255. THE question of the identity of spirits is one that has given rise to the greatest controversy, even among the believers of Spiritism ; spirits do not bring us letters of introduction, and it is well known with what facility some of them take borrowed names ; so that, obsession aside, it is one of the greatest difficulties in the practice of Spiritism ; yet, in many cases, absolute identity is a secondary question, and without real importance.
The identity of the spirit of ancient personages is the most difficult to verify, often even impossible, and we are reduced to a purely moral valuation. Spirits, like men, are judged by their language; if a spirit presents himself under the name of Fdnelon, for instance, and gives us trivialities or puerilities, it very surely cannot be he; if he says only things worthy the character of F (melon, and which he would not disavow, there is, if not material proof, at least a moral probability, that it must be he. In such case, particularly, the real identity is an accessory question: if the spirit says only good things, it matters little under what name they are given.
It will, doubtless, be objected that the spirit who would take an assumed name, even to say only good, would not the less commit a fraud, and thus could not be a good spirit. Here there are delicate shades quite difficult to seize, but which we shall try to develop.