f the belief in the spirits and their manifestations were an isolated idea,
a product of a given system, it could be considered an illusion, with
a certain dose of reason. However, tell us why such a belief is found so
markedly in all peoples, antique and modern, in all sacred books of every
known religion? The critics say that the reason is in the fact that human
beings have always loved the marvelous, at all times.
• If that is so, what is then marvelous in your opinion?
• What is supernatural?
• What do you understand by supernatural?
• What is against natural laws?
• Do you know so well those laws that you can establish limits to
God’s power? Well, then! You must prove that the existence of the
spirits and their manifestations are contrary to the laws of nature;
that such a thing is not and cannot be one of those laws. Follow
the Spiritist Doctrine and see if that thinking does not have every
indication of an admirable law. Thought is an attribute of
the spirit; the possibility of action upon matter, of impressing the senses, and as a consequence of transmitting the thought results
from its physiological constitution, if we can say so. Hence, there
is nothing supernatural about it, nothing wonderful.
• However, they will say, you admit that a spirit can lift a table,
keeping it in the air, without any support. Isn’t that a breach of
the law of gravity?
• Yes; of the known law. But has nature given the final word? Before
trying the lifting power of certain gases what would have happened
to a heavy craft, carrying several human beings, could it
have surpassed the force of attraction? Shouldn’t it look marvelous
to the eyes of the masses, even devilish? Someone that a century
ago had proposed to send a telegram message 500 leagues away
in a few minutes would have been considered mad; had he been
able to do so wouldn’t he be believed to be in collusion with the
devil, since only the devil could walk so fast in those days? Why
then an unknown fluid wouldn’t have the property, under certain
circumstances, of opposing the effect of gravity, like Hydrogen
does to the balloon? This is, by the way, just a comparison but
not assimilation, and utilized exclusively to show by analogy that
the fact is not physically impossible. Well, it was precisely when
the scientists wanted to proceed by the avenue of assimilation,
in the observation of those kinds of phenomena, that they were
mistaken. In short, the fact is here. No denial may destroy it since
denying something is not the same as demonstrating. To us there
is nothing supernatural and that is all we can say about it by now.
If it is demonstrated – they will say – we will accept. We will even
accept the cause that you have just mentioned, of an unknown
fluid. But what is it that demonstrates the intervention of the
spirits? That is the marvelous, the supernatural.
It would be necessary to demonstrate here, out of context and
repeating ourselves, as a matter of fact, because it sticks out from
every other part of the teaching. However, in order to summarize it in a few words we say that it is theoretically based on the following
principle: every intelligent effect must have an intelligent
cause. In practice, by the observation that the so called spiritist
phenomena gave proof of intelligence, their cause must have
been outside matter; that since the intelligence was not that of
the audience – resulting from experience – it should be alien to
them; and since the agent was not seen, it would be an invisible
creature. It was then that from observation to observation it was
acknowledged that the invisible being to whom it was given the
name spirit is nothing else than the soul of those who lived the
corporeal life and that were undressed of their thick visible wrapping,
keeping only the ethereal body, invisible in its normal state.
There you have the supernatural and the wonderful reduced to
their simplest expression. Once the existence of invisible beings is
attested, their action upon matter results from the very nature of
the fluidic body. Such an action is intelligent because they have
only lost their material body by death but kept their intelligence,
which is their essence. That is the key to every phenomena erroneously
called supernatural. Hence the existence of the spirits is
not a preconceived system or an imaginary hypothesis to explain
the facts. It is the result of observations and natural consequence
of the existence of the soul. Denying such a cause is the same as
denying the soul and its attributes.
May those persons who think that they can give a more rational solution
to those intelligent effects, in particular explaining all facts, may those
persons do that and only then the merit of each one be discussed!
To the eyes of those who consider matter as the only force of nature,
everything that cannot be explained by the laws of matter is then wonderful
and supernatural. Well, wonderful to them is a synonym of superstitious.
From that point of view religion, which is founded on the existence
of an immaterial principle, would be a fabric of superstitions. They dare
not say it out loud but whisper that and pretend to save the appearances by admitting that a religion is needed for the people and that it is good to
keep well-behaved kids.
Either the religious principle is true or false. If it is true then it is to
everyone; if it is false, it is not better for the ignorant than the educated
Those who attack Spiritism based on the marvelous base their opinion,
in general, on a materialistic principle, because by denying any effect
outside matter they deny, as a consequence, the existence of the soul.
Analyze the essence of their thought; scrutinize well the meaning of their
words and you will almost always see this principle, if it is not categorically
formulated, sticking out under the cover of a pretentious rational
If you ask them face to face if they believe to have a soul, perhaps they
will dare not say that they don’t, but they will say that they don’t know
anything about it or are not sure. Since they attribute to the marvelous
everything that results from the existence of the soul they are thus consistent
with themselves; by not admitting the cause they cannot admit
the effects. It results from a preconceived idea that impedes them from
correctly assessing Spiritism, because they start from the principle that
denies everything that is not material. As for ourselves, by the fact that
we admit the effects that are consequences of the existence of the soul,
does it result that we accept all facts classified as supernatural; that we are
the champions of the dreamers; that we are the adepts of all utopias and
It would be necessary to know almost nothing about Spiritism to
think that way. But our adversaries don’t look so closely into that. The
need to get to know that they talk about it is the least of their concern.
According to them the wonderful is absurd; well then, Spiritism is based
on wonderful facts thus it is absurd. This to them is not a subject for discussion.
They pretend to oppose an argument without replica after having
carried out erudite researches about the convulsionary of Saint-Médard,
the Camisards de Cévennes or the religious ladies of Loudun, and discovering
patent frauds, disputed by nobody.
However, are these stories the Gospel of Spiritism? Have the adepts
of Spiritism denied that certain facts were exploited by charlatanism, in a
self-serving mode; that they were created by imagination; that fanaticism
had exaggerated them? Fanaticism has no more solidarity to the extravagances
committed in its name than true Science has with the abuses of
ignorance, or even true religion with the excesses of fanaticism. Many
critics only assess Spiritism by fairy tales and popular legends, which are
their fictions. This would be the same as assessing history based on romances
Following elemental logic, in order to discuss something it is necessary
to understand it since the opinion of a critic only has value when he
knows perfectly well what he is talking about. That is the only way that
his opinion may be taken into account, even if wrong. However, what
is the value of his opinion when talking about a subject that he ignores?
The true critic must not only give proof of erudition but also of profound
knowledge about the discussed subject and of a vigorous reason and total
impartiality, otherwise the first strolling troubadour to show up would
pretend to assess Rossini and any sketcher to criticize Rafael.
Therefore, Spiritism does not accept every fact reputed as wonderful
and supernatural. Far from that, it demonstrates the impossibility of a
large number of those and the ridicule of certain beliefs that constitute
proper superstition. It is true that there are things admitted by Spiritism
that are considered purely marvelous by the incredulous. Be it. However,
let us at least discuss these points and not the others about which there is
nothing to say and you would be preaching to the choir. But, they may
ask, what is the reach of the Spiritist belief? Read, observe and you will
know. Every science can only be incorporated through study and time.
Well then, Spiritism that touches the most serious questions of philosophy
in all branches of the social fabric; that simultaneously embraces the
physical as well as the moral person, it is a science on its own merit, a
whole philosophy that cannot be understood in a few hours, as any other
science, since it would be as childlike to see the whole Spiritism in the
turning tables as it would be to see the whole Physics in certain kid’s toys.
Anyone who does not wish to remain on the surface needs to dedicate not
only hours but months and years to probe all of its arcane.
May this be used to appraise the level of understanding and the value
of the opinion of those who attribute themselves the right of assessing
things, because they saw one or two experiments, most of the time as a
pass time or a distraction!
They will probably say that they have no time to spare and dedicate
the necessary time to such study. Either; nothing obliges them, however,
when there is no sufficient time to learn something one should not speak
about it and even less pass judgment on it as long as one does not want to
take the risk of being accused of levity.
Well then, the higher the position that someone occupies in science
the less forgiving for dealing lightheartedly with an unknown subject.
We stick to the following propositions:
1st – Every spiritist phenomena has, by principle, the existence of
the soul, its survival to the body and its manifestations.
2nd – These phenomena are based on one natural law, there is
nothing wonderful or supernatural about them, in the common
use of those words.
3rd – Many facts are only considered supernatural because
their causes are unknown. Spiritism places them in the domain
of the natural phenomena by the assignment of a cause to them.
4th – Among the facts classified as supernatural there are
many whose impossibility is demonstrated by Spiritism which
places them among the superstitious beliefs.
5th – Although Spiritism acknowledges some traces of truth
in many popular beliefs, in no way does it accepts the solidarity
of every fantastic story created by imagination.
6th – Passing judgment on Spiritism by facts that it does not
accept is a demonstration of ignorance, which neutralizes the
value of the opinion.
7th – The explanation of the facts that have been accepted
by Spiritism, their causes and moral consequences, constitute a
whole science that requires a serious, deep and persevering study.
8th – Spiritism cannot be seen as a serious critic but the one
who has seen and studied everything with the patience and
perseverance of a conscious observer; someone who is as much
confident about the subject as the most enlightened adept; consequently,
someone who had learned outside the novels of science;
to which there would not be a single fact that he had not
known or a single argument to which he had not given serious
thought yet; someone who did not argue just by denial but by
other more peremptory arguments; finally, someone who could
present a more logical cause to the observed facts. Such a critic is
still to be found.
It goes without saying that those who neglect the wonderful,
even with more reason, relegate the miracles to the terrain of illusions
of imagination. Some words about it taken from a preceding
article are found here in their proper place and it would not be
wrong to recall them.
In its primitive meaning and etymology, the word miracle
means “extraordinary thing”, something remarkable to see.
However, and as with many other words, it has lost its original
meaning and today it means, according to the Academy, an act of
divine power, contrary to the common laws of nature. That is in
fact its usual meaning, applied only as a comparison or metaphor
to common things that stun us, whose cause is unknown. It is not
our intent, absolutely, to evaluate if God could consider useful,
under certain conditions, the breach of laws established by God.
Our objective is to demonstrate that the spiritist phenomena,
however extraordinary they may be, that they don’t absolutely
breach those laws and have no miraculous character, as they are
not wonderful or supernatural. A miracle is not explained; the spiritist phenomena, on the contrary, are explained in the most
rational way. Thus, they do not constitute miracles but simple
effects whose causes are in the general laws.
The miracle has yet another character: it is singular and isolated.
Well, as long as a fact repeats, say, at will, and through the intermediary
of several persons, it cannot be a miracle. Science makes
miracles every day, to the eyes of the ignorant. For that reason those
who knew better, in former times, were taken by witches. As it was
believed that every super-human science came from the devil, they
were burnt at the stake. Nowadays that we are much more civilized
we are happy enough to send them to the psychiatric hospitals.
If a person who is actually dead comes back to life by a divine
intervention we would then have a true miracle in that because
it is contrary to the natural laws. However, if such a person has
only apparent death; if he still had the latent life and if science or
a magnetic action can reanimate him, to the educated person this
will be a natural phenomenon but to the eyes of the ignorant this
will be a miracle. If a physicist flies an electrical kite in certain
regions of the countryside, creating a lightning effect upon a tree,
the new Prometheus will certainly be seen as endowed by devilish
power; but when Joshua stopped the Sun, or better, the Earth,
that is a true miracle since we don’t know any magnetizer gifted
by such a great power capable of operating that prodigy.
Among all spiritist phenomena one of the most extraordinary
is, no doubt, that of direct writing, and one that most patently
demonstrates the action of the occult intelligences. Nevertheless,
by the fact that the phenomenon is produced by occult creatures
it is not more miraculous than all other phenomena also produced
by invisible beings, because those hidden creatures that populate
space are one of the forces of nature, force whose action is incessant
upon the material as well as the moral world.
By enlightening us about such a force, Spiritism gives us
the key to a number of unexplained things, inexplicable by any other way and that in remote epochs could have been considered
prodigies. As with magnetism, Spiritism reveals a law that
if it is not unknown it is at least misunderstood, or even better,
from which the effects were known, since they have always been
produced in all times, but the law was unknown and it was the
ignorance that gave rise to superstition. Once the law is known
the wonderful and supernatural disappear and the phenomena
enter into the order of natural things. That is why the spiritists
do not make miracles by making the tables turn, or a deceased
person write, or a doctor make a nearly dead person revive, or
a physicist produce a lightning strike. Anyone who intended to
make miracles with the support of this science would either be
ignorant or a charlatan.
The spiritist phenomena, as with the magnetic phenomena,
had been passed along as miracles before their causes were
known. Like the skeptical, those of strong spirits, that is to say
those who detain the exclusive privilege of reason and common
sense, don’t believe that something is possible if they don’t understand
it. That is the reason why all the so-called prodigious facts
are cause for their mockery. Since religion has a large number of
events of that kind they don’t believe in religion. That is only a
step away from absolute incredulity. By explaining the majority of
those facts, Spiritism gives a reason for their occurrence. It thus
comes in support of religion, demonstrating the possibility of certain
facts that no longer have a miraculous character, although
not less extraordinary; and God is not smaller or less powerful for
not having breached his own laws. How often haven’t the levitations
of St. Cupertino been scorned? Well then, the suspension
of heavy bodies in the air is explained by Spiritism. We have witnessed
that ourselves and Mr. Home, like other persons of our
knowledge, have repeated the phenomenon of St. Cupertino several
times. Thus, the phenomenon becomes part of the order of
Among the first lines of facts of that kind are the apparitions,
because they are the most frequent. The apparition of the Lady of
Salette even divided the clergy is nothing unusual to us. In reality
we cannot affirm that the event did happen since we do have
the material proof. For us, however, it is possible because there
are thousands of similar and recent facts to our knowledge. We
believe in those not only because their reality was attested by us
but also because we are aware of how they are produced. Please
refer to the theory that we gave about the apparitions and you will
see that such phenomenon becomes as simple and plausible as a
number of physical phenomena that are considered prodigious
just because there is a missing key. With respect to the person that
appeared in Salette, that is another matter. Her identity was not
demonstrated, absolutely. The only conclusion is that there might
have been an apparition. The rest is not up to us. Everyone may
have his or her own convictions about that, with which Spiritism
has nothing to do. The only thing we can say is that the facts produced
by Spiritism reveal new laws to us, giving us the key to the
understanding of a number of things that seemed supernatural.
As some of those phenomena that were considered miraculous
now find a logical explanation, this is a reason for not so hastily
denying what was once not understood.
The facts of Spiritism are contested by certain people, precisely
because they seem to escape the common law, and they are
not aware of that. Give them a rational basis and the doubt will
cease. In this century in which there is no economy of words, an
explanation is a powerful element of conviction. Hence, we daily
see people who have never witnessed any event, who have not
seen a table turning or a medium writing, who are as much convinced
as we are, just because they have read it and understood.
If we were supposed to believe only in what our eyes have seen we
would then believe in very little things.