The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 16


Spiritism, often called spiritualism, was known to every ancient people. It is the mark of the decadence of a people. It was condemned among the ancient Hindus and other Asiatic races. Many tribes of American Indians have their mediums, through whom they get materializations and sometimes try to communicate with their departed. Spiritism is in one sense the opposite of nature worship. Nature mystics worship the growing, living nature; but spiritism worships the dead and has little or nothing to do with living nature. Spiritism as a movement appeared in America in the nineteenth century, when science was making headway with its materialistic theories of evolution.

A particular lesson spiritism teaches is that death does not end all, that there is a survival of something after the death of the body. This fact was denied by some; but, as a fact, it has overcome objections and contrary theories. Spiritism, by offering social intercourse between the living and the dead, endeared itself to many of those who suffered from the loss of relatives and friends, and in many cases strengthened their faith in a future life. But notwithstanding the lessons it has taught it has done a great deal of harm.

The harm comes from opening relations between the world of the living and the evil or earth-bound creatures of the astral-physical plane. Some of the communications received from the other side have been lucid and even of benefit, but they are few and meager as compared with the mass of useless, vapid and nonsensical trash of the seance room. No information of substantial value as to the nature of the Triune Self, what the Light of the Intelligence is, or the purpose of life on earth has been given by the so-called spirits of the dead. The evil results of spiritism come in making of the medium an automaton which is possessed sometimes by extraneous, low, degrading influences, nature ghosts, desire ghosts of the dead and beings which are mixtures of these two; in causing the idle curious to run after the medium for materializations and tests; and in lowering the moral tone of the persons obsessed.

Spiritism is a thought movement though it results largely in psychic states such as mediumship. It starts with thoughts favorable to spiritistic practices. Such thoughts confuse the mental atmosphere, however well-intentioned one may be. The wish to become a medium often leads to mediumship. This condition causes grave injury to the breath-form and to the doer, as well as to the physical body. At present the breath-form is subject to the commands of nature and of the doer. It is itself a guard for the doer and the body against the entrance of spooks. When the doer desires intercourse with them it willingly makes the breath-form subject to them, and itself submits to them. In doing this it surrenders to these astral things the possession of its breath-form and its astral and other physical bodies. This is a grave matter. The doer can usually regain possession, but only after much suffering and by driving out the intruders. This the doer seldom knows how to do. The practice of mediumship often results in insanity.

If spiritism were generally established among the people, they would set up a religion of “ancestor worship,” would become worshippers of dead men’s desires, and large numbers would develop into mediums. A channel would then be opened by which the remains of the dead would ooze into and out of the physical world. Through this channel would also come denizens of the form plane, inimical to the human race, bearing lethal influences from the lees of the pools there.