July 23, 2004 6:38 PM Subscribe
You may not have heard of Jansenism. But on May 1, 1727 one of its more prominent members, Francois de Paris, died. He was a popular fellow for his charitable works and lots of people visited his tomb. That's when things got weird. At first it was just a bunch of people claiming to have been cured of things like "cancerous tumors, paralysis, deafness, arthritis, rheumatism, ulcerous sores, persistent fevers, prolonged hemorrhaging, and blindness." Then things started to get really weird.
...The mourners also started to experience strange involuntary spasms or convulsions...the 'convulsionaires,' as they came to be called, displayed...the ability to endure without harm an almost unimaginable variety of physical tortures....These events lasted years and were witnessed by thousands as well as commented on by the likes of David Hume and Voltaire. Louis-Basile Carre de Montgeron investigated it for the Paris Parliment and published La Vérité des Miracles in three volumes detailing the events. The tortures were asked for by the convulsionaires. Montgeron details one time when while having an iron drill hammered into a convulsionaire's stomach he, "maintained an 'expression of perfect rapture,' crying, 'Oh, that does me good! Courage, brother; strike twice as hard, if you can!'"
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments