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.)