Summons by the Dying
It was once maintained by theologians that if anyone who
was unjustly accused or persecuted should, with his dying
breath, summon his oppressor to appear before the supreme
tribunal, the person thus summoned would die on the day fixed
by his innocent victim. Thus the grand master of the Templars
cited the pope and the king of France to appear before God on
a certain date, and as the story goes, both died at the appointed
time.
François I, duke of Brittany, hired assassins to murder his
brother in 1450. The dying prince summoned his murderer before
the highest of all courts, and François shortly expired. Yet
another instance is that of Ferdinand IV of Spain, who was summoned
by two nobles whom he had condemned unjustly; he
died at the end of 30 days.
Many more examples could be quoted to show how firmly
rooted was this belief in the power of the dying to avenge their
death by supernatural means. Fear, and possibly remorse, acting
on the imagination of the guilty person might well cause
him to expire at the stated time, and authenticated accounts of
death caused by these agents are not unknown. This conclusion
is further borne out by the fact that if the condemned man was
guilty—that is, if the judge’s conscience was clear—the summons
had no effect.
An old story tells of Gonzalo of Cordova (1453–1515), who
sentenced a soldier to death for sorcery. The soldier exclaimed
that he was innocent and summoned Gonzalo to appear before
God. ‘‘Go, then,’’ said the judge, ‘‘and hasten the proceedings.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Summons by the Dying
1509
My brother who is in heaven, will appear for me.’’ Gonzalo did
not die at that time, as he believed he had acted justly and had
no fear of the consequences of the summons.

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