Allan Kardec

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126. We have already said that spirits sometimes appear in flowing draperies, sometimes in ordinary human clothes. The former appear to be the general costume of the spiritworld ; but, it will naturally be asked, whence do spirits get their clothing, clothing which is often precisely like what they wore on earth, and comprising all the ordinary accessories of the toilet ? It is certain that, in dying, they did not carry those objects away with them ; yet we see them before us, and can touch them with our hands whence do they come?

This problem has always been a puzzling one for observers. With many, it is simply a matter of curiosity, but it really involves a point of great importance ; our search after its solution has set us on the track of a general law which is equally applicable to the spirit-world and to our corporeal world, and without a knowledge of which it is impossible to explain the complicated phenomena referred to.

In the case of a spirit who appears with the clothing he wore during life, we might explain the appearance as the result of an action of the spirit's memory, and as forming, so to say, a part of his individuality; but this could hardly be supposed to be the case as regards accessories, such, for instance, as the snuff-box of the old gentleman who visited the sick lady, as related above (127). And it is, moreover, to be remarked that, in the case alluded to, the apparition was not that of a dead person, but of a living one ; and that this same old gentleman, when he afterwards visited the lady in his material body, brought with him a snuff-box similar, in every respect, to that which had been used by his spirit. Where did his spirit find the snuff- box that was in his hand when he sat at the foot of the lady's bed ? A question that might be repeated in regard to a great number of cases which we could instance, in which the spirits of deceased as well as of living persons have appeared, carrying in their hands various objects, such as sticks, pipes, lanterns, books, &c.

It formerly occurred to us that inert bodies might possibly have their etherealised correspondents in the invisible world, and that the condensed matter which forms the objects of our world might have, in the spirit-world, a corresponding quintessence which our bodily senses are unable to perceive. This hypothesis was not devoid of probability, but it failed to account for all the facts that presented themselves, and of which one, especially, seemed to defy all our attempts at interpretation. Up to that time, there had occurred, in our experience, only instances of images or appearances; and although we had seen that the perispirit could acquire the properties of matter, and could become tangible, yet this tangibility had been only momentary, and the seemingly solid body thus produced had vanished like a shadow. That phenomenon was sufficiently extraordinary ; but what was still more so was to see persistently solid matter produced by spirits, as has been done in a number of perfectly authentic cases, and, among others, in the phenomenon to which we have just referred, viz., that of direct writing. We shall treat of that phenomenon in a special chapter; but as it is intimately connected with the point we are now considering, we will, before proceeding farther, offer a few remarks in regard to it.

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