The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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The Convulsive of Saint-Médard


News – Francois Paris, a famous deacon of Pâris, deceased in 1727 at the age of thirty-seven, was the eldest son of a Parliament Counselor. He should have naturally succeeded his father in that position but he preferred the ecclesiastic career. After his father’s death he left all assets to his brother. For some time he taught catechism at St. Cosmos Parish; he took over the direction of the clergy, giving them conferences. Cardinal Noailles, to whom he was bonded, wanted to nominate him as Curate of that Pâris, but an unforeseen obstacle came up. Father Pâris was entirely dedicated to seclusion. After having experienced several hermitages he secluded himself at a house in the neighborhood of St. Marcel. He gave himself totally to the prayers, to the most rigorous penitence and manual labor. He made socks to the poor who he considered his brothers. He died in that asylum.

Father Pâris had adhered to the Unigenitus bull, interposed by the four bishops. He had renovated his appeal in 1720. The opposing parties should then diversely describe it. As he had to make socks, the books he produced were mediocre. Those books gave explanations of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Romans, to the Galatians and an analysis of the epistle to the Hebrews that few people read. His brother erected a tomb to him in the small cemetery of SaintMédard, where the poor who were helped by the pious deacon went to pray, and some rich people who he had helped to elevate and some women who he had educated. There were healings seemingly miraculous and convulsions that were considered dangerous and ridiculous. The local authority felt obliged to stop that spectacle, determining the closure of the cemetery on January 27th, 1732. The same enthusiasts then carried out their convulsions in private houses. In the opinion of a large number of people the tomb of Deacon Pâris was the tomb of Jansenism. Some people, however, saw the hand of God in all that and associated even more to a sect that produced such wonders. There are many stories about that Deacon, which nobody would have heard from if they did not want to transform him into a thaumaturge. Below some among the strange phenomena presented by the Convulsive of Saint-Médard:
 The faculty of withstanding huge blows that human bodies should be smashed by;
 That of speaking unknown languages or forgotten by them;
 The faculty of an extraordinary development of the intelligence.
The most ignorant among them improvised speeches about the grace, the evils of church, the end of the world, etc.; 
The faculty of reading the mind;
 Once in touch with the diseased, they experienced the pains exactly in the same places where the sick persons felt them. It was very frequent to hear them predicting several abnormal phenomena that should follow up the development of the diseases.
The physical insensitivity produced by the ecstasy gave place to atrocious scenes. Madness came to the point of crucifying the unfortunate victims; of making they feel every detail of the Passion of Christ. Those victims – the fact is attested by the most authentic witnesses – demanded terrible tortures, designated among the convulsive by the name of great help.
The cure of the sick took place by the simple touch of the tomb or the dust spread around which was taken with any drink or directly applied onto the ulcers. Those cures, in large number, are attested by thousands of witnesses, many of whom are people of Science who were actually incredulous, registering the fact but not knowing what to attribute them to. Pauline Roland 
1. Evocation of Deacon Pâris - I am at your service.
2. What is your current state as spirit? - I am errant and happy.
3. Have you had another corporeal existence after that one we know? - No. I am constantly busy in doing the good to human beings.
4. What was the cause of the strange phenomena that took place with the visitors to your tomb? - Intrigue and magnetism.
OBSERVATION: Among the observed faculties of the convulsive some are easily recognized as of magnetism and somnambulism, from which there is large number of examples. These are, among others: the physical insensitivity, the perception of thoughts, the sympathetic transmission of pain, etc. Thus, there is no doubt that the convulsive were under a kind of awake somnambulistic state, provoked by the influence mutually and unknowingly exerted on one another. They were simultaneously magnetizers and magnetized.
5. Why has a whole population been suddenly endowed by such strange faculties? - They communicate very easily in certain cases, and you are no stranger to the faculties of the spirits so that you don’t understand that they had a great participation into all that, by sympathy to those who provoked it.
6. Have you participated directly, as a spirit? - Not even in the slightest.
7. Did other spirits participate? - Many.
8. What was their nature, in general? - Not very elevated.
9. Why have those cures and phenomena stopped when the local authorities opposed, closing the cemetery? Had the authorities more power than the spirits then? - God wanted to stop that since it had degenerated into abuse and scandal. The means employed by God to stop it was men’s authority.
10. Since you have not taken part into those cures, why have they preferred your tomb to any other? - Do you think that I was consulted? They chose my tomb knowingly. They exploited first my religious beliefs and then the little good I had tried to do.

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