lasted about ten minutes,
and was brought to an end by a return to lethargic sleep, from which Hélène awakened at the end of a quarter of an hour, pronouncing a short Martian word, after which she instantly recovered the use of her French and her normal waking state.
5. Questioned as to what had passed, Hélène, while drinking tea, narrates the dream which she has had. She has a sufficiently clear memory of her journey and of what she has seen on Mars, with the exception of the young man, of whom she has retained only a recollection of the scene of incarnation.
But suddenly, in the midst of the conversation, she begins to speak in Martian, without appearing to be aware of it, and while continuing to chat with us in the most natural manner; she appeared to understand all our words, and answered in her strange idiom, in the most normal tone, and seemed very much astonished when we told her that we did not understand her language; she evidently believes she is speaking French. * By questioning her concerning a visit which she had made a few days before to M. C., and asking her the number and the names of the persons whom she met there, we succeed in identifying the four following Martian words: Métiche S., Monsieur S.; Médache C., Madame C.; Métaganiche Smith, Mademoiselle Smith; kin’t’che, four. After which she resumes definitively her French. Interrogated as to the incident
which has transpired, she is astounded, has only a hesitating and confused memory of her having spoken at all this evening of her visit to M. C., and does not recognize nor understand the four Martian words given above when they are repeated to her. On several occasions during this seance I had made the suggestion to Hélène that at a given signal, after her awaking, she would recover the memory of the Martian words pronounced by her and of their meaning. But Leopold, who was present, declared that this command would not be obeyed, and that a translation could not be obtained this evening. The signal, though often repeated, was, in fact, without result.
It has seemed to me necessary to describe with some detail this seance, at which the Martian language made its first appearance, in order to place before the reader all the fragments which, we have been able to gather, without, of course, any guarantee of absolute accuracy, since every one knows how difficult it is to note the sounds of unknown words. A curious difference is to be noticed between the words picked up in the course of the seance and the four words several times repeated by Hélène, the meaning and pronunciation of which have been determined with complete accuracy in the posthypnotic return of the somnambulistic dream. Judged by these latter, the Martian language is only a puerile counterfeit of French, of which she preserves in each word a number of syllables and certain conspicuous letters. In the other phrases, on the contrary, also making use of later texts which have been translated, as
we shall see hereafter, it cannot be discovered what it is. We are constrained to believe that these first outbreaks of Martian, characterized by a volubility which we have rarely met with since then, was only a pseudo-Martian, a continuation of sounds uttered at random and without any real meaning, analogous to the gibberish which children use sometimes in their games of "pretending" to speak Chinese or Indian, and that the real Martian was only created by an unskilful distortion of French, in a posthypnotic access of hemisomnambulism, in order to respond to the manifest desire of the sitters to obtain the precise significance of some isolated Martian words.
The impossibility, announced by Leopold, of procuring a translation that same evening of the pretended Martian spoken for the first time during that seance, and the fact that it could not again be obtained, give some support to the preceding theory.
The circumstance that Hélène, in remembering her dream in phase No. 3, had the sentiment of having well understood this unknown jargon, is not an objection, since the children who amuse themselves by simulating an uncouth idiom—to recur to that example—do not retain the least consciousness of the ideas which their gibberish is assumed to express. It seems, in short, that if this new language was already really established at that time in Hélène's subliminal consciousness to the point of sustaining fluently discourses of several minutes’ duration, some phrases at least would not have failed to gush forth, spontaneously sometimes, in the course of ordinary
life, and in order to throw light upon visions of Martian people or landscapes. More than seven months had to elapse before that phenomenon, which was so frequent afterwards, began to appear.
May we not see in this half-year a period of incubation, employed in the subliminal fabrication of a language, properly so called—that is to say, formed of precise words and with a definite signification, in imitation of the four terms just referred to—to replace the disordered nonsense of the beginning?
However it may be, and to return to our story, one can imagine the interest which that sudden and unexpected apparition of mysterious speech aroused, and which the authority of Leopold would not allow to be taken for anything other than the language of Mars. The natural curiosity of Hélène herself, as well as that of her friends, to know more about our neighbors of other worlds and their way of expressing themselves should naturally have contributed to the development of the subliminal dream. The following seance, unhappily, did not justify the promise with which it began.
February 16, 1896.—"At the beginning of this seance, Hélène has a vision of Alexis Mirbel, who announces, by means of the table, that he has not forgotten his French, and that he will give a translation of the Martian words another day. But this prediction is not fulfilled. Whether Hélène, for the reason that she is not feeling well to-day, or that the presence of some one antipathetic to her has hindered the production of the phenomena, the Martian somnambulism, which seemed on the point of breaking
forth, did not make its appearance. Hélène remains in a crepuscular state, in which the feeling of present reality and the Martian ideas on the level of consciousness interfere with and mutually obscure each other.. She speaks in French with the sitters, but mingling with it here and there a strange word (such as méche, chinit, chéque, which, according to the context, seem to signify pencil, ring, paper), and appears far away from her actual surroundings. She is astonished, in particular, at the sight of M. R. occupied in taking notes by the procès verbal, and seems to find that manner of writing with a pen or pencil strange and absurd, but without explaining clearly how it was to be otherwise accomplished. The importance of this seance is in the fact that the idea stands out clearly (which was not to be realized until a year and a half later) of a mode of handwriting peculiar to the planet Mars."
This seance, which was almost a failure, was the last of that period. Hélène's health, which became more and more impaired by standing too long on her feet and overwork at her desk, necessitated her taking a complete rest. I have mentioned the fact that during these six months, without any regular seances, she was subject to a superabundance of spontaneous visions and somnambulisms; but these automatisms belonged to the Hindoo or other cycles, and I do not believe that she experienced during that time any phenomena which were clearly related to the Martian romance. On the other hand, as soon as she was re-established in and had returned to her normal mode of life, the latter appeared again with
all the more intensity, dating from the following nocturnal vision. (See Fig. 9.)
September 5, 1896.—Hélène narrates that having arisen at a quarter-past three in the morning to take in some flowers that stood upon the window-sill and were threatened by the wind, instead of going back to bed immediately she sat down upon her bed and saw before her a landscape and some peculiar people. She was on the border of a beautiful blue-pink lake, with a bridge the sides of which were transparent and formed of yellow tubes like the pipes of an organ, of which one end seemed to be plunged into the water. The earth was peach-colored; some of the trees had trunks widening as they ascended, while those of others were twisted. Later a crowd approached the bridge, in which one woman was especially prominent. The women wore hats which were flat, like plates. Hélène does not know who these people are, but has the feeling of having conversed with them. On the bridge there was a man of dark complexion (Astané), carrying in his hands an instrument somewhat resembling a carriage-lantern in appearance, which, being pressed, emitted flames, and which seemed to be a flying-machine. By means of this instrument the man left the bridge, touched the surface of the water, and returned again to the bridge. This tableau lasted twenty-five minutes, since Hélène, upon returning to consciousness, observed that her candle was still burning and ascertained that it was then 3.40 o'clock. She is convinced that she did not fall asleep, but was wide awake during all of this vision. (See Figs. 10 and 11.)
From that time the spontaneous Martian visions are repeated and multiplied. Mlle. Smith experiences them usually in the morning, after awaking and before rising from her bed; sometimes in the evening, or occasionally at other times during the day. It is in the course of these visual hallucinations that the Martian language appears again under an auditive form.
September 22, 1896.—During these last days Hélène has seen again on different occasions the Martian man, with or without his flying-machine; for example, he appeared to her while she was taking a bath, at the edge of the bath-tub. She has had several times visions of a strange house the picture of which followed her with so much persistency that she finally painted it (see Fig. 12). At the same time she heard on three different occasions a sentence the meaning of which she does not know, but which she was able to take down with her pencil as follows: "Dodé né ci haudan té méche métiche Astané ké dé mé véche." (As was ascertained six weeks after, by the translation given in the seance of the 2d of November, this phrase indicates that the strange house is that of the Martian man, who is called Astané.)
This phrase was undoubtedly Martian, but what was the meaning of it? After having hoped in vain for nearly a month that the meaning would be revealed in some way or other, I decided to try a disguised suggestion. I wrote to Leopold himself a letter, in which I appealed to his omniscience as well as to his kindness to give me some enlightenment in regard to the strange language which piqued our
curiosity, and, in particular, as to the meaning of the phrase Hélène had heard. I asked him to answer me in writing, by means of Hélène's hand. We did not have to wait long for a reply. Hélène received my letter the 20th of October, and on the evening of the 22d, seized with a vague desire to write, she took a pencil, which placed itself in the regular position, between the thumb and the index-finger (whereas she always held her pen between the middle and index-finger), and traced rapidly, in the characteristic handwriting of Leopold and with his signature, a beautiful epistle of eighteen Alexandrine lines addressed to me, of which the ten last are as follows, being an answer to my request that the secrets of Martian be revealed to me:
Je te diroi des cieux tout le profond mystère;
Je t’aideroi beaucoup, je t’ouvriroi la voie,
Mais à toi de saisir et chercher avec joie;
Et quand tu la verras d’ici-bas détachée,
Quand son âme mobile aura pris la volée
Et planera sur Mars aux superbes couleurs;
Si tu veux obtenir d’elle quelques lueurs,
Pose bien doucement, ta main sur son front pâle
Et prononce bien bas le doux nom d’Esenale!" *
I have been very sensible to the pledges of fraternal affection that Leopold has accorded me, but this time I was especially moved, and although the very uncommon name of Esenale meant absolutely nothing to me, I took care not to forget the singular rule which had been furnished me. At the following seance an opportunity for using it presented itself, and Leopold went so far as to direct himself the application of his method by giving us his instructions, sometimes with one finger, sometimes with another, during Hélène's Martian trance.
Monday, November 2, 1896.—After various characteristic symptoms of the departure for Mars (vertigo, affection of the heart, etc.), Hélène went in a deep sleep. I had recourse to the prescribed method, but Leopold, by the fingers of the right hand, indicated that the proper moment had not yet arrived, and said: "When the soul shall again have regained possession of itself thou shalt execute my order; she will then describe to you, while still asleep, that which she shall have seen on Mars." Shortly after he adds, "Make her sit down in an easy-chair" (instead of the uncomfortable one which she had taken, as was her wont); then, as her peaceful sleep still continued, he informs us again that she is en route towards Mars; that once arrived up there she understands the Martian spoken around her, although she has never learned it; that it is not he, Leopold, who will translate the Martian for us—not because he does not wish to do so, but because he cannot; that this translation is the performance of Esenale, who is actually disincarnate in space, but who has
recently lived upon Mars, and also upon the earth, which permits him to act as interpreter, etc.
After half an hour of waiting, Hélène's calm sleep gave way to agitation, and she passed into another form of somnambulism, with sighs, rhythmic movements of the head and hands, then grotesque Martian gestures and French words murmured softly to the hearing of Leopold, who seems to accompany her on Mars, and to whom she confides some of her impressions in regard to that which she perceives. In the midst of this soliloquy a 'vertical movement of the arm, peculiar to Leopold, indicates that the moment has arrived for carrying out his directions. I place my hand on Hélène's forehead, and utter the name of Esenale, to which Hélène replies in a soft, feeble, somewhat melancholy, voice: "Esenale has gone away . . . he has left me alone . . . but he will return, . . . he will soon return. . . . He has taken me by the hand and made me enter the house [that which she saw in her vision, and of which she made the drawing a month ago—see Fig. 12]. . . . I do not know where Esenale is leading me, but he has said to me, 'Dodé né ci haudan té méche métiche Astané ké dé mé véche,' but I did not understand; . . . dodé, this; né, is; ci, the; haudan, house; te, of the; méche, great; métiche, man; Astané, Astané; ké, whom; dé, thou; mé, hast; véche, seen. . . . This is the house of the great man Astané, whom thou hast seen. . . . Esenale has told me that. . . . Esenale has gone away. . . . He will return . . . he will soon return . . . he will teach me to speak . . and Astané will teach me to write."
I have abridged this long monologue, constantly interrupted by silences, and the continuation of which I only obtained by having constant recourse to the name of Esenale as the magic word, alone capable of extracting each time a few words from Hélène's confused brain. After the last sentence or phrase, in which one can see a categorical prediction of the Martian writing, her weak, slow voice was finally hushed, and Leopold directs by means of his left middle finger the removal of the hand from the forehead. Then follow the customary alternations of lethargic sleep, sighs, catalepsy, momentary relapses into somnambulism, etc. Then she opens her eyes permanently, very much surprised to find herself in the easy-chair. Her brain is greatly confused. "It seems to me as though I had a great many things on my mind, but I cannot fix upon anything." By degrees she regains a clear consciousness, but of the entire seance, which has lasted an hour and a half, there only remain some fragments of Martian visions and no recollection whatever of the scene with Esenale and that of the translation.
This process of translation, the first application of which is here presented, becomes from this time the standard method.
For more than two years and a half, the imposition of the hand upon Hélène's forehead and the uttering of the name of Esenale at the proper moment during the trance constitute the "open sesame" of the Martian-French dictionary buried in the subliminal strata of Hélène's consciousness. The idea of this ceremonial is evidently to awaken by suggestion—in a
certain favorable somnambulistic phase, which Leopold recognizes and himself announces by a gesture of the arm—the secondary personality which has amused itself by composing the phrases of this extraterrestrial language.
In spiritistic terms, it amounts to invoking the disincarnate Esenale, otherwise called Alexis Mir-bel, who, having lived on both planets, can easily devote himself to the functions of an interpreter.
The only difference between this scene of translation and other seances is in the ease and rapidity with which it is performed. Esenale seems sometimes to be thoroughly asleep and difficult to awaken; Hélène persists in replying by the stereotyped refrain, and incessantly repeats, in her soft and melancholy voice, "Esenale has gone away—he will soon return—he has gone away—he will soon return." Then some more energetic passes or friction on the forehead are necessary, instead of the simple pressure of the hand, in order to break up this mechanical repetition, which threatens to go on forever, and in order to obtain, finally, the repetition and translation, word by word, of the Martian texts. Otherwise the voice continues identical with that of the refrain, soft and feeble, and one can never know whether it is Esenale himself who is making use of Hélène's phonetic apparatus without modifying it, or whether it is she herself, repeating in her sleep what Esenale has told her; the categorical distinctness and absence of all hesitation in pronunciation of the Martian are in favor of the former supposition, which is also corroborated by the fact that
Fig 13. Martian landscape. Greenish-yellow sky. A man with a yellow complexion. dressed in white, in a boat of brown, yellow, black, and red colors on a blue-green lake; rose-tinted rock, with white and yellow spots; dark green vegetation; buildings of brown, red, and rose-lilac tints, with white window-panes and curtains of bright blue.
it was also in this same voice that Alexis Mirbel (Esenale) spoke to his mother in the scenes of incarnation. (See Fig. 13.)
It would be wearisome to recount in detail all the further manifestations of the Martian cycle, which occur frequently in numerous seances and also under the form of spontaneous visions in the daily life of Mlle. Smith. The reader can gain an idea of them both from the remarks of the following paragraph, as well as from the explanatory résumés added to the Martian texts, which will be collected in the following chapter. It merely remains for me to say a word here as to the manner in which the pictures of Hélène relative to Mars, and reproduced in autotype in the Figs. 9 to 20, have been made.
None of these pictures has been executed in complete somnambulism, and they have not, consequently, like the drawings of certain mediums, the interest of a graphic product, absolutely automatic, engendered outside of and unknown to the ordinary consciousness. They are nothing more than simple compositions of the normal consciousness of Mlle. Smith. They represent a type of intermediary activity, and correspond to a state of hemisomnambulism. We have seen above (p. 20) that already in her childhood Hélène seems to have executed various pieces of work in a semi-automatic manner. The same performance is often reproduced on the occasion of the Martian visions, which sometimes pursue her so persistently that she decides to execute them with pencil and brush; work which, in anticipation, often frightens her by its difficulty, but which, when
the time comes, accomplishes itself, to her great astonishment, with an ease and perfection almost mechanical. Here is an example:
One Tuesday evening, having already retired, Hélène saw on her bed some magnificent flowers, very different from ours, but without perfume, and which she did not touch, for during her visions she has no idea of moving, and remains inert and passive. The afternoon of the following day, at her desk, she found herself enveloped in a red light, and at the same time felt an indefinable but violent affection of the heart (aura of the voyage to Mars). "The red light continues about me, and I find myself surrounded by extraordinary flowers of the kind which I saw on my bed, but they had no perfume. I will bring you some sketches of them on Sunday." She sent them to me, in fact, on Monday, with the following note: "I am very well satisfied with my plants. They are the exact reproduction of those which it afforded me so much pleasure to behold [No. 3, in Fig. 16, which, beforehand, Hélène despaired of being able to render well], which appeared to me on the latter occasion, and I greatly regret that you were not here to see me execute the drawing: the pencil glided so quickly that I did not have time to notice what contours it was making. I can assert without any exaggeration that it was not my hand alone that made the drawing, but that truly an invisible force guided the pencil in spite of me. The various tints appeared to me upon the paper, and my brush was directed in spite of me towards the color which I ought to use. This seems incredible,
Fig. 9. Martian landscape. Pink bridge, with yellow railings plunging down into a pale-blue and purple-tinted lake. The shores and hills of a red color, no green being visible. All the trees are of a brick-red purple, or violet tint. [From the collection of M. Lemaître]
Fig. 15. Light-brown and yellow trunk and leaves double-lobed flowers of a vivid red, out of which proceed yellow stamens like black threads.
Fig. 16. Large leaves, light yellowish brown; flowers with purple petals with black stamens and black stems covered with little purple leaves like petals.
Fig. 17. Large violet fruit with black spots, surmounted by a yellow and violet plume, The trunk of brown color with black veins, with six branches of the same character ending in a yellow hook. Red-brick soil.
but it is, notwithstanding, the exact truth. The whole was done so quickly that I marvelled at it."
The house of Astané (Fig. 12), and the extensive landscapes of Figs. 13 and 14, are also the products of a quasi-automatic activity, which always gives great satisfaction to Mlle. Smith. It is, in a way, her subliminal self which holds the brush and executes, at its pleasure, its own tableaux, which also have the value of veritable originals. Other drawings, on the contrary (for example, the portrait of Astané, Fig. 11), which have given Hélène much trouble without having satisfied her very well, should be regarded as simple copies from memory, by the ordinary personality, of past visions, the memory of which is graven upon her mind in a manner sufficiently persistent to serve as a model several days afterwards. In both cases, but especially in the first, Hélène's paintings may be considered as faithful reproductions of the tableaux which unfold themselves before her, and consequently give us better than most verbal descriptions an idea of the general character of her Martian visions.
Let us see now what kind of information the messages and somnambulisms of Hélène furnish us in regard to the brilliant planet whose complicated revolutions formerly revealed to a Kepler the fundamental secrets of modern astronomy.
III. THE PERSONAGES OF THE MARTIAN ROMANCE
In using the word "romance" to designate the Martian communications, taken as a whole, I wish to state that they are, to my mind, a work of pure imagination, but not that there are to be found in them characteristics of unity and of internal co-ordination, of sustained action, of increasing interest to the final dénouement. The Martian romance is only a succession of detached scenes and tableaux, without order or intimate connection, and showing no other common traits beyond the unknown language spoken in it, the quite frequent presence of the same personages, and a certain fashion of originality, a color or quality badly defined as "exotic" or "bizarre" in the landscapes, the edifices, the costumes, etc.
Of a consecutive plot or intrigue, properly so called, there is no trace. I naturally speak only of that which we have learned from the seances of Mlle. Smith, or from the spontaneous visions which she recollects sufficiently to narrate afterwards. But this fails to shadow forth the hidden source whence they all spring.
Without determining the question, I am inclined, nevertheless, to accord to the Martian romance, in some profound stratum of Hélène's being, a much greater continuity and extent than would appear from judging it solely by the fragments known to us. We have only, in my opinion, a few pages, taken at hazard from different chapters; the bulk of the
volume is wanting, and the little we possess does not enable us to reconstruct it in a satisfactory manner. We must, therefore, be content with sorting this débris of unequal importance, according to their content, independently of their chronological order, and grouping them around the principal personages which figure in them.
The anonymous and mixed crowd which forms the base of some of the Martian visions only differs from that of our own country by the large robe common to both sexes, the flat hats, and the sandals bound to the feet by straps. The interest is confined to a small number of more distinct personages having each his own name, always terminating in an e with the men and in an i with the women, except only in the case of Esenale, who occupies, however, a place by himself in his quality of disincarnated Martian, fulfilling the function of interpreter. Let us begin by saying a few words about him.
We have seen (p. 164) that this name was hinted at by Leopold on the 22d of October, 1896, without any other explanation as a means of obtaining the signification of the Martian words. Then at the first recurrence to this talisman (November 2d, see p. 166) we learn only that he was a deceased inhabitant of Mars, whose acquaintance Leopold had recently made in interplanetary space. It was only at the following seance (November 8th), where we find Mme. Mirbel, that, after an incarnation of her son Alexis, followed by the scene of translation (see text 3) and
in response to questions of the sitters—which answered very well the purpose of suggestion—Leopold affirmed by the left index-finger that Esenale was Alexis Mirbel. It cannot be determined whether that identification constituted a primitive fact which it pleased Leopold to keep secret, only revealing it at the end of a seance at which Mme. Mirbel was present, or whether, as I am inclined to regard it, it was only established at that same seance, under the domination of the circumstances of the moment. As a translator of Martian, Esenale did not show great talent. He had to be entreated, and it was necessary often to repeat his name while pressing or rubbing Hélène's forehead, in order to obtain the exact meaning of the last texts which had been given. He possessed, it is true, an excellent memory, and faithfully reproduced, before giving it word by word, the French for the Martian phrases which Hélène had heard several weeks before and only seen again five or six months afterwards (text 24), and of which there had been no previous opportunity to obtain a translation. But it was to these latter texts, not yet interpreted, that he confined his willingness; on two occasions only did he add, of his own accord, some words of no importance (texts 15 and 36. Text No. 19, for instance, has always remained untranslated, and my later efforts (June 4, 1899) to obtain the meaning of the unknown words milé piri have been in vain; moreover, Esenale has not been able to fill up the gaps in text No. 24.
Alexis Mirbel, after the two first Martian seances,
reported on pp. 146 and 154, called Esenale, often accorded his mother, in scenes of incarnation, somewhat pathetic, touching messages of filial tenderness and consolation (texts 3, 4, 11, 15, and 18). It is to be noted that, although opportunities for continuing this rôle were not wanting, he appears to have completely abandoned it for the last two years: His last message of this kind (October 10, 1897, text 18) followed a month after a curious seance in which Leopold sought to explain to us spontaneously—no one had mentioned the subject—certain flagrant contradictions in the first manifestations of Alexis-Esenale. Here is a résumé of that scene, with the text of Leopold's communication:
September 12, 1897.—After sundry waking visions, Mlle. Smith hears Leopold speaking; her eyes are closed, and, appearing to be asleep, she repeats, mechanically and in a slow and feeble voice, the following words, which her guide addresses to her: "Thou art going to pay close attention. Tell them now [the sitters] to keep as quiet as possible, that is what often mars the phenomena, the comings and goings, and the idle chatter of which you are never weary. You recollect there was, several months ago, a young man, that young man Alexis Mirbel, who came to give counsel to his mother at a reunion you held with M. (I do not understand the name he gave) . . . at Carouge * . . . Well, at that moment he happened—that is to say, two days before—to die on . . . (I could not understand
the name) . . . where he had been . . . or he had regained life. * This is why I have come to tell you to-day he was in that phase of separation of the material part from the soul which permitted him to recollect his previous existence—that is to say, his life here below in this state; he not only recollects his first mother, but can speak once more the -language he used to speak with her. Some time after, when the soul was finally at rest, he no longer recollected that first language; he returns, he hovers about (his mother), sees her with joy, but is incapable of speaking to her in your language. † Whether it will return to him I do not know and cannot say, but I believe that it will. And now listen." Here Mlle. Smith seems to awake, opens her eyes, and has a long Martian vision, which she describes in detail. She now sees a little girl in a yellow robe, whose name she hears as Anini Nikaïné, occupied with various childish games—e.g., with a small wand she makes a number of grotesque little figures dance in a white tub, large and shallow, full of sky-blue water. Then come other persons, and, finally, Astané, who has a pen in his fingers, and, little by little, takes hold of Hélène's arm and throws her into a deep trance for the purpose of causing her to write text No. 17.
These spontaneous explanations of Leopold are interesting in that they betray clearly the subliminal desire to introduce some order and logic into the
incoherences of the mediumistic reveries. It is a form of the process of justification and retrospective interpretation intended to make the incidents of the past accord with the dominant ideas of the present (see p. 95). In appearance, the theory upon which Leopold rested, after having doubtless meditated long, is quite awkward; but perhaps it was difficult for him to do better, since no one can accomplish the impossible.
"The great man Astané" is the reincarnation on Mars of the Hindoo fakir Kanga, who was a devoted companion and friend of Simandini. He has preserved in his new existence the special character of savant or of sorcerer, which he formerly possessed in India, and he has equally retained all his affection for his princess of old, who has been restored to him in Mlle. Smith; he frequently utilizes his magic powers to evoke her—that is to say, to re-enter into spiritual communication with her, notwithstanding the distances between their actual places of habitation. The ways and means of that evocation remain, however, enveloped in mystery. We cannot say whether it was Hélène that rejoined Astané on Mars during her somnambulism, or whether it was he who descended "fluidly" towards her and brought to her the odors of the far-distant planet.
When Astané says to Hélène, during a seance: "Come to me an instant. Come and admire these flowers," etc. (text 8), or shows her the curiosities of his Martian abode, it seems as though he had really
called her to him through space; but when he appears to her, while awake, at the edge of her bathtub, and expresses his chagrin at finding her still on this miserable earth (text 7), it must be admitted that it is he who has descended to her and inspires her with these visions of an upper world. It is of no importance, on the whole. It is here to be noted that, in these evocations, Astané only manifests himself in visual and auditive hallucinations, never in tactile impressions or those of general sensibility; in the sphere of emotion his presence is accompanied by a great calm on the part of Hélène, a profound bliss, and an ecstatic disposition, which is the correlative and pendant of the happiness experienced by Astané himself (texts 10, 17, etc.) at finding himself in the presence of his idol of the past. The social state of Astané—I should rather say his name, his quality of sorcerer, and his previous terrestrial existence in the body of Kanga—was not immediately revealed.
Nevertheless, at his first apparition (September 5, 1896, see p. 162), he rises superior to the crowd, inasmuch as he alone possesses a flying-machine incomprehensible to us. In the following weeks Mlle. Smith hears his name, and sees him again on many occasions, as well as his house (Fig. 12), but it is only at the end of two months and a half that his identity and his "evocative" powers become known, at a seance at which I was not present, and during which Hélène did not, contrary to her usual custom, fall completely asleep. The following is a résumé of the notes, which I owe to the kindness of M. Cuendet:
November 19, 1896.—Contrary to the experience of the preceding seances, Mlle. Smith remained constantly awake, her arms free on the table, conversing and even laughing all the while with the sitters. The messages were obtained by means of visions and typtological dictations. Hélène having asked Leopold how it happens that she had been able to communicate with a being living on Mars, she has a vision in which Astané appears to her in a costume more Oriental than Martian. " Where have I seen that costume?" asks she; and the table replies, "In India," which indicates that Astané is an ex-Hindoo reincarnated on Mars. At the same time Hélène has a vision of an Oriental landscape which she believes she has already seen before, but without knowing where. She sees Astané there, carrying under his arm rolls of paper of a dirty white color, and bowing in Oriental fashion before a woman, also clothed in Oriental garments, whom she also believes she has seen before. These personages appear to her to be "inanimate, like statues." The sitters ask whether the vision was not a simple tableau (of the past) presented by Leopold; the table replies in the affirmative, then inclines itself significantly towards Mlle. Smith, when some one asked who that Oriental woman might be, and the idea is put forth that possibly she represents Simandini. Finally, to further questions of the sitters, the table (Leopold) dictates again that Astané in his Hindoo existence was called Kanga, who was a "sorcerer of the period"; then that "Astané on the planet Mars possesses the same faculty of evocation which he had possessed in India." Leopold is then
asked if the power of Astané is greater than his. "A different power, of equal strength," replies the table. Finally, Hélène desiring to know whether Astané when he evokes her sees her in her real character or that of her Hindoo incarnation, the table affirms that he sees her in her Hindoo character, and adds: "and, in consequence, under those characteristics which she [Hélène] possesses to-day and which are in such striking harmony with those of SimaNdini," insisting on the N in the middle of the name.
It is to be remarked that at this sitting it was Leopold who gave all the information in regard to the past of Astané, and that he recognizes in him a power over Hélène almost equal to his own. It is strange that the accredited guide of Mlle. Smith, ordinarily so jealous of his rights over her and ready to take offence at all rival pretensions, so freely accords such prerogatives to Astané. This unexpected mildness is still more surprising when the singular similarity of position of these two personages in regard to Hélène is considered. Kanga, the Hindoo fakir, holds in the life of Simandini exactly the same place as Cagliostro in the life of Marie Antoinette, the place of a sorcerer giving beneficial counsel, and at the same time of a platonic adorer, and both of them in their actual rôles of Astané and of Leopold preserve for Mlle. Smith the respectful attachment which they had for her illustrious former existences. How is it these two extra-terrestrial pretenders do not hate each other the more cordially since their rival claims upon Hélène have identical foundations? But, far from in the least disputing her possession, they assist each other
in the most touching fashion. When Astané writes in Martian by Mlle. Smith's right hand that the noise of the sitters threatens to make him insane (see text 20) it is Leopold who comes to his rescue in making them keep silent by his gestures with the left arm. When Leopold indicates to me that the moment for pressing Hélène's forehead has arrived, it is Astané who lends him his pencil in order that the message may be written (see below, seance of September 12, 1897, and Fig. 23), and the exchange of powers takes place between them without the medium experiencing the least shock, and without its betraying itself outwardly otherwise than by the difference of their handwriting. It is true that Leopold's apparitions to Hélène are infinitely more frequent and his incarnations much more complete than those of Astané, who shows himself to her at increasing intervals, and has never attained to speaking by her mouth. It makes no difference: these two personages resemble each other too much for mutual toleration—if they are really two.
My conclusion presses. Astané is, at bottom, only a copy, a double, a transposition in the Hindoo-Martian manner of Leopold. They are two variations of one primitive theme. In regarding these two beings, as I do, in the absence of proof to the contrary, not as real and objective individualities, but as pseudo-personalities, dream fictions, fantastic subdivisions of the hypnoid consciousness of Mlle. Smith, it may be said that it is the same fundamental emotion which has inspired these twin rôles, the details of which have been adapted by the subliminal
imagination to correspond to the diversity of the circumstances. The contradiction painfully felt between the proud aspirations of the grande dame and the vexing ironies of reality has caused the two tragic previous existences to gush forth—intrinsically identical, in spite of the differences of place and epoch—of the noble girl of Arabia, having become Hindoo princess, burned alive on the tomb of her despot of a husband, and of her Austrian highness, having become Queen of France and sharing the martyrdom of her spouse.
On parallel lines, in these two dreams issuing from the same emotional source, it is the universal and constant taste of the human imagination for the marvellous, allied to the very feminine need of a respectful and slightly idolatrous protector, which on the one side has created out of whole cloth the personage of Kanga-Astané, and on the other hand has absorbed, without being careful in modifying authentic history, that of Cagliostro-Leopold. Both are idealistic sorcerers, of profound sagacity, tender-hearted, who have placed their great wisdom at the service of the unfortunate sovereign and made for her, of their devotion, amounting almost to adoration, a tower of strength, a supreme consolation in the midst of all the bitternesses of real life. And as Leopold acts as guide for Hélène Smith in the general course of her actual earthly existence, so Astané seemingly plays the sane rôle in the moments of that life in which Hélène leaves our sublunar world to fly away to the orb of Mars.
If, then, Astané is only a reflection, a projection
Fig. 12. House of Astané. Blue sky; soil, mountains, and walls of a red color. The two plants, with twisted trunks, have purple leaves; the others have long green lower leaves and small purple higher leaves. The frame-work of the doors, windows, and decorations are in the shape of trumpets, and are of a brownish-red color. White glass (?) and curtains or shades of a turquoise-blue. The railings of the roof are yellow, with blue tips.
Fig. 14. Martian landscape. Sky of yellow; green lake; gray shores bordered by a brown fence; bell-towers on the shore, in yellow-brown tones, with corners and pinnacles ornamented with pink and blue balls; hill of red rocks, with vegetation of a rather dark green interspersed with rose, purple, and white spots (flowers); buildings at the base constructed of brick-red lattice-work; edges and corners terminating in brown-red trumpets; immense white window-panes, with turquoise- blue curtains; roofs furnished with yellow-brown bell-turrets, brick-red battlements, or with green and red plants (like those of Astané's house, Fig. 12). Persons with large white head-dresses and red or brown robes.
of Leopold in the Martian sphere, he has there assumed a special coloring, and has outwardly harmonized himself with this new situation.
He is clothed in a voluminous, embroidered robe; he has long hair, no beard, a yellow complexion, and carries in his hand a white roll, on which he writes with a point fastened to the end of the index-finger.
His house (Fig. 12) is quadrangular, with gates and windows, and reminds one by its exterior aspect of some Oriental structure, with a flat roof embellished with plants.
The inside is also appropriate. The furniture recalls ours by force of contrast. We have few details; with the exception of a musical instrument with vertical cylinders, closely related to our organs, upon which Hélène sometimes sees and hears Astané playing, seated on a stool with one foot, resembling a milking-stool.
When we pass to the garden the same amalgam of analogies and unlikenesses to our flora are discovered. We have seen that Hélène has been often haunted in the waking state by visions of Martian plants and flowers, which she finally draws or paints with a facility approaching automatism; these specimens, as also the trees scattered over the landscapes, show that Martian vegetation does not differ essentially from ours. Of the animals we do not know much. Astané has often with him an ugly beast, which caused Hélène much fright on account of its grotesque form—about two feet long, with a flat tail; it has the "head of a cabbage," with a big
green eye in the middle (like the eye of a peacock feather), and five or six pairs of paws, or ears all about (see Fig. 18). This animal unites the intelligence of the dog with the stupidity of the parrot, since on the one hand it obeys Astané and fetches objects at his command (we do not know how), while, on the other hand, it knows how to write, but in a manner purely mechanical. (We have never had a specimen of this handwriting). (See Fig. 18.)
In fact, as to other animals, beyond the little black bird cited, without description (text 20), and a species of female deer for the purpose of nursing infants (text 36), Hélène saw only horrid aquatic beasts like big snails, which Astané caught by means of iron nets stretched over the surface of the water.
Astané's property is enclosed by large red stones, on the border of the water, where Hélène loves to retire with her guide to converse in peace and to recall to mind with him the ancient and melancholy memories of their Hindoo existence; the general tone of these conversations is entirely the same as that of her conversations with Leopold.
There is a mountain also of red rocks, where Astané possesses some excavated dwelling-places, a kind of grotto appropriate to the sorcerer-savant which he is.
The corpse of Esenale, admirably preserved, is also to be seen there, among other things, about which the disincarnate Esenale sometimes floats in "fluid" form, and which Hélène still finds soft to the touch,
Fig. 18. Astané's ugly beast. The body and tail are rose-colored; the eye is green with a black centre; the head is blackish; the lateral appendices are brownish-yellow, covered. like the whole body, with pink hair.
Fig. 11. Astané. Yellow complexion, brown hair; brown sandals; roll of white paper in his hand; variegated costume, or red and white; brick-red belt and border.
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Fig. 19. Martian lamp, standing against a rose and blue-colored tapestry.
when, after much hesitation, and not without fright, she gained courage to touch it with the end of her finger, at the invitation of Astané. It is also in this house, excavated in the rock, that Astané has his observatory, a pit traversing the mountain, by means of which he contemplates the heavens (text 9), our earth included, by means of a telescope, which the beast with the head of a cabbage brings him.
To these qualities of savant Astané joins those of wise counsellor and of patriarchal governor. We also see a young girl named Matêmi coming to consult him frequently (texts 22 and 28), perhaps on matrimonial affairs, since Matêmi reappears on several occasions with her lover or her fiancé, Siké, and, among others, at a great family fête, presided over by Astané. (See Fig. 19.)
The following are some details concerning that vision, which occupied the greater part of a seance (November 28, 1897). Hélène sees, in a vast, red, initial light, a Martian street appear, lighted neither by lamps nor electricity, but by lights shining through small windows in the walls of the houses. The interior of one of these houses becomes visible to her: a superb, square hall, lighted at each angle by a kind of lamp, formed of four superposed globes,—two blue and two white—not of glass (Fig. 19); under each lamp a small basin, over which was a kind of cornucopia pouring forth water. There were many ornamental plants. In the middle of the hall, a grove, around which are placed a number of small tables with a polished surface like nickel. There are young people in Martian robes; young
girls with long hair hanging down their backs, and wearing at the back of the head a head-dress of roses; colored blue or green butterflies attached to the neck.
There were at least thirty speaking Martian (but Hélène did not hear them distinctly). Astané appeared "in a very ugly robe to-day," and showed himself full of friendly gallantry towards the young girls. He seats himself alone at one of the tables while the young people take their places at others, two couples at each. These tables are adorned with flowers different from ours: some blue, with leaves in the shape of almonds; others starry, and as white as milk, scented like musk; others, again, the most beautiful, have the form of trumpets, either blue or fire colored, with large rounded leaves, with black figures. (See Fig. 20.)
Hélène hears Astané pronounce the name "Pouzé." Then come two men in long white trousers with a black sash; one wears a coat of rose color, the other a white one. They carry ornamented trays, and, passing in front of each table, they place square plates upon them, with forks without handles, formed of three teeth an inch in length: for glasses they had goblets like tea-cups, bordered with a silver thread. Then they brought in a kind of basin a cooked animal resembling a cat, which is placed before Astané, who twists it and cuts it rapidly with his fingers, tipped with sharp silver tips; square pieces are distributed, among the guests, on square plates with furrows around the edges for the juice. Every one is filled with a wild gayety. Astané sits at each table in succession, and the girls pass their hands through his hair. New
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Fig. 10. Flying-machine held by Astané, emitting yellow and red flames. [From the collection of M. Lemaître.]
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Fig. 20. Plant of Martian design. Fire-red flowers; violet-gray leaves.
plates are brought, and pink, white, and blue basins tipped with flowers. These basins melt, and are eaten like the flowers. Then the guests wash their hands at little fountains in the corners of the room.
Now one of the walls is raised, like the curtain of a theatre, and Hélène sees a magnificent hall adorned with luminous globes, flowers, and plants, with the ceiling painted in pink clouds on a pink sky, with couches and pillows suspended along the walls. Then an orchestra of ten musicians arrive, carrying a kind of gilded funnel about five feet in height, with a round cover to the large opening, and at the neck a kind of rake, on which they placed their fingers. Hélène hears music like that made by flutes and sees every one moving; they arrange themselves by fours, make passes and gestures, then reunite in groups of eight. They glide about gently, for it could not be called dancing. They do not clasp each other's waists, but place their hands on each other's shoulders, standing some distance apart. It is terribly warm. It is "boiling hot." They stop, walk, talk, and it is then that Hélène hears a tall young brunette (Matêmi) and a short young man (Siké) exchange the first words of text No. 20. Then they depart in the direction of a large bush with red flowers (tamiche) and are soon followed by Ramié and his companion.
At this moment the vision, which has lasted an hour and a quarter, passes away. Hélène, who had remained standing during the whole description, now enters into complete somnambulism, and Astané causes her to write Martian phrases which she had
heard and repeated a short time before. During the entire vision Leopold occupied her left hand, which was hanging anæsthetically down her body, and replied by his index-finger to the questions which I asked in a low voice. I thus learned that this Martian scene was not a wedding, or any special ceremony, but a simple family fête; that it was no recollection or product of Hélène's imagination but a reality actually passing on Mars: that it was not Leopold but Astané who furnished this vision and caused her to hear the music: that Leopold himself neither saw nor heard anything of it all, yet knows all that Mlle. Smith sees and hears, etc.
This résumé of a family fête, presided over by Astané, gives the measure of the originality of the people of Mars. The visions relating to other incidents are of the same order: read the description of the Martian nursery (text 36), of the voyage in a miza a sort of automobile, the mechanism of which is entirely unknown to us (text 23), of the operation of chirurgery (text 29), of the games of the little Anini (p. 176, etc.). We see always the same general mixture of imitation of things which transpire among us, and of infantile modifications of them in the minute details.
POUZÉ RAMIÉ—VARIOUS PERSONAGES
Of the other personages who traverse the Martian visions we know too little to waste much time upon them. The name of the one who appears most frequently is Pouzé. He is present at the banquet, and
we meet him also in the company of a poor little withered old man with a trembling voice, in connection with whom he occupies himself with gardening or botany, in an evening promenade by the shore of the lake (text 14). He also figures again by the side of an unknown person named Paniné, and he has a son, Saïne, who had met with some accident to his head and had been cured of it, to the great joy of his parents (texts 23 and 24).
Finally, we must devote a few words to Ramié, who manifests himself for the first time in October, 1898, as the revealer of the ultra-Martian world, of which we shall soon take cognizance. Ramié seems to be a relative of Astané, an astronomer, not so brilliant as Astané, but possessing the 'same privilege, which the ordinary Martians do not seem to enjoy, of being able to take hold of Hélène's arm, and of writing with her hand. There is, to my mind, no fundamental difference between Leopold, Astané, and Ramié, in their relation to Hélène; they are only a reproduction in triplicate of one identical emotional relation, and I do not think I am mistaken in regarding these three figures as three very transparent disguises of the same fundamental personality, which is only a hypnoid subdivision of the real being of Mlle. Smith.
It is much wiser to leave to the future—if the Martian and ultra-Martian romances continue to develop—the task of enlightening ourselves more completely as to the true character of Ramié. Possibly some day we shall also know more concerning the couple called Matêmi and Siké, as well as many
others, such as Sazéni, Paniné, the little Bullié, Romé, Fédié, etc., of whom we now know scarcely more than their names, and understand nothing in regard to their possible relationships to the central figures of Astané and Esenale.
IV. CONCERNING THE AUTHOR OF THE MARTIAN ROMANCE
The general ideas which the Martian cycle suggests will most assuredly differ, according to whether it is considered as an authentic revelation of affairs on the planet Mars, or only as a simple fantasy of the imagination of the medium; and meanwhile, holding, myself, to the second supposition, I demand from the Martian romance information in regard to its author rather than its subject-matter.
There are two or three points concerning this unknown author which strike me forcibly:
First: He shows a singular indifference—possibly it may be due to ignorance—in regard to all those questions which are most prominent at the present time, I will not say among astronomers, but among people of the world somewhat fond of popular science and curious concerning the mysteries of our universe. The canals of Mars, in the first place—those famous canals with reduplication—temporarily more enigmatical than those of the Ego of the mediums; then the strips of supposed cultivation along their borders, the mass of snow around the
poles, the nature of the soil, and the conditions of life on those worlds, in turn inundated and burning, the thousand and one questions of hydrography, of geology, of biology, which the amateur naturalist inevitably asks himself on the subject of the planet nearest to us—of all this the author of the Martian romance knows nothing and cares nothing. Questions of sociology do not trouble him to a much greater extent, since the people occupying the most prominent place in the Martian visions, and making the conversation, in no wise enlighten us as to the civil and political organization of their globe, as to the fine arts and religion, commerce and industry, etc. Have the barriers of the nations fallen, and is there no longer a standing army up there, except that of the laborer occupied in the construction and maintenance of that gigantic net-work of canals for communication or irrigation? Esenale and Astané have not deigned to inform us. It seems probable from certain episodes that the family is, as with us, at the foundation of Martian civilization; nevertheless, we have no direct or detailed information in regard to this subject. It is useless to speculate. It Is evident that the author of this romance did not care much for science, and that, in spite of her desire to comply with the wishes of M. Lemaître (see p. 149), she had not the least conception of the questions which arise in our day, in every cultivated mind, as to the planet Mars and its probable inhabitants.
Secondly: If, instead of quarrelling with the Martian romance about that which it fails to furnish us,
we endeavor to appreciate the full value of what it does give us, we are struck by two points, which I have already touched upon more than once in passing—viz., the complete identity of the Martian world, taken in its chief points, with the world n which we live, and its puerile originality in a host of minor details. Take, for example, the family fête (p. 188). To be sure, the venerable Astané is there saluted by a caress of the hair instead of a hand-shake; the young couples while dancing grasp each other not by the waist but by the shoulder; the ornamental plants do not belong to any species known to us: but, save for these insignificant divergences from our costumes and habits, as a whole, and in general tone, it is exactly as with us.
The imagination which forged these scenes, with all their decoration, is remarkably calm, thoughtful, devoted to the real and the probable. The miza, which runs without a visible motor power, is neither more nor less extraordinary to the uninitiated spectator than many of the vehicles which traverse our roads. The colored globes placed in an aperture of the walls of the houses to light the streets recall strongly our electric lamps. Astané's flying-machine will probably soon be realized in some form or other. The bridges which disappear under the water in order to allow boats to pass (text 25) are, save for a technical person, as natural as ours which accomplish the same result by lifting themselves in the air. With the exception of the "evocative" powers of Astané, which only concern Mlle. Smith personally and do not figure in any Martian scene, there
is nothing on Mars which goes beyond what has been attained or might be expected to be accomplished by ingenious inventors here below.
A wise little imagination of ten or twelve years old would have deemed it quite droll and original to make people up there eat on square plates with a furrow for the gravy, of making an ugly beast with a single eye carry the telescope of Astané to him, of making babies to be fed by tubes running directly to the breasts of animals like the female deer, etc. There is nothing of the Thousand and One Nights, the Metamorphoses of Ovid, fairy stories, or the adventures of Gulliver, no trace of ogres nor of giants nor of veritable sorcerers in this whole cycle. One would say that it was the work of a young scholar to whom had been given the task of trying to invent a world as different as possible from ours, but real, and who had conscientiously applied himself to it, loosening the reins of his childish fancy in regard to a multitude of minor points in the limits of what appeared admissible according to his short and narrow experience.
Thirdly: By the side of these arbitrary and useless innovations the Martian romance bears in a multitude of its characteristics a clearly Oriental stamp, upon which I have already often insisted. The yellow complexion and long black hair of Astané; the costume of all the personages—robes embroidered or of brilliant hues, sandals with thongs, flat white hats, etc., the long hair of the women and the ornaments in the form of butterflies for their coiffures; the houses of grotesque shapes, recalling the pagoda, kiosk, and minaret, the warm and glowing
colors of the skies, the water, the rocks, and the vegetation (see Figs. 13 and 14), etc.: all this has a sham air of Japanese, Chinese, Hindoo. It is to be noted that this imprint of the extreme East is purely exterior, not in any wise penetrating to the characters or manners of the personages.
All the traits that I discover in the author of the Martian romance can be summed up in a single phrase, its profoundly infantile character. The candor and imperturbable naïveté of childhood, which doubts nothing because ignorant of everything, is necessary in order for one to launch himself seriously upon an enterprise such as the pretended exact and authentic depictions of an unknown world. An adult, in the least cultivated and having some experience of life, would never waste time in elaborating similar nonsense—Mlle. Smith less than any one, intelligent and cultivated as she is in her normal state.
This provisional view of the author of the Martian cycle will find its confirmation and its complement in the following chapters, in which we shall examine the Martian language, from which I have until now refrained.
140:* C. Flammarion, La Planète Mars et ses conditions d’habitabilité, p. 3. Paris, 1892.
157:* Compare the case of Mlle. Anna O. Brener et Frend, Studien über Hysterie, p. 19. Vienna, 1895.
I shall tell you all the profound mysteries of heaven;
I shall help you much, I shall open for you the way,
But it is for you to seize and seek with joy;
And when you shall see her released from here below,
When her mobile soul shall have taken flight
And shall soar over Mars with its brilliant tints;
If you would obtain from her some light,
Place your hand very gently on her pale forehead
And pronounce very softly the sweet name of Esenale!"
176:* That is to say, he died on Mars, where he had been reincarnated.