Chapter 1 - Personal experiences in the field of spiritual apparitions

- 2 - 1.0 Personal experiences in the field of spiritual apparitions 1.1 My first step towards making contact with the world of spirit So, I contemplated this, trying to understand; but it was too difficult for my understanding until I made contact with God’s world of the spirit. Psalms 73; 16-17 It was during the later summer in 1923. I was a Catholic priest in a small rural community at that time. Besides, I also ran a relief society that was located in a neighbouring city. I went twice a week to the office of the relief society to deal with charitable work. A man visited me there one day and asked me: “What do you think of Spiritism?” Before I had a chance to answer, he told me about his experiences. He was meeting with a small circle of people for a kind of church service once a week. One prayed, read the Holy Scriptures and discussed what was being read. Amongst those present was also a young boy around 16 or 17 years old. He was from a simple family, had a moderate level of education and absolved an apprenticeship in a private company. He would suddenly collapse at these meetings as if he was dead to then be immediately straighten up in a jerky fashion as if moved by an invisible force, he would then sit there with closed eyes and confer wonderful lectures to those present. He would also answer questions that were put to him. He would however refuse to answer questions of a purely physical nature. At the end of his lectures, he would fall forward again but immediately regain consciousness. He apparently didn’t remember the slightest of what he had said and of what had happened. This youngster was fit and healthy. He told us that he suffered no discomforts, no headaches or any other indispositions after such an event. The man that approached me closed his report with the words: “I would now like to know what you think about this, but I would like to ask you to participate at one of these meeting yourself before you give me your judgment, so that you can personally convince yourself about these events. You will then have an opportunity to ask the young man some questions yourself.” I had listened to his narration with great attentiveness. What could my reply be? I knew and understood nothing about the so-called “Spiritism”. I might have read something here and there in newspapers. They had mainly been reports about the unmasking of mediums or other spiritistic trickeries. Ergo, certainly nothing positive. As a serious minded human being and as a priest into the bargain, I was asked to enter this field and expose myself to the danger of ridicule. I couldn’t do that. The thought did indeed provoke me, namely to investigate the strange processes just described to me from a purely scientific point of view, if only I could do so in my own study. But I wasn’t prepared to visit other families and to expose myself to gossip. I therefore openly admitted to this gentleman that I had no personal experience in regards to “Spiritism” and that I could therefore not express an opinion of what he had experienced. I also had great concerns about accepting his invitation to participate at the kind of meetings he had described to me. I told him that I had to take my “black frock” into consideration and that I couldn’t take the risk of being decried as a “Spiritist” by the public. My participation at these meeting would undoubtedly become common knowledge everywhere.