OCCULTISM, SPIRITISM, AND DEMONOLOGY
DEAN W. R. HARRIS
Author of Days and Nights in the Tropics,
By Path and Trail, Pioneers of the
Cross in Canada, etc.
MCCLELLAND, GOODCHILD & STEWART, Limited
These Hindoos of Malabar, when asked if, in their land, there were apparitions or phantoms, replied: Yes, but we look
upon them as evil spirits. We believe them to be the souls of those who committed suicide, or perished by a violent death.
Night is their favorite time for appearing. They seduce the weak-minded and the curious and tempt others in a thousand
different ways. They aim to do all the injury they can to human beings.
J. Gorres, "La Mystique, Vol. Ill, p. 63.
As far back as history goes, at all times, in all lands, and among all peoples materializations of spirits have occurred. The spirit manifestations to-day are but a repetition of those which took place in pre-Christian times.
The war and the publications of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Oliver Lodge, W. J. Craw ford, and Emile Boirac have given to Spiritism a popular vogue and impetus. By a singular coincidence books on Spiritism, published in Germany, France, and Italy have appeared al most simultaneously with English and American publications on this weird subject. Many of these have given a quasi-scientific endorsation to Spiritism, and have contributed official support to the current belief in the reality of Spiritistic phenomena.
Catholic students of these phenomena have never doubted their reality. While admitting and conceding the impositions, frauds, trickery and deceptions of many professional mediums.
Catholic psychologists and theologians, who for nearly two thousand years have investigated the subject, hold that materializations have al ways taken place and are occurring to-day, and that no theory of fiaud or delusion can account
Planchette and Ouija board answers and automatic writing are facts of every-day experience, but that these responses, materializations, spirit communications and the like, are messages from the dead, Catholic psychology denies.
Applying the methods of physics to psychic phenomena, Professor Crawford, in his latest work; The Reality of Psychic Phenomena, believes he has demonstrated not only the actuality and truth of these phenomena, but also the existence of a hitherto unknown manner of manifestation of psychic or spirit energy.
Conan Doyle, in his book, The New Revelation, asserts that these spirit communications establish a new religion, a New Revelation, a re-birth of the Christian religion, while Emile Boirac informs us in his; Psychology of the Future; that these phenomena lay the foundations of a new psychology, dealing with the obscure forces latent in the nature of man.
These three well-known writers are firm believers in Spiritism and in the possibility of communicating with the souls of the dead.
Professor Crawford in his brief preface says that he is; personally satisfied that the spirits are the souls of human beings who have passed into the beyond.
But Catholic psychologists, and many distinguished non-Catholic writers who have studied Spiritism, state that no evidence which would be accepted in any court of law has been given to prove that the spirits responding to human summons are the souls of men and women who at one time lived upon the earth.
They contend that the phenomena are produced and controlled by fallen angels, spirits of evil, and that so far from being communications from the dead, they are actually malign manifestations of diabolic force. They also contend that
these phenomena are manifestations of demoniac spirits with whom the Catholic Church forbids all those who listen to her voice to hold intercourse.
Mr. J. Godfrey Kaupert, who has devoted many years to the study of psychic phenomena, asks in his book, The Supreme Problem:
Can we reasonably believe that the heretofore relations and friends will avail themselves of means so repulsive and so disastrous as are the spiritistic methods in order to furnish evidence to the living that they still survive.
The distinguished British scientist Sir William Barrett, writing on Spiritism, says: For my own part, it seems not improbable that the bulk, if not the whole of the physical manifestations witnessed in a spiritual seance, are the product of human-like, but not really human, intelligence good or bad, daimonia they may be which congregate around the medium, as a rule drawn from that particular plane of mental and moral development in the unseen which corresponds to the mental and moral development of the medium. More over, if there is any truth in the view suggested above of a possible source of the purely physical manifestations, it seems to me that the Apostle Paul, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, points to a race of spiritual creatures, similar to those I have described, but of a malignant type, when
he speaks of beings not made of flesh and blood inhabiting the air around us and able injuriously to affect mankind. Good as well as mischievous agencies doubtless exist in the unseen; this, of course, is equally true if the phenomena
are due to those who once lived upon the earth.
In any case, granting the existence of a spiritual world, it is necessary to be on our guard against the invasion of our will by a lower order of intelligence and morality.
In harmony with the will and the orders of Almighty God, the Catholic Church not only denounces Spiritism, but also commands her children to abstain from all intercourse and communication with spirits, whether they be of the dead or demoniacal. She condemns also spirit communications because of the frightful results which inevitably follow all sustained Spiritistic practices. And in her denunciations she is supported by influential members of the Church of England, clergymen and eminent scientists. Members of the Spiritistic cult may protest against the severe condemnation pronounced on Spiritism by the Catholic Church; but, with Dr. Raupert we ask them to "Please
examine the evidence. Putting theology aside, examine, with an unbiased mind the Spiritistic
phenomena. You will quickly become convinced that a transcendental intelligence is certainly manifesting itself through these phenomena, and you will also find that this intelligence is a
powerfully evil force.
Centuries of experience have taught Catholic psychologists and doctors that devotion to Spiritism has worked ravages upon the minds of weak-willed and impressionable people, and has driven many to suicide and insane asylums.
Whether these statements and the Catholic view of Spiritism are accepted or rejected, the
frightful consequences resulting from communication with transcendental spirits should be plainly understood, and all thoughtful Christians should unite in denouncing the cult of Spiritism and spirit manifestations.
There are more things, Horatio, in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Among the occult sciences I include the cult of Spiritism, and I do not deny that associated with it are fraud, deception and trickery, but can any one believe that scholars like de Mirville and Des Mousseaux
and scientists like Lodge, Flammarion, Barret, Richet, Wallace, and James, who, after many years of experience with mediums, after patient examination of the cult, and intelligent study of the subject, abandoned materialism for Spiritism were deceived.
They have all confessed their absolute belief in the objective reality of spirit phenomena.
The only ground of dispute between these eminent men and Catholic and Anglican investigators of the cult is the nature of the beings or intelligences which produce the phenomena.