THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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Official application of animal magnetism

A letter sent from Stockholm to the Journal des Débats, on September 10th, 1858:

“Unfortunately I do not have comforting news with respect to the illness that our sovereign leader has endured for about two years. All treatments and medications prescribed by the professionals during this time have not brought any relief to King Oscar’s sufferings. According to the board of medical doctors, Mr. Klugenstiern, who has some reputation as a magnetizer, has been recently called to Drottningholm Palace, where the royal family continues to live, in order to apply a periodical treatment of magnetism to the noble patient. Over here people believe that, out of a singular coincidence, the center of King Oscar’s disease is located precisely at the cerebellum, which seems also to be the case of King Frederic IV of Prussia.”

We wonder if only twenty-five years ago the doctors would dare to publicly prescribe such a procedure, even to a regular patient, let alone to a crowned head of state. Medical schools as well as newspapers were full of sarcasm to downplay magnetism and the people that practice it. Things have changed a lot in such a short time! Magnetism is not only not laughed at but also recognized as a therapeutic agent. What a lesson to those who laugh at new things! Will that lesson finally make them figure out the problems associated with raising issues against things that they do not understand? We have a lot of books written against magnetism by important men who did not support magnetism. Well, such books will remain as an indelible stain on their intelligences. Wouldn’t they have done better by going quiet and wait? Over that time, as it happens today, the most eminent, most enlightened and conscious men manifested their contrary opinion with respect to Spiritism. Nothing disturbs their skepticism. Magnetism was nothing but mockery to their eyes, unworthy of serious people. What action could be attributed to an occult agent, controlled by thought and will, and of which a chemical analysis could not be done? We must say that the Swedish doctors were not the only ones to reconsider that narrow idea. Now, in many places, in France as abroad, the opinion has completely changed. This is so true that today, when confronted with an unexplained phenomenon, they say that it is a magnetic effect. They thus attribute to magnetism for a number of reasons that before were considered as produced by imagination, always a good explanation to those people who do not know what to say.

Will magnetism cure King Oscar? This is another matter. No doubt it has produced prodigious and unexpected cures but it has its limitations, as everything else in nature. Furthermore, it is necessary to take the following circumstance into account: people generally resort to magnetism only in extremis, and out of desperation, frequently when the illness has already caused irreparable devastation or when aggravated by inadequate medication. It is necessary to be really powerful to triumph over such obstacles!

If the action of the magnetic fluid is a given these days, the same does not apply to the somnambulistic faculties that still have many incredulous in the official world, particularly with respect to medical issues. Nevertheless, we have to recognize that the prejudices have waned around this subject, even among men of Science. The proof comes from the large number of medical doctors who take part in all societies of magnetism, in France as well as abroad. The facts have become so overt that willing or not it was necessary to accept the evidence and follow the mainstream. The same will soon happen to the lucid intuition as well as to the magnetic fluid.

Intimate bonds, like solidary Sciences, connect spiritism and magnetism. However, who would believe that? Spiritism finds its most bloodthirsty adversaries among certain magnetizers that conversely do not count on the opposition of the spiritists. The spirits have always commended magnetism, be it as a means of cure, be it as the primary cause of a number of things; they defend its cause and come to support it against its enemies. The spiritist phenomena have opened the eyes of a large number of people while advocating magnetism to them. Isn’t that strange to have the magnetizers so quick to forget the prejudices against them; denying the existence of their defenders and throwing against those the same darts that once were thrown at them? This is neither noble nor worthy of men to whom nature, by revealing its most sublime mysteries more than to others, subtract the right of saying the famous “nec plus ultra” (state-of- the-art). All indications are that, given the quick development of Spiritism, it will also soon be granted the status of citizenship. While waiting, it applauds with all its heart the position that magnetism has just conquered, as an uncontested sign of the progress of ideas.

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