Allan Kardec

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Conversations from beyond the grave - the drummer of Berezina

Some people met in our house with the objective of verifying certain manifestations; the facts below were produced in several sessions, giving rise to the reported conversation since it presents a great interest from the point of view of the study.

The spirit manifested by raps, not by knocks with the foot of the table, but inside the wood itself. The exchange of ideas between the audience and the invisible being does not leave margin to doubts with respect to the intervention of an occult intelligence. Besides the answers to several questions, sometimes by the “yes”, sometimes by the “no”, or by means of alphabetic typtology, the raps have spontaneously played a musical march; the rhythm of an aria; imitated the sounds of cannons and bayonet shots in the battlefield; the sound of the barrel or of the shoemaker; echoed with remarkable accuracy, etc. Then the motion of a table and its translation, without any contact of the hands, as the persons who were present remained at a distance. A salad bowl placed on the table slipped in a straight line, not turning, also without the contact of hands. The raps were equally heard in multiple pieces of furniture in the room; sometimes simultaneously, on other occasions as if providing answers.

The spirit seemed to have special preference for the drumbeat, as it was played every time, irrespective of a request. Instead of answering certain questions, the spirit played the General’s march and the readiness tune. Once questioned about some particulars of his life he said his name was Célima, a drummer born in Paris, who died at the age of forty-five.

Besides the special medium of physical effects who produced the manifestations, there was in the audience an excellent psychographic medium that could serve as interpreter to the spirit. We have thus obtained more explicit answers. He confirmed in writing what he had said through typtology with respect to his name, place and date of birth, and date of death; the following questions were addressed to him, whose answers present several characteristic traces, confirming certain essential parts of the theory.

1 – Write anything, whatever you want to write to us.- Ran, plan plan, ran plan plan.

2 – Why do you write this?- Because I was a drummer.

3 – Did you have any instruction?- Yes.

4 – Where did you go to school?- I went to the “Ignorantins” *

5 – You seem joyful.- I am very much so.

6 – On a given occasion you said you liked to drink. Is that true?- I liked everything that was good.

7 – You were in the military?
- Of course, since I was a drummer.

8 – Under which government did you serve?- Under Napoleon, the Great.

9 – Can you cite a battle in which you participated?- The battle of Breezing.

10 – It was then that you died?- No.

11 – Had you been to Moscow?- No.

12 – Where did you die?- In the snow.

13 – Which corps did you serve?- The marines guard.

14 – Did you like Napoleon, the Great?
- Like us, everybody loved him, not knowing why!

15 – Do you know what happened after Napoleon’s death?
- After my death I was only concerned with myself.

16 – Have you reincarnated?
- No, that is why I came to talk to you.

17 – Why do you manifest through raps without been evoked?
- Noise is needed to the nonbeliever’s hearts. If it has not been enough, I will give you more.

18 – Have you come to rap on your own or was it another spirit that forced you?
- I gladly came on my own. There is another one who you call “Truth” that can obligateme. But I wanted to come since long time ago.

19 – Why you wanted to come?
- To communicate with you. This is what I wanted. But there was something blocking me. I was forced to do this by a familiar spirit of the household, who convinced me to become useful to the persons who would ask me questions.

Q. Then such a spirit has a lot of power, considering that he dominates the others.
- More than you think, and he only employs it to the good deeds.

OBSERVATION: The familiar spirit of the house is known by the allegoric name “Truth”, circumstance that was ignored by the medium.

20 – What is it that was blocking you?
- I don’t know. It was something that I don’t understand.

21 – Do you find life deplorable?- No. Nothing is deplorable to me.

22 – Which one do you prefer: your current existence or the Earthly life?
- I prefer the spirit’s life rather than the bodily life.

23 – Why?
- We are much better off than on Earth. Earth is a purgatory and when I was alive I always wanted to die.

24 – Do you suffer in your new condition?
- No, but I am not happy yet.

25 – Would you be glad if you had a new corporeal existence?
- Yes, because I have to improve myself.

26 – Who told you so?
- I know that well.

27 – Will you reincarnate soon?
- I don’t know.

28 – Do you see other spirits around you?- Yes, many.

29 – How do you know they are spirits?
- Among us we see each other as we are.

30 – With which appearance you see them?
- By the way the spirits can be seen but not through the eyes.

31 – And you, which appearance do you have?
- The one I had when alive, that is, of a drummer.

32 – And do you see the other spirits with the forms they had when alive?
- No. We only take an appearance when we are evoked. Besides that we see each other without a form.

33 – Do you see us clearly, as when you were alive?- Yes, perfectly.

34 – Is it through the eyes that you see us?
- No. We have a form but we don’t have the senses. Our form is nothing but appearance.

OBSERVATION: The spirits certainly have sensations, as they perceive. If not theywould be inert. Their sensations, however, are not localized as when they have a
body. They are inherent to their whole being.

35 – Tell us in which location you are positively here.
- Near the table, between you and the medium.

36 – When you knock, are you on the table, below it or inside the structure of the wood?
- I stay beside it. I don’t get inside the wood. It is enough that I touch the table.

37 – How do you produce the noises that are heard?- I believe it is by the concentration of our force.

38 – Could you explain how the several noises that you imitate are produced, like for example the scratching?
- I could not describe well the nature of the noises. It is difficult to explain. I know it is

strange but I can’t explain how I produce that noise that you call scratching.

39 – Could you produce the same noises with any other medium?
- No. There are specialties with all mediums. Not all can act like that.

40 – Do you see among us, besides the young S... (the medium of physical influence by whom the spirit manifests) someone that can help to produce the same effects?
- At the moment I see nobody. With him I am well equipped to produce them.

41 – Why with him and not someone else?
- Because I know him for some time and also because he is more capable than anyone else for that kind of manifestations.

42 – You knew him from long ago, from before the present existence?
- No. I know him from not long ago. I was somehow attracted to him, so that he would be

my instrument.

43 – When the table lifts up in the air without a supporting point, who sustains it?
- Our will, which forces it to obey us, and also the fluid that we transmit to the table.

OBSERVATION: This theory supports the one we presented in the issues No 5 and 6 of this Review, about the physical manifestations.

44 – Can you do that?
- I believe so. I will try when the medium is present (at the moment he was absent).

45 – What does it depend on?
- On me as I am served by the medium as an instrument.

46 – But isn’t the quality of the instrument important?
- Yes. That helps me a lot and that is why, as I said, today I could not do it with others.

OBSERVATION: During the session we unsuccessfully tried to lift the table up maybe by a lack of sufficient perseverance. There was evident effort and some motion of translation, without contact or imposition of the hands. Among the experiments there was the opening of the table that was elastic. However, as it offered too much resistance due to a constructive defect, it was left alone while the spirit was able to open and close another one.

47 – Why is it that, the other day, the motion of the table ceased every time one of us took a torch to examine it from below?
- Because I wanted to punish your curiosity.

48 – What do you do in your existence of spirit, since you certainly do not spend your time rapping?
- Several times I have missions to accomplish. We must obey superior orders,

particularly when we have to do good deeds through our influence over the humans.

49 – Your earthly life, no doubt, was not exempt of faults. Do you acknowledge them now?
- Yes. I fairly expiate them, staying stationary among the inferior spirits. I cannot purifyenough until I take another body.

50 – When you knocked on another piece of furniture, at the same time as on the table, was that you or another spirit?
- It was I.

51 – You were alone then?
- No, but the task of rapping was only mine.

52 – Did the other spirits who were around help you with something?
- Not with the rapping but with the talking.

53 – They were not rapping spirits then?
- The “Truth” only allowed me to rap.

54 – Don’t the rapping spirit sometimes gather in large numbers with the objective of having more strength to produce certain phenomena?
- Yes, but for what I wanted to do I was enough.

55 – In your existence as spirit are you always on Earth?
- More frequently in space.

56 – Do you sometimes go to other worlds, say, and other globes?
- Not to the more perfect ones; only to the inferior worlds.

57 – Do you have fun sometimes on hearing what men do?
- No. However, sometimes I have pity on them.

58 – Who are the ones that you preferably seek?
- Those that in good faith want to believe.

59 – Could you read our thoughts?
- No, I cannot read the thoughts, as I am not perfect enough.

60 – However, you must know our thoughts considering that you come to us. In other words, how can you know that we believe, in good faith?
- I don’t read but I understand.

OBSERVATION: Question 58 aimed at knowing whom he would spontaneously direct his preference, if not been evoked. As a spirit that is not from much of an elevated order he can feel forced, by the evocation, to come to a place that displeases him. On the another hand, not properly reading our thoughts, he certainly could see if the audience was meeting with a serious objective. From the nature of the questions and the conversations he heard, he could judge if the audience was formed by individuals sincerely seeking enlightenment.

61 – Have you met any of your military comrades in the spiritual world?
- Yes but their positions were so different that I did not recognize all of them.

62 – What made up the differences?
- The happy or unhappy situation of each one.
- What did you say in those encounters?
- I told them: We shall rise up to God that allows it.

63 – How do you understand such a rise up to God?
- Each overtaken hurdle is one step more in that direction.

64 – You said you have died in the snow. Do you mean that you died of cold?- Of cold and hunger.

65 – Were you immediately aware of your new existence?- No but I was no longer cold.

66 – Have you gone back some times to the place where your body remained?- No. It made me suffer too much.

67 – We appreciate the explanations given, with good will. They provided us with good points of observation to our own improvement in the Spiritist Science.
- I am truly yours.

OBSERVATION: As seen, this spirit is not very advanced in the spirits’ hierarchy. He himself recognizes his inferiority. His knowledge is limited, but has common sense, praiseworthy feelings and benevolence. As a spirit, his mission is very insignificant, considering that he plays the role of rapping spirit to draw the nonbelievers to the faith. But, as with the paly role of the theater, couldn’t the outfit of the accomplice hide a kind heart? His answers have the simplicity of ignorance but as he does not have the elevation of the philosophical language of the superior spirits, they are not less instructive though, in the study of the spirits’ customs, if we can say so. It is only through the study of all classes of that world that we will one day understand it, marking by anticipation the place where each one of us may one day occupy. Looking at the situation created by men, like us, down here, by their vices and virtues, we feel encouraged to elevate to the summit, starting from here. It is the example against the precept. It is never too much to repeat that in order to know something well, having an idea free of illusions about it, it is necessary to see it in all of its aspects, as the botanic Biologist cannot get to know the vegetal kingdom if he does not observe from the humblest cryptogamae under the moss of the oak tree that elevates in the air.

* Name adopted by the Order of Saint-Jean-de-Dieu in France, out of humbleness.

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