Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation
I recently published in the correspondence section of a journal a short review entitled “Communication from ‘spirits’ about life on other planets” (Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 2016, 80, 58-62.). This was inspired by my work about Théodore Flournoy’s study of Martian communications (click here and here).
My purpose was to present sources for “descriptions and ‘visits’ to other planets or celestial bodies . . . recorded in reference to mediumistic communications and other non-mediumistic phenomena both before and after Flournoy’s account.”
“An early example was Emmanuel Swedenborg’s . . . interactions with spirits from Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus [Swedenborg, E. (1758/1828). Concerning the Earths in our solar system, which are called planets and concerning the Earths in the starry heaven. Boston: Adonis Howard.]. Another case was that of a young girl who suffered from ‘spells’ of weakness and other problems . . . She fell into a ‘sleep of somnambulism’ in 1832 and experienced the presence of a guide, who eventually took her on trips to various places [Anonymous. (1837). Journeys into the moon, several planets and the sun: History of a female somnambulist. Philadelphia: Vollmer and Haggenmacher].
Others authors cited were J.G.H. Brown, Henry A. Gaston, Thomas Lake Harris, Andrew Jackson Davis, and John W. Edmonds, and many others.
“In France the spiritist journal Revue Spirite recorded communications about Jupiter . . . [Anonymous. (1858). Entretiens familiers d’outre tombe. Revue Spirite: Journal d’Études Psychologiques, 1, 108–114.]. In an article entitled “Des Habitations de la Planète Jupiter”, playwright Victorien Sardou . . . stated he received communications from Bernard Palissy and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who were living in Jupiter [Revue Spirite: Journal d’Études Psychologiques, 1858, 1, 223–232]. He drew views of the dwellings of these men as well as of Zoroaster. The communications recorded in the Revue Spirite were presented in a question and answer format . . . They included information about such varied aspects as the physical appearance and constitution of the residents of Jupiter, their language, ideas about death, animals, government and moral qualities.”
“In his book Le Livre des Esprits [Paris: E. Dentu, 1857] Allan Kardec . . . affirmed that: ‘According to the spirits of all the globes that make up our planetary system, the Earth is one of those which residents are the least developed physically and morally. Mars is even lower. They could be classified in the following order, starting with the lower degree: Mars and several smaller globes, Earth (Mercury, Saturn), (the Moon, Venus), (Juno, Uranus), Jupiter; besides, of course, thousands of unknown worlds.’ ”
An attention to the content of the communications, such as Sardou’s, suggests the need to consider psychological explanations to account for them, a topic I did not discuss in my note. Furthermore, while I focused on the old literature, we need to be aware that many similar communications have appeared in more recent times.