THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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Family conversations from beyond the grave - Mrs. Schwabenhaus – ecstatic lethargy


According to the Courrier des États-Unis, several newspapers reported the following fact that seemed to provide interesting material for study.

The Courrier des États-Unis says:

“A German family from Baltimore, USA, has just been taken by great emotion due to a case of an apparent death. Mrs. Schwabenhaus who was ill for a long time had exhaled what seemed to have been her last breath overnight, from Monday to Tuesday. The persons who attended her observed every indication of death: the body went cold, the limbs rigid. The undertakers retired to their rooms after having given the corpse the final care and when everything in the mortuary chamber was ready for the funerals. Exhausted, Mr. Schwabenhaus soon followed them. Deep in his agitated sleep he was surprised by his wife’s voice around 6 am. In the beginning he thought it was a dream but once he heard his name several times he could not doubt it any longer. He dashed into his wife’s room and the person who was left for dead was sitting on the bed, apparently healthy and stronger than ever before.

Mrs. Schwabenhaus asked for water and later she wished to drink tea and wine. Then she asked her husband to take care of the child that was crying in the adjacent room but he was too excited for that, running to call the others from around the house. The sick lady received friends and servants with a smile; all approached her bed hesitantly. She did not seem surprised with all that mortuary apparatus that hurt her eyes. “I know you thought that I was dead”, she said; “however, I was only asleep. During that period my soul was transported to celestial regions. An angel came to pick me up and in a few moments we crossed the space. The guiding angel was my little daughter that we lost last year... Oh! Soon I will reunite with her... Now that I have enjoyed the happiness of heavens I no longer wish to stay here. I asked the angel to allow me to come once more to kiss my husband and my children but she will soon come to pick me up.”
At eight o’clock, after kindly having said goodbye to her husband, children and several other people who surrounded her, Mrs. Schwabenhaus definitely died, as attested by the doctors without a somber of a doubt.

That fact caused vivid commotion in Baltimore’s population.
The spirit of Mrs. Schwabenhaus sustained the following conversation, when evoked in one session of the Parisian Society of Spiritist Studies, on April 27th last:

1. We want to frame a few questions with respect to your death, aiming at our own instruction.
- How could I not answer you, now that I notice the eternal truths and know about your needs?

2. Do you remember the particular conditions that preceded your death? - Yes. That was the happiest moment of my Earthly existence.

3. During your apparent death did you hear what happened around you and saw the burial apparatus?
- My soul was much concerned with its forthcoming happiness.

OBSERVATION: It is known that the lethargic generally see and hear what happens around them and keep its memory when awaken. The reported fact offers the particularity of a lethargic sleep accompanied by ecstasy, what explains the deviation in the patient’s attention.

4. Were you aware that you were not dead?
- Yes but that was painful to me.

5. Can you tell us the difference between the natural sleep and the lethargic one?
- The natural sleep is the appeasement of the body; the lethargic is the exaltation of the soul.

6. Have you suffered during the lethargy?
- No.

7. How did your return to life happen?
- God allowed my return to comfort the afflicted hearts around me.

8. We wish a more material explanation.
- What you call perispirit still animated my terrestrial covering.

9. How come you were not surprised when you woke up with all the arrangements that were going on for your funeral?
- I knew I was going to die. I couldn’t care less about all that because I had a glance at the happiness of the elected ones.

10. Returning to your alertness, where you happy to return to life?
- Yes, to console.

11. Where have you being during your lethargic sleep?
- I cannot describe my state of happiness. Human language cannot express these things.

12. Did you still feel on Earth or in space?
- In the spaces.

13. When you came back to yourself you said that the daughter you had lost in the previous year came back to take you. Is that true?
- Yes. She is a pure spirit.

OBSERVATION: From the answers of this mother, everything indicates that she is an elevated spirit. No surprise that an even more elevated spirit was united to hers out of sympathy. However, we should not take literally the expression “pure spirit” that the spirits sometimes attribute to each other. It is a fact that it refers to a more elevated order hence those that are completely dematerialized and depurated are no longer subjected to the reincarnation: these are angels that enjoy eternal life. Well, those who have not yet achieved a sufficient level do not understand that supreme state. They can then employ the expression “pure spirit” to designate a relative superiority. We have numerous examples of that. Mrs. Schwabenhaus seems to be in that category. The spirits of mockery sometimes also attribute the quality of “pure spirits” to themselves in order to inspire more confidence in those who they wish to trick and that do not have sufficient perspicacity to judge their language, through which they always betray their inferiority.

14. How old was that child when she died?
- Seven years old.

15. How did you recognize her?
- The superior spirits recognize each other more promptly.

16. Did you recognize her under any form?
- I only saw her as spirit.

17. What did she tell you?
- Come and follow me to the Eternal.

18. Did you see other spirits beyond that of your daughter?
- I saw many others but my daughter’s voice and the happiness, which I had a glance at, were my only concerns.

19. Once you returned to life you said that you would soon reunite with your daughter. You were then aware of you near death?
- It was a happy expectation.

20. How did you know?
- Who doesn’t know that one has to die? The illness told me that. 21. What was the cause of your illness?
- The displeasures.

22. How old were you?
- Forty-eight years old.

23. When you definitely left life, did you immediately have clear and lucid consciousness of your new condition?
- I had it during the lethargy.

24. Did you experience the perturbation that generally follows the return to the spiritual world?
- No. I was amazed but not perturbed.

OBSERVATION: It is well known that the perturbation that follows death is lower and shorter the more depurated the spirit is. The ecstasy that preceded this lady’s death was, by the way, the first detachment of her soul from the Earthly bonds.

25. After your death have you seen your daughter again?
- I am frequently with her.

26. Are you bonded to her for the whole eternity?
- No, however, I know that after my last incarnations I will be in the dwelling inhabited by the pure spirits.

27. Then your trials are not over yet?
- No, but now they will be happy ones. I can only wait and hope. This is almost happiness.

28. Has your daughter inhabited other bodies other than that when she was your daughter?
- Yes, many others.

29. Under which form are you among us here?
- Under my feminine form.

30. Do you see us so distinctly as if you were alive?
- Yes.

31. Since you are here under the form you had on Earth, do you see us through your eyes?
No. The spirit has no eyes. I only show up under my latest form to satisfy the laws that rule the spirits when evoked and obliged to return to what you call perispirit.

32. Can you read our thoughts?
- Yes, I can. I will read them if your thoughts are good.

33. We thank you for the explanations you kindly gave us. We acknowledge by the wisdom of your answers that you are an elevated spirit and we hope that you may enjoy the happiness that you deserve.
- I feel happy to contribute with your work. Death is happiness when one can cooperate with progress, as I have just done.

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