Damodar K. Mavalankar – Explanation Wanted

[From The Theosophist, May, 1884.]

A few years ago I was visiting some relatives in Z. . . . Switzerland, one evening there was a social gathering at our house, and it was proposed to try to hold a circle. The Protestant minister who was present objected, but his objection was overruled, and the table began to tip. The spirit (?), on being asked its name, gave that of a seamstress, who had died only shortly before. On hearing this name every one began to laugh, because the said seamstress had been a very queer and eccentric person; but soon this hilarity was followed by a more serious mood, because on being asked where she was, she (the spirit) said that she was in hell. She then related that she had poisoned her mother, gave the name of the poison, the name of the place where it was bought, and other detailed circumstances. She also gave the particulars of her own burial and the text of the funeral sermon; but this part of the communication can be explained by the presence of the identical minister who preached it.

However there was no suspicion about her mother’s death having been an unnatural one; but public opinion, being aroused by this spirit communication, it provoked enquiry and investigation. The body was exhumed and examined, the poison was found, the purchase of the same traced to the indicated chemist shop, and the story corroborated in every detail. — A. v. H. . . .

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Note. — The corroboration of the facts concerning the murder of the communicating spirit’s mother will perhaps be taken by some as a proof that it was a “genuine spirit” communication. Let us see, however, if any other explanation, more reasonable and scientific, can be given. It has been stated on the authority of our occult doctrines that in the case of ordinary humanity, the shell (composed of the fourth, and the grossest portion of the fifth, principles) survives the death of the physical body for a certain period. This period largely depends upon the Karma of the individual, whether in mental desires or physical acts. Thus it is not difficult to conceive the possibility that the feeling of repentance for the horrible act of matricide may have so strongly impressed the dying thought of the seamstress as to effect for the time being the union between the fourth and the lower portions of the fifth principle, wherein reside memory and physical consciousness. The presence of the minister — one of a class whose whole bent of mind, owing to professional proclivities, is generally directed towards penitent sinners — and the further fact of his being the very priest who officiated at her funeral are sufficient to give the shell a stimulus, if any were needed (since the seamstress had died but a very short time previous to the seance and consequently hardly needed any) to give vent to a thought of so oppressive a nature. The confession of the “shell” of the seamstress that she “was in hell,” is enough to show to any thinking mind that the communicating principle could not have been a “spirit,” and spoke of hell simply because it found the ready picture of one in the priest’s brain. It is needless to mention here that occultism admits of no orthodox Hell, although evil personalities have their various degrees of mental suffering in the state of Avitchi. — D. K. [M. ?]*

*[Signed “D. K.” but possibly by Djual Khool. — EDS.]