The Spiritist Review - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1861

Allan Kardec

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“Paris, July 21st, 1861
Dear Sir,

One can disagree about certain points and be in perfect agreement about others. I have just read your thoughts about fraud in the last issue of The Review in the article ‘Exploitation of Spiritism’, regarding spiritualist (or spiritist) communications, to which I am happily and strongly related. Any dissidence with respect to theories and doctrines disappear in those manifestations as if in a magic spell.

I am not perhaps as strict as you are regarding the mediums who accept some sort of compensation in a dignified and adequate way, given the time they dedicate to the experiments, sometimes long and tiresome, but I am, and nobody can be more than I am, severe with respect to those who replace the absence or insufficiency of the expected results by fraud and trickery.

Mixing the false with the true in matters of phenomena obtained by the intervention of the spirits is simply blasphemy, thus indicating a failed sense of moral from the part of a medium who would unscrupulously do that. As you clearly stated, this is the same as casting doubt upon the indecisive minds, considering that there is real fraud. I must add that it is the most deplorable way of compromising honorable people who support the mediums with their knowledge and education, becoming the guarantors of their good-faith, sponsoring them in a certain way. It is prevarication towards them.

Every medium that is knowingly guilty of fraudulent maneuvers and caught on the act – using a trivial expression, with their hand in the sack, deserves to be ostracized by every spiritist or spiritualist in the world, and it is their duty to unmask and demoralize them.

If it suits you Sir, to have these words published in your Review, please do as you please.

Yours, etc.

Mathieu”

We would not expect less from the noble feelings that characterize Mr. Mathieu as this energetic reproach to the ill-faith mediums. On the contrary, we would be surprised if he had faced the issue of trust and its abuse with indifference. Such abuse could be easier when Spiritism was not much known. However, as this Science spreads and becomes better understood; as the true conditions for the production of the phenomena are clearly identified, there will be wise eyes everywhere capable of uncovering the fraud. The best way to discourage the fraud is to denounce it wherever it may take place.

Some say that it would be better not to disclose such turpitudes in the very interest of Spiritism; that the possibility of deceiving could increase the mistrust from the indecisive. We don’t share such opinion and do believe that it is better to have the indecisive suspicious than deceived, since once they know that they were deceived they could be sent away forever. Besides, there would be an even greater evil; that is the belief that the spiritists are easily deceived. Much to the contrary, they will be even more prepared to believe when they see that the believers are surrounded by precautions, repudiating the deceiving mediums.

Mr. Mathieu says that he cannot be as strict as we are, with respect to the mediums who in a dignified and discrete way accept compensation for the time dedicated to the subject. We are in perfect agreement that there can be and there must be honorable exceptions, but since the attractiveness of earnings is a great temptation and since the beginners don’t have the necessary experience to distinguish between the true and the false, we maintain our opinion that the best guarantee of honesty is in the absolute altruism because where there is nothing to gain there is no place for charlatanism.

A person that pays for a service wants something in return for his money and would not accept it if told that the spirit does not wish to communicate. From that, to the means of making the spirit act at any price there is only a step, according to the maxim: need is the mother of industry. We must add that the mediums will gain a hundred times more in respect and consideration than they lose in material gains. They say that consideration does not feed life. It is true that consideration alone is not enough but there are other more honest activities than the exploitation of the souls of the dead.

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