Thursday, September 08, 2016


The Professor’s dilemma

An interesting note in a later edition of a biography of Maïtre Philippe by Papus’ son Philippe Encausse contains an account of an attempted validation of a miraculous healing. It involved  three doctors – a Professor Brouardel and Drs. Emmanuel Lalande and Gérard Encausse.

“The commission went to the house in la rue Tête d’Or where the thaumaturge worked, where there was the usual crowd. Professor Brouardel introduced himself and said:

‘It appears that you perform miracles sir. Well here we are, two colleagues and myself, ready to witness the fact...’

Philippe shrugged his shoulders. This kind of demonstration did not greatly interest him, but he agreed to do what they asked. He indicated the sick who were present and said ‘Choose any one you like...’

The commission put on the rostrum an enormous hydroptic who appeared to be at her last extremity. Her legs were like pillars, her torso like a tower and her arms like prize marrows, the whole on the point of bursting.

 ‘Can you see her all right’  Philippe asked the commission.

On their assent he said ‘There you are. It’s done!’

Her skirt had fallen around her ankles and there she stood, acutely embarrassed but thin and cured. There was not a single drop of liquid on the platform or anywhere else. A miracle? There was no other word for it. A miracle in all its incomprehensible simplicity.

Doctors Encausse and Lalande  began to prepare a statement on how they had examined the patient before and after, not taken their eyes off her for a second, and had witnessed her cure, of a kind that was not unusual where Monsieur Philippe was concerned. Both signed, but Professor Brouardel, without denying what he had seen (which would have been difficult in the circumstances!) refused to add his signature on the grounds that ‘he could not understand what had happened...’

With attitudes such as this, it is hardly surprising that Monsieur Philippe found it difficult to  obtain any official recognition of his powers. Although it should be said that Professor Brouardel had put himself into a vulnerable position in even agreeing to take part in this event, in that both his medical colleagues were committed supporters of Monsieur Philippe, so it is doubtful if much official credence would have been granted to their evidence even if the Professor had signed the document with his own blood! Whatever the witness of the ‘unqualified’ crowd who had gathered there, to say nothing of the patient herself.

Apart from Dr. Encausse’s track record as an occult populariser, Dr Lalande was a close relative of Monsieur Philippe, having married his daughter Victoire. Born at the end of 1868 he had turned up in Paris as a medical student in 1887 and become a member of  Papus’ circle, choosing the pen name of Marc Haven from the same source as Papus, the Nuctemeron of Apollonius of Tyana as quoted by Eliphas Levi (Haven being the name of the spirit of Dignity – or, perhaps better – ‘gravitas’.) Papus encouraged him to develop an interest in homeopathy and alchemy and in 1893 he became a member of the supreme council of the Ordre Kabbalistique de la Rose+Croix. He qualified as a doctor of medicine in 1896 with a treatise on the unlikely subject of the medieval alchemical doctor Arnaud de Villeneuve.

He had even met Maïtre Philippe a little before Papus, who before venturing to Lyons himself to meet his recent apparent inner plane antagonist, {see Sons of Hermes 22}, asked Emmanuel Lalande to go down first and report back. Which his young colleague did – an event that completely changed his life!

By September 1897 he had married Philippe’s daughter Victoire and found a position specialising in homeopathy at a local hospital. Then, as a family member, well qualified medically and esoterically, he formed a close partnership with Monsieur Philippe in his pharmacological enterprises, not only in their research and manufacture but their commercial exploitation.

It has to be said that he seemed somewhat bewildered by all this at first. In a letter to Papus he describes how the programme of laboratory work, even with a couple of assistants, was very hard, neither a bed of roses nor a sinecure. It was impossible to distinguish between good or bad results, and he just had to hope that he did not appear too much like an ignorant pig. “Beyond which, embracing buddhism, catholicism, anticlericalism, or christianity appears like a comedy of bumbling ignorance!”

An official report of one of their places of work describes a vast room, or laboratory, divided in two by a brick wall, in which, along with other bizarre or disparate objects were to be found  a vast furnace, alembics, retorts, carboys half filled with an unknown liquid, an electric grinder to reduce horns of cattle, bones, etc. to powder, from which a liquor called ‘heliozine’ was prepared, regarded by Philippe as an infallible panacea – especially against syphilis. It was also called ‘keratine serum’ and contained what he saw as “the angel who fought against major illnesses.”

Whether he invented it or followed an ancient recipe is not known but it involved at times someone watching day and night over an immense autoclave (a device for steam sterilisation at high temperatures and pressures). Some scattered details of this work are given in Lumière blanche (White Light) the memoirs of Marie Lalande – Marc Haven’s second wife after the death of Victoire in 1904. And Haven once remarked that success in preparation may well have required Monsieur Philippe’s personal involvement at some point.

Apart from this Maïtre Philippe continued with his apparently miraculous healing work, which could, on occasion, include local control of the weather!  Unexplainable in scientific terms it may have been, but it also put into the shade anything produced by the magical fraternity. Who seemed to take it all in good part however! It even pushed them, in various degrees, some completely, towards a mystical rather than a magical approach to spiritual dynamics.

We find therefore a strange divide in the approach, attitude and methods of Maïtre Philippe. On the one hand demanding a detailed scientific process and the other an uncompromising  religious faith. It is hardly any wonder that both scientific and esoteric worlds found it difficult to cope with him.

Marc Haven later wrote a book that compared him to the 18th century wonder worker Count Cagliostro: Le Maïtre Inconnu Cagliostro (The Unknown Master Cagliostro), sub-titled “an historical and critical study of High Magic,” seeking why each was regarded either as an anarchic charlatan or as divinely ordained and inspired. A recent work in English also worthy of mention is The Masonic Magician – the Life and Death of Count Cagliostro and his Egyptian Rite, by Philippa Faulks and Robert L. D. Cooper. (Watkins, 2008).

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