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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once one of the best known ghost stories in the world. Read it!, 6 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Adventure (Paperback)
I am very familiar with this book, although not with this particular edition. I first heard the story briefly from my form teacher at primary school during a history lesson, and I found and read the book "An Adventure" some years later. In the book, two ladies - Miss Annie Moberly, Principal of St Hugh's College, Oxford, and Miss Eleanor Jourdain, then headmistress of an independent girls' school but shortly to become Vice-Principal of St Hugh's - give detailed descriptive accounts of their visit to the Petit Trianon at Versailles on an August afternoon in 1901, where they noticed a strange, oppressive atmosphere which suggested to them that the Petit Trianon was haunted; and they set out the results of their subsequent researches into the history of the place, which led them to conclude that they had experienced retrocognitive visions of the Trianon and its personages, seeing them as they had been in the 18th century, just before the French Revolution. During her many later visits to the Trianon, Miss Jourdain had two further visionary experiences of this kind, in January 1902 and in September 1908, which are also recounted in the book.

After reading "An Adventure" at the age of 15, I was convinced that if only I could visit the Petit Trianon, I would experience similar visions. When I finally got there at the age of 25, I had long stopped believing that, but the charming Petit Trianon with its beautiful gardens did not disappoint me, and it has become one of my favourite places in France.

Over the years many thousands of words have been written, by both believers and sceptics, about this famous "adventure", in books (some devoted entirely to the case) and in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Particularly valuable have been the careful and thorough investigations of Mr & Mrs A.O. Gibbons and of the eminent psychical researchers Guy Lambert and Andrew MacKenzie. (It should be noted that the Society for Psychical Research, in common with most scientific societies, neither holds nor expresses collective opinions, and that any views expressed in its publications are those of the authors alone. The same applies, of course, to views expressed by any of its members or officers in the media or elsewhere.)

Were the two ladies correct in their belief that they were, in the words of Miss Moberly in a letter, "trustees for something bigger than could be at present understood"? After analysing critically and in depth the evidence and the numerous arguments both for and against, and after many visits to the scene of the action when I was studying in Versailles one summer (during which I experienced nothing remotely paranormal!), I remain of the opinion that they did almost certainly have some kind of paranormal, retrocognitive visions of the Trianon of the 18th century (although probably relating to an earlier decade of that century than they supposed), even if they made serious mistakes in presenting their case, and were too ready to assume that their visions related to 1789, the year of the French Revolution. Whatever, their book is well worth reading for its own sake, because it is so beautifully written and gives such an enchanting verbal picture of the Trianon's splendid gardens.

Since "An Adventure" has been out of print for many years now (although the French edition, "Les Fantômes de Trianon", surprisingly remained in print much longer), this re-issue is most welcome. It is unfortunate that Tony Walker's introduction is marred by a number of inaccuracies, e.g. the assertions that "This book was originally published in 1910" and that the ladies' adventure took place "in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles". The book was originally published in 1911, and the gardens of the Petit Trianon are quite separate from those of the main Château de Versailles. It is unfortunate also that on the front cover (as shown in the Amazon photo) Miss E.F. Jourdain's name is given as "L. Jourdain". Furthermore, I fail to see the justification for changing the book's famous title, "An Adventure", to "THE Adventure". But these things should not spoil anyone's enjoyment of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 21 April 2014
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This review is from: The Adventure (Paperback)
The two authors did such painstaking research on everything they had seen because they were sceptics and not gullible.

This made all the difference to the account of their experience. It was fascinating!
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The Adventure
The Adventure by Eleanor Jourdain (Paperback - 24 Feb 2014)
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