Allan Kardec

Back to the menu
167. Seeing mediums are endowed with the faculty of seeing spirits. There are some who enjoy this faculty in the normal state ; then they are perfectly awake, and preserve an exact remembrance of it; others have it only in a somnambulic state, or one bordering on somnambulism. This faculty is rarely permanent; it is almost always the effect of a momentary and fleet- ing crisis. All persons endowed with second sight may be placed in the category of seeing mediums. The possibility of seeing spirits in dreams most certainly results from a kind of mediumship, but does not, properly speaking, constitute seeing mediums. We have explained this phenomenon in Chapter V I , on Visual Manifestations.

The seeing medium thinks he sees with his eyes, as also those who have double sight; but in reality it is the soul that sees, because he sees as well with his eyes shut as with them open'; from whence it follows that a blind person can see spirits as well as one who has the use of his eyes. This last point might give an interesting subject for study, to know if this faculty is more frequent with the blind. Spirits who have been blind have told us that, while living, they had, by the soul, a perception of certain objects, and that they were not plunged in black obscurity.

168. A distinction must be made between incidental and spontaneous apparitions, and the faculty proper of seeing spirits. The former are frequent, particu- larly at the moment of the death of persons loved or known, and who come to warn us they are no longer in the world. There are numerous examples of facts of this kind, without reckoning visions during sleep. At other times, relatives or friends, who, though a longer or shorter time dead, appear either to warn us of a danger, or to.give advice, or to ask a service. The service a spirit can claim consists usually in the accomplishment of a thing he could not do while living, or in the help of prayers. These apparitions are isolated facts, which have always an individual and personal character, and do not constitute a faculty proper. The faculty consists in the possibility, if not permanent, at least very frequent, of seeing any spirit, even that of an entire stranger. It is this faculty that, properly speaking, constitutes seeing mediums.

Among seeing mediums there are those who see only those whom they call, and whom they describe with a perfect minuteness; they tell, to the smallest detail, their gestures, their expression of countenance, their features, costume, and even the sentiments by which they are animated. With others this faculty is still more general; they see all the surrounding spirit population go, come, and, as one might say, attend to their affairs.

169. One evening we were at a representation of the opera of Oberon, with a very good seeing medium. There were in the house quite a number of seats vacant, but many of which were occupied by spirits, who seemed to be taking their share in the scene; some went near certain of the spectators, and appeared to listen to their conversation. On the stage another scene was passing ; behind the actors several humor- ous, jovial spirits amused themselves in mimicking them, imitating their gestures in a grotesque manner ; others, more serious, seemed to inspire the singers, and make efforts to give them energy. One of them was constantly near one of the principal female singers; we thought his intentions a little light. Having called him, after the fall of the curtain, he came to us, and reproached us with some severity for our rash judg- ment. "I am not what you think," said he ; "I am her guide and spirit protector ; it is I who am charged to direct her." After some moments of very serious conversation, he left us, saying, " Adieu! she is at home: I must go watch over her."

We afterward called the spirit of Weber, the author of the opera, and asked him what he thought of the execution of his work. " It is not so very bad," said

.he; "but it is tame; the actors sing—that is all; there is no inspiration. Wait!" added he ; "I will try to give them a little of the sacred fire." Then we saw him on the stage, hovering above the actors: a breath seemed to part from ,him, and spread over them, and a. very visible increase of energy took place among them.

170. Here is another fact which proves the influ- ence spirits exercise at their will on man. We were, as before, at a theatrical representation with another seeing medium. Having engaged in conversation with a spirit spectator, he said to us, " Do you see those two ladies alone in that private box ? Well, I warrant you I will make them leave the theater."

So said, he was soon in the box, talking to the two ladies ; suddenly, from having been very attentive to the play, they looked at each other, consulted together, and finally went out, and did not return. The spirit made us a comical gesture, to show that he had kept his word, but did not return, that we might ask fur- ther explanations.

We have thus been many times witness of the part spirits play among the living : we have seen them at many reunions, — ball, concert, church, funerals, wed- dings, &c, — and everywhere we have found them ex- citing the evil passions, stirring up discord, inciting brawls, and rejoicing in their prowess ; others, on the contrary, combated this pernicious influence, though but rarely listened to.

171. The faculty of seeing spirits can, without doubt, be developed, but it is one of which it is best to- await the natural development, without trying to call it out, if one would not wish to become the dupe of his im- agination. When the germ of a faculty exists, it will be manifested of itself; from principle, we must be contented with those God has granted to us, without seeking the impossible; for then, in wishing to have too much, we risk losing what we have. When we said spontaneous apparitions are frequent, we did not intend to say that they are very common ; as to see- ing mediums, properly so called, they are still more rare, and we should be very careful of those who pre- tend to enjoy this faculty; it is prudent not to trust them except upon positive proofs. We do not mean those who are given to the ridiculous illusion of globular spirits, which we described No. 108, but of those who pretend to see spirits in a rational manner. Some persons may, doubtless, be deceived in all sincerity, but others may simulate this faculty from self-love or interest. In this case, particular account must be taken of the character, of the morality and habitual sincerity; but it is especially in the details the most certain test can be found, for they can be such as to leave no doubt; as, for instance, the exactness of the description of spirits whom the medium has never known living. The following fact is of this category:—

A widowed lady, whose husband frequently commu- nicated with her, found herself one day with a seeing medium, who did not know her nor her family: the medium said to her, " I see a spirit near you."

" Ah ! " said the lady, " it is, doubtless, my husband, who seldom leaves me."

" No," answered the medium ; " it is an elderly lady; her head-dress is very singular; she has a white band across her forehead."

From this particular and other descriptive details, the lady unmistakably recognized her grandmother, of whom she was not thinking. If the medium had wished to simulate the faculty, it was easy to follow the thought of the lady, whereas, instead of the husband, of whom she was thinking, he sees a woman with a peculiarity of head-dress, of which nothing had given him the idea. This fact proves another thing, — that the sight, with the medium, was not the reflection of any person's thought. (See No. 102.)

Related articles

Show related items