Uranie, by Camille Flammarion


Eternal Progress — Magnetic sÉAnce.

DAYS, weeks, months, seasons, years pass swiftly on this planet, and doubtless also on the others. More than twenty times already had the Earth made its annual revolution around the sun, since the day when Fate so tragically closed the book which my young friends had been reading for not quite a year; their happiness had passed swiftly, their day had ended in its dawn. I had, if not forgotten, [*] at least ceased to think of them, when, quite recently, in a hypnotic séance, at Nancy, where I had stopped for a few days on my way to the Vosges, I was led to question a “subject” by whose aid in their investigations, the savants of the Stanislas Academy had obtained some of those truly marvelous results with which the scientific press has been astonishing us for some years past. I do not remember how it happened that he and I entered into a conversation concerning the planet Mars.

After describing a country situated on the shores of a sea known to astronomers by the name of the Sea of Sathir, and a solitary island which rises from the bosom of this sea, after describing the picturesque scenery and the reddish vegetation of these shores, the cliffs against which the waves dash ceaselessly, the sandy beach, on which they die away, the subject, who was a sensitive of extraordinary power, suddenly grew pale, and carried his hand to his forehead. His eyes closed, he contracted his brows, he seemed trying to grasp an idea that fled from him. “See!” cried Doctor B—— raising his hand with a gesture of command —

“See! I will it.”

“You have friends there,” the sensitive said to me.

“That does not surprise me greatly,” I answered. “I have done a good deal for the inhabitants of that planet.”

“Two friends,” he added, “who are talking of you now.”

“Oh, persons who are acquainted with me?”


“How can that be?”

“They have known you here.”


“Here on the Earth.”

“Ah! And is it long since?”

“I do not know.”

“Are they young?”

“Yes, they are two lovers who adore each other.”

Then the charming images of my regretted friends were brought vividly before my mind. But I had no sooner thought of them than the sensitive cried, in a more assured voice:

“It is they!”

“How do you know?”

“I see it. They are the same souls; they are of the same color.”

“How, of the same color?”

“Yes, souls are light.”

A few moments afterwards he added:

“There is a difference, however.”

He remained silent for a moment, his brow contracted as if lost in thought. But his face suddenly clearing, he added:

“They have changed places with each other. He has now become the woman, she the man. And they love each other more ardently than ever.”

As if he did not himself understand what he had just said, he seemed making painful efforts to find an explanation of it in his thought, the muscles of his countenance became violently contracted, and he fell into a sort of catalepsy from which Doctor B—— made no delay in delivering him. But the instant of lucidity had passed, and returned no more.

I give this last incident in conclusion, to the reader, as I witnessed it, and without comment. Had the subject, according to the hypothesis of not a few hypnotists, been influenced by the thoughts passing through my mind, when the doctor commanded him to answer my question? Or, more independent, had his spirit really freed itself for the time from the bonds of matter, and caught sight of things passing beyond our sphere? This is what I shall not take it upon myself to decide. Perhaps the conclusion of this narrative will tell.

I will admit, however, without hesitation, that the resurrection of my friend and his adored companion on Mars, a planet near our own, and resembling it so closely as it does, although older and doubtless more advanced in progress, might seem to the thinker the logical and natural continuation of their terrestrial existence, so soon cut short.

No doubt Spero was right in saying that matter is not what it appears to be, that appearances are deceitful, that the real is the invisible, that spirit is indestructible, that in the eternal world the infinitely great is one with the infinitely little, that the celestial regions are not separated from us, and that souls are the seed of the planetary populations. Who can say that the science of dynamics will not one day reveal to the student of the heavens the religion of the future? May not Uranie hold in her hand the torch without whose light no problem can be solved, without which all nature would remain hidden from our gaze in impenetrable obscurity? The heavens should interpret the earth, the infinite should explain the soul and its spiritual faculties.

The unknown of today is the reality of tomorrow. The following pages may perhaps throw some light on the mysterious bond that unites the transitory to the eternal, the visible to the invisible, the earth to the heavens.

* Curious coincidences sometimes happen. On the day on which Spero made the ascension which was to prove fatal to him, I knew that he had precipitated himself into space, by the extraordinary agitation of the compass, which announced at Paris, where I then was, the occurrence of the Aurora Borealis he had so anxiously waited for, to make the ascent. It has been proved, indeed, that the presence of those lights may be known at a distance, by the magnetic disturbances they produce, but what surprised me most, and what I have not yet been able to explain, was the fact that the very hour of the catastrophe, I experienced an indefinable feeling of malaise, followed by a sort of presentiment that some misfortune had befallen him. The telegram which announced to me his death, found me almost prepared for it.


Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37