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Louis Figuier.

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PRIVATE LIBRARY
OF
' CHARLES A. KOFOID.




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA



PRESENTED BY

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND

MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID



THE DAY AFTER DEATH.



THE



DAY AFTER DEATH;



OUR FUTURE LIFE, ACCORDING TO SCIENCE

£ iSratt0lat£li frmtt tl« Jxettch of
LOUIS FIGUIER.

ILLUSTRATED BY TEN ASTRONOMICAL PLATES.
NEW EDITION.




LONDON:
EICHAED BENTLEY AND SON.

1874.

[All rights reserved.]



H1H



CONTENTS.



PAGE

INTRODUCTION 1

CHAPTER THE EIRST.

MAN IS THE RESULT OF THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE OP THE

BODY, THE SOUL, AND LIFE. OF WHAT DOES DEATH

CONSIST? 6

CHAPTER THE SECOND.

WHAT BECOMES, AFTER DEATH, OF THE BODY, THE SOUL,

AND LIFE? 9

CHAPTER THE THIRD.

WHERE DOES THE SUPERHUMAN BEING RESIDE? . . 1G

CHAPTER THE EOURTH.

DO ALL MEN PASS AFTER DEATH TO THE STATE OF SUPER-
HUMAN BEINGS 1 RE-INCARNATIONS OF PERVERSE SOULS.

RE-INCARNATION OF CHILDREN WHO HAVE DIED IN

INFANCY. . 24

CHAPTER THE EIFTH.

WHAT ARE THE ATTRIBUTES OF THE SUPERHUMAN BEING ?

PHYSICAL SHAPE, SENSES, DEGREE OF INTELLIGENCE.

FACULTIES OF THE SUPERHUMAN BEING . . .30



CONTENTS.



CHAPTEE THE SIXTH.

WHAT BECOMES OP THE SUPERHUMAN BEING AFTER DEATH %

DEATHS, RESURRECTIONS, AND NEW INCARNATIONS IN

THE ETHEREAL SPACES . . . . .55

CHAPTEE THE SEVENTH.

PHYSICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE SUN . 61

CHAPTEE THE EIGHTH.

THE SUN. DEFINITIVE SOJOURN OF SOULS ARRIVED AT THE

HIGHEST DEGREE OF THE CELESTIAL HIERARCHY. THE

SUN IS THE FINAL AND COMMON SOJOURN OF THE SOULS
WHICH COME FROM THE EARTH. — PHYSICAL CONSTITUTION
OF THE SUN. THIS HEAVENLY BODY IS A MASS OF BURN-
ING GAS 89

CHAPTEE THE NINTH.

THE INHABITANTS OF THE SUN ARE PURELY SPIRITUAL

BEINGS. THE SOLAR RAYS ARE EMANATIONS FROM

SPIRITUAL BEINGS THAT LIVE IN THE SUN. THESE

BEINGS THUS PRODUCE VEGETABLE AND ANIMAL LIFE
ON EARTH. THE CONTINUITY OF SOLAR RADIATION, IN-
EXPLICABLE BY PHYSICISTS, EXPLAINED BY EMANATIONS

FROM THE SOULS OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE SUN.

THE WORSHIP OF FIRE, AND THE ADORATION OF THE
SUN IN DIFFERENT NATIONS, ANCIENT AND MODERN . 104

CHAPTEE THE TENTH.

WHAT ARE OUR RELATIONS WITH SUPERHUMAN BEINGS? . 122

CHAPTEE THE ELEVENTH.

WHAT IS THE ANIMAL ? — THE SOULS OF ANIMALS. MIGRA-
TIONS OF SOULS THROUGH THE BODIES OF ANIMALS . 138

CHAPTEE THE TWELFTH.

WHAT IS THE PLANT 1 ? THE PLANT CAN FEEL. HOW



CONTENTS. vii



DIFFICULT IT IS TO DISTINGUISH PLANTS FROM ANIMALS.

GENERAL CHAIN OF LIVING BEINGS . . . .149

CHAPTER THE THIRTEENTH.

DOES MAN EXIST ELSEWHERE THAN ON THE EARTH 1

DESCRIPTION OF THE PLANETS. PLURALITY OF THE

INHABITED WORLDS 177

CHAPTER THE FOURTEENTH.

THAT WHICH TOOK PLACE ON EARTH FOR THE CREATION
OF ORGANIZED BEINGS MUST HAVE EQUALLY TAKEN
PLACE IN THE OTHER PLANETS. — SUCCESSIVE ORDER OF

THE APPEARANCE OF LIVING BEINGS ON OUR GLOBE.

THE SAME SUCCESSION MUST HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN
EACH PLANET. THE PLANETARY MAN. THE PLANE-
TARY MAN, LIKE THE TERRESTRIAL MAN, IS TRANS-
FORMED, AFTER DEATH, INTO A SUPERHUMAN BEING,
AND PASSES INTO THE ETHER 195

CHAPTER THE FIFTEENTH.

PROOFS OF THE PLURALITY OF HUMAN EXISTENCES, AND

OF RE-INCARNATIONS. WITHOUT THE AID OF THIS

DOCTRINE THE PRESENCE OF MAN UPON THE EARTH IS
INEXPLICABLE, LIKEWISE THE UNEQUAL CONDITIONS OF
HUMAN LIFE, AND THE FATE OF CHILDREN WHO DIE
IN INFANCY ' 202

• CHAPTER THE SIXTEENTH.

faculties peculiar to certain children, aptitudes
and vocations among men, are additional proofs

of re-incarnations. explanation of phrenology.

— descartes' innate ideas, and dugald Stewart's
principle of causality can only be explained by

the plurality of lives. vague remembrances of

our former existences 212



viii CONTENTS.



CHAPTEE THE SEVENTEENTH.

SUMMARY OP THE SYSTEM OF PLURALITY OF EXIST-
ENCES 226

CHAPTEE THE EIGHTEENTH.

ANSWERS TO SOME OBJECTIONS. — FIRST : THE IMMORTALITY
OF THE SOUL, WHICH SERVES AS THE BASIS TO THIS
SYSTEM, IS NOT DEMONSTRATED.— SECOND : WE HAVE NO
REMEMBRANCE OF FORMER EXISTENCES. — THIRD : THIS
SYSTEM IS ONLY THE METEMPSYCHOSIS OF THE ANCIENTS.
FOURTH : THIS SYSTEM IS CONFOUNDED WITH DARWINISM 232

CHAPTEE THE NINETEENTH.

SEQUEL TO OBJECTIONS. DIFFICULTY OF UNDERSTANDING

HOW THE RAYS OF THE SUN, MATERIAL SUBSTANCES, CAN

BE THE GERMS OF SOULS, IMMATERIAL SURSTANCES . 259

CHAPTEE THE TWENTIETH.

PRACTICAL RULES RESULTING FROM THE FACTS AND PRIN-
CIPLES DEVELOPED IN THIS WORK. TO ELEVATE ONE'S

SOUL BY THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUES, AND BY TRYING
T6 ACQUIRE A KNOWLEDGE OF NATURE AND ITS LAWS

THROUGH SCIENCE. TO RENDER PUBLIC WORSHIP TO

THE DIVINITY. WE SHOULD PRESERVE THE REMEM-
BRANCE OF THE DEAD. — WE SHOULD NOT FEAR DEATH.

DEATH IS BUT AN INSENSIBLE TRANSITION FROM

ONE STATE TO ANOTHER; IT IS NOT AN END, BUT A

METAMORPHOSIS. — IMPRESSIONS OF THE DYING. THOSE

WHO DIE YOUNG ARE LOVED BY THE GODS . . . 26 D

EPILOGUE.

IN WHICH WE SEEK GOD, AND IN OUR SEARCH DESCRIBE



THE UNIVERSE



284



THE DAY AFTER DEATH.




INTRODUCTION.

READER, you must die. You may perhaps die
to-morrow. What will become of you 1 What
shall you be, ou the day after your death ? I do
not now allude to your body; that is of no more
importance than the clothes which it wears, or the shroud in
which it will be buried. Like these garments, like that cere-
cloth, your body must be decomposed, and its elements distri-
buted among Nature's great reservoirs of material, earth, air,
and water. But your soul, whither shall it go ? That which
was free within you, that which thought, loved, and suffered,
what shall become of it 1 Of course you do not believe that
your soul will be extinguished with your life on the day of
your decease, and that nothing will remain of that which has
palpitated in your breast, vibrating to the emotions of joy
and sorrow, to the tender affections, the numberless passions
and disturbances of your life.

Where shall that sensible, existing soul, which must sur-

7



THE DAY AFTER DEATH.



vive the tomb, go to ? What will it become, what shall you
be, my reader, the day after your death ?

To the consideration of this question this book is devoted.

Almost all thinkers have declared that the problem of the
future life defies solution. They have argued that the human
mind is^ powerless to foresee so profound a mystery, and that
therefore the only rational course is to abstain from the en-
deavour. This is the reasoning of the majority of mankind,
partly from carelessness, or partly from conviction. Besides,
when we venture to look at this tremendous question closely,
we find ourselves immediately surrounded with such thick dark-
ness that we lack courage to pursue the investigation. And thu s
we are led to turn away from all thought of the future ]ife.

There are, nevertheless, circumstances which force us to re-
flect on this dark and difficult subject. When one finds
oneself in danger of death, or when one has lost a dearly
beloved object, there is no escape from meditation upon the
future life. When we have dwelt long and earnestly upon
the idea, we may be brought to acknowledge that the problem
is not, as it has so long been believed, beyond the reach of
the human mind. *

During the greater portion of his life, the author of this
book believed, in common with everybody else, that the pro-
blem of the future life is out of our reach, and that true wis-
dom consists in not troubling our minds about it. But, one
dreadful day, a thunderbolt fell in his path. He lost the son
in whom centred all the hope and ambition of his life. Then,
in the bitterness of his grief he reflected deeply on the new



THE DA Y AFTER BE A TIL 3

life which must open for each of us, above the tomb. After
long dwelling on this idea in solitary meditation, he asked of
the exact sciences what positive information, on this question,
they could furnish him with, and subsequently, he interrogated
ignorant and simple people, peasants in their villages, and
unlettered men in towns, an ever precious source of aid in
re-ascending towards the true principles of nature, for it is
not perverted by the progress of education, or by the routine
of a commonplace philosophy.

Thus the author of this book succeeded in constructing for
himself an entire system of ideas concerning the new life of
man, which is to follow his terrestrial existence.

Eut his system is all contained in nature. Each organized
being is attached to another which precedes, and another
which follows it, in the chain of the living creation. The
plant and the animal, the animal and the man, are linked,
soldered to one another ; the moral and physical order meet
and mingle. It results from this, that any one who believes
himself to have discovered the explanation of any one fact
concerning this organization, is speedily led to extend this ex-
planation to all living beings, to reconstruct, link by link, the
great chain of nature. Thus it was with the author of this
book. After having sought out the destination of man, when
dismissed from his terrestrial life, he was led to apply his views
to all other living beings, to animals, and then to plants.
The power of logic forced him to study those beings, impossible
to be seen by our organs of vision, by which he holds the
planets, the suns, and all the innumerable stars dispersed

1—2



THE DAY AFTER DEATH.



over the vast extent of the heavens, to be inhabited. So
that you will find in this book, not only an attempt at the
solution of the problem of the future life by science, but also
the statement of a complete theory of nature, of a true philo-
sophy of the universe.

It may be that I am deceiving myself ; it may be that I am
taking the dreams of my imagination for serious views ; I may
lose myself in that dark region through which I am trying to
grope my way ; but at least I write with absolute sincerity,
and that is my excuse for writing this book at all. I hope
that others may be induced by my example to attempt similar
efforts, to apply the exact sciences to the study of the great
question of the destinies of man after this life. A series of
works undertaken in this branch of learning, would be the
greatest service which could be rendered to natural philo-
sophy, and also to the progress of humanity.

After the terrible misfortunes of 1870 and 1871, there is
not a family in Trance which has not had to mourn a kins-
man or a friend. I found, not indeed consolation for my grief,
but tranquillity for my mind, in the^composition of this work ;
and I have therefore hoped that, in reading its pages, they
who suffer and they who grieve might find some of the same
hope and assurance which have lifted up my stricken heart.

Society is in our day the prey of a deadly disease, of a
moral canker, which threatens it with destruction. This dis-
ease is materialism. Materialism, which was preached first in
Germany, in the universities, and in books of philosophy, and
the natural sciences, afterwards spread rapidly in France.



THE DA Y AFTER DEATH.



With brief delay, it came down from the level of the savans
to that of the educated classes, and thence it penetrated
the ranks of the people ; and the people have undertaken to
teach us the practical consequences of materialism; Little by
little they have flung off every bond, they have discarded all
respect of persons and principles; they no longer value re-
ligion or its ministers ; the social hierarchy, their country, or
liberty. That this must lead to some terrible result it was
easy to foresee. After a long period of political anarchy, a
body of furious madmen carried death, terror, and fire through
the capital of France.

It was not patriotism which fired the illustrious and sacred
monuments of Paris, it was materialism. Nothing can be
more evident than that, from the moment one is convinced
that everything comes to an end in this world, that there is
nothing to follow this life, we have nothing better to do, one
and all of us, than to appeal to violence, to excite disturbance,
and invoke anarchy everywhere, in order to find, amid such
propitious disorder, the means of satisfying our brutal desires,
our unruly ambition, and our sensual passions. Civilization,
society, and morals, are like a string of beads, whose fastening-
is the belief in the immortality of the soul. Break the fasten-
ing, and the beads are scattered.

Materialism is the scourge of our day, the origin of all the
evils of European society. 2sow, materialism is fiercely fought
in this book, which might be entitled, " Spiritualism De-
monstrated by Science." Because this is its aim, and its
motive, my friends have induced me to publish it.




CHAPTEE THE EIEST.

MAN THE RESULT OF THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE OP THE BODY, THE
SOUL, AND THE LIFE. WHAT CONSTITUTES DEATH.

'AKTHEZ, Lordat, and the Medical School of
Montpellier have created the doctrine of the hu-
man aggregate, which, in our opinion, affords the
only explanation of the true nature of man.
This doctrine, of which we shall avail ourselves, as a guide in
the earlier portions of this work, may be defined as follows : —
There exists in man three elements : —

1. The body, or the material substance.

2. The Life, or as Barthez calls it, the Vital Force.

3. The Soul, or as Lordat calls it, the Intimate Sense.

We must not confound the soul with the life, as the ma-
terialists and certain shallow philosophers have done. The
soul and the life are essentially distinct. The life is perish-
able, while the soul is immortal ; the life is a temporary
condition, destined to decline and destruction ; while the
soul is impervious to every ill, and escapes from death. Life,
like heat and electricity, is a force engendered by certain
causes ; after having had its commencement, it has its termi-
nation, which is altogether final. The soul, on the contrary,
has no end.



THE DA Y AFTER DEATH.



Man may be defined as a perfected soul dwelling in a living
body.

This definition permits ns to specify what it is that con-
stitutes death.

Death is the separation of the soul and the body. This
separation is effected when the body has ceased to be animated
by the life.

Plants and animals cannot live except under certain condi-
ditions : plants in the air or in the water, animals in the air,
fish in the water ; and if they are deprived of these condi-
tions, they .perish immediately. Again, there are existences
which require special conditions for their support within the
general ones.

Certain polypoid-worms can live only in carbonic acid, or
azotic gas ; the germs of cryptogams produced by damp can
be developed only in aqueous infusions of vegetable matters ;
the fish which live in the sea, die in fresh, or only moderately
salt, water.

Every living being has then its special habitat. The soul
does not form an exception to this rule. The place, the
habitat of the soul is a living body. The soul disappears from
the body when this body ceases to live, just as a man forsakes
a house when that house has been destroyed by fire.

Such, is the doctrine of the triple alliance of the body, the
soul, and the life, as formulated by the School of Montpellier,
and such, as a consequence of this doctrine, is the mechanism
of death.

It must be added that this triple alliance of the body, the



THE DA Y AFTER DEATH.



soul, and the life, is not peculiar to man ; it exists also in all
animals. The animal has also a living body, and soul ; but
the soul in animals is much inferior to the soul in men, in
the number and extent of its faculties. Having few wants,
the animal has a very small number of faculties, which
are all in a rudimentary condition. It is only in the very
considerable development of the faculties of the soul that
man differs from the superior animals, to which he bears a
strong resemblance in his physiological functions, and his
anatomical structure.

It must be remarked that the Montpellier School does not
admit this view of the condition of animals. In another
part of this work,* a fuller explanation of the distinctions
which divide man from animal will be found.



* Ch. XV.





CHAPTEK THE SECOND.

WHAT BECOMES OF THE BODY, THE SOUL, AND THE LIFE, AFTER
DEATH.

^FTEE death, the body, whether of a man, or of an
animal, being no longer preserved from destruc-
tion by vital force, falls under the dominion of
chemical forces. If the body of a dead animal,
or a human corpse be kept in a place where the temperature is
below 0°, or if it be shut up in a space entirely air-tight, or
if it be impregnated with antiseptic substances, it will remain
intact, as at the moment at which life has abandoned it.
Such is the process of embalming. The effect of the various
chemical substances with which a corpse is impregnated, is to
coagulate the albumen of the tissues, and thus to preserve the
animal substance from putrefaction. A similar result will
be obtained if the corpse be placed between two layers of
ice, or in a coffin entirely surrounded with ice constantly
renewed. If kept at a temperature of 0°, the body will not
be subject to decomposition, because putrid fermentation can-
not take place at so low a temperature.

This was the process by which the entire carcasses of the
mammoths, or extinct elephants, which belonged to the qua-



10 THE DA Y AFTER DEATH.

ternity period, were preserved. In 1802 a perfectly pre-
served carcass of this gigantic pachyderm was found on the
bank of the Lena, a river which runs into the Arctic Sea,
after traversing a portion of the Asiatic continent in the vici-
nity of the North Pole. The frozen earth and the ice which
covers the banks of the river into which the mammoth had
plunged, had so effectually preserved it from putrefaction, that
the flesh of the huge creature, dead for more than a hundred
thousand years, made a feast for the fishermen of that desert
place. In northern countries, if one would preserve the body
of a man, it could be effectually done by simply keeping it
constantly wrapped in ice.

"When the body of a man, or of an animal, is exposed to
the combined influences of air, of water, and of a moderately
high temperature, it undergoes a series of chemical decompo-
sitions, whose final term is its transformation into carbonic
acid gas, and some compounds, gaseous or solid, which repre-
sent the less advanced products of destruction. Gases of
various kinds, carbonic acid, hydrosulphuric, and ammoniac,
and the vapour of water, spread themselves through the atmo-
sphere, or dissolve into the humidity of the soil. At a later
stage these compounds, thus dissolved into the water which
bathes the earth, are absorbed by the little roots of the plants
which live on it, and aid in their nutrition and develop-
ment. As for the gas, it begins by spreading through the
air ; and then falling to the earth again dissolved in the rain-
water, it also equally supplies the needs of vegetable life.
The ammoniac and carbonic acid in the water which pene-



THE DA Y AFTER LEA TIL 1 1

trates the soil, is absorbed by the roots, introduced into the
tubes of the plants, and supplies them with nourish-
ment.

Thus, the matter which forms the bodies of men and ani-
mals is not destroyed ; it only changes its form, and under
its new conditions it aids in the composition of fresh organic
substances.

In all this the human body does but obey the common
laws of nature. That which it undergoes, every organized
substance, vegetable or animal, exposed to the combined in-
fluences of air, water, and temperature, equally undergoes.
A piece of cotton or woollen stuff, a grain of wheat, a fruit —
they all ferment, and reduce themselves to new products,
exactly as our bodies do. The cere cloth which enfolds a
corpse is destroyed by precisely the same process which
destroys the corpse.

But, if the material substance which forms man's body
does but transform itself, journeying through the globe, passing
from animals to plants and from plants to animals ; it is quite
otherwise with life. Life is a force. Like the other forces,
heat, light, and electricity, it is born, and it transmits itself ;
it has a beginning and an end. Like light, heat, and electri-
city — the physical agents which make us comprehend life, and
which have certainly the same essence and the same origin —
life has its producing causes, and its causes of destruction.
It cannot rekindle itself when it has been extinguished ; it
cannot re-commence its course when its fatal term has arrived.
Life cannot perpetuate itself; it is a simple condition of



12 THE DA T AFTER DEATH.

bodies, a fugitive and precarious condition, subject to count-
less influences, accidents, and chances.

The life is therefore greatly inferior in importance to the
soul, which is indestructible and immortal. The soul is the
essential element in all nature. It has active and positive
qualities in all respects where the two other elements, the
body and the life, have only negative qualities. Whilst the
body dissociates itself and disappears, while the life becomes
annihilated, the soul can neither disappear nor become anni-
hilated.

"VVe have seen what becomes of a man's body after his
death, and also of his life ; let us now examine into the con-
dition of his soul.

No philosopher, no learned man, none of those who know
the immensity of the universe and the eternity of the ages,
can admit that our existence on the earth is a definite thing,
— that human life has no link with anything above or beyond
itself. Man dies at thirty, or twenty years old ; he may live
only a few months, or a few minutes. The average length of
life, according to Duvilard's tables, is twenty-eight years.
At present it is thirty-three. One fourth of mankind die
before their seventh year, and one half do not outlive their
seventeenth. Those who survive this time enjoy a privilege
which is denied to the rest of the human race.*

What is so short an interval, compared to the general
duration of time, to the age of the earth and of the world;. 1
It is one minute in eternity. Our brief life is not, cannot be

* Rambosson. " The Laws of Life." Paris, 1871. P. 121.



THE DA Y AFTER LEA TIL i 3

anything but an accident, a rapid and passing phenomenon,
which hardly counts for anything in the history of nature.
■ On the other hand, the physical conditions of terrestrial
life are detestable. Man is a martyr, exposed to every sort of
suffering : owing partly to the defective organization of his
body, incessantly menaced with danger from external causes,
dreading the extremes of heat and cold; weak and ailing,
coming into the world naked, and without any natural de-
fence against the influence of climate. If, in one portion of
Europe, and in America, the progress of civilization has se-
cured comfort for the rich, what are the sufferings of the poor
in those very same countries 1 Life is perpetual suffering to
the greater number of the men who inhabit the insalubrious
regions of Asia, Africa, and Oceania. And then, before there
was any civilization at all, during the period of Primitive
Man, a period so immense that it stretches back to a hun-
dred thousand years before our epoch, what was the fate of
humanity % It was a perpetual succession of suffering, danger,
and pain.

The conditions of human existence are as evil from the
moral as from the physical point of view. It is granted that
here below happiness is impossible. The Holy Scriptures,
when they tell us that the earth is a valley of tears, do but
render an incontestable truth in a poetic form. Yes, man
has no destiny here but suffering. He suffers in his affec-
tions, and in his unfulfilled desires, in the aspirations and im-
pulses of his soul, continually thrust back, baffled, beaten
down by insurmountable obstacles and resistance. Happiness



14 THE DA Y AFTER DEATH.

is a forbidden condition. The few agreeable sensations which
we experience, now and then, are expiated by the bitterest
grief. We have affections, that we may lose and mourn their
dearest objects ; we have fathers, mothers, children, that we
may see them die.

It is impossible that a state so abnormal can be a defini-
tive condition. Order, harmony, equilibrium reign through-
out the physical world, and it must be that the same are to
be found again in the moral world. If, on looking around us,
we are forced to acknowledge that suffering is the common
and constant rule, that injustice and violence dominate, that
force triumphs, that victims tremble and die under the iron
hand of cruelty and oppression ; then it must be that this is


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Online LibraryLouis FiguierThe day after death, or, Our future life, according to science → online text (page 1 of 20)