The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Dear Mr. President,

Allow me some clarifications about Thilorier and his discoveries (see The Review, August 1860). Thilorier was my friend and when he showed me the plan of his work in cast iron to liquefy the carbonic acid gas, I had told him that despite the thickness of the walls it would explode like cannons after a certain number of experiments. I stipulated to him to do a strapping in wrought iron as is done today in brass cannons, but he only added some grooves.

Such a device had never exploded in his hands for he would have been killed like the young Frémy. Nonetheless, the Committee of the Academy remained conservatively on the fence while he prepared his experiments. He had been deaf for a number of years, a fact that forced him to quit his position as inspector of the Post Office. The only explosion provoked by him was that of a compressed air musket that he had filled with carbonic acid gas and left under the sun on top of the lawn in the garden.

I had suggested to him, as I did to Mr. Galy Cazala, helping him to see the effect of high pressure of the Carbonic acid gas and the danger of employing it as a weapon. Mr. Galy had the idea of replacing the Carbonic acid by Hydrogen, never above 28 atm. It was too little. Had it not been the case, the gun powder would have been usefully suppressed because its mechanism was very simple and a small copper cylinder could easily produce one hundred shots, according to the needs, as a consequence of the almost instantaneous recovery of the pressure through water decomposition by the action of Sulfuric acid and Zinc filings. If our Chemists could be able to find a gas produced over an average pressure between that of the Hydrogen and the Carbonic acid, the problem would have been solved. It would be interesting to ask Lavoisier, Berzélius or Dalton about it.

On the eve of his death, Thilorier spoke to me about a new device, almost finished, with the aim of liquefying the air through successive pressures; from 500 to 1000 atm. We would have sold this beautiful old copper machine.

I told you that Thilorier was extremely deaf and when I came to his office at Place Vendome, weeks before his death, I had to scream. He covered his ears with both hands, saying that I was deafening him, since the magnetizer Lafontaine, now in Geneva, had cured him. I left in amazement by the cure that I mentioned to my two friends Galy Cazala and Captain Delvigne, in the same evening and with whom I was taking a walk with at Place de la Bourse when we saw Thilorier with his ear glued to the window of a store where someone was playing piano. He seemed to be ecstatic for being able to hear the modern music that he couldn’t hear for many years. Ah! For Goodness sake! I told my incredulous friends: there you have the proof. Go behind him and call his name in a normal voice. Thilorier turned astonished, recognizing his friends with whom he walked around the avenue, talking normally to them. Delvigne, who is in my office at this very moment, remembers perfectly well this interesting occurrence of magnetism. I have been trying to convince our scholars for over a month now, said Thilorier. They don’t want to believe that I was cured without the drugs of their pharmacology which do not cure since I have used them all without success, whereas Lafontaine’s fingers reestablished my hearing completely, in a few sessions. I remember the fact that Thilorier, impressed by magnetism, had even changed the poles of a magnetized bar that he kept in his hands by the simple effort of his will.

The death of such a wise inventor has prevented us from a number of discoveries that he had mentioned and now taken to the grave. He was as shrewd as the good Darcet that I had also seen in good health just before his death, and who had shown his stained and worn out books to me, saying that it would give him more pleasure having them in such condition than well covered with their golden borders on the shelves, in the library. It is interesting, he said, that we think so much alike, although we have not been educated in the same school. He then told me that he felt sorry for having been criticized with respect to his nutritious gelatin and that it would have been better to have it sold for 1 cent to the poor people of Pont-Neuf, than having given it to the scholars who pay 15 francs in the grocery stores and still pretend that it is not nourishing. You should evoke that good technologist.

Arago teaches us that the pretense sunspots are nothing more than remains of planets that come here to enrich the electrical focus with the fluids that they require to turn into a comet and initiate a course in a century. Those remains, which are the size of Europe, are more than 500,000 leagues away from the sun. Once the extreme limit of attraction is reached and when the Earth has completed around one fourth of its elliptical trajectory, which takes approximately three months (it was July 6th), those remains that are inseparable from their constellation, shall have disappeared from our sight. The Academy is dealing with our Memory about catalepsy that you mistakenly threw into the basket of excommunications. Never mind. You will return to that. Yours sincerely...


We thank Mr. Jobard for providing interesting details about Thilorier, even more precious given their authenticity. It is always interesting to know the truth about human beings who have left a mark in their place during their life. Mr. Jobard is mistaken by thinking that we left in the basket of forgetfulness the news sent by Mr. B… about catalepsy. To begin with it was read at the Society, as contained in the minutes of May 4th and 11th, and published in the June 1860 issue of The Review; and the original, instead of being left aside, is carefully preserved in the archives of the Society. We did not publish such a large volume of documents first because if we have to publish everything that is sent to us we would perhaps need ten volumes per year; second, because everything has its time. However, for the fact that something was not published, it must not be considered lost. Nothing sent to us or to the Society is lost and we can always find it to make the most out of it when the time is right. That is what must be understood by those who wish to send us documents. We frequently lack the time to promptly respond to all of them and as extensively as it would undoubtedly require, but how can we personally respond to thousands of letters received per year, when forced to do that without the support of a secretary? The day would certainly not be enough for everything that needs to be done if we did not dedicate part of our nights also to that task. Having said that as a personal justification, we shall add with respect to the theory of the formation of Earth, contained in the thesis mentioned above, and the cataleptic state of the living beings in their origin, that the Society was advised to wait for more authentic documents to be presented, before moving on with such studies.

The Society’s spiritual guides said: “It is necessary to be suspicious about the systematic ideas of the spirits as much as those of people, and do not accept them lightheartedly and without control, if we don’t want to be exposed to see much later the denial of what we so hastily accepted. Because we care about your work we want you to be on guard against a hurdle where so many imaginations clash, seduced by deceiving appearances. Remember that you shall not be deceived in one thing only: that is the moral betterment of people. That is the true mission of the good spirits. Don’t believe that they have the power to unveil God’s secrets; in particular, don’t believe that they are assigned with the mission of softening the rough path of Science to you. This can only be achieved through intense work and constant research. When it is time to present a useful discovery to humanity we will search for the human being capable of doing that. We will then inspire in him the idea of how to go about it and he shall be left with the actual merit. But where would such a work and merit be if it were enough to effortlessly ask the spirits about the means of acquiring science, prestige and wealth? Thus, be wise and don’t get into an avenue where you shall only find deceptions and that would hardly contribute to your advancement. Those who allow themselves to be dragged through such a path will one day recognize how wrong they were and will regret for not having employed their time in a better way.”

That is the summary of the instructions so often given by the spirits, to us as to the Society. Based on experience we acknowledge their wisdom. That is why the communications related to scientific research have a secondary importance to us. We don’t reject them. We welcome everything that is transmitted to us because there is always a lesson to be learned but we accept that just as informational, keeping us from accepting them with a blind and shallow faith. We observe and wait.

Mr. Jobard, who is a positive and sensible man, shall understand that there is no better way of avoiding the danger of utopias. We certainly will not be the ones accused of falling behind. We want to avoid false steps and everything else that can compromise Spiritism’s credibility by prematurely accepting as incontestable truth something that is still hypothetical.

We believe that other people shall equally appreciate these observations and that they will undoubtedly understand the inconveniences of anticipating the time of certain publications. Experience will teach them the need for not always following the impatience of certain spirits. The truly superior spirits, (we are not speaking about those who name themselves as so), are very sensible, and this is in fact one of the characteristics by which they can be identified.

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