The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (Poe)

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The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A mesmerist experimented on a dying man, putting him in a trance and seemingly halting his death, only for the man to rapidly decay upon attempting to awaken him months later.

A man named Ernest Valdemar, who was suffering from a severe illness, agreed to be put into a mesmeric trance by a friend who was curious about the effects of mesmerism on a dying person.

The Narrator — mesmerist; curious, experimental, and interested in the effects of mesmerism on the dying.

Valdemar's condition was critical, and his doctors predicted that he would not survive more than a day.

M. Ernest Valdemar — dying man; extremely thin, with contrasting white whiskers and black hair; calm about his impending death.

The friend successfully put Valdemar into a deep trance, and his condition remained stable for several months.

Yes;—asleep now. Do not wake me!—let me die so!

During this time, Valdemar's body showed no signs of life, but he was still able to communicate through a strange, unearthly voice. His doctors and the friend continued to monitor his condition, unsure of whether to attempt to awaken him or let him die in the trance.

No pain—I am dying.

Eventually, they decided to try to wake him up. As the friend made the mesmeric passes to awaken Valdemar, the dying man's body began to rapidly decay and rot away. Within a minute, Valdemar's body had turned into a nearly liquid mass of putrescence, shocking everyone present.

For God’s sake!—quick!—quick!—put me to sleep—or, quick!—waken me!—quick!—I say to you that I am dead!

The experiment had resulted in a horrifying and unexpected outcome, leaving those involved with a haunting memory of the power of mesmerism and the mysteries of life and death.