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.’’
Sources
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.

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