THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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The suicide of the samaritan baths

The newspapers have recently published the following fact:

“Yesterday (April 7th, 1858) around 7 pm, a man about fifty years old, decently dressed, showed up at the Samaritan house, asking for a bath. A servant, worried about the customer’s silence for more than two hours, decided to enter the bathroom to make sure that he was okay. He then witnessed a horrific spectacle: the unfortunate man had cut his own throat with a clasp-knife, the bath water tinted by his blood. His identity could not be established and his body was transported to the morgue.”

We thought we could have a useful lesson for our own instruction on talking to the spirit of that man. We then evoked him on April 13th, just six days after his death.

1. I ask the Almighty God to give the permission to the spirit of the person who committed suicide on April 7th, 1858, in the Samaritan baths, to communicate with us.


- Wait.... (after some time): Here he is.

OBSERVATION: In order to understand this answer it is necessary to know that in all regular sessions there is a familiar spirit, of the medium or of the family, who is always present, without the need to call him. It is him who sends for the evoked ones and, according to his more or less elevated condition, serves as a messenger or gives orders to spirits who are their inferior. When our meetings have Mrs. Ermance Dufaux as the interpreter it is always the spirit of St. Louis who voluntarily takes on that task. It was him who gave the answer above.

2. Where are you now?
- I don’t know... Tell me where I am.

3. At Rue Valois 35 (Palais-Royal) in a meeting of persons who occupy with spiritist studies and that are benevolent with you.

- Tell me if I am still alive... I suffocate in the coffin. 4. Who invited you to come to us?

- I feel relieved.
5. What made you commit suicide?

- Am I alive? ... No! I am in my body... You don’t know how much I suffer! ... I suffocate! ... May a compassionate hand come to show me the end!

OBSERVATION: His soul, although separated from his body, is still completely embedded by what we could call the maelstrom of the corporeal matter; the earthly ideas still vivid. He does not believe that he is dead.

6. Why haven’t you left any identification?
- I am abandoned. I fled the suffering to find torture.

7. You still have the same motives to remain incognito? - Yes, don’t stick a hot spear in a bleeding wound.

8. Can you tell us your name, age, profession and address? - Not at all. No! ...

9. Did you have a family, a wife, and children? - I was abandoned. Nobody loved me.

10. What have you done for not being loved by anybody?

- How many like me! ... A man can be abandoned at the heart of his own family when no one loves him.

11. Have you experienced any hesitation to commit suicide? - I was thirsty of death... I longed for the rest.

12. How come the idea of the future did not make you renounce that plan? - I no longer believed in the future; I was hopeless. Future is hope.

13. Which reflections you made by feeling the extinction of life?

- I did not make any; I felt... But life did not extinguish... my soul is bonded to the body... I did not die... However, I feel the worms devouring me.

14. Which feeling did you experience once death was complete? - Is it complete?

15. Was it painful the moment when life extinguished?
- Less painful than later. Then, only the body suffered.

St. Louis continued.

  • - A: The spirit unloaded a burden that oppressed him. He felt the ecstasy of the pain.
  • - Q to St. Louis: Is this state what always follows suicide?
  • - A: Yes. The spirit of the person who commits suicide remains attached to the body until

    the end of his life. Natural death is the weakening of life. Suicide suddenly interrupts it.
  • - Q: Will this state be the same in every accidental death which abbreviates the duration of the natural life, irrespective of one’s will?
  • - A: No. What do you understand by suicide? The spirit can only be blamed for his actions.

OBSERVATION: We had prepared a series of questions which we proposed to address to the spirit of that man, about his new existence. Based on his answers they lost their meaning. It was evident to us that he had no consciousness of the situation. The only thing he could describe to us was his suffering.

Such doubt about death is very common among the recently dead and mainly on those who, during life, did not elevate their souls above matter. At first sight it is a bizarre phenomenon, but explained very naturally.
If we ask a person taken for the first time to somnambulism if they are asleep the answer is almost always no, and the answer is logic. It is the questioner who badly formulates the question, using an improper term. The idea of sleep, in the common language, is connected to the suspension of all sensitive faculties. Well, the somnambulist, who thinks and sees; that is aware of his moral freedom, doesn’t believe that he sleeps and, with effect, he doesn’t sleep in the conventional use of the term. That is why he responds that he is not asleep, until he familiarizes with this new way of understanding things. The same happens with a man that has just died. For him death was the “nothing”. Well, as it happens to the somnambulist, he sees, feels and speaks. Thus, for him life continues, and he says so, until he has acquired consciousness of his new state.

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