Special Aptitudes of Mediums
185. BESIDES the categories of mediums we have enumerated, mediumship presents an infinite variety of shades which constitute what are called special mediums, who possess peculiar aptitudes not yet de- fined, according to the qualities and knowledge of the manifesting spirit.
The nature of the communication always sustains a relation to the nature of the spirit, and bears the seal of his elevation or inferiority, his knowledge or igno- rance ; but, merit being equal in a hierarchical point of view, he has undoubtedly a propensity to engage in one thing rather than another ;• the rapping spirits, for instance, never depart from physical manifestations ; and among those who give intelligent manifestations are spirit poets, musicians, painters, moralists, scientists, physicians, &c. We speak of spirits of a middle order, for, once arrived at a certain degree, the apti- tudes are blended in the unity of perfection. But, besides the aptitude of the spirit, there is that of the medium, who is an instrument for him, more or less suitable, more or less flexible, and in whom he discov- ers special qualities that we cannot appreciate.
Let us make a comparison : a very skillful musician has in his hands several violins, which, to the ordinary eye, will all be very good instruments, but between which the consummate artist distinguishes a great difference ; he perceives therein shades of exceeding delicacy, which make him choose some and reject others, shades which he comprehends rather by intui- tion than by anything he can define in them. It is the same with respect to mediums ; with equal quali- ties in the medianimic power, the spirit will give the preference to one or to the other, according to the kind of communication he desires to make. Thus, for instance, persons, as mediums, write admirable poems, though in the ordinary conditions they never knew how, nor could compose two verses; others, on the contrary, who are poets, and who, as mediums, have been able to write only prose, in spite of their desire.
The same with drawing, music, &c.
There are those who, without having, by themselves, any scientific knowledge, have a more special aptitude for receiving scientific communications ; others are for historical studies; others serve more easily as interpreters for spirit moralists ; in a word, whatever may be the flexibility of the medium, the communications he receives with, most facility have, generally, a special seal; there are even those who never emerge from a certain circle of ideas, and when they are taken from that, they have but incomplete, laconic, and often false, communications. Aside from the causes of aptitude, the spirits communicate more or less willingly by such or such an intermediary, according to their sympa- thies ; so, all other things being equal, the same spirit will be much more explicit with certain mediums, solely because they suit him better.
186. It would then be an error, if, having at hand a good medium, even one who writes with the utmost facility, we should from that alone expect to obtain good communications of all kinds. The primary condition certainly is, to be assured of the source where they emanate, that is, of the qualities of the spirit who transmits them ; but it is not the less necessary to be careful of the qualities of the instrument given to the spirit: we must, then, study the nature of the medium,as we study the nature of the spirit, for these are the two essential elements for obtaining a satisfactory result. There is a third, that plays an equally important part—the intention, the secret thought, the more or less praiseworthy sentiment of the interrogator; and so it may be said, To obtain agood communication, it must emanatefrom agood spirit; that this good spirit may be able to transmit it, he must have a good instrument ; that he may desire to transmit it, the motive must suit him.
The spirit, who reads in the thought, judges if the question proposed merits a serious answer, and if the person who addresses him is worthy to receive it: in a contrary case, he does not- lose his time sowing good seed on stony ground; and then trifling, mock- ing, spirits take his place, because, troubling themselves very little about the truth, they do not look at things so closely, and are usually but little scrupulous as to the end or means.-
We here sum up the principal kinds of mediumship, before presenting a kind of synoptical list, comprising those we have already described in the preceding chapters, indicating the numbers of those to which we shall add further details.
We have grouped the different varieties of mediums by analogy with causes and effects, but do not propose there shall be anything absolute in this classification. Some are frequently met, others are rare and exceptional, which we have taken care to mention. These last indications have all been furnished by spirits, who, besides, have reviewed this descriptive list with an exceedingly particular care, and have completed it by numerous observations and new categories, so that it may be said to be their entire work. We have indicated by quotation marks their textual observations when we have thought it necessary to make them more prominent. They are mostly from Erastus and Socrates.