The Painter of Spirits

by Brian Stableford

cover by Daniele Serra

Paul Furneret, a young artist working in Paris in 1901, is invited to attend a séance at Camille Flammarion’s observatory after having participated in an experiment in “automatic drawing” at another séance a week earlier, in which he drew a picture, while unconscious under hypnosis, of a young woman recognized by one of the participants as his dead daughter. Paul’s friend Victor Marvaud is unable to accompany him to Juvisy, as arranged, because a ship carrying another of their friends, Gaston Lambrunet, has struck a rock in the Channel, and although all the passengers have been put into lifeboats, the lifeboat containing Gaston’s mother and sister has not yet reached land. Victor insists however, that Flammarion’s séance is too important for him to miss, and in order to make sure that he gets there he has asked his physician, Antoine Cros, to take Paul to the observatory in his stead...