Influence of the Exercise of Mediums hip on tlie Health; on the Brain ; on Children.
221. i. " Is the medianimic faculty an indication of a pathological state, or simply abnormal ?"
" Abnormal sometimes, but not pathological; there are mediums of robust health ; those who are sick are so from other causes."
2. " Can the exercise of the medianimic faculty occa- sion fatigue ?"
" The too prolonged exercise of any faculty what- ever leads to fatigue: mediumship is the same, prin- cipally those who apply themselves to physical effects ; it necessarily occasions an outlay of fluid which leads to fatigue, and is repaired by rest."
3. " Has the exercise of mediumship dangers of itself, in a hygienic point of view, even if not abused ?" " There are cases where it is prudent, necessary even, to abstain from it, or, at least, to moderate its
use ; that depends on the physical and moral state of the medium. Besides, the medium generally feels it, and when he experiences fatigue, he should abstain."
4. "Are there some persons for whom this exercise is more unsuitable than for others ?"
" I have said that it depends upon the physical and, moral state of the medium. There are persons to whom it is necessary to avoid every cause for excite- ment, and this is of the number." (Nos. 188-194.)
5. " Can mediumship produce insanity ? "
"No more than anything else, when there is no predisposition, owing to weakness of the brain. Me- diumship will not produce insanity when the germ is not there ; but if the germ exists, which is very easy to know from the moral state, good sense says that careful management is necessary in every way, for the least shock might be injurious."
6. " Is there danger in developing mediumship in children ?"
" Certainly ; and I maintain that it is very danger- ous ; for these tender and delicate organizations would be too much shaken, and their young imagination over-excited. Wise parents will remove all these ideas from them, or at least speak to them only of the moral consequences."
7. " Yet there are children who are naturally medi- ums for physical effects, for writing, and for visions: has that dangers ?"
" No ; when the faculty is spontaneous in a child, it is in its nature, and its constitution agrees with it; it is not the same when induced and over-excited. Re- mark, that the child who has visions is generally very little impressed by them ; it seems to him a perfectly natural thing, to which he gives but little attention, and often forgets : later the fact returns to his mind, and if he knows anything of Spiritism, he can easily explain it."
8. " A t what age, without danger, can a person prac- tice mediumship ?"
" There is no precise age ; it depends upon development, physical, but still more upon moral. There are children of twelve years who would be less affected by it than some grown persons. I speak of medium- ship in general, but that which applies to physical effects is more fatiguing, corporeally; writing has one great danger for a child, on account of inexperience ; he might engage in it alone, and make it a matter of sport." •
222. The practice of Spiritism, as we shall see, de- mands much tact to unmask the tricks of deceiving spirits ; if grown men are their dupes, childhood and youth are still more exposed, from their inexperience. It is well known that concentration of thought is a condition without which we can have no intercourse with serious spirits ; invocations made with careless- ness, or in a joking way, are a real profanation, which gives easy access to mocking or mischievous spirits ; and as the necessary gravity for such an act cannot be
expected of a child, it may readily be feared that, if left to himself, he would make a play of it. Even under the most favorable conditions, it is to be desired that a child gifted with the medianimic faculty should exercise it only under the eye of experienced persons, who will teach him, by their example, the respect due to souls that have already lived.
It will be seen from this, that the question of age is subordinate to the circumstances as much of tempera- ment as of character. At all events, the clear results of the answers given above are not to press this fac- ulty to development with children, when it is not spon- taneous, and that, in all cases, it must be used with great circumspection ; that it must be neither excited nor encouraged in debilitated persons. Those who have ever displayed the least symptoms of eccentricity, either in ideas or in weakness of mental faculties, should, by every possible means, be dissuaded from i t ; for there is, with them, an evident "predisposition to insanity, which any too exciting cause may develop. The spirit ideas have not a greater influence for this, but insanity, once aroused, would take the character of the predominant preoccupation, as it would take a religious character, if the person abandons himself to excess in devotional practices; and every one would consider Spiritism responsible. The best thing to do with any one who shows a tendency toward a fixed idea, is to direct his mind to other things, that so the weakened organs may rest.
In this connection, we call the attention of our reader to paragraph XII. of the introduction to the Book on Spirits.