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 perispiritual fluid.
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 world.
* 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 Aïssaouas).
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 fluid.
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 life. *
* “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 spirits.
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 in Earth-life.
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 as such.
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 better one.
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 imperfect spirit.
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 spirit.
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 person.
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.