Allan Kardec

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Phenomenon of bi-corporeity

One member of our Society sent us a letter from one of his friends from Boulogne-sur-Mer, dated July 26th, 1856 in which one can read the following passage:

“After having magnetized my son, following an order from the spirits, he became a very rare medium; this according to the revelation he gave in a somnambulistic state, which I have induced him into from his own request, on May 14th last and on other four or five occasions.”

“There is no doubt to me that, when awake, my son freely speaks with the spirits that he wishes to, through his guide who in the intimacy he calls his friend; that he transports himself wherever he wishes to, in spirit. I will report a case for which I have the written proof in my hands.”

“Exactly one month ago we were both in the dining room. I was reading the course of magnetism given by Mr. Du Potet when my son took the book from me, browsing over the pages. At a given point he heard his guide saying: “Read that.” It was the adventure of a doctor from America whose spirit had visited a friend who was 15 or 20 leagues away, while asleep. After reading that my son said:

  • - I wish I could do a similar journey.

  • - Then, where you want to go? Asked his guide.

  • - To London, to see my friends, said my son. Then he named those who he wished to visit.

  • - Tomorrow is Sunday. You don’t need to get up early for work. You will sleep at eight and will enjoy London up until eight thirty. Next Friday you will receive a letter from your friends complaining about your very short visit with them.”

    “In fact, on the following day, in the morning, he fell into a deep sleep. I woke him up around eight thirty. He remembered nothing. I said nothing to him, waiting for the events.”

    “The following Friday I was working in one of my machines, smoking as usual since I had just had lunch. My son was observing the smoke coming out of the pipe when he said:

  • - Look, there is a letter in the smoke.

  • - How do you see a letter in the smoke?

- You will see when the mailman is here.”

“In fact the mailman delivered a letter from London in which my son’s friends complained about his such short a visit, of a few minutes, on the previous Sunday, from eight to eight thirty, describing a large number of details which would take long to report here, among which there was the peculiar fact of him having had breakfast with them. I have the letter in my hands, as I said before, as a proof that I am not creating things.”
Once this tale was told one of those attending the meeting said that history registers several similar cases. He mentioned St. Alfonse of Liguori, who was canonized before the required time, for having simultaneously appeared in two different places, fact that was then considered a miracle.

St. Anthony of Padua was in Spain and while giving his sermon his father was about to be executed in Padua, accused of murder. At that very moment Anthony shows up, demonstrates his father’s innocence and reveals who the true assassin was, who later suffered the penalties. It was verified that St. Anthony was preaching in Spain, at the same time.

St. Alfonse of Liguori was evoked so that we addressed him with the following questions:

1. The fact that justified your canonization, is that real?
- Yes.

2. Is that phenomenon exceptional?
- No. It can happen to every individual who is dematerialized.

3. Was it a fair reason for having you canonized?

- Yes, since I had elevated myself to God, through my virtues. Without that I could not have been simultaneously transported to two different places.

4. Should then every individual capable of such a phenomenon be canonized? - No, for not all are equally virtuous.

5. Could you give us an explanation about that phenomenon?

- Yes. When man is completely dematerialized by his own virtue; when he has elevated his soul to God, he can simultaneously appear in two places as below:

Once he starts to feel sleepy, the incarnated spirit can ask God to take him to a given place. His spirit, or his soul, however you want to call it, leaves the body, followed by part of the perispirit, leaving the dense matter in a state that is close to death. I say close to death because the link that connects the perispirit and the soul to the body remains in the body and that link cannot be defined. The body then appears in the desired place. I believe this is all you wish to know.

6. That does not explain the visibility and tangibility of the perispirit.

- Being detached from matter, according to his degree of elevation, the spirit can produce tangible matter.

7. Nevertheless, the tangible apparitions of hands and other parts of the body evidently come from inferior spirits.

- The inferior spirits serve the superior ones who wish to demonstrate the fact.
8. Is the sleeping body a requirement so that the spirit may appear in other places?

- The soul may divide itself when feeling transported to a place different from that where its body is located.

9. What would happen to a man deeply asleep, whose spirit would appear somewhere else, if that person were suddenly awakened?

- This would not happen since if someone had the intention of waking him up, the spirit would foresee the intention and would return to the body, considering that the spirit reads the thoughts.

A similar fact is reported by Tacitus:

“During the months that Vespasian spent in Alexandria, waiting for the seasonal return of the dry winds and the time when the sea becomes favorable, several prodigies took place through which the favor of heaven and the interest that the gods seemed to have for that prince manifested...Such prodigies reinforced Vespasian wishes to visit the sacred dwelling of the god, to consult with him about the issues of the empire. He commanded that the temple be closed to everyone. Having entered the temple, his mind totally concentrated on what the oracle would say, he noticed one of the main Egyptians behind him, a man by the name of Basilide, who he knew had been sick for several days in Alexandria. He inquired the priests if Basilide had come to the temple that day; he asked around to the passers-by whether they had seen him in town; he finally sent men on horse backs to find him and certify that he was eighty miles away at that very moment. Then he no longer doubted that his vision was supernatural and that Basilide had taken the oracles’ place. (Tacitus, Histories, Book IV, chap. 81 and 82, Translated by Burnouf).”

Since that fact has been communicated to us we have received several others of the same kind, from reliable sources. Among them there are some very recent ones that have occurred, say, in our environment, taking place in very interesting circumstances. Their explanations allow for a significant broadening of the psychological observations. The subject of the double men, left to the fantastic stories of the past, thus seems to have some truth in it. We shall return to this subject soon.

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