An issue of priority in matters of Spiritism
Mr. Ch. Renard, a subscriber of our Review, from Rambouillet, sent us the following letter:
“Dear Sir and dignified comrade in Spiritism.
I read, or better saying, I devour with unspeakable satisfaction your review issues, as I receive them. This is not surprising in my case since my relatives were foretellers, from generation to generation. One of my great-great-great-grandmothers was even condemned to die at the stake as contumacious in the murder of Vauldrie, and a regular of the Sabbath. She was only able to avoid the stake by hiding in one of her sister’s house, an abbess of a secluded religious group. Hence I have inherited some crumbs of occult Sciences, fact that did not preclude me from going through the materialistic belief, if there is a belief there, and skepticism. Finally, exhausted, ill of negativism, then the works of the ecstatic celebrity Swedenborg brought me to the truth and good. Becoming myself an ecstatic I was convinced ad vivum about the truths that the materialized spirits of our globe cannot understand.
I had communications of all kinds: phenomena of visions, tangibility, transportation of lost objects, etc.
Would the brother kindly publish the note below in one of your next issues? It is not a question of self-love but of my condition of French man.
Sometimes the small causes lead to great effects. Around 1840 I had established a friendly relationship with Mr. Cahagnet, plumber and engraver, who had come to Ramboillet for health reasons. That high-class worker of refined intelligence was initiated by me in human magnetism. One day I told him: I am positive that a lucid somnambulist is capable of seeing the souls of the dead and establish conversation with them. He was impressed. I induced him to carry out such experiment when he could count on a lucid somnambulist. He was successful and published a first book on necromantic experiences, followed by other volumes and brochures which in the USA were translated under the title Celestial Telegraph. Later the ecstatic Davis published his visions or excursions through the spiritual world. About the dematerialized, Franklin did researches that achieved manifestations and communications easier than in the past. The first persons that he magnetized in the USA were the Fox widow and her two daughters. There is a remarkable coincidence between that name and mine since the English word fox means “renard”.
Since long ago the spirits told me that it was possible to communicate with spirits of other globes, from which we would receive drawings and descriptions. I exposed the subject to Mr. Cahagnet but he did not go beyond our satellite.
I am yours.... Etc
OBSERVATION: The issue of priority, in matters of Spiritism, is unquestionably secondary. But it is not less remarkable that since the importation of the American phenomena, a number of authentic facts, ignored by the public, revealed the production of similar phenomena, both in France as well as in other European countries, in the same period or earlier.
We know that many people were involved with spiritist communications well before the turning tables were visited, and we have proofs of that we specific dates. It seems that Mr. Renard is part of that group and, according to him, his experiments would not have been different from those produced in America. We register his observation is an interesting fact to the history of Spiritism and to prove once more that this Science has roots all over the world, denying any chance of success to those who wish to impose a barrier to Spiritism. If they smother it here it will appear stronger in a hundred of other places, exactly at the time when it shall conquer a place among the common beliefs, since the doubt is no longer viable. Then, willing or not, the adversaries will have to take its position.