THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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Isolation of Heavy Bodies


The motion imposed by the will on inert bodies is so much known today that it would be almost puerile to report facts of such a kind. The same does not apply when the movement is followed by less obvious phenomena, for example, like its levitation into air. Although the Annals of Spiritism cite numerous examples, this phenomenon presents such an exception to the gravitational laws that the doubt on those who witness them is extremely natural. We confess ourselves that no matter how much familiar we are with the things of extraordinary nature, we are happy for being able to verify its reality.

The fact we are going to report repeated many times before our eyes in meetings held in the residence of Mr. B..., at Rue Lamartine and we know that they have also occurred many times in other places. Hence, we can attest it as a fact. Here is an example of such a case:

Eight or ten people, among them some bestowed by a special power, although they were not recognized as mediums, sat around a heavy and massive dinner table, with their hands at the edge, all united by intention and will. After a period of time, between ten or fifteen minutes, depending on the more or less favorable conditions of the ambient, the table would be moving, despite its one hundred kilograms of weight; it slid to the right or to the left on the floor; it would be directed to any designated part of the room; then it would stand sometimes on one foot, sometimes on the other, until it formed a 45° angle and rapidly swung imitating the pitch and roll of a ship. If in that position the audience doubled their will power, the table would completely rise from the floor, staying at about ten to twenty centimeters high, sustained in the air without any support for a few seconds, and then completely falling on its full weight.

The motion of the table, the lifting on one foot and the swing, occurred almost at will. It happened often and several times in the session and frequently without any hand contact; will power alone was enough for the table to move sideways, as indicated. The complete isolation was more difficult to obtain, but it was repeated often enough that it could not be considered as an exceptional event. Now this would not only happen in the presence of experts who could be too accessible to the illusion, but in front of twenty or thirty people, among them at times some very unsympathetic who would not fail to raise the hypothesis of secret preparation, without any consideration for the home owners, whose honest character should rule out any suspicion of fraud and to whom it would be a strange pleasure to spend some hours a week mystifying an assembly of people without any benefit.

We reported the fact in all its simplicity, without limitation or exaggeration. We do not say we saw the table flying through the air like a feather, but as it is, the fact is not a lesser demonstration of the possibility of isolation of heavy bodies without support, by means of a hitherto unknown power. We will not say either that it was sufficient to extend the hand or make any sign so that the table would move or rise as if magically.
We say, instead, to be faithful to the truth, that the first movements were always somewhat slow, and only gradually acquired its maximum intensity. The complete lifting would only take place after several preparatory attempts that worked as tests in a kind of throwing exercise. The effective power seemed to redouble their efforts by the encouragement of the spectators, as a man or a horse that carries a heavy burden, and who is excited by voices and gestures. Once the effect was produced everything would return to calm normality and for a few moments nothing else was obtained, as if that same power had to take a breather.

We shall often have the opportunity to cite such phenomena, either spontaneous or induced, and produced in quantities and under circumstances far more extraordinary. But having witnessed them, we shall always report in such a way to avoid any false or exaggerated interpretation. If to the description above we had been satisfied to say that we saw a table of 100 kilograms come off the ground by the touch of some hands, no doubt that many people would have figured out that the table went up to the ceiling with the speed of the blink of an eye. That is how by the proportions given by imagination the simplest things become prodigies. What shall it be when the facts have gone through the centuries and passed through the mouth of the poets! Had we said that superstition is the daughter of reality, the concept would be taken as a paradox. However, nothing is truer: there is no superstition that is not based on a somewhat real fact. The essential is to discern where one ends and the other begins. The best way to fight superstition is not by challenging it in absolute terms. In the minds of some people there are ideas that do not uproot easily, because there are always facts that can be mentioned to support their ideas. On the contrary it is necessary to reveal what is real. Then there still remains the ridiculous exaggeration to which common sense will do justice.

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