Who was Allan Kardec?

Allan Kardec’s real name was Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail. He was born in October 3rd 1804 in Lyon France. Rivail as a child studied with the great teacher Pestalozzi in1816. By his mid 20s he became a prolific writer and amongst many of his works he wrote a book on mathematics and French language which revolutionized the educational field. Rivail was not only respected in the area of education in general but all different sciences as well including biology, chemistry and astronomy.

When he was 54 yrs old he was presented with the turning table phenomena, which was occurring throughout Europe and the US. It basically consist of people sitting around a table asking questions to it and the table would answer the questions by dropping one of its feet on the floor. If the table hit the floor just once that sound represented the word yes, and if dropped twice it represented the word no. Later on the whole alphabet was represented by a specific number of knocks on the floor thus making possible complete sentences to be written. Allan Kardec was a man of science and of course he rejected many invitations to participate in such frivolous meetings until a close friend of his who was known for his sound reasoning invited him to first witness the communications given by a table. At first he did not believed it but when he started to ask the table questions in a foreign language and it answered in the specific language given, which he was sure that no around the table knew it, he perceived that behind the turning table phenomenon there was much more than he expected.

His hypotheses was proved right when one day the table answered that it wasn’t the table that was providing the answers but the Spirits of people who died who were using the table as a means of communication. Allan Kardec knew that the primitive means which the Spiritist phenomenon took place, through the turning tables and the use of Mediums, was just the beginning of something extraordinary as usually happens with sciences, as it happened with astronomy which was developed from the playful ways of astrology. As a result he decided to investigate it thoroughly and after a couple of years with the continuous use of his scientific and organizational skills he was able to compile the Spirits’ Book which was published in the year 1857. Before publishing the Spirits’ Book Hyppolite Leon Denizard Rival was already a very well known and respected man in the educational community and he knew that if his real name was to appear as the author of the book the readers would have a preconceived idea of the book based on his educational background. Therefore he chose the pseudo name Allan Kardec not only to conceal his identity but also because he knew the questions were answered by the Enlightened Spirits and not by him. His part on the compilation of such fundamental book was to elaborate the questions and organize the answers in a logical order.

Allan Kardec was fully convinced that the Enlightened Spirits were the ones who wrote the book thus he purposely gave it the title Spirits’ Book in order to refer to the fact that the book came from the Spirits and not a particular individual. From the Spirits’ Book follows the Mediums’ Book, the Gospel According to Spiritism, Heaven and Hell and Genesis which were sold by the thousands in Allan Kardec’s time. He never made any personal use from the money that these publications produced instead he used it to further promote Spiritism. Allan Kardec was married to Amelie Boudet for 37 yrs they had no children. He died March 1st in 1869 of a heart aneurysm while working.