The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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The Manufacturer of St. Petersburg
His countryman Baron Gabriel Tscherkassoff, who lives in Cannes and who attests to its authenticity, transmitted the following facts of a spontaneous manifestation to our colleague, Mr. Kratzoff, from St. Petersburg. As a matter of fact, it seems that the facts are very well known and were a sensation in its day.

“In the beginning of the century there was a rich artisan in St. Petersburg that employed a large number of workers in his workshops. I can’t remember his name but I believe he was English. He was a rightful, decent, humane person, not only enjoying the good returns of his products but also ensuring the moral as well as physical well being of his workers who, in turn, offered the example of good behavior and an almost fraternal agreement. According to Russian costumes, still existent in our days, food and lodging were covered by the employer, where they occupied the upper floors and the attic of the same house. One morning several workers could not find their clothes after waking up, clothes they had set beside their beds before going to sleep. Nobody thought of robbery. They unsuccessfully questioned one another, suspecting that the most malicious ones could be tricking the group. Finally, thanks to their searches, all missing objects were found in the cellar, in the fireplaces and even on top of the roof. The boss warned everyone since nobody would confess wrongdoing. On the contrary, everyone protested innocence.”

“Some time later the same thing happened again. There was new recommendations, new protests. It gradually began to happen every night and the owner was really upset because he saw his work suffering and the threat of his workers leaving the house where, they said, supernatural things were taking place. Following the owner’s advice, a nightly watch was organized by the employees themselves in order to catch the offender, but it was unsuccessful. On the contrary, things changed from bad to worse. The workers had to climb dimly lit stairs to get to their rooms. When they would arrive, several of them received blows on the head and had their faces slapped. Whenever they tried to defend themselves they would only find emptiness, while the violence of the blows gave them the impression that they were dealing with a solid creature. This time the owner advised them to form two groups: one should stay on the top of the stairwell, the other on the bottom. Following that procedure the bad guy could not escape and would receive the deserved correction. However, the owner’s strategy failed once again. The two groups were badly beaten and one accused the other. The complaints became violent and as it reached the highest possible level of disagreement among the workers, the owner was even considering moving or shutting down the whole operation.”

“One evening he sat, sad and full of thoughts, surrounded by his family. Everyone was feeling disheartened when suddenly a huge noise was heard in the room next door, which was used as his office. He stood up promptly, looking for the cause of that noise. The first thing he saw was an open desk with a lit oil lamp. However, he had just closed that desk and put the light out. He approached the desk and saw a glass inkpot and a pen that did not belong to him and a sheet of paper on which he read still in fresh ink: “Have the wall in such a place taken down (above the stairwell). There you will find human remains which you will have buried in sacred land.” The owner grabbed the piece of paper and rushed to the police.”

“The day after they tried to identify the origin of the inkpot and the pen. They were shown to the neighbor who had their business on the ground floor and confirmed that the pieces were his. Once questioned about the person to whom he had given them, he said: “Last night I had already closed shop when I heard knocks on the window; I opened and saw a man whose looks were not familiar, who said: “I need you to give me an inkpot and a pen. I will pay for that.” I gave him the objects and he threw a large copper coin which I heard falling on the ground but I could not find it.”

“The wall was demolished at the indicated spot and there they found the human remains which were duly buried and everything went back to normal. The origin of that skeleton was never known.”

Facts of such a nature must have happened at all times and it can be seen that they were not provoked by the spiritist knowledge. It is understandable that in remote centuries or among ignorant people they have given rise to all kinds of superstitious assumptions.

Tangible Apparition

Last January 14th Mr. Lecomte, a farmer from the village of Brix, in the district of Valognes, was visited by an individual who was said to be one of his old comrades, with whom he had worked at the Port of Cherburg, and whose death goes back two and half years. The apparition wished to ask Lecomte to have a mass celebrated in his name at the Church. On the 15th the apparition showed up again. Lecomte, less afraid this time, effectively recognized his old comrade. Still disturbed, he did not know what to answer though. The same thing happened again on January the 17th and 18th. It was only on the 19th that Lecomte said:
• Since you want a mass, where do you want it celebrated? Will you attend it?
• I want, responded the spirit, that the mass be celebrated at St. Savior Chapel, in eight days. I will be there. And he added: I haven’t seen you for a long time and it was far away for me to come and see you. That was what he said and then he left with a handshake.

Mr. Lecomte did not fail his promise. The mass was celebrated on the 27th at the St. Savior Chapel and he saw his old comrade kneeling on the steps of the altar, near the vicar. Nobody else had seen him and although he had asked the priest and the assistants, they did not see him as well. Since then Lecomte was no longer visited, returning to his usual tranquility.

OBSERVATION: According to this report, whose authenticity is attested by a trustworthy source, it is not related to a simple vision but to a tangible apparition, since the deceased friend of Lecomte had shaken his hand. The incredulous will say that it was a hallucination. However, we still wait for their clear, logical and truly scientific explanation of the strange phenomena that they designate by that name, with the only objective, as it seems to us, of denying any solution.

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