Cahagnet, Louis-Alphonse (1805-1885)

views updated

Cahagnet, Louis-Alphonse (1805-1885)

A journeyman cabinetmaker who, attracted to the study of somnambulism in 1845, published three years later Magnétisme: Arcanes de la vie future dévoilé (English translation: The Celestial Telegraph, 1848), the first volume of a remarkable book containing a summary of his experiments with eight somnambulists and spirit communications from 36 entities that claimed to have died over a period dating back two hundred years. The communications give a detailed description of spirit spheres and afterlife.

In January 1849, a second volume of the same book was published. It included the testimonies of the sitters, many of whom were very skeptical and on their guard against deception. In 1860 a third volume appeared.

Adèle Maginot was the medium for these sittings. She furnished striking proof of the personal identity of the communicators. In his book, Modern Spiritualism (1902), spiritualist historian Frank Podmore observes, "In the whole literature of Spiritualism I know of no records of the kind which reach a higher evidential standard, nor any in which the writer's good faith and intelligence are alike so conspicuous."


Cahagnet, Louis-Alphonse. Magnetisme arcanes de la vie future devoile. Paris, 1848. Translated as The Celestial Telegraph. 2 vols. New York, 1851.

. Magnétisme: Encyclopédie magnétique spiritualiste. N.p., 1861.

. Sanctuaire au Spiritualisme. Paris, 1850. Translated as The Sanctuary of Spiritualism: A Study of the Human Soul and of Its Relation with the Universe through Somnambulism and Ecstasy. N.p., 1851.

. Thérapeutique du magnétisme et du Somnambulisme appropriée aux maladies les plus communes. N.p., 1883.

Darnton, Robert. Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968.

Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. New York: Helix Press, 1964.

Podmore, Frank, Modern Spiritualism. 2 vols. London, 1902. Reprinted as Mediums of the Nineteenth Century. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1963.