Chapter 1 - Personal experiences in the field of spiritual apparitions

- 3 - This man did however not accept my objections, he replied: “We are dealing with a very important issue here and this is something that you, as a priest and as someone that occupies a public position, must be informed about. According to my opinion you have at least the duty to examine this and to form a judgment about this after a detailed and unbiased examination. You are probably asked questions about these things quite often during your lifetime. And where can us laymen ask for elucidation, if not from a spiritual leader we trust and we can expect to hear the full truth from? These things can no longer be hushed up. The number of spiritistic circles in Germany increase on a daily basis. One finds them in almost all larger towns. I am well aware that the Churches would like to dismiss Spiritism as a deception or the work of the devil. But that doesn’t solve the problem. Your fear that this might cause inconveniences for you is unfounded. Your participation at our meetings would not become publicly known. Because the few attendees are personalities that can keep quiet and they will avoid everything that could harm your reputation. You can therefore accept my invitation!” I couldn’t get around the truth of his argumentation. The man was right! Who else should do this, if we as clergymen, who should be and want to be teachers and leaders amongst the people, refuse to personally investigate such apparitions? Who could possibly have a greater interest in this than the priests of all confessions? Because if Spiritism should prove to be true, it would be of the most momentous importance to all religious communities. After hesitating for a while, I declared myself willing to participate at next Sunday’s meeting. My thoughts were constantly dealing with this situation during the days that followed. I was half sorry to have given my commitment. The inconveniences that could arise from this seemed to be getting bigger, the more I thought about it. I awaited Sunday with eager expectation. I drove into town after the end of the afternoon church service. I wanted to take care of a number of urgent affairs at the bureau of the relief society before going to the meeting. In my coat pocket was a slip of paper with the questions that I wanted to put to this young man that evening. They could only be answered with longer expositions. They were taken from my religious studies. I myself was incapable of answering them and I simply wanted to ascertain the kind of replies that young man would give. Arriving at the office of the relief society, I found a letter from the gentleman who had invited me to the meeting. He informed me that the meeting did no longer take place at his place as originally planned, but at the residence of another family, whose address he supplied. It had apparently been arranged like this. This unexpected change baffled me. I became suspicious. Were they going to play cat and mouse with me? The family where the meeting was going to take place was unknown to me, I also didn’t recognise their name. Should I expose myself to awkward embarrassment in front of a family that was absolutely foreign to me? The whole affair might just be a trap set for me. My decision was clear: “I will not go there!”