The ghosts of Trianon

© EPV / Thomas Garnier

On August 10, 1901, two English women had an experience which they considered to be paranormal in the gardens of the Petit Trianon. This story, which they published in 1911 under the title "An adventure", met with some success and fueled the theory that ghosts haunt the Trianon.

An ordinary visit

It all started with two English women, Miss Moberly, headmistress of St Hugh’s College for women in Oxford, and Miss Jourdain, a former student who assists Miss Moberly in her duties.

During a trip to France, the two women decide to go to Versailles to visit the estate, which they know very little of. It was a beautiful hot day of August 1901, when the two friends began their visit, starting with the Palace. The day went by without a hitch, the young women were delighted with their visit and they even decided to continue their discovery of the estate by going to Trianon. The weather and the walk were very pleasant, nothing seemed to be able to disturb the tranquility of this ordinary day.

However, the two women were about to experience something disturbing to say the least…

©EPV / Thomas Garnier

A strange feeling 

After walking for a while, Miss Moberly and Miss Jourdain asked for directions to two men, dressed in green coats and three-cornered hats., carrying spades. As she left the aisle, Miss Moberly suddenly felt a surge of inexplicable and growing distress.

As they continued on their way, the two women caught sight of a disturbing man sitting near a Chinese kiosk, staring at them with an insistent and appalling expression. A strong sense of panic ran through Miss Moberly. Fortunately, a curly-haired man with dark eyes momentarily interrupted this unsettling feeling. In a language hard to understand, the man urged them to continue their way to the right.

A few steps farther on, Miss Moberly saw a woman drawing. She wore a white hat and an old-fashioned, unusual dress. Once more, a strange feeling overwhelmed Miss Moberly as she looked at her. The feeling of oppression and placidity that filled the place tarnished the enthusiasm of the two English women who returned to Paris, affected by this experience.

Back to Paris

"Do you think the Petit Trianon is haunted?" Miss Moberly asked her younger friend. Miss Jourdain promptly replied "Yes" without any hesitation. By comparing their experiences, they found several strange similarities.

After a refusal of publication by the psychic research institute, the two friends carry out the research themselves and published their story in 1911 under the title “An adventure”, translated as “Les fantômes de Trianon” in French. The book's success was immediate, and many experts were interested in the subject. The accumulation of details and disturbing coincidences sows doubt in people’s minds.

Several decades after the publication of the two English women’s testimony, a discovery credits their story. A plan of the Trianon is discovered, indicating that a Chinese kiosk had indeed existed in 1774. A question then arises: how could Miss Moberly and Miss Jourdain have known this information, unsuspected in their time? What if the people they met were actually ghosts from Louis XV’s time ?

© EPV / Didier Saulnier

Other accounts of the same kind, always having Trianon as a setting, were recorded in the first half of the 20th century, but remained few in number and are rapidly disappearing.

The story in video