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The Philosopher Gassendi And The Haunted Bed-room






In one of the letters of this celebrated philosopher, he says, that he
was consulted by his friend and patron the Count d'Alais, governor of
Provence, on a phenomenon that haunted his bed-chamber while he was at
Marseilles on some business relative to his office. The Count tells
Gassendi, that, for several successive nights, as soon as the candle was
taken away, he and his Countess saw a luminous spectre, sometimes of an
oval, and sometimes of a triangular form; that it always disappeared
when light came into the room; that he had often struck at it, but could
discover nothing solid. Gassendi, as a natural philosopher, endeavoured
to account for it; sometimes attributing it to some defect of vision, or
to some dampness of the room, insinuating that perhaps it might be sent
from Heaven to him, to give him a warning in due time of something that
should happen. The spectre still continued its visits all the time that
he staid at Marseilles; and some years afterwards, on their return to
Aix, the Countess d'Alais confessed to her husband, that she played him
this trick, by means of one of her women placed under the bed with a
phial of phosphorus, with an intention to frighten him away from
Marseilles, a place in which she very much disliked to live.





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