The Spiritist Review - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1861

Allan Kardec

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Death of Mr. Laferrière, member of the Institute - Suicide of Mr. Léon L…
The widow and the Doctor

We would need several books to register all the dismal accidents caused by despair, even if we only take into account those that are of public knowledge. How many suicides, diseases, involuntary deaths, cases of madness, acts of vengeance and even crimes are produced every day! An educational statistic would be that of the root causes that led those persons to a state of insanity. We would see that in at least 80% of the cases despair is present. But that is not our focus today.

Below we transcribe two cases that were reported in the papers, and we don’t do it just to show the news but as material for study. The Siècle of last February 17th reported the following regarding the funerals of Mr. Laferrière:

“On Tuesday we took a twenty-year-old young lady to her final dwelling, followed by some saddened friends, after she had endured a terrible disease for some time. Mr. Laferrière was the father of his only child. He was a member of the Institute and General Inspector at the Law School. The excessive pain killed that unfortunate father and the resignation of the Christian faith was not enough to console him. Thirty six hours later a second blow shook the family and the same week that had seen father and daughter separated also saw them reunited again. Mr. Laferrière funeral was attended by a huge and dismayed crowd.”

The paper says that Mr. Laferrière had religious feelings and it is nice to see it since we must not assume that all scholars are agnostic. Those feelings, however, were not able to preclude him from falling out of despair. We are convinced that if his ideas about the future were less vague, more positive, such as those given by Spiritism; had he believed in the presence of his daughter by his side; had he had the reassuring opportunity of communicating with her, he would have understood that they were only separated physically and for some time and he would have the necessary patience and submission to God’s will up until the time of their reunion; he would have calmed down knowing that his own despair was a cause of disturbance to his beloved one’s happiness. These thoughts are even more appropriate to the news reported by the Siècle on March 1st:

“Mr. Leon L… is a 25 year-old businessman of the Villemonble bus company in Paris. He was married for two years to a young lady who he loved very much. The birth of their son, now 1 year old, brought them even closer. This and the successful business led them to foresee a long and happy future.

A few months ago Mrs. L… felt suddenly ill taken by typhoid fever and despite the most diligent care and the assistance of all of science’s latest medicines, she soon passed away. Since then Mr. L… has been so sad that there was nothing that could distract him. He was heard more than once saying that he hated life and that he wanted to reunite with the one who was his reason of happiness.

Last night, around 7 pm, on returning from Paris in his car he gave the cabriolet carriage to the wagoner and without a word he entered the room adjacent to the dining room. An hour later a servant came to let him know that dinner was served. He responded that he wanted nothing. His body was bending over the desk, the head supported by the hands, seemingly taken by total weakness.

The servant informed his parents who promptly came to help their son. He had lost consciousness. They immediately sent for Dr. Dubois. As soon as the doctor arrived he attested that the young man was dead. He had poisoned himself with a strong dose of laudanum that he had bought for his horses. The young man’s death caused great commotion in the region where he enjoyed general sympathy.”

Mr. Leon L…, no doubt, believed in a future life since he killed himself to reunite with his wife. Had he known through Spiritism the fate of those who commit suicide he would have known that far from short-cutting the path of reunion, his action was an infallible way of keeping them apart. We would like to offer the following opposing fact to those two above, showing the influence that the spiritist beliefs may have upon those who profess them. One of our corresponding members reports the following:

“A lady friend of mine lost her husband whose death was attributed to medical malpractice. She was so angry with the doctor that she persecuted him, ruthlessly, threatening him and telling him out loud and wherever she met him: - ‘Assassin, I will make sure that you die in my hands!’ – That lady was very religious, a good Catholic. The appeal of religion, however, did not stop her. The situation came to a point that the doctor decided to inform the authorities for his own security. In the town where she resides there is a large number of followers of Spiritism. A good spiritist, friend of hers, told her one day:

• How would you react if I told you that you could still talk to your husband?

• Oh! She said, if I only knew that it is possible! If I were certain that I did not lose him forever, that would give me consolation and I would wait.

They soon gave her proof. Her own husband came to give her advice and consolation and by the language he employed, she had no doubt that it was him by her side. Since then a total revolution took place in her mind. Eight days later she went to the house of the doctor who was afraid of her visit; instead of threatening him she offered to shake his hand, saying: - ‘do not be frightened Sir. I came to apologize for the bad things I have been doing against you, as I forgive you for what you did involuntarily. It was my husband himself that advised me to do what I am doing now. He told me that the cause of his death had absolutely nothing to do with you. As a matter of fact I am now certain that he is around me, that he sees and protects me and that one day we will be together again. Hence, I beg you Sir not to keep any hard feelings against me as I do not hold any against you.’

Needless to say that the doctor accepted the settlement immediately and promptly tried to understand the mysterious cause behind his refreshing peace of mind thereafter. Thus, without Spiritism that lady would have likely committed a crime, despite the fact that she was a religious person. Does it demonstrate the uselessness of religion? Not at all. It only shows the insufficiency of the idea that religion provides about the future with such vagueness that to many it presents a kind of uncertainty, while Spiritism in a way allows us to touch it with our fingers, giving the soul a more thorough sense of confidence and security.

Which consolation does materialism bring to the father who has lost his son; the son who has lost his father; the husband who has lost his beloved wife? It says: it is all over. There is nothing left of the beloved creature, absolutely nothing remains from that body that will soon be dissolved. Also their intelligence, the moral qualities, the education, nothing; it all comes to the void; you have lost them forever.

The spiritist says: They are not lost; they all move on; the only thing that is gone is their physical covering; but the spirit, now separated from its prison, is radiant, and it is there, by your side, seeing you, hearing and waiting for you. Oh! The wrongs caused by the materialists inoculating their deceitful arguments, the poison of unbelievers! They never loved. Otherwise, how could they see in cold blood the very object of their love and devotion turning into a pile of dust?

Therefore it seems that God’s greatest rigor has been reserved to them as we shall see them all reduced to the most deplorable condition in the spiritual world and the closer they were from knowing the truth, the less indulgence they will receive from God.

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