The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Society, May 25th, 1860
One of our subscribers sent us a letter from one of his friends, from which we extracted the following passage:

“You asked my opinion or at least if I believe or not in the presence of the souls of our beloved ones around us. You also requested explanations about my conviction that our soul changes its sheath too quickly.”

“No matter how ridiculous it may sound, I will tell you that I have the sincere conviction of having been murdered during St. Bartholomew’s massacres. I was still a child when such a memory hurt my imagination. Later on, when I read about this sad episode of our History, it seemed that many details had escaped me and I still believe that if the old Paris were reconstructed I would recognize that old somber alley where I had my back stabbed three times while running away. Some details of that bloody scene have never faded away from my memory. Why would I have such a conviction even before knowing what St. Bartholomew’s day was? Why, when I read the report about that massacre must I ask myself: is it a dream, an unpleasant and childish dream, whose memory I still carry so vividly? Why, when I tried to dig up the archives of memory, why have I felt like a miserable mad man, fighting to understand things? Why? I don’t know. You will certainly find me ludicrous and yet I will still carry the memory, the conviction.”

“If I told you that when I was seven years old I had a dream like this: I was twenty years old, a seemingly wealthy young man. I saw myself in a duel, losing my life. If I told you that I did the military greeting typically done with the sword, before saluting, the first time I had a sword in my hand; if I told you that I knew beforehand every detail taught about the art of war, before my formal education with the weaponry, you will certainly say that I am mad or maniac. Well, it may well be, but sometimes it seems that a flash of light trespasses the mist and I have the conviction that the memory of the past comes back to me.”

“If you asked me if I believe in the mutual sympathy of souls, in their power of communicating with one another, despite the distance, despite death, I would answer: yes, and this would be said with the full strength of my belief.”

“It happened once that I was about 25 leagues out from Lima, in a twenty six days trip, and I woke up weeping, with a deep pain in my heart. A fatal sadness consumed me the entire day. I registered the fact in my personal journal. At that very moment, in that evening, my brother had a stroke, seriously compromising his life. I later verified the time and date. It was accurate. People exist, that is a fact. Will you call me crazy? I have never read anything about such a thing. I will do on my return. That may shed some light on me.” 

Mr. V… is a navy officer currently on a work related trip. It would be interesting to see if he would confirm his memories over an evocation, but it was virtually impossible to warn him about our intentions and, on the other hand, considering his activities, it could prove difficult to find an adequate time for that. However, we were advised to contact his guardian angel when we wanted to proceed with the evocation and he would let us know about the possibility.

1. Evocation of Mr. V… guardian angel. – A. I attend your call.

2. You know the reasons why we would like to evoke your protégée. It is not about a vain curiosity but if possible to attest an interesting fact to the Spiritist Science, regarding memories of a previous life. – A. I understand your reasons but at this moment his spirit is not free. His body is actively busy and he is also troubled by a relentless moral problem.

3. Is he at sea? – A. He is ashore but I can respond to some of your questions since that soul has been always commended to me.

4. Since you are kind to answer, we ask if the memory that he supposedly has about his death in a previous life is an illusion. – A. It is a very real intuition. That person was on Earth very much so at that time.

5. What is the reason that makes such a memory more accurate in him than in other people? Is there any physiological cause or any particular utility for him? – A. Those lively memories are very rare. It is somewhat related to the kind of death he had which is stamped on his soul, so to speak. However, many other people had as terrible a death and they did not keep the memory. God only allows that very rarely.

6. Has he had other existences after that St. Bartholomew’s death? – A. No.

7. How old was he when he died? – A. He was thirty years old.

8. Can we know what he used to do? – A. He was an attaché to the noble family of Coligny.

9. If we had the chance to evoke him we would have asked if he remembers the name of the street where he was murdered, so that going to that place when he returns to Paris he would have an even more vivid memory of the scene. – A. It was at the Bucy crossroads.

10. Does the house where he died still exist? – A. No, it was rebuilt.

11. We would have asked his name over that time, with the same objective. – A. His name is not known in History since he was just a soldier. He was called Gaston Vincent.

12. His friend who is present here would like to know if he has received his letters. – A. Not yet.

13. Were you his guardian angel in those days? – A. Yes. In those days and now.

Observation: Skeptical people, more jesters than serious, could say that his guardian angel did not protect him well and ask why he hasn’t veered off the hand which hurt his protégé. Although such a question hardly deserves an answer, perhaps a few words about it may not be completely useless.

To begin with we shall say that since death is part of human nature, no guardian angel will have the power to oppose the natural course of things. Otherwise there would be no reason for them not to prevent both natural as well as accidental death. Second, considering that the kind and time of death is in everyone’s destiny, it is necessary that fate be accomplished. Finally we shall say that the spirits don’t see death as we do. True life is the spiritual life, and the many corporeal lives are just episodes of that true life. The body is an envelope, momentarily covering the spirit, left behind as done with a piece of worn out or ripped clothing. Thus, it does not matter that one dies a little bit earlier or later, in this or that way, for it is always and definitely necessary to reach death, that far from causing harm to the spirit it can actually be very useful, according to the way it happens. It is like the prisoner who leaves the temporary prison in exchange for the eternal freedom. It may well be that Gaston Vincent’s tragic end was useful to him, as a spirit, and that his guardian angel understood that better than him, because one of them only saw the present whilst the other saw the future also. Spirits, who are withdrawn from this world by a premature death, at their prime, have sometimes responded to us that it was a favor from God, keeping them from evil to which they would be otherwise exposed.

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