Director of the Industrial Museum of Brussels; born in Baissey (Haute Marne), he died, in the city of Brussels, of apoplexy, October 27th, 1861, at the age of sixty-nine.
Mr. Jobard was one of the Honorary Presidents of the Spiritist Society of Paris. It had been intended to evoke him at the séance of November 8th, when he forestalled this intention by making, spontaneously, the following communication:
“I am here, I whom you were going to evoke, and who desire, first of all, to communicate through this medium, whom I have been trying in vain to induce to write for me until now.
“I wish to tell you of my impression at the moment of the separation of my soul from my body. I felt an indescribable shaking of my whole being; my entire life, my birth, youth, and manhood, came back all at once to my memory, which showed me every incident of my career with wonderful clearness. I was conscious of no other desire than that of finding myself again in the regions revealed to us by our beloved belief; and then all this tumult died away. I was free, and my body was lying lifeless beside me. Ah! Dear friends, what an intoxicating happiness it is, this stripping away of the burden of the earthly body! What an unspeakable joy to take in the view of the glorious immensity around us! But you must not fancy that I found myself all at once at the summit of felicity; no, I am among those who, though they have learned something, have yet a great deal more to learn. I was not long in remembering you, my brothers in exile; my sympathies, my good wishes, are with you!
“Do you care to know who the spirits were that received me on my return to the other life, and what were my first impressions on crossing its threshold? Those friends included all whom we have evoked, all our spirit-brothers who have shared our labors. What I saw was a splendor that cannot be described. I have set myself to discerning what is true in the communications that have been received by us, and I am ready to correct any erroneous statements; ready, in fact, to be the knight-errant of truth in the other world, as I was, when in your world.” JOBARD
1. During your lifetime, you requested us to call you when you should have quitted the Earth; we therefore do so, not only in order to comply with your wish, but also, and especially, to renew to you the expression of our sincere and lively affection, and in the hope of learning from you; for you, more than any other, will be able to give us precise information respecting the world in which you now are. We shall therefore be very glad if you will have the kindness to reply to our questions.
A. What has now to be done is to assist you in acquiring a knowledge of the spirit-life. As for your sympathy, I see it; I no longer merely receive the expression of it through the ears, which is a great step in advancement.
2. To fix our ideas, so as not to talk vaguely, we begin by asking you in what part of the room you are, and how you would appear to us, if we could see you?
A. I am close to the medium; you would see me under the appearance of the Jobard who has so often been seated at this table, for your mortal eyes, not yet unsealed, can see spirits only under their mortal form.
3. Would it be possible for you to render yourself visible to us, and, if not, what is the obstacle that prevents your doing so?
A. Your own personal condition. A seeing medium would see me; no others could see me.
4. The seat you occupy is that which you used to occupy when you were with us, during your life, and which we had kept for you this evening. Those who have seen you there, then, may imagine you to be with us, just as you were on those occasions. If you are not there with your material body, you are there with your fluidic body, which has the same form; if we do not see you with our bodily eyes, we see you with the eyes of our thought; if we can no longer hold communion with you by word of mouth, we can do so by writing, with the aid of an intermediary; our connection with you is therefore in no way interrupted by your death, and we can converse with you as easily and as completely as before. Is this a true description of the state of the case?
A. Yes; you have known all this for a long time. As for this seat, I shall often occupy it, even when you do not notice it, for my spirit will reside among you.
We invite attention to these last words: “My spirit will reside among you.”
In the present case the statement is not figurative, but expresses a reality. Through the knowledge that is given us by Spiritism of the nature of spirits, we know that a spirit may be among us, not merely in thought, but also in person, with the aid of his or her ethereal body, which makes the spirit a distinct personality. A spirit, then, may reside among us after death, as certainly as during the life of its body; and, what is more, a spirit can come and go when it pleases. We thus have around us, in our houses, a crowd of invisible inmates, some of whom regard us with indifference, while others are attached to us by affection. It is of these latter, especially, that it may be said, “They reside among us;” a statement that is to be understood as meaning, “They habitually assist, inspire, and protect us.”
5. It is not very long since you were seated in the place you are occupying at present; do the conditions in which you now find yourself seem to you to be changed? What effect does this change produce in you?
A. The conditions do not seem to me changed; but my spirit enjoys a clearness and distinctness of perception that leaves no shadow about the questions to which I direct my thought.
6. Can you remember whether you had been in the same state before your last existence and do you find yourself changed since then?
A. I remember my anterior existences, and I perceive that I have improved. I see, and I assimilate what I see. After my former incarnations, my spirit was in a state of confusion, and I perceived nothing but my terrestrial gaps.
7. Do you remember your last incarnation but one, that which preceded your existence as Mr. Jobard?
A. In my last existence but one I was a working mechanic, devoured by poverty and by the desire to perfect my work. I have realized, in my life as Jobard, the dreams of the poverty-stricken workman, and I praise God, whose infinite goodness has caused the plant, of which He had sown the seed in my brain, to grow and fructify.
8. Have you already given any communications elsewhere?
A. I have, as of yet, given very few communications. In many places, another spirit has taken my name. In some cases I was near this spirit, but was not able to communicate; my death is so recent that I am still affected by certain terrestrial influences. I can only express my thoughts where I find perfect sympathy. Before long, I shall be able to act with entire freedom; but I cannot do so yet. When a man who dies is widely known, he is evoked on all sides; a thousand spirits are prompt to assume his name; this has already happened to me in several instances. I assure you that few spirits are able to communicate directly after their deliverance, even with the aid of their favorite medium.
9. Do you see the spirits who are with us this evening?
A. I see, close to you, Lazarus and Erastus; a little farther off, hovering in space, the Spirit of Truth; besides these spirits of greater advancement, I see a crowd of spirit-friends who surround the assembly, taking an active and benevolent part in the proceedings. You may esteem yourselves happy, dear Friends, for good influences are about you, warding off the suggestions that would lead you into error.
10. During your life, you shared the opinion of those who suppose the Earth to have been formed by the agglomeration of four planets. Do you still hold this opinion?
A. That opinion is erroneous. The recent discoveries of geology prove the convulsions that have occurred in the history of the Earth and the successive eras of its formation. The Earth, like the other planets, has had its own life; and God had no need of so disorderly a cataclysm as is implied in such an aggregation of planets. Water and fire are the only organic elements of the Earth.
11. You also believed that men might remain for an unlimited period in a state of catalepsy, and that the human race has been brought, in this state, to the Earth. Is this still your opinion?
A. All that was a mere illusion of my imagination, always apt to go too far. The state of catalepsy may last for a long time, but not indefinitely. My idea was derived from the exaggerations of Eastern legends. Believe me, I have already suffered not a little in recalling the illusions to which I was too prompt to attach credence; do not lose sight of this fact. I had already acquired considerable knowledge; and my intelligence being prompt (I may say so without vanity,) to apply the wide and varied researches of my anterior career, I had retained, from my preceding incarnation, the love of the marvelous and the complex acquired in my study of the figments of the popular fancy.
I have not, as of yet, given so much attention to purely intellectual subjects, such as those in which you are interested. How could I do so, dazzled, carried away, as I am, by the wondrous spectacle that I see around me? The tie of our common spiritist belief, a tie far more powerful than you, human beings, can imagine, is the only thing that could attract me to this Earth that I abandon – not with joy, for that would be irreverent towards the Creator – but with a profound thankfulness for my deliverance.
A subscription having been set on foot, by the Spiritist Society, in February 1862, for the distressed operatives of Lyons, one of the members subscribed 25 francs in his own name, and 25 francs in the name of Mr. Jobard, who dictated, in reference to this incident, the following message:
I am pleased and grateful to find that my spiritist brethren do not forget me. Thanks to the generous heart that has conveyed to you the offering that I should have made, if I had still been a dweller in your world! In the one that I now inhabit, we have no need of money; it was therefore necessary for me to draw upon a friendly purse in order to give you a tangible proof of my sympathy for the misfortune of my brothers in Lyons. Brave workmen! You see that charity is not an empty word, since rich and poor have shown their fraternal sympathy in your distress! You are thus upon the broad, humanitarian road of progress; may God preserve you therein, and may more fortunate times be in store for you; our spirit-friends will sustain you and aid you to triumph over the difficulties of your lot!
I am beginning to live more peacefully, less disturbed by the evocations from every quarter that pursued me, for a time, thick as hail. Spirits are not exempted, it seems, from the tyranny of fashion; when the fashion of evoking Jobard shall have been supplanted by some other; I shall pass into the region of human forgetfulness; and I beg that, when this is the case, my sincere and serious friends will continue to evoke me, that we may resume our study of questions which have hitherto been treated of too superficially, and that thus your friend Jobard, completely transfigured, may be enabled to be of use to you, as he desires to be, from the very bottom of his heart.
JOBARD Having given a sufficient time to communicating with his earthly friends, Mr. Jobard joined the ranks of the spirits who are most actively pushing forward the social renovation of the Earth, while awaiting his approaching reincarnation in this world, when he will take a still more direct part in the work of its reformation. Since that time, he has frequently given to the Paris Society – among whose members he insists upon being still enrolled – communications of superior import, whose seriousness of purpose has not excluded the originality of style, and the witty sallies, by which his writings were characterized during his life, and which reveal the authorship of his messages before he has signed them.