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The Visions of Eleanor Jourdain

26 Sep

Eleanor Jourdain (1863–1924) was an English academic and author, as well as the Principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford, between 1915 and 1924. Neither her studies nor her writing, however, ever propelled Eleanor to such fame as her connection to the supernatural, for this particular Oxford don was known throughout her life to have strange ‘visions’. The first of these occurred in her student days, when on an occasion in North Oxford she saw a medieval gallows attended by executioners, priests and onlookers. More famous was the so-called Moberley-Jourdain incident, when she and her predecessor as Principal of St Hugh’s, an equally respected academic by the name of Charlotte Moberley, claimed that while on a trip to Versailles they slipped back in time to the period of the French Revolution. In An Adventure, an account of the escapade published later, they claimed that they took a wrong turn and suddenly found themselves in the company of people from eighteenth-century France, including Marie Antoinette herself.

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