Friday, July 15, 2016


The School of Magnetism in Lyons

Whatever caused this strange event and sudden blow to Papus’ self esteem – and we are all entitled to our own theories – psychological, occult or mystical – he was big enough to follow it up and try to find out for himself. Thus by October 1895 we find him in close association with Maître Philippe, intent on introducing him to a wider audience, to which end, he teamed up with Hector Durville, who over the last ten years had established a school of magnetism and massage in Paris, and suggested that Maître Philippe’s operation down in Lyons be incorporated with it.

This may not have seemed a likely arrangement at first sight, as Maïtre Philippe did not have much time for animal magnetism or hypnosis or even occultism for that matter, but having the backing of qualified doctors – Papus himself and another bright young spark, a protégé of Papus, Dr Emmanuel Lalande, (pen name Marc Haven) – may have caused him to feel his work was given greater legal validity. He was appointed Director of the Lyons branch of the organisation, doing his usual thing, with lectures on anatomy, physiology and the like provided by the doctors – particularly Dr Lalande who in course of time married M. Philippe’s daughter, Victoire, and helped her father in his laboratories.  

 A rough translation of the beginning of the inaugural speech by Papus gives some idea of intentions at the time.

“It is a great honour for me to open this School of Magnetism in Lyons, established by the Magnetic Society of France as a branch of a School of practical magnetism and massage that has been recognised by the University of France as a Higher Independent Establishment of Instruction.

“Moving to Lyons has the effect of providing the teaching body of a new School as I was pleased to find your beautiful town has enough devoted and trained practitioners to set up not one but three schools of magnetism if required.

“It is thus that I answer the voice of the people, a powerful voice whose echoes ring through the centuries, while that of academics is barely heard after a few months. Along with the thanks of the poor and the humble, and the blessing of mothers whose children have been condemned by official science, yet are elevated to glory by a simple name for those who do not know him,  and great one for those who understand the mystery of his work – that of PHILIPPE!

“When I first met this strange man who knows the essence of such great things I asked ‘Who are you to possess such powers?’

“He replied: ‘I assure you I am less than a stone, and all the merit comes from God who sometimes deigns to listen to the prayers of the least of his children, for, I tell you the truth, I am nothing, I am less than nothing’.

I have known many men. I have lived in the company of many ambitious egos and have always heard said around me: ‘I am this’ or, ‘I am that...’ And for the first time in my life I heard the strange words: ‘Me? I am nothing, why do you address me when there are so many who are wiser?’

“I had found my MASTER. After a long time looking for someone who was nothing in the midst of those who seemed great. However I had much trouble making the modest M. Philippe accept the official title of Professor of the Clinic of Magnetism to which he had such right. {With all due respect it was probably the word ‘magnetism’ that caused M.Philippe to seem reluctant, although he did later compromise by speaking of a ‘higher’ magnetism in relation to his powers. GK}

“Around him, as around all those who defend the Truth by example, are raised many enemies, as powerful as they are ignorant of the greatness of the work they attack. They who dare condemn ‘love of money’ in one who leaves his house wearing a warm coat in winter and returns without it because he has met a shivering unfortunate on the way.

“But the voice of the people replied in simple words greater than any fine phrases: Monsieur Philippe is the father of the poor!

“They wanted to accuse this man, who cures the incurable by praying to God for them, of the illegal practice of medicine. And it required a new law on the practice of medicine and the judgment of the Court of Appeal at Angers to show the doctors that there exists a medicine of the soul, and that this medicine is at the disposal of the pure in heart and has nothing to do with pharmaceutical formulae.

“I am a doctor of medicine, which is to say that I can perhaps speak of how a sick person is progressing , but in ten years, please God, I hope to be conscious enough of the practice of high theurgy to cure a sick person whom I can, at best, relieve a little at the moment.”

To which we might add a couple of paragraphs of a letter from M. Philippe to one of his intimate friends:

“Do not worry about me for, believe me, I have come to carry the Light into confusion, and I have not come unarmed, without a good escort. Armed with Truth and Light I will triumph, be sure of that. If I could not bear the struggle I would only have to desire rest and I would have it immediately.

“If I have not asked for your support here, it is to leave it for later, when I pass before a greater Tribunal. For that I will need witnesses to speak for me, for Truth and for Heaven.  Fight also by praying for your wicked brothers, asking forgiveness from God for those who spit in your face saying – “If you are God, come down from the cross.”


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