Allan Kardec

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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.

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