Torturing a Bull for Saint John
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Torturing a Bull for Saint John
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 Comments by A J Fecko - 2 Jun 2007

The June feast of Saint John the Baptist has in a number places been associated with animal cruelty. A few centuries ago, in a city of France, it was common to throw a live animal in a bonfire on that day. This is not a topic I want to go very deeply into on this list, but animal torture has in many places often been resorted to for some supposed "benefit."

One example I read recently, is that people used to put a shrew in a tree so it would starve to death and endow the tree with power. There are, unfortunately, many other examples I could mention.

In Port Royal in Paris, France, there was a Jansenist seminary where people tortured animals on a regular basis. They taught Cartesianism, and practiced extremely cruel vivisection in order to desensitize themselves from all feelings of compassion. The priests from this seminary were considered to be very holy by the populace because they were very austere and strict. When one of the Port Royal deacons, Abbe Paris, died, his tomb in Paris became for many people a site of veneration. Almost immediately, a bizarre phenomena began to occur. Visitors to the Jansenist shrine began to go into convulsions and to undergo the most amazing contortions of their limbs. These seizures quickly proved contagious, spreading like a brush fire until the streets were packed with people, all twisting and writhing.

It was while they were in this fitful state that the "convulsionaires," as they came to be called, displayed unusual abilities. One was the ability to endure without harm an almost unimaginable variety of physical tortures. These included severe beatings, blows from both heavy and sharp objects, and strangulation; all with no signs of injury or even the slightest trace of wounds or bruises. In fact, they found the beating relieving to the great pain caused by their convulsions.

This was witnessed by thousands of observers. The frenzied gatherings around Abbe Paris's tomb were not short-lived. The cemetery and the streets surrounding it were crowded day and night for years.

Invulnerability was not the only talent the Jansenists displayed during their seizures. Some were able to discern hidden things. Others could read even when their eyes were closed and tightly bandaged, and instances of levitation were reported. One of the levitators, an Abbe named Bescherand from Montpellier, was so "forcibly lifted into the air" during his convulsions that even the witnesses tried to hold him down they could not succeed in keeping him from raising up off the ground.

The Catholic church declared the convulsionaire manifestations satanic; both because Jansenism was a heresy, and because of the bizarreness of the phenomena.

I agree with the church that both Jansenism and its convulsionaire manifestations had an evil origin.

Many of us wonder how in this day and age the cruelties of factory farming and vivisection continue in such strength. It's my personal opinion that it's not just ignorance and psychopathic personalities that are behind all of this. There are beings that thrive on the agony of others. Ultimately, what we are really fighting is a spiritual battle. Saying this, no doubt, sounds to many "unscientific." But that's my opinion.

Peace,

A J Fecko

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