“As we all know, the daguerreotype-plate may be impressed, not only by objects, but also by their reflections. Well, the phenomenon in question, which ought to be named mental photography, produces, besides realities, the dreams of our imagination, with such a fidelity that very often we become unable to distinguish a copy taken from one present, from a negative obtained of an image. . . .
“The magnetization of a table or of a person is absolutely identical in its results; it is the saturation of a foreign body by either the intelligent vital electricity, or the thought of the magnetizer and those present.
” Nothing can give a better or a more just idea of it than the electric battery gathering the fluid on its conductor, to obtain thereof a brute force which manifests itself in sparks of light, etc. Thus, the electricity accumulated on an isolated body acquires a power of reaction equal to the action, either for charging, magnetizing, decomposing, inflaming, or for discharging its vibrations far away. These are the visible effects of the blind, or crude electricity produced by blind elements — the word blind being used by the table itself in contradistinction to the intelligent electricity. But there evidently exists a corresponding electricity produced by the cerebral pile of man; this soul-electricity, this spiritual and universal ether, which is the ambient, middle nature of the metaphysical universe, or rather of the incorporeal universe, has to be studied before it is admitted by science, which, having no idea of it, will never know anything of the great phenomenon of life until she does.
“It appears that to manifest itself the cerebral electricity requires the help of the ordinary statical electricity; when the latter is lacking in the atmosphere — when the air is very damp, for instance — you can get little or nothing of either tables or mediums. . . .
“There is no need for the ideas to be formulated very precisely in the
brains of the persons present; the table discovers and formulates them itself, in either prose or verse, but always correctly; the table requires time to compose a verse; it begins, then it erases a word, corrects it, and sometimes sends back the epigram to our address . . . if the persons present are in sympathy with each other, it jokes and laughs with us as any living person could. As to the things of the exterior world, it has to content itself with conjectures, as well as ourselves; it (the table) composes little philosophical systems, discusses and maintains them as the most cunning rhetorician might. In short, it creates itself a conscience and a reason properly belonging to itself, but with the materials it finds in us.. . .
“The Americans are persuaded that they talk with their dead; some think (more truly) that these are spirits; others take them for angels; others again for devils . . . (the intelligence) assuming the shape which fits the conviction and preconceived opinion of every one; so did the initiates of the temples of Serapis, of Delphi, and other theurgico-medical establishments of the same kind. They were convinced beforehand that they would communicate with their gods; and they never failed.
“We, who well know the value of the phenomenon . . . are perfectly sure that after having charged the table with our magnetic efflux, we have called to life, or created an intelligence analogous to our own, which like ourselves is endowed with a free will, can talk and discuss with us, with a degree of superior lucidity, considering that the resultant is stronger than the individual, or rather the whole is larger than a part of it. . . . We must not accuse Herodotus of telling us fibs when he records the most extraordinary circumstances, for we must hold them to be as true and correct as the rest of historical facts which are to be found in all the Pagan writers of antiquity. . ..
“The phenomenon is as old as the world. . . . The priests of India and China practiced it before the Egyptians and the Greeks. The savages and the Esquimaux know it well. It is the phenomenon of Faith, sole source of every prodigy,” and it will be done to you according to your faith. The one who enunciated this profound doctrine was verily the incarnated word of Truth; he neither deceived himself, nor wanted to deceive others; he expounded an axiom which we now repeat, without much hope of seeing it accepted.