The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Dialogue with the Spirit of a Living Person
Our distinct colleague, the Count of R…C… sent us the letter below, dated November 23rd last:

“Mr. President:
I heard that doctors, enthusiasts of their art and willing to contribute with the progress of Science, thus becoming useful to humanity, have officially given their bodies in will, to be used by the scalpel of the anatomical theaters. The experiment that I witnessed of the evocation of a living person (session of the Society on October 14th, 1859) did not seem very instructive to me, since it dealt with something very personal: establishing the communication between a living father with the deceased daughter.

I thought that what the doctors did for the human body a member of the Society could well do for the soul, of a still living person, being at your disposal for a test of such a kind. You could perhaps obtain new clarifications with respect to the isolation of the body and the soul, by preparing the questions before hand, avoiding personal issues. Taking advantage of an illness that keeps me at home I herewith offer myself as a subject for investigation, if you wish to do so. Then, come next Friday and in the absence of any hold up, I will be ready at 9 pm so that you can evoke me… etc.” We took the offer from Mr. Count de R…C…, with as much enthusiasm as we thought that he would be at our disposal, helping with our investigations out of his own admission. On another hand, his education, his superior intelligence – which one must say in-passing that it did not preclude him from being an excellent spiritist – and the experience he had acquired in his journeys around the world as a Captain of the Imperial Navy, justified our expectations of a more judicious appreciation of his condition. The wait did not let us down. We then established two dialogues with him as follows, one on November 25th, the second on December 2nd, 1859.

Society, November 25th, 1859

1. Evocation – A. I am here.

2. At this moment are you aware of your desire to be evoked? – A. Perfectly.

3. Where are you here? – A. Between you and the medium.

4. Do you see us as well as when you attend our sessions in person? – A. More or less, but a bit vague. I am not totally asleep.

5. How can you be conscious of your individuality here now when your body is in bed? A. At this moment my body is just an accessory. It is me who is here.
OBSERVATION: It is me who is here is a remarkable answer. For him the body is not the essential part of his being. The essential part is the spirit that constitutes him, and his spirit and the body are two distinct things.

6. Can you move back and forth from here to the house at will and instantaneously? - A. Yes.

7. Going back home and returning here are you aware of the distance that is covered? Do you see the objects in your path? – A. I could but I neglect that since it would be of no interest.

8. Is your state now similar to that of a somnambulist? – A. Not entirely. My body sleeps, meaning that it is more or less inert. The somnambulist does not sleep. His organic faculties are modified but not eliminated.

9. The spirit of a living person when evoked, could that spirit prescribe medications, like that of a somnambulist? – A. If that spirit knows the medication or is in contact with another spirit that does know the medication, yes; on the contrary, no.

10. The recollection of your corporeal life, is that clearly present in your current memory? A. Very clear.

11. Could you mention one of your most important activities of the day? – A. I could but I will not do that. I am sorry for having proposed such a question (he had requested that such a question be framed, as a proof).

12. Is it as a spirit that you regret having requested such a question? – A. As a spirit.

13. Why do you regret that? – A. Because I understand better how fair it is, in the majority of the cases, that such revelations be made. 14. Can you describe your bedroom? – A. I certainly can; and also the porter’s.

15. Then, kindly describe one of them. – A. I said I could but it doesn’t mean that I want.

16. What is the disease that keeps you at home? – A. The gout

17. Is there a remedy for gout? If there is could you prescribe it considering that you would do a great service? – A. I could but I will not do that. The remedy would be worse than the disease.

18. Worse or not, could you prescribe it with the condition that it would not be used? – A. There are several, among them the colchicum.
OBSERVATION: Once he was awake the Count acknowledged to have never heard about the use of that plant as a specific medication for gout.

19. In your present state would you see a friend in harms’ way and could you go to help him? – A. I could. I would give him inspiration if he were able to hear that and even with more reason if he were a medium.

20. Considering that we evoked you based on your own desire, and that you placed yourself at our disposal for the investigation, kindly describe to us, in the best possible and comprehensible way, the state in which you find yourself now. – A. I am in the happiest and most satisfactory state that one can experience. Have you had a dream one day in which the warmth of the bed made you believe that you were smoothly swinging in air, or on the peak of a lukewarm wave, without any concern with the movements; unaware of your heavy and cumbersome limbs, moving or dragging around; In short, without any need to satisfy, not feeling the spur of hunger or thirst? I am in such a state near you, and I only gave you a tiny sample of what I feel.

21. Does your body suffer any physiological modification now due to the absence of the spirit? – A. No way. I am in the state that you call first dream, a deep and heavy sleep that we all experience, when we move away from the body.
OBSERVATION: The sleep, which was not complete at the beginning of the evocation, had been gradually established as a consequence of the detachment of the spirit, leaving the body in a profound resting state.

22. If your body were suddenly awake at the time when your spirit is here, what would happen? – A. What is sudden to the human being is too slow to the spirit, who has always time to be warned.

23. The happiness which you describe and that you enjoy in your free state, would that keep any relationship with the pleasant sensations experienced at the initial moments of asphyxia? Mr. S…, who involuntarily had the satisfaction of experiencing that, is addressing this question to you. – A. He is not entirely wrong. In the death by asphyxia there is an instant analogous to the one that he describes, with the difference that the spirit loses its lucidity, whereas here lucidity is considerably amplified.

24. Is your spirit connected to your body by any kind of link? – A. Yes, and I am perfectly aware of that.

25. What can you compare such a link to? – A. Nothing that you know. It would have the appearance of a phosphorescent light to you, in case you could see it, but which causes no sensation.

26. Does such a light affect you in the same way? Would that have the same shades that you see through the eyes? – A. Absolutely since the eyes operate as windows to the mind.

27. Do you hear the sounds with the same distinction? – A. More distinctly since I hear sounds which escape you.

28. How do you transmit your thought to the medium? – A. I act upon his hand, to give it direction, facilitated by an action on the brain.

29. Are you served by the words that the medium has in his brain or do you indicate the words that he writes. – A. One and the other, according to the conveniences.

29.a In case you were served by a medium who ignores your language and his language were foreign to you, like for example Chinese, how could you transmit your message? – A. That would be more difficult and perhaps impossible. At any rate it would only be possible with a flexibility and malleability which are difficult to find.

30. A spirit whose body was dead would experience the same difficulty to communicate through a medium that was completely strange to his language when alive? – A. Perhaps less, although it might always exist. I can assure you that depending on the case the spirit provides the medium with his expressions or employs theirs.

31. Does your presence here cause fatigue to your body? – A. Absolutely.

32. Does your body dream? – A. No. That is why it does not experience fatigue. The person that you talked about experienced sensations through the organs which were transmitted to the spirit. That is what caused fatigue. I experience nothing like that.
OBSERVATION: He refers to a person that was spoken about at the moment when in a similar situation she said that the body experienced fatigue, comparing the spirit to a captive balloon, whose jolts are transmitted to the supporting pole. The day after Count de R…C… said that he had a dream in which he was at the Society, between the medium and us. It is evidently a memory of the evocation. It is likely that he was not dreaming at the time of the question, since he responded negatively. It is also possible, and more likely, that as the dream is a recollection of the spirit’s activities, in reality it is not the body that dreams since the body does not think. He then responded negatively, not knowing that when awake his spirit would remember. If the body had dreamed while the spirit was absent the spirit would have had a double action. Well, he could not be simultaneously at the Society and at his house.

33. Is your spirit in the same state as it will be when you are dead? – A. More or less the same thing, with the exception of the link that attaches it to the body

34. Are you aware of your previous existences? – A. Vaguely. That is another difference that I forgot. After the complete disconnection which follows death, the recollections are much more precise. At this moment they are more complete than in the waking state but not sufficient for me to specify them in a more intelligible way.

35. In case your writings were shown to you when you wake up would you be aware of the answers that you have just given? – A. I could identify some of my thoughts but many others would not find any echo in my mind when awake.

36. Could you exert such a powerful influence over the body to the point of waking him up? – A. No.

37. Could you respond to a mental question? – A. Yes.

38. Do you see us in spirit or physically? – A. One and the other.

39. Could you visit your father’s brother who they say is in an island of the Oceania, and as a seaman precisely identify the position of the island? – A. I can’t do any of that.

40. What do you think now of your endless work and its objective? A. I think that I must continue the work, with the same objective. It is all I can say.
OBSERVATION: He had asked to have this question addressed to him, with respect to an important task he had initiated about the Navy.

41. We would be delighted if you wanted to address a few words to your colleagues, a kind of short speech. – A. Since I have the opportunity I take it to attest, based on my faith in the future of the soul, that the gravest mistake that the individual can make is to search for proofs and more proofs. This is at most forgiving in those people who initiate in the knowledge of Spiritism. Haven’t they repeated thousands of times that it is necessary to believe since one understands and loves justice and truth, and that if we satisfied one of those puerile questions, the one who intends to make them to be convinced would frame others on the day after and that you would irremediably waste a precious time, turning the spirits into foretellers? I understand it now much better than when awake and can give you a wise advice, for the time when you wish to obtain such results. Those who want to get involved with such manifestations much speak to the rapping spirits and to the turning since they have nothing better to do. Forgive me for the lecture but I need it as I need others and I am not upset for giving it to myself. Second session, December 2nd, 1859

42. Evocation. – A. I am here.

43. Are you deeply asleep? – A. Not much but that will still come.

44. In your particular case now, do you consider it to be useful to make the evocation in the name of God, as if you were the spirit of a dead person? – A. Why not? Do you believe that just because I am not dead God is indifferent to me?

45. If at the moment that you are here your body was pinched, not strongly enough to wake you up but sufficiently to be felt, would your spirit feel it? – A. My body would not feel it.

46. Would your spirit be aware of the fact? – A. The spirit wouldn’t have the slightest idea; but notice that you talk about a light sensation and without much importance both to the body and to the spirit.

47. With respect to light, you said that you feel it as if in the waking state, since your eyes are like windows through which light gets to the brain. We understand that regarding the light perceived by the body but at this moment it is not the body that sees. Do you still see through a specific spot or through the whole being? A. It is very difficult to explain. The spirit perceives the sensations without the intermediation of the organs and has no circumscribed spot to feel them.

48. I insist once more with the question relatively to the objects and space around you if they present the same colors as when you are awake. – A. To me, yes, since my organs do not deceive me. However, certain spirits would find large differences in all that. You, for example, perceive the sounds and colors in a very different way. 49. Do you feel the smells? – A. Also better than you do. 50. Do you establish a distinction between light and obscurity? – A. Distinction yes, but for me it is not the same as for you. I see perfectly well in the darkness. 51. Does your vision penetrate the opaque bodies? – A. Yes. 52. Could you go to another planet? – A. That depends. 53. Depends on what? – A. On the planet.

54. Which planet could you go to? – A. To those on the same level of evolution as Earth, or similar.

55. Do you see the other spirits? – A. Many and still.
OBSERVATION: Someone that knows him in the intimacy and that was present at the session said that such expression was very familiar. Thus, that person saw in this as in the general form of the language a proof of his identity.

56. Do you see them here? – A. Yes.

57. How do you confirm their presence? By a given form? – A. Through their form, that is, their perispirit.

58. Do you eventually see your children and can you talk to them? – A. I see and talk to them very frequently.

59. You said: At this moment the body is a simple accessory to me. It is me who is here. This me, is it bounded, limited; has it any form? In a word, how do you see yourself? – A. It is always the perispirit.

60. Then, the perispirit is a body to you? – A. There is no doubt about it.

61. Does your perispirit imitate the shape of your material body and does it seem to you that you are here with your body? – A. Yes to the first question, no to the second. I am perfectly aware that I am here with my luminous fluidic body only.

62. Could you punch me? – A. Yes, but you would feel nothing.

63. Could you do that in a perceptible way? – A. That is possible but I cannot do it here.

64. If, while you are here, your body died, what would you feel? – A. I would be there before that.

65. Would you be detached more promptly as if you had died under normal circumstances? – A. Very much! I wouldn’t go in but to close the door, after having left.

66. You said you have the gout. Don’t you agree with your doctor who is present here and seems to believe that you suffer neuralgic rheumatism? What is your opinion about it? – A. I think that as long as you are so well informed, that should be enough.

67. (The doctor) What is the basis of your belief in gout? – A. It is my opinion. I may be wrong, particularly if you are so sure about your diagnosis.

68. (The doctor) Could it be the case that there is a complication of gout and rheumatism? – A. Then we would be both right. We could only embrace one another.
OBSERVATION: The audience laughed at this answer.

69. When you see us laughing, does it make you laugh? – A. To the laughter. Can’t you hear me?

70. You said that the colchicum is an efficient medication against the gout. Where did you take such an idea from, if you did not know it when awake? – A. I used it in former times.

71. Then it was on another existence? – A. Yes, and it harmed me…

72. If you were asked an indiscrete question, would you feel embarrassed to answer it? – A. Oh! That is strong. Try me.

73. In your state, do you have complete free-will? – A. More than you do.
OBSERVATION: Experience has demonstrated in many occasions that the spirits separated from the body have their own will and only say what they want. Better understanding the reach of things they are still more sensible than when awake. When they say something is because they consider that to be useful.

74. Would you have the freedom of not having come to us when we evoked you? – A. Yes, with the risk of suffering the consequences of such attitude.

75. What would those consequences be? – A. If I refuse to be useful to my fellow human beings, particularly when I have perfect awareness of my actions, I am free but I am punished.

76. Which kind of punishment would you receive? – A. I would have to explain God’s code to you and this would take a long time.

77. If at this very moment someone insulted you, saying things that you would not accept if awake, which kind of feelings would you have? – A. Indifference.

78. Then you would not try to retaliate? – A. No.

79. Do you have any idea of the position you shall have when you are definitely among the spirits? – A. No. That is not allowed.

80. Do you believe that, in your present state, the spirit may predict the death of the body? – A. Sometimes, if I had to die suddenly, there would always be time to return to the body.

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