I was never one to actually sit down and read a horoscope. Whenever I read through a newspaper, I go right to the sports section and then backtrack to the front to see which one of our politicians has said or done something stupid on that particular day. The horoscope section is almost always passed over, except for when I might laugh something off. I know there are many people who take these readings for the gospel, hanging on their every word of prediction, and that is their prerogative, but for me, it was nothing but nonsense, until, that is, I sat down and read through one of the many books I have in the Time Life best-selling series from the 1980′s and 90′s called Mysteries of the Unknown, the book in particular being “Cosmic Connections”. I have written about this set before, because they are so factual and enthralling, something very rarely accomplished today when dealing with the supernatural or unexplained. Authors seem to sacrifice fact for entertainment, or vice versa, but this series tends to have it all in each edition. Anyway, as I was flipping through the chapters on the different mysteries there are between people and becoming in tune with the universe, I came to a lavishly illustrated section on horoscopes, one for each sign. I went to the Cancer section, my sign, since I was born on July 2, and began reading. I thought to myself, if I was ever going to read something about this stuff, this would be it. Then, I read a few sentences that really caught my attention.
This is one of those rare occasions when history and the paranormal intertwine. Though it has nothing to do with ghosts, I would say that being able to predict the future constitutes something that is not normal, wouldn’t you say? Enjoy this creepy little tale.
Finding myself never enough time to just sit down and read novels or other large books, I constantly sift through yard sales looking for older history books and anthology sets so I can just pick one up one day and glance through it for a little while before moving on to something else. Naturally, if I see sets having to do with the supernatural, I gobble them up. Some of the older books I have purchased this way, some from the 70′s and 80′s, are clearly outdated but the information is still worthy of reading. That and the fact that these hardcover behemoths were crafted to stand the test of time, made during an era when people actually read books. I guess that is what this compulsion has been—preparing for a future where there will be no more books made of paper, just ones that can be downloaded on-screen.
It was last year when I discovered a Time Life series published between 1987 and 1991, that is called Mysteries of the Unknown. The ten parts I own are just a part of the 33 volume total collection, but they are so interesting that I may try to find the ones I am missing. After doing some research, I found that they are actually widely available, at least compared to some of the other Time Life sets out there. It is also important to note that this collection broke sales records for the company when it was released.
Yesterday, when I was reading the volume titled “Visions and Prophecies”, I came to the story of Jacques Cazotte, an author in the 18th century who penned the occult romance, Le Diable Amoureaux, or translated into English as The Devil in Love. On the onset of the French Revolution, Cazotte was invited to a lavish dinner party by a nobleman who wanted to dine with only the most intellectual acquaintances he had. Well-known writers, speakers, and members of high societies were invited for the evening where there was plenty of decadent food and wine. Being that everyone was so intelligent and wanting desperately for their opinions to be recognized more than the people sitting with them, the guests tried to out-talk each other all night long, tackling every subject they could, while distinguished ladies of title listened in. Among the topics, was of course, a revolution that seemed to be inevitable.
Finally, when Cazotte decided to speak, he silenced the room with these chilling words, which were recorded by fellow-guest Jean-Francois de la Harpe, “Ladies and gentlemen, be content. You will yet see, every one of you, that great revolution for which you are so eager. You know, I am something of a prophet, and I assure you, you shall see it.” As everyone quieted down, he then predicted the exact fates of the male dinner guests:
“You, Monsieur de Condorcet, you will die prone on the stone floor of a prison cell. You will perish of a poison you have taken to cheat the executioner. And you, Monsieur de Chamfort, will cut your veins twenty-two times with a razor, and still, you will not die—until some months later. As for you, Monsieur de Nicolai, you will die on the scaffold. And you, Monsieur Bailly, also on the scaffold.”
As those sitting around Cazotte grew afraid of what he was saying, the ladies asked if they too would suffer the same fate as their male companions. Cazotte then said, “Your sex, ladies, will offer you no protection in this bloodbath. You, Madame la Duchesse, and many others will be taken to the scaffold in the executioner’s cart, with your hands tied behind your backs like common criminals.” Finally, he added, “No one will be spared. Not even the king and queen of France!”
For one to predict revolution in France would not have been an incredible feat, because the world knew it was coming, but sure enough, within five years, all the predictions he made at the party had come true, including that of the king and queen thanks to a new innovation known as the guillotine. Unfortunately, though, Cazotte did not see his own demise in the future, as in 1792 he too was beheaded for not going along with the revolution.