THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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Mr. Home, Second Article (see February 1858 issue)


As said before, Mr. Home is a medium of the kind that physical phenomena are more readily produced under his influence, not excluding, however, the more intelligent manifestations. Every effect which manifests the action of a free will is, as a consequence, intelligent, that is, it is no longer mechanical and could not be attributed to an exclusively material agent. From this to the more instructive communications of an elevated moral and philosophical reach, however, there is a great distance and it is not of our knowledge that Mr. Home obtains those of such a nature. As he is not a writing medium, the majority of the answers given through him are produced by vibrating raps, indicating the letter of the alphabet, always an imperfect and slow means which hardly serves the developments of certain extension. Nevertheless, he can also write by a process which we will discuss soon.

Let us say, from starters and general principle that the ostensive manifestations, those which shock our senses, can be spontaneous or provoked. The first ones are independent of the will, many times they even happen against the will of the one who is their object and to whom they are not always pleasant. Facts of such a nature are frequent and without resorting to the reports more or less authentic of the remote eras, contemporary history offers us numerous examples whose cause, ignored in principle, is perfectly known today: these are, for example, the remarkable noises, the disordered displacements of objects, the drawing of curtains, the removal of blankets, certain apparitions, etc.

Certain persons are gifted with a special faculty which gives them the power to provoke those phenomena, so to speak, at least partially, at will. That faculty is not so rare and in a hundred people at least fifty have it, on a higher or lower degree.

What distinguishes Mr. Home is that this faculty is developed in him, as in the mediums of his kind, say, in an exceptional way. Some people do not achieve more than light raps or an insignificant displacement of a table, whereas under the influence of Mr. Home one can hear the most striking noises and all pieces of furniture of a room can be scrambled and stacked on top of each other. However extraordinary these phenomena may be, the enthusiasm of some eager admirers still found a way of amplifying them through pure and imaginative invention. On another hand, the detractors did not remain inactive: they told all sorts of stories which only took place in their imagination.

Here is an example:

The Marquis of..., one of the figures who mostly showed interest on Mr. Home, and in whose residence he was received in the intimacy, was with him one day at the Opera. Mr. P.... one of our members who personally knows both of them, was also in the audience. His neighbor establishes a conversation with him. The subject is Mr. Home.

- Would you believe, he says, that the pretentious witch, that charlatan, found ways to penetrate into the Marquis of ... house? But his trickery was discovered and he was kicked and thrown out into the streets, as a vile schemer?
- Are you sure? Asks Mr. P... Do you know the Marquis?
- Certainly, responded the other.
- In that case, replied Mr. P..., look over to that parterre balcony box. You will be able to see the Marquis, accompanied by Mr. Home himself, who he does not seem to wish to kick out.
After this, our unfortunate gossiper, considering more appropriate not to continue the conversation, grabbed his hat and left.

From this one can assess the value of certain statements. For sure, if some facts which are promoted by slander were true, many doors would have been closed to him. However, as the most respectable houses were always open to him, one has to conclude that he has always and everywhere behaved like a gentleman. By the way, it was enough to have had a brief conversation with Mr. Home to realize that with his shyness and simplicity of character, he would be an awkward impostor. We insist on this point for the morality of the cause.
Let us go back to the manifestations.

Since our objective is to make the truth known, in the interest of Science, all that we report was collected from such authentic sources that we can ensure the most scrupulous accuracy: we got them from very serious eyewitnesses, so much enlightened and highly placed that their honesty cannot be in doubt. If it was said that these people could have been, in good faith, victims of an illusion, we would reply that there are circumstances that dismiss any assumption of that nature. Incidentally, these people were very interested in knowing the truth, thus they would hardly not be prepared against any false appearance.

Mr. Home usually begins his sessions by the known events: raps on a table, or anywhere else in the apartment, by the ways we have already described. It is then followed by the movement of the table, which operates, in principle, by the laying of his hands only, or from several gathered people, then at a distance and without physical contact: it is a kind of warming up test. Very often he does not obtain more than that. It depends on his current disposition and, sometimes, of that of the assistants. There are people before whom he has never produced anything, even friendly people. We will not stay long on this subject which is so much known nowadays and that only changes in speed and energy. Many times, after several swings and oscillations, the table rises from the floor and gradually moves up, slowly, by small impulses, not even a few centimeters, but then it moves up to the ceiling and beyond the reach of hands. After having been suspended in space for a few seconds, it moves down as it had climbed, slowly, gradually.

The suspension of an inert body having a specific weight incomparably higher than that of the air is a known fact and therefore it is understood that the same can happen to an animated body. We are not aware of any occurrence in which Mr. Home had acted upon anybody else other than himself; yet the fact has not occurred only in Paris but in several places, both in Florence and in France, especially in Bordeaux, in the presence of the most respectable witnesses whose names we would cite if needed.

As with the table, his body was elevated to the ceiling and taken back down in the same way. What is bizarre in this phenomenon is the fact that it is not produced by an act of his will. He has said himself that he does not notice the fact and always thinks he is on the ground except when he looks downward. The witnesses are the ones who see him rising. According to him, at those moments he experiences the sensation produced by the rocking of the ship over the waves. Indeed, this fact is not absolutely peculiar to Mr. Home. History records many authentic examples which we will report later.

Of all the manifestations produced by Mr. Home, the most extraordinary is, no doubt, the apparitions, which is the reason why we insist on them in view of the serious resulting consequences and the light they shed on a number of other facts. The same applies to the sounds produced in the air; musical instruments that play by themselves, etc. We will examine these phenomena in detail in the next issue.

Back from a trip to Holland, where he has produced a profound effect in the court and in the high society, Mr. Home has just left for Italy. Having his health seriously altered, he needed a milder climate.

We acknowledge with pleasure the news given by some newspapers, of an inheritance of 6,000 francs that was given to him by an English lady that he has converted to the Spiritist Doctrine and in recognition for the satisfaction that she experienced. By all accounts, Mr. Home deserved such a proof of consideration. From the donor’s side, the act is a precedent that will have the applause of all those who share our convictions. Hopefully one day the Doctrine will have its Maecenas: posterity will inscribe his name among the benefactors of humanity.

Religion teaches us the existence of the soul and its immortality; Spiritism gives us their living and tangible proof, no longer by reasoning but by facts.

Materialism is one of the vices of today’s society because it favors selfishness. What is there, really, out of the self, to someone who only cares about matter and the present life?

The Spiritist Doctrine, intimately connected with religious ideas, explaining about our nature, shows us happiness in the practice of the evangelical virtues; it reminds man of his duties to God, to society and to himself. Assisting in its propagation is to strike a mortal blow to the scourge of skepticism that invades us like a contagious disease. Honor, therefore, to those who employ on Earth their God’s favored gifts to that duty!

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