(Le Havre, March 1863)
He was young, wealthy, dissipated, and absorbed in sensual pleasures. Although intelligent, he was utterly careless of serious things. Kindhearted, rather good than bad, he was a favorite with the companions of his pleasures and much sought after, in fashionable circles, for his gentle manners and agreeable talents; but, though he committed no crimes, he did no good. He died from the effects of an accident, being thrown from a carriage when taking a drive. Evoked a few days after his death by a medium that knew of him through other parties, he gave, successively, the following messages: –
March 8th, 1863. – I am scarcely disengaged from my body; it is therefore difficult for me to speak to you. The terrible fall, that killed my body, has thrown my spirit into great confusion. I am anxious as to what is going to become of me; my uncertainty in regard to this point is most painful. The frightful suffering experienced by my body is nothing in comparison with the dreadful state of confusion in which I now am. Pray for me, that God may forgive me! Oh, what misery! O God, have pity on me! What misery! Farewell!
March 18th – I came to you the other day, but I could only speak with difficulty. Even now, I find it hard work to do so. You are the only medium whom I can ask to pray for me, that God’s mercy may deliver me from the confusion in which I find myself. Why do I still suffer, when my body suffers no longer? Why does this horrible pain, this terrible anguish, still beset me? Pray, oh; pray for me, that God may grant me rest! Oh, what a frightful uncertainty! I am still attached to my body. I cannot make out where I am! My body is there; why am I there still? Come and pray over it, that I may be released from its cruel grip. Surely, God will grant me forgiveness! I see spirits who are near you; it is with their help that I am able to speak to you. Pray for me!
April 6th – It is I, who come again to entreat you to pray for me! You should have come to the place where my body is lying, to beseech the Almighty to calm my sufferings! How I suffer! Oh, how I suffer! Go to my grave; you must go and pray to God, there, to grant me forgiveness. If you do this, I shall be quieter; for I am constantly drawn back to the spot where what was I has been laid.
The medium, not understanding the spirit’s desire to get him to go and pray at his grave, had neglected to do so. He afterwards went, and received, there, the following communication:
May 11th – I was waiting for you. I have been longing for the moment when you should come to the place where my spirit seems to be riveted to its envelope, to implore of the God of mercy to calm my sufferings. You can do me good by your prayers; do not, I beseech you, relax your prayers on my behalf! I see how opposite was my life to what it ought to have been. I see the faults I committed. I was of no use while I was in the world; I turned my faculties to no account; my fortune only served to satisfy my passions, my taste for luxury, and my vanity. I thought only of sensual enjoyments, and not of my soul. Will the pity of God ever descend upon me, an unhappy spirit still suffering for the faults of his earthly life? Pray that He may forgive me, and that I may be delivered from the pains I am still feeling. Thank you for coming here to pray over me!
June 8th – I am able to speak to you, and I thank God for permitting me to do so. I see my faults; and I hope that God will forgive me. Follow, all your life, the belief with which you are animated; for you will thus win a rest that I have not yet obtained! Thanks for your prayers. I shall come to you again.”
The persistence of this spirit, in insisting upon being prayed for at the grave of his body, is a noteworthy peculiarity of his case, and one which is explained by the tenacity of the links that kept him attached to his body, and by the consequent slowness and difficulty of his separation from the latter, owing to his indulgence in the pleasures of sense. It is quite possible that, when offered up close beside the body, prayer may have a more powerful magnetic action, and this aid the spirit more effectually in effecting his disengagement. May not the general habit of praying beside the body of those who have passed away be due to an unreasoning intuition of this fact? The efficacy of prayer, in such a case, would be at once moral and physical.