The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Dr. Vignal

Dr. Vignal, a regular member of the Society, offered to be the subject of study regarding the evocation of the spirit of a living person, as it was carried out with Count R… He was evoked in the session of February 3rd, 1860.

1. (To St. Louis) – Can we evoke Dr. Vignal? – A. No problem, since he is prepared.

2. Evocation. – A. I am here. I attest it in the name of God, what I would not do if responding by someone else.

3. Although alive, do you think it is necessary that the evocation be done in the name of God? – A. Doesn’t God exist to the living ones as much as to the dead?

4. Can you see us as clearly as when you attend our sessions? – A. A little bit more clearly.

5. Where are you located in here? – A. Where my action is naturally required: to the right, a little bit behind the medium.

6. Were you aware of the distance covered in order to come from Sully to our place? Did you see the path when you travelled? – A. Not more than the vehicle that brought me.

7. Can we offer you a chair? – A. You are very kind. I am not as tired as you are.

8. How do you verify your individuality here? – A. Like the others. OBSERVATION: He refers to what has been already said in similar cases, that is, the spirit verifies its individuality through the perispirit which represents the body.

9. However, we would appreciate if you gave the explanation yourself. – A. What you ask is a repetition.

10. Since you do not wish to repeat what has already been said is that because you think in the same way? – A. That is clear enough.

11. Your perispirit is then a kind of limited and bounded body to you? – A. That is evident. It is not necessary to say.

12. Can you see your body sleeping? – A. Not from here. I saw it when I left. I felt like laughing.

13. How is the relationship established between your body in Sully and your spirit here? – A. As I told you, through the fluidic cord.

14. Would you describe, in the best possible way so that we understand, how you see yourself, apart from your body? – A. That is very easy. I see myself as in the waking state or even better, since the comparison is fairer, I see myself like we see ourselves in our dreams. I have my body but I am aware that it is organized in a different and lighter way when compared to the other. I don’t feel the weight or the force of gravity which bonds me to Earth when I am awake. In other words, and as I told you, I am not tired.

15. Do the shades of light appear to you in the same way as in the normal state? – A. No. Light gets the addition of a tone that is not perceptible by your dense senses. However, you must not conclude that the colors perceived by the optical nerve are different to me. Red is red and so far. Having said that some objects that I did not see in darkness during my waking state I can see now, as they are luminous in their own right. That is how total darkness absolutely does not exist to the spirit although it is possible to establish a difference between what is clear and what is not clear to you.

16. Is your vision unrestricted or limited to the focused object? – A. Neither one thing nor the other. I absolutely don’t know the kind of changes that may take place to a spirit who is entirely free. As for myself, I know that the material objects are seen in their interior; that my vision goes through them. However, I cannot see all over the place and from a distance.

17. Would you like to be submitted to an experiment, as a trial, not based on curiosity but to our own instruction? – A. Absolutely not. That is strictly forbidden to me.

18. The idea was to have you reading the question that comes to my hand and responding, without my verbal interrogation. – A. I could but I repeat it is forbidden to me.

19. How can you be aware of what is prohibited to you? – A. Through the transmission of thoughts from the spirit who forbids me.

20. Here is the question then: Can you see yourself in a mirror? – A. No. What do you see in the mirror? The reflection of a material object. I am not material. I can only produce the reflection through the operation that makes the perispirit visible.

21. As a consequence, the spirit which assumes the condition of an agénère, for example, could it be seen in a mirror? – A. Certainly.

22. At this point in time could you assess the healthy or unhealthy condition of a person as well as you would in your normal state? – A. With more confidence.

23. Could you give a consultation, if someone requested? – A. I could but I don’t want to compete with the somnambulists and the benevolent spirits that guide them. When I am dead perhaps I shall not refuse that.

24. Is your current state identical to your state after your death? – A. No. I will have certain perceptions which are much more accurate. Don’t forget that I am still attached to matter.

25. Could your body die while you are here, without you knowing? – A. No. We die this way every day.

26. That is understandable with respect to a natural death, always preceded by some symptoms but what if someone hits you and instantly kills you, how would you know? – A. I would be ready to receive the blow, before the arm would come down.

27. What is the need that your spirit would have to return to the body if there is nothing else that can be done? – A. It is a very wise law, which without it, when we are out of the body, we are often reluctant to return to it and that would be made as an excuse for suicide… hypocritically.

28. Suppose your spirit was not here but at home, wandering around while the body slept. Would you be able to see everything that was going on? – A. Yes.

29. In that case, suppose that someone was doing something bad, like a relative or a stranger. Could you be a witness of the fact? – A. No doubt; but not always free to oppose that action. However, it does happen more frequently than you think.

30. Which type of impression would this bad action have on you? Would that affect you as much as if you were a living witness? – A. Sometimes more, sometimes less, according to the circumstances.

31. Would you feel the desire for revenge? – A. Not to revenge but to impede the action.

OBSERVATION: It results from what has just been said, and as a matter of fact, it is a consequence of what we already know, that the spirit of a living person that is asleep knows perfectly well what goes on around them. Anybody who intended to take advantage of the sleep to practice a bad action against that person is mistaken when believing that the action is unseen. Even the sleeping person’s obliviousness after waking up should not be counted on once the person may have kept a very strong intuition of the event, sometimes inspiring suspicion. The dreams of presentiment are nothing else but more or less accurate memories of what was seen during the sleep. Again, we have one more of the moral consequences of Spiritism; given the conviction of this phenomenon may perhaps be a barrier for many people. Here is a fact that supports that truth. One day a person receives a rude and anonymous letter. All efforts were employed to find out who the sender was. One must admit that the enigma was solved during the sleep since the very next day, after waking up and not having even dreamed, all thoughts were directed to someone who was not even under suspicion and after verification the fact was confirmed.

32. Let us go back to your sensations and perceptions. How do you see things, through what? – A. Through my whole being.

33. Do you hear sounds, and where? – A. It is the same thing since perception is transmitted to the spirit through its imperfect organs and it must be clear to you that when the spirit is free, it has numerous perceptions that you cannot understand.

34. (Someone rings a bell) – Did you hear the sound perfectly well? – A. Better than you do.

35. If you were made to hear music that was out of tune, would that cause the same impression on you as in your waking state? – A. I did not say that sensations are analogous. There is a difference but the perception is much more thorough.

36. Do you perceive odors? – A. No doubt, in the same manner as with the other senses.

OBSERVATION: It could then be said that the matter which surrounds the spirit operates like a buffer which dampens the sharpness of perception. Once separated from matter the spirit has the perception without intermediaries, being able to detect nuances which escape someone who received them through means which are denser than the perispirit. It then follows that the unfortunate spirits may experience pains that, although not physical from our stand point, are more pungent than the corporeal pains and that the happy spirits may feel pleasures which are incomprehensible to our sensations.

37. If you had savory dishes before your eyes, would you feel tempted to eat them? – A. The desire would be a distraction.

38. Suppose that your body is hungry while you are here. What would be the effect of seeing those foods, have on you? – A. This would make me leave to satisfy an irresistible need.

39. Could you tell us how you feel when you leave your body to come here or when you leave us and return to your body? How do you perceive that? – A. That would be very difficult. I come in as I leave, without noticing, or better saying, not aware of how the phenomenon occurs. However, don’t believe that when the spirit enters the body it is imprisoned like in a room. The spirit constantly irradiates to the outside in such a way that one can say that the spirit is more frequently outside than inside. It is only the union which is more intimate and the links are tighter.

40. Do you see other spirits? – A. Those who want to be seen by me.

41. How do you see them? – A. Like I see myself.

42. Do you see them here, around us? – A. In a crowd.

43. Evocation of Charles Dupont (the spirit of Castelnaudary) – A. I am here and attend to your request.

44. Are you more relaxed today as compared to the last time you were called? – A. Yes. I am advancing on a good path.

45. Do you now understand that your penalties shall not last forever? – A. Yes.

46. Do you foresee the end of your suffering? – A. No. For my punishment, God does not allow me to see the end of that.

47. (To Dr. Vignal) Do you see the spirit that has just responded to us? – A. Yes. It is not a nice vision.

48. Can you describe him? – A. I see him as he showed up before with the difference that he no longer holds the dagger or has blood on him; his looks show more sadness than the ferocious brutalization of his first apparition.

49. When awake are you aware of the image that was portrayed of that spirit? – A. Yes, and I am also more informed.

50. When you see a spirit how do you know that his body is dead or alive? – A. By the fluidic cord.

51. How do you assess the morale condition of that spirit? – A. His morale has been sad; but he is improving.

52. (To Charles Dupont) – You hear what is said about you. That must encourage you to persevere in the path of progress that you have already entered. – A. Thank you. That is what I try to do.

53. Do you see the spirit of the doctor who we were talking to? – A. Yes.

54. How do you see him? – A. I see him with an envelope less transparent than the other spirits.

55. How can you say that he is still alive? – A. The common spirits have no apparent form. This one has a human form; he is surrounded by a misty like matter that reproduces his earthly human form. The spirits of the dead no longer have that envelope, once they are free.

56. (To Dr. Vignal) – If we evoke a mad person, how would you recognize it? – A. I would not recognize if his madness were recent since it would not have had an influence upon the spirit; however, if the spirit had been alienated for a long time, matter could have a certain influence on him, thus I would see some signs which would allow me to recognize as I do when awake.

57. Can you describe to us the causes of madness? – A. These are simply an alteration, a perversion of the organs, which no longer perceive things in a regular way, transmitting false sensations, thus leading the spirit to act against his own will.

OBSERVATION: It does frequently happen that certain persons, whose spirits are perfectly healthy, show in their limbs and in other parts of the body certain involuntary movements, independent of their will, like the so called nervous twitches. It is easy to understand that if those alterations took place in the brain instead of arms or face, the transmission of the thought would suffer its influence. The impossibility of driving or controlling such emissions constitutes madness.

58. After the last answer by Dr. Vignal, the medium who served as interpreter to Charles Dupont wrote spontaneously: - Those spirits of mad persons are recognized among us because they move around, in all directions, without a firm idea, not even of God or prayers. They need time to settle in. Signed: Cauvière Since nobody thought of calling this spirit, Mr. Belliol asked if he would be the spirit of Dr. Cauvière from Marseille, who had been his professor. – A. Yes, it is me, deceased one and a half years ago.

OBSERVATION: Mr. Belliol recognized Dr. Cauvière’s signature. Later it was possible to compare it with an original signature, attesting the perfect identity between the two.

59. (To Mr. Cauvière) – Why have you honored us with your unexpected visit? – A. It is not the first time that I have come here. Today I found a favorable occasion to communicate with you and so I did.

60. Do you see your colleague Dr. Vignal who is here as a spirit? – A. Yes, I see him.

61. How would you know that he is still alive? – A. Due to his wrapping body which is less transparent than ours.

62. This answer agrees with the one that has just been given by Charles Dupont and that seemed to have gone beyond his intelligence. Was it you who answered? – A. I could influence him since I was here.

63. What is your state as a spirit? – A. I have not reincarnated yet but I am advanced as a spirit although I was far from the belief in what you call Spiritualism on Earth. It was necessary to get educated where I am here. However, my intelligence, which has been improved by the study promptly, enlightened me.

64. In case you agree we will ask you a question prepared to Dr. Vignal, requesting the answer from each one of you, with the help of your individual interpreters. How do you see now the difference between the spirit of the animals and humans? Dr. Vignal’s answer: It is not much easier for me to perceive that than in my waking state. My current thought is that the spirit sleeps in the animal, like it is morally numb, and that it painfully wakes up in a human being. Mr. Cauvière’s answer: The spirit of a human being is called to a greater task of perfection than that of the animals. The difference is substantial since there is only instinctive existence in the latter ones. Later that instinct may perfect.

65. Can such betterment get to the point of a human spirit? – A. It can but after having passed through many existences as animal on Earth as well as in other planets.

66. Can you kindly, both of you, write a spontaneous essay to us, about a subject of your choice?

Mr. Cauvière’s Essay

Dear good friends, I am so happy for being able to speak a little bit with you that I wish to give you an advice, not particularly you who are believers but those whose faith is still faltering or those who have no faith and reject it. It is true that I cannot see all my living comrades here, and who would not believe me. Nevertheless I would tell them that when alive I stubbornly rejected the truth, although I felt it in my inner most being. The majority of them do as I did: through a false self-love they don’t want to agree with what they sometimes experience. They are mistaken because indecision makes us suffer on Earth, particularly when the time comes to leave it behind. Thus, get instructed! Have good faith! You shall be happier in your world as in the world where I am now. If you truly wish, I shall come other times to talk to you.

Dr. Vignal’s Essay

What is the benefit of Astronomy and why does it matter the time taken by a bullet to travel from Earth to the Sun? That is how very dignified persons think, people who do not see in Science any other application but that of industry or their self-serving wealth. However, without Astronomy, how could you adopt the remarkable system which we are developing now, instead of any other introduced by ignorant and jealous spirits? If Earth was, like it was formerly thought, the central point of the Universe; if the numerous suns which populate space were not but simply shiny dots hanging on a crystal dome, which arguments would you have to make you admit the past and future of the spirit? Astronomy, on the contrary, comes to demonstrate that the planetary life around our Sun is reflected back into everything that composes the nebula that encompasses our world; that all these planets are organized differently from each other and consequently life condition is not the same on each of them. You are then led to ask if God creates instantaneously and the spirit which must animate each body; what would be the reason then for its creation here and not elsewhere, on Earth and not in another world, in this particular condition and not in another! Thus, a stern logic leads you to admit the plurality of the worlds, the pre-existence of the soul and the reincarnation as expressions of the greatest truth. Astronomy is then useful since it gives you the necessary conditions to receive the sublime truths that shall unfold to you by the inexorable progress of Spiritism and Science. Helped by industry, Astronomy is meant to lead you to the discovery of other wonders beyond those that you only had a glimpse so far. From now on Astronomy and Theology are sisters and shall march hand in hand.
Vignal, by Arago

Ms. Indermuhle

Born deaf-mute, currently 32 years old, living in Berne (Session of February 10th, 1860)

1. (To St. Louis) – Can we establish communication with the spirit of Ms. Indermuhle? – A. Yes, you can.

2. Evocation. – A. I am here and I say so in the name of God.

3. (To St. Louis) – Can you tell us if the spirit who responds is actually that of Ms. Indermuhle? – A. I can positively assure you. Are you so advanced and believe that if it were another spirit responding it would be more embarrassing? The affirmation demonstrates that she is here. It is up to you to ensure a good communication by the nature and objective of your questions.

3a. (To Ms. Indermuhle) * – Do you really know where you are now? – A. I know perfectly well. Do you think I was not informed about it?

4. How can you respond to us here if your body is in Switzerland? – A. Because it is not the body that responds. As a matter of fact, and as you know, my body is absolutely incapable of doing that.

5. What is your body doing right now? – A. It is asleep.

6. Is your body healthy? – A. Yes, very healthy. OBSERVATION: Ms. Indermuhle’s brother who was attending the session confirmed that she was really healthy.

7. How long did it take you to get here from Switzerland? – A. A time that you cannot perceive.

8. Where you aware of the directions taken to come here? – A. No.

9. Are you surprised for being here in this meeting? – A. My first answer demonstrates the opposite.

10. What would happen if your body woke up while you are here? – A. I would be there.

11. Is there any link between your spirit that is here and your body there? – A. Yes, without it how could I be informed that I should return?

12. Do you see us clearly? – A. Yes, perfectly well.

13. Do you understand that you can see us but we cannot see you? – A. Yes, no doubt.

14. Can you hear the sound that I produce now by knocking? – A. I am not deaf here.

15. How could you know since you cannot compare with a memory from when you are awake? – A. I was not born yesterday.

OBSERVATION: The memory of the sensation of noise comes from existences in which she was not deaf. The answer is perfectly logical.

16. Would the sound of music give you pleasure? – A. The more pleasure the longer it lasts. Sing something for me.

17. We are sorry for not being able to do it now and for not having here an instrument to give you such a pleasure. It seems to us however that since your spirit separates from the body every day during your sleep, it must be transported to places where you can hear music. – A. That rarely happens to me.

18. How can you respond in French since you are German and you ignore our language? – A. Thought has no language. I transmit it to the medium’s guide who then translates it to the language that he is familiar with.

19. Who is the guide that you are talking about? – A. The familiar spirit of the medium. That is how you can receive communications from foreign spirits and that is how the spirits speak all languages.

OBSERVATION: Thus, the answers would often reach us only from third parties. The interrogated spirit transmits their thought to the familiar spirit, this one to the medium and the medium translates it, speaking or writing. Now, since the medium may be assisted by spirits more or less good, this explains why in several occasions the thought of the interrogated spirit may be altered. Hence, St. Louis said that the presence of the evoked spirit is not always enough to ensure the integrity of the answers. It is up to us to analyze and judge if they are logical and in agreement with the level of the spirit. As a matter of fact, according to Ms. Indermuhle, this triple channel would only happen with foreign spirits.

20. What is the origin of the illness that has affected you? – A. A voluntary cause.

21. Why on Earth would all six siblings be equally affected? – A. For the same reason as I am.

22. Then, it was voluntarily that you all chose the same trial? We believe that such a gathering in the same family must happen as a trial to the parents. Is that a good reason? – A. It is close to the truth.

23. Do you see your brother here? – A. What a question!

24. Are you happy for seeing him? – A. Same answer.

OBSERVATION: It is a known fact that the spirits don’t like to repeat themselves. Our language is so slow to them that they avoid anything that seems useless. This is a peculiarity that characterizes the serious spirits. The lighthearted, mocking, obsessing and pseudo-wise spirits are generally talkative and verbose. Like those people with no foundation, they speak and say nothing; the words replace the thoughts that they believe by imposing phrases with redundant words and an obscure style.

25. Would you like to tell him anything? – A. May he receive my most sincere appreciation for his good thoughts in bringing me here where I am now, fortunately in touch with good spirits, although some are not so worthy. I have learned a lot and shall not forget what I owe him.

* The number 3 appears repeated in the original - NT

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