From Teopedia library
Jump to navigation Jump to search
vol. 3, p. 152
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)
<<     >>

< Researches on the Historical Origin of the Reincarnation Speculation of French Spiritualists (continued from page 3-151) >

making a chain, American fashion, in form of a horse shoe round Madame Celina, and they obtained spiritual phenomena more or less remarkable; but soon Madame Celina developed as a writing medium, and it was through that channel that the greater part of the communications were obtained.

In 1856 she mot M. Denizard Rivail, introduced by M. Victorien Sardou. He correlated the materials by a number of questions; himself arranged the whole in systematic order and published The Spirit’s Book without ever mentioning the name of Madame C. Japhet, although three-quarters of this book had been given through her mediumship. The rest was obtained from communications through Madame Bodin. who belonged to another spirit-circle. She is not mentioned except on the last page of the first number of the Revue Sprite, where, in consequence of the number of reproaches that were addressed to him, he makes a short mention of her. As he was also attached to an important journal, L’Univers, he published his book under the names which he had borne in his two previous existences. One of these names was Allan—a fact revealed to him by Madame Japhet, and the other name of Kardec was revealed to him by the medium Roze. After the publication of the Book of Spirits, of which Kardec did not even present one copy to Madame Japhet, he quitted the circle and arranged another in his own house, M. Roze being the medium. When he thus left be possessed a mass of manuscript which lie had carried off from the house of Madame Japhet, and he availed himself of the right of an editor by never giving it hack again, to the numerous requests for its return which were made to him, he contented himself by replying, “Let her go to law with me.” These manuscripts were to some extent useful in the compilation of the Book of Mediums, of which all the contents, so says Madame Japhet, had been obtained through medial communications.

It would be essential in order to complete this article to review the ideas on pre-existence and on reincarnation which were strongly in vogue in France just before 1850. An abstract of these win be found in the work of M. Pezzani on The Plurality of Existences. The works of Cahagnet should also be, consulted. As I am now away from my library, it is impossible for me to give the relative points exactly.

In addition to the foregoing, supplementary details, bearing upon the origin of The Book of Spirits and the different points connected therewith can and ought to be obtained from living witnesses to throw light upon the conception and birth of this book, such as Madame Japhet, Mdlle. de Guldenstubbe, M. Sardou, and M. Taillandier. The last continues up to the present rime to work with Madame Japhet as a medium; she is still in possession of her somnambulic powers, and continues to give consultations. She sends herself off to sleep by means of objects which have been mesmerized M. Roustan. I think it a duty on this occasion to testify to the excellence of her lucidity. I consulted her about myself, and she gave me exact information as to a local malady, and aa to the state of my health in general. Now is it not astonishing that this remarkable person, who has done so much for French Spiritism, should be living entirely unknown for twenty years, and no notice or remark made about her? Instead of being the centre of public attention she is totally ignored; in fact, they have buried her alive! Let as hope that the reparation which is due to her will be made one day. “Spiritualism" might, in this matter, offer a noble example to “Spiritism.” *

Now to return to the question of Reincarnation. I leave it to English critics to draw their deductions from the facts which I unravelled by my researches, incomplete though hey be; I will do no more than throw out the following ideas: That the propagation of this doctrine by Kardec was a matter of strong predilection is clear; from the beginning Reincarnation has not been presented as an object of study, but as a dogma. To sustain it he has always had resource to writing mediums, who it is well known pass so easily under the psychological influence of preconceived ideas; and Spiritism has engendered such in profusion; whereas through physical mediums the communications are not only more objective, but always contrary to the doctrine of Reincarnation. Kardec adopted the plan of always disparaging this kind of mediumship, alleging as a pretex its moral inferiority. Thus the experimental method is altogether unknown in Spiritism; for twenty years it has not made the slightest intrinsic progress, and it has remained in total ignorance of Anglo-American Spiritualism! The few French physical mediums who developed their power in spite of Kardec, were never mentioned by him in the Revue; they remained almost unknown to Spiritists, and only because their spirits did not support the doctrine of Reincarnation I Thus Camille Bredif, a very good physical medium, acquired celebrity only in consequence of his visit to St Petersburg. I do not remember ever to have seen in the Revue Spirite the slightest notice of him, still less any descriptions of manifestations produced in bis presence. Knowing the reputation of Mr. Home, Kardec made several overtures to get him upon his side; he had two interviews with him for this purpose, but as Mr. Home told him that the spirits who had communicated through him never endorsed the idea ail Reincarnation, he thenceforth ignored him, thereby disregarding the value of the manifestations which were produced in his presence. I have upon this head a letter from Mr. Home, although at the present moment it is not within reach.

In conclusion, it is scarcely necessary to point out that all that I have herein stated does not affect the question of Reincarnation, considered upon its own merits, but only concerns the causes of its origin and of its propagation as Spiritism.

Chateau de Krotofka, Russia, July 24, 1875.

* The addres of Madame Japhnet is Paris, Rue des Enfants Rouges, 6

<Untitled> (We are anxious)

We are anxious that the coming winter should be one of work such as the movement has not seen. To commence it, to continue it, and to finish it, extend the circulation of the Spiritual Scientist. We are ready to do anything that may be suggested to promote this work. Free copies, as specimens, may be had in any quantity, and we should like to see a movement set on foot, that would place a specimen of the Spiritual Scientist in every house in the United States.

Test Conditions Demanded

There is such a mass of evidence in favor of Spiritualism, there are so many genuine mediums, such a variety of phenomena that admit of no doubt, that Spiritualists can well afford to demand that every medium shall be thoroughly tested before he is admitted to confidence. Where the phenomena are of an unusual and startling character, common sense would seem to dictate their rejection, except they are accompanied with the most unquestioned proofs of genuineness. If the new philosophy is true, its mission to the race is of a beneficent character, and it will not do for us to be indifferent as to results. I mean by this to say, that he is no friend of his fellow-man, who says he don’t care whether the teachings of Spiritualism are believed or not; that he does not desire to convince skeptics, for the mission of truth is, to help on the race to better things. And if Spiritualists allow themselves to be duped by charlatans, —if they encourage spurious mediums, and commend them as genuine, their ultimate exposure very naturally tends to the undoing and nullification of all that has been wrought out by genuine phenomena.

For my own part, I solemnly believe that natural law should be considered inviolable in its mode of operation until the contrary is fully proven. When one says, “I can reverse the order of nature, or cause it to be reversed,” we should give the Law of Nature, or what experience has taught us to be the Law of Nature, the benefit of the doubt. When one assures us that he can suspend the laws of gravity and cause chairs and tables to float in the atmosphere, we are under no obligation to believe him, no matter what his reputation for sound judgment and truth. Therefore I think Mr. Olcott is quite right when he assumes that every medium should be looked upon with suspicion until he proves conclusively his mediumship. The medium, be it understood, is not on trial, but natural law, which we are to believe uniform in its operations until it is proved otherwise. The law we hold to be uniform, that is to say, “innocent,” and the medium “guilty.” If there are invisible intelligences who can control material forces, and reverse the material order of things, the medium must be able to show that the phenomena are not produced by him, that he is simply what he pretends to be, the medium and nothing more.

After having given no inconsiderable amount of time and money to the solving of this great question of the spirit’s return, and being fully convinced that the new philosophy is true, I am fully persuaded that Spiritualism has everything to gain and nothing to lose by demanding that every professed medium shall be thoroughly and repeatedly tested. And I would go further and insist upon it, that where any genuine medium is delected in supplementing his mediumistic powers by a resort to legerdemain, or trickery, he should be at once exposed and all confidence withdrawn from him. If this course is pursued we shall soon have a class of mediums in whom we can place the fullest confidence, and through whom the invisible powers will manifest themselves to the world at large in a most convincing manner.

Editor's notes

  1. We are anxious by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 3, No. 1, September 9, 1875, p. 1
  2. Test Conditions Demanded by unknown author (signed as †–––†), Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 23, August 12, 1875, p. 275