The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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One of our subscribers from the Department of Loire, an excellent psychographic medium, writes the following with respect to several apparitions that he witnessed:

“Not willing to forget any of the facts that come to support the Spiritist Doctrine, I wish to communicate the new phenomena which I have witnessed and served as medium, and as you will recognize, are in perfect agreement with everything that you have published in your Review, with respect to the state of the spirit after separation from the body.”

“About six months ago I was receiving communications from the spirits together with a few persons when I had the idea of asking if there was any clairvoyant medium among the attendees. The spirit responded positively, indicating me and adding: “You are already one but in a small degree and only during the sleep. Later your temperament will modify in such a way that you will become an excellent clairvoyant medium, but gradually, and during the sleep only in the beginning.”

“During this year we endured the pain of losing three of our relatives. One of them, my uncle, appeared to me in my sleep, just after his death. We had a long conversation and he conducted me to his dwelling, saying that it was the last degree of the Earthly happiness. It was my intention to provide you with the description of what I had admired in that incomparable home but having consulted with my guardian spirit he said: “Your joy and happiness could influence the description of the wonderful beauties that you admired, and your imagination could create non-existing things. Wait until your spirit is soother.” I then stopped, obeying my guide, only reporting two other more positive visions. I will only mention my uncle’s last words. When I had admired what I was allowed to see, he said: “You are now returning to Earth.” I asked him to allow me to stay for a few moments more, to which he said: “No; it is five o’clock and you have to retake the course of your existence.” I immediately woke up. My clock indicated 5 am sharp.”
“My second vision was with one of the other deceased relatives in the year. He was a virtuous man, a loving, good father, and family man, good Christian, who although had been sick for a long time, died almost suddenly and perhaps unexpectedly. His face showed an indefinable, serious, sad and, at the same time, happy looks. He told me: “I atone my faults but I have a consolation: to protect my family. I still live with my wife and children inspiring them with good thoughts. Pray for me.”
“The third vision is more characteristic and I had the confirmation by a material fact. It is from the third deceased relative. He was an excellent man, but lively, passionate, imperious with the servants, and above all, attached to the material things of the world. Besides, he was skeptical, much more concerned with things of this life than with those of the future. Sometime after his death he came at night, impatiently pulling the curtains, as if willing to wake me up. Then I asked: - is that you?” “He said:
• Yes, I came to you because you are the only person that can answer me. My wife and children left to Orleans. I wanted to join but nobody obeys me. I asked Peter to pack up for me but he cannot hear me. Nobody gives me any attention. If you just could come with me and tie the horses onto the other coach and pack up for me you would do me a great favor, for I could then join my wife in Orleans.
• But can’t you do that?
• No. I cannot lift anything. I changed after the sleep during my illness. I no longer know where I am. I feel like I am living a nightmare.
• Where are you coming from?
• From B…
• From the castle?
• No! He screamed in horror, taking his hand to his forehead. I come from the cemetery.
After a gesture indicating desperation, he added:
• Look, my dear friend, ask all of our relatives to pray for me; I am very unfortunate!
He then left, disappeared and I lost sight of him. When he first came, impatiently pulling the curtains, his expression was of hallucination. When asked how he could pull the curtains since he had said that he couldn’t lift anything, he bluntly said: “I used my breath.”
“I learned the day after that his wife and children had actually left to Orleans.”
This last apparition is remarkable, particularly by the illusion shown by certain spirits who believe that they are still alive, and that has prolonged much longer in this case than others in analogous situations. Such an illusion commonly lasts only a few days whereas he still considered himself alive after three months. As a matter of fact, the situation is identical to what we have observed a number of times. He sees everything as he did when alive. He wants to speak and is caught by surprise for not being heard. He gets involved, or thinks to be involved, with his customary businesses. The existence of the perispirit is demonstrated here in a remarkable way, abstraction made of the vision. Once he considers himself alive, he sees with a body similar to the one he left behind. He acts with that body similarly to what he would do with the other one. To him, nothing has changed. He just hasn’t investigated yet the properties of his new body. He considers it dense and material as before, surprised by the fact that he cannot lift anything. Nonetheless, he finds his situation somehow strange, incomprehensible. He supposedly thinks that he is living a nightmare, taking death by the sleep. It is a mixed state between the corporeal and spiritual life, always painful and full of anxiety, which has something of both worlds. As we have said, this is what more or less frequently happens in cases of sudden death, such as those of suicide, apoplexy, execution, combat, etc.
We know that the separation between body and perispirit takes place gradually, and not suddenly. It starts before death, when this occurs due to the natural extinction of the vital forces, be it by age, illnesses or, particularly, in those people who still alive have the presentiment of their end, identifying themselves through their thoughts with the future existence, in such a way that when exhaling their last breath, the separation is more or less complete. When a lively body is caught by surprise by death, the separation starts at that very moment, taking some time to complete. While there is a link between the body and the spirit, the spirit will remain perturbed. If the spirit suddenly enters the spiritual world he will be alarmed, not promptly recognizing the situation or the properties of his new body. There is the need to move around, somehow, and that is what makes him think that he is still in this world.
Beyond the circumstances of violent death, there are others that make the link between the body and the spirit even stronger, for the illusion that we mentioned is equally observed in certain cases of natural death. That is when the person has lived much more the material than the moral life. It is understandable that his attachment to matter may retain him even longer, after death, putting off even more the idea that nothing has changed. That is the case of the person that we have just talked about.
Let us observe the difference between his situation and the other of the second relative. One still wants to control, thinks that he still need his suitcases, horses, and carriages, to meet his wife. He still doesn’t know that, as a spirit, he can do it instantaneously, but his perispirit is still so materialized that finds himself submitted to all bodily needs. The other one who has lived the moral life; that had religious feelings; that had identified himself with the future life, although more suddenly surprised than the first relative, he is already detached. He says that he lives among his loved ones but he knows that he is a spirit. He speaks with his wife and children but he knows that it is through the mind. In short, he no longer has illusions whereas the first one is perturbed and anxious; his feeling of a real life is so real that he saw the wife and children leaving, as they really did on the very day he indicated, a fact that was ignored by the relative to whom he showed up.
Let us note also a characteristic expression that shows his position very well. Responding to the question: Where are you coming from? He answered, indicating the place where he was living. Following the question: From the castle? He answered in horror: “No. I come from the cemetery.” Well, this proves one thing: because the detachment was not complete there was a kind of attraction between the spirit and the body, which led him to say that he was coming from the cemetery. But as it seems, he started to understand the truth at that point. The question itself seemed to have given him the lead, calling his attention to his remains, being that the reason why he answered in horror. 
There is large number of examples of that kind. One of the most expressive ones is that of the suicide of the Samaritan baths, reported in our June 1858 issue. Evoked a few days after his death he also asserted that he was alive, saying: “I feel the worms devouring me”. As indicated in our report, it was not a memory, since he was not devoured by the worms when alive. It was then a present feeling, a kind of repercussion transmitted by the body to the spirit, through the fluidic communication still existing between them.
Such communications are not always translated in the same way, although they are always more or less painful and operate as a first punishment to those who, when alive, were strongly identified with material things.
What a difference form the calm, serenity, smooth quietness of those who die without remorse, conscious of having employed well their time on Earth; of those who were not dominated by their passions!
The transition is short and sweet, as death to them is a departure from exile, a return to the true homeland. Is there a theory in this, a system? No. It is the picture that is daily offered to us by the communications from beyond the grave, whose aspects vary infinitely, from which everyone can take a useful teaching, finding examples that can be used, as long as one takes the burden of examining them. They constitute a mirror that can be used by anyone who is not blindfolded by pride.

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