An Unsolved Mystery
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He was told to go to the Prefect at Cherbourg, but refused, upon the ground that his presence was needed in Paris. He time and again averred his conviction that he was a doomed man, and showed himself both vacillating and irresolute in his conduct, and extremely nervous. He was told that he was perfectly safe, since de Lassa and all his household were under constant surveillance; to which he replied; “You do not know the man.” An inspector was detailed to accompany Delessert, never lose sight of him night and day, and guard him carefully; and proper precautions were taken in regard to his food and drink, while the guards watching de Lassa were doubled.
On the morning of the third day, Delessert, who had been staying chiefly indoors, avowed his determination to go at once and telegraph to M. le Préfet to return immediately. With this intention he and his brother-officer started out. Just as they got to the corner of the Rue de Lancry and the Boulevard, Delessert stopped suddenly and put his hand to his forehead.
“My God!” he cried, “the crystal! the picture!” and he fell prone upon his face, insensible. He was taken at once to a hospital, but only lingered a few hours, never regaining his consciousness. Under express instructions from the authorities, a most careful, minute, and thorough autopsy was made of Delessert’s body by several distinguished surgeons, whose unanimous opinion was, that the cause of his death was apoplexy, due to fatigue and nervous excitement.
As soon as Delessert was sent to the hospital, his brother-inspector hurried to the Central Office, and de Lassa, together with his wife and every one connected with the establishment, were at once arrested. De Lassa smiled contemptuously as they took him away. “I knew you were coming; I prepared for it. You will be glad to release me again.”
It was quite true that de Lassa had prepared for them.
When the house was searched, it was found that every paper had been burned, the crystal globe was destroyed, and in the room of the séances was a great heap of delicate machinery broken into indistinguishable bits. “That cost me 200,000 francs,” said de Lassa, pointing to the pile, “but it has been a good investment.” The walls and floors were ripped out in several places, and the damage to the property was considerable. In prison neither de Lassa nor his associates made any revelations. The notion that they had something to do with Delessert’s death was quickly dispelled, in a legal point of view, and all the party but de Lassa were released. He was still detained in prison, upon one pretext or another, when one morning he was found hanging by a silk sash to the cornice of the room where he was confined—dead. The night before, it was afterwards discovered, “Madame” de Lassa had eloped with a tall footman, taking the Nubian Sidi with them.
De Lassa’s secrets died with him.
“An Unsolved Mystery”
It is an interesting story,—that article of yours in today’s Scientist. But is it a record of facts, or a tissue of the imagination? If true, why not state the source of it; in other words, specify your authority for it?”
The above is not signed, but we would take the opportunity to say, that the story, “An Unsolved Mystery,” was published because we considered the main points of the narrative,—the prophecies, and the singular death of the officer—to be psychic phenomena, that have been, and can be again produced. Why quote “authorities”? The Scriptures tell us of the death of Ananias, under the stern rebuke from Peter; here we have a phenomenon of a similar nature. Ananias is supposed to have suffered instant death from fear. Few can realize this power, governed by spiritual laws; but those who have trod the boundary line, and KNOW some few of the things that CAN be done, will see no great mystery in this, or the story published last week. We are not speaking in mystical tones. Ask the powerful mesmerist if there is danger that the subject may pass out from his control? If he could will the spirit out, never to return? It is capable of demonstration, that the mesmerist can act on a subject at a distance of many miles; and it is no less certain that the majority of mesmerists know little or nothing of the laws that govern their powers.
It may be a pleasant dream to attempt to conceive of the beauties of the spirit-world; but the time can be spent more profitably in a study of the spirit itself, and it is not necessary that the subject for study should be in the spirit-world.
“An Unsolved Mystery”
To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist.
I am quite well aware of the source from whence originated the facts woven into the highly interesting story entitled “An Unsolved Mystery,” which appeared in No. 12, Vol. III, of your paper. I was myself at Paris at the time of the occurrences described, and personally witnessed the marvellous effects produced by the personage who figures in the anecdote as M. de Lasa. The attention you are giving to the subject of Occultism meets with the hearty approbation of all initiates—among which class it is idle for me to say whether I am or am not included.
You have opened to the American public a volume crammed, from cover to cover, with accounts of psychic phenomena surpassing in romantic interest the more wonderful experiences of the present day Spiritualism; and before long your paper will be quoted all over the world as their chief repository. Before long, too, the numerous writers in your contemporary journals, who have been gloating over the supposed discomfiture of your Russian friends, Mme. Blavatsky and the President of the Philosophical Académie, will have the laugh turned upon them, and wish they had not been so hasty in committing themselves to print. The same number which contains de Lassa’s story, has, in an article on “Occult Philosophy,” a suggestion that the supposed materialized spirit-forms, recently seen, may be only the simulacra of deceased people, resembling those individuals, but who are no more the real spirits than is the “photograph in your album” the sitter.
Among the notable personages I met in Paris at the time specified, was the venerable Count d’Ourches, then a hale, old gentleman nearly ninety years of age. His noble parents perished on the scaffold in the Reign of Terror, and the events of that bloody epoch were stamped indelibly upon his memory. He had known Cagliostro and his wife, and had a portrait of that lady, whose beauty dazzled the courts of Europe. One day he hurried breathlessly into the apartment of a certain nobleman, residing on the Champs Élysées, holding this miniature in his hand and exclaiming, in great excitement: “Mon Dieu!—she has returned—it is she!—Madame Cagliostro is here!” I smiled at seeing the old Count’s excitement, knowing well what he was about to say. Upon quieting himself he told us he had just attended a séance of M. de Lasa, and had recognized in his wife the original of the miniature, which he exhibited, adding that it had come into his possession with other effects left by his martyred father. Some of the facts concerning the de Lasa are detailed very erroneously, but I shall not correct the errors.
I am aware that the first impulse of the facetious critics of Occultism will be to smile at my hardihood in endorsing, by implication, the possibility that the beautiful Madame de Lasa, of 1861, was none other than the equally beautiful Madame Cagliostro of 1786; at the further suggestion that it is not at all impossible that the proprietor of the crystal globe and clicking telegraph, which so upset the nerves of Delessert, the police spy, was the same person, who, under the name of Alessandro di Cagliostro, is reported by his lying biographers to have been found dead in the prison of Sant’ Angelo.
These same humorous scribblers will have additional provocation to merriment when I tell you that it is not only probable, but likely, that this same couple may be seen in this country before the end of the Centennial Exhibition, astounding alike professors, editors, and Spiritualists.
The initiates are as hard to catch as the sun-sparkle which flecks the dancing wave on a summer day. One generation of men may know them under one name in a certain country, and the nest, or a succeeding one, see them as someone else in a remote land.
They live in each place as long as they are needed and then—pass away “like a breath” leaving no trace behind.
Written from J*** Narrative