Maginot, Adèle (ca. 1848)
Noted early French medium. She was psychic from childhood
and was treated by the magnetist Louis-Alphonse Cahagnet
because of the disturbances in her life caused by lively psychic
occurrences. He soon found her an excellent clairvoyant,
especially for medical purposes. From this she progressed to
serve as a channel for spirit communications.
From the summer of 1848, many sittings were held in which
visitors were put in touch with their departed relatives. Cahagnet
made them sign a statement after the sitting indicating
which of the particulars were true and which false, which he
later published in the second volume of his book Magnétisme arcanes
de la vie future dévoilé (1848–60). When Maginot was put
into trance, she saw the spirits of the departed, described them,
and gave an intimate description of their family circumstances.
Baron du Potet, a well-known writer on animal magnetism
and the editor of the Journal du Magnetisme, witnessed a striking
séance in the company of Prince de Kourakine, who was secretary
to the Russian ambassador. Nevertheless, he was inclined
to attribute the result to thought-transference.
Maginot’s most extraordinary phenomena, however, did
not consist in communications from the dead but in communiEncyclopedia
of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Maginot, Adèle
cations from the living, combined with traveling clairvoyance.
A. M. Lucas came to inquire after his brother-in-law, who had
disappeared after a quarrel 12 years before. Maginot, in trance,
found the man and said that he was alive in a foreign country,
busy gathering seeds from small shrubs about three feet high.
She asked to be awakened since she was afraid of wild beasts.
A. M. Lucas returned a few days afterward with the mother of
the vanished man. Maginot correctly described the man’s appearance
and the history of his disappearance. She was asked
to speak to the man, and a conversation ensued.
‘‘Get him to tell you the name of the country where you see
him,’’ says the record. ‘‘He will not answer.’’ ‘‘Tell him that his
good mother, for whom he had a great affection, is with you,
and asks for news of him.’’ ‘‘Oh, at the mention of his mother
he turned around and said to me ‘My mother, I shall not die
without seeing her again. Comfort her, and tell her that I always
think of her. I am not dead.’’’ ‘‘Why doesn’t he write to
her’’ ‘‘He has written to her, but the vessel has no doubt been
wrecked—at least he supposes this to be so, since he has received
no answer. He tells me that he is in Mexico. He has followed
the Emperor, Don Pedro; he has been imprisoned for
five years; he has suffered a great deal, and will use every effort
to return to France; they will see him again.’’ ‘‘Can he name the
place in which he is living’’ ‘‘No, it is very far inland. These
countries have no names.’’
A similar experience was recorded by M. Mirande, the head
of the printing office in which the first volume of the Arcanes
had been printed. His missing brother, whom he believed to be
dead, was found by Maginot to be living and a plausible account
of his long silence and whereabouts was given. Unfortunately,
in neither case was corroboration forthcoming. But there was
one instance (quoted in Cahagnet’s third volume) in which, a
few weeks after the sitting, a mother received a confirmatory
letter from her absent son.
Frank Podmore challenged Adèle Maginot’s work
‘‘If Adèle, or any other of Cahagnet’s clairvoyants really had
possessed the power of conversing with the living at a distance,
I cannot doubt that Cahagnet, in the course of his many years’
experiments, would have been able to present us with some evidence
of such power that was not purely hypothetical. Nothing
would be more easy to prove. The fact that no such evidence
is forthcoming affords a strong presumption that Adèle did not
possess the power, and that the conversations here detailed
were purely imaginary, the authentic or plausible details which
they contained being filched, it may be, telepathically from the
minds of those present.’’
However, in spite of a lack of convincing evidence from Maginot,
Podmore also stated of Cahagnet’s investigations ‘‘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 or intelligence are alike so conspicuous