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How a Spirit Explained Levitation to Allan Kardec


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How a Spirit Explained Levitation to Allan Kardec

Posted on 30 August 2021, 9:08

As the last two posts here have been about levitations, I’m concluding the subject matter with an interview Allan Kardec, (below) the renowned French psychical researcher, had with the spirit of St. Louis, as set forth in Kardec’s 1874 book,The Book on Mediums.  The “universal fluid” referred to is apparently what later came to be called ectoplasm, teleplasm, or od, while the “perispirit” is now called the etheric or spirit body. Considering later research on od and ectoplasm, it makes much sense to me, but you can believe it or not!

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Kardec:  Is the universal fluid an emanation from the Divinity?

St. Louis:  No.

Kardec:  Is the universal fluid at the same time the universal element?

St. Louis:  Yes, it is the elementary principal of all things.

Kardec:  Has it any relation to the electric fluid whose effects we know?

St. Louis:  It is its element.

Kardec:  What is the state in which the universal fluid is presented to us in its greatest purity?

St. Louis:  To find it in its absolute purity, you must mount to the pure spirits; in your world it is always more or less modified to form the compact matter that surrounds you; at the same time you may say that the state in which it approaches most nearly to purity, is that of the fluid you call animal magnetic fluid.

Kardec:  It has been said that the universal fluid is the source of life; is it at the same time the source of intelligence?

St. Louis:  No; this fluid animates only matter.

Kardec:  Since it is this fluid which composes the perispirit, it appears to be there in a kind of condensed state, which approximates it, up to a certain point, matter so called.

St. Louis:  Up to a certain point, as you say, for it has not all its properties; it is more or less condensed, according to the worlds.

Kardec:  What is the operation by which a spirit moves a solid body?

St. Louis:  He combines a portion of the universal fluid with the fluid exhaled from the medium suitable to this effect.

Kardec:  Do the spirits raise the table with the aid of their members in some degree solidified?

St. Louis: This answer will not yet lead to what you desire.  When a table is moved under your hands, the spirit evoked draws from the universal fluid what animates the table with a factitious life.  The table thus prepared, the spirit attracts it and moves it under the influence of his own fluid thrown off by his will.  When the mass he wishes to move is too heavy for him, he calls to his aid spirits who are in the same condition as himself.  By reason of his ethereal nature, the spirit proper cannot act on gross matter without intermediary, that is to say, without the link that unites it to matter:  this link, which you call perispirit, gives you the key to all material spirit phenomena.  I believe I have expressed myself clearly for you to understand.

Kardec: Are the spirits he calls to his aid inferior?  Are they under his orders?

St. Louis:  Equal, almost always; sometimes they come of themselves.

Kardec:  Are all spirits able to produce phenomena of this kind?

St. Louis: The spirits who produce these effects are always inferior spirits, who are not entirely disengaged from all material influence.

Kardec:  We understand that the superior spirits are not occupied by things that are beneath them; but we ask if, by reason, of their being more dematerialized, they would have the power if they had the will?

St. Louis:  They have the moral strength, as the others have the physical strength, when they require this strength, they make use of those who possess it.  Have they not told you that they make use of inferior spirits as you do of porters?

Kardec:  If we have thoroughly understood what you have said, the vital principal resides in the universal fluid; the spirit draws in this fluid the semi-material envelope which constitutes his perispirit, and it is by means of this fluid that he acts on inert matter. Is it so?

St. Louis:  Yes, that is to say, he animates matter with a kind of factitious life; the matter is animated with animal life.  The table that moves under your hands lives like the animal; it obeys the intelligent being.  It is not he who pushes it as a man does a burden; when the table is raised, it is not the spirit who raises it by strength of arm, it is the animated table that obeys the impulse given by the spirit.

Kardec:  What is the part of the medium in this matter?

St. Louis: I have said it; the fluid of the medium is combined with the universal fluid accumulated by the spirit: the union these two fluids is necessary; that is to say, the animalized fluid with the universal fluid, to give life to the table.  But remark that this life is only momentary;  it is extinguished with the action, and often before the end of the action, as soon as the quantity of fluid is sufficient to animate it.

Kardec:  Can the spirit act without the concurrence of a medium?

St. Louis:  It can act in spite of the medium; that is to say, that no doubt many persons serve as auxiliaries to the spirits for certain phenomena.  The spirit draws from them as from a source, the animalized fluid he needs; it is thus that the concurrence of the medium, as you understand it, is not always necessary; which is the case particularly in spontaneous phenomena.

Kardec: Does the animated table act with intelligence?

St. Louis:  It thinks no more than the stick with which you make an intelligent sign, but the vitality with which it is animated permits it to obey the impulse of an intelligence.  Understand that the table that moves does not become spirit, and that it has of itself neither thought nor will.

Kardec:  Which is the preponderating cause in the production of this phenomena, the spirit or the fluid?

St. Louis:  The spirit is the cause, the fluid is the instrument; both are necessary.

Kardec:  What part does the will of the medium play in this case?

St. Louis: To call the spirits, and to second them in the impulse given to the fluid. 

Kardec:  Is the action of the will always indispensable?

St. Louis: It adds power, but it is not always necessary.

Kardec: Why cannot everyone produce the same effect?  And why have not all mediums the same power?

St. Louis:  That depends on the organization, and the greater or less facility with which the combination of fluids can operate; then the spirit of the medium sympathizes more or less with the foreign spirits who find in him the necessary fluidic power.  This power, like that of magnetizers, is greater or less.  Under this relation there are persons who are altogether refractory; others with whom the combination operates only by an exertion of their will.  Others, finally, with whom it takes place so naturally and so easily that they are not aware of it, and serve as instruments against their will, as we have already said.

Kardec: Can persons called electric be considered as mediums?

St. Louis: These persons draw from themselves the fluid necessary to the production of the phenomena, and can act without the help of foreign spirits. Thus, they are not mediums in the sense attached to this word; but a spirit can assist them, and profit by their natural disposition.

Kardec: Is the spirit that acts on solid bodies in the substance of the bodies or outside of it?

St. Louis:  Both; we have said that matter is no obstacle to spirits; they penetrate everything; a portion of the perispirit is identified, so to say, with the object it penetrates.

Kardec:  How does the spirit manage to strike?  Does he make use of the material object?

St. Louis:  No more than of his arms to raise the table.  You well know that he has no hammer at his disposal.  His hammer is the combined fluid put in action to move or to strike.  When he moves, the light brings you the sight of the movements; when he strikes, the air brings you the sound.

Kardec: We can understand that when he strikes on a hard body, but how can he make us hear noises or articulate sounds in the air?

St. Louis:  Since he can act on matter, he can act on air as well as on the table.  As to articulate sounds, he can imitate them, as he can all other noises.

Kardec:  You say that spirits do not use their hands to remove the table; yet, in certain visual manifestations, hands have been seen to appear whose fingers have wandered over the keyboard of a piano, moved the keys, and caused sounds.  Would it not seem that in this case the movement of the keys is produced by the pressure of the fingers?  Is not this pressure as direct and real when it is felt on ourselves, when these hands leave imprints on the skin?

St. Louis:  You can understand the nature of spirits and their manner of acting only by comparisons, which give you an incomplete idea, and it is wrong to always wish to assimilate their processes to your own. Their processes must bear relation to their organization. Have I not told you that fluid of the perispirit penetrates matter, and is identified with it, that it animates it with a factitious life?  Well, when the spirit rests his fingers on the keys, he puts them there really, and even moves them; but it is not by muscular force that he presses the keys; he animates it as he animated the table, and the key, which obeys his will, moves and strikes the chord.  There is one thing you will have trouble in comprehending; it is this:  that some spirits are so little advanced, and so material in comparison to the elevated spirits, that they still have the illusions of the terrestrial life, and believe they act as when they had their body.  They can no more give a reason of the true cause of the effects they produce than a peasant can give a reason for the theory of the sounds he articulates; ask them how they play the piano, they will tell you they strike on it with their fingers, because they believe they do strike it; the effect is produced instinctively with them, without their knowing how yet by their will.  When they make you hear words, it is the same thing.

Kardec:  Among the phenomena cited in proof of the action of an occult power, there are some evidently contrary to all the known laws of nature.  Does not doubt then seem to be permitted?

St. Louis:  It is because man is far from knowing all the laws of nature.  If he knew them all he would be a superior spirit.  Every day, however, gives the lie to those who, thinking they know everything, presume to set bounds to nature, and they are none the less haughty.  In constantly unveiling new mysteries God warns men to down their own lights, for the day will come when the science of the most learned will be put to confusion. Have you not everyday examples of bodies animated by a movement capable of overcoming the force of gravity?  Does not the bullet, shot into the air, momentarily overcome this force?  Poor men, who think themselves so learned, and whose silly vanity is every instant disconcerted, that know you are still very small.

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