Angelique Cottin, 'The Poltergeist Girl,' Could Allegedly Manipulate Electricity

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.

  • 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.

  • Angelique’s Apparent Powers Became A Danger To Herself And Her Family

    After Monsieur de Faremont's visit, the phenomenon got increasingly worse for Angelique and her family. She couldn't sit in a chair or lay in a bed without it vibrating, levitating, or crashing to the ground. At one point, three strong men attempted to hold on to a chair she was in, but still, the chair flew from their grip, and Angelique was once again thrown to the ground. 

    Wood and earth materials seemed to be the most reactive to Angelique, which made her case even more unusual since electric currents are conducted by metal. Books, heavy furniture, and even flaming logs from the furnace would fly uncontrollably in her presence, making her a danger to herself and her family. Angelique began to convulse when the phenomenon was happening.

    Often, the girl would run screaming, the electricity and power coursing through her and scaring her. It also drained her of energy, but she couldn't get any rest. When the electricity was working through her, her heart would race to alarming degrees. Her family and neighbors feared her death, and eventually, Monsieur de Faremont couldn't see her suffer anymore and fashioned a special chair for Angelique where the wood was covered with glass so she could rest and eat without being thrown from her seat.

  • Faremont Brought Angelique To Two Other Doctors In A Nearby Town For A Second Opinion, And The Electric Girl Gained More Attention

    The day after he visited her in her home, Monsieur de Faremont took Angelique to a neighboring town to be observed by more doctors. There, the doctors set a 150-pound wooden block in the room, where it was levitated 4 inches off the ground repeatedly. 

    One of the witnesses was Monsieur Cohu, a member of the medical community in Mamers. He wrote in a letter to his colleague in Paris, Dr. Tanchou:

    It matters not what name we may give to this... the important point is to verify the reality of a repulsive agency and of one that is distinctly marked; the effects of it impossible to deny. The fact is material, visible, incontestable. Here in the Province, sir, we are not very learned but we are often very mistrustful. In the present case we have examined, re-examined, taken every possible precaution against deception; and the more we have seen, the deeper has been our conviction of the reality of the phenomenon. Let the Academy decide as it will. We have seen it; it has not seen. We are, therefore, in a condition to decide better than it can. I do not say what cause was operating, but what effects presented themselves, under circumstances that remove even the shadow of a doubt.

    The day after Angelique was observed in Mamers, one of the doctors who witnessed her abilities brought her into his home. Over the next two days, over 1,000 people came to see the strange phenomenon for themselves. It became clear that the repetition of her powers exhausted the girl, who was unable to control the electric energy. One of the witnesses, Dr. Beaumont-Chardon, wrote about the experience in a letter: 

    In a general way, I think the effects were more marked with me than with others, because I never evinced suspicion, and spared her all suffering; and I thought I could observe that, although her powers were not under the control of her will, yet they were greatest when her mind was at ease, and she was in good spirits.