THE ELECTRIC GIRL OF LA PERRIÈRE Feb 1846

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THE ELECTRIC GIRL OF LA PERRIÈRE Feb 1846

Post by Admin on Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:47 am

Hi All,

An interesting study of an early Phenomena
THE ELECTRIC GIRL OF LA PERRIÈRE.
From the Project Gutenberg online at www.gutenberg.net publication of

An article from The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 83, September, 1864



Eighteen years ago there occurred in one of the provinces of
France a case of an abnormal character, marked by extraordinary
phenomena,--interesting to the scientific, and especially to the medical world. The authentic documents in this case are rare; and though the case itself is often alluded to, its details have never, so far as I know, been reproduced from these documents in an English dress, or presented in trustworthy form to the American public. It occurred in the Commune of La Perrière, situated in the Department of Orne, in January,1846.

It was critically observed, at the time, by Dr. Verger, an intelligent
physician of Bellesme, a neighboring town. He details the result of his
observations in two letters addressed to the "Journal du
Magnétisme,"--one dated January 29, the other February 2, 1846.[1] The
editor of that journal, M. Hébert, (de Garny,) himself repaired to the
spot, made the most minute researches into the matter, and gives us the
result of his observations and inquiries in a report, also published in
the "Journal du Magnétisme."[2] A neighboring proprietor, M. Jules de
Farémont, followed up the case with care, from its very commencement,
and has left on record a detailed report of his observations.[3]
Finally, after the girl's arrival in Paris, Dr. Tanchon carefully
studied the phenomena, and has given the results in a pamphlet published at the time.[4] He it was, also, who addressed to M. Arago a note on the subject, which was laid before the Academy by that distinguished man, at their session of February 16, 1846.[5] Arago himself had then seen the girl only a few minutes, but even in that brief time had verified a portion of the phenomena.

Dr. Tanchon's pamphlet contains fourteen letters, chiefly from medical
men and persons holding official positions in Bellesme, Mortagne, and
other neighboring towns, given at length and signed by the writers, all
of whom examined the girl, while yet in the country. Their testimony is
so circumstantial, so strictly concurrent in regard to all the main
phenomena, and so clearly indicative of the care and discrimination with which the various observations were made, that there seems no good
reason, unless we find such in the nature of the phenomena themselves,
for refusing to give it credence. Several of the writers expressly
affirm the accuracy of M. Hébert's narrative, and all of them, by the
details they furnish, corroborate it. Mainly from that narrative, aided
by some of the observations of M. de Farémont, I compile the following
brief statement of the chief facts in this remarkable case.

Angélique Cottin, a peasant-girl fourteen years of age, robust and in
good health, but very imperfectly educated and of limited intelligence,
lived with her aunt, the widow Loisnard, in a cottage with an earthen
floor, close to the Château of Monti-Mer, inhabited by its proprietor,
already mentioned, M. de Farémont.

The weather, for eight days previous to the fifteenth of January, 1846,
had been heavy and tempestuous, with constantly recurring storms of
thunder and lightning. The atmosphere was charged with electricity.

On the evening of that fifteenth of January, at eight o'clock, while
Angélique, in company with three other young girls, was at work, as
usual, in her aunt's cottage, weaving ladies' silk-net gloves, the
frame, made of rough oak and weighing about twenty-five pounds, to
which was attached the end of the warp, was upset, and the candlestick
on it thrown to the ground. The girls, blaming each other as having
caused the accident, replaced the frame, relighted the candle, and went
to work again. A second time the frame was thrown down. Thereupon the
children ran away, afraid of a thing so strange, and, with the
superstition common to their class, dreaming of witchcraft. The
neighbors, attracted by their cries, refused to credit their story. So,
returning, but with fear and trembling, two of them at first, afterwards a third, resumed their occupation, without the recurrence of the alarming phenomenon. But as soon as the girl Cottin, imitating her
companions, had touched her warp, the frame was agitated again, moved
about, was upset, and then thrown violently back. The girl was drawn
irresistibly after it; but as soon as she touched it, it moved still
farther away.

Upon this the aunt, thinking, like the children, that there must be
sorcery in the case, took her niece to the parsonage of La Perrière,
demanding exorcism. The curate, an enlightened man, at first laughed at
her story; but the girl had brought her glove with her, and fixing it to a kitchen-chair, the chair, like the frame, was repulsed and upset,
without being touched by Angélique. The curate then sat down on the
chair; but both chair and he were thrown to the ground in like manner.
Thus practically convinced of the reality of a phenomenon which he could not explain, the good man reassured the terrified aunt by telling her it was some bodily disease, and, very sensibly, referred the matter to the physicians.

The next day the aunt related the above particulars to M. de Farémont;
but for the time the effects had ceased. Three days later, at nine
o'clock, that gentleman was summoned to the cottage, where he verified
the fact that the frame was at intervals thrown back from Angélique with such force, that, when exerting his utmost strength and holding it with both hands, he was unable to prevent its motion. He observed that the motion was partly rotary, from left to right. He particularly noticed that the girl's feet did not touch the frame, and that, when it was repulsed, she seemed drawn irresistibly after it, stretching out her hands, as if instinctively, towards it. It was afterwards remarked,
that, when a piece of furniture or other object, thus acted upon by
Angélique, was too heavy to be moved, she herself was thrown back, as if by the reaction of the force upon her person.

By this time the cry of witchcraft was raised in the neighborhood, and
public opinion had even designated by name the sorcerer who had cast the spell. On the twenty-first of January the phenomena increased in
violence and in variety. A chair on which the girl attempted to sit
down, though held by three strong men, was thrown off, in spite of their efforts, to several yards' distance. Shovels, tongs, lighted firewood, brushes, books, were all set in motion when the girl approached them. A pair of scissors fastened to her girdle was detached, and thrown intothe air.

On the twenty-fourth of January, M. de Farémont took the child and her
aunt in his carriage to the small neighboring town of Mamers. There,
before two physicians and several ladies and gentlemen, articles of
furniture moved about on her approach. And there, also, the following
conclusive experiment was tried by M. de Farémont.

Into one end of a ponderous wooden block, weighing upwards of a hundred
and fifty pounds, he caused a small hook to be driven. To this he made
Angélique fix her silk. As soon as she sat down and her frock touched
the block, the latter _was instantly raised three or four inches from
the ground; and this was repeated as much as forty times in a minute_.
Then, after suffering the girl to rest, M. de Farémont seated himself on the block, and was elevated in the same way. Then _three men placed
themselves upon it, and were raised also_, only not quite so high. "It
is certain," says M. de Farémont, "that I and one of the most athletic
porters of the Halle could not have lifted that block with the three
persons seated on it."[6]

Dr. Verger came to Mamers to see Angélique, whom, as well as her family, he had previously known. On the twenty-eighth of January, in the presence of the curate of Saint Martin and of the chaplain of the
Bellesme hospital, the following incident occurred. As the child could
not sew without pricking herself with the needle, nor use scissors
without wounding her hands, they set her to shelling peas, placing a
large basket before her. As soon as her dress touched the basket, and
she reached her hand to begin work, the basket was violently repulsed,
and the peas projected upwards and scattered over the room. This was
twice repeated, under the same circumstances. Dr. Lemonnier, of Saint
Maurice, testifies to the same phenomenon, as occurring in his presence
and in that of the Procurator Royal of Mortagne;[7] he noticed that the
left hand produced the greater effect. He adds, that, he and another,
gentleman having endeavored, with all their strength, to hold a chair on which Angélique sat down, it was violently forced from them, and one of its legs broken.

On the thirtieth of January, M. de Farémont tried the effect of
isolation. When, by means of dry glass, he isolated the child's feet and the chair on which she sat, the chair ceased to move, and she remained perfectly quiet. M. Olivier, government engineer, tried a similar experiment, with the same results.[8] A week later, M. Hébert, repeating this experiment, discovered that isolation of the chair was unnecessary; it sufficed to isolate the girl.[9] Dr. Beaumont, vicar of
Pin-la-Garenne, noticed a fact, insignificant in appearance, yet quite
as conclusive as were the more violent manifestations, as to the reality of the phenomena. Having moistened with saliva the scattered hairs on his own arm, so that they lay flattened, attached to the epidermis, when he approached his arm to the left arm of the girl, the hairs instantly erected themselves. M. Hébert repeated the same experiment several times, always with a similar result.[10]

M. Olivier also tried the following. With a stick of sealing-wax, which
he had subjected to friction, he touched the girl's arm, and it gave her a considerable shock; but touching her with another similar stick, that had not been rubbed, she experienced no effect whatever.[11] Yet when M. de Farémont, on the nineteenth of January, tried the same experiment with a stick of sealing-wax and a glass tube, well prepared by rubbing, he obtained no effect whatever. So also a pendulum of light pith, brought into close proximity to her person at various points, was
neither attracted nor repulsed, in the slightest degree.[12]

Towards the beginning of February, Angélique was obliged, for several
days, to eat standing; she could not sit down on a chair. This fact Dr.
Verger repeatedly verified. Holding her by the arm to prevent accident,
the moment she touched the chair it was projected from under her, and
she would have fallen but for his support. At such times, to take rest,
she had to seat herself on the floor, or on a stone provided for the
purpose.

On one such occasion, "she approached," says M. de Farémont, "one of
those rough, heavy bedsteads used by the peasantry, weighing, with the
coarse bedclothes, some three hundred pounds, and sought to lie down on
it. The bed shook and oscillated in an incredible manner; no force that
I know of is capable of communicating to it such a movement. Then she
went to another bed, which was raised from the ground on wooden rollers, six inches in diameter; and it was immediately thrown off the rollers." All this M. de Farémont personally witnessed.[13]

On the evening of the second of February, Dr. Verger received Angélique
into his house. On that day and the next, upwards of one thousand
persons came to see her. The constant experiments, which on that
occasion were continued into the night, so fatigued the poor girl that
the effects were sensibly diminished. Yet even then a small table
brought near to her was thrown down so violently that it broke to
pieces. It was of cherry-wood and varnished.

"In a general way," says Dr. Beaumont-Chardon, "I think the effects were more marked with me than with others, because I never evinced suspicion, and spared her all suffering; and I thought I could observe, that, although her powers were not under the control of her will, yet they were greatest when her mind was at ease, and she was in good
spirits."[14] It appeared, also, that on waxed, or even tiled floors,
but more especially on carpets, the effects were much less than on an
earthen floor like that of the cottage where they originally showed
themselves.

At first wooden furniture seemed exclusively affected; but at a later
period metal also, as tongs and shovels, though in a less degree,
appeared to be subjected to this extraordinary influence. When the
child's powers were the most active, actual contact was not necessary.
Articles of furniture and other small objects moved, if she accidentally approached them.

Up to the sixth of February she had been visited by more than two
thousand persons, including distinguished physicians from the towns of
Bellesme and Mortagne, and from all the neighborhood, magistrates,
lawyers, ecclesiastics, and others. Some gave her money.

Then, in an evil hour, listening to mercenary suggestion, the parents
conceived the idea that the poor girl might be made a source of
pecuniary gain; and notwithstanding the advice and remonstrance of her
true friends, M. de Farémont, Dr. Verger, M. Hébert, and others, her
father resolved to exhibit her in Paris and elsewhere.

On the road they were occasionally subjected to serious annoyances. The
report of the marvels above narrated had spread far and wide; and the
populace, by hundreds, followed the carriage, hooting and abusing the
sorceress.
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Re: THE ELECTRIC GIRL OF LA PERRIÈRE Feb 1846

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Part 2

Arrived at the French metropolis, they put up at the Hôtel de Rennes,
No. 23, Rue des Deux-Écus. There, on the evening of the twelfth of
February, Dr. Tanchon saw Angélique for the first time.

This gentleman soon verified, among other phenomena, the following. A
chair, which he held firmly with both hands, was forced back as soon as
she attempted to sit down; a middle-sized dining-table was displaced and repulsed by the touch of her dress; a large sofa, on which Dr. Tanchon was sitting, was pushed violently to the wall, as soon as the child sat down beside him. The Doctor remarked, that, when a chair was thrown back from under her, her clothes seemed attracted by it, and adhered to it, until it was repulsed beyond their reach; that the power was greater from the left hand than from the right, and that the former was warmer than the latter, and often trembled, agitated by unusual contractions; that the influence emanating from the girl was intermittent, not permanent, being usually most powerful from seven till nine o'clock in the evening, possibly influenced by the principal meal of the day, dinner, taken at six o'clock; that, if the girl was cut off from contact with the earth, either by placing her feet on a non-conductor or merely by keeping them raised from the ground, the power ceased, and she could remain seated quietly; that, during the paroxysm, if her left hand touched any object, she threw it from her as if it burned her, complaining that it pricked her, especially on the wrist; that, happening one day to touch accidentally the nape of her neck, the girl ran from him, crying out with pain; and that repeated observation assured him of the fact that there was, in the region of the cerebellum, and at the point where the superior muscles of the neck are inserted in the cranium, a point so acutely sensitive that the child would not suffer there the lightest touch; and, finally, that the girl's pulse, often irregular, usually varied from one hundred and five to one hundred and twenty beats a minute.

A curious observation made by this physician was, that, at the moment of greatest action, a cool breeze, or gaseous current, seemed to flow from her person. This he felt on his hand, as distinctly as one feels the breath during an ordinary expiration.[15]

He remarked, also, that the intermittence of the child's power seemed to depend in a measure on her state of mind. She was often in fear lest
some one should touch her from behind; the phenomena themselves agitated her; in spite of a month's experience, each time they occurred she drew back, as if alarmed. And all such agitations seemed to diminish her power. When she was careless, and her mind was diverted to something else, the demonstrations were always the most energetic.

From the north pole of a magnet, if it touched her finger, she received
a sharp shock; while the contact of the south pole produced upon her no
effect whatever. This effect was uniform; and the girl could always tell which pole touched her.

Dr. Tanchon ascertained from the mother that no indications of puberty
had yet manifested themselves in her daughter's case.

Such is a summary of the facts, embodied in a report drawn up by Dr.
Tanchon on the fifteenth of February. He took it with him on the evening of the sixteenth to the Academy of Sciences, and asked M. Arago if he had seen the electric girl, and if he intended to bring her case that evening to the notice of the Academy. Arago replied to both questions in the affirmative, adding,--"If you have seen her, I shall receive from you with pleasure any communication you may have to make."

Dr. Tanchon then read to him the report; and at the session of that
evening, Arago presented it, stated what he himself had seen, and
proposed that a committee should be appointed to examine the case. His
statement was received by his audience with many expressions of
incredulity; but they acceded to his suggestion by naming, from the
members of the Academy, a committee of six.

It appears that Arago had had but a single opportunity, and for the
brief space of less than half an hour, of witnessing the phenomena to
which he referred. M. Cholet, the speculator who advanced to her parents the money necessary to bring Angélique to Paris, had taken the girl and her parents to the Observatory, where Arago then was, who, at the earnest instance of Cholet, agreed to test the child's powers at once. There were present on this occasion, besides Arago, MM. Mathieu and Laugier, and an astronomer of the Observatory, named M. Goujon.

The experiment of the chair perfectly succeeded. It was projected with
great violence against the wall, while the girl was thrown on the other
side. This experiment was repeated several times by Arago himself, and
each time with the same result. He could not, with all his force, hinder the chair from being thrown back. Then MM. Goujon and Laugier attempted to hold it, but with as little success. Finally, M. Goujon seated himself first on half the chair, and at the moment when Angélique was taking her seat beside him the chair was thrown down.

When Angélique approached a small table, at the instant that her apron
touched it, it was repulsed.

These particulars were given in all the medical journals of the day,[16]as well as in the "Journal des Débats" of February 18, and the "Courrier Français" of February 19, 1846.

The minutes of the session of the Academy touch upon them in the most
studiously brief and guarded manner. They say, the sitting lasted only
some minutes. They admit, however, the main fact, namely, that the
movements of the chair, occurring as soon as Angélique seated herself
upon it, were most violent ("_d'une extrême violence_"). But as to the
other experiment, they allege that M. Arago did not clearly perceive the movement of the table by the mere intervention of the girl's apron,
though the other observers did.[17] It is added, that the girl produced
no effect on the magnetic needle.

Some accounts represent Arago as expressing himself much more decidedly. He may have done so, in addressing the Academy; but I find no official record of his remarks.

He did not assist at the sittings of the committee that had been
appointed at his suggestion; but he signed their report, having
confidence, as he declared, in their judgment, and sharing their
mistrust.

That report, made on the ninth of March, is to the effect, that they
witnessed no repulsive agency on a table or similar object; that they
saw no effect produced by the girl's arm on a magnetic needle; that the
girl did not possess the power to distinguish between the two poles of a magnet; and, finally, that the only result they obtained was sudden and violent movements of chairs on which the child was seated. They add, "Serious suspicions having arisen as to the manner in which these
movements were produced, the committee decided to submit them to a
strict examination, declaring, in plain terms, that they would endeavor
to discover what part certain adroit and concealed manoeuvres of the
hands and feet had in their production. From that moment we were
informed that the young girl had lost her attractive and repulsive
powers, and that we should be notified when they reappeared. Many days
have elapsed; no notice has been sent us; yet we learn that Mademoiselle Cottin daily exhibits her experiments in private circles." And they conclude by recommending "that the communications addressed to them in her case be considered _as not received_" ("_comme non avenues_"). In a word, they officially branded the poor girl as an impostor.

That, without any inquiry into the antecedents of the patient, without
the slightest attempt to obtain from those medical men who had followed
up the case from its commencement what they had observed, and that, in
advance of the strict examination which it was their duty to make, they
should insult the unfortunate girl by declaring that they intended to
find out the tricks with which she had been attempting to deceive
them,--all this is not the less lamentable because it is common among
those, who sit in the high places of science.

If these Academicians had been moved by a simple love of truth, not
urged by a self-complacent eagerness to display their own sagacity, they might have found a more probable explanation of the cessation, after their first session, of some of Angelique's chief powers.

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Part 3
Such an explanation is furnished to us by Dr. Tanchon, who was present,
by invitation, at the sittings of the committee.

He informs us that, at their first sitting, held at the Jardin des
Plantes, on the seventeenth of February, after the committee had
witnessed, twice repeated, the violent displacement of a chair held with all his strength by one of their number, (M. Rayet,) instead of
following up similar experiments and patiently waiting to observe the
phenomena as they presented themselves, they proceeded at once to
satisfy their own preconceptions. They brought Angélique into contact
with a voltaic battery. Then they placed on the bare arm of the child a
dead frog, anatomically prepared after the manner of Matteucci, that is, the skin removed, and the animal dissected so as to expose the lumbar nerves. By a galvanic current, they caused this frog to move, apparently to revive, on the girl's arm. The effect upon her may be imagined. The ignorant child, terrified out of her senses, spoke of nothing else the rest of the day, dreamed of dead frogs coming to life all night, and began to talk eagerly about it again the first thing the next morning.[18] From that time her attractive and repulsive powers
gradually declined.

In addition to the privilege of much accumulated learning, in addition
to the advantages of varied scientific research, we must have something
else, if we would advance yet farther in true knowledge. We must be
imbued with a simple, faithful spirit, not presuming, not preoccupied.
We must be willing to sit down at the feet of Truth, humble, patient,
docile, single-hearted. We must not be wise in our own conceit; else the fool's chance is better than ours, to avoid error, and distinguish
truth.

M. Cohu, a medical man of Mortagne, writing, in March, 1846, in reply to some inquiries of Dr. Tanchon, after stating that the phenomenon of the chair, repeatedly observed by himself, had been witnessed also by more than a thousand persons, adds,--"It matters not what name we may give to this; the important point is, to verify the reality of a repulsive agency, and of one that is distinctly marked; the effects it is impossible to deny. We may assign to this agency what seat we please, in the cerebellum, in the pelvis, or elsewhere; the _fact_ is material, visible, incontestable. Here in the Province, Sir, we are not very learned, but we are often very mistrustful. In the present case we have examined, reëxamined, taken every possible precaution against deception; and the more we have seen, the deeper has been our conviction of the reality of the phenomenon. Let the Academy decide as it will. _We have seen_; it has not seen. We are, therefore, in a condition to decide better than it can, I do not say what cause was operating, but what effects presented themselves, under circumstances that remove even the shadow of a doubt."[19]

M. Hébert, too, states a truth of great practical value, when he
remarks, that, in the examination of phenomena of so fugitive and
seemingly capricious a character, involving the element of vitality, and the production of which at any given moment depends not upon us, we
"ought to accommodate ourselves to the nature of the fact, not insist
that it should accommodate itself to us."

For myself, I do not pretend to offer any positive opinion as to what
was ultimately the real state of the case. I do not assume to determine
whether the attractive and repulsive phenomena, after continuing for
upwards of a month, happened to be about to cease at the very time the
committee began to observe them,--or whether the harsh suspicious and
terror-inspiring tests of these gentlemen so wrought on the nervous
system of an easily daunted and superstitious girl, that some of her
abnormal powers, already on the wane, presently disappeared,--or whether the poor child, it may be at the instigation of her parents, left without the means of support,[20] really did at last simulate phenomena that once were real, manufacture a counterfeit of what was originally genuine. I do not take upon myself to decide between these various hypotheses. I but express my conviction, that, for the first few weeks at least, the phenomena actually occurred,--and that, had not the gentlemen of the Academy been very unfortunate or very injudicious,
they could not have failed to perceive their reality. And I seek in vain some apology for the conduct of these learned Academicians, called upon to deal with a case so fraught with interest to science, when I find them, merely because they do not at once succeed in personally verifying sufficient to convince them of the existence of certain novel phenomena, not only neglecting to seek evidence elsewhere, but even rejecting that which a candid observer had placed within their reach.

This appears to have been the judgment of the medical public of Paris.
The "Gazette des Hôpitaux," in its issue of March 17, 1846, protests
against the committee's mode of ignoring the matter, declaring that it
satisfied nobody. "Not received!" said the editor (alluding to the words of the report); "that would be very convenient, if it were only
possible!"[21]

And the "Gazette Médicale" very justly remarks,--"The non-appearance of
the phenomena at such or such a given moment proves nothing in itself.
It is but a negative fact, and, as such, cannot disprove the positive
fact of their appearance at another moment, if that be otherwise
satisfactorily attested." And the "Gazette" goes on to argue, from the
nature of the facts, that it is in the highest degree improbable that
they should have been the result of premeditated imposture.

The course adopted by the Academy's committee is the less defensible,
because, though the attractive and repulsive phenomena ceased after
their first session, other phenomena, sufficiently remarkable, still
continued. As late as the tenth of March, the day after the committee
made their report, Angélique being then at Dr. Tanchon's house, a table
touched by her apron, while her hands were behind her and her feet
fifteen inches distant from it, _was raised entirely from the ground_,
though no part of her body touched it. This was witnessed, besides Dr.
Tanchon, by Dr. Charpentier-Méricourt, who had stationed himself so as
to observe it from the side. He distinctly saw the table rise, with all
four legs, from the floor, and he noticed that the two legs of the table farthest from the girl rose first. He declares, that, during the whole time, he perceived not the slightest movement either of her hands or her feet; and he regarded deception, under the circumstances, to be utterly impossible.[22]

On the twelfth of March, in presence of five physicians, Drs. Amédée
Latour, Lachaise, Deleau, Pichard, and Soulé, the same phenomenon
occurred twice.

And yet again on the fourteenth, four physicians being present, the
table was raised a single time, but with startling force. It was of
mahogany, with two drawers, and was four feet long by two feet and a
half wide. We may suppose it to have weighed some fifty or sixty pounds; so that the girl's power, in this particular, appears to have much decreased since that day, about the end of January, when M. de Farémont saw repeatedly raised from the ground a block of one hundred and fifty pounds' weight, with three men seated on it,--in all, not less than five to six hundred pounds.

By the end of March the whole of the phenomena had almost totally
ceased; and it does not appear that they have ever shown themselves
since that time.

Dr. Tanchon considered them electrical. M. de Farémont seems to have
doubted that they were strictly so. In a letter, dated Monti-Mer,
November 1, 1846, and addressed to the Marquis de Mirville, that
gentleman says,--"The electrical effects I have seen produced in this
case varied so much,--since under certain circumstances good conductors
operated, and then again, in others, no effect was observable,--that, if one follows the ordinary laws of electrical phenomena, one finds
evidence both for and against. I am well convinced, that, in the case
of this child, there is some power other than electricity."[23]

But as my object is to state facts, rather than to moot theories, I
leave this debatable ground to others, and here close a narrative,
compiled with much care, of this interesting and instructive case. I was the rather disposed to examine it critically and report it in detail, because it seems to suggest valuable hints, if it does not afford some clue, as to the character of subsequent manifestations in the United States and elsewhere.

* * * * *

This case is not an isolated one. My limits however, prevent me from
here reproducing, as I might, sundry other recent narratives more or
less analogous to that of the girl Cottin. To one only shall I briefly
advert: a case related in the Paris newspaper, the "Siècle," of March 4, 1846, published when all Paris was talking of Arago's statement in
regard to the electric girl.

It is there given on the authority of a principal professor in one of
the Royal Colleges of Paris. The case, very similar to that of Angélique Cottin, occurred in the month of December previous, in the person of a young girl, not quite fourteen years old, apprenticed to a colorist, in the Rue Descartes. The occurrences were quite as marked as those in the Cottin case. The professor, seated one day near the girl, was raised from the floor, along with the chair on which he sat. There were occasional knockings. The phenomena commenced December 2, 1845; and lasted twelve days.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Journal du Magnétisme_, for 1846, pp. 80-84.

[2] Pp. 89-106.

[3] In Dr. Tanchon's pamphlet, pp. 46-53.

[4] _Enquête, sur l'Authenticité des Phénomènes Électriques d'Angélique
Cottin_, par le Dr. Tanchon. Baillière, Paris, 1846.

[5] See Minutes of the Academy, Session of Monday, February 16, 1846.

[6] _Enquête_, etc., p. 49.

[7] _Ibid._ p. 40.

[8] _Ibid._ p. 42.

[9] _Ibid._ p. 22.

[10] _Enquête_, etc., p. 22.

[11] _Ibid._ p. 43.
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Re: THE ELECTRIC GIRL OF LA PERRIÈRE Feb 1846

Post by zerdini on Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:06 am

An interesting story.

It bears a strong resemblance to poltergeist phenomena which often occurs around children at puberty.

They seem to release a kind of raw 'psychic energy' at this time which eventually disappears as they grow older.

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