The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Pneumatography or Direct Writing


Mr. X…, one of our most renowned scholars, was at the house of Ms. Huet last February 11th, with a group of six people who were acquainted with spiritist manifestations for a long time already. Mr. X… and Ms. Huet sat face to face around a little table chosen by Mr. X… He took a piece of paper from his pocket, completely blank, folded it four times and marked it with an almost imperceptible sign, but sufficient to be identified. He put the piece of paper on the table covered by his white handkerchief. Ms. Huet put her hands over the handkerchief. Mr. X… did the same, asking the spirits to provide a direct manifestation, with an enlightening objective. Mr. X… directed his request to Channing to be evoked for that. Ten minutes had passed when he raised the handkerchief and retrieved the piece of paper in which there was a phrase written on one side, written with difficulty, almost illegible, but showing the outline of these words: God loves you. On the other side it read: God on the external angle, and Christ at the end of the paper. This last word was written in such a way that it showed a hinged mark on the folded paper. A second trial was carried out under the same conditions and after fifteen minutes the paper contained on its lower surface, written in bold characters, the following English words: God loves you, and below it read: Channing. At the end of the piece of paper it read in French: Faith in God. Finally, on the back of the same page there was a cross with a sign similar to a reed, both drawn with a red substance. Once the experiment was over Mr. X… expressed to Ms. Huet his desire to obtain more elaborated explanations from Channing, through her mediumship as a writing medium. The following dialogue was established between him and the spirit:

• Are you here, Channing?
• I am here. Are you satisfied?
• Have you addressed the things you wrote to me in particular or to everybody else?
• I wrote a phrase whose meaning applies to all people. The experiment of writing in English however, is particularly to you. As for the cross, it is the symbol of faith.
• Why have you done it in red?
• In order to ask you to have faith. I could not write it because it would be too long; then I used the symbol.
• Is the red then the symbolic color of faith?
• Certainly. It is the representation of baptism by blood.


Observation: Ms. Huet does not speak English and thus the spirit wanted to give another proof that his thoughts were foreign to the manifestation. He did that spontaneously and from his own initiative, but it is more than likely that if one had requested more proof, it would not have been there. It is well known that the spirits do not like to be used as instruments in experiments. The most patent proofs are sometimes given when least expected and when the spirits act freely, they sometimes give more than if they were asked. Whether they have the heart to show their independence, or for the fault of not being able to produce certain phenomena as a contest of circumstances which cannot always be produced by our will. It is never too much to repeat that the spirits have their own free will and want to demonstrate to us that they are not submitted to our caprices. That is why they rarely yield to curiosity.


The phenomena, whatever their nature, are never at our services with any certainty, and no one can guarantee that they will be produced at a given moment and at will. Any person who wishes to observe them must be patient and wait and this is frequently a test of perseverance from the part of the spirits, assessing the observer and the actual intention. The spirits give no importance to the entertainment of curiosity and do not bind themselves but to those who demonstrate their real desire for instruction, doing whatever is necessary to achieve that, without any commercialization of their time and effort.


The simultaneous production of signs in characters of different colors is an extremely curious fact, but it is not more supernatural than all others. We have an account of that in the article Pneumatography or direct writing in The Spiritist Review, August 1859. The supernatural disappears giving place to a simple phenomenon explained by the general laws of nature, and that would be called the physiology of the spirits.

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