Marked Predilection for Ghosts

“Those who knew Rousseau remember his marked predilection for ghosts. He encountered them everywhere, and one ghost tormented him for more than a year while he was at the toll station. Whenever the good man was on duty, his familiar spirit appeared two feet away from him, taunting him, thumbing his nose at him, and breaking wind with a stench that nauseated the poor official. Several times Rousseau tried to shoot him down with a shotgun, but a ghost cannot die a second time. And if Rousseau tried to grasp him, the ghost would melt into the ground and reappear in a different spot”.

Guillaume Apollinaire


The Present and the Past or Philosophical Thought, Henri Rousseau, 1899

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