The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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The Prisoner of Limoges

The following fact was communicated to the Society by Mr. Achille R…, member, according to a letter from one of his friends from Limoges, dated July 18th:

“At the moment our town is involved with an interesting fact for Spiritists, which I promptly pass to Mr. Allan Kardec through you. I myself collected detailed information directly from witnesses of the fact in question, that is, in the prison where the hero of the story is now found.

A soldier of the first regiment of the infantry, called Mallet, was condemned to spend one month in prison for having stole the amount of three francs that belonged to one of his comrades. His sentence will expire in seven days. This young soldier lost a nineteen year old brother, a servant, about eight years ago, and for the past seven years he sees at least four nights out of eight, after midnight, a large flame with a little sheep sticking out from the middle. The vision terrified him but he dared not talk about it. Alone in prison he felt even more terrified and begged the jailer to bring him the company of other prisoners. Four soldiers of the second regiment of mounted hunters were sent to share his place. It was I am when Mallet woke up and saw the flame and the sheep, as did the four witnesses.

As I told you the apparition repeats often; the poor young man is so affected that he cries, remains devastated and refuses to eat. The medical officer of the regiment wanted to attest the fact but did not stay long enough and the vision only took place an hour and a half after he had left. A priest from Saint-Michel, father F…, was luckier, as it seems, since he took notes. I shall pay him a visit to ask him about his opinion.

However, that is not all. The jailer told me that he had seen the jail’s door open several times in the morning, although he had carefully locked it on the night before. Mallet was advised to interrogate the little sheep what he did last night, and this is the answer given to him and that I literally heard from him: Let me say “de profundis” (psalms 130) and the Eucharist; I am your brother; I will not come back.

This is the accurate description of the facts. I pass it on to Mr. Allan Kardec so that he can do as he pleases.”

Questions from a spiritist from Sétif to Mr. Oscar Comettant

The following letter was addressed to us by one of our subscribers from Sétif, Algeria, where there are several adepts who receive remarkable communications, with which we have already presented our readers.
Dear Sir,

Mr. Dumas has already told you about an extraordinary phenomenon that took place with my sixteen-year-old son, a medium of a singular kind. Every time that there is an evocation he falls asleep without magnetization and remains in that state responding to the questions which are addressed to the spirit through his intermediary. When he wakes up he remembers nothing. When in trance he responds in Latin, English and German, languages that he has no knowledge about. It is a fact witnessed by many people and that I assure you, for what I have of most sacred, and even to Mr. Oscar Comettant. I have in my hands a report from him dated October 27th, 1859 in which he writes: “But what is your belief? Perhaps Mr. Allan Kardec will ask me.”

I, Sir, will not ask you if you believe in something, first because it is not of my concern; second because there are people who believe in nothing. Mr. Comettant is supported by Voltaire, who did not believe in anything that reason could not understand. He is wrong because despite the immense God given knowledge of Voltaire, there are thousands of things that are known today and that went unsuspected by his reason. Well then, by denying a fact whose reality one does not wish to acknowledge, I question in which side is the absurd? I address Mr. Comettant directly and say this: Let us admit that it is not the spirits that speak with us. Then give us a logical explanation of the cited fact. If you deny it a priori, I call you to the court of reason that you so invoke; if you catch me in a lie then I agree to make a public confession or to be taken as a mad man. Otherwise I am ready to fight you in the terrain of the facts. However, before starting the argument I ask you this:

1st – Do you believe in natural somnambulism and have you seen people in such state?;

2nd – Have you seen somnambulistic persons writing?

3rd – Have you seen somnambulistic persons responding to mental questions?

4th – Have you seen somnambulistic persons responding in unknown languages?

I do need a simple yes or no to all these questions. If there is a yes we will then move to something else; if it is no I take the burden of making you see and then you can explain the facts at your own discretion. Yours sincerely, etc. Courtois With respect to the letter above we shall make the following considerations. It is likely that Mr. Comettant will not respond to Mr. Courtois, as he did not answer other people who wrote to him about the same subject. If he established a controversy it would certainly be on the grounds of sarcasm, a terrain on which one always says the last word and where no serious individual would like to follow him. We hope that Mr. Courtois leaves him in the momentary silence of his incredulity, since it is sufficient to him and he is okay with the fact that he is an issue. Since he only has jokes to oppose its means that he has nothing better to offer. Well then, considering that jokes are not reason, to the eyes of sensible people that is a confession of defeat.

Mr. Courtois is not right when taking the incredulous’ denial too seriously. The materialists don’t even believe that they have a soul and reduce themselves to the modest role of robots. How can they admit to spirits around them if they don’t believe that they themselves have a spirit? Speaking about spirits and their communications is to begin where the materialists should stop. Since they don’t admit the first cause they cannot admit the consequences. One would say that since they have reason they should yield to the evidence. That is true but this is precisely the reasoning that they lack. As a matter of fact, it is well known that the worst blind person is the one that does not wish to see. Let them be in peace because their denial will not impede truth from spreading, as they cannot stop the water from running.

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