The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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News from the War

The government has allowed the apolitical newspapers to publish news about the war. Since the reports are abundant in all shapes and forms it would be useless to have them repeated here. The greatest news to our readers is the story from the other world. Although it has not been extracted from the official source of the Moniteur, it offers a no less interesting point of view to our studies. Thus, we thought of interviewing some of the glorious victims of the victory, assuming that we could extract some useful instruction from that exercise. Similar themes of studies, and particularly contemporary, cannot be found at any time. Because we did not know personally any of the participants of the last battle, we beseeched the spirits who assist us to send us someone. We even thought that the presence of strangers would be preferable compared to friends or relatives, taken by the emotion. After a positive answer we obtained the following communications.

THE ZOUAVE OF MAGENTA

FIRST CONVERSATION AT THE SOCIETY, JUNE 10TH, 1859

1. We beg our Almighty God to allow the spirit of a military deceased during the Battle of Magenta to come to communicate with us. - What do you want to know?

2. Where were you when we called you? - I wouldn’t know that.

3. Who warned you that we wanted to talk to you? - Someone wiser than me.

4. When you were alive did you doubt that the dead could come to communicate with the living ones? - No, not really.

5. What are the sensations that you experience by being here? - It gives me pleasure. You have great things to accomplish, I was told.

6. What was your regiment in the army? (Someone whispers: by the language it seems to be a Zuzu15) - Ah! You are right!

7. What was your position? - That of everybody else.

8. What was your name? - Joseph Midard.

9. How did you die? - Do you want to know all this without paying anything back?

10. Fortunately you have not lost your sense of humor. Tell us now, we will pay you later. How did you die? - From a plum that I got.

11. Were you upset with your death? - My word that I was not. I am okay here.

12. Were you aware of what was happening at the moment of your death? - No. I was so stunned that I could not believe.

NOTE: This is in agreement with what we have observed in the case of violent death. The spirit does not consider oneself dead given that his situation is not promptly realized. Such phenomenon can be easily explained. It is analogous to the somnambulists that do not believe that they are asleep. In fact, to the somnambulist the sleep is synonym of suspension of the intellectual faculties. Thus, as the somnambulist thinks he does not believe that he is asleep. It is only later that the fact will be accepted when the somnambulist is already familiarized with the meaning of that word. The same happens to a spirit who is unexpectedly surprised by a sudden death, when there is no preparation for the separation from the body. To the spirit, death is synonym of destruction, annihilation. Well, since the spirit sees, feels and thinks he understands that he is not dead. It is necessary some time for the spirit to recognize oneself.

13. The battle was not over when you died. Did you follow the events afterwards? - Yes, since as I have told you, I did not think that I was dead. I wanted to carry on bashing the other dogs17.

14. What was your sensation then? - I was delighted because I felt really light.

15. Could you see the spirits of your comrades leaving their bodies? - I did not think of that because I did not believe I was dead.

16. What happened to the crowd of spirits who lost their lives in the tumult of war? - I believe they did the same as I did.

17. The spirits who were fighting bloodthirstily, what did they do when they met in the world of the spirits? Did they still charge against one another? - Yes, for some time and according to their character.

18. Do you recognize yourself better now? - Yes, otherwise they would not have sent me here.

19. Could you tell us if among the spirits of the soldiers who died long ago was there still some who were interested in the outcome of the battle? (We begged St. Louis to help him with the answers so that they were as clear as possible, for our own enlightenment). - In large quantity. You should know that such battles and their consequences are prepared long before and that our adversaries would not have been involved in crimes, as they did, if they were not compelled to that for the reason of future consequences which you will get to know soon.

20. There should have been, in the battlefield, spirits interested in the Austrians’ success. Were there then two battlefields among them? - Evidently.

NOTE: Aren’t we seeing here the gods of Homer, some taking sides with the Greeks, others with the Trojans? Truly, what were those gods of paganism other than spirits that people from ancient times transformed into divinities? Aren’t we right when we say that Spiritism is a light that will clarify many mysteries, the key to numerous problems?

21. Did they exert any influence onto the combatants? - Very significant.

22. Can you describe to us how such influence was exerted?- In the same way that all influences are exerted from the spirits onto people.

23. What do you expect to do now? - Study more than I did in my last period.

24. Are you going to return as a spectator to the combats that are still to come? - I don’t know yet. I have affections that tie me up at the moment. However, I hope to be able to escape from time to time to have fun with the forthcoming beatings.

25. Which kind of affection is still keeping you? - An old and suffering mother who still cries for me.

26. I ask for your forgiveness regarding the thought that crossed my mind, with respect to the affection that keeps you. - No problem. I say silly things to make you laugh a little. It is natural that you do not take me in high account considering the mediocre regiment to which I belonged.

27. When you were among the spirits, did you hear the sounds of the battlefield? Did you see things as clearly as when alive? - In the beginning I lost sight of it but after a while I saw it much better because I could see all the tricks.

28. My question is did you hear the sound of the cannon shot? - Yes.

29. During the action, did you think about death and in what you would become in case you were killed? - I thought of what would happen to my mother.

30. Was it your first in the line of fire? - No, no. How about Africa?

31. Did you see the French entering Milan? - No.

32. Are you the only one here from those who died in Italy? - Yes

33. Do you think that the war will last long? - No. It is easy and not much meritorious to make that prediction.

34. When you see one of your officers among the spirits, do you still recognize him as your superior? - If he is, yes, otherwise, no.

OBSERVATION: In his simplicity and conciseness his answer is profound and philosophical. The moral superiority is the only one that stands in the spiritual world. Someone who did not have it on Earth, irrespective of his position, has in fact no superiority. There the officer may be below the soldier and the manager under the server. What a lesson to our pride!

35. Do you think about the justice of God and does it bother you? - Who would not think about that? Fortunately I do not have much to fear. I have redeemed a few frivolous deeds committed when I was a zuzu, as you say, through a few actions that God considered good.

36. When watching a combat, could you diverge a fatal shot aimed at one of your comrades, thus protecting him? - No. We cannot do that. God determines the instant of death. If it is supposed to happen, then nobody can change it in the same way that it would not hit that person had his time not come yet!

37. Do you see General Espinasse? - I haven’t seen him yet. But I do hope to see him soon.

SECOND CONVERSATION
June 17th, 1859

38. (Evocation) - Present! Firm! Avant!

39. Do you remember having come here eight days ago? - How could I forget?

40. You said you had not seen General Espinasse yet. How could you recognize him since he has not taken his uniform of General with him? - No, but I do know how he looks like. Besides, don’t we have several friends around us ready to tell us what the password is? Over here it is not like in the barracks. We are not afraid of bumping into someone and I assure you that it is only the rogue that stays alone.

41. What is your appearance here? - A Zuavo.

42. Supposing that we could do it, how would we see you? - Wearing a turban and the culottes.

43. Suppose you appear to us wearing the turban and the culottes. Where would you have gotten those clothes from, considering that you have left yours in the battlefield? - Now, now. I don’t know how it happens but I have a tailor who fixes that for me.

44. What are the culottes and turban that you wear made of? Do you have any idea? - No. That is the ragman’s job.

OBSERVATION: This question about the spirit’s outfit, as well as several others related to the same principle, were completely clarified through our observations carried out at the very heart of the Society. We will bring news about this subject in the next issue of our Review. Our good Zuavo is not sufficiently advanced to solve it alone. We needed the help of some circumstances that happened serendipitously, giving us the right lead.

45. Do you know why you can see us while we cannot see you? - I believe your glasses are weak.

46. Wouldn’t that be the same reason why you do not see the General in his uniform? - Yes, but he does not wear it every day.

47. When does he wear it then? - Come on now! When he is called to the palace.

48. Why are you dressed as a Zuavo here if we cannot see you? - Simply because I am still a Zuavo, even after eight years, and also because we keep such a form among the spirits for a long time. But that is only among us. You must understand that when we go to a different world, like the Moon or Jupiter, we don’t bother with all that make-up.

49. You talk about the Moon and Jupiter. Have you actually been there after your death? - No. You don’t follow me. We are informed about many things after death. Haven’t they explained to us several things about Earth’s problems? Don’t we know God and the other beings much better than fifteen days ago? With death the spirit goes through a metamorphosis that you cannot understand.

50. Have you seen the body left in the battlefield again? - Yes but it is not very nice.

51. Which impression has such a vision left on you? - Sadness.

52. Do you have any knowledge about your previous existence? - Yes but it is not glorious enough for me to brag about it.

53. Just tell me the kind of life you had. - A simple merchant of wild animals’ skin.

54. We thank you for your kindness in coming for the second time. - So long. This is enjoyable and I learn from it. Since I am well tolerated here I will gladly come back.

A High-Ranking Officer Killed in Magenta
Parisian Society of Spiritist Studies June 10th, 1859

1. (Evocation) - I am here.

2. Can you tell us how could you attend our appeal so promptly? - I was warned about your wishes.

3. Who warned you? - One of St. Louis’ envoys

4. Did you know about the existence of our Society? - You know that.

OBSERVATION: Indeed the officer in question helped with the registration of the Society

5. How did you see our Society when you helped to register it? - I was not completely decided but I I was actually inclined to believe. If it were not for the events that took place, I would certainly be instructed in your circle.

6. There are many celebrities who share the spiritist ideas but dare not to publicly confess them. Would it be desirable that influent people would openly hold that flag? - Patience, God wishes so and this time the expression does correspond to the truth.

7. From which influent side of society do you think that such an example will come? - From all classes. From some in the beginning but later from all classes.

8. From the point of view of the study, could you tell us if your ideas are more lucid than those of the Zouave who was here a few moments ago, although you died approximately at the same time? - Very much so. What he could tell you, indicating a certain elevation, was whispered to him. He is very good but very ignorant and a bit frivolous.

9. Are you still interested in the success of our army? - More than ever since now I am aware of the objective.

10. Can you define your thoughts? The objective has always been publicly acknowledged and in your position you should know it after all? - The objective established by God, do you know it?

OBSERVATION: One cannot ignore the seriousness and extent of that answer. When alive he knew people’s objective; as a spirit he sees what is providential in the events.

11. In general terms, what do think about wars? - I wish you progressed so rapidly as to make them impossible and useless.

12. Do you believe that such a day will come when the war will be impossible and useless? - Yes, no doubt. I can tell you that such a moment is not as distant as you may think although I am not giving you the hopes that you would see that.

13. At the time of death, did you promptly recognize yourself? - I recognized that almost immediately thanks to the vague notions I had about Spiritism.

14. Could you tell us something about Mr…. also deceased in the last battle? - He is still entwined with matter. It is harder for him to detach from it. His thoughts were not devoted to this side of life.

OBSERVATION: Thus, knowledge about Spiritism helps the detachment of the soul after death and abbreviates the period of perturbation that follows such separation. It makes sense since the spirit knew beforehand the world where he is now.

15. Did you watch your troops entering Milan? - Yes, with pleasure. I was amazed by the reception given to our troops, first out of patriotism but later for the expectation of the future.

16. As a spirit can you exert any influence over the strategic plans? - Don’t you believe that this has happened since the beginning and can’t you imagine by whom?

17. How come the Austrians gave up a strong hold like Pavia so rapidly? - Out of fear.

18. They are demoralized then? - Completely. Besides, if we influence ours in one direction you must think that another force acts upon them.

OBSERVATION: The intervention of the spirits in the events of life is unequivocal here. They pave the way for the accomplishment of God’s designs. The former peoples would have said that it is the wishes of the gods. We say that it is the works of the spirits under the commandment of God.

19. Can you give us your opinion about General Giulay as a soldier, leaving aside any nationalistic thought?- Poor, poor general!

20. Would you gladly return in case we called you? - I am at your service and I promise to come, even without your call. You must believe that the sympathy I had with you cannot but increase. Good-bye.

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