ROCK STAR POWER PROPELS HUGO’S CONVERSATIONS. (June 17, 2008) A mention of Victor Hugo’s Conversations with the Spirit World by rising 28-year-old Brit rock star Natasha Khan in an interview in the Manchester Guardian for Monday, June 16, sent sales of the book soaring on AMAZON.COM.UK (and probably in bookstores). MORE...
"Things to do on Jersey when
you're dead...This intriguing corner of the
great novelist's life is
exceptionally well documented in
Victor Hugo's Conversations with the
Spirit World, by John
Chambers. Chambers, the first person
to translate the séance transcripts
into English (in an
earlier edition of this book),
does a fine job of evoking the
atmosphere of the exiles' home away
from home, their bitter homesickness
and burgeoning fascination with the
occult. His book is unusually well
written for a study of this kind,
laced with keen character sketches
and absorbing sidelights on William
James Merrill, and Kabbalah. He
presents the facts without undue
speculation and lets his readers
draw their own conclusions....Victor
Hugo's Conversations with the Spirit
World is a superb contribution
to literary history and to the study
of the paranormal. I recommend it
highly." - Michael Prescott,
April 28, 2008. For full text,
click here: <http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2008/04/things-to-do-on.html>
collections will find it
an intriguing addition.
A Fascinating Story. "Hugo comes across as a complex man - as one would expect - egotistical and selfish, overbearing towards his family, yet sensitive and passionate on occasion. He was also capable of surprising insights, musing on time running backwards, or prefiguring David Bohm's holographic universe. While not convinced that the séances were "the greatest... adventure into the supernatural that has ever been recorded", I would agree that this is a fascinating story, and it is told in an engaging way." - Tom Ruffles, NTHPOSITION Online Magazine, March 2008. For full text, click here: <http://www.nthposition.com/victorhugosconversations.php>/ Fortean Times, July '08
intriguing book I
have ever read.
"If you have an
interest in either
Victor Hugo and/or
spiritualism, you do
not want to miss
this! This book is
almost like a novel
in certain parts. It
immerses you in
exile on the isle of
Jersey and contains
transcripts from his
such as Shakespeare,
Plato and Jesus,
among others). While
the authenticity of
prospect of reading
take on things from
beyond the grave is
On the other hand,
historical facts and
descriptions of the
Hugo family dynamics
reality. In sum, I
think this just
might be the most
intriguing book I
have ever read."
Fascinating. "This is a very well presented biography, focusing on the three years that Hugo spent conversing with the spirit world. There are transcripts included that make this book extremely interesting, and whatever conclusions you draw from the material presented, I assure you that you will be entertained, amused and will find yourself pondering the conversations included in this book. It is a fascinating volume of work, and one which, if you are interested in either the life of Victor Hugo or in the various forms of Spirit Contact that are documented, you will find this an important addition to your library." - Boudica, ZODIAC BISTRO, September 15, 2008. Click here <http://zodiacbistro.net/reviews/hugosconversations%20chambers.htm> for full text of review.
A Real Page-Turner. "Thanks to Chambers’s informative, engaging – and, in parts, novelistic – style, this book is a real page-turner, full of bits and pieces of interesting history. Not only does Chambers delve into the life of Hugo, and the spirit communications that he and his family obtained, he covers so many other fascinating topics as well, such as the channeled writings of the poet James Merrill, the Priory of Sion and the theory that Hugo was one of its grandmasters, as well as the teachings of the Zohar, a collection of Kabalistic texts that Hugo was familiar with. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of psychic research and Spiritualism, as well as ardent fans of Victor Hugo and his work." - Louis Proud in New Dawn No. 110. For complete review, click on: http://www.newdawnbooks.info/Reviews/Victor_Hugos_Conversations_with_the_Spirit_World.html
A Mesmerizing Glimpse. "I picked up this book as a lark, but to my surprise it turned out to be a fascinating read full of forgotten little tidbits of history. It has a bit of everything: Mystery, passion, betrayal, ambition, telepathic snails....Chambers's book is a mesmerizing glimpse into a long-forgotten pocket of history, giving new insight into the beliefs and themes that Hugo explored in his writing throughout his life. It also helps explain the allure of Spiritualism, which captivated writers and thinkers like Arthur Conan Doyle, William James, and poet James Merrill. I highly recommend it." SME, The Bookworm Collective, January 25, 2009. For complete text of review, click on http://rockinbookworms.blogspot.com/2009/01/victor-hugos-conversation-with-spirit.html
Read . . .
Chilling . .
. and True.
to paint the
then cuts to
the meat of
Some of the
some I did
and so forth
of death and
for a few
pages, so it
some of the
made by the
There is a
Some Very Evocative Texts. "Chambers's work has the merit of making available to an English-speaking audience, for the first time, some very evocative texts that deserve to be read, even only for their poetic value. . . Chambers’s writing is somewhat redolent of the style of some French popular biographers of the 1950s, such as André Maurois. This is not a criticism by any means. Quite the opposite, in fact: the novelistic way in which he presents a certain number of scenes – all conscientiously documented, one should add – makes for very pleasant reading and helps to better grasp the ambiance of the time. . . . [It's] a well-researched and well-written book that is often more rewarding and thought-provoking than many supposedly more academic productions." - Dr. Vittorio Frigerio, Professor and Chair, French Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Dalhousie French Studies (no. 86, Spring 2009), Reviews, pp. 160-161. For complete text of review, click HERE. Dr. Frigerio is editor of Belphégor (http://etc.dal.ca/belphegor/)
John Chambers has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Toronto and spent three years at the University of Paris. His previous translations include “Phase One: C. E. Q. Manifesto,” in Quebec: Only the Beginning. He has been a full-time English instructor at Dawson College, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and assistant editor at McGraw-Hill Publishing and managing editor at International Thomson Publishing, both in New York, NY. He has published numerous articles on subjects ranging from ocean shipping to mall sprawl to alien abduction and is the author of Conversations with Eternity: The Forgotten Masterpiece of Victor Hugo (1998). Seven of his essays appeared in Forbidden Religion: Suppressed Heresies of the West, published by Inner Traditions in November 2006. From October 1997 to March 2008, he was the director of New Paradigm Books publishing company. He has published two books with Inner Traditions/Destiny: Victor Hugo's Conversations with the Spirit World: A Literary Genius's Hidden Life (January 2008) and The Secret Life of Genius: How 24 Great Men and Women Were Touched by Spiritual Worlds (June 2009). He lives in Redding, California, with his wife Judy.
An earlier version of
HUGO'S CONVERSATIONS WITH
THE SPIRIT WORLD: A LITERARY
GENIUS'S HIDDEN LIFE
was published in 1998 by New
Paradigm Books as
The Forgotten Masterpiece
of Victor Hugo. That earlier version is now
out-of-print. Here are
"Presented here is a whole 'nother side to the incredible mind that wrote Les Misérables. Recorded during his three-year exile on the Isle of Jersey using the séance method of table-tapping, this 'channeled' conversation reveals a particularly unusual spiritual experience in the renowned 19th-century French writer's life. Covering everything from Hugo's beloved daughter, who had died, to the subject of Napoleon and a brush with Galileo, lively bantering with Sir Walter Scott, 'Death,' the planet Mercury, and many other subjects, the book makes you feel like an ambitious yet misguided archeologist who accidentally unearths the ancient text that provides a spiritual Missing Link. Read it, love it, share it, talk about it; most of all, have fun with it. This is a total adventure, and I would give my eyeteeth to have been there!" - T.E., NAPRA REVIEW, May-June, 1999.
"Few people are aware that while in exile on the island of Jersey, the great French writer Victor Hugo channeled thousands of messages from the dead. 'This emotional experience lasted for over two years,' writes Martin Ebon in the introduction, 'and the record of its exalted nights and days is certainly a unique document, as well as a glimpse into the subconscious of an egocentric, frustrated genius, seeking to crash through the barriers of human communication. And who knows? It may even be that Hugo succeeded.' This book translates a good deal of Hugo's channeling into English for the first time. Stitching it all together--and providing the much-needed history and perspective--is John Chambers's brilliant running commentary. Quite a surprise, quite a delight." - Patrick Huyghe, Editor, ANOMALIST.
The Age of Seance: "Another great Victorian-epoch writer was
less public in his espousal of spiritualism but no less fervent.
Conversations With Eternity is a distillation of transcripts of
table-turning sessions carried out by Victor Hugo and family while in exile
on Jersey. The notes were lost in various archives until 1923, when they
were collated and published in French. This is their first publication in
"The Hugos fled the tyrannical regime of Napoleon III in 1851, and having arrived in Jersey, set about holding seances. It seems likely that Hugo’s interest in this activity was precipitated by the death, nine years earlier, of his daughter Leopoldine. Equally, boredom may have played a part. For two years the family were in nightly contact with the ethereal realm, and Conversations With Eternity details the results of their sessions.
"Anyone wishing to see the problems that researchers such as William James were up against need look no further than this book. Various spirits, including the shades of such luminaries as Hannibal and Shakespeare, visited the Hugos to convey statements of either mind-numbing banality or bewildering obscurity, sometimes both at once. The one, just-about-coherent theme that emerges from this book is the notion of the world as a prison for human souls, who become reincarnated as lesser organisms if their owners were insufficiently well-behaved during their lives. This leads to a lot of high-flown, repetitious gobbledygook and amusing assertions such as: 'The plant is the grimmest of the soul’s prisons. The lily is sheer hell.'
"What Conversations With Eternity does well, with its Channel Island channellings, is reinforce the frustrating truth about seances and mediumship. Believers will find much to convince them in the evidence it presents. Unbelievers will not.
"Nowadays spiritualism has become part of the paranormal subculture. It and all its New Age-y and Fortean ilk are tolerated but not subjected to any great level of scrutiny. Perhaps that is because, despite our rationalist era, many of us remain in thrall to the hope that deceased loved ones are waiting for us in the next world. We find it hard to accept that life reaches a full stop; we feel there must be, at the very least, a coda, if not a whole new open-ended sentence … " - James Lovegrove, from The Age of Seance, The Financial Times, London, U.K., March 8, 2008.
great and deserve[s] to be in every library, both public and private.
Dec. 14, 2003."This remarkable book deals with
the spiritualistic track record of Victor Hugo, when he had moved to the
island of Jersey for political reasons.
"This is a remarkable and truly fascinating account of the life of the great writer and poet, and in a sense of the troubled times during which he lived and wrote.
"Turning to spiritualism at one point and the then-popular practice of table turning to make and receive contacts with the alleged spirit world, this book, translating all this, is a most valuable contribution to the world of Hugo and his time.
"Today, we take a somewhat different view of table turning and spiritualism, and demand hard scientific evidence instead of blind belief.
"The introduction by Martin Ebon, one-time right-hand man and aide to the late great medium Eileen Garrett, is also a masterpiece of putting Mr. Chambers's translation of the Hugo material in its proper context. One need also consider the research into the evidence for reincarnation in this connection, and, ultimately, the standards prevailing today in scientific parapsychology.
"But the work by Mr. Chambers and the introduction by Martin Ebon are truly great and deserve to be in every library, both public and private." - Prof. Dr. Hans Holzer, parapsychologist and author of 126 books including Ghosts and Life Beyond Life
translation and commentary ...is brilliant, honest, and accurate.
August 14, 2003.
"For readers of the paranormal, this book will be a shocker with its vivid details, revelations, and intriguing approaches. Translated from French with commentary by John Chambers, and with an introduction to who Victor Hugo was by Martin Ebon, this books makes for fascinating reading.
"Victor Hugo wrote many novels, the most famous being Les Misrables. During Hugo's exile during 1853 - 1855 on the island of Jersey, he channeled thousands of messages from the famous dead. These spirits from beyond the grave and other star systems revealed to Hugo the existence of powerful energies. They told Hugo they were attempting to raise the vibrational level of the earth to a higher plane. These messages were 150 years ahead of their time, and in this book the reader comes to understand the challenges and potential of these important messages that were channeled through Victor Hugo.
"Long out of print, it is now available again. The translation and commentary by John Chambers is brilliant, honest, and accurate. The introduction by Martin Ebon is flawless, in style and in intent. This is the type of book that needs to be placed in the home library for reference and in the public library for those patrons interested in the paranormal.
"The book contains 22 chapters and opens with data to tell who the messengers were, the way of contact, and what they represented in terms of paranormal contact. The chapters are "Journeys to the Afterworld," "Hannibal Storms the Turning Tables," "Metempsychosis Speaks," "The Haunting of Victor Hugo," "The Secret World of Animals," "Roarings of Ocean and Comet," "Voyage to the Planet Mercury," "Galileo on the Unexplainable," among others. At the conclusion of this fine reference work is a section on the works consulted during the translation of the work.
"This is a superb nonfiction book. Much praise is due John Chambers for his masterful and accurate translation and incisive commentary. Highly recommended." - Review by Lee Prosser - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ghostvillage.com review
"...Informative commentary by translator John Chambers is an invaluable assist for the reader. Conversations With Eternity is superb reading and a splendid addition to the growing body of metaphysical literature available to the English-speaking public today." - Sharon Stuart, MIDWEST REVIEW, Feb., 1999:
"In 1851 the French writer Victor Hugo escaped the tyranny of Napoleon III only to end up on the dismal Jersey islands in the English Channel. Hugo and his family whiled away their exile by contacting famous and other dead spirits floating around in the ether. The Hugos and their exiled neighbors employed table tapping to convey the messages of these beings, including the likes of Shakespeare, Hannibal, and the ancient Greek poet Anacreon, among others. Hugo personally transcribed the messages and kept records of these unusual communications. In Conversations with Eternity, John Chambers has translated these otherworldly communiqués into English for the first time. Reading this work allows one to view the nineteenth century from a refreshingly multi-dimensional perspective. The history is presented not with a dreary reporting of mere facts and dates, but rather with something that is strangely alive, pregnant with a timely spiritual urgency. Many of the spirits insisted to Hugo and his séance clique that humanity must raise its vibratory level in order to hasten its evolution toward light--a message also found in contemporary channeled works such as The Pleiadian Agenda and Bringers of the Dawn. The Hugo family's unusually bright social circle seemed to attract a wide range of spirits who often poetically surpassed their Earthbound audience. For example, poet André Chénier eloquently described from beyond his 1794 execution by guillotine: 'A luminous line separates my head from my body. It is an alive and feeling wound, which is receiving the kiss of God. Death appears to me simultaneously on the earth and in the sky; while my body, transfigured by the tomb, plunges into the beatitudes of eternity...' Conversations With Eternity is replete with channeled gems like the above, perfect for any jaded history buff looking for a new perspective on the past as well as the future." - Jaye C. Beldo, FATE , May, 1999.
"In exile on Jersey, with ''Ocean," sky, and sadness shaping the emotional environment, Victor Hugo took up the newly popular practice of spiritism ("table turning"). Between 1853 and 1855, he, his family and friends recorded conversations with over a hundred of the illustrious dead. Aeschylus, Plato, Christ, Mahomet, Dante, Machiavelli, Molière, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Mozart, André Chénier, Byron, and Walter Scott spoke, as well as Balaam's Ass, Death, Metempsychosis, and Ocean. Few people give credence to conversations with the dead, believing that most visionaries, mystics and eccentrics who report them are seeking support for personal agendas. In Hugo's case, in a gross simplification, his agenda appears to be enhancing humankind's spiritual resources through instructing the world in a gospel of redemption. Through sin we have blemished God's creation, blighted our lives and become "imprisoned souls." Through reincarnations, we can finally ascend into "worlds of reward" or will descend into "punitary worlds." The theme, however, is by no means so straightforward. An often skeptical Hugo questioned the immortals (or so they chose to speak) on an amazing range of other topics--some as specialized as the deficiencies of Racine's classical plays. Challenging, memorable, poetic utterances abound. The reader's journey is not easy, but much guidance is given. Martin Ebon ("dean of writers on the paranormal") provides a useful historical Introduction. John Chambers (the translator) does much to define operating conditions, explain process, and analyze themes and development in the conversations. Nevertheless, problems abound. The hand-activated table gave one tap for "a" and 26 for "z." Thus the time and effort required for "receiving" answers seems impossible. Did making fair copies of the en séance notes promote unlimited "automatic writing" in which Hugo's untrammeled imagination took over? The poet-author of the brilliant Hernani, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Napoleon the Small and so much else certainly had a compulsion to write and teach. Not the least interesting element of this strange but well-structured book is Chambers's expansion and exploration of home-grown spiritism through skillful reconstruction of channeling, Gaia, quantum holography, the Great Chain of Being, James Merrill's The Changing Light at Sandover, and Cao Dai (the contemporary Vietnamese "Third Alliance between God and Man" and repository of Hugolian religious thought). This is a book for the curious. If open-minded, they will forgive the misdating of Julius II, consult the book's bibliography, and also read Graham Robb's fine new biography of Hugo." - Peter Skinner, FOREWORD, February, 1999.
3 OUT OF 4 STARS. THE BEST BOOK ON CHANNELING FOR YEARS--RECEIVE IT NOW!
"In December, 1851, Victor Hugo was in danger of arrest under the increasingly tyrannical regime of Napoleon III. Trailing a stream of camp-followers, the Hugo family fled from France to live for three years in exile in Jersey. This was the beginning of a 19-year absence from France, most of this being spent on the island of Guernsey. Ten years prior to Hugo's flight, his 19-year-old married daughter Léopoldine, pregnant at the time, had drowned with her husband whilst boating in the Seine. Returning from Spain, Hugo read of his daughter's death in a newspaper glimpsed by accident in a Soubise cafe. As earlier that same day Hugo had visited the mummified bodies in the charnel house of Saint-Michael's Church, his terrible loss and the eerie reminder of death affected him so profoundly that he developed an increasing interest in the occult. He came to believe that personality (or some form of it) survived death. From September 1853 to October 1855, Hugo and his circle, through the interpretation of table-tappings, received messages from all manner of spirit beings, ranging from Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Aeschylus and Napoleon, to Galileo, Aristophanes, Moses, Byron, Jesus Christ, Socrates, Joan of Arc, and even the Ass of Balaam. This is a judicious selection by John Chambers of material previously unavailable in English." - Colin Bennett, FORTEAN TIMES, January, 2000.
"Readers of this journal will undoubtedly be familiar with the phenomena of channeling. From the well-known Seth material of Jane Roberts to the popular Ramtha phenomenon of the seventies, channeling has brought us such bizarre works as the Urantia Book and the remarkable Course in Miracles. But here is a book of channeled material which is a century older and which occurred in the presence of a famous author. It was August of 1853 that Victor Hugo arrived with his family on the island of Jersey, five miles off the French coast in the English Channel. Six years prior, in Hydesville, New York, the Fox sisters had heard loud raps which were interpreted as messages from the deceased. Almost immediately, conversing with the dead by means of tapping out messages by a table leg knocking on the floor a number of times for each letter mushroomed into a world-wide Spiritualist fad to which even the French upper class turned with enthusiastic passion. Ten years earlier in his life, in September of 1843, Hugo's beloved daughter Léopoldine, only 19 years old and three months pregnant, had drowned with her husband in the river Seine. So when on Sunday, September 11, 1853, the table tapped out the name "Léopoldine," even the skeptical Victor Hugo was overcome by emotion. For the ensuing two years he would be intimately involved in the turning tables of the séances. From Martin Ebon's beautifully written and highly informative Introduction to John Chambers' weaving of relevant contemporary channeled material as commentary on the Hugo family experiences, this book provides an exciting journey to those interested in psychical phenomena. Whether the table rapping phenomena was, in fact, communication with those claiming to be well-known historical figures such as Rousseau, Hannibal, Luther, Galileo, Shakespeare, Mohammed, even Jesus, among others, or whether the channeling can be explained as the working of the subconscious mind of those present at the séances, fascinating ideas are presented: we are told that ancient Carthage was founded by survivors from Atlantis; that everything--human, animal, plant, and mineral--has a soul; that existence on earth is punishment for injustice committed in previous incarnations. From the spirit claiming to be André Chénier (1762-1794), who was guillotined for his royalist sympathies, we are given a full description of his immediate after-death experience; from a spirit claiming to be Shakespeare, that "Art walks to heaven's door, but only love may enter;" from a spirit claiming to be Martin Luther that "doubt is the instrument which forges the human spirit." According to certain spirits, animals are criminals being punished for their transgressions; other beings offer descriptions of semi-corporeal life on Mercury and Jupiter. Metempsychosis is a cosmic reality. Thus we are enjoined to honor and love animals and all the so-called lower species. Chambers relates the Hugo channeled material to contemporary channeled works such as Patricia Pereira's Songs of the Arcturians, Eagles of the New Dawn and Songs of Malantor, and James Merrill's The Changing Light at Sandover. Moreover, he claims to see in the material ideas in physics which only recently have come to be accepted. I, however, am skeptical, first, because the information shared by supposedly knowledgeable spirits is, to me, disappointing in its specific content; second, because I wonder whether forces of nature are able to communicate with such clarity to the human mind; and, third, at least in English, the messages seem remarkably too similar in their beautiful style. Could they have been the product of Hugo's subconscious or super-conscious minds communicating with those holding the table? In any case, the content of the book does fascinate and challenge the reader. Remember that it was after these experiences that Hugo wrote his remarkable Les Misérables. Clearly the experiences on Jersey had a profound effect on Hugo's later writings and thoughts. For those interested in Victor Hugo and his works, or in the phenomenon of channeling, I would recommend this book." - John F. Miller, III, Ph.D, JOURNAL OF RELIGION AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, Vol. 23, No.1, January, 2000 .
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