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In Memoriam
Michel Gauquelin and Francoise Gauquelin

Abstract -- Excerpts from fifteen tributes to Michel Gauquelin 1928-1991 and Francoise Gauquelin 1929-2007, who in their day were the world's most famous and most formidable scientific researchers into astrology. With two pictures. The tributes are from various sources.

Michel Gauquelin Michel Gauquelin 1928-1991
The first excerpt is from APP 8(2), 37, 1992
The second is from
The rest are from Astrological Journal 33(5), 281-294, 1991
Picture is from jacket of The Truth About Astrology 1983

The most complete obituary, covering Gauquelin's scientific work, is by Suitbert Ertel, Nachruf auf Michel Gauquelin, Meridian 4:5-13, 1991. It includes a 3-page bibliography and a picture of the Gauquelins taken around 1970.

From Douglas Coe, Berkeley CA
You have made [a profound impression] upon many people like me, not just by the caliber of your scientific research, but by your personal example and your steadfast integrity in the face of irrational opposition from the scientific community. ... Many of us have research that has languished, because our jobs and families seem to leave us with little time for it. When I learn that you both held teaching positions, and had a family life, and published series of popular psychology books, and at the same time managed to complete the most important astrological research of the 20th century, I start to feel hopelessly inadequate. I admire you too much, you see. Many of us do.

From Barbara Somerfield, New York
I first met Michel when he spoke at the 1969 National Astrological Society conference in New York City that I had organized. Having read his L'Influence des Astres, which established the Mars effect, I expected to meet a dry statistician. Instead I found him warm, with an original sense of humor. During a visit to his laboratory I was overwhelmed by viewing thousands of 3 x 5 cards which contained all the data. In 1989 he was awarded the National Astrological Society's Marc Edmund Jones Award in recognition of his lifelong achievements, which provided astrologers with significant data to communicate to a skeptical scientific establishment. His untimely death was a tragedy for the whole astrological community. Astrologers owe Michel Gauquelin an enormous debt. His pioneering research laid the scientific foundation for validating planetary effects.

From AJ editors Suzanne Lilley-Harvey and Zach Matthews
As with the death of the AA's founder John Addey in 1982, a whole era seems now to have ended; and we are left with a vacuum and a huge example to live up to. Dedication to impartial truth was Michel's lodestar; indefatigability and impeccable standards were his method. Together, ideal and method, along with the equally unremitting efforts of his first wife Francoise, produced an enormous fund of valuable data for astrological research ... [that] has irrevocably changed the face of astrology as well as the attitude of orthodox science to our ancient science/art. ... Under the auspices of the Urania Trust, the Michel Gauquelin Research Fund has already been established with pledged backing from both the Astrological Association and the Faculty of Astrological Studies. The purpose of this fund is to encourage astrological research at the highest level; in essence, to continue the work of Michel Gauquelin.

From Francoise Gauquelin, Paris
Knowing I had been Michel's first wife from 1954 to 1985 and an enthusiastic collaborator of his astrological research projects, a neighbor [rang to say] that the fire department had been asked to break into our research laboratory to find out why Michel had not been seen walking in and out of the house as usual. Alas he was found lifeless on his couch with an empty vial of sleeping pills and a letter to his sister explaining his decision to end his life. It seems terribly sad to me that such a dynamic and resourceful researcher finally gave up pursuing this difficult career in a bout of depression.

I think that astrology needs the kind of serious sorting-out of what has a lasting scientific meaning among the innumerable ideas and techniques offered to public scrutiny in astrological journals, to which Michel introduced me when we met. Not only was he one of the most dedicated and scrupulous collectors of data in the world; he had also the grand vision of how many thoroughly researched data samples, replications, and controls were needed to sound reasonably convincing in scientific spheres. Obviously, after so many battles successfully conducted against rivals who were not always fighting in as fair and objective way as he did, weariness overwhelmed him. To this feeling the breakdown of his two successive marriages may have contributed, leaving him affectively too isolated.

From Professor Hans Eysenck, London
There can no longer be any doubt that Michel Gauquelin did discover something. But the Mars effect, while real, is modest in size; it certainly has no practical importance. It is like the baby produced by a young girl who tries to pacify her furious father with "but dad, it's only a little one!". Michel Gauquelin was a delightful person, witty, sociable, and always ready to discuss his latest research. He was a sportsman, ranking at his best among the 50 leading tennis players in France [but see 2.5]. At many conferences we attended, we would play truant and go off to have a game on the red clay courts of France, Italy, Germany or Switzerland. Michel always seemed eminently stable, a tower of strength; he never lost his temper, however unreasonable his critics. It is difficult to understand what caused him to take his own life, although the fact that his second marriage had broken down might have been responsible for the uncharacteristic depression which descended upon him this year. [He was also in poor health and his mother had recently died, a tragedy he shared with his sister Martine.] Only the future will tell us whether he opened a new chapter in scientific investigation, or whether he was deceived by some trivial error of methodology.

From Charles Harvey, Somerset UK
Michel Gauquelin, who had written so scathingly about the fantasies and absurdities of astrologers, as well as the grain of truth in astrology, was no dehumanised, dry-as-dust statistician, but a real, warm human being with whom one could have real discussion and debate. Michel had of course been an ardent student of astrology since at least the age of eleven when his dentist father taught him the basic principles and how to cast a chart. Those scientists and colleagues who have not had that experience and who follow Michel's research and his intellectual arguments at their face value, cannot fully appreciate the subtlety of Michel's position. He was absolutely true to the canons of scientific research. He cultivated a supreme impartiality and objectivity and was ever willing to follow the facts wherever they might lead him. Gauquelin is now part of our heritage and tradition. His memory will never fade.

From Roger Elliot
Michel Gauquelin was the best friend that modern astrology could have. Sympathetic to our ideas but never credulous, he unearthed a truth from the layers of guesswork, anecdote and hand-me-down rules that form the astrological tradition. ... By some he was seen as a cold rationalist out to destroy our creed; and few practising astrologers yet use the Gauquelin sectors in their work. But to others, especially in Britain and, latterly, America, he became an endlessly helpful researcher, showing us how the scientific method could aid, not hinder, our work as astrologers. [The above was also part of an obituary by Elliot in The Independent 25 June 1991:14.]

From J.Lee Lehman
Michel was a pleasure to know and to work with. In addition to his intellect, he had a fine sense of humour, and seemed genuinely interested in people. Skeptics have occasionally tried to claim that, even after positive results, Michel still did not embrace Astrology. I would simply recall an incident at the last UAC: speakers were asked to put on costumes and act out the various signs and planets. Michel did Scorpio. Would a skeptic impersonate his own Sun sign?!

From Michael Erlewine
Although Michel Gauquelin and I met on but three occasions, we ... shared a number of lengthy, quite involved, and personal conversations covering all aspects of life. Some of these conversations have even been recorded in audio and video. ... Gauquelin had enormous discipline, in particular, as regards plain old hard work -- witness the repetitive data collecting tasks he set for himself. He prided himself on his fairness and impartiality, and was always quick to declare that whatever facts arose -- whether they supported his own hypotheses or not -- they would be the side he would take. He abhorred bias of any kind, and was tireless in rooting it out of his own approach. [As in] how he dealt with the dissolution of his first marriage and the subsequent public squabbles that ensued. ... In the end, he overcame whatever personal bias and hurt feelings he had and insisted on extending impartiality to his ex-wife. I myself witnessed this. ... With Gauquelin, conversations were always dialogues. He was always interested in what you had to say. This fact alone makes him almost unique in my experience.

From Geoffrey Dean, Western Australia
From his tiny Laboratoire in the backstreets of Paris, Michel's immense labours created mesmerising puzzles that have assured his place in history. Despite his daunting workload he was a prompt correspondent, using the manual typewriter he preferred to any wordprocessor, and always a model of clarity. For some of his later articles and books he invited help on what he called his "faltering English", which was ironic since Michel at his worst was usually clearer than most native English writers at their best. ... As befitted his elevated Jupiter he was philosophical about his results, confiding with a grin that he might or might not be right, and never sure that he would live to see the puzzles resolved, but always hopeful that he would. But it was not to be. When the sad news reached Australia it was early evening after a warm winter's day. The gum-scented air was quiet and sharply clear. In the West, abandoned by the diminishing echoes of a golden sunset, hung a rare triangle of planets a mere fingerswidth apart, an arrowhead pointing past the bright curving Moon to the East where, as they set, Saturn would rise. All five Gauquelin planets in key sectors and blazing forth this new beginning. If angels have registry offices they had better watch out.

Francoise Gauquelin Francoise Gauquelin 1929-2007
Francoise's sad decline and eventual death passed
largely unnoticed by the astrological community
and did not attract the attention they deserved.
These excerpts are from Correlation 26(1), 5-10, 2008
Picture was taken in London 1981

From Professor Suitbert Ertel, Germany
I discussed [lack of evidence for character traits and aspects] with Francoise and was impressed by the amount of vigour and endurance that she spent on them. I was no less impressed by her readiness, eventually, to abandon what I saw as wishful thinking, in view of contradictory observations. She wrote in various letters: "For me, your contradictory results are not shocking". "Affect and feelings must be ignored". "Searching facts by objective methods is more valuable than theory". [Yet] in her daily social interactions, she retained humanity, a unique mixture of wit, temperament and charm, which made the relationship with her stimulating and congenial. With Francoise's passing we have lost an extraordinary contributor to the past Gauquelin period of astro-psychological research.

From Kenneth Irving, USA
In the spring [of 2008] it seemed like almost a decade since anyone had been able to find a trace of her. Patrice Guinard had of course published nearly all of the Gauquelin data online with her permission, but after that, all efforts by anyone to contact her failed. In August we found out why. Towards the end of the 1996 ISAR conference, Francoise and I were sitting at a table in the common area. At some point, when the conversation wandered to Suitbert Ertel's ongoing work, [she said] "He seems to think he's Michel's successor. What do you think about that?". I said "we are all Michel's successors". At which she smiled and said "You're right". And now we are all hers as well.

From Mark Urban-Lurain, USA
I met Francoise Gauquelin in 1986 at the first United Astrology Congress. She and Michel were in San Diego working with Neil Michelsen's Astro Computing Services to computerise and re-analyse all of the data they had so painstakingly collected over the decades. I was relatively new to astrological research, and the thrill of meeting the biggest names in astrological research is something that stays with me to this day.

Francoise was self-effacing about her work. To her, while it was an enormous effort, it didn't seem particularly special. It simply required perseverance and a methodical approach to the collection, verification and analysis of the data. As I got to know her, I saw how these traits stood her well as she faced a constant onslaught of criticism from debunkers and organised skeptic groups. Sadly, in spite of her tenacity, these assaults took their toll and in recent years Francoise slowly withdrew from the astrological research community, a fate like that of so many pioneers. Her death brings to a close a major chapter in astrological research that will never be duplicated.

From the obituary by Geoffrey Dean, Western Australia
While astrologers talked, and talked about talking, Francoise (like Michel) delivered. If nothing else, she had shown how determination and the scientific spirit can prevail over the challenges posed by astrology.

From Frank McGillion, UK
I first met Francoise in London at the historic Research Conference on Astrology arranged by Hans Eysenck in 1979. I was keen to meet her and Michel, as their work had prompted my own ideas concerning astrological causation. When Francoise summarised their recent findings she was very impressive indeed. Infectiously enthusiastic - and wearing a long streaming ribbon - she demonstrated a solid grounding in the highly diverse areas pertinent to astrological research. She was incredibly industrious, and through this industry, it seemed, she and her husband were about to verify astrological tradition empirically. We were at the forefront of a cultural revolution. Heady days indeed!

Thirty years on, and it didn't quite turn out like that. But one thing could have been predicted all those years ago with an uncommon certainty, for it isn't difficult. If I were to ask anyone remotely familiar with astrological research to cite the most celebrated names in that field, the response would be universal: The Gauquelins! There's nothing one can add to that. It says it all.

Birth data
Michel Gauquelin Paris France 13 November 1928 10:20pm GMT 48N52 2E20. The only Gauquelin planet in plus zones is a culminating Jupiter, said to be characteristic of eminent actors, politicians, and military men.

Francoise Gauquelin Neuchatel Switzerland 19 June 1929 3:00am GMT 47N00 6E56. The only Gauquelin planet in plus zones is a rising Jupiter. Her Moon conjoins Michel's Sun with an orb of 2.7 degrees.

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