Year 1871. During Mrs. Cassel’s stay in the spa resort of Vichy, she witnessed the discussion between the director of the thermal establishment and a client, who complained that, in the room she shared with her husband, strange noises were heard at night. The director insisted that it was her husband’s snoring, to which she replied that she was familiar with her husband’s snoring and  this was another kind of noise, more like the one that emits a Patagonian Mara. The director said he wasn’t familiar with the noise that a Patagonian Mara emits, but even so he would switch rooms. Intrigued by what the client had told him, the director set out to spend the night in the room in question. Mrs. Cassel got up early the next morning to see with her own eyes the result of the venture. When she was walking down the corridor, she saw from a distance a dozen strange rodents similar to jackrabbits leaving the room in single line. The last one to leave was the director of the thermal establishment, barefoot and in his pajamas and with his eyes wide open as if his face had frozen into a stupor. Later she found him wandering the gardens still in a stupor. She approached him, but he said “Don’t ask!” and kept wandering as in trance.

But this was not the only strange phenomenon witnessed by Mrs. Cassel (author of the monograph “Paranormal Waters”) during her stay in Vichy. One evening, while drinking in one go the three gallons of spring water prescribed for that time of day, she saw crossing before her “a shadow or a sparrow”. (It had already darkened and the gas light in the open-air venue where the fountain was located did not illuminate sufficiently to distinguish it.) Commenting later, in the course of dinner, the incident with his neighbors at the table, she found out that she was not the only one who had witnessed the strange shape in identical low light conditions. One argued that it was a shadow, another that was a sparrow, another that was the shadow of a sparrow, and there was even a gentleman who insisted that it was the sparrow of a shadow. Naturally, this last opinion provoked the hilarity of the audience.

Well, made the pertinent inquiries, it turned out that the gentleman was right: in effect, it was the sparrow of a shadow. This discovery caused a commotion in the spa, whose clients demanded that both intruders, the shadow and its sparrow, were evicted from the spring venue. Capturing the sparrow was not an easy task, but it was finally achieved with the help of a coffee grinder. (The monograph does not give more details so I beg you not to ask me how to capture a sparrow with the help of a coffee grinder.) However, there was no human way to capture the shadow, which continued to be seen from time to time in the vicinity of the thermal spring. Until Mrs. Cassel woke up.

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

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