The Unknown Guest

Author: Maurice Maeterlinck


Let us now briefly sum up what the Elberfeld experiments have yielded us. Having put aside telepathy in the narrow sense—which perhaps enters into more than one phenomenon but is not indispensable to it, for we see these same phenomena repeated when telepathy is practically impossible—we cannot help observing that, if we deny the existence or the influence of the subliminal, it is all the more difficult to contest the existence and the intervention of the intelligence, at any rate up to the extracting of roots, after which there is a steep precipice which ends in darkness. But, even if we stop at the roots, the sudden discovery of an intellectual force so similar to our own, where we were accustomed to see but an irremediable impotency, is no doubt one of the most unexpected revelations that we have received since the invisible and the unknown began to press upon us with a persistence and an impatience which they had not displayed heretofore. It is not easy to foresee as yet the consequences and the promises of this new aspect which the great riddle of the intelligence is suddenly adopting. But I believe that we shall soon have to revise some of the essential ideas which are the foundations of our life and that some rather strange horizons are appearing out of the mists in the history of psychology, of morality, of human destiny and of many other things.


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Chicago: Maurice Maeterlinck, "34," The Unknown Guest, trans. Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron, 1800-1859 in The Unknown Guest (London: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1831), Original Sources, accessed January 22, 2019,

MLA: Maeterlinck, Maurice. "34." The Unknown Guest, translted by Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron, 1800-1859, in The Unknown Guest, London, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1831, Original Sources. 22 Jan. 2019.

Harvard: Maeterlinck, M, '34' in The Unknown Guest, trans. . cited in 1831, The Unknown Guest, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, London. Original Sources, retrieved 22 January 2019, from