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Strangeness in 18th Century France!

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  • Strangeness in 18th Century France!

    What do you think of this?

    Excerpt from a book called The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot. of the most remarkable displays of miraculous events ever recorded took place in Paris in the first half of the eighteenth century. The events centered around a puritanical sect of Dutch-influenced Catholics known as the Jansenists, and were precipitated by the death of a saintly and revered Jansenist deacon named Francois de Paris.

    ...Jansenism was founded in the early 17th century and from the start it was at odds with both the Roman Catholic Church and the French monarchy. Many of their beliefs diverged sharply with standard church doctrine but it was a popular movement and quickly gained followers amongst the French populace. Most damning of all, it was viewed by both the Papacy and King Louis XV, a devout Catholic, as Protestantism only masquerading as Catholicism. As a result both the church and the king were constantly maneouvering to undermine the movements power. One obstacle to these maneouverings, and one of the factors that contributed to the movements popularity, was that the Jansenist leaders seemed especially skilled at performing miraculous healings. Nonetheless, the church and the monarchy persevered, causing fierce debates to rage throughout France. It was on May 1, 1727, at the height of this power struggle, that Francois de Paris died and was interred in the parish cemetery of Saint-Medard, Paris.

    Because of the abbe's saintly reputation, worshippers began to gather at his tomb, and from the beginning a host of miraculous healings were reported. The ailments thus cured included cancerous tumours, paralysis, deafness, arthritis, rheumatism, ulcerous sores, persistent fevers, prolonged haemorrhaging, and blindness. But this was not all. The mourners also started to experience strange involuntary spasms or convulsions and to undergo the most amazing contortions of their limbs. These seizures quickly proved contagious, spreading like a brush fire until the streets were packed with men, woman, and children, all twisting and writhing as if caught in a surreal enchantment.

    It was while they were in this fitful and trancelike state that the "convulsionaires" as they have come to be called, displayed the most phenomenal of their talents. One was the ability to endure without harm an almost unimaginable variety of physical tortures. These included severe beatings, blows from both heavy and sharp objects, and strangulations - all with no sign of injury, or even the slightest trace of wounds or bruises.

    ...Moreover, many of the the witnesses, such as the investigators from the Roman Catholic Church, had a vested interest in refuting the Jansenist miracles, but they still went away confirming them (the Roman Catholic Church later remedied this embarrasing state of affairs by conceding that the miracles existed but were the work of the devil, hence proving that the Jansenists were depraved).

    One investigator, a member of the Paris Parliament named Louis-Basile Carre de Montgeron, witnessed enough miracles to fill four thick volumes on the subject, which he published in 1737 under the title La Verite des Miracles. In the work he provided numerous examples of the convulsionaires apparent invulnerability to torture. In one instance a 20 year old convulsionaire named Jeanne Maulet leaned against a stone wall while a volunteer from the crowd, "a very strong man", delivered one hundred blows to her stomach with a thirty pound hammer (the convulsionaires themselves asked to be tortured because they said it relieved the excrutiating pain of their convulsions). To test the force of the blows, Montgeron himself then took the hammer and tried it on the stone wall against which the girl had leaned. He wrote, "At the twenty fifth blow the stone upon which I struck, which had been shaken by the preceding efforts, suddenly became loose and fell on the other side of the wall, making an aperture more than half a foot in size".

    In fact, it appears nothing could harm the convulsionaires. They could not be hurt by the blows of metal rods, chains or timbers. The strongest men could not choke them. Some were crucified and afterwards showed no trace of wounds. Most mind-boggling of all, they could not even be cut or punctured with knives, swords or hatchets! Montgeron cites an incident in which the sharpened point of an iron drill was held against the stomach of a convulsionaire and then pounded so violently with a hammer that it seemed "as if it would penetrate through to the spine and rupture all the entrails". But it didnt, and the convulsionaire maintained "an expression of perfect rapture", crying, "Oh that does me good! Courage, brother; strike twice as hard, if you can!"

    Invulnerability was not the only talent the Jansenists displayed during their seizures. Some became clairvoyant and were able to “discern hidden things”. Others could read even when their eyes were closed and tightly bandaged, and instances of levitation were reported. One of the levitators, an abbe named Bescherand from Montpellier, was so “forcibly lifted into the air” during his convulsions that even when witnesses tried to hold him down they could not succeed in keeping him from rising up off of the ground.

    Although we have all but forgotten about the Jansenist miracles today, they were far from ignored by the intelligentsia of the time. The niece of the mathematician and philosopher Pascal succeeded in having a severe ulcer in her eye vanish within hours as the result of a Jansenist miracle. When King Louis XV tried unsuccessfully to stop the convulsionaries by closing the cemetery of Saint-Medard, Voltaire quipped, “God was forbidden, by order of the King, to work any miracles there”. And in his philosophical Essays the Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote, “There surely never was so great a number of miracles ascribed to one person as those which were lately said to have been wrought in France upon the tomb of Abbe Paris. Many of the miracles were immediately proved upon the spot, before judges of unquestioned credit and distinction, in a learned age, and on the most eminent theatre that is now in the world.”
    Quite an interesting story Im sure you will agree When I read it I was reminded of Alex's comment in the "ancient warriors of the west" thread about chi kung practice making you look at historical legends in a different light...

    Sifu Andy Cusick

    Shaolin Wahnam Thailand
    Shaolin Qigong


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    "a trained mind brings health and happiness"
    - ancient wisdom

  • #2
    Originally posted by Andy View Post
    Quite an interesting story Im sure you will agree
    Yes, if I remember well, this is one of the most surprising and interesting stories in the book.
    This one was the third book I read of him, after which I became a Michael Talbot fan, as he is the author who first opened my mind.
    Much later on, I found out that Sifu quotes him in some of his books.

    Warm greetings,


    • #3
      Heh. I imagine any source that might upstage or discredit the Catholic church would be a source of great concern.

      Did I misinterpret a bit though? It said none of ghem could be in any way punctured but earlier said some were crucified but after showed no signs of wounds. Surely if they were unable to be wounded there were no wounds to show after anyway?


      • #4
        Sounds like a very powerful chi flow


        • #5
          The name "Michael Talbot" triggered something in the back of my mind... I think it's like Simon said: Sigung quoted him somewhere. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love reading/finding out about stuff that's been removed from taught history, be it by a state or by the church . Will go find some books from him once I'm done with my current reads.