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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