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How Yeats muse Maud Gonne tried to reincarnate her dead son

Maud Gonne was one of the most memorable figures in the struggle over the future of Ireland in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Actress, activist, feminist, mystic, she was also the muse for poet WB Yeats, who immortalised her in some of his most famous verses.

For many years in her youth and early adulthood, Maud Gonne lived in France.

Of this part of her life much less is known than her activities in London and Dublin, but one long-secret and bizarre episode has now been established as almost certainly true.

In late 1893 Maud Gonne attempted to reincarnate her deceased two-year-old son Georges, through an act of sexual intercourse next to the dead infant's tomb.

Hugh Schofield visited the mausoleum in the French town of Samois-sur-Seine to find out more.

  • 31 Jan 2015