The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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In our last number we presented the picture of the spiritual life as a whole. We followed the spirits since they leave behind their physical body and briefly sketched their occupations. Today we propose to show

them in action, therefore we have gathered several intimate scenes in the same picture, whose testimony has been given to us through the com- munications. The multiple family conversations from beyond the grave already published in this Review can give us an idea about the situation of the spirits according to their degree of progress. Here, however, there is a special kind of activity that allows us to get to know the role that they represent among us, despite our own ideas.

The theme of study whose adventures we will report was spontane- ously presented to us, showing great interest although the hero of the story is not one of those superior spirits, inhabitants of unknown worlds, but one of those who are still attached to Earth by nature; a contempo- rary spirit that has given us proofs of his identity. The action takes place around us and each one of us has a role in the story. In addition, this study of the habits of the spirits has the particular interest of showing the prog- ress of the spirits while errant, and the way through which we can help with their enlightenment.

After several unsuccessful experiments, from which his patience has triumphed, one of our friends suddenly became a magnificent psycho- graphic and hearing medium. The other day, while he was busy with the psychography, side by side with one friend of his, he obtained a strange and not very serious answer from a spirit who did not correspond to the serious character of the spirit who was actually being evoked.

Once questioned about that, in the name of God, the spirit then of- fered the name Pierre Le Flamand, a name totally unknown to the me- dium. Since then a series of conversations have been established between the medium and the spirit and later between the spirit and us.

FIRST CONVERSATION

1. Who are you? I don’t know anybody by that name. - I am one of your old colleagues from school.

2. I have no recollection.
- Don’t you remember been beaten up once?

3. It is possible. That happens among school kids. I remember some- thing of that kind but I also remember to have avenged this act. - It was I but I keep no hard feelings.

4. Thank you. But as much as I remember you were a really naughty boy.

- Now you remember. However, I did not change while alive. I was a knucklehead but deep down I was not bad. I would fight the first one who showed up. It was like a necessity to me. Once I’d turned my back the case was forgotten.

5. When and at what age did you die?
- Fifteen years ago. I was about twenty years old.

6. How did you die?
- From a young man’s madness... consequence of my poor judgment...

7. How about your family?
- I had lost my father and mother long ago; I used to live with an uncle, my only relative. If you ever go to Cambrai8 I advise you to look for him. He is an excellent person, who I am very fond of, although he disciplined me severely. But I deserved it.

8. He bears the same name as you do?
- No. There isn’t anybody else with my name in Cambrai. His name is W...; he resides at ... You will see that It is really me who is speaking with you.

NOTE: The fact was confirmed by the medium himself, in a leisure trip sometime later. He found Mr. W... at the referred ad- dress. Mr. W... confirmed that in fact he had a nephew by that name, mischievous and devilish, deceased in 1844, short after having been drafted to the military service. The spirit had not indicated such a circumstance. He did that later, spontaneously, as we will see in due course.

9. Why have you serendipitously come to me?
- It was by accident if you will but I prefer to believe that it was my good nature that brought me to you, since it seems to me that both of us are going to profit from the reestablishment of our relationship... I was here near your neighbor; appreciat- ing the pictures... but not the paintings of saints... suddenly I saw you and came by. I saw you entertained with another spirit and wanted to meddle in the conversation.

10. But why have you answered the questions addressed to the other spirit? This is not proper of an old comrade.
- I was in the presence of a serious spirit who seemed to me that was not willing to respond. I thought that he might answer if I tried to respond in his name but I was not successful. I wanted to force him to speak by not telling the truth.

11. That is not right and it could have yielded unpleasant results had I not noticed the trick.
- You would have noticed, sooner or later.

12. Tell me then how did you get in here?
- That is a good one. Since when we need to ring the bell?

13. Then you can go anywhere and get into any place?
- Of course I can and unannounced! It is not for another reason that we are spirits.

14. However, I did not think that every spirit could attend any meeting they wished to.
- Do you by any means think that your bedroom is a sanctuary and that I am not worthy of it?

15. Do answer my question seriously and stop kidding. Behold that

I have no intention of entertaining jokes and that the mystifying spirits are not welcome here.
- There are meetings of spirits in which we, the idle ones, cannot participate. That is true but it is the superior spirits that block us not you, people. As a matter of fact, when we go to a given place we know very well how to remain quiet and at a distance, if necessary. We listen and then, when we get bored, we leave... Come on! It seems that you are not happy with my visit.

16. The fact is that I do not welcome the first one who shows up and frankly, I was not impressed when you perturbed a serious conversation.
- Don’t be angry... I don’t want to bother you... I am always nice. Next time I will have myself announced.


17. So you died fifteen years ago...
- Let us make it clear. My body is dead, but I, the one talking to you, I am not dead.

NOTE: Even among the frivolous and jester spirits one finds pro- found words. That “I am not dead” contains a whole philosophy.



18. That is how I understand it. By the way, tell me something: The way you are now, can you see me with the same clarity as if when you were in your body?
- I see you even better. I was short sighted. That is why I wanted to get rid of the military service.

19. Then, as I was saying, you have been dead for fifteen years and it seems that you are as crazy as before. Does it mean that you have not progressed?
- I am what I was. Not worse, not better.

20. How do you spend your time?
- I have no other concern but to have fun and to be informed about the events which may have influence over my fate. I see many things. I spend part of the time at my friends’ houses, in the theater... Sometimes I find funny things... If the per- sons only knew that they have company when they think to be alone! Finally, I go in such a way as to make the passage of time as light as possible... I wouldn’t know how long this is going to last, however, I have been like that for a while... Have you seen many cases like that?

21. In short, are you happier now than you were when alive?
- No.

22. What is it that you are missing? You need nothing else; you no longer suffer; you are not afraid of being bankrupt; you go ev- erywhere and see everything; you are not afraid of the human concerns or diseases, or the ailments of age. Wouldn’t that be a happy life?
- I lack the reality of the pleasures. I am not sufficiently el- evated to enjoy a moral happiness. I desire everything that I see and that is my very punishment; I get bored and try to kill time the way I can! And how this lasts... I experience an indefinable qualm. I would rather feel the miseries of life than this anxiety that tortures me.


NOTE: Isn’t that an eloquent picture of the sufferings of the inferior spirits? They envy everything that they see; they have the same desires and don’t enjoy anything in reality; this must be a real torture.

23. You said you would go visiting your friends. Isn’t that a real distraction?
- My friends cannot feel my presence. Besides, they no longer even remember me. That hurts.

24. Don’t you have friends among the spirits?
- Senseless and useless like me; that get bored like me. Their company is not very nice. Those who think and are happy stay away from me.

25. Poor man! I am sorry and if I can be useful to you I will be with pleasure.
- If you only knew how these words do me good! It is the first time that I hear that.

26. Couldn’t you find opportunities when watching and listening to good things that would be useful to your progress?
- Yes, but for that it would be necessary that I would take ad- vantage of the lessons. I confess that I prefer to watch the scenes of love and mockery that have not influenced my spirit towards the good. Before coming here I was there, observ- ing pictures that would give me ideas... But let us stop that. However, I was able to resist the temptation of asking for an incarnation in order to enjoy the pleasures that I have abused so much. Now I see how much I would be mistaken. I feel that I did well coming to your house.

27. There you go! I hope that in the future, in case you want my friendship, you will give me the pleasure of not having you ob- serving those pictures which give you bad ideas; that on the con- trary, you may think of those things that you may hear among us, good and useful to you. You will feel good, believe me.
- If it is what you want, I will wish that too.

28. When you go to the theater do you experience the same emotions as from when you were alive?
- Several different emotions. At first those; then I meddle into the conversations and hear very singular things.

29. What is your favorite theater?
- “Les Variétés” – In fact, I frequently go around all of them in the same evening. I also go to the balls and places of amusement.

30. Then you learn at the same time that you have fun, since you can observe a lot in your position.
- Yes but what I enjoy the most is certain conversations. It is really interesting to see the maneuvering of certain people, particularly of those who still want to pretend to be young. Nobody tells the truth with all those words. They paint their hearts very much like the makeup they wear so that nobody understands anybody. I did study their habits.

31. There you go! Don’t you see that we can establish good conversa- tions, like this one, from which we can both benefit?
- Certainly. As you say, first you, then me. You have to attend your bodily needs. I can walk all possible steps to learn with- out any prejudice to my existence.

32. Then you will continue your observations or, as you say, your studies of the habits. So far you have not taken advantage of them. It is necessary that they may serve your enlightenment for which you must carry them out with a serious objective and not to have fun and buy time. You will tell me what you have seen. We will reason together and come to the conclusions aiming at our mutual instruction.
- This is going to be very interesting. Yes, I am at your services, no doubt.

33.That is not all. I would like to offer you an occasion for the prac- tice of a good deed. Do you want that?

- With all my heart! Then, they will say that I can be useful to something. Please go on and tell me what I must do.

34. Slow down! I don’t assign such delicate missions to those that I don’t trust enough. You have good will, no doubt. Will you also have the necessary perseverance? That is the question. It is then necessary that I teach you to know yourself better so that you will know what you are capable of doing and how much I can count on you. We will speak another time.
- You will see.

35. Bye for now!
- So long.


SECOND CONVERSATION


36. Then, my dear Peter, have you given a serious thought to what we discussed the other day?
- More than you think. I have decided to prove to you that I have more value than I show. I feel more at ease since I have something to do. Now I have an objective and no longer feel bored.

37. I spoke about you with Mr. Allan Kardec. I told him about our conversation with which he was very happy. He wants to be in touch with you.
- I know. I was in his house.

38. Who took you there?
- Your thoughts. I came back here after that day; I noticed that you wanted to talk to him about me and then I said to myself: Let us go there first; I will possibly find material for observa- tion and may find an occasion to be useful.

39. I like to see you with such serious thoughts. What was your im- pression of the visit?
- Oh! It was great. I learned things that I did not suspect and that clarify me regarding my future. It is like a light source inside of me. Now I understand everything that I have to gain from my betterment... it is necessary... it is necessary.

40. Could I ask you, without an indiscretion, about what you saw there?
- Certainly. Not only what I saw there but also in other places, however I will only tell you what I want to, what I can...

41. How come? You cannot say everything that you wish to?
- No. Since a few days now I see a spirit that seems to be following me everywhere, that pushes or stops me. One could say that he drives me. I feel an impulse whose origin I ignore but obey, irrespectively. If I want to say or do something inappro- priate he stands before me, looks at me and I silence... I stop.

42. Who is that spirit?
- I don’t know, but he dominates me.

43. Why don’t you ask him?
- I dare not. When I want to speak with him he looks at me and I feel my tongue got tied.

NOTE: It is evident that the word tongue here is used in the figurative sense. The spirits have no articulated language.

44. You must feel if he is good or bad.
- He must be good since he blocks me from saying silly things.
But he is strict... Sometimes he shows rage; some other times he looks at me kindly... I had the intuition that it could be the spirit of my father that wants to go unidentified.

45. It is possible. It seems that he is not very happy with you. Listen. I will give you some news about that. We know that the parents have the mission of educating their children leading them to the good. Consequently they are responsible for their good or evil deeds, ac- cording to the education that they received; hence the parents suf- fer or are happy in the spiritual world. The behavior of the children thus influence, up to a certain degree, the happiness or misfortune of their parents after their death. Since your behavior was not very constructive while on Earth and since you have not done much af- ter your death, your father suffers with all that in case he is blaming himself for not having guided you properly...

- If I did not become a good man it was not due to a lack of reproof, more than once.

46. Perhaps it was the best way of changing you. Nevertheless, his affection for you is always the same and he demonstrates that by getting closer to you, I suppose. He must feel happy with your recent changes. That explains his oscillations between kindness and rage. He wants to help you in the good path that you have just entered and when he sees you resolutely walking that path he will identify himself. Thus, working towards your own happiness you will also work towards his. I would not be surprised if it were him who pushed you here. If he did not do it before was to give you time to understand the hollowness of your existence without accomplishments; he wanted you to feel that sorrow.

- Thank you, thank you! He is here, behind you! He rests his hand on your head, as if dictating the words that you have just said.
47. Let us return to Mr. Allan Kardec.
- I went to his house yesterday. He was busy, writing in his office... He was working on a new book... Ah! He takes good care of us, poor spirits. If we are not known it is not his fault.
48. Was he alone?
- Yes alone – that is, there was no other person with him. However, there was about twenty spirits around him, whis- pering above his head.

49. Has he heard them?
- He heard them so well that he looked around to try to establish the origin of the noises, trying to see if they were not coming from thousands of flies. Then he opened the window to see if that was not coming from the wind or rain.

NOTE: The fact is absolutely exact.


50. Do you recognize any of those spirits?
- No. They are not those in which company I pleased myself. I had the impression that I was an intruder. I remained in a corner of the room, observing.

51. Have the spirits given the impression that they were observing what he was writing?
- I believe so. Two or three in particular whispered what he was writing, giving the impression that they heard the opinion of the others. However, he strongly believed that the ideas were his and seemed happy with that.

52. Was that all?
- Then a group of about eight or ten people came in and joined Mr. Kardec in another room. They were talking. Asking questions that he responded, explained.

53. Do you know those persons?
- No. The only thing I know is that they seemed to be important for one was always referred to as Prince and the other Duke. The spirits also arrived in a large crowd. There was at least a hundred from which some had a kind of crown of fire. The others remained at a distance, listening.

54. And you, what did you do?
- I was listening too. Mostly observing. Then I had the idea of doing something useful to Mr. Kardec. When I am success- ful I will tell you about it. Then I left the meeting strolling around the streets, enjoying myself around the shops, med- dling with the crowds.

55. Then, instead of going about your business you were wasting your time?
- I did not waste it since I stopped a crime.

56. Ah! Then you are also involved with police matters?
- Why not? I was walking by across from a closed store when I noticed that there was something strange happening inside; I went in and saw a very agitated young man, walking up and down as if deciding to break into the cashier. There were two spirits with him, whispering into his ears: Come on, you coward! The drawer is full; you will have a lot of fun, etc. The other had a delicate face, nice and noble, something of celes- tial and good in his looks. He said: leave, leave now! While whispering the words: prison, dishonor.

The man hesitated. Once he approached the counter I po- sitioned myself in front of him, so as to impede him. The bad spirit asked why I was getting involved. I told him that I wanted to stop the young man from doing something wrong that could lead him to the dungeons. Then the good spirit approached me and said: “He needs to suffer the temptation; it is a trial. If he fails, it will be his fault.” The thief would triumph after the bad spirit had employed a disgusting but successful trick: He led the man to see a bottle on the table. It was liquor. He inspired in the man the idea of drinking it to have the courage. The unfortunate man is lost, I thought... Let us try so save something at least. I have no resource other than informing the owner... Quick! In a split second I was there. He was about to initiate a card game with his wife; I had to find a way of making him go downstairs.

57. If he were a medium you could have him writing that he was about to be mugged. Do you think that he would at least believe in spirits?
- He was not spirited enough to understand that.

58. I did not know that you were skillful in word playing.
- If you interrupt me I will say no more. I provoked a violent sneeze in that man. He felt like taking a snuff and then no- ticed that he had left the container in the store. He woke his son up who was snoring at a corner of the room, sending him to fetch the box. That was not what I wanted... the boy stood up complaining. I whispered to the mother the words: do not wake the boy up, you can go and fetch it yourself. He finally made the decision and went... I followed him to speed him up. Once he got to the store he noticed the lights on and heard a noise. He was afraid, his legs trembling; I forced him forward. Had he suddenly entered he would have trapped the thief. Instead, the stupid started screaming thief, thief! The criminal escaped but in the rush and altered by the alcohol he left his hat behind. When the shop owner entered the store there was nobody inside...What is going to happen to the hat? That is not up to me. That man is in trouble. Thanks to me there was no time for the crime to be perpetrated, the businessman was saved by fear. This was not enough to stop him from saying, when he went back upstairs, that he had confronted a six-foot tall man. Look at this, he said. If I did not have the idea of taking a snuff! Had I not stopped you from sending the child, said the woman. Let us agree that both of us had a premonition. It was a real luck! Now you, my dear, you can thank me!

59. You are brave my dear Peter. I congratulate you. Don’t feel dis- couraged by people’s ungratefulness. You will experience it many times now that you are prepared to serve them, even among those who believe in the intervention of the spirits.
- Yes, I know. The ungrateful will be paid with ingratitude.

60. I now see that I can count on you and that you will become really serious.
- You will see that later it will be me who will teach you moral.

61. I do need that as any person does and receives the good advices with good will, coming from wherever. I told you that I wanted you to do a good deed. Are you ready?
- And do you doubt it?

62. One of my friends seems to be on the verge of great deceptions if he continues in the current path; his illusions may lose him. I would like to have you helping him to return to the good path, by any means that could strongly impress him. Do you understand my thought?
- Yes. You want me to produce some good manifestation to him, like an apparition for example. But that does not de- pend on me. However, I can eventually and as long as I have permission for that, give him patent signs of my presence, as you know.

NOTE: The medium to whom this spirit seems to be linked feels his presence by a very strong impression, even when he is not willing to contact him. He acknowledges his presence by a kind of shivers in his arms, back and shoulders. The effects, however, are sometimes more energetic. In our gathering in my house, on March 24th last, this spirit answered the questions through another medium. We were talking about his physical strength. Suddenly, as if wanting to give a proof of that, he grabbed one of the attendees by the leg, which was violently shaken and thrown to the other side of the room, stunned.


63. Do as you please, or better, as you can. I warn you that he has some mediumistic capability.
- Even better to my plans.

64. What are your plans?
- I will study the situation, to start with. I will check the spirits who surround him and if there is any way of doing something with them. I will announce my presence at his house, as I did with you. I will be questioned and will respond: “It is me, Pierre Le Flamand, spiritual messenger. I come to be at your service and I heard that you entertain certain ideas that are transforming your mind, already making you turn your back to your friends. It is my duty to warn you, in your own interest, that your ideas are far from useful to your future happiness. You have Le Flamand’s word. I can assure you that I visit you with the best of the intentions. Be afraid of the spirits’ wrath and even further, God’s wrath; and believe in the words of your servant who wishes to affirm that his mis- sion is for the general well-being.
If I am kicked out I will return three times. Then I will see what needs to be done. Is that okay?

65. Well done my friend. Say no more or less.
- Word by word.

66. But if you are asked about who has assigned you with that mis- sion, what will you say?
- Superior spirits. For good, I may not say the whole truth.

67. You are mistaken. Since it is good, it is always by inspiration of the good spirits. Thus, your conscience may be at peace since the bad spirits will never lead us to do good things.
- It is clear.

68. I thank you and congratulate you for your good resolution. When do you want me to evoke you to present the results of your mission?
- I will let you know.

(Continue in the next issue)

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