The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Society, December 9th, 1859 –
First session

Mr. de la Roche, regular member, communicates the following fact of his personal knowledge:

Strange noises and several manifestations took place in a small house near Castelnaudary, leading people to believe that it was haunted by a bad genie. Hence, in 1848 it was exorcized and a large number of images of saints were placed inside the house. Since then, Dr. D…, who wanted to live in the house had some renovations done and requested that the images be removed. He died in that house a few years later, of a sudden death. His son who still lives there or at least who was there up to not long ago, had his face slapped by an invisible hand when entering a bedroom. Since he knew that he was completely alone in the house, he had no doubt that it had come from an occult power. He no longer wishes to stay there and wants to move out for good. There is a story that goes around in the region which says that a terrible crime was committed in that house.

Once questioned about the possibility of evoking the author of that slap, St. Louis responded positively. The spirit was then evoked, showing signs of violence. The medium was taken by great agitation, breaking seven or eight pencils, throwing some onto the audience, tearing off a piece of paper on which he had furiously doodled meaningless characters.

All efforts to calm him down resulted useless. Since he was requested to respond to the questions he wrote with difficulty an almost undecipherable no.

1. (to St. Louis) – Could you kindly give us some information about that spirit, since he cannot or he does not wish to give it himself? – A. It is a spirit of the worst class, a kind of monster. We made him come here but we cannot force him to write, despite everything that we told him. He has his free-will, which has been badly used.

2. Has he died long ago? – A. Look for information. He was the one who committed the crime whose legend goes around in the region.

3. Who was he when alive? – A. You shall find out yourself.

4. Is he the one haunting the house these days? – A. No doubt since that is how I had him coming here.

5. Then the exorcisms have not expelled him? – A. No way.

6. Has he had any participation in the subtle death of Mr. D…? – A. Yes.

7. How come? – A. Through fear.

8. Was he the one who slapped Mr. D… son’s face? – A. Yes.

9. Could he have done the same on some of us? – A. No doubt. He wishes he could.

10. Why hasn’t he done so? – A. He was not allowed.

11. Would there be a means of dislodging him from that house? How? – A. If they want to disentangle from the obsession of similar spirits it is easy, by praying for them. That is what is always forgotten. People prefer to scare them away with formulas of exorcism which greatly entertains them.

12. Passing the idea of praying for this spirit to those involved, and us praying as well, would it then be possible to dislodge him? – A. Yes. However, notice that I said pray and not having someone else praying.

13. Is this spirit susceptible to improvement? – A. Why not? Aren’t they all, this one like the others? Yet, one must be prepared to face difficulties. However perverse the spirit may be, the retribution of evilness by goodness will end up touching him. Let us pray in principle and then evoke him after a month. You will notice the changes which will take place.

14. This is an unfortunate and suffering spirit. Could you describe the kind of sufferings that he endures? – A. He is persuaded that he shall be in his present condition forever. He constantly sees himself at the very moment when he committed the crime. Any other memory has been erased and any communication with another spirit has been banned. When he is on Earth he can only be at that house and when he is in space he only has darkness and loneliness.

15. In which world did he live before his last incarnation? What was his race? – A. He had an existence among the most ferocious and savage tribes, and before that he came from a planet inferior to Earth.

16. In case he reincarnates, which category of individuals will he be around? – A. That will depend on him and on his regrets.

17. In his next corporeal life could he become a righteous man? – A. That would be difficult; regardless of his efforts, it will be hard to avoid a tempestuous life.

OBSERVATION: Mrs. X…, a clairvoyant medium attending the session, saw that spirit at the moment when he was asked to write: he shook the medium’s arm; his looks were terrifying; he was wearing a shirt covered in blood and held a dagger in his hand. Mr. and Mrs. F… who were present as observers, since they were not members yet, carried out the recommendation in favor of the suffering spirit since the first evening, praying for him. Multiple communications were obtained from him and from his victims. We present them below in the order that they were received, together with the ones obtained at the Society about the same subject. In addition to the interest of this dramatic story there is a teaching which will escape nobody. Second session, at the house of Mr. F…

18. (to the familiar spirit) – Can you tell us something about the spirit of Castelnaudary? – A. Evoke him.

19. Is he evil? – A. You shall see.

20. What should we do? – A. Don’t talk to him if you have nothing to say.

21. If we talk to him to say that we are sorry for his suffering, will that do any good to him? – A. Compassion is always good to the unfortunate ones.

22. Evocation of the spirit of Castelnaudary. – A. What do you want from me?

23. We called you in order to be useful to you. – A. Oh! Your compassion is good to me because I suffer… Oh! How much I suffer! ... May God have mercy on me! … Forgive me… Forgive me…

24. Will our prayers be beneficial to you? – A. Yes. Pray, pray.

25. It is okay then! We will pray for you. – A. Thank you! At least you do not curse me.

26. Why didn’t you want to write at the Society when you were invited in? – A. Oh! Malediction!

27. Malediction for whom? – A. For me who ruthlessly atone for the crimes in which my free-will only had a small participation.

OBSERVATION: By saying that his free-will had a small participation in his crimes he wants to attenuate them, as it was verified later.

28. Will you be forgiven if you repent? – A. Oh! Never!

29. Don’t be desperate. – A. Eternal sufferings, such is my destiny.

30. What is it that makes you suffer? – A. What is most horrific! You cannot understand.

31. Have they prayed in your favor since last night? – A. Yes, but I suffer even more.

32. How come? – A. How do I know? OBSERVATION: This circumstance was explained later.

33. Should anything be done regarding the house where you installed yourself? – A. No! No! Say no more about that…. Forgive me God! I have suffered enough! 34. Do you have to stay there? – A. That is my penalty.

35. Will that be so as you may have your crimes permanently before your eyes? – A. That is the case

36. Don’t be desperate. Everything may be forgiven after repentance. – A. No! There is no forgiveness for Cain.

37. Then you killed your brother? – A. We are all brothers.

38. Why did you want to do harm to Mr. D…? – A. Enough! Please, that is enough! 39. Good-bye then. Have faith on God’s mercy! – A. Pray! Third session

40. Evocation – A. I am near you.

41. Do you begin to have hope? – A. Yes, I have a lot of regret.

42. What was your name? – A. You shall know later.

43. For how long have you been suffering? – A. For 200 years.

44. When have you committed your crime? – A. In 1608.

45. Can you repeat the dates to confirm them? – A. It is useless. Once is enough. Good-bye, I will talk to you tomorrow. A force drags me!

Fourth session

46. Evocation – A. Thanks Hugo! (Mr. F… first name)

47. Would you like to speak about what happened in Castelnaudary? – A. No. You make me suffer when you speak about it. It is not generous of you.

48. You know well that if we speak about it, it is with the objective of clarifying you regarding your condition and not to make it worse. Then, speak and have no fear. How could you allow yourself to commit such a crime? – A. A moment of madness.

49. Was there any premeditation? – A. No.

50. This cannot be true. Your sufferings demonstrate that you are guiltier than you say. You know that only through regret you can mitigate your fate and not through lies. Come on! Be honest. – A. Well then! If it is needed, then be it!

51. Was it a man or a woman that you killed? – A. A man.

52. How did you kill Mr. D…? – A. I showed up to him, visibly. My appearance is so horrifying that the simple sight killed him.

53. Did you do that on purpose? – A. Yes.

54. Why? – A. He wanted to challenge me and I would do it again if I were tried.

55. If I was supposed to live in that house would you do me any harm? – A. Oh! No. Certainly not! You have pity on me and wish me well.

56. Has Mr. D… died instantly? – A. No. He was taken by fear but only died two hours later.

57. Why have you only slapped Mr. D… son? – A. Having killed two men was more than enough. Fifth session, at the Society on December 16th, 1859

58. Questions addressed to St. Louis – The spirit who has communicated with Mr. and Mrs. F… is really that of Castelnaudary? – A. Yes.

59. How could he communicate with them so promptly? – A. He didn’t have any knowledge about the Society yet. He was not sorry and repentance means everything.

60. Is the information given by him about the crime correct? – A. It is up to you to verify that and to get along with him.

61. He said that the crime was committed in 1608 and that he died in 1659. Hence he is in that state for 200 years. – A. That will be explained to you later.

62. Could you explain his type of penalty? – A. It is atrocious to him. As you know, he was condemned to stay at the place of the crime, unable to divert his thoughts to anything else but the crime, always before him, and he considers himself condemned eternally to such a torture.

63. Is he immersed in darkness? – A. Darkness when he wants to move away from the place of exile.

64. What is the most terrible kind of punishment that a spirit can endure in such a case? – A. It is not possible to describe the moral tortures as punishment of certain crimes. Even the one who suffers them would have difficulties to explain. But the most horrible is the certainty of condemnation without an appeal.

65. He has been in such a condition for two centuries. Does he assess time as he did when alive, that is, time seems to last longer or shorter? – A. It seems longer to him. There is no sleep.

66. We were told that there is no time to the spirit and that a century is a spot in eternity to them. Shouldn’t that be the same to all? – A. Certainly not. It is like that only to the spirits who have arrived at a high elevation but to the inferior spirits time is sometimes longer, especially when they suffer.

67. This spirit is severely punished for his crime. Well, you told us that before that existence he had lived among barbarians. He must have done things then at least as atrocious as his latest crime. He was punished in the same way? – A. He was less punished because he was more ignorant and did not understand as much the reach of things.

OBSERVATION: All observations confirm this fact, strictly according to God’s justice, that the penalties are proportional not to the nature of the fault but to the level of intelligence of the guilty one and the ability to understand the harm that has been done. Hence, an apparently not so serious fault could be more severely punished on a civilized person than a barbarian act by a savage.

68. Is the state of this spirit what is ordinarily called “damned”? – A. Certainly, and there are cases even more terrible. The sufferings are far from being the same to everyone, even on similar crimes, since they vary depending if the spirit is more or less accessible to regret. For him the house where he committed the crime is his hell; others carry it on themselves, tormented by the passions which cannot be satisfied.

OBSERVATION: In fact we have seen some greedy spirits suffering before the sight of gold which became a mere illusion to them; proud spirits tormented by the envy of seeing others awarded by an honor which should be theirs; people who held positions of command on Earth, humiliated by the invisible power embarrassing them to obey and by the vision of their subordinates who no longer bow before them; atheists suffering the anguishes of uncertainty, finding themselves completely isolated in the enormity of space, not finding a single being to clarify them. In the world of the spirits if there is joy in all virtues, there are penalties to all faults and those which are not reached by humans’ law will be by those of God.

69. Despite his inferiority this spirit feels the good effect of prayer. We have seen the same with other spirits equally perverse and of a brute nature. How come the more enlightened spirits, of a more developed intelligence, show complete absence of good feelings; they laugh at most sacred things; In short, nothing touches them and they never give up on their cynicism? – A. The prayer has effect only on a remorseful spirit. The spirit that is rebellious against God, just out of pride, and persists on his deviations, still making them worse like the unfortunate spirits, to them prayer cannot do and will not be able to do anything, but only when a ray of regret manifests in them. The inefficacy of prayer is a punishment to them. The prayer only relieves those who are not totally hardened.

70. When we see a spirit inaccessible to the effects of prayer, is there a reason for us to abstain from praying for him? – A. No, not at all, for sooner or later he will overcome his rudeness and wake up to healthier thoughts. Sixth session – at the house of Mr. F…

71. Evocation – A. I am here.

72. Then, now you can leave Castelnaudary at will? – A. I am allowed because I am taking your good advices.

73. Do you feel any relief? – A. I begin to have hope.

74. If we could see you how would your appearance be? – A. You would see me with a shirt and without the dagger.

75. Why would you no longer have the dagger? What have you done to that? – A. I curse it. God spares me from such a vision.

76. If Mr. D… Jr. was to return to the house, would you still cause him any harm? – A. No because I am regretful.

77. And if he still wanted to challenge you? – A. Oh! Don’t ask me that. I could not control myself. This would be beyond my strengths… I am just a wretched one.

78. Mr. D… Jr.’s prayers would be more beneficial than the others to you? – A. Yes, since it was him that I hurt the most.

79. That is it then, we will continue to do whatever we can for you. – A. Thank you. At last I found charitable souls in you.

Seventh session

80. Evocation of the murdered man. – A. I am here. 81. What was your name in life? – A. My name was Pierre Dupont

82. What did you do for living? – A. I was a butcher in Castelnaudary, where my brother murdered me on May 6th, 1608; by Charles Dupont, my elder brother, with a dagger, in the middle of the night.

83. What was the cause of the crime? – A. My brother thought that I was courting a woman that he was fond of and that I saw often, but he was mistaken since I had never given any thought to that.

84. How did he kill you? – A. I was asleep. He cut my throat and then my heart. I woke up, tried to fight but succumbed.

85. Have you forgiven him? – A. Yes, at the time of his death, 200 years ago.

86. How old was he when he died? – A. He was 80 years old.

87. He was not punished when alive? – A. No.

88. Who was accused of your death? – A. Nobody. Over those confusing times no one would give attention to these things. It would be useless.

89. What happened to the woman? – A. Soon after she was killed by my brother, in my house.

90. Why did he kill her? – A. Broken heart. He had married her before my death. Eighth session

91. Why he does not speak about the murder of that woman? – A. Because my death is the worst to him.

92. Evocation of the murdered woman. – A. I am here.

93. What was your name in those days? – A. Marguerite Aeder, Mrs. Dupont.

94. For how long were you married? – A. For five years.

95. Pierre told us that his brother was suspicious of criminal relationship between the two of you. Is that true? – A. There was no criminal relationship between Pierre and I. Don’t you believe in that.

96. How long after the death of his brother Charles murdered you? – A. Two years later.

97. What was his motive? – A. Jealousy and his intention of keeping my money.

98. Could you describe the circumstances of the crime? – A. He grabbed me and hit me in the head with his butcher’s knife, at my place of work.

99. How come he was not prosecuted? – A. What for? In those dismal days it was all chaos.

100. Had Charles’ jealousy any foundation? – A. Yes, but that did not authorize him to commit such a crime since we are all sinners in this world.

101. For how long had you been married when Pierre died? – A. For three years.

102. Could you tell us the exact date of your death? – A. Yes, May 3rd, 1610.

103. What was thought of Pierre’s death? – A. It was made believe that it was murder after robbery.

OBSERVATION: Whatever may be the authenticity of the reported facts, which seem difficult to control, there is a remarkable thing: the precision and accuracy of the dates and all events. Such a circumstance is in itself a curious subject for study, if we take into account the fact that the three spirits were evoked at different times and show no contradiction. What seemed to confirm their words is the fact that the main offender in the case, evoked by another medium, gave identical answers.

Ninth session

104. Evocation of Mr. D… - A. I am here.

105. We would like to ask you about some details of the circumstances of your death. Could you give us that? – A. In good will.

106. Did you know that a spirit haunted the house you were living in? – A. Yes, but I wanted to challenge him and I was wrong. It would have been better if I had prayed for him.

OBSERVATION: One can see from this that the means generally employed by us to get rid of the unwelcome spirits are not the most efficient. Our threats excite them more than intimidate. Benevolence and commiseration have more power than the use of coercive means, which irritate them, or the use of formulas which are laughed at.

107. How did that spirit appear to you? – A. When I came home he was visible, staring at me. I could not escape. He became my horror and I expired under the horrifying sight of that spirit which I had neglected and to whom I had shown so little charity.

108. Couldn’t you cry for help? – A. Impossible. My time had come and that is how I should die.

109. What was his appearance? – A. A furious spirit, ready to devour me.

110. Was your death painful? – A. Terribly.

111. Did you die suddenly? – A. No. It was two hours later.

112. What were your thoughts when you felt dying? – A. I could not think; I was taken by an indescribable horror.

113. Was the apparition visible till the end? – A. Yes, it did not leave my poor spirit for a single moment.

114. When your poor spirit was freed, were you aware of the cause of your death? – A. No. It was the end. It was only later that I understood.

115. Could you tell us the date of your death? – A. Yes, it was August 9th, 1853 (the precise date has not been verified yet but it seems more or less accurate). Tenth session, at the Society on January 13th, 1860 When this spirit was evoked on December 9th, St. Louis gave the advice of having him evoked again after one month, in order to assess the progress which might have happened in that interval. It has already been possible to verify, through the communications of Mr. and Mrs. F…, the changes in his thoughts, thanks to the influence of prayers and the good advices. After a little bit more than a month after his first evocation he was evoked again at the Society, on January 13th.

116. Evocation. – A. I am here.

117. Do you remember been called here about a month ago? – A. How could I forget?

118. Why couldn’t you write on that occasion? – A. I didn’t want to.

119. Why didn’t you? – A. Ignorance and rudeness.

120. Have your ideas changed since then? – A. A lot. Several among you have been compassionate and prayed for me.

121. Do you confirm all the information given by you and your victims? – A. If I did not confirm them it would be the same as saying that it was not me who provided them… and it was me.

122. Can you foresee the end of your punishment? – A. Oh! Not yet, but knowing that they will not last forever, thanks to your intervention, it is already much more than I deserve.

123. Describe your situation before our first evocation. Please understand that we ask that as a means of our instruction and not as an item of curiosity. – A. I have already told you that I wasn’t aware of anything and just had the ability of moving in space where everything was darkness and solitude. I could not give you an idea of the meaning of all that because I have never understood it myself. As long as I was elevated in the air it was all black and empty around me; I don’t know what that was. Today I experience much more remorse but, as the communications demonstrate to you, I am no longer forced to stay in that lethal house; I am allowed to wander around Earth and try to learn from my observations. Now I understand better the enormity of my mistakes. If I suffer less on one side, on the other side the tortures increase through remorse, but at least I have hope now.

124. If you had to take a corporeal existence what would your choice be? – A. I have not seen enough, nor given enough thought to know.

125. Do you see your victims? – A. Oh! May God keep me!

OBSERVATION: It has always been said that the presence of the victims is one of the torments of the offender. This spirit had not seen them yet because he was in isolation and in darkness, which was a punishment in itself, but he fears their presence and that is perhaps a complement to his punishment.

126. During your long isolation, say, your captivity, did you feel any remorse? – A. Not in the least and that is why I suffered so much. I only began to feel it, despite my will, when the circumstances for my evocation were provoked, to which I owe the beginning of my liberation. Thank you all who had mercy on me and enlightened me.

OBSERVATION: This evocation was not casual. Since it was supposed to be useful to that unfortunate creature, the spirits who cared for him noticing that he was beginning to understand the enormity of his crimes, judged that the time had come to provide him with efficient help, and then created the favorable circumstances. It is an occurrence that we have seen repeated often. On a related matter, we were asked what would have become of him if we could not have been able to evoke him, as well as all other suffering spirits that cannot be evoked either, and of whom nobody thinks. The answer is that God’s avenues for the salvation of the beings are countless. Evocation may be a means of supporting it but certainly it is not the only one. God forgets nobody. As a matter of fact, the collective prayers may also have influence upon spirits who are accessible to regret.

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