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7. What were the spinning tables?

It was a phenomenon that spread rapidly in Europe and in other parts of the world, where tables were turned, spoken or danced. The participants sat around them, placed their hands on the table and waited for it to move. The whirling tables did not just stand on one foot to answer questions, but they moved in every direction, twirled under the hands of the researchers, and sometimes they rose in the air.

In the years 1853 to 1855 were a real pastime, being almost compulsory fun in social gatherings. According to Father Ventura de Raulica, the rotating tables were "the greatest event of the century". [1] At first they found only incredulity, believed that there was a purely physical cause, electricity, but the multiplicity of experiences no longer doubted, the impulse given to objects was not only the result of a blind mechanical force, there were the intervention of an intelligent cause.

In his work The Spinning Tables and Spiritism Zeus Wantuil explains that in 1852, professors of the University of Harward, after several experiments carried out with the most scrupulous care, published a celebrated Manifesto supporting the authenticity of the movements and elevation of the table, without for this would be the interference of any known physical agent. They were indeed forced to acknowledge that there was the constant manifestation of an intelligent force, which seemed to be independent of the living. [2]

The teacher, when he heard of the turning tables, at first did not believe it was possible, and said that he would only believe when they had proved that it was possible for a table to have a brain to think, nerves to feel, and that it might somnambulize, seeing in the beginning , just a story to cause sleep. [3] However, after attending the demonstration of the rotating tables in May 1855, he devoted himself to serious study of the phenomena, resulting in the elaboration of the Spiritist Doctrine.

The accuracy of the answers and their correlation with the questions caused astonishment. The mysterious being, questioned about its nature, declared that it was Spirit or Genius, declined a name and provided various information about it. No one imagined the Spirits as a means of explaining the phenomenon, it was the very phenomenon that revealed the word. Often, when it comes to the exact sciences, hypotheses are formulated to give a basis to the reasoning, but this is not what happened in this situation.

An interesting fact also was that the medium of correspondence was time-consuming and uncomfortable, for someone said the alphabet aloud and the Spirit indicated the letters by stroking the moment they were pronounced, which together formed words and then phrases. The Spirit, and this is a new circumstance worthy of note, indicated another, advising the adaptation of a pencil to a basket or another object, being the advice given simultaneously in America, France and other countries. By way of example, we bring the advice given in Paris, June 10, 1853, to one of the most dedicated and fervent adherents of Spiritism, who said: "Go get the basket in the next room; he bound a pencil to her; put it on the paper; put your fingers on the edge. "[4]

The object is merely a tool, being completely indifferent to nature and form, for they are considered only an appendage of the hand, and could only be set in motion under the influence of mediums, who are persons endowed with a special capacity, that is to say , are means or intermediates between Spirits and men. The manifestations seen in the rotating tables are called physical manifestations, because they are translated by sensible effects, as the noises, the movement and the displacement of solid bodies, being some spontaneous, independent of the human will, and others provoked, producing these effects equally on all other objects.

The great purpose of these manifestations is to draw the attention of human unbelief to the existence of the Spirits, but it can also be a warning and even a request for help.

Mediums enjoy a greater or lesser force, as well as effects, depending, depending on their potency, to make tables spin and to move, to rise, to fall, to jump, to turn with violence, to give blows to the texture of the object, etc. . It is important to distinguish this fact from the form of the table, the substance that is made, the day, the hour, the time, because only volume matters, in case the medium's psychic force is insufficient to overcome resistance.

During these phenomena the Spirit combines a part of the universal fluid [5] with the animalized fluid released by the medium, for by its ethereal nature the Spirit can not act on gross matter without the aid of the intermediary, who is the effects medium physicists. As this Spirit animates the matter of a fictitious life, it saturates it with the fluid temporarily, which obeys the impulse of intelligence.

Knowing the importance of the medium, it is worth mentioning some aspects. First, in the way the basket moves under the influence of the medium, demonstrating that it is impossible for the medium to print any direction, especially when two or three people put their hands together under the basket or another object, since in this situation it would need there is a truly phenomenal agreement of movements and, still more, of thoughts. Second, no less admirable and increasing difficulty is the radical change of the calligraphy according to the Spirit that manifests itself.

Thirdly, and as a result of the very nature of the answers, it was that almost always and especially when abstract and scientific questions were addressed, the answers were notoriously outside the field of knowledge and often of the intellectual scope of the medium. Fourth, it was not unusual for the basket to spontaneously write, without question, on any unexpected subject, revealing in certain cases so much wisdom that they could only emanate from a higher Intelligence; frivolous that reason refuses to admit to derive from the same source.

Questioning the importance of the Hydesville phenomena and the spinning tables for the emergence of Spiritism, the English writer Arthur Conan Doyle said to have been that of an invasion organized by Superior Spirituality, arousing consciences with a view to the arrival of an Era New to Humanity.

[1] O Consolador. Os fenômenos de Hydesville e as mesas girantes. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 9 jun. 2018.

[2] WANTUIL, Zeus. As mesas girantes e o Espiritismo. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, [2005?]. p. 11.

[3] KARDEC, Allan. Obras Póstumas. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 2005. p. 323.

[4] KARDEC, Allan. O Livro dos Espíritos. Introdução. Brasília: FEB, 2013. p. 26.

[5] Sobre o fluido universal, vamos estudar mais detalhadamente nas perguntas subsequentes deste mesmo capítulo.

[6] DOYLE, Arthur Conan. História do Espiritismo. [s.l.]: L. Neilmoris, 2008. p. 12.

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