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Tony Grist

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Chico Xavier [Jan. 31st, 2019|11:00 am]
Tony Grist
In 2012 a TV poll to discover the greatest ever Brazilian was won by Chico Xavier- not a name to conjure with outside Brazil. So who was he- a politician? an entertainer? a sportsman? an artist? No; a spirit medium- author of well over 400 books- all of them channelled. It's as if a similar poll in the USA had been topped by Edgar Cayce.

I'm reading The Astral City. First published in 1943, it's Chico's most famous book, an account of the post mortem life of a Brazilian doctor. The man dies, wakes up in hell, is rescued by an old man in white, recovers in a hospital on the lower astral and gradually learns to be less of a pain in the arse. There's a slightly sticky atmosphere of Catholic devotion, rather more moralising than we'd be comfortable with today and a surprising acceptance of the doctrine of reincarnation. It's no better than the very similar books produced by British and American spiritualists in the early 20th century (and no worse- because some of them are very readable) but while they're largely forgotten, The Astral City is still in print and has recently been turned into a movie with special effects by Hollywood's finest and a musical score by Philip Glass.
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