The event occurred in the wild and somewhat rugged countryside south of the Maritime Alps, and about 5 km north of the sun-drenched Riviera coast - approximately 5 km west of San Remo, and 15 km east of the modern French border. The violent manner, and quite enigmatic circumstances of the victim’s demise were of sufficient note for the authorities to order a full and detailed post mortem examination, the published details of which offer no satisfactory answer with regard to the origin of the deadly agency that took the woman’s life, but do provide definite indications of its sinister nature and modus operandi.

Upon inspection the victim’s eyes were found to be “fixed and livid” – staring and discoloured. A large number of “superficial scratches” were visible on the face, each running in a straight line. There was a large open wound on the left side of the os frontis (sternum, or breastbone) that had exposed the pericardium, or sac enclosing the heart. The loins region was livid, and a very deep wound was discovered there which had broken the os sacrum, a triangular bone that forms the apex of the pelvic arch. At “some distance,” but in a straight line from this terrible injury, there was another deeply penetrating wound. In the left groin there was a wound that had divided all the teguments, and penetrated into the peritonaeum - the membrane lining the abdominal and pelvic cavities. The epigastric, or pit of the stomach, and the hypogastric, or central lower abdominal region, were found to be “livid” (discoloured). The teguments and muscles of the right side of the abdomen had been destroyed, and the intestines had burst from the body. The flesh covering the os pubis (pubic bone) had been stripped away to the hip and the exposed bone fractured. The head of the os femoris (femur, or thigh bone) was broken off, and forced from the socket. The muscles of the right buttock and thigh had been almost entirely removed. However, despite this extensive loss of tissue, amounting to about 2.75 kg, “there was not the least drop of blood to be seen upon the spot where the accident happened, nor the least fragment of the flesh that had been torn away.”

The appalling injuries suffered by this unfortunate woman might appear to be remarkably similar to those produced by the detonation of a modern anti-personnel device, but in fact they could only have occurred as the result of a non-artificial energetic discharge, albeit of an inexplicable nature and origin. The one known naturally occurring agency that could have inflicted wounds even remotely similar to those described, is a bolt of lightning. But, and there can be no doubt of the fact, she was not struck by lightning either from the sky or out of the ground. No mention is made of any atmospheric disturbance at the time of the incident, and the observation of dust being raised at the scene suggests the ground was very dry. In some extraordinary manner, and without any significant movement of the surface, an invisible force erupted from the earth, entered the woman’s body with explosive force, and tore her apart. However, despite the terrible and apparently brutal nature of her injuries, they were clearly inflicted by a complex force demonstrating electrical, mechanical, and explosive aspects simultaneously. In effect she was killed by the soundless rupture of what could be described as an ‘energetic mine.’ Consider the following salient aspects of the case:

1. Death was not instantaneous as the victim was heard to cry out “with great vehemence” before falling to the ground.

2. No explosion was seen, heard, or felt by the woman’s companions.

3. There is no mention of a sudden emission of light from the ground, or from the sky to the earth.

4. The only ground effects, apart from the injuries to the victim and her clothing, were (a) the raising of a slight amount of dust, and (b) the movement of small pebbles. There is no mention of the corpse or clothing exhibiting any sign of burning or scorching. No crater or debris was reported at the point where the eruption left the earth, nor any fusion of the affected dust.

5. Her body was stripped naked, and the removed clothing (including shoes) torn into strips as if slashed by a sharp knife or razor. The fragments were scattered at a distance of 1.50 to 1.80 metres from the corpse.

6. The report makes no mention of signs of accelerated decomposition in the corpse – as reported in some cases of fatal lightning strikes - had these been present they would have undoubtedly been noted.

7. The signs of the passage of a number of subtle energetic discharges were evident from the “many superficial scratches upon the face in straight lines.”

Although volcanic activity is suggested as the source of the deadly agency, the only extreme geophysical phenomena recorded in the area in historical times are earthquakes which, though infrequent, have occasionally been quite severe, e.g. the Riviera ‘quake of 23.02.1887, was felt over an area of up to 220,000 square miles and claimed around 650 lives.

No natural force recognised by science could have been responsible for the woman’s injuries in the circumstances described, and therefore the killing ‘dart’ had a preternatural origin.

Sudden and unaccountable deaths in remote rural and mountainous areas, while not common, definitely do occur, what makes this case exceptional is the severity of the damage to the victim’s body. As suggested in the Annual Register, such deadly emanations from the earth may be “more frequent than is generally imagined.”

At Gargan, it might seem, the life of an unsuspecting human life form was terminated for being in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time, however if the act was deliberate then, of course, she was positioned perfectly in both space and time.   

HEL/E002: Picardie, Kingdom of France, 20.08.1769


Less than a decade after the horror at Gargan, another preternatural assassin struck in Europe, on this occasion claiming 6 victims and leaving indisputable evidence of its point of exit from the ground. The incident received considerable publicity at the time, and was investigated and recorded by the Abbé Jerome Richard.

Near the village of Rumigny, in what is now the département of the Somme, NW France, at about 06:00, a sudden and lethal discharge of “fulminating matter” erupted literally from out of the earth. Although the incident occurred in the open countryside, by what appears to have been an astonishing stroke of misfortune there were both human and animal fatalities.

At the instant the discharge left the ground, a large vehicle drawn by a team of 4 horses was being driven across a harvest field. Following it on foot, at a distance of 7 to 8 metres from the wagon, and about 15 metres apart, were a young farmer and his wife. The young man’s father was also walking across the field about 75 metres ahead of the vehicle. Suddenly, and without warning, the driver was lifted out of his seat and hurled to the earth, but was not hurt; the four horses, however, were killed on the spot and lay stretched out on the ground before the wagon. The father of the young man was also thrown down but, like the driver, he was uninjured. Tragically, his son and daughter-in-law had not been so fortunate, like the horses they lay lifeless.

The source of the deadly “effluvium” or energetic discharge that had struck down both human and animal life forms was, however, quite obvious: in the road, about midway between the carriage and the bodies of the young couple, was a hole or crater from which smoke was rising! At the time the sky was cloudy and a storm seemed quite imminent, but no lightning flash was seen by either of the survivors, nor was any clap of thunder heard. In fact there was no evidence of any violent atmospheric disturbance in the immediate vicinity.

An examination of the dead man and woman revealed no gaping wounds or even abrasions, but both exhibited “a considerable swelling and great deformity of the features.” The woman, young, and considered very attractive before the incident, had been dreadfully transformed and was now hideous in appearance. The skin over the whole of both corpses had been stained “absolutely yellow” in colour. The man’s hat had been perforated and his hair burnt, but there were no visible injuries to the scalp.

The bodies of the horses showed clear evidence that all four had been killed by the same powerful and deadly agency: they were thrown on the same side and the intestines had burst from their bodies.

The dreadful injuries discovered on the human and animal remains pose a major problem, for they suggest not one, but four distinct potential or actual causes of death:

1. The young man seems to have been killed instantly by an upstroke of electrical energy: the discharge passing through his body to exit from the top of the head through the hair follicles. The hair must have stood erect for an instant and, as the energy escaped, carbonised at the ends without affecting the scalp. The discharge then separated into distinct streams that passed through the fabric of his hat, leaving numerous perforations in their passage. (↑Streamer/Splitter)

2. The yellow discolouration of both bodies suggests they were exposed to toxic vapours, and the extreme distortion of the woman’s features indicate that she was actually killed by an emission of poison gas!

3. Both human victims appear also to have been partially ‘cooked’ inside by intense microwave radiation. This produced the swelling and deformity noted in the corpses. In the case of the man this would definitely have been a post mortem effect.

4. The horses were almost certainly killed instantly by a blast of superheated air (victims of blast waves from volcanic eruptions and bomb explosions may exhibit similar injuries).     

As in the Gargan case, there is no reference to the human and animal remains producing signs of rapid decomposition.

We are not told what crops were being harvested, but despite the evidence of a great emission of heat no fire is reported to have occurred, and no other damage in the field apart from the “smoking hole.” 

Source: Histoire naturelle de l’air et des météores