many years, the only proof of the
existence of this elusive
box was an ancient photograph and the stories told amongst the
The photograph itself is thought to have been taken by LeMarchand
himself (many years before the term photography was first used publicly
in 1839) using techniques unwillingly taught to him by a man known as
de la Roche
LeMarchand instructed Dr. Tiphaigne to keep the method a secret, but
Tiphaigne later wrote a "fictional" book on the subject called Giphantie
In the story, "the people of an imaginary wonderland" could fix
perfectly reflected images onto a canvas coated with a "sticky
The canvas would not only represent the mirror image, but after it
dried, the image would remain.
Due to the poor quality of the photograph some believed it to be
nothing but a poor image of the "Box of Sorrows."
It was not until the discovery of the tome known as "LeMarchand's
Dreams" that contrary evidence was finally had.
the print of "The Labyrinth
Configuration" from the rare book to fill out the
details, a new enhanced version of
the photograph can now be seen. This is still the closest
has been to seeing the actual artifact
was created as a
commission in 1749 and last seen
in the hand of Gabrielle
woman of some note in Parisian society.
du Châtelet, French mathematician
and physicist who was the mistress of Voltaire.
Portrait by an unknown
French artist; in a private collection.
Her body was discovered
shortly after the birth of her child. The box was
rage by her husband, the Marquis du Châtelet after he
that she was
pregnant by another man. Gabrielle and a small group of her
friends (including the philosopher Voltaire) had gone to some lengths
to convince her husband that the child was his, and
evidently believed that they had done so. The Marquis had
otherwise and commissioned LeMarchand to create for him a box with
specific instructions on its design and intended results.
To quote LeMarchand's journal:
Marquis du Châtelet wishes that the soul of his adulterous
whore should wander forever through Leviathans realm, tortured
the sights around
her and the knowledge of her eternal fate as she tries in vain to find
an end to her torment. But he wishes her untouched by
servants. I think perhaps that he has feelings for his slut
despite her lies and infidelity. I have told him this is
will create for him a gateway to the darkest corner of hells maze,
although I cannot guarantee that Leviathans servants will not find her;
a fact I will keep from him, I think."
Six days after his the
death of his wife, the Marquis drunkenly smothered her child before
dissapearing with the box. The last anyone saw of him was when he,
arriving wracked with tears, disheveled and clutching a small item
wrapped in one of Gabrielle' lace handkerchiefs, informed a close
friend of his crime. He reportedly spoke of his love for his
his need to go to her and help her find her way before running from the
building never to be seen again.
'LeMarchands Dreams' lists the primary construction materials as
polished pewter and English oak stained a deep red.