Carlos María de Heredia.

Spiritism and common sense online

. (page 1 of 13)
Online LibraryCarlos María de HerediaSpiritism and common sense → online text (page 1 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


-NRLF




B ^ D7fi lb3






, ,,i - ^ ^ '^1^^%



■inn ! iiinii'

:fm;DEHBREDIA,S.J,



BERKELEY

LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA




EDUC.

PSYCH.

liBRARY




EDUC.

PSYCH.

LlBRAR'f



MAGICAL LIBRARY

Property of
NORMAN H. TODD




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA



The John J. and Hanna M. McManus

Morris N. and Cheslky V. Young

Collection



-S %^- (5< jcL^-u^'c^ (/y



r;







I






1


H






1


pvS






1|


^^^^^^^Bi


\


Bti













i


m


J




1


J










^^r . jgaa






^


9L^ -


&[


^j|S




^^v^


1




pi


1


^1




M







■fe^


1


^^^^^H


l^^^^^^^^^^ft'il


1


1




m


H


ifll



FATHER HEREDIA EXHIBITS THE "TOOLS OE THE TRADE



Spiritism and
Common Sense



BY



C. M. de Heredia, SJ.



"The imprudent who run after the
spirits, lose their own spirit."

J. Bois {The Modern Miracle)




P. J. Kenedy & Sons

Publishers to the Holy Apostolic See
New York



Copyright, 1922, by

P. J. Kenedy & Sons

Printed in U. S. A.



GIFT







PSYCH.



To

THE FATHERS AND BROTHERS

OF THE

NEW ENGLAND AND NEW YORK PROVINCES
OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS
IN TESTIMONY OF GRATITUDE

FROM THEIR EXILED MEXICAN BROTHER

THE AUTHOR



825



Letter From The Apostolic Delegate



Apostolic Delegation, United States of America,

1811 Biltmore Street, Washington, D. C.

Nov. 28, 1920.
Reverend Father:

Having assisted at the two conferences which your
reverence so ably gave in this city, I am glad to express
my congratulations. I am delighted also and grateful,
not only for the pleasure given me and the rest of the
spectators but above all for the good that such conferences
will doubtless produce.

Let us always open more and more the eyes of the
public — especially Catholics — to dangers of Spiritism;
making them at the same time realize that many phe-
nomena attributed to a mysterious and occult cause are
reducible to clever trickery.

Accept, then, the renewed expression of my sentiment
of admiration. Blessing you in the Lord, I have the
pleasure to sign myself,

Your Reverence's servant in Christ,
GIOVANNI BONZANO,
Arcivescovo di Melitene, Delegato Apostolico.
R. F. C. M. de Heredia, SJ.,
Holy Cross College, Worcester, Mass.



Publishers' Foreword

The author of this book, Rev. C. M. de
Heredia, SJ., is so interesting a personality to
meet, so fascinating when he, a Jesuit of dignity,
is at play with his "ghosts" and ectoplasmic
"spirits" that we give here, for the reader's bene-
fit, a short account and description of him as taken
from an interview, "The Secret of Spirit Trick-
ery," printed in the Boston Sunday Post of
March 14, 1920.

"Father Heredia is a rather short, stocky man,
of Mexican birth, with a little forward thrust of
his head and two of the most amazing blue eyes I
ever saw. One moment they are looking at you,
dreamily, quietly, almost sleepily. And the next
they sharpen to a point and gaze through your
skull at the wall behind you. The effect was most
discomforting to skeptical me.

"For Father Heredia is a master of magic and

mystification, a student in his youth of the great

Herrmann, an artist supreme of the arts of the

medium and clairvoyant. Yet, as he told me, his

vii



PUBLISHERS' FOREWORD

delving into the mystery of the shadowy world of
the unseen is only a hobby. Primarily he is a stu-
dent — a student of the modern languages and the
classics, of philosophy and science. His father
was a very rich Mexican, who had built a pri-
vate theater for him and his brothers. When any
celebrity came to Mexico, the father arranged to
have him come and give a private performance
in the boys' theater. Once Herrmann, the famous
magician, was in Mexico, and performed before
the boys in their theater. The father was so im-
pressed at the magician's skill that he arranged
to have him teach the boys his art. With this in-
struction by Herrmann began Father Heredia's
interest in magic. All through his life he has fol-
lowed the various tricks of the great magicians,
many of whom have been personal acquaintances
of his.

"When spiritism became popular, he perceived
that most mediums were but unadept magicians,
and devoted his spare time to disclosing many of
their so-called mysterious powers."

P. J* Kenedy & Sons



CONTENTS

ANALYTIC INDEX

CHAPTER I

The World Wants to he Deceived

PAGES

Man likes to be mystified. — Credulity of people no exagger-
ation. — Gabriel Jogand. — Leo Taxil, and his collaborators.
— His mystification. — He has taught Catholics a lesson. —
When we are at war we are prone to blame the enemy for
everything. — The evil spirits are not our only enemies. —
God uses secondary causes. — So the devil, the "Ape of
God." — Because certain phenomena are inexplicable, it does
not follow that Satan is personally to blame 1-7

CHAPTER II

The Origin of Spiritism

The belief that the souls of the dead communicate with us,
as old as man. — Spiritism, scientifically speaking, is an
hypothesis. — As a religion, it first made its appearance in
1848. — Mrs. Fox. — Her experiences. — Margaret and Cath-
arine. — Beginning of their career. — The death-blow to
Spiritualism. — Mrs. Margaret Fox Kane and Mrs. Catha-
rine Fox Jencken ; their denunciation. — The "New York
World."— The real origin of the "raps" 8-15

CHAPTER III

The Psychology of the Observer

Spiritism claims it has science to back it up. — Men of science
and real scientific men. — Prof. Hyslop ; his tremendous rea-
soning about Galileo and Copernicus and the discovery of
America. — Sir William Crookes an authority on chemistry,
but not on moral and religious matters. — Facts, hypotheses
and theories. — Sir Bertram Windle. — Great scientists are
often like children in the occurrences of daily life. — A
seance with a scientific observer. — His secretary's notes. —
There is another way of looking at the affair. — He sticks to
his conclusions. — Men who make a living writing books on
the questions of the hour. — We do not ridicule all scientific

investigation 16-29

is



X CONTENTS

CHAPTER IV
The Psychology of the Medium

PAGES

Mediums are industrious people.— They are organized. — A
"School of Mediumship."— Private mediums.— Eusapia Pal-
ladino and Eva C— Definition of a "medium."— What Mar-
garet Fox says about mediums' morality. — W. C. J. Craw-
ford's opinion.— Sir William Barrett and Eusapia.— Com-
bination of fraud and real power explained.— Private me-
diums do not work for money, but they do get money for
their work. — The fascination for mystifying others. — Scien-
tific pride of Eva C. and Madame Bisson.— Human nature is
human nature 30-40

CHAPTER V

The Psychology of a Seance

Singing, dim lamps, and perfumes.— The spirits cannot work
otherwise. — Scientific opinion doubts the conclusions of Sir
Oliver Lodge. — Consideration of the mediums inclines us to
doubt their honesty. — A seance. — It is over. — Darkness or
the feeblest of lights necessary for advanced phenomena.—
Emotional sensitiveness tends to increase. — Disturbed sensi-
tiveness harmful for accurate observation. — Psychology of
the crowd. — Sirs William Crookes, Oliver Lodge and Wil-
liam Barrett "taken in" at a seance.— Testimony of Madame
Blavatslqf. — The human factor 41-52

CHAPTER VI

What Are Psychical Phenomena?

The House of Spiritism built largely of rubbish.— Confusion
as to just what are psychical phenomena. — Dr. Lapponi's
wonderful seance. — He has no personal experience. — Defini-
tion of psychical phenomena. — Sensible effect. — Provoked. —
The medium is only an instrumental cause.— The unseen
agent.— The principal cause.— Difference between the force
and the mind directing the force.— What is meant by the
words "forces generally unknown" ?— Two types of psychical
phenomena S3-S9

CHAPTER VII

The Research for Psychical Phenomena: Fraud

What we mean bv psvchical research.— Phenomena that
come under the study of biology, pathology, etc.— Psychical
and psychological phenomena.— Phenomena produced by



CONTENTS XI

PAGES

trickery or fraud eliminated. — The Indian fakirs and Jac-
colliot. — Dr. Lapponi again. — The fakir's funeral. — Fr.
Ugarte de Ercilla's explanation. — Baldwin's. — D. D. Home
and his famous accordion. — How I offer the same demon-
stration in my lectures. — The "after tune" that startled Sir
William Crookes so much. — Articles thrown about the room
in the dark. — The Thomas and Davenport brothers. — J. N.
Maskelyne exposes the fraud. — Sir Conan Doyle still puts
faith in rope-tying seances. — Some Catholics also admit them
as genuine phenomena. — Sealed envelope reading. — Spirit
photography. — The "Fairies" of Sir Conan Doyle. — Hyslop
and spirit painting. — Mrs. Lee's psychic photographs and
Dr. Carrington. — Names of the greatest mediums detected
in deceit. — Prof. Flournoy's opinion 6o-7S

CHAPTER VIII

Research for Psychical Phenomena: The Force

Again the force and the mind behind the force. — Phenomena
of unusual character which may be traced to some mental
or physical disorder, or both. — Clairvoyancy. — Clairaudiency.
— Hallucination. — "Materialization" is the scientific name for
a ghost. — Phosphorescence and fluorescence in minerals,
plants and animals. — Mr. Walter J. Kilner and the human
aura. — Baron von Schrenck-Notzing. — Automatic writing; its
physical part. — Somnambulism. — Different classes of som-
nambulists. — Trance ; its physical part. — Resemblance to som-
nambulism and hypnotism. — Raps, and levitation. — The force
that produces them still unknovra. — Similar forces in nature:
loadstone, electromagnets. — Raps under control ; experiment
of Prof. Maxwell. — Human magnetism. — Mediums that can
levitate a wooden table cannot work on metals. — Eusapia
and metal ornaments on her table. — Dr. Crawford's decla-
rations : the table must be of wood. — Spirits cannot work
with metals. — Therefore the force or forces that levitate the
table seem to have a natural origin 76-go

CHAPTER IX

Research for Psychical Phenomena: The Message

For the Spiritist every unusual occurrence at a seance is an
evidence for his belief. — The real point is, the mind behind
the force. — Therefore the importance of the message. — We
eliminate messages produced by trickery. — We must not
judge the power of the message by the effect it produces on
us. — Declarations of Frances Reed, one-time public medium.
—The "dope-book." — How mediums get information. —



xii CONTENTS



PAGES

"Planting" a town.— The "Blue Book."— How a private
medium got her information. — Lip readers .... 91-100

CHAPTER X

Research for Psychical Phenomena: The Message from the

Subconscious Mind

Powers of the mind. — We have only one mind. — Conscious-
ness and unconsciousness. — The terms "subconscious" and
"unconscious." — The mind like an iceberg. — Impressions re-
called at will by mental processes ; impressions that cannot be
controlled. — Ten billion cells in our brain. — How the sub-
conscious mind works. — Ouija giving a fragment of poetry.
— All that comes from the subconscious mind of the medium
must be excluded 101-107

CHAPTER XI

Psychical Phenometm

Psychical phenomena exist. — Process of elimination. — No
definite conclusion may be reached until each particular case
is carefully examined and authenticated. — Two fictitious
cases. — The message of an aunt by table-tilting. — The mes-
sage of Th. J. Queen through automatic writing. — The three
different theories. — Note : We exclude "real knowledge of
the future" loS-iji

CHAPTER Xn

The Diabolic Theory

In this theory the devil is the physical cause of the psychi-
cal phenomena. — The devil is the other mind. — Possession
and obsession. — Fr. Poulain's definitions. — Warnings of the
Ritual. — Trance and possession. — A famous case of posses-
sion in Natal, Africa. — There is a vast difference between
ordinary trance and possession. — The arguments in favor
of the diabolic theory. — The devil has preternatural powers.
— There is no adequate natural theory to explain these phe-
nomena. — The effects are bad; therefore, it is the devil. —
The testimony of the "spirits." — This reasoning a little spe-
cious. — Satan the moral cause of the evil effect. — They
usually argue in generalizations. — What Prof. Flournoy
says. — The diabolical explanation for all real psychical phe-
nomena is a theory 112-125



CONTENTS xiii

CHAPTER XIII
The Natural Theory

PAGES

There are many theories, but mainly concerned with the
force and not with the mind controlling the force. — In the
study of telepathy may be found the real solution. — Sir
Wm. Crookes' theory of psychic forces. — Mr. Denis's radia-
tions. — Crawford's rod. — The astral body. — What Raymond
tells his father, Sir Oliver, about it. — The only natural
theory worth considering is telepathy. — Genuine cases of
telepathy are known. — How it explains cross-correspon-
dence. — Explanation of our typical cases. — This theory is in
its infancy. — But it affords us an explanation .... 126-132

CHAPTER XIV

The Spiritistic Theory

The explanation of our typical cases very simple : the dis-
carnate souls. — Do not reject natural theories; nor the dia-
bolical.— But there is little at the bottom.— Its whole foun-
dation is: the word of the spirits. — But how does any one
know that a discarnate spirit gives a message? — There is no
evidence that is convincing. — For Spiritists all is evidence.
— Why don't spirits write messages by themselves, without
the hand of a medium? — An interesting letter from Mrs.
F. W. H. Myers.— The sealed letter and Mrs. Verrall.—
Spiritgrams often come from the subconscious, — Confusion
between spontaneous and provoked phenomena . . . 133-143

CHAPTER XV

Spiritism as a Religion

The religious system based on the Spiritistic theory. — For
its followers every curious happening is "evidence." — New
methods of communication. — The ouija board the great
spiritistic receiver. — Declaration of principles of the National
Spiritualists' Association of America. — Spiritism not a
scientifically demonstrated fact. — But to discuss Spiritism
we will admit for a few moments that it is so. — The con-
trol and the communicator. — Uncertainty about the honesty
of the medium or the work of the subconscious. — How can
we find out that the control is honest? — Sir Conan Doyle's
own words. — What Sir William Barrett says. — Some of
Feda's communications to good Sir Oliver. — Prof. Flour-
noy summarizes the situation. — Two messengers, both of
them drunk. — And what about the "communicator"? — Doyle
again. — Spirits on the first plane are like recen.ly-born



xiv CONTENTS

PAGES

babies. — The greatest number of communications come from
this plane. — To communicate with other planes, a "spirit
relay" is required. — Spirits are essentially human, is Craw-
ford's experience. — To trust the testimony of a person,
veracity and knowledge are required. — Moral impossibility of
certitude through these channels. — Prof. Flournoy's opinion.
— Even admitting Spiritism as a theory, there is little foun-
dation for anything that resembles a religion .... 144-159

CHAPTER XVI

Spiritism and Morals

The actual ignorance of the universal cause of psychical
phenomena in no way affects the moral aspect of the ques-
tion. — Dealing with the abnormal has a tendency to disturb
man's normal balance. — Superstitious beliefs and practices.
— The Holy Office. — The Church knows best. — The Second
Council of Baltimore. — St. Thomas's words. — Condemned
in Holy Writ. — Over-emotionalism. — Sir William Barrett's
opinion. — Communication with the damned or devils can
produce nothing but evil. — They pay the price in some
fashion, spiritual or physical. — It is as a house afflicted with
some contagious disease. — Catholics promise in Baptism, to
renounce the devil and all his works 160-167

EPILOGUE

The Spaniard and the news of the American War. — So the
Spiritists do. — We want to believe what is favorable to our
present desires. — "Art thou He that art to come?" — And so
do the Apostles of the New Revelation. — Christ walks out
{nto the open. — It seems a work of desecration to institute
comparison between the miracles of Christ and the so-called
spiritistic phenomena. — Let those outside the Church think
as they wish. — It is our Faith that affords us the beautiful
explanations of the true spiritual life. — In our mortal lives
we must rely constantly on human faith. — Let us trust Him
Who is Our Father and knows what is beyond the grave.
— Let the Spiritist, like the Hindu, when dying, clutch a_t the
tail of the Sacred Cow.— Words of St. Paul to Timothy' . 168-175

APPENDIX I

How I Became a Spirit Medium

An excerpt from "Revelations of a Spirit Medium," pub-
lished in 1891. — A confession of deception which began in
fun and continued in earnest 177-183



CONTENTS XV

APPENDIX II
Eva C.

PAGES

Some account of this famous medium and her work with
Baron von Schrenck-Notzing and his book, "Phenomena of
Materialization" 186-194

APPENDIX III

Ectoplasm

Photographs which reveal the "substance" of "ectoplasm"
and its places of concealment 195-198

APPENDIX ly

Spirit Photographs

A brief comment on methods employed in so-called "spirit
photography" 199-200

APPENDIX V

Levitation

An account of the author's demonstration at Springfield,
reprinted from the "Springfield Republican" .... 201-20S

LIST OF BOOKS CONSULTED

A complete list, with author and date of publication, of all
volumes consulted by the author in preparing this manu-
script 207-220



Prologue

This book makes no claim to be a scientific
work. That its full significance may be under-
stood by the average reader, I have avoided as far
as possible all technical expressions and refer-
ences.

The book presupposes some little knowledge of
Spiritism, but not to such an extent as to prevent
the ordinary man from understanding the argu-
ment and conclusion. It seeks to define just what
psychical phenomena are, and then discusses the
advantages and disadvantages of the various the-
ories offered to explain these phenomena. It is
a brief treatise. It does not pretend to be exhaus-
tive. If Our Lord wills that it be profitable to
some, I shall be satisfied.

Feci quod potui, faciant majora potentes.

I did what I could, let the powerful do more.

C. M. DE Heredia, S.J.
June 22, 1922.

Holy Cross College,
Worcester, Mass.



Spiritism and Common Sense



"the world wants to be deceived."

— (old proverb.)

MAN likes to be mystified. If the mystifica-
tion is well done and appears to have a
foundation in fact he is not only entertained but
completely deceived. His natural credulousness
makes his deception easy. A wave of the wand
and — presto! the rabbit appears from the hat.
But not only the feats of magicians fool him.
Magic is a sort of business nowadays and man is
inclined to be more wary of its marvels than he is
of more mystical hoaxes. Tell him of some occult
rite, of some secret organization that deals with
demons, of some oriental cult that is privy to the
secrets of the nether world, of some strange so-
ciety that meets the spirits of the dead in unknown
caverns or far-away citadels — and he swallows
all. Not only does he delight in these fabrications,
as the child in the fairy story, but like the child, he

believes.

I



2 SPIRITISM AND COMMON SENSE

This credulity of people is no exaggeration.
History bears witness to its truth. Its pages,
early and late, tell the story of secret formulae,
strange rituals, alchemy, witchcraft, black magic,
Satanic societies, and the like, some few of which
may have had origin in fact, but most of which
were merely the inventions of ingenious, shrewd,
imaginative men and women, to mystify their fol-
lowers. And those who were duped have not been
only the illiterate and simple; the erudite and
trained and so-called intellectuals are in that band
as well.

Mystification is particularly effective when Sa-
tan and his minions are introduced into the play.
There is an example taken, not from the days
of the Assyrian mysteries or Jewish cabalism or
the Faustian years of the Christian centuries, but
from the eighties and nineties of the last century
in France, that illustrates my point well. It is
the hoax of the notorious '*Leo Taxil."

A young Frenchman, Gabriel Jogand, born in
1854 at Marseilles, came before the public during
the seventies as a vile and violent critic of the
Catholic Church. Because of his vituperative
abuse of religion and individuals he paid many
penalties of fine and imprisonment. In 1881 he
became a Freemason, but left the order in the
same year. He tried various ingenious methods



SPIRITISM AND COMMON SENSE 3

of keeping himself in funds and bringing himself
before the public. For several years he had ordi-
nary success. Suddenly, in 1885, he professed
his conversion to the Catholic Church — in which,
by the way, he had been born and which he had
deserted early — and after a renunciation of for-
mer ideas and associates, and an expression of
deep contrition, he was received into the Church.
Almost immediately after his conversion he began
his "revelations" of Freemasonry. In book and
pamphlet he spread abroad the most blood-curd-
ling "revelations" of the Masonic organization.
Two years later he went to Rome where Pope Leo
XIII received him and blessed him for his labors.
He wrote under the pen name of his early days,
"Leo Taxil" and under numerous other pseudo-
nyms, and had many collaborators. Church dig-
nitaries and influential Catholic laymen gave him
their support. His popularity spread like that of
the author of a best seller. His "revelations"
were of a startling character. He declared Free-
masons to be worshippers of Satan, and for about
twelve years he wrote in his rapid, gripping style,
of the relations Freemasons held with the devil,
of their shocking rites and fiendish sacrifices in
honor of the King of Hell. Very cleverly, he
gave an historic background to his "revelations,"
accentuating many points as from his own experi-



4 SPIRITISM AND COMMON SENSE

ence. He invented characters, such as the notori-
ous "Diana Vaughan," a woman who as a priest-
ess of Freemasonry, saw the devils themselves and
professed to have been married to one and car-
ried off by him to his kingdom. His imagination
and that of his assistants wandered over the globe,
placed mystic temples in Calcutta, Charleston, Na-
ples, Washington, and other places; described
ceremonies with Satan's crew in a chapel in Sin-
gapore, in the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, in
labyrinths supposed to have been discovered in the
Rock of Gibraltar; named the devils; drew de-
tailed pictures of them ; and in short, perpetrated
one of the greatest hoaxes of the century. He
identified Satanism and Freemasonry. The Ma-
sons protested, but in vain. Leo Taxil was in-
vited to the anti-Masonic Congress at Trent in
1896, spoke there, and was welcomed among the
high ecclesiastics.

No evidence was offered. Taxil's pastry was
readily swallowed, and the clever cook became a
hero.

For twelve years Taxil and his collaborators
enjoyed themselves. Then the spell was broken.
And it was broken, not by the sudden sense of the
audience, but by the action of one of the wizards.
C. Hacks, a German whose pen-name was Dr. Ba-
taille, one of Taxil's assistants, the author of the



SPIRITISM AND COMMON SENSE 5

immense work, "The Devil in the Nineteenth Cen-
tury," profusely illustrated with drawings that in
their day terrorized but now amuse, suddenly pro-
claimed his complete contempt for the Catholic
Church, and a little later declared the whole work
a gigantic swindle.

Leo Taxil, however, was not so eager to give
up the source of entertainment and remuneration
which had stood him in good stead for a dozen
years. He went on brazenly for a few months
and then in a characteristically theatrical manner
made his real revelation. He announced that, at a
meeting in the Geographical Society's rooms in
Paris, he would produce the "Diana Vaughan"


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryCarlos María de HerediaSpiritism and common sense → online text (page 1 of 13)