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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc or Jeanne la Pucelle [“virgin”], 1412-1431) At the age of sixteen, inspired by voices that she believed were those of angels, this illiterate young girl led the French army against the English at the siege of Orléans in 1428. Winning that battle, she saw the Dauphin crowned as French King Charles VII as a result.
      The English, highly embarrassed at being bested by the Maid of Orléans, paid rebellious French soldiers from Burgundy to capture her, and they put her on trial as a sorceress. In 1431 she was burned alive.
      Not surprisingly, all sorts of miraculous stories began to be told about Joan, culminating in the play of George Bernard Shaw. She is said to have levitated, to have spoken to God directly, to have had visions of the future, and several other wonders. Some parapsychologists have chosen to accept these tales and have written scholarly scientific explanations of events that probably just originated around fireplaces of French families amid the fumes of some fine cognac.
      An equally incredible——though not impossible——tale is told that Joan was not burned, but moved to Metz, married Robert des Armoise, and raised a family. The immolation, it is claimed, was invented by the French to discredit the English.
      Joan of Arc was canonized in 1920, becoming Saint Joan.

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