The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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One of our corresponding members has sent us a letter about our latest article on the self-serving mediums, questioning if our observations are also applicable to the paid somnambulists.

If we wish to go back to the cause of the phenomenon we will see that although it may be considered a variation of mediumship, the somnam- bulist is a kind of a different medium, so to speak. In fact, the mediums receive their communications from foreign spirits, who may communicate or not, depending on the circumstances and on the existing sympathies. The somnambulist, on the contrary, acts on his own; it is his own spirit that detaches from matter and sees, more or less well, according to the more or less complete withdrawal. It is true that the somnambulist is in touch with other spirits, who assist him with some or a lot of good will, according to the sympathies, but it is definitely his own spirit that sees and may, to a certain degree, use his own capabilities without the need for third parties or their indispensable support. Hence the somnambulist who seeks a material compensation for his sometimes significant efforts, as a consequence of exercising his faculty, does not have to overcome the same susceptibilities as the medium does. The medium is nothing more than an instrument.

Besides, it is well known that the somnambulistic lucidity is devel- oped by exercise. Well, those who turn this into a permanent occupation acquire more facility the more they see things with which they identify themselves, as well as with certain special terms that easily return to their memory. In a word, they get familiarized with the state that becomes, so to say, their natural state. Nothing else is strange to them. In reality, the facts are here to demonstrate the clarity and sharpness of their visions, from what we conclude that the compensation given to certain somnam- bulists is no obstacle to the development of their lucidity.

An objection is raised to that argument: since the lucidity is sometimes variable and depends on serendipitous causes, the question is in the search to get paid could this not prompt the somnambulist to fake such lucidity, even when lacking that clarity, due to fatigue or any other cause, an inex- istent inconvenience when there is no material interest afoot. This is cor- rect but we will respond that everything has its bad side. One can abuse everything and wherever fraud is insinuated, it is necessary to denounce it. The somnambulist acting in such a manner would be failing loyalty, which unfortunately also happens to those who are not somnambulists.

With a little bit of experience we can easily detect that. It would be difficult to deceive an experienced observer for long. In this, as in every- thing else, it is necessary to ensure the degree of trust that the person we are dealing with deserves. If the non-salaried somnambulist does not of- fer such an inconvenience it does not follow that her lucidity is infallible. He can be mistaken as anyone else, if not in good conditions. With that respect, the best guide is experience.

In summary, we do not profess these or those. We were able to attest remarkable services done by all of them. Our objective was only to dem- onstrate that it is possible to find good somnambulists in either category.

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