The intervention of deceiving spirits in the written communications is
one of the greatest difficulties of Spiritism. It is known from experience
that they do not have any scruples in taking supposedly pretense
and even respectable names. Is there a way of keeping them away? That
is the question. In order to keep them away certain persons employ what
we call processes, that is, particular formulas of evocation, or some sort
of exorcism, as for example making them swear in the name of God that
they are telling the truth, making them write something, etc. We know
a person who requires the spirit to sign their name, phrase by phrase. If
the spirit is truthful he writes without any difficulty; otherwise they stop
right in the middle, incapable of concluding. We have seen this person
receiving the most ridiculous communications, from spirits that signed a
false name with a clean face. Other people think that an efficient way is
to make them confess to Jesus or other principles of religion.
Well then, we declare that if some more scrupulous spirits stop before
the idea of perjury or profanation, others swear whatever we want, signing
all names, laughing at everything, profaning the most venerable signs,
from which we can conclude that among those things called processes
there is no formula or material action which can serve as an efficient
In such a case some may say that the only thing to do is to stop writing.
This would not be the solution. Far from that, in many cases that
would be worse. We have said, and it is never too much to repeat, that
the actions of the spirits upon us are incessant and not less real for being
supernatural. If it is going to be bad, it will be even worse by the simple
fact that the enemy is hidden. He has revealed through the written communications,
he is unmasked; we get to know whom we are dealing with
and we can fight it.
However, if there is no means of keeping them away, what to do then?
We did not say that there is no way but that most employed means are
inefficient. That is the thesis that we propose to develop.
One needs to keep in mind that the spirits form a whole world, a
whole population that fills up the space; that circulates around us; that
meddles into everything that we do. If the veil that hides them from us
were lifted we would see them around us, coming and going; following or
avoiding us, according to their degree of sympathy, some indifferent, true
vagabonds of the invisible world; others too busy with themselves or with
other men to whom they connect with a more or less worthy purpose, according
to their distinct qualities.
In one word, we would see a replica of our humanity, with good and
bad qualities, with their virtues and vices. Such involvement, from which
we cannot escape since there is no single corner sufficiently hidden to the
point of becoming inaccessible to the spirits, exert upon us, irrespective of
our will, a permanent influence. Some impel us to the good deeds, others
to evil, and frequently our attitudes are the result of their suggestions. We
are fortunate when our judgment is good enough to distinguish between
the good and the bad path to which they try to drag us.
Considering that the spirits are nothing else but men without the gross
envelope or souls that outlive the bodies, it follows that there are spirits
since there are human beings in the Universe. They are one of the forces
of nature and they have not waited for the mediums to act. The proof
is that people have committed inconsequences at all times, the reason
why we say that their influence is independent of the faculty of writing.
This faculty is a means of recognizing such an influence; of knowing who
are the ones wandering around us, attached to us. Thinking that we can
subtract ourselves from that by not writing is to act like the children who
think to be able to avoid danger by blindfolding themselves. By revealing
those that we have as companion, friends or enemies, the writing offers us
a weapon to combat the enemies, for which we must be thankful to God.
Instead of a clairvoyance to be able to recognize the spirits we have the
written communications through which they show what they are. That is
a sense that allows us to judge them. Denying such a sense is the same as
gladly accepting blindness and exposing oneself to uncontrolled mistakes.
Then, the intervention of the bad spirits with the written communications
is not a danger of Spiritism since if there is danger it continues and
will always continue to exist, despite all that. We need to be convinced of
the following: this is only a difficulty but over which it is easy to triumph,
if we address the issue conveniently.
We can establish as a principle the fact that the bad spirits will only
be where there is something attractive to them. Thus, when they meddle
into the communications it is due to the fact that they sympathize with
the environment where they present themselves, or they at least find weak
spots from which they expect to take advantage. In any case it is clear that
they do not find a strong enough moral force to repel them.
Among the causes which attract them we must include first the moral
imperfections of all kinds, since evil always sympathize with evil; second,
the excessive confidence with which their words are received.
When a communication indicates a bad origin it would be logical to
infer that there is parity between the spirit and the evokers. We frequently
see very honest persons exposed to the mockery of deceiving spirits, as
it does happen in the world with decent people, cheated by rascals; but
when we take precautions the rascals have nothing else to do. That is what
also happens with the spirits.
When an honest person is deceived by them this can happen for two
reasons: first, there is an absolute trust which fails an adequate examination;
second, the best qualities do not exclude certain weak spots which provide entry to the bad spirits, willing to discover the minuscule openings
in the armor. We do not speak of pride and ambition that are more
than hurdles. We speak of a certain weakness of character and particularly
about the preconceived ideas that these spirits skillfully exploit, flattering
them. That is why they wear all masks to inspire trust.
The open gross communications are the least dangerous since they
cannot trick anyone. The most deceiving ones are those with a false appearance
of wisdom or seriousness, in one word, those from the hypocritical
and pseudo-wise spirits. Some may deceive in good faith, due to their
ignorance; others only act malevolently. Let us see the means that we have
to unravel from them.
The first thing to do is not to attract them, avoiding everything that
may give access to them.
As said before, the moral dispositions are a fundamental cause.
However, abstraction made of this cause, the mode employed to communicate
with them has influence also. There are persons who have by
principle not to make evocations ever, waiting for the first communication
to come out of the medium’s pencil. Now, keeping in mind what we
said about the crowd of spirits that surrounds us, we can easily understand
that, by acting in such a way, we are offering ourselves to the influence
of the first one to show up, good or bad. As the bad ones outnumber the
good ones in that crowd, there is more opportunity to the bad ones. This
is the same as if we open the door of our house to everybody that walks in
the street, whereas through the evocation we make the choice and, while
surrounded by good spirits, we silence the bad ones, who may sometimes
try to sneak in despite all that. The good ones may even allow it in order
to exercise our sagacity in recognizing them. In such a case their influence
will be null.
The spontaneous communications have great utility when we are sure
about the quality of the spirits who surround us. In that case we must
congratulate ourselves for leaving the initiative to the spirits. The inconvenience
is only in the absolute system, consisting of an abstention of direct
appeal and questioning.
Among the causes that powerfully influence the quality of the spirits
who visit the centers, and which must not be omitted, is the nature of
the subjects that are discussed. Those who are associated to a serious and
useful objective attract serious spirits as a consequence; those who aim at
the satisfaction of a vain curiosity or their personal interests are at least
exposed to mystifications, or even to something worse. In summary, we
can take the most sublime and useful teachings from the spiritist communications,
as long as we know how to drive them. The whole secret lies
in not allowing ourselves to be driven by the astuteness of the jester or
malevolent spirits. Well, for that, we need to know whom we are dealing.
For starters, let us listen to the advices given by the spirit of St. Louis at
the Parisian Society of Spiritist Studies, through Mr. R…, one of its good
mediums. This is a spontaneous communication, received at his house,
with the mission of transmitting it to the Society.
“However great it may be the confidence inspired in you by the
spirits that preside over your activities, it is never too much to
repeat the recommendation that you must always have in mind,
when dedicating to your studies: thinking and reflection. Submit
every communication that you receive to the strictest control of
reason. As long as an answer may seem doubtful or obscure, do
not forget to ask for the necessary clarifications to guide you.
Know that the revelation has existed since the remotest times but
it was always adequate to the degree of evolution of those who
received them. Today there is no need to speak through parables
or images. You must receive our teachings in a more clear, precise
and unambiguous way. It would be too comfortable, however, to
limit oneself to question in order to receive the clarifications. As
a matter of fact, this would be to run away from the laws of progress,
which oversee the universal evolution. Don’t be surprised,
then, if in order to credit you with the merit of the choice and
the work, and also to punish the infractions against our advices,
it may sometimes be allowed that certain spirits, more ignorant than ill intended, may in certain cases come to answer your questions.
Instead of a reason for discouragement this must be a powerful
stimulus for an ardent search for the truth. Be then assured
that following this path you cannot fail to achieve happy results.
Be united through hearts and intentions; work everyone; seek,
seek always and you will find it.”
The language of the good and serious spirits has a trait that makes it impossible
to be mistaken, however little tact, reason and habits of observation
we may have. However much they disguise their turpitudes by the
veil of hypocrisy, the bad spirits cannot play this role indefinitely. They
somehow always let it out. Otherwise, if their language were immaculate
they would be good spirits. The language of the good spirits thus gives
us the true criterion by which we can judge them. As the language is
the expression of thought, it always contains a reflection of the good or
bad qualities of the individual. Isn’t that also by the language that we
judge the persons that we don’t know? If we receive twenty letters from
twenty persons that we have never seen before, wouldn’t we be differently
impressed by their reading? Wouldn’t that be by the quality of style, by
the choice of expressions, by the nature of thoughts and even by certain
details of form that we would recognize the rustic man, the well educated,
the wise or ignorant, the proud or the humble? It is absolutely the same
with the spirits.
Let us pretend that it is men who write to us and let us judge them
in the same way. Let us be strict since the good spirits would never be
offended by such a scrupulous investigation, for they are the ones themselves
who recommend that as a control. We know that we can be deceived.
Hence, our first feeling must be that of suspicion. The bad spirits
that try to lead us to mistakes may fear the investigation because far from
provoking it they want to be accredited under oath.
The most efficient way of keeping the bad spirits away, preventing
ourselves from their malicious intents, is a very natural and logical consequence of that principle. A man that is not heard, silences; someone
who sees his mischievous acts always discovered moves somewhere else;
the thief, aware that we are always alert, does not make fruitless attempts.
That is how the deceiving spirits abandon the game when they know
that they can do nothing or when they find vigilant people that repel
everything that seems suspicious.
To finalize, let us review the main characters that indicate the origin
of the spiritist communications:
1. As we have already said on many occasions, the superior spirits
always have a dignified language, noble, elevated, without any
contamination by triviality. They tell us everything with simplicity
and modesty; never boast; never make exhibition of their wisdom
or position among the others. The language of the inferior
or vulgar spirits always has a reflex of human passions. Every expression
that indicates rudeness, presumption, arrogance, pride or
acrimony is an indication of inferiority and deception, as long as
the spirit bears a respectable and venerable name.
2. The good spirits only say what they know. They go quiet or confess
their ignorance with respect to what they don’t know. The
bad spirits talk about everything with confidence, not giving any
importance to the truth. Every scientific heresy or every principle
that shocks reason and common sense reveal fraud, as long as the
spirit considers itself an enlightened being.
3. The language of the superior spirits is always the same, if not in
the form but at least in the content. The thoughts are the same at
any place and at any time. They can be more or less developed,
according to the circumstances, to the needs and to the means of
communication, but will not be contradictory. If two communications
with the same signature are in opposition, one will necessarily
be apocryphal and the other truthful, will be the one in
which nothing may deny the known character of the spirit. When
a communication presents a character of sublimity and elevation, without any fault, it comes from an elevated spirit, whatever the
name. If it contains a mix of things, good and bad, it will be from
a common spirit, if presented as such; it will be from an imposter
spirit if presented with a name that cannot be justified.
4. The good spirits never give orders. They do not impose, but give
advice, and if they are not heard, they leave. The bad spirits are
dominant. Give orders and want to be obeyed. Every spirit that
imposes upon others betrays his origin.
5. The good spirits do not flatter. They approve the good actions but
always with reservations. The bad spirits praise in excess, stimulate
pride and vanity, even when preaching humility, and try to
exalt the personal importance of those who they want to capture.
6. The superior spirits are beyond all formal puerilities in all things.
For them, thought is everything, and the form means nothing.
Only the vulgar spirits give importance to certain details, incompatible
with the really elevated ideas. Every meticulous prescription
is a certain sign of inferiority and deception from the part of
a spirit who carries an important name.
7. It is necessary to be suspicious of any bizarre and ridiculous name
that certain spirits take, willing to impose its believability. It
would be a supreme absurd to take those names seriously.
8. One must also be suspicious of those who easily present themselves
with highly venerable names, not accepting their word but with
the greatest reservation. In such cases, particularly, it is necessary a
strict control since in general it is a mask that they adopt to make us
believe in supposed intimate relationship with spirits of high elevation.
It is how they flatter and exploit vanity, in order to frequently
encourage people to regrettable or ridiculous attitudes.
9. The good spirits are very careful with respect to actions that they
advise. In all cases they always have a serious and eminently useful
objective. We must then consider suspicious all those that do
not have that character and we must carefully think before adopting
10. The good spirits only prescribe good deeds. Every maxim, every
advice which is not strictly according to the purest evangelical
charity cannot be the work of the good spirits. The same applies
to every malicious comment, tending to incite or feed feelings of
hatred, jealousy or selfishness.
11. The good spirits only give perfectly sensible advices. Every recommendation
that is away from the straight line of common sense or
from the immutable laws of nature indicates a limited spirit, still
under the influence of Earthly prejudices, thus not trustworthy.
12. The bad spirits or simply imperfect spirits are also betrayed by
material signs, with which one cannot be mistaken. Their action
upon the medium is sometimes violent, provoking jerk and irregular
movements in the writing process: a convulsive and febrile
agitation, contrasting with the calm and smoothness of the good
13. Another sign of their presence is the obsession. The good spirits
never obsess. The bad ones impose themselves at all times. That
is why the medium must be suspicious about the irresistible need
of writing which occurs at the most inadequate times. It is never
from a good spirit and the medium must never give in.
14. Among the imperfect spirits who interfere with the communications
there are those that jokingly sneak in, who leave at the
first confrontation as easily as they came in. Others, on the contrary,
are tenacious. These spirits bond to the individual and only
yield after persistence and constraint. They control, subjugate
and fascinate the person, to the point of inducing them to the
grossest absurd, as if they were wonderful things. These persons
are fortunate when find calm and centered people who can open
their eyes, not always easy since these spirits have the skills of
inducing mistrust and distance from whoever can unmask them.
Therefore, we must suspect inferiority and ill intent from any
spirit that prescribes separation from individuals who can give
good advices. The medium self-love helps negatively since it is difficult to recognize that one was victimized by mystification,
recognizing as a scoundrel a spirit who honored the medium with
his protection. Such influence of the spirit is independent from
the writing faculty. In the absence of writing, the malevolent spirit
has a thousand and one ways of acting and deceiving. To the
spirit it is a means of persuasion but not a cause; to the medium it
is a means of enlightenment.
Passing all spiritist communications through the control of the preceding
considerations, we will easily recognize their origin and destroy
the malice of the deceiving spirits, who only target those who are easily
deceived. When noticing that we listen to them, they take advantage, as
the simple mortals would do. It is up to us then to prove to them that
they are wasting their time. We must add that prayer is a powerful help;
through prayer we attract God’s assistance and the assistance of the good
spirits, increasing our strength. The precept is known: help yourself and
heavens will help you. God wants to assist us but with the condition that
we pull our own weight doing what is necessary.
Let us add an example to that principle. One day I was visited by a gentleman
who I did not know before, saying that he was a medium. He was receiving
communications from a very elevated spirit who had assigned to him the
mission of coming to me, to make a revelation with respect to some secrets
that my enemies were plotting against me. And he added: “Do you want me
to write in your presence?” With pleasure, I said. But to begin with I must
tell you that those enemies are less fearful than you suppose. I know I have
them. Who doesn’t? The most bloodthirsty are in general those who we most
benefit. I know I have never voluntarily done harm to anyone. Those who do
me harm will not be able to say the same and God will be the judge before us.
However, let us hear the advice that the spirit wants to give me.
The gentleman then wrote the following:
“I have ordered C… (the name of that person), who is a beam of light
from the good spirits, from whom he received the mission of spreading it
among his brothers, to go to Mr. Allan Kardec’s house, who will blindly believe in what I say, for I am among the elected of God, watching the
salvation of people and because I come to announce the truth…”
“That is enough, I said; no need to continue. This preface is sufficient
to show the kind of spirit you are dealing with. I will say one word only: to
a spirit that pretends to be smart he is a bit too clumsy.” That gentleman
seemed stunned by the little importance I gave to the case of his spirit,
which he naively took by an archangel or at least a saint of first order that
specially came to him.
“This spirit betrays himself with the few words only that he has just
written. Let us agree that he cannot hide his game very well. To begin
with he commands. Therefore he wants to have you under his belt, a characteristic
of the inferior spirits; he calls you “beam of light from the good
spirits”, a painfully emphatic and ambiguous language, well dissociated
from the simplicity which characterizes the good spirits; through that language
he flatters your pride, exalting your importance, which is enough
to turn him into a suspect. He unceremoniously places himself among
the elected of God. This is arrogance, unworthy of a really superior spirit.
Finally he tells me that I should believe blindly. This crowns the work.
That is the style of the deceitful spirits, who want us to believe in them
under oath, once they know that they have everything to lose by a serious
examination. With a little more perspicacity he should have seen that I do
not bend to the beautiful words and that he was wrong by prescribing me
a blind trust.
Thus, I conclude that you are a toy in the hands of a spirit that mystifies
you, abusing your good faith. I advise you to pay serious attention to
this otherwise you can be victimized by a harmful action.”
I don’t know if he took the advice because I have no longer seen him,
or the spirit. I would never stop if I were to mention all the communications
of such a kind that have been submitted to me, sometimes very serious,
as if from the greatest saints, from the Virgin Mary and from Christ
himself. It would be really curious to see the turpitudes attributed to those
One needs to be blind to be mistaken with respect to their origin,
when many times an equivocal word only, a single contradictory thought
is enough to whoever takes the burden of reasoning, to discover the lie.
For remarkable examples supporting this, we advise the readers to
refer to the articles published in the Review, July and October 1858 issues.