Identification: The Need for Caution | Superior Spirits
General Nature: Identity of Little Importance | Superior vs Inferior | An Additional Caution

Identification of Spirits

 The Need for Caution

Anyone who receives, witnesses, or hears about a given spirit communication must be very careful when it comes to the question of the spirit's identity.  This is not because the communicating spirits fail to identify themselves by name, but rather because, quite often, they are not who they say they are.  As we have mentioned before, there are many spirits around us who take pleasure in toying with our gullibility and in deceiving us for one reason or another. A medium, for example, lacking in proper mediumistic education or failing to take guard against his own pride, may be convinced that he is in communication with a well known and highly admired spiritual benefactor or some other famous personality, when in reality, he is only being deceived by an ordinary and dishonest spirit.  In another example, a person who wishes to communicate with a departed loved one and seeks the help of a medium, may be deceived by a spirit who pretends to be whoever that person longs to communicate with and may say things that are not true.  Actually, one should think twice before calling on a departed loved one to communicate, for we never know what that loved one’s mental and emotional state is in the spiritual realm, or if they have the ability and/or permission to answer such a call.  These are just two examples, but the cases are innumerable. The important point here is to be aware of the fact that spirits can not bring us any absolute and irrefutable proofs of their identity, and we must be always on guard.

So, when a communicating spirit does offer a name, what resources do we have to attribute some level of trust to that name?  As Kardec says, it is easier to confirm identity with those of our day, i.e. those known to us.  In this case, common "proofs" of identity may be language, use of words, recollection of specific events of their lives (especially when known only to those with whom they come to communicate), and by many little corroborating circumstances and indications that present themselves gradually, over a course of sessions.  It is always better to wait for proof than to force it. Kardec warns that sometimes, even similarity of writing, signature, turns of expression, and other personal peculiarities can be forged, which is why those similarities are valuable only as presumption, strengthened by accompanying circumstances.

When receiving communications from those who claim to be personages who lived in ancient times, proofs of identification can be especially difficult, and in some cases impossible.  Kardec says that "we are reduced to an appreciation based on moral and intellectual considerations, judging of them as we judge of men by their thoughts and language.” 

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