The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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We got this letter from Gramat, Lot:

“Extraordinary noises have been heard for about two months in a house from the Coujet village, a community of Bastat, Department of Lot. In the beginning the noises were dry blows, similar to those produced by an axe on the floor, heard from all sides: under the feet, above the heads, on the doors, in the furniture. Then it was the noise of steps of a bare footman, followed by fingers playing on the window glass. The residents became scared and organized Church masses. The disturbed population would go to the village and listen; the police was informed, carrying out several investigations; the noise only got worse. Soon the doors would open; the objects would be turned upside down; the chairs thrown from the top of the stairs; the furniture transported from the floor to the attic. Everything that I tell you happens at daylight and is attested by a large number of people. The house is not an old, dark and somber shanty that gives you ghostly nightmares just by its looks. It is a shiny new construc- tion. The owners are good people, incapable of deceiving any one and those who are really scared. Nevertheless, many people think that there is nothing supernatural there, trying to explain everything that seems ex- traordinary by Physics or the ill intention attributed to the residents. Since I have seen it all and do believe in all facts, I decided to correspond with you so that you can tell me who the spirits who make such noise are, and to learn about the means of silencing them. It is a service that you would do to this good people, etc....”

Facts of such a nature are not rare. They are all more or less similar and, in general, only differ as for the intensity or its greater or smaller te- nacity. People are hardly bothered when these events are limited to a few noises, without consequence, but become a true calamity when they reach large proportions.

Our distinct correspondent asks about the kind of spirits that make such noise. There is no doubt with respect to our answer. It is a known fact that only the spirits of a very inferior order are capable of such a thing. The superior spirits, as among us the serious and grave persons, don’t en- joy themselves by creating uproars. We have evoked them many times in order to enquiry about the reason why they perturb someone else’s rest. The great majority replies that their only objective is to have fun. These are rather frivolous than bad spirits. They enjoy the fear that they provoke as much as the useless searches carried out to determine the cause of the uproar. They frequently remain close to an individual that they like to tease, and that they chase from house to house; on other occasions they get attached to a given place, without any reason, but caprice. Sometimes it is also a vengeance that they carry out, as we will have the occasion to see. In some cases their intention is more commendable: they want to call the attention and establish contact, be it to give a useful warning to the person that is targeted by them or to request something for them. We have seen them frequently asking for prayers; others request the accomplish- ment of a promise that they were unable to carry out; there are others, finally, who want to fix a bad deed that they may have practiced when incarnate, in the interest of their own peace.

Generally speaking there is no reason to be scared. Their presence may be an inconvenience but it is not dangerous. As a matter of fact, the desire to get rid of them is understandable. However, we almost always do exactly the opposite of what we should do. If they are spirits having fun, the more we take it seriously, the more they persist, like naughty kids that bother us even more the more we show impatience, and scaring the cowards. If laughed at their naughtiness they would end up tired and would leave us alone. We know someone that far from getting irritated he would excite them, challenging them to do this or that, hence after a few days they no longer showed up. That is why it is always useful to know what they want. If they request something we may rest assured that they will leave as soon as their wish is granted. The best way to learn about it is by evoking the spirit through a good psychographic medium. We will immediately see whom we are dealing with from their answers, and as a consequence we will be able to act. If it is an unfortunate spirit, charity demands that we treat it with the deserved care. If it is a jester spirit, of bad taste, we can act unceremoniously with the spirit. If it is a malevolent spirit, it is necessary to ask God to make it better. In any case, the prayer can only produce good results.

Nevertheless, the gravity of the formulas of exorcism makes them laugh and they have no respect for that. If we can enter into communica- tion with them it is necessary to be suspicious about their burlesque or frightening qualifications, which sometimes they attribute to themselves in order to make fun of our credulity.

In many cases the difficulty rests in the fact that there is no medium available. We must then try to replace the medium by ourselves or directly interrogate the spirit, according to the precepts we gave in the Practical Instructions about the Manifestations.

Although produced by inferior spirits, those phenomena are many times provoked by spirits of a more elevated order, with the objective of convincing us about the existence of the incorporeal beings and the exis- tence of a power superior to that of human beings.

The repercussion resulting from that, the fear it creates calls the atten- tion, and in the end will open the eyes of the most incredulous. The latter ones find it easier to take those phenomena to the field of imagination, a very simplistic explanation that dispenses any other. However, when the objects are disarranged or thrown at people’s heads, it would be necessary a very complacent imagination to suppose that such things do happen, when in fact they do not. If we observe any given effect, it will necessarily have a cause. If a calm and cold observation demonstrates that such effect is independent of any human intervention and independent of any mate- rial cause; if, moreover, it gives us evident indications of intelligence and free-will, which constitutes the most characteristic of signs, then we are forced to attribute them to an occult intelligence.

Who are those mysterious beings? This is what the spiritist studies teach us in the most indisputable way, through the means with which we are presented in order to communicate with them. Furthermore, these studies teach us how to separate what is real from what is false or exagger- ated in those phenomena, whose causes we do not detect. If a remarkable effect is produced – noise, motion, even an apparition – the first thought that has to come to mind is that we are facing something that has an absolutely natural cause, which is the most likely. Then it is necessary to investigate that cause with great care and do not admit the intervention of the spirits unless it is an established fact. It is the means of not eluding ourselves.

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