98. The theory of physical manifestations in general is summed up remarkably well in the following dissertation of a spirit whose communications bear an evident stamp of logical superiority. Much more from the same spirit will be found in the course of this work. He has made himself known to us, under the name of Erastes, as a disciple of Saint Paul, and as the Spirit-guide of the medium who serves as his interpreter
"It is absolutely necessary, in order to obtain phenomena of this description, to have with you mediums whom I will call sensitives, that is to say, persons gifted, in the highest degree, with the medianimic faculties of expansion and penetrability; because, the nervous system of such mediums being easily excited, they are able, by means of certain vibrations, to project their animalised fluid around them in profusion.
"Impressionable natures, those whose nerves vibrate at the faintest emotion or sensation, responding at once to any moral or physical influence, internal or external, furnish excellent mediums for the physical phenomena of tangibility, and for the transport of objects. The peculiarity of their nervous system, which is almost entirely deprived of the refractile envelope that isolates the nervous system in the greater number of incarnated spirits, renders them specially apt for the development of these phenomena. Consequently, with a medium of this nature, and whose other faculties arc not antagonistic to medianimisation, phenomena of tangibility, raps in walls or furniture, intelligent movements, and even the floating of the heaviest bodies in the air, are easily obtained. And these results will occur with still greater certainty if, instead of a single medium, there are present several mediums equally endowed.
"But, between the production of these phenomena and the obtaining of the introduction of objects into closed rooms, there is an immense step to be accomplished; for, in the latter case, not only is the work of the spirit more complex and more difficult, but, what is still more important, the spirit can only operate by means of a single medianimic mechanism; in other words, in this case, several mediums cannot be made to co-operate simultaneously for the production of the same phenomenon. On the contrary, it often happens that the presence of persons antipathetic to the operating spirit renders the operation impossible. Moreover, this sort of medianimity always necessitates a greater power of concentration, and, at the same time, a full diffusion of certain fluids; and these fluids can only be obtained through mediums endowed with the highest medianimic gifts; those, in a word, whose electro-medianimic machinery is of the best quality.
"In general, the phenomenon of the transport of objects into closed rooms is, and will remain, exceptionally rare. There is no need for me to point out why phenomena of this character should be less common than the other facts of tangibility; from "'hat I have said, you can draw your own conclusions. On the other hand, these phenomena are of such a nature that, not only all mediums are not fitted for their production, but all spirits themselves cannot produce them. In fact, it is necessary that, between the spirit and the medium whom he influences, there should exist an affinity, an analogy, in a word, a certain homogeneity, which allows the expansible quality of the spirit fluid * of the incarnated agent to blend, unite, and combine with that of the spirit who desires to bring you something. This fusion must be such that the resulting force becomes, so to speak, one; as, when the electric current acts on charcoal, fire and light are produced as though the current and the charcoal were one. Why this union? Why this fusion? you will ask. It is because, for the production of these phenomena, it is necessary that the essential qualities of the spirit-motor should be increased by certain qualities of the medium; because the vital fluid, indispensable for the production of all medianimic phenomena, is the exclusive property of the incarnated spirit, and consequently, the operating spirit is obliged to impregnate himself with it. It is only then that he can, by means of certain properties of your surrounding atmosphere which are unknown to you, isolate certain material objects, and thus render them invisible, move certain objects, and even move people in the flesh as well.
"It is not permitted, at this time, to unveil to you the laws that regulate the gases and the fluids by which you are environed; but, before many years have passed, before the space of a human life is accomplished, the explanation of these laws and of these phenomena will be obtained by you; and you will witness the rise of a new variety of mediums, who will fall into a peculiar cataleptic state as soon as they are medianimised. *
"You have seen with what great difficulties the bringing of objects into closed rooms is surrounded. You may reasonably conclude, therefore, that phenomena of this nature are, as I have said, very rare, and the more so, because the spirits themselves are but little inclined to their production, since it necessitates on their part a kind of labour which, from being almost physical in its nature, is really disagreeable and fatiguing for them. There is yet another obstacle to the generalisation of facts of the character in question, viz., the state of the medium himself, which often opposes an insuperable barrier to their production, notwithstanding the energy and goodwill of the spirit operators.
"Raps, movements, and suspensions, are simple phenomena, produced by the concentration and dilatation of certain fluids, and can be obtained by the will and effort of mediums fitted for the work, provided they are seconded by the necessary concourse of special circumstances, only to be brought about by a single spirit and a single medium, and demanding, beyond the conditions of tangibility, a fluid combination of a peculiar nature, in order to isolate and render invisible the objects which are to be brought to the circle.
"You, spiritists, who have already studied the subject, will easily understand these explanations, and what I have said about the concentration of special fluids required for producing the transport and tactility of inert matter ; you are able to admit it, just as you admit the phenomena of electricity and magnetism, with which the facts of medianimity are in close analogy, and of which, they are, so to say, the confirmation and development. As for the incredulous, and those who oppose the light in the name of science, I am not anxious to convince them they will be convinced in time, by the force of evidence, and will have to admit the facts of spirit-manifestation, as they have had to admit so many other facts which human science formerly denied.
"To recapitulate the facts of tangibility are of frequent occurrence, but the bringing of objects to a circle is very rare, because the conditions for obtaining this order of phenomena are very difficult to combine ; consequently, no medium can say: 'At such an hour and moment I shall get something brought,' for the spirit himself often meets with an insuperable obstacle to his efforts. I should add that these phenomena are doubly difficult in public gatherings ; for, in such, there are almost always strongly refractile elements, which paralyse the spirit's action, and weigh even more heavily on that of the medium. You may hold it as certain, on the other hand, that these phenomena almost always occur in private and spontaneously, and generally without the medium's knowledge or expectation, for, in fact, they rarely occur when. the medium is expecting them; from all of which you may conclude that there is fair ground for suspicion, whenever a medium professes to be able to obtain these phenomena at his will, in other words, to command the spirits as he would a servant, which is simply absurd. Hold also as a rule for general use, that spirit-phenomena are not intended simply to excite and amuse the curious. If some spirits give themselves up to this sort of manifestation, it can only be for simple phe- nomena, and not for those that require exceptional conditions, such as are necessary for the bringing of objects into closed rooms.
"Keep in mind, spiritists, that, if it is absurd to repudiate systematically all spirit-phenomena, it is none the less so, on the other hand, to give a blind acceptance to every tale. When phenomena, such as facts of tangibility, apparitions, clairvoyance, or the transport of objects, occur spontaneously, and, as it were, instantaneously, accept them; but, I cannot urge you too strongly to accept nothing blindly, to subject every occurrence to a minute and thorough sifting. Believe me, spiritism, rich as it is in sublime and grand phenomena, has nothing to gain from petty manifestations that skilful conjurors may imitate.
"You may reply that these phenomena are useful to convince the incredulous ; but remember that, if spiritism did not offer other means of conviction, it would not have numbered at this time the hundredth part of its present adherents. Address yourselves to the heart ; it is thus that you will make converts worth gaining. If you consider it useful, for certain persons, to proceed by the presentation of physical phenomena, at least present these under circumstances that can give no handle to false interpretation ; and, above all, do not attempt to obtain these phenomena under any but their normal conditions; for even facts, when presented under wrong conditions, furnish arguments for the incredulous, instead of convincing them.
* When a new idea has to be expressed by a new word, spirits show themselves to be quite capable of coining neologisms. The words electro-medianimic, and perispiritic, are not of our making. Those who have criticised us for creating the words spiritist, spiritism, perispirit, &c., should have directed their criticisms, not against us, but against the spirits from whom we have received them.