The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Writing medium, deceased on May 1st, 1860 in Sétif, Algeria, evoked first at the house of Mr. Allan Kardec on May 21st, then at the Society, on May 25th.

1. Evocation. – A. I am here.

2. We know each other by name, but not in person, since we have never met. Do you recognize me? – A. Oh! Very well.

3. Have you come to visit me after your death? – A. No, not yet, but I knew that you would call me.

4. As a medium and already perfectly acquainted with Spiritism, I thought that you could give us instructive explanations, better than others, about different points of the science. – A. I will respond the best I can.

5. This first evocation, in a certain way, aims only at establishing our relationship and to put us in touch. As for the questions, since they are of general interest, I prefer to address them to you at the Society. Thus, I ask you if you could kindly attend the invitation to come. – A. Yes, gladly so. I will respond and ask God to illuminate me.

6. There are five mediums here. Is there anyone who you might have preference for in order to act as your interpreter? – A. That is indifferent to me as long as it is a good medium.

7. Have you ever been deceived by spirits as a medium in your communications? – A. Ah, often! There are only a few mediums that have not, more or less. Note: Next day Mrs. Duret manifested spontaneously and revealed disappointment for not having been asked a higher number of questions the night before.

8. If I did not do that, as I said, I was reserving them for the Society. I just wanted to make sure that I could count on you. – A. What is done in your house is also useful to the Society. It is sometimes convenient to take advantage of the moment when the spirit wants to communicate since the circumstances are not always favorable to them.

9. Which circumstances may be favorable to them? – A. There are many that are of your knowledge but you need to know that it does not always depend on the spirit. Sometimes the spirit may need to be assisted by others who may not be always available at the moment.

10. Since you have come spontaneously, I must understand that you are in one of those adequate moments and I will use you, if you wish so. You said that you were often deceived as a medium. Do you see now the spirits that deceived you? – A. Yes. I see them very well. They wanted to interfere here too but I see them clearly. I am no longer a toy in their hands. Hence I repel them.

11. You also said that there are only a few mediums that have never been deceived. What does it depend on? – A. It depends a lot on the medium and on the one who interrogates.

12. Kindly explain it more clearly. – A. I mean that it is always possible, whenever there is the will, to be undisturbed by the bad spirits and that the first condition for that is not to attract them by weaknesses or faults. How much could I tell you about it! Ah! If the mediums only knew how much harm they are in when they give opportunity to the malevolent spirits!

13. Is it only in the spiritual world that they are doing harm? – A. Yes, and also in the world of the living ones.

14. What harm can they do to them in the world of the living ones? – A. There are many ways. To begin with, they become the prey to evil spirits, who abuse them and push them around, stimulating every germ of defect that they can find, particularly pride and jealousy. God punishes them later though, through the penalties of life. Observation: We have more than one example of mediums endowed by the most remarkable faculties who have been chased and subsided by disgrace, after having allowed themselves to be dominated by evil spirits.

15. Wouldn’t it be better not to be a medium then, since that faculty may drag us to such serious inconveniences? – A. Do you really believe that the bad spirits attack only the mediums? Mediumship, on the contrary, is a precious means of recognizing and forearming against them. It is the remedy that God, in His benevolence, places together with the illness. It is the warning of the good father who loves his children and wants to keep them from danger. Unfortunately those who enjoy that gift don’t want to or don’t know how to use it. They are like the unwise person who harms oneself with the weapon that should be used for one’s own defense.

16. Is that you yourself, Mrs. Duret, giving the answers? – A. It is I giving you the answers, I testify in God’s name. However, I believe that if I had been left on my own I would be incapable. The thoughts come to me from above.

17. Do you see the spirit who gives you inspiration? – A. No. There is a crowd of spirits here before whom I bow, and whose thoughts seem to irradiate upon me.

18. Thus, a spirit may receive inspiration from others, like when incarnated, and serve them as an intermediary? – A. Have no doubt about it. The spirit frequently thinks that the answers are his when in fact he is just an echo.

19. Whether the thoughts are yours or suggested by others, we don’t care since they are good and we thank the good spirits who suggest them to you. However, I would still ask why those spirits don’t answer directly? – A. They would do it if you had interrogated them. It was me that you have evoked. They want to answer and then they use me for my own enlightenment.

20. A spirit who has obsessed a medium in life, can he obsess that medium after death? – A. Death does not free a person from the obsession of bad spirits. It is the image of the devil, tormenting the suffering souls. Yes, those spirits pursue him after death and cause him horrible sufferings. This tormented creature feels embraced by a power from which he cannot be released. On the contrary, the one who has been freed from the obsession when he was alive is strong and the bad spirits pay him with fear and respect. They found their superior.

21. Are there many mediums that are really good, in the thorough meaning of the word? – A. There is no lack of doctors but of good doctors. The same applies to the mediums.

22. Which signs can be used to identify the communications of a trustworthy medium? – A. The communications from the good spirits have an unmistaken character when we take the burden of studying them. As for the medium, the best one would be the one who has never been deceived because that would be the proof that the medium only attracts good spirits.

23. But aren’t there mediums endowed by excellent moral qualities who are still deceived? – A. Yes, the bad spirits may make attempts and do not triumph but through weakness or excessive confidence of the medium who then allows deception. But that does not last and the good spirits always win when there is strong will-power.

24. Is the mediumistic faculty independent of the moral qualities of the medium? – A. Yes. It is sometimes given in high degree to vicious people in order to help their correction. Don’t ill people need more medication than healthy ones? The bad spirits sometimes give them good advice without their knowledge; the good spirits leads them to that. Those people however, do not take advantage of that and out of pride they don’t follow the advice. Observation: This is perfectly accurate and one sometimes see inferior spirits giving tough lessons, in hard ways; we see them pointing out defects and exposing caprices to ridicule, more or less skillfully, according to the circumstances, and occasionally in a very witty manner.

25. Can good spirits communicate through bad mediums? – A. Imperfect mediums may sometimes obtain lovely communications that can only come from good spirits. However, the wiser and more sublime those communications, the guiltier the mediums are for not using them. Oh! Yes. They are very guilty and will suffer penalties for their blindness.

26. May the good faith and personal qualities of the person that interrogates the bad spirits, attracted by an imperfect medium, ensure good communications? – A. The good spirits appreciate intention, and when they consider useful they can utilize any kind of medium according to their objectives. In general, the more serious the qualities of the medium, the safer the communications.

27. Since all people are imperfect, does it follow that there aren’t perfect mediums? – A. Some are as perfect as allowed by Earth’s humanity. These are rare but they do exist; they are God’s favorites and prepare themselves for great joy in the spiritual world.

28. What are the defects that give more access to the bad spirits? – A. I told you: pride and also jealousy, which is a consequence of pride and egotism. God loves the humble and punishes the arrogant.

29. From the above, one can conclude that the medium who is not humble does not deserve any trust? – A. Not in absolute terms. However, if you recognize pride, jealousy and lack of charity in a medium, then you are more prone to be deceived.

Observation: What causes failure to many mediums is the fact of considering themselves the only ones capable of receiving good communications, neglecting those from others. They judge themselves as prophets but they are not more than interpreters of clever spirits that entrap them in their nets, persuading them that everything they write is sublime and that they no longer need advice. The belief of certain mediums in the infallibility and superiority of their communications is such, that to them it is almost a profanity to touch those communications; it is a blasphemy to doubt them; even more, one is exposed to turning them into enemies for it would be better to tell a poet that his verses are poor. The spirits who assist those mediums and make sure that they inspire in them the desire to stay away from anyone who can give them good advice feeds such a feeling, whose evident origin is pride. Hence, anything that is not good, in the absolute sense, cannot come from a good spirit. Consequently, every advice given, or every inspired thought which reflects the minor bad feeling is bad, and hence it comes from a suspicious source, irrespective of the qualities or redundancy of style, as a matter of fact. A sign no less characteristic of that origin is flattery, which is abundantly employed by the bad spirits towards certain mediums. They know how to praise their physical or moral traits, massaging the mediums’ secret inclinations, exciting their ambition and greed, even criticizing pride and advising humility, stimulating vanity and self-love. One of the methods they use is to persuade the mediums of their superiority as mediums, placing them as apostles of missions, which are at least doubtful and for which the first required quality would be humbleness, added to simplicity and charity.

Dazzled by the names of revered beings, from which they judge themselves to be the interpreters, they don’t see the bad intentions transpired by the false spirits, since it would be impossible for inferior spirits to simulate completely every quality that they don’t have. The mediums will not really be free from the obsession that victimizes them until they can understand this truth. It is only then that the bad spirits for their part, will understand that they are wasting their time with people that they cannot catch in a faulty situation.

(Society, May 25th, 1860) 30.

As it seems, your husband has the faculty of clairvoyance. Is that true? – A. Yes, positively. 31. He says that he saw you twice after your death. Is that true? – A. Yes, it is true.

32. Are the clairvoyant mediums subjected to be deceived by the imposter spirits as much as the writing mediums? – A. They are deceived less frequently than the writing mediums but can also be by false appearances, when they are not inspired by God. Didn’t the false prophets make miracles that deceived the people under the Pharaoh, during Moses’ time? It was only Moses who was not mistaken since God inspired him.

33. Can you now explain to us your sensations when entering the world of the spirits? Besides the more or less lengthy disruption which always follows death, was there a time when your spirit lost completely its self-awareness? – A. Yes, as always; it cannot be different.

34. Did that absolute loss of awareness start before the instant of death? – A. It began in the agony.

35. Did it persist after death? – A. For a very short time.

36. In all, how long might it have lasted? – A. About 15 to 18 of your hours.

37. Is such a duration variable, according to the individuals? – A. Certainly. It is not the same to all people. It depends a lot on the kind of death.

38. Were you aware of what was happening to the body while the phenomenon of death was taking place? – A. Absolutely not. God, who is good to all His creatures, wishes to spare the spirit of the anguishes of that moment; hence He removes every memory and sensation. Observation: That fact, which has always been confirmed to us, is analogous to what happens to the spirit when returning to the corporeal world. It is well known that at the time of conception the spirit that was designated to inhabit a body that is to be born is taken by a disruption which progressively increases along with the tightening up of the fluidic links that unite it to the matter, up until close to birth. At that moment the spirit equally loses self-awareness, only recovering it at the moment when the child breathes. It is only then that the union between the spirit and the body is complete and definitive.

39. How was the moment of awakening? Did you suddenly recognize yourself or there was a period of semi-consciousness, that is, an emptiness of thoughts? – A. I was in that state for some time, then I gradually recognized myself.

40. How long did it last? – A. I am not exactly sure, but it was short. Perhaps a couple of hours.

41. Was your sensation pleasant or painful during that kind of half-sleep? – A. I don’t know. I had almost no awareness of myself.

42. While the ideas became clearer, were you sure about the death of the body or, for a short time, you believed that you were still in this world? – A. In reality, I did believe it for a few moments.

43. When you were positive about your death, were you sad? – A. No, absolutely not. The loss of life is not to be deplored.

44. Where were you when you acknowledged yourself and what was the first thing that you saw? – A. I was with spirits that surrounded me, helping me to leave that disturbance. It was the change that shocked me.

45. Are you close to your husband? – A. I hardly leave him. He sees and evokes me, and that replaces my poor body.

46. Have you gone back immediately to revisit your friends: Mr. Dumas and the other spiritists from Sétif? – A. Not immediately. I thought they would evoke me. I had left them not long ago and it seemed that I had known them and had not seen them for centuries. I was a medium and spiritist. Every spirit that I had evoked came to see me. It was touching. If you only knew how nice it is to meet again our friends in this world!

47. Has the world of the spirits seemed something new and strange to you? – A. Oh! Yes.

48. This answer surprises us considering that this is not the first time that you are in the spiritual world. – A. There is nothing surprising about it. I was not as advanced as I am now. And besides, the difference between the corporeal and the spiritual world is such that we are always surprised.

49. Your explanation could be clearer. Wouldn’t that be because every time that we return to the spiritual world the achieved progress gives us new perceptions, allowing us to see it under different aspects? – A. It is positively so. I told you that I was not as advanced as I am today.

Observation: The following comparison allows the understanding of what happens in such a circumstance. Suppose a poor peasant that comes to Paris for the first time: he will take part in a society and live in an area compatible with his situation. After a few years of absence, during which he becomes wealthy and acquires certain education, he returns to Paris and finds himself in an environment completely different from the first time, which will seem new to him. He will understand and appreciate a number of things that had hardly caught his attention the first time around. In a word, he will have difficulty recognizing his former Paris but it will always be Paris, but seen in a different way.

50. How do you see now the communications given in Sétif: are they generally more good than bad? – A. They are as everywhere else: there are good and bad ones, true and false. People frequently get involved with things that are not serious enough and don’t always go well. Nevertheless, they don’t believe that they are doing bad things. I will make sure to correct them.

51. We thank you for your kindness in coming and giving the explanations. – A. I also thank you for having thought of me.

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