Doubt concerning the existence of spirits arises from ignorance of their real nature. People usually imagine spirits to be something apart from the rest of creation, and the reality of whose existence has not been proved. Many think of them as imaginary beings, known to them only through the fantastic tales of their childhood, and regard their authenticity much as they would that of the personages of a romance. Without stopping to inquire whether those tales, divested of absurd accessories, may not have some foundation of truth, they see only their absurdities; and not giving themselves the trouble to peel off the bitter husk in order to get at the kernel, they reject the whole, just as others, shocked at certain abuses in religion, confound the whole subject in the same reprobation. Whatever ideas we may hold in regard to spirits, the belief in their existence is necessarily founded on that of the existence of an intelligent principle distinct from matter; this belief is therefore incompatible with an absolute negation of such a principle.