5 October 2010, 14:25

1812 War: was Napoleon clairvoyant?

1812 War: was Napoleon clairvoyant?
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In our series timed for the bicentenary of the Russian victory in the 1812 war with Napoleon we continue to acquaint you with the people and the events of those days. Our story today is again about Napoleon Bonaparte, outstanding military commander, said to have the ability of clairvoyance.

In our series timed for the bicentenary of the Russian victory in the 1812 war with Napoleon we continue to acquaint you with the people and the events of those days. Our story today is again about Napoleon Bonaparte, outstanding military commander, said to have the ability of clairvoyance.

The topic is highly controversial, with many questioning Napoleon’s paranormal abilities. Others, in contrast, point to a sheaf of relevant documents, not least Napoleon’s private letters and diaries, which they say are indications of Bonaparte possessing the power of clairvoyance.

Some experts quote Napoleon as saying that since his childhood, he had always been in the know about his future, which Bonaparte attributed to what he called “something of an inner feeling.” Napoleon argued that he was allegedly able to always avoid potential political and private troubles thanks to his ability to foresee future events. The caveat, though, flies in the face of Napoleon’s move to start a war with Russia in 1812, which many maintain became the beginning of the end of Napoleon’s political career. Small doubt,  given Russia’s brilliant victory over what was internationally known as the invincible Grand Army of France.

Napoleon’s clairvoyance, scholars say, seemed to let him down again during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, when French troops were defeated by British, Dutch and Prussian forces. The defeat at Waterloo put an end to Napoleon's rule as the Emperor of France and marked the end of his Hundred Days’ return from exile. Napoleon abdicated, surrendered to the British, and was  exiled to the island of Saint Helena, where he died in 1821.

As far as Napoleon' paranormal abilities are concerned, they were more than once cited by his aides, who were not surprised to see him scanning people’s thoughts. Then again, their allegations run counter to the fact that the Napoleon team included quite a few top military officials who subsequently did not think twice before betraying their overlord. Suffice it to mention Marshal Michel Ney, who was quick to pressure Napoleon to accept his first abdication and exile in 1814, when the Bourbons reclaimed the throne.

When hearing of Napoleon’s return to France, Ney, determined to keep France at peace and to show his loyalty to King Louis XVIII, organized a force to stop Napoleon’s march on Paris. Ney pointedly promised to bring Napoleon back alive in an iron cage, a surprise twist of mind given that it was Napoleon who previously promoted Ney to the rank of Marshal.

That Napoleon had the ability of clairvoyance is an open secret, some pundits persist, pointing to Bonaparte’s personal diary, where the island of Saint Helena was mysteriously mentioned years before Napoleon being exiled there.

Legend has it that Nostradamus, the 16-th century psychic seer, predicted Napoleon’s birth and all that it implies. The prediction surprisingly proved true right down to minutiae, which contemporaries said impressed Napoleon, who obtained Nostradamus manuscript at the beginning of the 19th century. Napoleon  scrupulously  studied the document before putting it to the back burner. Since then, speculation has been rife that Nostradamus prediction added significantly to Napoleon’s alleged see-through abilities…

Maria Kharlamova
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