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Year 2 - N° 60 - June 15, 2008

Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (Brasil)
FELIPE DARELLA - felipe.darella@gmail.com

Delanne: researcher of Spiritism
(2nd and last part)

Delanne - Writer

Up to now we avoided to talk about the books written by Delanne, only talking about the magazines in which he collaborated with. His first book was published in 1885, with the title “Spiritism before the Science”. Divided into five parts, it initially talks about the many theories related to the existence of the soul; the history and theory of magnetism, somnambulism and hypnosis; the    experiments     that      prove     the

immortality of the soul, the perispirit, evidences of its existence, its composition and its role in disincarnating, finishing with a part talking about mediumship.

Lantier (1971, p. 77) talks about this book, which leads us to believe he had not read it: “The author, living up to his capacity, combats in it materialism with arguments that are more based on the realities of electromagnetism than the teachings of Kardec”. When he referred to electromagnetism, Lantier was supposed to be talking about Mesmer’s animal magnetism and its successors, of whom Delanne talks about in the second part. How can one attribute the theory of the perispirit to someone that is not Kardec? How can one attribute the different kinds of mediumship to electromagnetism? To put it bluntly, Jacques Lantier either has not read the book he comments, nor does he know Allan Kardec. The Brazilian Portuguese translation was done by Carlos Imbassahy and revised by Lauro S. Thiago, for the second issue of 1993. This issue, which served as basis to this article dated 1993, shows that have been printed, up to then, ten thousand books, shall we not forget it has not been published in decades.  

Delanne’s second book was “The Spiritist Phenomenon”, which came out in 1896. A sort of introductory course to Spiritism, this book shows the communication with the dead since the ancient times, dedicating a whole chapter to the modern times, where it shows, rightfully, the development of the Anglo-American “new spiritualism” since the Fox sisters, Kardec’s work and his successors and the German researches from Justinus Kerner to his successors. Then we have the phenomena of physical effects and a discussion of different theories to mediumship, with many facts that prove the four basic faculties of it. The second part wraps up with “Transcendental Spiritism”, term used to refer to phenomena of materialization, dematerialization, transport and other faculties of physical effects. The third part of the book is aimed to the Spiritist groups, giving suggestions to its functionality. The fourth and last part discusses the materialistic part and show arguments pro-reincarnation. This is a work that deserves to be suggested to beginners of Spiritism who like to read. It is mandatory reading to those who preach the Doctrine of the Spirits. Its translation was done by Ewerton Quadros, and it had more than 29,000 printings by FEB, in 1992.  

Kardec’s disciple next contribution to the Spiritist literature was published in 1897 and has the title “Animism Evolution”. This work is a compared analysis between the Spiritist teachings and the Physiological Psychology of the time. There are topics such as life (organically speaking), memory, multiple personalities, madness, heredity and the Universe, in which is discussed the cosmic evolution and the earthly one. Translated to Portuguese by Manuel Quintão, in 1992 FEB had already printed 34,000 books.  

His fourth book, whose first issue was released in 1898, is yet to be translated to Portuguese, and its possible title would be “On the Mediumship”. Regnault and Bodier have decided not to discuss this book, and the suspicious Lantier mentions, laconically, its publication. Hermínio Miranda, however, got the French edition of 1902, according to his “Diversity of Charisma”.  

In the same year, Delanne wrote the preface of “Katie King: histoire de ses aparitions”, whose author is unknown by Lantier. In 1899, Delanne published “The Soul is Immortal”, his fifth book in five years of work. In it he discusses the immortality of the soul, the perispirit, the projections out of the body of the human being, the fluidic body after death, the experiment by De Rochas about sensitiveness, the pictures of disincarnated spirits, the fluidic creations of will, the scientific theories of the time, space, energy conservation and its weight. Translated to Portuguese by Guillon Ribeiro, it was already in its fourth edition by 1978.  

After a break of ten years, Delanne writes what his biographers consider to be his masterpiece. In Portuguese it could be translated as “Materialized Appearances of Dead and Alive”. Its first volume was published in 1909 and the second in 1911. Regnault and Bodier (1990, p. 61) say that, in the first volume, “Gabriel Delanne answers all the objections that are made about the existence of the soul. To do so, he offers a huge documentation, based on multiple scientific experiences.” They keep talking about the second volume, as it follows. 

“In the second volume he shows the analogy that exists between what happens during the life of embodied people and what happens when, having no more a physical body, they can, though, manifest its survival through communications “post mortem”. In some centuries, when historians want to make known what happened in the age of barbarism, when there were materialists, humans from this epoch will be astonished to see that metapsychics were right.” 

Eighty-five years have passed without the Brazilian Spiritist could have the pleasure to read, in their language, the actual work. There are some privileged ones who still own it, what can be done is wait for one of the dedicated scholars, in the Brazilian Spiritist movement, decides to translate it, certain that it  won’t be a “best seller”, but it will certainly contribute for a better comprehension of the human soul and the history of Spiritism.  

In 1922, Delanne wrote the preface of “The Ranch of Silence” by Paul Bodier, published in Portuguese by FEB and had a great response from the French readers, when released. The “chant of the swan” of the researcher of Spiritism was dictated in 1924 and rumour has it there was a posthumous publication in 1927. Regnault and Bodier refer to it as “Documents to Serve the Study of Reincarnation”, and is published in Portuguese with the title “The Reincarnation”. Controversial theory along with the English spiritualists, Delanne talks about reincarnation in other cultures and strives to find evidences of reincarnation with the aid of the theory of integral memory. The casuistry is extensive and what the modern researchers would consider as methods of spontaneous and provoked memory have place in this book, showing procedures and results. Translated by Carlos Imbassahy, the book is in its eighth edition already, having been printed nearly 40,000 copies.  

Last Words

Why do we believe in spirits? Possibly some adepts of Spiritism nowadays would answer this question referring to a certain medium whose faculties brought them some evidence of life beyond the matter. Others will remember works that are read as if they were fiction, but are respected due to the authority of a vibrating lecturer who makes it true. Hermínio Miranda, however, reported that, at the beginning of his studies about Spiritism and mediumship, his introducer to Spiritism recommended him Kardec’s, Denis’ and Delanne’s books. Certainly, the Spiritist who has studied the work of this giant of the Spiritism thinking will have a different conviction, as to Spirits and mediumship. Conviction based on facts and reflexion. Philosophical-scientific conviction. Precious and rare gem on the days where “new comers” queue up in search of news, so different and unlikely, from the supposed “world of spirits”, mixed with “world of imagination of pseudo-mediums”. Let us observe carefully Delanne’s translators. Those who know the history of the Brazilian Spiritist movement acknowledge their value. Quintão, Imbassahy, Guillon Ribeiro, Ewerton Quadros... No one else, no one less. The number of editions is small, if compared to best-sellers such as “Our Home” or “The Gospel According to Spiritism”, which determine the potential of the Spiritist market in our country. Without doubt this situation will be different when scholars Spiritist lecturers become aware of the relevance of the work by Gabriel Delanne and follow his advice, spreading it.  

We sincerely thank, to wrap it up, the Spiritist Centre Léon Denis, who has making such sacrifices, in direction to a better known Spiritism. Certainly we wouldn’t have access to the thorough work by Regnault and Bodier were it not for the patience of Professor José Jorge and the teamwork of these students and workers for the Spiritist cause.  


BODIER, Paul, REGNAULT, Henri. Gabriel Delanne: life and work. Rio de Janeiro: CELD, 1990.

DUMAS, André. History of Spiritism. in: História do Ocultismo Porto: Nova Crítica, 1980.

LANTIER, Jacques. Spiritism. Lisboa: Editions 70, 1971. p. 74-83.

MIRANDA, Hermínio. Diversity of Charisma. Niterói: Arte e Cultura, 1991.

WANTUIL, Zêus; THIESEN, Francisco. Allan Kardec (vol. III). Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 1980. p. 120-122, 314-316, 373-379.

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