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Chapter 9

Insanity and Spiritism


THE claim has frequently been made by medical men that a belief in and adherence to Spiritism conduce to mental unbalance. The assertion has been most strenuously denied by leaders in the spiritistic cult, and yet those who make it, apparently do so in the utmost good faith. Mr. T. Massie, M. B., says:

"I have had twenty years' experience in investigating the mental condition of some 2,500 alleged lunatics. From such persons I have heard many statements assuring me of the presence of spirit forms. I have never had any hesitation in certifying such persons to be fit for an asylum treatment." -- Sunday Times, Sept. 9, 1917.

A Spiritist writer hopes "Mr. Massie discovered something more in each of his patients which justified their being incarcerated in a lunatic asylum than their gift of clairvoyance. -- "The Proofs of the Truths of Spiritualism," by Henslow, p. 140. It is very evident that he did, and that he found the one thing leading into the other, and considered that asylum treatment might save the individual from complete loss of reason. We personally know of such results following a continuance of such experiences.

Rev. Dr. Hastings, in a powerful sermon against Spiritism, delivered in Holburn United Free Church, Aberdeen, Scotland, "quoted from an eminent superintendent of a Royal Lunatic Asylum to show that many people were prejudicially affected, and insanity ensued, through dabbling in Spiritism."-- Christian Herald, April 15, 1920. He declared that Spiritism was unavailing in the work of establishing communion between man and God, "because it had no message to the heart and the life from Christ or from God." It does not even claim that it has any such message, but only messages from the dead, who, according to the Word, are utterly unable to give any mess ages to anybody.

More than this, Spiritism teaches that men themselves are gods, puts God Himself beyond the reach of, and entirely out of communion with, the spiritually hungry souls who need Him, and repudiates the entire redemptive work of Jesus Christ. No message that has ever come through those who claim to be the spirits of the dead, has ever helped any soul to come into communion with the heavenly Father, or strengthened faith in the gospel, or upheld the Lord Jesus as the propitiation for the sins of the people. On the other hand, these messages, while claiming Jesus as a great teacher, have disputed every claim to Deity on His part, thus setting Him forth as an impostor, and denouncing the idea that His sacrifice on Calvary was or ever will be efficacious in washing the guilt of sin from any human being. Furthermore, some at least of the messages that have come from these alleged spirits of the dead have driven men and women into asylums for the insane or spurred them on to self-murder.

Dr. A. Maxwell Williamson, medical officer of health for the city of Edinburgh, published the following statement in a Scottish newspaper:

"The overwhelming majority of those who dabble in Spiritualism are neurotic. I had a man here in my room recently who had visions. I had to tell him quite frankly, as a medical man, that if he encouraged these, he would find himself very seriously ill, and in danger of mental disturbance. Those who suffer from these practices are really on the same plane as victims of shell shock.

"Unless Spiritualism is checked, it will mean social suicide. We must put our heel on this contamination. Clean minds and healthy thinking will give us A-1 men: this thing will breed weaklings. It is un-Christian, unscientific, and from a national point of view its spread means a mental and physical deterioration."--Southern Cross, Dec. 3, 1920.

Spiritists will denounce this testimony as that of one who is biased and bigoted; but those who are fair minded and are not wholly captivated by the Spiritist propaganda, must give Dr. Williamson credit for giving sincere testimony, based on experience with the results of the teachings and practices of Spiritism. He has found the results pernicious.

The Rev. S. H. Anderson, of the Paris City Mission, writes in the Christian:

"Recently, after celebrating a marriage service, I asked the bridegroom news of his uncle, who had been a leader of necromancers in Mauritius. The young man answered: 'He lost his reason, and died in a lunatic asylum.' Some time ago, preaching in a McAIl Mission Hall, at 8 Boulevarde Bonne Nouvelle in Paris, against Spiritism (as 'Spiritualism' is styled in France), I showed how the Word of God condemns it. Thereafter, a gentlemen came and thanked me for my address, and said: 'We were seven friends who used to consult the spirits of the dead. Six became insane and were interned in a lunatic asylum. Seeing that, I gave up Spiritism, and providentially came to hear the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and am now a believer."

Says Elliot O'Donnell, in his book, "Spiritualism Explained:

"It is an indisputable fact that the lunatic asylums at this very moment are full of people who have become insane simply through attending spiritualist sťances."

The editor of the Harbinger of Light (July 1, 1921) refers to this statement as "the lunacy myth," and dismisses it thus:

"If it [the statement referred to] contained a modicum of truth, we should begin to feel alarmed at being associated with a cause that could possibly produce such direful results."

He declares it to be "based either upon whirling imagination or deliberate falsehood." In our opinion it is based upon neither, but upon the observation of the results of the belief in, and the practice of, Spiritism. There is much more than a modicum of truth in the statement, and it would be well if all -- Spiritists as well as those not yet fully ensnared -- would become alarmed at being associated with a cause that produces such direful results."

Spiritism, denying both the Christ and the God of the Bible, and declaring the Bible itself to be only a compilation of myths and legends, has flung down a challenge to Christianity, and sends us for wisdom and consolation and guidance to the gibbering, muttering, incoherent testimonies of spirit mediums, who, professing to speak for the dead, are voicing the sentiments of fallen angels.

With our Bible gone, we would turn for a cheerless "comfort" to the cold and dumb lips of the tomb. With our Saviour gone, we would turn for salvation to the contradictory and whimsical mouthings of spirit mediums, that throw us back upon our own sin-smeared record for a passport to the habitation of immaculate Divinity. With God where Spiritism puts Him, He is beyond our utmost reach, and we are left without hope and without God in a world sodden in sin and speeding to its doom. With such a cheerless outlook, and with voices whispering suggestions of suicide, is it any wonder that many minds break under the strain, and insanity or self-destruction ensues? It would be almost a miracle if there were no such results.


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