The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Society, June 29th, 1860

Le Droit reports the following, under the title Scenes of witchcraft in the LXIX century:

“One of the strangest things is taking place at Rue des Noyers. Mr. Lesage, an economist working at the Palace of Justice, lives in an apartment on that street. Lately there has been debris coming from unknown places, breaking windows and hitting people in their homes, hurting them more or less seriously. These are large fragments of logs of charred pieces of coal, very heavy, and the same coal used in most of Paris. Mr. Lesage’s maid was hit with several of them in her chest, resulting with profound bruises.”

“The victim of this sorcery ended up calling the police. Some agents were placed to supervise but they too were hit by the invisible artillery and could not identify the origin of these blows.”

“Since it was impossible to stay in a home where one never knows what is going to happen, Mr. Lesage asked the landlord to cancel his lease. The request was granted and a bailiff by the name of Mr. Vaillant (meaning brave, which was perfect considering the circumstances of the process which could not be done without danger), was sent to officiate the terms of cancellation,”

“In fact, when the ministerial official started to edit the terms, a huge piece of coal was thrown with extreme force, coming through the window, hitting the wall and turned into dust. Mr. Vaillant, unaffected, utilized the dust to cast over the terms on the page that he was writing, like Junot in former times utilized the earth raised by the bomb.”

“We then realized, in 1847, at Rue de Grès, a similar incident took place. A Mr. L…, coal trader, was also used as a target of tremendous arrowheads and an incomprehensible emissions of stones throughout the neighborhood put fear in everyone. By the coal merchant’s house there was an empty lot, where the old church of Rue des Grès used to be and now is the School of The Brothers of the Christian Doctrine. In the beginning it was thought that the thrown objects were coming from there but it was soon proved wrong. When one side was watched, they would come from another. However, they ended up catching the sorcerer red-handed, and that was nobody else than Mr. L… He had resorted to this fantasy because he did not like his home and wanted to terminate his lease.” “However, it was not like that with Mr. Lesage, whose honorability excluded any idea of foul play and who, as a matter of fact, was happy with the apartment.”

“It is expected that the enquiry conducted by Mr. Hubaut, police commissioner of Sorbonne, may clarify the mystery, which is still a tasteless joke and lasting too long.”

1. (to St. Louis) – Could you kindly tell us if those events are true and whose possibility we don’t doubt? – A. Yes. The events are true. It was only man’s imagination that exaggerated them by fear or irony. However, I repeat, they are true. Such manifestations are provoked by a spirit that makes fun of the local residents.

OBSERVATION: Since then we had the opportunity of seeing Mr. Lesage who honored us with his presence, not only confirming the facts but rectifying and correcting them in several points. St. Louis was right by saying that they were exaggerated by fear or irony. In fact the story of the dust stoically collected by the courageous official, like in the Junot case, was an invention of the jester reporter. In the next issue we will report accurately the events, with new observations that were produced.

2. Is there anyone in the house that is the cause of those manifestations? – A. They are always caused by the presence of the person that is attacked. The disturbing spirit gets attached to the place where the person is and wants to do some harm to that person or make them move away.

3. We ask if there is someone among the inhabitants of the house as the cause of the phenomena by an involuntary and spontaneous mediumistic influence. – A. That is really necessary otherwise the event would not take place. The spirit inhabits his favorite place; stays there, inactive, until someone shows up with the skills that they need. When such a person is around they then take the opportunity and make as much fun as they can.

4. Those spirits are always of an inferior order. The aptitude to serve them as an instrument is a trait unfavorable to the person? Does it indicate certain sympathy with spirits of such a nature? – A. It is not exactly like that since that attribute depends on a physical disposition. However, it sometimes denounces a material tendency which would be preferable not to have because the more morally elevated the person is the more they attract the good spirits to them and this necessarily keeps the bad ones away.

5. Where does the spirit find the projectiles that are used? – A. In most cases those objects are gathered near the places where they are thrown. A force originated in the spirit throws them in space and they reach the places designated by the spirit. When there is no stones, coal, etc. in those places they can very well be manufactured by them.

OBSERVATION: In the April 1859 issue of The Review we gave the complete theory of this kind of phenomenon, in the following articles: Furniture from beyond the grave and Pneumatography or direct writing.

6. Do you think that it might be useful to evoke that spirit to ask for clarifications? – A. Do that if you wish. However, it is an inferior spirit who shall give only insignificant answers.

Society, June 29th, 1860

1. Evocation of the disturbing spirit of Rue des Noyers. – A. Why have you called me? Do you want me to throw stones at you? That would make a nice stampede perhaps, despite your air of courage?

2. If you threw stones at us here we would not be afraid. My question is if you can positively do that. – A. Perhaps not here. You have a guard that watches you.

3. Was there anybody at Rue des Noyers who served you, facilitating the bad tricks you played with the inhabitants of the home? – A. Certainly. I found a good instrument and no smart, wise and important spirit to block me. I am joyful and I like to have fun.

4. Who was your instrument? – A. A maid.

5. Did she do that unconsciously? – A. Oh! Yes, poor thing! She was the one who feared the most.

6. Among the persons present here, is there anyone capable of helping you to produce such phenomenon? – A. I could well find one if that person was available but I cannot maneuver here.

7. Can you indicate the person? – A. Yes! He sits on the right hand side of the one who speaks. He wears glasses.

OBSERVATION: In fact the spirit points to a member of the Society who has some ability as a writing medium but had never had any physical manifestations. It is likely another joke of the spirit.

8. Did you intend to harm anyone? – A. Me? I never had any hostile intent but people will take advantage of that for they want everything.

9. What do you mean by that? We don’t understand you. – A. I was having fun and you study these incidents and have one more fact to demonstrate that we exist.

10. Where did you take the objects that you used from? – A. Those are very common. I found them in the backyard and nearby gardens.

11. Have you found them all or you made some? – A. I made nothing.

12. In case you did not find them could you have fabricated them? – A. It would have been more difficult but in the end we mix matter and that creates something.

13. Now tell us how did you throw them? – A. Ah! That is more difficult to explain. I used the electrical nature of that woman, added to mine, less material. We were then able to carry those several materials together (see note after the evocation).

14. I believe you could give us some information about yourself. To begin with tell us if you died long ago. – A. It was a long time ago. Something like fifty years.

15. What did you do when alive? – A. Not much. I used to collect rags around the neighborhood and people used to tease me because I liked red wine too much; also, I wanted everyone to stay away from me.

16. Did you willingly respond to our questions or someone else? – A. I had a guide.

17. Who is this guide? – A. Your good king Louis.

OBSERVATION: This question was raised due to the nature of certain answers that seem to go beyond the reach of the spirit given the depth of the ideas and the language employed. It is no surprise that he had been helped by a more enlightened spirit, who wanted to use this occasion to give us more instruction. This is a very common fact. However, there is a remarkable particularity in this case which is the fact that the influence of the other spirit was felt in the writing itself: the answers in which his presence was noticed are more regular and coherent; the others are broad, rude, irregular, sometimes illegible, showing a diverse character.

18. What do you do now? Are you concerned with your future? – A. Not yet. I wander around. I get so little thought from Earth, nobody prays for me. Thus, I get no help and I don’t work.

19. What was your name when alive? – A. Jeannet.

20. Well then, we shall pray for you! Tell us now if the evocation has given you pleasure or has it bothered you? – A. It gave me pleasure before anything else because you are good, joyful people, although a bit austere. That is fine, you heard me and I am glad for that. Jeannet

OBSERVATION: The explanation given by the spirit to question 13 is in perfect agreement with what we have heard from other spirits for some time, regarding the way they operate in order to make movements and rotations of tables and other inert objects. The phenomenon seems very simple when we are aware of that theory. We learn that it derives from a natural law and it is not more magical than any other effect whose cause is unknown. This theory is thoroughly developed in the May and June 1858 issues of The Review.

Experience daily confirms the utility of the theories that we have given about the spiritist phenomena. A rational explanation of those phenomena should result in a greater understanding of their possibility, added to conviction. That is why many people who were not convinced by the most extraordinary facts were then convinced since they could understand why and how. In addition, to many people those explanations eliminate the extraordinary, placing the facts in the natural order of things, however uncommon they may be. It means that it is not about a breach of the natural laws and that the devil has nothing to do with it. When these phenomena occur spontaneously, as at Rue des Noyers, they almost always offer an occasion to do some good and alleviate a soul.

It is well known that similar events took place at the Rue des Grès in 1849, near the Sorbonne. Mr. Lerible, the victim, has just denied the fact in the papers that accused him of fraud, taking them to the courts. Below his considerations, which deserve our analysis.

“On July 9th, 1860 by request of Mr. Lerible, business owner and former coal and wood merchant residing at Rue de Grenelle-Saint-Germain, 64 in Paris, living in the address of his property; I, Aubin Jules Demonchy, official from the Seine civil court, in Paris, residing at Rue des Fosses Saint-Victor 43, signed below, I notify Mr. Garat, manager of the la Patrie newspaper, in the office of that periodical, located in Paris, Rue du Croissant, where I declared to a trustful lady:
• Having to insert in response to the article published on June 27th, in the Facts of the la Patrie newspaper, the following citation, made by the petitioner to the le Droit newspaper, offering to pay for the costs of publication, in case his answer exceeds the maximum number of lines authorized to be published by law:

“On July 9th, 1860 by request of Mr. Lerible, business owner and former coal and wood merchant residing at Rue de Grenelle-SaintGermain, 64 in Paris, living in the address of his property; I, Aubin Jules Demonchy, official from the Seine civil court, in Paris, residing at Rue des Fosses Saint-Victor 43; I cited Mr. François, in person and as a manager of the le Droit newspaper, in the office of that periodical, located in Paris, Dauphine Place, where I was speaking to him…”

“To appear in the audience on August 8th, 1860 before the President and competent Judges of the Sixth Chamber of the Court of First Instance of the Seine, ruling in matters of correctional police, in the Palace of Justice of Paris, at 10 am, to:”

“Considering that in the issue of June 26th last and given the facts that would have happened in a house at Rue des Noyers, the le Droit newspaper says that similar facts had occurred in 1847, in a house at Rue des Grès;”

“That the editor adds explanations to his observations leading to believe that the attacks at Rue des Gres in 1847 were generated by the tenant himself in ill-faith, in order to obtain cancellation of the lease, through a deceitful speculation.”

“Since the facts reported by the le Droit did take place not in 1847 but in 1849, in the house occupied by the petitioner over that time, at Rue des Grès;”

“That although the name of the petitioner was not mentioned in the article of the le Droit except by the initials, the exact designation of his business, the places of his residence, and finally the indication that the referred facts were collected by that paper, sufficiently indicating the petitioner as the author of those maneuvers attributed to the person who lived in the house at Rue des Grès;”

“Considering that such accusations attack the honor and decency of the petitioner;”

“That are very reprehensible, considering that there has been no verification of the events that were indicated and that, similarly to those which seem to have occurred at Rue des Noyers, those events still remain without explanation;”

“That, on another hand, the petitioner has been the owner of the house and the lot where he lived at Rue des Grès, since 1847;”

“That the supposition reached by the le Droit’s director is nonsense and has never been formulated;”

“Since the terms employed by the le Droit constitute defamation of character and hence subjected to the penalties of the law; that every newspaper in Paris took advantage of the le Droit’s article and that the petitioner’s honor was offended by that publicity, hence compensation being owned to him;”

“For those reasons:”

“Mr. Francois is submitted to the application of the penalties of law, being personally condemned to pay for losses and damages claimed in audience by the petitioner, who at this point declares that such compensation will be given in favor of the poor, still demanding that the ruling be inserted in every Parisian newspaper, given the citation, in the terms mentioned above, considered condemned to pay for the costs of the process, in all its application; and to avoid claim of ignorance by the condemned, a copy of the current citation was delivered to his residence, in the above terms; Cost: 3.55 francs. Signed: Demonchy” “Registered in Paris, on July 6th, 1860. Received: 2.2 francs. Signed: Duperron”

“Declaring to the cited above that if the present request is not satisfied in full, the petitioner shall apply the legal recourses;”

“And the terms above were left in copy at his residential address. Cost: 9.10 francs.

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