The Suicide of
Mr. Alfred Leroy
(Parisian Society of Spiritist Studies, March 8th, 1861)
The Siècle from March 2nd, 1861 reports the following:
“In a vacant lot on the corner of a road called The Arcade which
leads to Conflans and Charenton, yesterday in the morning the body
of a man who had committed suicide was found by workers, hanging
from a very tall pine tree. Once informed, the Charenton Police
Chief went to the scene, followed by Dr. Josias, carrying out the full
examination. The Droit says that the man was apparently around
fifty years of age, of distinct looks, well dressed. A handwritten note
was taken from one of his pockets and it read: ‘It is 11:45pm; I ascend
to end my torture. May God forgive my errors.’ In the same pocket a
letter was found without signature or addressee, containing the following:
‘Yes, I fought to the limit! Promises, guarantees, I lacked everything.
I could get there; I had everything to believe in, everything to expect; lack of words kill me; I cannot go on. I now leave this so
painful life. Full of strength and energy I am obliged to resort to
suicide. God is my witness that I seriously wanted to pay back all
those who helped me in my disgrace. Fatality crushes me. Everything
is against me. Suddenly abandoned by those that I represented I now
suffer my fate. I die without bitterness, I confess, and however much
they say, the slanders will not preclude me from having a few moments
of noble sympathy towards myself. Insulting the man that has
been reduced to the last of all resolutions is an abuse. It is enough to
be reduced to this. I am not all ashamed of myself. Selfishness would
have killed me.’ According to other documents, the man was a so
called Alfred Leroy, fifty years old, from Vimoutier, Orne. His profession
and residence are unknown and after the customary formalities
the unclaimed body was sent to the morgue.”
1. Evocation – A. I don’t come as a tortured man. I am saved! Alfred.
OBSERVATION: The words “I am saved” astonished the majority
of the audience. The explanation was requested in the sequence
of the conversation.
2. We learned from the papers about the desperate act in which you
have succumbed to and although we don’t know you, we are very
sorry because religion teaches us that we must have pity on all
our unfortunate brothers and it is to testify our sympathy that we
invoked you. – A. I need to shut out the real motives that led me
to that desperate act. I thank you for what you are doing for me.
It is a reason for joy, a message of hope. Thank you!
3. Can you first tell us if you are aware of your present situation? –
A. Perfectly. I am relatively happy. I did not commit suicide for purely material causes and my last words demonstrate that. I was
taken by an iron fist. When I incarnated on Earth I saw that
suicide would be in my future. It was a trial that I had to fight. I
wanted to be stronger than fatality but I succumbed.
OBSERVATION: It will be seen soon that this spirit does not
escape the fate of all suicides, despite what he says. As for the word
fatality, it is evident that there is a memory of Earthly things.
People consider their destiny as every disgraceful event that cannot
be avoided. For him suicide was the test that he had to pass.
He yielded to the call instead of resisting, given his free-will, and
he assumed that it was in his destiny.
4. You wanted to escape an unpleasant situation through suicide.
Have you gained anything from that? – A. Here is my punishment:
confusion of my pride, awareness of my weakness.
5. According to a letter that was found with you, it seems that people’s
cruelty and lack of word have led you to your self-destruction.
What is your feeling now towards those who were the cause
of you fatal resolution? – A. Oh! Don’t you tempt me, don’t tempt
me, I beg you.
OBSERVATION: This is a remarkable answer. It paints the situation
of the spirit fighting the desire of hatred towards those who
did him harm, and the feeling of good, pushing him to forgiveness.
He is afraid that this question may provoke an answer that
might be reproached by his conscience.
6. Do you regret your action? – A. I told you: my pride and my
weakness are the cause.
7. When alive did you believe in God and in a future life? – A. My
final words demonstrate that: I walk to my punishment.
OBSERVATION: He begins to understand his situation, about
which he could have had an illusion in the beginning, because he
could not be simultaneously saved and walked to his punishment.
8. When you took that resolution, what was in your mind? – A. I
was very much aware of the justice to understand what makes me
suffer now. For a short time I entertained the idea of the void but
I soon rejected that. If I had such an idea I would not have killed
myself. I would have sought revenge.
OBSERVATION: This answer is at the same time very logical
and very profound. If he believed in the nothingness after death
instead of killing himself he would have revenged or at least he
would have started from vengeance. The idea of the future precluded
him from committing a double crime. With the idea of the
nothingness what was there to be afraid of if he wanted to take
his own life? He would no longer fear people’s justice and would
enjoy the pleasure of vengeance. Such is the consequence of the
materialistic doctrines that certain wise people try to propagate.
9. If you were convinced that the cruelest vicissitudes of life are trials
of too short a duration before eternity would you still have succumbed?
– A. Very short, I know that, but despair does not give
space to reason.
10. We beg God for His forgiveness in your favor and send Him our
prayers, all of us united: “Almighty God, we know the fate of
those who shorten their days and we cannot obstruct your justice.
But we also know that your mercy is infinite. May that mercy
be extended upon the soul of Alfred Leroy! May also our prayers
show him that there are people on Earth who care about him,
thus mitigating his sufferings for not having had the courage to
endure the hardships of life! Good spirits, whose mission is to
alleviate the unfortunate ones, take him under your protection; inspire regret in him for his actions and the firm desire of progress
through new trials that he will withstand better. – A. Your prayers
make me cry hence I feel happier.
11. In the beginning you said: I am saved. How can we reconcile
those words with what you said later: I walk towards my punishment?
– A. And how do you see God’s benevolence? I could not
live. It was impossible. Wouldn’t you believe that God sees that
impossibility in such a case?
OBSERVATION: Amidst some notably sensible answers there
are others, and this last one is in that group, through which the
spirit shows an imperfect idea of his current situation. There is no
surprise here if we consider the fact that he has been dead for a
few days only.
12. (To St. Louis) – Could you tell us what is the fate of the unfortunate
spirit that we have just evoked? – A. Expiation and suffering.
No, there is no contradiction between the first words of that
unfortunate spirit and his pains. He says he is happy. He is happy
for the termination of life. Since he is still attached to the Earthly
bonds the only thing he feels is the absence of the bad things from
Earth, but when his spirit is totally separated from the horizons of
pain, a slow and terrible expiation will unfold before him, and the
awareness of infinity, still hidden to his eyes, shall be the punishment
that he had foreseen.
13. Which difference can you establish between this suicide case and
the other one of the Samaritan? Both killed themselves out of despair,
however their situation is very different: this one is perfectly
conscious of himself; speaks clearly and does not suffer yet while
the other one did not see himself dead and from the very initial
moments he suffered a cruel pain, feeling the decomposition of his
own body. – A. Huge difference. The suffering of each of those
men reflects the individual character of their moral progress. The latter, a weak and broken soul, held up as much as he believed.
He doubted his own strength and God’s benevolence, but he cannot
be charged with blasphemy or slander; his inner, slow and
profound suffering shall have the same intensity as the pain of the
former suicide. It is just that the law of expiation is not uniform.
NOTE: The story of the Samaritan suicide can be found in the
issue of The Spiritist Review, June 1858.
14. To the eyes of God who is most to blame and who will suffer the
greatest punishment: the one who succumbed to his own weakness
or the other who was led to despair for the stiffness of his
heart? – A. Surely the one who succumbed to the temptation.
15. Can the prayers on their behalf be useful to them? – A. Yes. Prayer
is like a beneficial mist.
Friend of Mrs. Costel’s son, the medium, deceased when he was
14 years old. Evoked 8 days after his death
1. Evocation – A. I thank you for the evocation. I remember you
and our strolls at Monceau Park.
2. And what can you tell us about our comrade Charles? – A. Charles
is very sorry for my death. But am I dead? I see, I feel alive, I think
as I did before; it is just that I cannot touch myself and I don’t
recognize anything around me.
3. What is it that you see? – A. I see a great clarity; my feet don’t
touch the ground; I slide; I feel dragged. I see bright figures and
others dressed in white; I feel their pressure and they surround
me; some smile at me others scare me with their dark eyes.
4. Do you see your mother? – A. Ah! Yes. I see my mother, my sister
and my brother. Here they are! My mother cries a lot. I wish I
could speak with her as I do with you. She would see that I am
not dead. How can I console her? I beg you to speak of me. I would like also that you tell Charles that I will have fun by watching
5. Do you see your body? – A. Yes, I see my body there, stiff.
However, I am not in that grave since I am here.
6. Where are you then? – A. I am here, by your table, on the right
hand side. It is funny that you cannot see me when I see you so
7. What was your sensation when you left your body behind? – A. I
don’t remember very well what I felt then. I had a splitting headache
and there were a lot of things around me. I felt numb; I
wanted to move but I couldn’t; my hands were wet from sweat
and I noticed a lot of work done on my body; then I felt nothing
else and woke up kind of relieved; there was no more suffering
and I felt myself light as a feather. Then I saw myself in bed but
I was not there; I saw all the arrangements around me and then
8. How did you know that I called you? – A. I don’t understand that
very well. I just heard your call and I promptly came because, as
I used to tell Charles, you are not boring. Good bye Ma’am, so
long. We will speak again, right?