The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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The Betrayed Bride

The following fact was reported by the “Gazetta dei Teatri” from Milan, on March 14th, 1860:

“A young man was totally in love with a lady who loved him back and whom he was going to marry when, yielding to an ill-fated desire, he abandoned his wife-to-be for a woman who was unworthy of true love. The unfortunate and abandoned young lady begged and cried but all was useless. Her fickle boyfriend remained impervious to her appeals. So desperate, she went to his house and died before his eyes as a consequence of a poison that she had ingested. Facing the cadaver and after witnessing the death that he had caused, he is then taken by a terrible reaction and tries to kill himself. However, he survives, but his conscience always blames him of this crime. Since that fatal episode, each day at dinner time, his fiancée appears at the door of his bedroom, in the image of a frightening skeleton. However much he tried to become distracted, change his habits, travel, visit with joyful friends, forget about the time, nothing worked. Wherever he was, the ghost would always appear at the appointed time. In a short time, he lost a lot of weight and his health became compromised to the point that the doctors gave up on being able to save him.

A medical doctor, who was his friend, after having experimented with several medications and studied the case very seriously, had the following idea: hoping to demonstrate to him that he was a victim of an illusion, he sought a real skeleton and stored it in the room next door; then, having invited his friend for dinner, at 4 o’clock which was the usual time of the vision, he brought in the skeleton by the use of pulleys which were fixed nearby. The doctor thought that he was successful when his friend, taken by a sudden horror, exclaimed:
• Oh, like one was not enough! Now it is two!

He then fell dead; a fulminating death.”

Observation: Reading this story, which we report on in good faith to the Italian newspaper, the hallucinationists, from where we have taken the information, one can easily say, and with reason, that this was an obvious cause for cerebral super-excitation, that produced an illusion on the shocked person. In fact there is nothing that demonstrates the reality of the apparition that could be attributed to a mind weakened by a violent shock. As for ourselves, who knew so many analogue and attested facts, we shall say that it is possible and that, in any case, the in-depth knowledge of Spiritism would have given the doctor a more efficient way of treating his friend. The means would have been the evocation of the young lady at different times, speaking to her, be it directly or through a medium; asking her what could have been done in order to please her and obtain her forgiveness; praying to a guardian angel to intercede on her behalf for reflection; and since she definitely loved him, she would certainly forget his mistakes had he shown a sincere regret and sorrow, instead of a simple horror which was his likely dominant feeling. Perhaps, she would have stopped to appear to him in such a terrible form, taking the gracious form she had when alive or she would simply no longer appear to him. She would have certainly told him good things which would have reestablished his calmness and balance. The certainty that they would never really be separated; that she watched over him and that they would reunite one day, all would have given him courage and acceptance. It is a result that we have often seen. The spirits that show up spontaneously always have an objective. In such cases the best thing to do is to ask what their wishes are. If they are suffering, it is necessary to pray for them and do what we can to please them. If the apparition has a permanent character, like an obsession, it almost always stops when the spirit is satisfied. If the spirit manifests with obstinacy, visually or through any disturbing means that cannot be taken by an illusion; if the spirit is ill-behaved and acts malevolently, that spirit is generally more tenacious, a fact which justifies even further perseverance and sincere prayers in its favor. However, one must be really persuaded that there are no sacramental words in such cases, or even cabalistic formulas or exorcisms that may have any influence. The more mischievous these spirits are the more they laugh at the inspired terror and importance given to their presence. They enjoy being called devils or demons and thus take names like Asmodeu, Astaroth, Lucifer and other diabolical qualification, multiplying their perniciousness, whereas they simply leave when they notice that they waste their time with people that are not mistaken and just pray for God to have mercy on them.

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