undated painting of Napoleon from AP BY JILL VAN DER AUWERA The worst thing about history is the fact that most of the really cool stuff happened centuries ago so anyone who can tell you anything remotely vivid about it has been dead for ages. We have to rely on books, and books are generally full of shit. So you can imagine our excitement when, on a sunny afternoon at a fair for fans of the paranormal in Belgium, we met Conny, a woman who told us she could talk to Napoleon Bonaparte. Or to be more specific, Conny told us that when she got in contact with Napoleon, she had the feeling that his soul was long gone and that she was talking to the blueprint: his wisdom, experiences, and feelings. She then knew that she, as a medium, should translate them. When Conny made contact with Napoleon for us, we were too baffled by the enormity of that moment to ask him anything silly like, Do you still wear that big hat? Or, How do you feel about having an éclair named after you? When you get 30 minutes with a guy who burned down all of Europe 200 years ago, you better make it worth your while. Vice: So, Napoleon, what do you think about the fact that people compare you to Hitler? Napoleon: Hitler and I had the same drive. Just like him, I wanted to rule the world by myself. That’s the thing we have in common. The reason behind it is very different, though. Hitler did it to save his own people, because they were going through some bad times. He wanted to supply the people with jobs and he wanted to turn Germany into a power that preferably ruled the whole world. Um, OK… You’re the dead guy so we’ll just let that slide I guess. Anyway, it was not the same for me. I did it to give my self-esteem a boost. I was a very small guy on the inside, who hid behind a mask. I also wanted to expand France, not to give my people jobs, but to become the absolute ruler. The more victories and land I had, the more euphoric I became. It gave me a real buzz and I needed that. A defeat was something very heavy for me because I was a sore loser. But every defeat did make me more determined to take revenge and to take control of even more land. Do you see the European Union as the completion of your project? You guys are way too weak. I wanted to make Europe the center of the world. You are not the center anymore. You have become a pawn. Would you have preferred to live in the 21st century? Yes, I want to reincarnate. But I don’t want to return as Napoleon. My soul will get the role of somebody else. Napoleon was needed in the 18th and 19th century. I meant a lot for Western civilization, for the legislation and on social matters. What do you think of Sarkozy? I’m totally against his kind of power. I didn’t listen to what people said. Maybe I asked for advice sometimes, but I needn’t listen to it. So whoever is the president of France, for me he’s just a puppet of the people who elect him. People keep arguing about your cause of death. Can you tell us something about that? At the end, people mocked me. In the beginning I got a lot of great food, and at the end I got very little or nothing to eat. I was cracked. I wasn’t persecuted. I wasn’t tortured. I was just mocked. They starved me. I was laughed at and humiliated and eventually forgotten. I tried many times to escape, but I didn’t succeed. They made me ill. Could we move on to the next question? I don’t feel good about this one. No problem, Your Highness. Why did you always put your hand inside your vest? It had to do with my heart. I put my hand on my heart. It was important for me to feel my heartbeat. That’s how I stayed close to myself. If you put your hand to your heart, you calm down. By laying my hand on my heart, I felt stronger and more powerful. Are you still mad at the English for beating your ass at Waterloo? No. I’m just a blueprint. Blueprints aren’t angry. The blueprint is everything that you’ve experienced in your life, converted into wisdom and awareness. You return with that awareness to another life, until you’ve built enough awareness so you don’t have to come back anymore. Then you choose if you still want to fulfill a task or not. What I did was not my task. I’ll have to return several times.
The worst thing about history is the fact that most of the really cool stuff happened centuries ago so anyone who can tell you anything remotely vivid about it has been dead for ages.