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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


"As a rule he said very little to me about these subjects, as he knew I did not approve of them, and on this occasion I did not fail to scold him, and to point out the folly of being amused by such things, especially at a time when his attention should be occupied with more serious matters. 'Oh, but I have only told you half,' he replied; 'that was just the beginning,' and then he went on to say that, encouraged by the exactitude of the little girl's description of Madame de Nancre's room, he resolved to put to her a more important question, namely, as to the scene that would occur at the death of the king. The child had never seen any one who was about the court, and had never even heard of Versailles, but she described exactly and at great length the king's bedroom at Versailles and all the furniture which was in fact there at the date of his death. She gave every detail as to the bed, and cried out on recognising, in the arms of Madame de Ventadour, a little child decorated with an order whom she had seen at the house of Mademoiselle la Sery; and again at the sight of M. le duc d'Orleans. From her account, Madame de Maintenon, Fagon with his odd face, Madame la duchesse d'Orleans, Madame la duchesse, Madame la princesse de Conti, besides other princes and nobles, and even the valets and servants were all present at the king's deathbed. Then she paused, and M. le duc d'Orleans, surprised that she had never mentioned Monseigneur, Monsieur le duc de Bourgogne, Madame la duchesse de Bourgogne, nor M. le duc de Berri, inquired if she did not see such and such people answering to their description. She persisted that she did not, and went over the others for the second time. This astonished M. le duc d'Orleans deeply, as well as myself, and we were at a loss to explain it, but the event proved that the child was perfectly right. This seance took place in 1706. These four members of the royal family were then full of health and strength; and they all died before the king. It was the same thing with M. le prince, M. le duc, and M. le prince de Conti, whom she likewise did not see, though she beheld the children of the two last named; M. du Maine, his own (Orleans), and M. le comte de Toulouse. But of course this fact was unknown till eight years after."

Science may conceivably come to study crystal visions, but veracious crystal visions will be treated like veracious dreams. That is to say, they will be explained as the results of a chance coincidence between the unknown fact and the vision, or of imposture, conscious or unconscious, or of confusion of memory, or the fact of the crystal vision will be simply denied. Thus a vast number of well- authenticated cases of veracious visions will be required before science could admit that it might be well to investigate hitherto unacknowledged faculties of the human mind. The evidence can never be other than the word of the seer, with whatever value may attach to the testimony of those for whom he "sees," and describes, persons and places unknown to himself. The evidence of individuals as to their own subjective experiences is accepted by psychologists in other departments of the study. {66}

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