The Man Who Died Twice

To die twice is not a commonplace occurrence. Yet this is what happened to a hero of the boudoir, who was in the revolutionary France at the height of his popularity, and figured in the dreams of all the fine ladies of Marie Antoinette’s Court. His name was Jean François Autié, his alias Leonard, and he was a barber by profession.

He was nicknamed “le Marquis Leonard” to distinguish him from his brother, “le Chevalier”, whose office was confined to the cutting of hair. In 1791, his gigantic headdresses, two feet in height, adorned with a collection of accessories and supported by a framework of steel wire, were very much “en vogue’. Leonard gave them ridiculous names, like “valgalas” or “toquets en lubie”, which the ladies thought enchanting.
“If Leonard was not a perfect imbecile, with neither refinement nor taste,” the historian G. Lenotre wrote in his book The Flight of Marie Antoinette, “he must certainly have been a profound philosopher, and have spent hours of exquisite enjoyment in observing the measureless folly of those brainless grandes dames, whom he treated with the rudeness of a slave-trader, being repaid by them with all the more idolatry and admiration.”

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Bourbon Treasures, Part One: The War Chest

The escape of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and their children from the palace of the Tuileries was not only a thrilling episode in the French Revolution, it was also the abode of a major crisis in European history. One of the brothers of Louis XVI, the Comte d’Artois, was making plans by which France had to be invaded from the south by Spain en from the east by the brother of Marie Antoinette, the new Austrian Emperor Leopold II. And they all needed… money!

The Austrian Emperor Leopold II was in a difficult position: there was a war going on with Turkey, Prussia was threatening war against him, his Belgian and Hungarian provinces were revolting. He could not risk a defeat in France. But with the French king out of Paris and at the head of an army, the situation would be different. It was on the success or failure of a flight from revolutionary Paris that the actions of Austria – and the rest of Europe – depended.

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The Treasure of Orval

The abbey of Orval is located at the edge of the woods of the Ardennes, in a beautiful valley of the former county of Chiny. The site has been inhabitated from time immemorial. The famous well of Orval must once have had a Gallo-Roman sanctuary, which was the origin from which the valley received its sacred character.

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Naundorff, the Lost Crown Prince Case

Part two of a biography of Karl Wilhelm Naundorff: many believed until recently he was the one and only true Crown Prince of France, Louis XVII, who had not died during the darkest days of the French Revolution, but miraculously survived the Temple prison… In fact, Naundorff was a swindler, as was proven not so long ago…

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The Pianist, Invisible...

At midnight, the house is completely deserted. In each of the rooms, it’s pitch black, apart from the room in which the grand piano plays the same wonderful melody, night after night, caught in a web of white light…

What are you saying? That you can’t see the piano player? But nevertheless, the keys of the instrument are touched by invisible fingers! And look… A beautiful young Venetian Lady dances to the tunes straight through the front wall of the mystery mansion we are looking for. And she disappears into the night fog...

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Mysteries of a Bourbon Prince and Princess...

Princess Marie-Thérèse of France was born the daughter of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. Together with her parents and her brother Louis XVII, she was imprisoned by the republicans in the Temple. Her half-sister Ernestine wasn’t imprisoned, though, and added her own puzzle to the French Revolution.

Louis XVII would have been King of France after the beheading of his father Louis XVI but for the fact that France was a Republic at the time. He died while imprisoned in Paris; or maybe he didn’t. The case is puzzling to this day, and conflicting evidence is offered from any likely or unlikely source.

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Crown Prince of France or Swindler? Part One of the Naundorff Biography!

In 1833, farmer Thomas Martin – who had strange visions about the French monarchy – once again went to Paris. He was convinced that Louis XVII, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, beheaded during the French Revolution, was still alive. This man was the one and only true Crown Prince of France…

Part One of a Naundorff Biography:

Thomas Martin and the Archangel Raphael

Shortly after Napoleon went to Waterloo, a man wearing a yellow overcoat and a high hat appeared to a farmer, one Thomas Martin from Gallardon near Chartres. Thomas Martin had been working his field; the mysterious stranger told him he had to warn Louis XVIII, because the life of the French king was in great danger. Then, the mysterious figure ascended to heaven…

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Phantoms of Bruges-la-Morte

Good day, my friend... Will you be so kind to let me tell you this little story?

That’s fine! That’s really... very nice of you! Now listen, I will tell you this cute little story...

Not so long ago, one of those many timeless tourist coaches stopped before me and the coachman offered me kindly a free ride. He showed me a map of medieval Bruges, which showed little or no differences with a map from your century.

‘The city still is a labyrinth,’ the coachman said, ‘lying beyond our laws of time and space. An unsuspecting tourist as you are, not guarded by a supernatural compass, would constantly return on his or her point of departure. Blame it on the medieval masons and the urbanists who have built this city in black magic rings.’

Why have they done that?’ I asked.

Find it out here:

Ghost City Trip & Game in Bruges-la-Morte

"So go with me on a crazy little Ghost City Hunt… Find those Phantoms, exorcise them… and be rewarded! Follow me down into… Bruges-la-Morte!

But watch out... Don't lose your head!"

We are searching for one particular, very haunted house, here in Bruges-la-Morte. We need the the name of the street and the address of this house. During a number of seances with the Ouija board, a medium has made contact with the spirit world and has received some orders and coded messages...