Many of the essays mention a case called the "Cross Correspondences" case, which some consider one of the best cases supporting the idea of life after death. I have never got around to the chore of describing such a case, partially because I regard the case as being so complex that it is very hard for the average person to follow. The case involves different persons getting little scraps of text by apparently paranormal means, with the scraps supposedly fitting together like pieces of a puzzle, to produce some very convincing result. Unfortunately, the case involves so many subtle and obscure classical references and esoteric literary references and interlocking pieces that it taxes the patience of a reader to try and follow it.
A much easier case to follow is the case described in Chapter XVIII of the very interesting 633-page book "Psychical and Supernormal Phenomena, Their Observation and Experimentation" by Dr. Paul Joire, which you can read here. The chapter describes experiments conducted by the Society of Psychic Studies of Nancy, France. The experiments involved five people at a table, at which was seated a very young medium and also Dr. Joire. Mysterious raps were heard on the table, and attempts were made to query unseen agents. We are told queries were made "using the alphabet as usual," and presumably this was a system by which the alphabet was repeatedly recited and a table rap after a particular letter was counted as standing for a particular letter of the alphabet. The plan was that experimenters attempted to get as many pieces of factual information they could from these mysterious rap signals, and they then attempted to verify whether there was any truth to the information provided.
In quite a few cases, the experimenters were able to verify claims made during these seances. Below are some examples.
Bertolf de Ghistelles
The question and answer session went like this (I'll give a partial excerpt):
"Question. Bertolf must be a Christian name. Have you any other name ?
Answer, Bertolf de Ghistelles.
Q. Were you French ?
Q, Will you tell us the name of the locality where you lived ?
Q. Have you been a long time in the Beyond ?
Q. In what year did you die ?
A. In 1081.
Q. What were you ?
A, Husband of a Saint.
Q. Do you mean that your wife is honoured as a saint, that she has been canonised ?
Q. What was her name ?
A, Godeleine de Wierfroy. Can she forgive me ?
Q, You did her harm ?
Q. You killed her perhaps ?
A, I had her strangled...
Q, Have you found any members of her family ?
A, Heinfried and his wife Ogine, her father and mother. They have forgiven me.
Q. Is the festival of your wife celebrated anywhere ?
Q. On what date ?
A, July 6th....
Q, Did you die in a tragic manner ?
A, No, in a monastery. I remained there nine years.
The experimenters attempted to verify this information, and found a reference that stated the following, consistent with the claims above (but with the man's name being spelled differently):
"Godelive, Godelieve, or Godeleine of Ghistelles (saint), born near Boulogne in 1040, died at Ghistelles in 1070. She married Berthold, Lord of Ghistelles, near Bruges, who, after having subjected her to odious treatment, had her strangled and thrown down a well. Berthold became a monk... Godelive is specially honoured at Bruges on July 6th."
The page here from the Catholic Encyclopedia lists the husband of this saint as "Bertolf," matching exactly the spelling given at the seance. It gives details matching those in the answers above.
Gabriel Garcia Moreno
The question and answer session went like this (I'll give a partial excerpt):
"Question. What was your profession ?
Q. President of what ?
A. The Republic of Ecuador.
Q. At what age did you die ?
A, 53 years, Friday, August 6, 1875. Dio ni muere !
Q, Why those words ?
A. I spoke them as I fell. I died a Christian.
Q. Will you be kind enough to translate them, because we do not know Spanish ?
A. They mean 'God does not die.'
Q. Of what illness did you die ?
A. (by violent raps) Assassinated by Rayo and his accomplices in front of the Government palace at Quito.
Q. What weapon was used ?
A. The machete.
Q. What is the machete ?
A. A Mexican knife.
Q. Are you happy ?
A, I have caused the death of some men.
Q. For what reason ?
A. To repress a conspiracy.
Q. Do you regret it ?
Q. Who was the instigator of the conspiracy you repressed ?
A. General Maldanato.
The experimenters attempted to verify this information, and found a reference that stated the following, consistent with the claims above:
" Moreno (Gabriel Garcia), President of Ecuador, assas-
sinated at Quito in 1875. Exiled in his youth, he went
to Paris and London, where he studied, returned to
Ecuador, took up the profession of chemist, married the
daughter of General Flores and became chief of the
conservatives at Quito. President of the Republic from
1861 to 1865, and again from 1869 to 1875, he was
scheming to become president again when he was assas-
A wikipedia.org article on Moreno confirms these claims, and tells us the assassination of Moreno at Quito occurred when he was "struck down with knives and revolvers," a statement consistent with the seance claim that death occurred by machete (a machete being a large knife). The wikipedia.org article also says that Moreno's last words were "God does not die," matching the seance claim. The page here confirms that statement about Moreno's last words, and states that "in the afternoon of August 6, Garcia Moreno was attacked by an assassin with a machete and three accomplices armed with revolvers on the porch of the Presidential Palace."
Gabriel Garcia Moreno
Henry Charles Montagne
In the next case the mysterious raps identified their source as Henry Charles Montagne, saying that this person (the son of Edouard Montagne) had died ten years earlier, on his birthday at the age of 31, being attacked by a tiger, and that this person was buried at Pere-Lachais.
The researchers wrote to some distant office, trying to get verification for some of this information. They received this reply in 1906:
"Dear Sir and Colleague,— Yes, Henry Montagne was the son of a former delegate of the Societe des Gens de Lettres, Edouard Montagne, the immediate predecessor of M. de L. He was killed by a tiger at Nha-Trang (Annam), on July 9, 1896. His body was brought to Paris on September 26th, and was buried on the 28th at Pere-Lachaise, in the family vault, &c."
This account was in agreement with the tale told by the mysterious raps, the only difference being that one source lists the funeral as occurring on September 28th, and the other source lists the funeral as occuring on November 28th.
In the next case the mysterious raps identified their source as Henri Thomas, with the conversation going like this:
"Q. Have you been dead for long ?
A. Two years and a half.
Q, How old were you ?
A. Twenty years.
Q. Do you know of what illness ?
Q. What is the name of the place where you lived ?
Q. Were you born at Gondrecourt ?
A, No. At Demange-aux-Eaux.
Q, Had you a profession ?
A, Yes; teacher."
After a letter was sent to a school official at Gondrecourt, the following reply was received:
"Thomas (Henri) was born at Demange-aux-Eaux (Mouse) on October 10, 1883. He entered the Normal School at Commercy on October 1, 1899, and left on July 20, 1902, with the higher certificate. On October 1st of that year he took the position of probationary teacher at Gondrecourt, about four miles away from his family. He was a very good, kind master, somewhat timid, conscientious, and of very good conduct. On Thursday, November 26, 1903, at 7 p.m., he placed himself in front of a train on the line from Bar to Neufchateau. We learned of his tragic death on the following day. All who knew him were profoundly astonished by it."
The information received was all consistent with the information coming from the mysterious raps, including the claim that Henri died at age twenty and worked as a teacher, except that the postal reply lists the death as a suicide, and the raps indicated death by accident. It is possible that an accidental death from a train was incorrectly thought to be a suicide.
The raps produced a claim to be Maurice Bouche, and produced this statement: "I died three years ago, at Lille, on the scaffold." A subsequent inquiry produced this result:
"He told me that Maurice Bouche was a young man of good family, who was ruined through bad company. Falling lower and lower, he ended by joining some robbers. One day he was arrested for complicity in the assassination of an old lady of property, and was, in fact, executed at Lille about three years previously."
The raps produced a claim to be a weaver named Viry, who was born in Geradmer, who lived in Gerbepol, and who had died on November 26, 1877, at age twenty, "outdoors," because of consumption. An inquiry then produced this response:
"I have the honour to inform you that there is not in our town any relative or connection of young Viry, weaver, born at Gerardmer, who died at Gerbepol on November 26, 1877, aged nearly twenty years...This young man was found dead in the snow."
The raps claimed to be a Madame Duchene, someone who had once been a teacher, who died at the age of seventy-eight years at Vendresse, two and a half years ago. An inquiry on this topic to a mayor produced this statement (dated June 16, 1906): " In reply to your inquiry, I have the honour to inform you that Mme. Duchene, widow...died at Vendresse on September 7, 1903, and that she bequeathed all her fortune to M. L., formerly schoolmaster." The difference between the dates of September 7, 1903 and June 16, 1906 is roughly two and a half years.
The raps claimed to be a person named Augustin who died on May 17, 1857. When asked for "some information that will help us to establish your identity," a reply was given of "Beatus qui intelligit super egenum et pauperem," with a claim that such was written on the person's tombstone, in the "Sceaux cemetery." The phrase in Latin means "Blessed is he who understands the poor and has pity on the unfortunate." The raps claimed to be from someone who had been a professor at the Sorbonne.
The investigators made an inquiry to the keeper of the Sceaux cemetery, and received a reply by mail stating that after a search (and finding a gravestone covered with weeds), a tombstone was found with the following engraving:
Died at Sceaux May 23, 1857
Beatus qui intelligit super egenum et pauperem
The Latin line the cemetery keeper quoted from the tombstone exactly matches the Latin line given during the seance. The only discrepancy is a difference of six days between the two dates of death. Wikipedia.org has a long article on Augustin-Louis Cauchy, with the details matching the details given in the seance (with the exception of the same six-day difference about the date of death). The article describes him as a staunch Catholic, matching the impression given in the seance quotations.
How to Explain?
If all of these details were to have been provided orally by a seemingly entranced medium, we have a possible explanation for these results by hypothesizing some extremely elaborate and very hard-to-prepare fraud in which a medium learned and meticulously memorized very many details about deceased figures (some not famous), and then orally recited those details, only pretending to be entranced. But in this case we have the fact that all of the details came from mysterious table raps, with the raps spelling out letters. The total number of raps needed to spell out the details above (with one rap per letter) would have been many hundreds, occurring spread out over a long time. We can imagine no medium manually producing so many hundreds of raps at a table where five people were seated, without being detected by the investigators.
There is still one narrow possibility for the skeptic wishing to deny this evidence. He can simply believe that the whole affair was completely fraudulent, that no such mysterious raps ever occurred, and that Dr. Paul Joire simply made up the whole account. But a reader studying Joire's massive 633-page book "Psychical and Supernormal Phenomena, Their Observation and Experimentation" will be unlikely to suspect so serious a scholar of that type of chicanery.