Causes of Obsession
242. Obsession, as we have said, is one of the great est dangers of mediumship ; it is also one of the most frequent : so we cannot take too much pains to com bat it ; for, over and above the personal inconveniences that may result, it is an absolute obstacle to the good ness and truth of communications. Obsession, to whatever degree it may be carried, being always the effect of a restraint, and this restraint never being exercised by a good spirit, the result is, that every communication given by an obsessed medium is of a suspicious origin, and merits no confidence. If some times good is found in them, take the good, but reject all that is even doubtful.
243. Obsession may be known by the following characteristics : First. Persistence of a spirit in communicating, bon gre, mal gr6, by writing, hearing, typtology, &c, and in opposing whatever other spirits may do.
Second. Illusion, which, notwithstanding the intelligence of the medium, prevents him from seeing the falsity and absurdity of the communications he receives.
Third. Belief in the infallibility and absolute iden tity of the spirits who communicate, and who, under respected and venerated names, say false or absurd things.
Fourth. Confidence of the medium in the eulogiurns the spirits who communicate with him bestow upon him.
Fifth. A disposition to withdraw from persons who may give him useful advice.
Sixth. Taking in ill part all criticisms on the sub ject of the communications he receives.
Seventh. An incessant and inopportune desire to write.
Eighth. Any physical restraint whatever against the will, and being forced to act or speak in spite of one's self.
Ninth. Persistent noises and disturbances about one, and of which one is the cause, or object.
244. In the face of this danger of obsession it may be asked if it is not a pity to be a medium ; is it not this faculty that induces it, and is it not a proof of the inexpediency of spirit communications ? Our an swer is easy, and we beg it may be carefully con sidered. .
Neither mediums nor spiritists created the spirits, but the spirits have been the cause of there being spiritists and mediums : spirits being only the souls of men, there have been spirits as long as there have been men ; and, consequently, they have, in all time, exercised their salutary or pernicious influence on humanity. The medianimic faculty is for them only a means of manifesting themselves ; in default of this faculty, they do it in a thousand other ways, more or less occult. It would be an error to believe that spir its exercise their influence only by written or verbal communications ; their influence is incessant, and those who do not concern themselves about spirits, or who do not even believe in them, are as exposed to it as others, and more than others, because they have no counterpoise. Mediumship is for the spirit a means of making himself known ; if he is bad he always betrays himself, however hypocritical he may be ; thus it may be said that mediumship allows one to see his enemy face to face, if it may be so expressed, and to fight him with his own weapons ; without this faculty he acts in the dark, and, under cover of his invisibility, can do, and does, much harm. To how many actions have not people been urged, to their misfortune, and which they might have avoided had they possessed the means of being enlightened ! The incredulous know not how truly they speak, when they say of a man who obstinately goes astray, " It is his evil genius urging him on to his destruction." Thus the knowledge of Spiritism, far from giving dominion to bad spirits, must, sooner or later, when it shall be widely spread, result in the destruction of that domination by giving to every one the means of being on his guard against their suggestions, and then he who yields will have no one to blame but himself.
General rule : whoever has bad spirit communica tions, written or verbal, is under an evil influence ; this influence is exercised on him, whether he writes or whether he does not write ; that is; whether he be a medium or not ; whether he believe or disbelieve. Writing gives a person the means of knowing the nature of the spirits who act on him, and of fighting against them if they are evil, which can be done with much greater success when the motive which makes them act is known. If he is too much blinded to understand it, others can open his eyes. To recapitulate : the danger is not so much in Spir itism itself, since it can, on the contrary, serve as a rontrolling influence, and save from him who incessantly pursues us against our will ; it is in the haughty propensity of some mediums to believe too easily that they are the exclusive instruments of superior spirits, and in the kind of fascination that prevents them from understanding the foolish things of which they are the interpreters. Those, even, who are not mediums, may be exposed to it. Let us make a comparison. A man has a secret enemy, who disseminates all kinds of calumnious reports that the blackest wickedness can invent ; he sees his fortune lost, his friends alienated, his internal happiness destroyed ; not being able to discover the hand that strikes him, he cannot defend himself, and yields ; but one day this secret enemy writes to him, and, in spite of his strategy, betrays himself. Now he faces the discovered foe, can put him to confusion, and recover himself. Such is the r6le of the evil spirits, whom Spiritism makes it possi ble to know and unmask.
245. The motives of the obsession vary according to the nature of the spirit ; sometimes it is a vengeance he exercises on an individual, against whom he has cause of complaint, either during his life or in another existence ; often, also, he has no other reason than the desire of doing evil ; as he suffers, he wishes to make others suffer ; he finds a kind of joy in tormenting and vexing them ; also the impatience they exhibit excites him, because such is his object, while, by being patient, we weary him ; in becoming irritated, and showing vexation, we do exactly what he wishes. These spirits sometimes act from hatred and jealousy of good ; this is why they cast their malicious eyes on the best people. One of them sticks like a leech to an honorable family of our acquaintance, whom he has not even the satisfaction of deceiving ; interrogated as to his motive for attacking good people, instead of evil men like himself, he answered, " They give me no cause for envy!' Others are guided by a sentiment of cow ardice, which leads them to profit by the moral weak ness of those who they know are incapable of resist ing them. One of these, who subjugated a young man of very limited intellect, interrogated as to the motives of his choice, answered, " I have a very great need of tormenting some one: a sensible person would repulse me. I attach myself to an idiot, who has no means of opposing me"
246. There are obsessing spirits without malice, who even have some good, but who have the pride of false knowledge ; they have their own ideas, their systems of- the sciences, social economy, morality, religion, philosophy ; they want their opinion to prevail, and, for that purpose, seek mediums credulous enough to accept them .wkh closed eyes, and whom they fascinate to prevent them from discerning the true from the false. They are the more dangerous because sophisms cost them nothing, and they can gain credit for the most ridiculous extravagances : as they know the pres tige of great names, they do not scruple to borrow the most respected, not even recoiling before the sacrilege of calling themselves Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, or a venerated saint. They seek to dazzle by pompous language, more pretentious than profound, bristling with technical terms, and adorned with the grand words of charity and morality ; they are careful not to give bad advice, because they know they will be re jected : so those whose confidence they abuse defend them against every one, saying, " You can see they say nothing wrong." But morality is to them but a passport ; it is the least of their care ; what they want is to govern, and to impose on others their ideas, how ever unreasonable they may be.
247. Spirits who have a system to advance are gen erally writers : this is why they look for mediums who write with facility, and of whom they try to make docile instruments, fascinating them that they may be enthusiasts. They are almost always verbose, very prolix, endeavoring to make up in quantity what they lack in quality. They please themselves by dictating^ to their interpreters voluminous writings, crude and often nearly unintelligible, which, happily, it is almost impossible for the masses to read. The really superior spirits are sober of speech ; they say much in few words: so this prodigious fecundity should always be suspected.
One cannot be too circumspect when the question arises of publishing such writings : the Utopianisms and eccentricities in which they abound produce a lamentable impression on novices, by giving them a false idea of Spiritism, without counting the fact that they are arms furnished to its enemies to turn it into ridicule. Among these publications are those which, without being evil, and without evincing obsession, may yet be regarded as imprudent, unseasonable, or maladroit.
248. It frequently happens that a medium can com municate only with one single spirit, who attaches himself to him, and answers for those who are called by his mediation. This is not always an obsession, for it may pertain to a certain want of flexibility in the medium, and to a special affinity on his part for such or such a spirit. There is no obsession, properly called, except when a spirit imposes himself on a medium, and forces away others by his will ; this is never the case with a good spirit. Usually the spirit who makes himself master of a medium with the view of governing him, does not suffer the critical examina tion of his communications ; when he sees they are not accepted, and that they are discussed, he does not retire, but he inspires the medium with the thought of isolating himself ; often he even commands him to do so. Every medium who is wounded by the criticism of the communications he obtains, is the echo of the spirit who governs him, and this spirit cannot be good if he inspires an illogical thought — that of refus ing examination. The isolation of the medium is always a lamentable thing for him, because then he has no critic for his communications. Not only should he gain insight by the advice of others, but it is ne cessary for him to study all kinds of communications in order to compare them ; in shutting himself up in those he himself obtains, however good they may appear to him, he is exposed to delusion as to their value, without reckoning that he cannot know every thing, and that they nearly always run in the same groove. (No. 192, Exclusive Mediums)