In 1846, a 14-year-old peasant girl from rural France caught the attention of the country and eventually the world because of a strange current of electricity running through her. Angelique Cottin, a girl of small stature, was suddenly and uncontrollably moving furniture weighing hundreds of pounds across the room. In the end, over 2,000 witnesses saw the unexplainable phenomenon.
Of the few recorded cases of psychokinesis throughout history, even fewer are as bizarre as the story of Angelique Cottin, AKA the Poltergeist Girl.
In Early 1846, 14-Year-Old Angelique Cottin Had Her First Strange Experience While Weaving Gloves
Angelique Cottin was born in 1832 in the rural village of Bouvigny, near La Perrière, France. At the age of 14, she was already working for the family business: weaving silk into gloves. She was hard at work on an oak weaving frame at her aunt's cottage the evening of January 14, 1846, when she had her first experience. For over a week prior to the incident, Bouvigny had been experiencing bad weather, with recurring thunderstorms striking the village.
As she worked with three other girls, the oak frame began to tremble, knocking over the candlestick and cloaking them in darkness. The girls blamed each other for not keeping steady as they worked, lit the candle again, and got back to work.
After The Table Was Overturned, The Girls Feared Witchcraft Was Involved
When Angelique touched the frame again, it was knocked completely to the ground. The girls ran from the cottage, believing it to be the work of the devil. In rural parts of Europe, the fear of witchcraft was still alive, and they wanted nothing to do with it.
Their neighbors responded to their cries, examined the situation, and wrote it off as the vivid imagination of young girls. With some persuading, they once again got back to work. But it wasn't long until the bizarre incident happened a third time.
The Girls Noticed The Shaking Started Again Only When Cottin Touched Her Yarn
The four girls returned to work, although they were shaken by the unexplainable experience. But as soon as Angelique touched the yarn attached to the frame, the entire oak structure moved away from Angelique's hand as if it was recoiling from her. She seemed to be attached to the frame through some kind of magnetic field or current.
A report of the incident in The Two Worlds: A Journal Devoted to Spiritualism, Occult Science, Ethics, Religion, and Reform read:
As soon as the girl Cottin, imitating her companions, had touched her warp, the frame was agitated again, moved about, upset, and thrown violently back. The girl was drawn irresistibly after it; but as soon as she touched it, it moved still farther away.
In The Days Following The First Incident, Angelique Made Tables Levitate, Chairs Move, And Papers Fly About
After that first fateful evening, things only progressed into stranger, more shocking events. Chairs would slide away from Angelique as she approached. Desks covered in papers and pens would be cleared in her presence, the papers flapping about as if struck by a sudden wind. At one point, the Cottin family reported seeing a table levitate when she was next to it.
Not only was Angelique's family witnessing the unexplainable phenomenon surrounding their daughter, but neighbors watched, as well. In a small village like Bouvigny, news traveled fast, and soon enough, rumors that Angelique was possessed by the devil or was practicing witchcraft spread like wildfire. Before long, priests got involved.
Angelique’s Aunt Brought Her To A Minister And Demanded An Exorcism, But They Sent Her To A Doctor Instead
Angelique's aunt was not immune to the fear of witchcraft herself. She immediately traveled to the parsonage of La Perrière to demand the best priest to perform an exorcism on her niece. The priests initially laughed at her account of what was happening, but Angelique had come prepared. She put on the glove she had been making when the first incident occurred, and immediately, the chairs in the room responded like the oak frame did that first night.
One priest was brave enough to sit down on a chair, and both he and the chair were immediately thrown on the ground. After that, the priests all agreed that what was happening to Angelique was out of their spiritual wheelhouse, and they referred her and her aunt to physicians for medical attention.
Monsieur de Faremont Came To Angelique’s Home To Witness The Strange Phenomenon
After Angelique's visit to the priests in La Perrière, the phenomenon seemed to stop for three days. The Cottin family was put in touch with Monsieur de Faremont, a local medical professional. Once the activity started again, Faremont was called to the home to witness the phenomenon. He immediately saw the oak frame Angelique had been using get thrown across the room and witnessed the strange magnetic connection she had to the object. He noted that her feet were not touching the frame - that the object seemed to be pushed by an unseen force.
He could see that the "powers" were draining young Angelique, and he got to work immediately to help the girl find answers. From that moment on, the phenomenon only increased in intensity and duration.