99. The phenomenon of transport sometimes offers one very singular peculiarity, inasmuch as certain mediums only obtain it when in a somnambulic state; but this is easily explained. The somnambulic state constitutes a natural release from fleshly trammels, a sort of isolation of the spirit and perispirit, which facilitates the combination of the necessary fluids. This has frequently been the case when objects have been brought in our presence. The following questions were addressed by us, on one occasion, to the spirit by whom the phenomenon of transport was effected but, his answers not being sufficiently clear, we submitted them also to the spirit Erastes, who is much more enlightened as regards theoretic knowledge, and who completed what was lacking in the explanations of the other by his very judicious observations. The one is the artisan, the other the scientist; and we gain instruction even by comparing these two intelligences ; for we thus find that the mere fact of release from the fleshly body does not suffice to enable a spirit to understand everything.
1. Will you have the kindness to tell us why it is that, whatever you bring us, comes while the medium is in the magnetic sleep?
"That is owing to the medium's nature ; what I bring, when my medium is asleep, I could bring, with another medium, when awake."
2. Why do you make us wait so long for what you bring, and why do you excite the covetousness of the medium, by stimulating his desire to obtain the promised gift?
"It takes time to prepare the fluids which I need for the transport; as to exciting the medium's desire, I often do so in order to amuse the people who are present, as well as the somnambulist himself."
Remark of Erastes. "The spirit who has answered does not know any better ; he does not take account of the use of this covetousness which he instinctively excites, without being aware of its effects he thinks he only amuses by so doing, whilst, ill reality, he thus brings about, without suspecting it, a greater emission of fluid. This stimulation is necessitated by the difficulty of the phenomenon ; all the greater when it is not spontaneous, and especially with certain mediums."
3. Does the production of the phenomenon depend upon the special nature of the medium., and could it be produced, more quickly and easily, with other mediums?
"Its production depends upon the nature of the medium, and cannot take place except with natures between whom there exists the requisite correspondence ; as to effecting the transport more quickly, the habit we get into, when we act frequently with the same medium, is of great service to us."
4. As regards the influence of the persons present, has it any effect in impeding or facilitating the production of the phenomenon?
"When there is disbelief and opposition, we are often much hampered by them we prefer to make our attempts in the presence of believers, and of persons versed in spiritism. But I do not mean to say that the ill-will of the incarnated can paralyse us completely."
5. Whence did you get the flowers and the sugar-plums that you have brought us?
"I get the flowers in the gardens; I take those that please me."
6. And the sugar-plums? The shopkeeper must perceive his loss.
"I take them just where I like ; the shopkeeper never perceives it at all, because I put others in their place."
7. But the rings you have brought? They are valuable; where did you get them? Have you not wronged the person from whom you took them ?
"I took them from places unknown to any one, so that nobody can be the worse for my taking them."
Remark of Erastes. - "The fact is insufficiently explained, owing to the want of knowledge on the part of the spirit who is replying. It is quite possible that some wrong may have been done in the matter; but the spirit is unwilling to pass for having committed a larceny. An object can only be replaced by another which is identical with it in form and value; consequently, if a spirit had the power of substituting an object precisely similar to that which he takes, he would have no motive for taking it, and should rather give the one which serves as a substitute."
8. Is it possible to bring flowers from another planet? "No ; that is not possible for me."
- (To Erastes.) Have other spirits this power?
"No, it is not possible, on account of the difference of the atmospheric surroundings."
9. Could you bring flowers from another hemisphere; from the tropics, for example?
"Yes; if they are on this earth, I could bring them."
10. These objects which you have brought, could you make them disappear and take them back?
"Just as easily as I brought them; I can take them back whenever I like."
11. Does the bringing of objects give you any trouble, or necessitate anything like labour or fatigue?
"It does not give us any trouble, when we have per-mission ; it might give us a good deal, if we attempted to produce these phenomena without permission."
Remark of Erastes. - "He will not admit that it gives him trouble, although it really does ; as he is obliged to perform an operation which is, so to say, almost physical in its nature."
12. What are the difficulties that you meet with?
"Only unfavourable fluidic conditions, that hinder our action."
13. How do you carry an object; do you hold it in your hands? " No, we envelop it in ourselves."
Remark of Erastes. - " He does not explain the operation clearly, for lie does not envelop the object in his own personality ; but as his personal fluid is dilatable, penetrable, and expansible, he combines a portion of this fluid of his with a portion of the animalised fluid of the medium, and it is in this combination of fluids that he hides and transports the object to be brought. It is therefore not correct to say that he envelops it in himself."
14. Could you bring us, with the same facility, an object of considerable weight; of a hundred pounds weight, for instance?
"Weight is nothing to us; we bring you flowers, because a flower is more agreeable than anything heavy."
Remark of Erastes. - "What he says is true he could bring two hundred- weight, or any weight, for the weight that exists to your perceptions is annulled in his case : but here again there is a hitch in his explanation. The mass of the combined fluids must be in proportion to the mass of the objects to be moved: in a word, the force employed must be in proportion to the resistance to be overcome ; from which it follows, that, if a spirit only brings a flower, or some light thing, it is often because lie does not find in the medium, or in himself, the elements necessary for any greater effort."
15. Does it sometimes happen that things which disappear, we know not how, have been removed by spirits?
"That happens very frequently, much oftener than you have any idea of; and it might be remedied by asking the spirit to bring back what has disappeared."
Remark of Erastes. - "That is true; nevertheless, what is carried away, is sometimes made away with very effectually, for the things are often conveyed to a great distance. But, as almost the same conditions are required for taking things away as for bringing them, it can only be accomplished by the aid of mediums gifted with special faculties therefore, when anything disappears, it is far more probable that your own carelessness, rather than spirit-action, has caused its disappearance."
16. Are some occurrences, which we regard as natural phenomena, really the work of spirits?
"Your daily life is replete with incidents of this character, which you do not understand, because you have not made them a subject of thought, but of which a little reflection would enable you to perceive the real nature."
Remark of Erastes. - "Do not attribute to spirits what is the work of men ; but remember that their occult influence is constantly exerted, and gives rise, around you, to various circumstances and incidents necessary to the accomplishment of your acts, and even to your existence."
17. Among the things brought by spirits, may there not be some which are fabricated by them, that is to say, spontaneously produced by the modifications which the universal fluid is made to undergo by spirits?
"Not in my case, for I have no such permission; only an elevated spirit could do this."
18. How did you manage to introduce those things, the other day, since the room was entirely closed?
"I brought them in with me, enveloped, so to say, in my substance: the long and the short of it is, 'tis inexplicable."
19. How did you manage to render visible those objects which were invisible an instant before?
"I took away the matter that enveloped them."
Remark of Erastes. - "Strictly speaking, it is not matter that envelops them, but a fluid drawn in part from the perispirit of the medium, and, in part, from that of tile operating spirit."
20. (To Erastes.) Can an object be brought into a room that is perfectly closed ; in short, can a spirit spiritualise a material object so that it may pass through matter?
"This is a complex question. A spirit can render material things invisible but not penetrable; he cannot break through the aggregation of matter, for that would be the destruction of the object.* An object being rendered invisible, he can bring it into the room when he pleases, and can deprive it of its invisibility at any given moment. It is quite another affair in regard to things that we compose, for, in such cases, we only introduce the elements of matter, and these elements are essentially penetrable ; for we ourselves can penetrate and pass through the most condensed bodies, as easily as the rays of the sun pass through a windowpane; so that we may truly say that we have introduced the object into the place, however closed it may be; but only in such a case." *
* See hereafter, for the theory of the formation of evanescent objects by spirits, the chapter entitled: Laboratory of the invisible world.