Flammarion was interested in psychic phenomena from his youth. He wrote about mediumship in the 1860s, stating ‘We believe sincerely in the immortality of the soul; but we seek to make this truth manifest, visible, tangible.’ Like many others, Flammarion was attracted to Spiritism through the work of Allan Kardec. He stated that in 1861 he became part of a group organized by Kardec to the point that he also became a writing medium and produced communications about comets, stars and planets signed ‘Galileo’. In his autobiography he wrote that these experiences ‘have not solved up to now the main problem; but they lead us to admit the existence of unknown forces and of faculties of the soul that are still unexplained’. Flammarion argued that human beings could not be explained through materialist arguments and that both magnetism and Spiritism showed ‘the insufficiency of materialistic theories’. Various phenomena convinced him that ‘it is impossible to admit that the soul is the product of chemical or mechanical’ processes.
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