The photograph of Angèle Rosier
evening was drawing to a close at the Surnateum's Department of Haunted
Antiques. Outside it was a cold, January night, but inside the atmosphere
was particularly 'spiritual'.
The Curator had just given us a thorough presentation on the origins
of spirit photography, from Mumler to the present day. He was explaining
methods of trick photography - ranging from double exposure to having
an accomplice rush by at the moment the shutter was snapped - when he
had the idea of showing us a strange phenomenon concerning a particular
photograph, one of those little treasures buried away in one of the
museum's back rooms.
It was a portrait of a pretty girl with a lovely smile, probably about
20 years old. In her right hand she held a closed fan.
"This is the only known portrait of Angèle Rosier, the most
charming medium of the 19th century. And while all of the other photos
that I've shown you this evening used clumsy forms of trick photography,
this one is truly haunted!
Much less famous than Florence Cook and Eusapia Palladino, who produced
impressive physical phenomena during their trances and who were experts
at using the media, Angèle was more discreet during her manifestations
but much more accurate in the messages that she channelled. She used
various methods for communicating with the spirits, including a magic
mirror. The fan you see in her hand was her trademark. She used it while
communicating with the spirits, both to attract them and to send them
away. Almost like a magic wand.
When she felt that the end was near - yet another victim of the 'Spanish
flu' epidemic ravaging Europe - she announced in a weak voice that while
her time had come to return to the world of darkness she would do so
in an indisputable way. "
The Curator shook the photo gently and the fan opened!
He shook the photo again and this time it closed. He handed me the enchanted
object for me to examine, that eternal mischievous smile playing on