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.