The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Following circumstances that gave us contact with the daughter of one of the main convulsionaries of Saint-Médard, it was possible to collect some particulars information about that sect. Thus, there is no exaggeration regarding the reports of torture that these fanatics voluntarily submitted themselves to. It is well known that one of the mortifications consisted of the person’s submission to the crucifixion and all sufferings of the passion of Christ. The person, who we are speaking about and who had died in 1830, still had holes in her hands caused by the nails that were used to suspend her on the cross and on her side, the marks of wounds left by spears. She carefully hid those stigmas of fanaticism, always avoiding having to explain them to her children. In the history of the Convulsionaries, she is known by a pseudo name that shall not be mentioned by reasons that will be revealed in due course. The following conversation took place in the presence of her daughter, who requested the evocation. Private details that bear no interest to strangers were removed, details which gave the daughter an incontestable proof of identity.



1. Evocation. – A. I wanted to speak with you for a long time.


2. What were the reasons that led you to wish to speak with me? – A. I can appreciate your work, despite what you may think of my beliefs.


3. Do you see your daughter here? It was she, above all, who wanted to speak with you and we will be delighted to take the opportunity for our own instruction. – A. Yes, a mother always sees her children.


4. Are you happy as a spirit? A. – Yes and no, since I could have done better. But God takes my ignorance into account.


5. Do you remember perfectly well your latest existence? – A. I would have a lot to tell you but pray for me so that I am allowed to do that.


6. Have the tortures that you inflicted on yourself elevated you and made you happier as a spirit? – A. They did not do me harm but did not help me to advance in intelligence.


7. I kindly ask you to be accurate. My question refers to the fact, if that was taken into account in terms of your merit? – A. I would say that you have an item in The Spirits’ Book which provides the general answer. As for myself, I was a poor fanatic. Note: Reference to question 726 in The Spirits’ Book, related to voluntary sufferings.


8. That item states that the merit of the voluntary sufferings is in proportion to the resulting utility to others. The suffering of the Convulsionaries, I believe, did not have another objective other than a purely personal one. – A. It was generally personal, and if I had never mentioned it to my children it was because I vaguely understood that it was not the true path.


Observation: Here the spirit of the mother responds in anticipation to her daughter’s thoughts who wanted to ask why, when alive, she avoided to speak about it with her children.



9. What was the cause of the state of crisis in the Convulsionaries? – A. Natural disposition and overly excited fanaticism. I would never have wanted to have my children dragged towards that fatal cliff, which I recognize as such better still today. She then added, spontaneously responding to her daughter’s reflections who had not, however, formulated the question: I did not have an education but the intuition of many prior existences.


10. Among the phenomena produced by the convulsionaries did some of them have similar somnambulistic effects, like, for example, mind reading, far vision, and intuition of languages? Did magnetism represent any role on that? – A. Many do, and several priests have been magnetized, without people’s consent.


11. Where did the scars that you had in the hands and other parts of the body come from? – A. Poor trophies to our victories, that served nobody and that sometimes excited passions. You must understand me. Observation: It seems that, in the practice of the Convulsionaries, there were things of great immorality that had revolted the honest heart of this lady, and later when the fanatical fever was over, they led her to disgust everything that brought those memories back to her. It is no doubt one of the reasons that made her not want to talk about it with her children.


12. Were there real cures over Deacon Pâris’ grave? – A. Oh! What a question! You know well that no, or very little, particularly to you.


13. Have you seen Pâris, after your death? – A. I don’t occupy my time thinking about him since I have come to the world of the spirits. I blame him for my mistake.


14. How did you see him when you were alive? – A. As an envoy of God’s and that is why I criticize him for the bad things he did in the name of God.



15. However, isn’t he innocent of the foolish things done in his name after his death? – A. No because he himself did not believe his teachings. I did not understand that when alive as I understand it now.


16. Is it true that, as a spirit, he was indifferent to the manifestations which took place on his grave, as he said? – A. He deceived you.


17. Therefore, he excited fanaticism? – A. Yes, and he still does.


18. What do you do as a spirit? – A. I endeavor to enlighten myself and that is why I said I wanted to come to you.


19. Where are you here? – A. Near the medium, with a hand on his arm or shoulder.


20. If we could see you how would you be seen? – A. My daughter would see her mom, like when she was alive. As for you, you would see me in spirit; in words, I don’t know how to say.


21. Kindly explain yourself. What do you mean when you say that I would see you in spirit? – A. A transparent human form, according to the depuration of the spirit.


22. You said that you had other existences. Do you remember them? – A. Yes, I told you so and from my answers you can see that I had many.


23. Could you tell us which one preceded the one we know about? – A. Not tonight and not through this medium. Through the gentleman if you like. Note: She designates one of the assistants that had started to write as a medium, explaining her sympathy towards him, saying that she knew him from a preceding existence.


24. Would you be upset if I publish this conversation in the Review? – A. No. It is necessary that evil be known; but don’t call me… (Her nickname). I hate that name. Call me the great master, if you like.



Observation: We don’t mention the name that she was known by out of respect for her and because it brings her painful memories.


25. We thank you for coming and for the explanations given to us. – A. I am the one to thank you for having provided my daughter with the occasion of meeting her mother, and me with the opportunity of doing some good.

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