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Mysteries


Strange quirks of history

The Countess and the Jewish Lady

My friend Eric told me the following story, which he heard directly from one of the two heroines. The Countess of Somewhere lived with her husband in an enormous apartment near the Champs de Mars. She was charming, intelligent, and open-minded. Her husband was an old, unpleasant scrooge, and an anti-Semite. A new couple moved…

Abelard & Heloise

I was familiar with the general outline of this 12th century tragic love story, but it was our painter friend Jean who brought to my attention the truly extraordinary nature of these two characters. Abelard is one of the most important intellectuals of the Middle Ages, a true giant of Medieval thought. A philosopher and…

The Curse of Joan of Arc

When I was 10 years old, my mother forced me to learn horseback riding. Every Thursday afternoon I went to the stables for my lessons. I hated it. The stables belonged to the Duchess of L. She was in her eighties and always rode sidesaddle, perfectly erect and wearing an elegant black tricorn hat. Her…

The Antique Dealer from Munich

For many years, during my annual visit to the Festival of Music in Salzburg, I noticed an older woman in attendance. Unmistakably rich and disagreeable, everyone seemed to avoid her. I didn’t pay much attention until one summer when she was absent. I inquired about her. She had died. It was then that I learned…

The Ghost at the Universal Exhibition

In 1992, the Universal Exposition was held in Seville, Spain. The chef-d’oeuvre of the fair was an exhibition entitled “1492,” a celebration of the year the Americas were discovered. Masterpieces from every country and culture dating from the era were assembled and presented for the exhibit. The exposition was housed in a wood and plaster structure, built…

The Curse of Lord Fiereford

I once visited the Fiereford’s château in Ireland. It is a baroque masterpiece, surrounded by sumptuous gardens. Still, there is something sinister lingering about the grounds, negative waves and energy. Lord Fiereford himself was rather burly, and, to be frank, neither welcoming nor pleasant. Generations earlier, during the 18th century, his ancestor had come face…

The Fiery Reflection

My friend John Nicholas, one of the leading ghost experts in Ireland, told me the following story. One day, in the 1930’s, a family was walking through the grounds around their chateau, one of the most beautiful in Ireland. A great lawn stretched out in front of the home, in the middle of which was a…

Patmos : The Body in the Straw Basket

I didn’t stay long at the Patmian cocktail party. I was bored, but more so I didn’t like the house. It’s a beautiful home, rather old, decorated with great care, filled with precious objects and surrounded by an enchanting garden. Yet, I felt uneasy there. I returned home to find Maria in the kitchen. I told her…

Melusine

My friend Jean once told me a story about a friend of his, an architect. The friend had been invited by an acquaintance to his castle in Poitou. Upon arriving, he found a very old fortress that had been restored with great care and without altering the architecture one bit. The architect learned from his…

The Chateau of Kuhlau: The Ghost in the Wheelchair

It was my friend Manet who told me of the famous ghost of Kuhlau. I was intrigued, I needed to see it for myself. Manet arranged a visit and soon we were driving through the Czech countryside on our way to the chateau. From afar we spotted the enormous medieval fortress, keeping watch from its…