Allan Kardec

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One of our corresponding members in Warsaw sent us the following:

“… I dare call your attention to a fact that is so extraordinary that it would be necessary to classify it as absurd if the character of the person that reported it to me were not a guarantee of its reality. All of us who know everything that has been so carefully analyzed by you regarding Spiritism, and who believe that understand it well, we cannot find an explanation for this fact. Thus, we pass it on for your discretion, hoping that will forgive the time required to read it all in case you don’t find it worthy of a more serious examination. Here are the facts:

“The person that I mentioned above was in Vilnius in 1852, a city of Lithuania, then devastated by cholera. Her beautiful twelveyear-old daughter was gifted with every quality that characterizes a great nature. Her outstanding intelligence was noticed at a very young age combined with a truly angelical kindness and goodness of heart. She was one of the first to enjoy a mediumistic faculty in our land always supervised by spirits of higher order. She frequently had premonitions of what was about to happen, and not in a somnambulistic state, always predicting with accuracy. The details above seem relevant to give you a proper assessment of her honesty. One evening, when the candles had just been put out, the girl who was still perfectly awake saw an enraged and bloody figure of an old woman standing by her bedside, notably giving her the shivers. The woman approached the girl and said: ‘I am cholera and I come to demand a kiss from you. If you kiss me I will leave for good and the city shall be free from my presence.’ The heroic girl did not step away from the sacrifice. She pressed her lips against the frigid and humid face of the old woman and the vision, if that was a vision, vanished. The girl could only find consolation in her father’s arms. Her father could not understand a thing but he believed that she was telling the truth. They said nothing to nobody though. Around noon they received the visit of a doctor friend of the family who said: ‘I come to bring you good news. Not one patient was taken to the cholera hospital last night and I just came from there.’ In fact since that night there was no more new cholera cases. About three years later the same person and her family visited the same town again. During their stay the cholera reappeared and the number of victims was in the hundreds. One night the same old woman showed up again to the young lady who was perfectly awake, asking her for the same thing, adding this time that if she obeyed her wishes the cholera would disappear for good. Like in the first event, the girl did not refuse. She then saw a grave opening up and then consuming the old woman. The cholera faded away like in a miracle and I am not aware of any other case in Vilnius. Was it hallucination or a real apparition? I don’t know. All I can say is that I don’t have any reason not to believe the young lady and her parents.”

This is actually a very singular fact. The skeptics will certainly say that it is hallucination but it will probably be very difficult for them to explain the coincidences with a material event that could not be foreseen. In the first occurrence this could have been taken by an event of chance, that convenient way of explaining what one cannot understand. But two occurrences in identical circumstances are more extraordinary. Admitting that there was an apparition, it was still necessary to understand the meaning of that woman. Would that really be an angel, exterminator of cholera? Would the pandemics be personified by certain spirits in charge of provoking or eliminating them? One could be led to believe so by observing the extinction following the will of that woman. However, why would she address that girl, a stranger in town, and how could a kiss from that girl have such an influence? Although Spiritism has given us the key to so many things, we have not gotten the final word and with reference to the case above the latter hypothesis was not completely absurd. We must confess that in the beginning we were inclined to believe so since we could not identify traces of hallucination. However, the teachings of the spirits came to knock our hypothesis down. Here is the simple and very logical explanation given by St. Louis in a session at the Society on April 19th, 1861.

Q – The event that has just been reported seems very authentic. We would like to have an explanation about it. To begin with, could you tell us who that woman was that appeared to the young lady saying that she was cholera?

A – She was not cholera. A material plague has no human appearance. It was the girl’s familiar spirit trying her faith, making such a trial to coincide with the end of the scourge. The trial was beneficial to the young lady. It fortified the blossoming virtues in that blessed and protected creature. High ranking spirits that keep the memory of their acquired virtues when returning to the world sometimes receive such warnings that would be dangerous to a not so elevated soul hence not so well prepared by previous migrations through testimonies of love and faith.

Q – Had her familiar spirit enough power to predict the future and the end of such plague?

A – The spirits are instruments of the divine will and are frequently turned into celestial messengers.

Q – Do the spirits have any influence over the scourges as their producing agents?

A – They have nothing to do with that like the trees don’t act upon the winds or the effects on their causes.

Since we expected answers according to our initial thoughts we had previously prepared a number of questions that became useless. Once more this demonstrates that the mediums are not a reflex of the thought of someone that questions them. As a matter of fact, we must say that we had no previous opinion about this subject. In the absence of something better we were inclined to believe in what we said because it did not seem impossible to us. However we find the simple and more rational explanation given by the spirit infinitely preferable. In reality another instruction may be drawn from the fact. What happened to that girl may have happened before on other occasions and even in former times since the spiritist phenomena are from all times. Couldn’t that be the reason why former peoples were led to personify everything and see a particular genie in everything? We don’t believe that its cause is in the poetic vein since these ideas are found in the least advanced peoples.

Let us suppose for a moment that an event similar to the one described above had occurred in a superstitious and barbarian people. Nothing else was needed to lead them to believe in a malevolent entity that could only be appeased by the sacrifice of victims. As we have already said, all gods of paganism have no other origin but the spiritist manifestations. Christianity came to knock their altars down, but it was reserved to Spiritism to unveil their true nature, shedding light onto the phenomena either mystified by superstition or exploited by greed.

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