|Gassed, 1918, John Singer Sargent|
Dressed in a military uniform with a gas mask covering his face, the figure, known as 'Le Loyon', is said to have been haunting the woods for the past decade. He apparently walks the same route every day.
However, there was no evidence of his existence until local news website Le Matin published the first known photograph of the mystery man last month, and now police are trying to track him down. But is it for real?
"I came across him near the marches," an unnamed amateur photographer who tracked him down told Le Matin. "I approached him up to a dozen metres away.
"He had a military cape, boots and an army gas mark - an antique type, I think. He measured more than 1.9m. He stared at me then turned his back on me and left in silence."
Curious timing: the materialization of a ghostly figure in a gas mask, and the gassing of innocents in Syria. Almost as if this unknown soldier was revived from the Western Front by a modern atrocity.
Another local resident, Marianne Descloux of Maules, said she also saw him: "It was a rainy Sunday. He had on a cap, a dark cloak and gas mask. What goes on in his head? I don't know. It was unpleasant. I hope I never run into him again."
You hope in vain, my dear Marianne.
As the bicameral mind is joined together once again, we will see legendary figures, or subconscious archetypes, come "back to life" as it were. The Gods will speak to us once more, the Visions will manifest, Great Deeds will once again be witnessed on earth.
This lonely soldier, let us guess what goes on in his head. It's anger. He fought in the "War to end all wars". And he was resting comfortably, secure that his deeds and sacrifice had made the world safe for democracy, or whoever. And yet, he's been rudely awakened a century later, and he sees the state of the world.
Perhaps Le Loyon is the Patron Saint of gas attack victims. He does not forget, or forgive. When Obama drew a symbolic "red line" against chemical weapons and then cynically violated it, the avenging ghosts from our subconscious may well have bridged the gap. The Menin Gate is now open.
Expect more of this. The chickens are coming home to roost.
"Monsters Jim! Monsters from the Id!"