I. NATURE AND PROPERTIES OF FLUIDS: Fluidic Elements - Formation and
Properties of the Perispirit - Action of the Spirits upon the Fluids - Fluidic
Creations – Photograph of the Thought - Quality of the fluids.
II. EXPLANATION OF SOME FACTS REFUTED TO BE SUPERNATURAL:
Spiritual or Psychic Sight - Second Sight – Somnambulism - Dreams - Catalepsy -
Resurrection - Cures, - Apparitions -Transfiguration - Physical Manifestations -
Mediumship - Obsessions and Possessions
I. Nature and Properties of Fluids
1. Science has furnished the key to those miracles which proceed particularly from the
material element, either by explaining them, or in demonstrating the impossibility of them by
the laws which rule matter. But the phenomena where the spiritual element is the
preponderating force, not being explainable solely by the laws of matter, escape the
investigations of scientists. That is why they have more than other facts the apparent character
of marvels. It is then only in the laws which rule spiritual life one can find the key for the
miracles of this category.
2. The universal cosmic fluid is, as has been demonstrated, elementary primitive matter,
of which the modifications and transformations constitute the innumerable varieties of the
bodies of nature (Chap. X). So far as the elementary universal principle is concerned, it offers
two distinct states; that of etherealization, or imponderability, that one can consider as the
primitive and normal state, and that of materialization, or ponderability, which is in some sort
only consecutive. The intermediary point is that of the transformation of the fluid into tangible
matter; but there still is no sudden transition, for one can consider our imponderable fluids as a
boundary between the two states (chap. IV, from n° 10 on).
Each one of these two states gives place necessarily to special phenomena. To the
second belong those of the visible world, and to the first those of the invisible one. Those called
material phenomena are, properly speaking, in the domain of science. The solution of the
others, designated spiritual or psychical phenomena, because they are allied more especially to
the existence of spirits, is among the prerogatives of Spiritism. But, as spiritual and material life
are in incessant contact, the phenomena of these two orders are presented often simultaneously.
Man, in a state of incarnation, can have only the perception of the physical phenomena which
are connected with the material life. Those which belong to the exclusive domain of spiritual
life escape the eye of the material senses, and can be perceived only in the spiritual state. *
*The name psychical phenomena expresses the idea better than spiritual does, as these phenomena rest
upon the properties and attributes of the soul, or rather on the perispiritual fluids, which are inseparable
from the soul. This qualification attaches them more intimately to the order of natural facts, regulated by
laws. One can then admit them as psychical effects without allowing them the title of miracles.
3. In an etherealized state the cosmic fluid is not uniform. Without ceasing to be ethereal,
it is submitted to modifications as varied in their kind and more numerous than in a state of
tangible matter. These modifications constitute distinct fluids, which, although proceeding from
the same principle, are endowed with special properties, and give rise to particular phenomena
of the invisible world.
All being relative, these fluids have for the spirits, who are themselves fluidic, an
appearance as material as that of the objects for the incarnates, and are for them that which the
substances of the terrestrial world are for us. They elaborate and combine them, in order to
produce determined effects, as men do with their materials, yet by different processes.
But there, as here, it is only given to the most enlightened spirits to comprehend the role
of the constitutive elements of their world. The ignorant people of the invisible world are as
incapable of explaining the phenomena of which they are witnesses, and in which they
cooperate often mechanically, as the ignorant of Earth are of explaining the effects of light or of
electricity, or of explaining the process of seeing and hearing.
4. The fluidic elements of the spiritual world elude our instruments of analysis, and the
perception of our senses. They are things suited to tangible and not to ethereal matter. Spiritual
substances belong to a midst so different from ours that we can judge of them only by
comparisons as imperfect as those by which a man born blind seeks to form an idea of the
theory of color.
But among these fluids a few are intimately joined to corporeal life, and belong in a
measure to the terrestrial universe. In default of direct perception of cause, it is possible to
observe the effects of them as one can observe the fluids of a magnet, which no one has ever
seen, and acquire some knowledge of their nature with precision. This study is essential; for it is
the key to a multitude of phenomena, which are inexplicable by the laws of matter alone.
5. The starting-point of the universal fluid is the degree of absolute ethereality, of which
nothing can give us an idea. Its opposite point is its transformation into material substance.
Between these two extremes there exist innumerable transformations, which are allied more or
less to one another. The fluids which are the nearest materiality – consequently the least pure –
are composed of that which might be called the spiritual terrestrial atmosphere. In this midst
are found the widely different degrees of ethereality whence the incarnated and discarnated
inhabitants of the Earth draw the necessary elements for the economy of their existence. These
fluids, however subtle and impalpable they may be to us, are nevertheless of comparatively
gross nature to the ethereal fluids of the superior regions.
It is the same on the surface of all worlds, saving the differences of constitution and
vitality proper to each. The less material life there is there, the less the spiritual fluids have of
affinity with matter.
The name “spiritual fluid” is not rigidly accurate as it is really always matter more or less
refined. There is nothing really spiritual, but the soul or intelligent principle. We designate
fluids thus by comparison, and chiefly by reason of their affinity with spirits. They constitute
the substance of the spiritual world. That is why they are called spiritual fluids.
6. Who understands the intricate constitution of tangible matter? It is, perhaps, compact
only in relation to our senses; and that which seems to prove this is the facility with which it is
traversed by spiritual fluids, and the spirits to whom it is no more of an obstacle than are
transparent bodies to light.
Tangible matter, having for a primitive element the ethereal cosmic fluid, must be able,
by becoming disintegrated, to return to a state of etherealization, as the diamond, the hardest of
bodies, can be volatized into impalpable gas. The solidification of matter is in reality only a
transitory state of the universal fluid, which can return to its primitive state when the conditions of cohesion cease to exist.
Who knows even if, in a tangible state, matter is not susceptible of acquiring a sort of
etherealization which would give to it peculiar properties? Certain phenomena which appear
authentic tend towards such a supposition as this. We do not yet posses all the beacon-lights of
the invisible world; and the future has in reserve for us, without doubt, the knowledge of new
laws, which will allow us to comprehend that which is still to us a mystery.
Formation and Properties of the Perispirit
7. The perispirit, or fluidic body of the spirits, is one of the most important products of
the cosmic fluid: it is a condensation of this fluid around a focus of intelligence or soul. It is also
seen that the fleshly body has also its origin in this same fluid transformed and condensed into
tangible matter. In the perispirit the molecular transformation operates differently, for the fluid
preserves its imponderability and its ethereal qualities. The perispiritual and carnal body have,
then, their source in the same primitive element; both are of matter, although under two
different states of it.
8. Spirits draw their perispirit from the place where they find themselves; that is to say,
that this envelop is formed from the ambient fluids. The result is, that the constitutive elements
of the perispirit must vary according to worlds. Jupiter, being a very advanced world, in
comparison to the Earth, where corporeal life has not the materiality of ours, its perispiritual
envelopes must be of a nature infinitely more ethereal than upon our Earth. Now, although we
would not be able to exist in that world in our carnal bodies, our spirits would not be able to
penetrate there with their terrestrial perispirit. In quitting the Earth the spirit leaves there its
fluidic envelop, and is supplied with another appropriate to the world where he must go.
9. The nature of the fluidic envelope is always in accord with the degree of moral
advancement of the spirit. Inferior spirits cannot change their inclination, and consequently
cannot by desire transport themselves from one world to another. It is they whose fluidic
envelope, although ethereal and imponderable as regards tangible matter, is still too heavy, if
one can express it thus, in relation to the spiritual world to allow them to leave their place. It is
necessary to include in this category those whose perispirit is gross enough to be confounded
with their carnal body, which for this reason they believe is still alive. These spirits (and their
number is great) remain on the surface of the Earth like the incarnated ones, believing
themselves always to be attending to their occupations. Others, a little more dematerialized, are
not sufficiently so to elevate themselves above the terrestrial regions. *
Superior spirits, on the contrary, can enter into inferior worlds, and even incarnate
themselves there. They draw, from the constitutive elements of the world they enter, the
materials for the fluidic and carnal envelopes appropriate to the midst where they find
themselves. They, like the great lord who temporarily leaves his gilded garments to assume the
peasant’s garb, without being other than the titled character he is on account of the change, will
not change thereby their high estate.
It is thus that spirits of the most elevated order can manifest themselves to the inhabitants
of Earth, or incarnate themselves for a mission among them. These spirits carry with them, not
the envelope, but the remembrance by intuition of the regions whence they came, and which
they see in thought. These are people who see among the blind people.
* Examples of spirits believing themselves still in this world: “Revue Spirite,” Dec., 1859, p. 310; Nov.,
1864, p. 339; April, 1865, p. 117.
10. The bed of spiritual fluids which surrounds the Earth can be compared to the inferior
beds of the atmosphere, heavier, more compact, less pure than the superior beds. These fluids
are not homogeneous, they are a mixture of molecules of diverse qualities, amongst which are
necessarily found the elementary molecules which form the base, but more or less changed in
different states. The effect produced by these fluids will be according to the number of pure
parts which they enclose. Such is, by comparison, rectified or mixed alcohol in different
proportions of water or of other substances. Its specific weight is augmented by this mixture;
while, at the same time, its force and inflammability are diminished, although there may be pure
alcohol in all.
The spirits called to live in this midst draw from there their perispirit; but, according as
the spirit becomes more or less purified, its perispirit is formed from the purest or grossest fluid
of the world in which it is going to incarnate. The spirit produces there, always by comparison
and not by assimilation, the effect of a chemical re-agent which attracts to it the molecules
assimilable to its nature.
This capital fact results from it: that the inmost constitution of the perispirit is not
identical with all incarnated or discarnated spirits which people the Earth or surrounding
space. It is not the same with carnal bodies, which, as has been demonstrated, have been formed
of the same elements whatever the superiority or inferiority of their spirits may have been. Also
with us the effects produced by bodies are the same, they have the same necessities, while they
differ by all that which is inherent in the perispirit.
Another result is, that the perispiritual envelope of the same spirit is modified with the
moral progress of the latter at each incarnation, although incarnating himself in the same
surroundings; that the superior spirits, incarnating themselves exceptionally by a mission into
an inferior world, have a perispirit less gross than that of the natives of this world.
11. A place is always in harmony with the nature of the beings who must live there. Fish
are in water; winged beings are in the air; spiritual beings are in the spiritual or ethereal fluid,
even upon the Earth. The ethereal fluid is for the needs of the spirit, as the atmosphere is for the
necessities of the body. Now, as fishes cannot live in the air, and terrestrial animals cannot live
in an atmosphere too rarefied for their lungs, inferior spirits cannot support the splendor and
impression of the most ethereal fluids. They would not die, because spirit cannot die; but an
instinctive force keeps them at a distance, as one keeps away from a fire which is too hot, or
from a light which is too strong. This is the reason why they cannot go away from the midst
appropriate to their nature. In order to change it, it is necessary first to change their nature, that
they be despoiled of the material instincts which retain them in material midst. As they become
purified and morally transformed, they gradually become identified with purer surroundings,
which become a necessity to them, like the eyes of him who has remained a long time in
darkness are habituated imperceptibly to the light of day and the splendor of the sun.
12. Thus all is united, all harmonize in the universe. All is submitted to the great and
harmonious law of unity, from the most compact materiality to the purest spirituality. The Earth
is like a vase whence escapes a thick smoke, which clears away as it ascends, the rarefied
particles of which are lost in infinite space.
Divine power shines in all parts of this great whole. Who would desire that, in order
better to attest his power, God, discontented with that which he has made, should disturb this
harmony? That he should lower himself to the level of a magician by performing acts worthy of
a prestidigitator? And in addition to this they dare to give him as a rival in skill Satan himself!
Never, in truth, was divine Majesty more undervalued, and men are astonished at the progress
You are right in saying “Faith is departing!” But it is faith in all that chokes reason and
good sense that is departing, – a faith similar to that which formerly induced persons to exclaim,
“the Gods are departing.” But faith in serious things, in God, and in immortality, is always alive
in the hearts of men; and, if it has been stifled with the puerile histories with which it has been
overloaded, it raises itself stronger as soon as it has been extricated, as the restrained plant rises
again in the light of the sun of which it has been deprived.
All is wonderful in nature because all is admirable, and testifies of divine wisdom. These
wonders are for all the world, for all those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and not for the
profit of a few. No, there are no miracles in the sense attached to this word, because all is
amenable to the eternal laws of creation.
Action of the Spirits upon the Fluids – Fluidic Creations – Photograph
of the Thought
13. The spiritual fluids, which constitute one of the states of the universal cosmic fluid,
are then the atmosphere of spiritual beings. It is the element whence they draw the materials
with which they operate, – the place where special phenomena take place, perceptible to the
sight and hearing of the spirit, but which escapes the carnal senses which are impressed alone
by tangible matter; the ambient wherein the light peculiar to the spiritual world is formed, this
being different from the ordinary light because of its causes and effects. In short, they are the
vehicle for thought, as the air is for sound.
14. Spirits act upon spiritual fluids, not by manipulating them as men manipulate gas, but
by the aid of thought and will. Thought and will are to the spirit that which the hand is to man.
By thought they impress these fluids into such and such directions; they agglomerate them,
combine or disperse them; they form harmonious wholes of them, which have a definitive
appearance, form, and color; they change the properties of them, as a chemist changes those of
gas or other bodies by combining them by following certain laws.
Sometimes these transformations are the result of an intention; often they are the product
of an unconscious thought. It is sufficient for the spirit only to think of a thing in order that this
thing produces itself; it suffices for one to form a melody in one’s mind for it to reverberate
through the atmosphere.
Thus, for example, a spirit presents himself to the view of an incarnated being endowed
with spiritual sight with the same appearance he had when living at the epoch of their
acquaintance, although he may have had many incarnations since that time. He presents himself
with the costume, the exterior signs, infirmities, wounds, amputated members, etc., that he had
then. A person who has been beheaded will present himself with no head. We do not desire to
convey the impression that he has preserved these appearances; no, certainly not; for as a spirit
he is neither lame, maimed, blind, nor headless: but, his thought conveying the impression when
he was thus, his perispirit takes instantaneously the appearance of it, but it can at the same time
leave it instantaneously. If, then, he has been both a black and a white man, he will present
himself according to which of these two incarnations may be evoked whence his thought will
By a similar effect, a spirit’s thought creates fluidicly the objects which he often makes
use of. A miser will manage his gold; a military man will have his guns and his uniform; a
smoker, his pipe; a workman his plow and his cattle; and an elderly woman, her knitting
utensils. These fluidic objects are as real for the spirit, who is also fluidic, as they were in the
material state of the living man. However, because they are created by the thought, their
existences are also as fleeting as the thought. *
* “Revue Spirite,” July, 1859, p. 184, “The Mediums’ Book,” chap. 8.
15. Fluids being the vehicle of the thought, the latter acts upon them, as the sound does
upon the air. They bring us the thought, just as the air brings us the sound. We can, then, say
with all truth that in such fluids there are waves and rays of thoughts that cross each other
without ever becoming entangled, as do the waves and sonorous rays in the air.
Moreover, the thought creates fluidic images and reflects itself back on its perispiritual
body, as on a mirror; the thought takes on body and somehow photographs itself on it. Let us
say, for example, that a man has the idea of murdering someone; although his material body is
inactive, his fluidic body is - through the thought - put into action, reproducing from this all
vibrations. The act he tried to practice is executed fluidicly. The thought creates the image of
the victim and, similarly to a picture, the entire scene is drawn, precisely as it is in his spirit.
This is how the innermost secret movements of the soul are reverberated onto the fluidic
body; and how one soul can read another, as one reads a book; and how it sees what is not
perceptible by the eyes of the body. Yet, although the intention is seen and it can foresee the
subsequent execution of the act, it cannot determine the moment it will take place; neither can it
be exact with details, or even affirm whether it will indeed take place, as later circumstances can
modify the plans and change the dispositions. The soul cannot see that which is not yet in
another person’s thought. What it does see is the habitual preoccupation of the person, his
desires, his projects, and his good or bad intentions.
Quality of the Fluids
16. The action of spirits upon spiritual fluids has consequences of a direct and capital
importance for incarnated beings. From the instant that these fluids are the vehicle of thought,
that thought can modify the properties of them. It is evident that they must be impregnated by
the good or bad qualities of the thoughts which put them in vibration, modified by the purity or
impurity of the sentiments. Bad thoughts corrupt the spiritual fluids, as deleterious miasmas
corrupt the air we breathe. The fluids which surround or that project bad spirits are then vitiated,
whilst those which receive the influence of good spirits are as pure as the degree of moral
perfection to which they have attained.
17. It would be impossible to itemize or classify the good or bad fluids. Neither could we
specify their respective qualities, considering that their diversity is as great as that of the
Fluids do not have “sui generis” qualities, except those they acquire whereat they are
elaborated; they are modified by the effluviums of the ambient, just as the air is modified by
exhalations, and the water by the layers of salt it crosses. Depending on the circumstances, their
qualities are, like those of the air and the water, either temporary or permanent, which makes
them more suitable for the production of certain specific effects.
Neither do the fluids have special denominations. As with odors, they are designated by
their properties, their effects and their original type. On a moral point of view, they bring the
impressions of the sentiments of hatred, envy, jealousy, pride, selfishness, violence, hypocrisy,
kindness, benevolence, love, charity, sweetness, etc. On a physical point of view, they are
excitants, sedating, piercing, coercing, irritant, soothing, soporific, narcotics, toxics,
replenishing, and expellants. They also become a means of transmission, propulsion, etc. The
overall picture of the fluids would then be that of all passions, virtues and vices of humanity;
and that of the properties of matter, corresponding to the effects they produce.
18. Men, being incarnate beings, have in part the attributes of the spiritual life; for they
live in this life as well as in a corporeal one, always during sleep, and often in a conscious state.
The spirit, incarnating itself, preserves its perispirit with the qualities which are proper to it, and
which, as is known, is not circumscribed by the body, but envelops and radiates around it like a
By its intimate union with the body the perispirit plays a preponderating role with the
organism. By its expansion it places the incarnated being more directly in contact with free
The thought of the incarnated mind acts upon the spiritual fluids as that of the discarnated
spirit’s thought acts. It is transmitted from spirit to spirit in the same way, and, according as it is
good or bad, it holds a vicious or healthy relation to the surrounding fluids.
Since the fluids of an ambient are modified by the projection of the spirit’s thoughts, his
perispiritual body - which is a constituent part of his being, and which receives directly and in a
permanent way the impressions of his thoughts - should receive even more so the impressions
of his good or bad qualities. The fluids vitiated by the effluviums of the bad spirits can be
purified by their removal. The perispirit however will always be that which it is, as long as the
spirit does not modify itself.
The perispirit of incarnates, being of a nature identical to that of the spiritual fluids,
assimilates itself with them readily, as a sponge absorbs water. These fluids have over the
perispirit an action which is the more direct because of its expansion and radiation; it confounds
itself with them.
These fluids acting upon the perispirit, the latter, in its turn, reacts upon the material
organism with which it is in molecular contact. If the effluvia are of a good nature, the bodies
receive a salutary impression; if bad, a painful one. If the bad are permanent and energetic, they
can cause physical disorders; certain maladies have no other cause.
The midst where bad spirits abound are then impregnated with bad fluids, which are
absorbed through all the perispiritual pores, as by the pores of the body pestilential miasmas are
19. It is the same in assemblies of incarnated beings. An assembly of people is a focus
whence radiate diverse thoughts. An assembly of persons is, like an orchestra, a choir of
thoughts, where each one produces his note. The result is a multitude of fluidic-flowing
effluvia, of which each one receives the impression of the sounds by the spiritual sense, like in a
music choir each one receives the impression of the sound through the sense of hearing.
But, as there are harmonious or discordant sounds, there are also harmonious or
discordant thoughts. If all is harmonious, the impression is agreeable; if otherwise, painful.
There is no need for the thought to be formed into words. The fluidic-radiation exists all the
same, whether it is expressed or not.
Such is the cause of the sentiment of satisfaction that is experienced in a sympathetic
reunion, animated by good and benevolent thoughts. It reigns there like a salubrious moral
atmosphere, which one breathes with ease. One is strengthened there, because it is impregnated
with salutary fluidic effluvia; but, if some evil thoughts are mingled with it, they produce the
effect of a current of icy air in a warm atmosphere or of a wrong key note played in a concert.
Thus is explained also the anxiety, the indefinable uneasiness, that one feels in antipathetically
surroundings, where malevolent thoughts are called forth like currents of nauseous air.
20. Thought produces, then, a substantial effect, which reacts upon our moral being.
Spiritism alone can explain it. Man instinctively feels it, since he seeks homogeneous and
sympathetic reunions, where he knows that he can draw new moral forces. One could say that
he retrieves there the fluid losses that he makes each day by the radiation of thought, as he
makes up the losses of the material body by food. Thought, indeed, is an emission which causes
a real loss in the spiritual fluids, and consequently in the material fluids, also in such a way that
man has need of strengthening himself by the effluvia which he receives from outside.
When a doctor is said to cure his patient by pleasant words, it is an absolute truth; for the
benevolent thought carries with it healing fluids, which act physically as well as morally.
21. It is possible, without doubt, to evade men of well-known malicious intentions; but
how can we be preserved from the influence of undeveloped spirits which multiply around us,
and glide everywhere without being seen?
The means are very simple; for it depends upon the will of the man himself, who carries
within him the necessary instrument of protecting himself. Fluids unite by reason of the
similitude of their nature, dissimilar ones repel each other. There is an incompatibility between
good and bad fluids, as between oil and water.
What is done when the air becomes vitiated? They purify it by destroying the center of
the miasma by chasing out the unhealthy effluvium by currents of salubrious air stronger than it.
We need the good fluids in order to counteract the invasion of bad fluids; and, as each one has
in his own perispirit a permanent fluidic-source, the remedy is within one’s self. It acts only to
purify this source or spring, and to give to it such qualities as are necessary to repel bad
influences, in place of being an attractive force. The perispirit is, then, a breastplate to which it
is necessary to give the best possible character. Now, as the qualities of the perispirit correspond
with the qualities of the soul, it is necessary to work for its own improvement; for it is the
imperfections of the soul which attract bad spirits.
Flies go where centers of corruption attract them. Destroy these centers, and the flies will
disappear. In the same way bad spirits go where evil attracts them. Destroy the evil, and they
will flee. Spirits really good, whether incarnated or discarnated, have nothing to fear from the
influence of bad spirits.
II. Explanation of Some Facts reputed to be Supernatural
Spiritual or Psychic Sight - Second Sight – Somnambulism - Dreams.
22. The perispirit is the connecting link between corporeal and spiritual life. By it the
incarnate is in continual rapport with the discarnate. In short, it is by it that special phenomena
are accomplished in man, the first cause of which is not found in tangible matter, and which for
this reason seem supernatural.
It is necessary to seek for the cause of second or spiritual sight in the properties and
radiations of perispiritual fluids, which can also be called psychic sight, with which many
persons are endowed, as well as another called somnambulic sight, often unknown to them.
The perispirit is the sensitive organ of the spirit. It is by its intermediation that the
incarnate obtains the perception of spiritual things which escape carnal sense. By it the organs
of the body – sight, hearing, and the diverse sensations – are localized and limited to the
perception of material things. By the spiritual sense or psychic, they are generalized. The spirit
sees, hears, and feels through all his being, that which is in the sphere of the radiation of his
These phenomena are, with man, the manifestation of the spiritual life. It is the soul
which acts outside the organism. In second sight, or perception by the psychic sense, objects are
not seen by the material eye, although by habit it often directs them towards the point to which
attention is diverted. The clairvoyant sees with the soul’s eyes; and the proof of it is that he sees
all as well with the eyes closed as open, and also beyond the compass of the visual radius. He
reads the thought stamped in the fluidic radius (n° 15). *
* See facts in regard to double sight and somnambulic lucidity reported in the “Revue Spirite” of Jan.,
1858, p. 25; Nov., 1858, p. 513; July, 1861, p. 197; Nov., 1865, p. 352.
23. Although, during life, the spirit is chained to the body by the perispirit, it is not such a
slave that it cannot lengthen its chain, and transport itself to afar in some point in space or upon
the Earth. The spirit is only with regret attached to the body, because his normal life is liberty,
whilst the corporeal one is like that of a serf bound to the soil.
The spirit is then as happy to leave his body as the bird is to leave its cage. It seizes all
occasions for freeing itself from it, and profits by all instances where its presence is not
necessary to the relation of life. It is the phenomenon designated under the name of
emancipation of the soul. It takes place in sleep. Every time that the body reposes and the senses
are inactive, the spirit releases itself. (See “The Spirits’ Book,” chap. 8.)
In these moments the spirit sees spiritual life, whilst the body sees only vegetative life. It
is partially in the state in which it will be after death; it passes through space, converses with
friends, and other free or incarnated spirits like itself.
The fluidic-link which holds it to the body is not broken until death. A complete
separation does not take place until the absolute extinction of the activity of the vital principle.
So long as the body lives, the spirit, at whatever distance it may be, is instantly recalled to it as
soon as its presence is necessary; then it resumes its relation with the course of exterior life.
Sometimes, upon the awakening of the body, it preserves the remembrance of its peregrinations,
– an impression more or less distinct, which constitutes a dream. It is en rapport, in all cases,
with the intuitions which are suggested to it by new thoughts and ideas, and justify the proverb,
“Night brings counsel and advice.”
Thus are also explained certain characteristic phenomena of natural and magnetic
somnambulism, catalepsy, lethargy, ecstasy, etc., and which are none other than manifestations
of spiritual life. *
* See examples of lethargy and catalepsy: “Revue Spirite,” Madame Schwabenhaus, Sept., 1858, p. 255;
The Young Cataleptic of Souabe, Jan., 1866, p. 18.
24. Since spiritual sight is not given through the eyes of the flesh, the perception of things
is not given by any ordinary light; indeed, material light is made for the material world. For the
spiritual world there exists a special luminary, the nature of which is unknown to us, but which
is, without doubt, one of the properties of the ethereal fluid affected by the visual perceptions of
the soul. There is, then, material and spiritual light. The first has circumscribed focuses from
luminous bodies; the second has its focus everywhere; therefore, there are no obstacles to
spiritual sight. It is neither arrested by distance nor by the opacity of matter, nothing dims it.
The spiritual world is then illuminated by a spiritual light which has its characteristic power, as
the material world has its solar light.
25. The soul enveloped in its perispirit carries thus in it its luminous principle.
Penetrating matter by virtue of its ethereal essence, there are no opaque bodies to its vision.
However, the spiritual sight has not the same penetration or extent with all spirits. The
pure spirits alone possess it in all its power. With inferior ones it is weakened by the coarseness
of the perispirit, which interposes itself like a fog.
It manifests itself in different degrees with incarnates by the phenomenon of second sight,
whether in a natural or magnetic somnambulism, or in a waking state. According to the power
of the faculty is the lucidity, more or less great. By the aid of this faculty some persons see the
interior of the organism, and describe the cause of maladies.
26. Spiritual sight gives, then, special perceptions, which, being not seated in the material
organs, operate by conditions totally different from the corporeal sight. For the same reason one
cannot expect identical effects, or experiment with it by the same means. Being accomplished
outside of the organism, it has a mobility which baffles all foresight. It is necessary to study all
its causes and effects, and not by assimilation with ordinary sight, which it is not intended to
supply, except in exceptional cases, which must not be taken as a rule.
27. Spiritual sight is necessarily incomplete and imperfect with incarnates, therefore
subject to aberrations. Having its seat in the soul itself, the state of the soul must sway the
perceptions it gives. According to the degree of its development, the circumstances and moral
state of the individual, it can give either in sleep or in a waking state:
1st- The perception of certain material, real facts, as the knowledge of events that are
happening afar; descriptive details of a locality, the causes of disease, and the proper remedies.
2nd- The perceptions of things equally real in the spirit world, as a sight of spirits.
3rd- Fantastic images created by the imagination, analogous to fluidic creations of thought
(see item n° 14 of this chapter).
These creations are always in relation with the moral disposition of the spirit who gives
birth to them. Thus, to persons very strongly imbued and preoccupied with religious beliefs, hell
is presented with its furnaces, its tortures, its demons, such as they imagine them to be.
Sometimes it is an epic poem. The pagans saw Olympus and the Tartarean depths, as the
Christians see Paradise and Hell. If, upon awakening of coming out of ecstasy, these persons
preserve a distinct remembrance of their visions, they take it for the reality and confirmation of
their belief, while it is only a product of their own thoughts. * It is necessary to make a rigorous
selection from amongst the visions we see in a state of ecstasy, before accepting them. On this
subject, the remedy for an excessive credulity is the study of the laws which govern the spiritual
* The visions of sister Elmerich can thus be explained, who, carrying herself back to the time of the
passion of Christ, is said to have seen material things which have only existed in the books which she has
read; also those of Madame Cantonille (“Revue Spirite,” Aug., 1866, p. 240), and a part of Swedenborg.
28. In their essence, dreams present all three characteristics of the visions described
above. Prophetic dreams, presentments and warnings belong to the first two categories. * Under
the third category, that is, in the fluidic creations of thought, we can find the causes for certain
fantastic images, which have nothing real for the corporeal life, but that has, for the spirit, such
a clear reality that the body suffers the blows (upon being hit), and one’s hair turn white under
the impression of a dream. Such creations can be provoked by an exaggerated credulity,
retrospective recollections, or by likes, desires, passions, fear, and remorse; it can also be
caused by habitual worries, or because of the body’s needs, or still by a malfunction of the
organism; finally, it can also be caused by other spirits with good or bad intentions, according to
their nature. **
* See ahead, chapter XVI on Theory of Prescience, n° 1, 2 & 3.
** “Revue Spirite,” June of 1866, pg. 172; September of 1866, pg. 284; “The Spirit’s Book,” chapter VIII,
question n° 400.
Catalepsy - Resurrection
29. Inert matter is insensible. Perispiritual fluid is equally so; but it transmits the
sensation to the sensitive center, which is the spirit. Painful injuries to the body reflect
themselves then in the spirit like an electric shock, by the intermediation of the perispiritual
fluid, of which the nerves appear to be the conducting threads. This is the nerve-power of the
physiologists, who, knowing not the connection of this fluid with the spiritual principle, have
not been able to explain all the effects.
An interruption can take place by the separation of a limb, or dissection of a nerve, but
also partially, or in a general manner, without any injury, in moments of emancipation, over-
excitability, or preoccupation of the spirit. In this state the spirit thinks no more of the body; and
in his feverish activity he attracts, as it were, the perispiritual fluid to him, which, being
withdrawn from the surface, produces there a momentary insensibility. We could still admit that
in some circumstances a molecular modification is produced in the perispiritual fluid itself,
temporarily disabling its ability of transmission. Thus, in the ardor of combat, a military man
does not perceive he is wounded. A person whose attention is concentrated upon a work hears
not the noise which is made around him. An analogous effect, but more pronounced, takes place
with somnambulists in lethargy and catalepsy. Thus, in short, can be explained the insensibility
of convulsionaries and of certain martyrs (“Revue Spirite,” January, 1868: Study of the
Paralysis does not proceed from the same cause. With it the effect is entirely organic. It is
the nerves themselves, the conducting threads, which are unqualified for the fluid circulation; it
is the chords of the instrument which are broken or injured.
30. In diseased states of the body, when the spirit is no longer in it, and the perispirit
adheres to it only at a few points, the body has all the appearance of death; and one is absolutely
correct in saying life hangs by a single thread. This state can continue for short or long time.
Certain parts of the body can even decompose without life being entirely extinguished. As long
as the last thread is not broken, the spirit can, either by an energetic action of its own will, or by
a strange fluidic influx, equally powerful, be recalled to the body. Thus can be explained certain
prolongations of life against all probability, and certain pretended resurrections. A plant
sometimes puts forth only one sprout from its root; but when the last molecules of the fluidic
body are detached from the carnal one, or when the latter is in a state of irreparable decay, all
return to life becomes impossible. *
* Examples: “Revue Spirite,” Dr. Cardon, Aug., 1863, p. 251; The Woman Corse, May, 1866, p. 134.
31. The universal fluid is, as has been seen, the primitive element of the carnal body and
of the perispirit, which are only transformation of it. By the sameness of its nature this fluid can
furnish to the body the principal reparative. Being condensed in the perispirit, the propelling
power is the spirit, incarnated or discarnated, which infiltrates into a deteriorated body a part of
the substance of its fluid-envelope. The cure is performed by the substitution of an unhealthy
molecule for a healthy one. The curative power will then be drawn from the purity of the
inoculated substance. It depends also upon the energy of the will, which provokes a more
abundant fluid-emission, and gives to the fluid a greater force of penetration. In short, it is the
intentions of he who desires to cure, let him be man or spirit. The fluids which emanate from an
impure source are like defective medical substances.
32. The effects of the fluidic-action upon illnesses varied according to circumstances. Its
action is sometimes slow, and requires a prolonged treatment, as in ordinary magnetism. At
other times it is rapid as an electric current. There are some persons endowed with such a
magnetic power, that they perform upon certain ill people instantaneous cures only by the
laying-on of hands, or sometimes by the sole act of will. Between the two extreme poles of this
faculty there is an infinite variety of distinctive shades. All the cures of this kind are from the
different varieties of magnetism, and differ only in the power and rapidity of their action. The
principle is always the same: it is the fluid which plays the role of therapeutic agent, the effect
of which is subordinated to its quality and to special circumstances.
33. Magnetic action can be produced in many ways:
1st By the fluid of the magnetizer himself; properly speaking, magnetism, or human
magnetism, the action of which is subordinate to the power, and above all to the quality of the
2nd By fluid from the spirit acting directly and without intermediation upon an incarnate
being, either to cure or to calm suffering, to provoke spontaneous somnambulistic sleep, or to
exercise over the individual any moral or physical influence whatever. That is spiritual
magnetism, of which the quality is determined by the quality of the spirit. *
3rd By the fluid which the spirits shed upon the magnetizer, to which the latter serves as a
conductor. This is mixed magnetism, semi-spiritual, or human-spiritual. The spiritual fluid,
combined with the physical, gives to the latter the qualities which are wanting to it. The meeting
of spirits for a like circumstance is sometimes spontaneous, but more often it is brought about
by the call of the magnetizer.
Examples: “Revue Spirite,” Feb., 1863, p. 64; April, 1865, p. 133; Sept., 1865, p. 264.
34. The faculty to cure by the fluidic-influx is very common, and can develop itself by
exercise; but that of curing instantaneously by the laying-on of hands is rare and its power can
be considered as exceptional. However, it has been seen at diverse epochs, and in nearly every
nation there are some individuals who possess it to an eminent degree. Lately many remarkable
examples have been seen of it, the authenticity of which cannot be contested. Since these kinds
of cures rest upon a principle of nature, the power of performing them is not a preference
shown, or a departure from nature’s laws. They can only be miraculous in appearance. *
* Examples of instantaneous cures reported in the “Revue Spirite”: The Prince of Hohenlohe, Dec., 1866,
p. 368; Jacob, Oct. and Nov., 1866, pp. 312 and 345; Oct. and Nov., 1867, pp. 306 and 339; Simonet,
Aug., 1867, p. 232; Caid Hassan, Oct., 1867, p. 303; The Curate Gassner, Nov., 1867, p. 331.
Apparitions - Transfiguration
35. The perispirit is invisible to us in its normal state; but, as it is formed of ethereal
matter, the spirit can, in certain cases, make it submit by an act of the will to a molecular
modification, which renders it momentarily visible. Thus apparitions are produced which no
more than other phenomena are outside of the laws of nature. The latter are no more
extraordinary than that of vapor, which is invisible when it is rarefied, and which becomes
visible when it is condensed.
According to the degree of condensation of the perispiritual fluid, the apparition is
sometimes vague and vaporous; and at other times it is more distinctly defined; at others it has
quite the appearance of tangible matter. It can even reach tangibility sufficiently to be mistaken
for a person in the flesh.
Vaporous apparitions are frequent; and it often happens that some individuals present
themselves thus, after death, to persons whom they have loved. Tangible apparitions are rare,
although there have been numerous examples of them which are perfectly authentic. If the spirit
can make itself recognized, it will give to its envelope all the exterior signs which it had in
* “The Mediums’ Book,” chap. 6 and 7
36. Let us remark that tangible apparitions have only the appearance of carnal matter, but
would not know how to obtain its qualities. By reason of their fluidic nature, they cannot have
the same cohesion, because in reality they are not of the flesh. They are instantaneously formed,
and disappear in the same manner, or are evaporated by the disintegration of the fluidic-
molecules. Beings which present themselves by these conditions are neither born nor die like
other men; they appear and vanish without knowing whence they come, how they have come, or
where they will go. They could not be killed, chained, or incarcerated, because they have no
carnal body. By attempting to strike them, one would only strike into space.
Such is the character of the spirits (agénères) with whom we can communicate without
doubting their true individuality, yet who never make long visits, cannot become habitual
boarders in a house, nor figure among the members of a family.
There is besides in all their person, in their manner, something strange and unusual
which divides spirituality from materiality. The expression of their eyes, vaporous and
penetrating at the same time, has not the distinctness of those of the flesh; their language brief,
and nearly always sententious, has nothing of the brilliancy and volubility of human language;
their approach makes us experience a particular, indefinable sensation of surprise, which
inspires a sort of fear; and it is involuntarily said by all who compare them with human beings,
“Here is a singular being.” *
* Examples of vaporous or tangible apparitions and agénères: “Revue Spirite:” Jan., 1858, p. 24; Oct.,
1858, p. 291; Feb., 1859, p. 38; March, 1859, p. 80; Jan., 1859, p. 11; Nov., 1859, p. 303; Aug., 1859, p.
210; April, 1860, p. 117; May, 1860, p. 150; July, 1861, p. 199; April, 1866, p. 120; the laborer Martin
presented to Louis XVIII., complete details; Dec., 1866, p. 353.
37. The perispirit being the same among incarnates and discarnates, by a completely
identical effect an incarnate can appear in a moment, when he is freed from the flesh at another
point than that where his body is reposing, with his habitual features and all the signs of his
identity. It is this phenomenon, of which authentic examples are given, which has caused belief
in double or dual men. *
* Examples of apparitions of living persons: “Revue Spirite:” Dec., 1858, pp. 329 and 331; Feb., 1859, p.
41; Aug., 1859, p. 197; Nov., 1860, p. 356.
38. A particular effect of this kind of phenomena is, that the vaporous and even tangible
apparitions are indistinctly perceptible to everybody. The spirits show themselves only when
they desire, and to whom they desire. A spirit would then be able to appear in an assembly to
one or more persons, and not be seen by all. This is because these kinds of perceptions are
processed through the spiritual, rather than the corporeal vision. Accordingly, spiritual visions
are not awarded to everyone, and the communicating spirit can, at his exclusive discretion, if
necessary, disable it in those whom he does not wish to be seen by. Likewise it can,
momentarily, be awarded to someone, if the communicating spirit deems it necessary.
The condensation of the perispiritual fluid of apparitions, extending even to its
tangibility, lacks the properties of ordinary matter. If it were not so, apparitions would be
perceptible through the corporeal eyes, and thus perceived by everyone present. *
85 We must be very cautious in accepting as facts strictly individual recitals of apparitions, which in
certain cases may have been the effect of an over-excited imagination, or an invention for some selfish
end. It is well, then, to gain a careful account of the circumstances, of the respectability of the person, as
well as the interest they might have in abusing the credulity of too-confiding individuals.
39. The spirit being able to accomplish transformations by means of his perispiritual
envelope, and this envelope having the power to radiate around bodies like a fluidic-
atmosphere, a phenomenon analogous to that of apparitions can be produced even on the
surface of bodies. Under the fluidic-film the real figure of the body can be effaced more or less
completely and be reinvested with other features; or, rather, the original features seen through a
modified fluidic-film, as through a prism, can assume another expression. If the incarnate spirit,
in going from Earth to Earth, identifies itself with things of the spiritual world, the expression of
a homely face can become beautiful, radiant, and sometimes even luminous; if, on the contrary,
it is prey to bad passions, a beautiful face can take a hideous aspect.
Thus are transfigurations performed, which are always a reflection of the qualities and
predominating sentiments of the spirit. This phenomenon is, then, the result of fluidic
transformation. It is a kind of perispiritual apparition which is produced even upon living
bodies, and sometimes at the moment of death, instead of producing itself at a distance, as
apparitions are generally seen. That which is distinguishing peculiarity of this kind of
apparitions is, that they are generally perceptible to all present by the eye of the flesh, because
they are based upon visible, carnal matter, whilst in purely fluidic displays of the same there is
no tangible matter employed. *
* Example and theory of transfiguration: “Revue Spirite:” March, 1859, p. 62; “The Mediums’ Book,”
chap. 7, p. 142.
Physical Manifestations - Mediumship
40. The phenomena of moving and communicating by means of turning tables, the
ethereal raising of heavy bodies, of mediumistic writing (as ancient as the world, but common
today), give the key to many spontaneous, analogous phenomena, to which, by ignorance of the
law which governs them, they attribute to a supernatural and miraculous character. These
phenomena rest upon the properties of the perispiritual fluid of either incarnate beings or free
41. It is by the aid of its perispirit that the spirit acts upon his living body. It is with this
same fluid that it manifests itself by acting upon inert matter; that it produces sounds, movement
of tables, and raises, overturns, or transports other objects. There is nothing surprising in these
phenomena if one considers that with us the most powerful motors are found in the most
rarefied and even imponderable fluids, like air, vapor, and electricity.
It is equally by the aid of his perispirit that the spirit enables mediums to speak, write, or
sketch. Having no tangible body to manifest, he serves himself with the body of the medium,
from which he borrows the organs and uses as if it were his own, obtaining possession of it by
the fluidic-effluvium which he throws around it.
42. By the same means the spirit acts upon the table, either to make it simply to move, or
give intelligent raps, indicating the letters of the alphabet, in order to form words or phrases, a
phenomenon named “typtology.” Here the table is only an instrument for use, as a pencil in
writing. It gives to it a momentary vitality by the fluid with which it penetrates it; but it does not
identify itself with it. Persons who, in their emotion at being able to communicate with spirits
dear to them, embrace the table perform a foolish act; for it is absolutely the same as if they
should embrace the stick which a friend uses to make the raps. It is equivalent to saying that the
spirit was enclosed in the wood of the table, or that the wood had become a spirit.
When communications like these take place, it is necessary to represent the spirit as not
in the table, but beside us as he was in life; and thus they would see him if their spiritual eyes
were open. The same takes place when one obtains communications by writing; one would see
the spirit beside the medium, directing or transmitting to him his ideas by a fluidic-current.
43. When the table is detached from the ground and floats in space without support, the
spirit does not raise it by arm-strength, but by enveloping and penetrating it with a sort of
fluidic-atmosphere, which neutralizes the effect of gravitation, as the air does for balloons and
kites. The fluid with which it is permeated gives a momentarily greater specific lightness. When
it is nailed to the ground, it is in a condition analogous to that of the pneumatic receiver under
which the air is exhausted. These comparisons here are only to show the analogy of effects, and
not the absolute similitude of causes (“The Mediums’ Book,” chap. 4).
One can comprehend, after this, that it is no more difficult to raise a person than a table,
to transport an object from one place to another, than to throw it somewhere. These phenomena
are produced by the same law. *
When the table pursues a person, it is not the spirit who runs, for he can remain calmly in
the same place; but, by the aid of his will, he gives the fluidic-current an impulsion.
When the raps are heard on a table or elsewhere, the spirit does not rap with his hand or
with any instrument whatever; he directs upon the point whence the noise proceeds a stream of
fluid, which produces the effect of an electric shock. He changes the sound, as sounds produced
by air can be modified. **
* Such is the principle of the phenomena of levitation, or the rising of bodies upwards, and suspension
in the air, with no visible means of support, – an actual phenomenon, but which must be accepted with
extreme reserve; for it is one which lends itself the most to imposture and jugglery. The absolute
worthiness of the person who obtains them, his entire material and moral disinterestedness, and the
cooperation of accessory circumstances, must be taken into serious consideration. It is necessary to
distrust the too great facility with which these effects are produced, and to be doubtful of those who
renew them too frequently, as it were, by willpower. The prestidigitators do most extraordinary things.
The raising of a person into mid-air is a fact no less positive, but much more rare, perhaps, because it is
more difficult to imitate. It is generally known that Mr. Home has been more than once elevated to the
ceiling in this manner, making the tour of the hall. St. Cupertin is said to have had this same power,
which is no more miraculous in one than in the other.
** Examples of material manifestations and perturbations by the Spirits: “Revue Spirite,” Young Girl of
Panoramas, Jan., 1858, p. 13; Miss Clairon, Feb., 1858, p. 44; Spirit-Rapper of Bergzabern, complete
account, May, June, and July of 1858, pp. 125, 153, 184; Dibbelsdorf, Aug., 1858, p. 219; Boulanger of
Dieppe, March, 1860, p. 76; Merchant of St. Petersburg, April 1860, p. 115; Noyers St., Aug., 1860, p.
236; Spirit-Rapper of Aube, Jan., 1861, p. 23; id., in the 16th century, Jan., 1864, p. 32; Poitiers, May,
1864, p. 156, and May, 1865, p. 134; Sister Mary, June, 1864, p. 185; Marseilles, April, 1865, p. 121;
Fives, Aug., 1865, p. 225; The Rats of Equihem, Feb., 1866, p. 55.
44. A phenomenon which is very common in mediumship is the aptitude of certain
mediums to write in a language which is unknown to them, – to speak or write upon subjects
outside their knowledge. It is not rare to see those who write rapidly without having learned to
write; others still who become poets, without ever having before composed a line of poetry;
others sketch, paint, sculpt, compose music, play on an instrument, without having previously
known anything of either accomplishment. Very frequently the writing-medium reproduces the
writing and signature of the spirits communicating by him, although he had never known them
This phenomenon is not more wonderful than to see a child write when someone
conducts his hand. One can thus perform all that one wishes. Any person could write in any
language whatever by dictating the words letter by letter. It is the same with mediumship.
Mediums are only passive instruments in the spirit’s hands. But if the medium possesses a
knowledge of the mechanism of it, if the expressions are familiar to him, if he has, in short, in
his brain the elements of that which the spirit desires him to execute, he is in the position of the
man who knows how to read and write rapidly. The work is easier and more rapid. The spirit
has only to transmit the thought that his interpreter reproduces by means at his disposal.
The aptitude of a medium in things which are strange to him is often caused by the
knowledge he has obtained in another existence, of which his spirit has preserved the intuition.
If he has been a poet or a musician, for example, his mind will the more readily grasp the
poetical and musical ideas which they wish to reproduce. The language of which he is now
ignorant may have been familiar to him in another existence; hence he has a greater aptitude as
a writing-medium in this language. *
* The aptitude of certain persons for languages which they have never learned is caused by an intuitive
remembrance of that which they have learned in another existence. The example of the poet Mery,
reported in the “Revue Spirite” of Nov., 1864, p. 328, is a proof of it. It is evident, that, if Mr. Mery had
been a medium in his youth, he would have written in Latin as easily as in French, and would have been
called a prodigy.
Obsessions and Possessions
45. Bad spirits increase most abundantly around the Earth on account of the moral
inferiority of its inhabitants. Their wrongdoing in a measure is the cause of the plagues to which
humanity is exposed here below. Obsession, which is one of the effects of this action, like
maladies and all tribulations of life, must then be considered as a trial or expiation, and accepted
Obsession is the persistent action which a bad spirit exercises over an individual. It
presents many different characters, from the moral influence without any distinct exterior signs,
to complete disturbance of the organism and of the mental faculties. It destroys all mediumistic
faculties. In hearing and psychographic mediumship an obstinate spirit manifests to the
exclusion of all others.
46. Just as maladies are the result of physical imperfections which render the body
accessible to pernicious exterior influences, obsession is always that of a moral imperfection,
which gives place to a bad spirit. To a physical cause one opposes a physical force; to a moral
cause it is necessary to oppose a moral force. In order to preserve one’s self from maladies, one
must fortify the body; in order to guarantee one’s self against obsession, one must fortify the
soul: hence for the obsessed the necessity for working for his own betterment, which is often
sufficient to cure obsession without external aid. This aid becomes necessary when obsession
degenerates into complete subjugation and possession; for then the patient sometimes loses his
volition and free will.
Obsession is nearly always due to a vengeance, exercised by a spirit, and which most
often has its source in connections which the obsessed has had with it in a previous existence.
In case of grave obsession the obsessed is enveloped and impregnated with a pernicious
fluid, which neutralizes the action of the salutary fluids, and repels them. It is necessary to
remove this fluid. Now a bad fluid cannot be repelled by a bad fluid. By an action similar to that
of a healing medium in a case of illness, it is necessary to expel the bad fluid by the aid of a
The latter, which is mechanical action, does not always suffice. It is necessary, above all,
to act upon the intelligent being, to whom it is necessary to speak with authority, and this
authority is given only to moral superiority. The greater the latter is, the greater the authority.
That is not all, however. It is necessary to lead the perverse spirit to renounce his bad
designs; to awaken within him a desire to do good, and true repentance, by the aid of cleverly
directed instructions, by the evoking of particular spirits to aid him in his moral education. Then
one can have the double satisfaction of delivering an incarnated being and of converting an
The task is rendered easier if the obsessed, comprehending his situation, joins his will and
prayers with yours. It is not thus when the latter, seduced by the deceiving spirit, is deluded in
regard to the qualities of his ruler, and delights in the error into which the latter plunges him; for
then, far from seconding, he repels all assistance. Such are cases of fascination always vastly
more obstinate than the most violent subjugation. (See “The Mediums’ Book,” chap. 23.)
In all cases of obsession prayer is the most powerful auxiliary to act against the obsessing
47. In obsession the spirit acts exteriorly by the aid of its perispirit, which he mingles
with that of the incarnates. The latter finds himself bound as if in a network, and constrained to
act against his will.
In taking possession of a human organism, the free spirit substitutes itself, as it were, for
that of the incarnated one, instead of acting exteriorly; he chooses a home in his body, although
its owner does not leave it entirely, which can take place only with death. The possession is then
only temporary and intermittent, for a discarnate has not the power to take exclusive possession
of a human organism, only when the molecular union of the perispirit and body can be
performed at the moment of conception (chap. XI, n° 18).
The spirit in momentary possession of the body uses it as his own. He speaks through its
mouth, sees with its eyes, moves its arms as he had done in life. It is not as in mediumship when
the incarnate speaks the thoughts of a discarnate, which are transmitted through him. It is the
latter who speaks; and, if one has known him in life, one recognizes him by his language, voice,
and gestures, even to the expression of his face.
48. Obsession is always due to the influence of a malevolent spirit. Possession can be
taken of a human being by a good spirit, who desires to speak in order to make a deeper
impression upon his auditors, borrows the medium’s body, as the latter loans it to him
voluntarily as he would lend his coat. This is done without any trouble or bad effect; and during
this time the medium’s spirit is free as in a state of emancipation, and he frequently remains
beside his substitute in order to listen to him.
When the spirit in possession is a bad one, all is otherwise; he does not borrow the body,
but forcibly takes possession of it if the owner has not the moral force to resist him. He does it
for malice towards the latter, whom he tortures and torments in every way, desiring to kill him
either by strangulation, or by throwing him in the fire or other dangerous places. Using the
limbs and organs of the unhappy patient, he blasphemes, injures, and maltreats those who
surround him, – delivers him to eccentricities of action, which have the character of an insane
Cases of this kind, of different degrees of intensity, are very numerous; and many cases
of insanity have had no other cause. Often it is joined to pathological disorders which follow the
course of time, and against which medical treatment is powerless as long as the first cause
exists. Spiritism, by giving a knowledge of the source of a part of human suffering, indicates the
means for curing it. This remedy is to act upon the author of the evil, who, being an intelligent
being, must be treated intelligently. *
* Examples of cures by obsession and possession: “Revue Spirite:” Dec., 1863, p. 373; Jan., 1864, p. 11;
June, 1864, p. 168; Jan., 1865, p. 5; June, 1865, p. 172; Feb., 1866, p. 38; June, 1867, p. 174.
49. Obsession and possession are mostly individual cases, but sometimes they are
epidemic. When a troop of undeveloped spirits take up their abode in a locality, it is as when a
troop of enemies come to surround it. In this case the number of individuals attacked by them
can be many. *
* It was an epidemic of this kind which took place some years ago in the village of Morzine, Savoy. See
the complete history of this epidemic in the “Revue Spirite” of Dec., 1862, p. 353; Jan., Feb., April, and
May, 1863, pp. 1, 33, 101, 133.