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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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About the Dead and Spiritualism

[Originally untitled.]

The idea that any physical demonstration comes from the dead is to me totally absurd. The dead, as we call them, are just like the living. Some leave our sight very ignorant and others enlightened on all sciences. As the science of life is the only one that has agitated the living, its progression is shown by the development of certain phenomena as in all other sciences. The fact that development goes on does not prove that the dead know anything about it, but the superstition of the living attributes all of such to the dead. This is because they want to believe what they cannot understand. Now what cannot be understood and yet is admitted is to the wise a stumbling block and to the conceited and ignorant, foolishness; but to the scientific it is a phenomenon to be accounted for in some law or wisdom not yet understood.

I have devoted my life to the development of all phenomena seemingly mysterious and, having a good share of the evil common to all men, I found it hard to divest myself of my old belief. Therefore, I have charity for others in the depths of their superstitions. My education never carried me into classical lore so I have never penetrated the early ages of superstition nor learned the ancient mythology. Yet what has come to us through tradition and learning has bowed down the human race with a yoke of untold power, so that man now reels and totters with burdens as though they were the works of the everlasting God, when really they are the works of superstition. All spiritual phenomena have been investigated by the learned whose prejudices are based on heathen mythology, admitting phenomena that they could not explain, so people have been deceived. Now after a silence of two-hundred years, this same old error that played the Salem witchcraft game makes its appearance asking to be heard as touching the dead. The mediums set themselves up as oracles to call up a spirit of the dead. Tests are given satisfactory for the skeptic's brain becomes the machine of his new superstition and they all become believers.

September 1862

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