1. Doubt concerning the existence of spirits arises from ignorance of their real
nature. People usually imagine spirits to be something apart from the rest of creation,
and the reality of whose existence has not been proved. Many think of them as
imaginary beings, known to them only through the fantastic tales of their childhood,
and regard their authenticity much as they would that of the personages of a romance.
Without stopping to inquire whether those tales, divested of absurd accessories, may
not have some foundation of truth, they see only their absurdities; and not giving
themselves the trouble to peel off the bitter husk in order to get at the kernel, they reject
the whole, just as others, shocked at certain abuses in religion, confound the whole
subject in the same reprobation.
Whatever ideas we may hold in regard to spirits, the belief in their existence is
necessarily founded on that of the existence of an intelligent principle distinct from
matter; this belief is therefore incompatible with an absolute negation of such a
We assume then, as the ground-work of our belief, the existence, survival, and
individuality of the soul, of which spiritualism is the theoretic and doctrinal
demonstration, and spiritism the practical proof. Let us then, for a moment, leave out
of sight the fact of spirit-manifestations, properly so called, and let us see to what
conclusions we are led by inductive reasoning.