What is Spiritism?

Allan Kardec

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31. It is by this same means that the spirit acts upon the table in the phenomenon known as the turning or talking tables, whether to cause them to move with no specific purpose in mind, or whether to produce intelligent raps to spell out the letters of the alphabet in order to form words and sentences. This is called typtology. In this phenomenon, the table is merely an instrument that the spirit uses in the same way that it uses a pencil in order to write. It endows the table with momentary life by means of the fluid that penetrates it; however, the spirit does not become part of the table. Emotional persons who see a being who used to be dear to them manifest and thus hug the table act foolishly because it is exactly as if they were hugging a baton that a friend was using to produce raps. The same applies to those who talk directly to the table as if the spirit were contained within the wood itself, or as if the wood had become the spirit.

When communications occur by this means, the spirit must be represented not as if it were within, the table, but beside it, with the same appearance it had when alive and the way it would be seen at that moment if it could make itself visible. The same applies to written communications: the spirit should be thought of as being at the mediums side, guiding the hand or transmitting its thought via a fluidic current.

Whenever the table becomes detached from the floor and floats in the air without any means of support, the spirit does not lift it with its arms, but envelops it and penetrates it with a sort of fluidic atmosphere that neutralizes the effects of gravity, like the air in balloons and paper kites. This penetrating fluid momentarily gives the table a specifically greater lightness. When it is held to the floor, it is similar to what happens to the bell-jar from which all the air has been removed. All these comparisons are used only to demonstrate the similarity of the effects, not the complete similarity of the causes.

When the table chases someone, it is not the spirit who is doing the chasing, because it can remain peacefully in the same spot while moving the table by means of a fluidic current that enables it to move the table at will. When raps are heard within the table or somewhere else, the spirit is not beating it with its hand or with some other object; it is directing a jet of fluid that produces the effect of an electric-like jolt at the point where the noise is heard. It can change the noise, just as the sounds produced by the action of air can be changed.

Therefore, one can see that it is no more difficult for a spirit to lift a person than to lift a table, move an object from one place to another, or throw it about; these phenomena are produced according to one and the same law.

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