The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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Jardin
Society, Paris, November 25th, 1859

The Journal de la Nievre reports: “A dismal accident occurred last Saturday at the train station. A sixty two year old man named Mr. Jardin was hit by the shafts of a carriage in the courtyard, as he was leaving the station. He exhaled his last breath a few hours later. That man’s death revealed one of the most extraordinary stories to which we would not have given any credit if were not supported by the trustworthy testimony of witnesses who attested to its authenticity. Here is what we were told:

Before his employment with the tobacco market in Nevers, Jardin lived in Cher, village of Saint-Germain-des-Bois, where he was a tailor. His wife had died in that village five years earlier, victimized by pneumonia. He then left the village of Saint-Germain and moved to Nevers eight years ago. A hard working and righteous man, Jardin was a devout Christian, strongly dedicated to religious practices; he had a kneeling bench in his bedroom that he used for his prayers. Friday night, alone with his daughter, he suddenly announced a secret premonition that his end was near.
• Listen, he told her, these are my last wishes: when I am dead you shall send the key to my kneeling bench to Mr. B… so that he can come and pick up whatever is inside and take to my coffin.

Surprised by this sudden recommendation, the daughter asked what could be found in the kneeling bench because she couldn’t tell if he was serious or not. He refused to respond in the beginning but as she insisted, he made the strange revelation that what was inside the kneeling bench was the remains of her late mother!

He told her that before leaving Saint-Germain-des-Bois he went to the cemetery at night. Everybody was asleep in the village; he was feeling really alone; he then went to the grave of his wife and with a shovel he excavated it until he found the remains of what had once been his companion. He would never be separated from her precious remains, thus he collected the bones and stored them in his kneeling bench.

The daughter, a little bit scared by the strange disclosure, but still suspicious that he could not be serious, she eventually promised to attend to his last wishes convinced that he wanted to make fun of her and that on the very next day he would give a logical explanation to his fantastic enigma. The following Saturday arrived and Jardin went to his office as usual. One hour later he was sent to the train station to pick up some bags of tobacco, destined to supply the market. He had just left the station when he was then hit straight in the chest, by the unnoticed shafts of a carriage that was parked among the heaps of other vehicles at the station parking area. He was knocked down by the violence of the impact and taken home unconscious. He recovered his senses after the application of some emergency care. The first responders wanted to remove his clothes to thoroughly examine the wounds but he strongly opposed; they insisted and he refused once again. Despite his refusal the responders decided to undress him when all at once, he suddenly subsided: he was dead.

The body was placed on a bed. What a surprise when those present removed his clothes to find a leather bag tied up around his chest, sitting on his heart. A doctor who was called in to attest the death cut the bag in two pieces, from which a dry hand fell!

Keeping in mind what her father had told her the day before, the daughter of Mr. Jardin advised Mr. B… and Mr. J… who were carpenters. The kneeling bench was opened and a schako (French military hat, round and tall) of the National Guard was found. On the bottom of the schako there was a dead person’s head, still with the hair in place; then they noticed the bones of a skeleton; it was the remains of Mrs. Jardin. Last Sunday Jardin’s body was taken to the grave. In order to attend the sexagenarian’s wishes, the remains of his wife were placed in his coffin and on top of his heart, the dry hand which had felt his heart beat for eight years, if we can say so.” 

1. Evocation – A. I am here.

2. Who has warned you that we wanted to talk to you? – A. I know nothing; I was attracted here.

3. Where were you when we called you? – A. Near a man that I like, accompanied by my wife.

4. How could you have had the premonition of your death? – A. I was warned by the one I missed so much. God had allowed it from her prayers.

5. Was your wife then was always near you? – A. She had never left.

6. Was the cause of her presence the remains preserved by you? – A. Not at all but I believed so.

7. Thus, had you not preserved her remains she would still be by your side? – A. Isn’t thought more powerful to attract the spirit than the remains which have no importance?

8. Have you immediately met your wife, at the time of your death? – A. It was her who came to receive me and to enlighten me.

9. Were you immediately aware of yourself? – A. In a short time, I had an intuitive faith in the immortality of the soul.

10. Your wife must have had other existences, prior to the last one. How could she have forgotten them to be entirely dedicated to you? – A. She stayed by my side as a guide in my corporeal existence, without the need to renounce her former affections. When we say that we never abandon an incarnated spirit you must understand that what we mean, is that we shall be closer to that spirit more frequently than the others. The speed of our movement allows for that as easily as a conversation that you may hold with several speakers.

11. Do you remember your previous existences? – A. Yes. In my last one I was a poor peasant, without education; prior to that, however, I was a sincere and devoted religious person.

12. Wouldn’t the extraordinary affection dedicated to your wife have its cause in former relationships of prior existences? – A. No.

13. Are you happy as a spirit? – A. One cannot be more, you must understand that.

14. Can you define your current happiness and tell us about its cause? – A. I should not have the need to tell you this: I loved and missed a dear spirit; I loved God; I was honest; I found what I missed. These are the elements of happiness to the spirit.

15. What do you do as a spirit? – A. When I was called here I told you that I was near a man that I liked. I was trying to inspire in him the desire for the good, as always do the spirits that God deems worthy. We also have other occupations that cannot be revealed yet.

16. We thank you for your kindness in attending our call. – A. I also thank you.

A Convulsionary

Following circumstances that gave us contact with the daughter of one of the main convulsionaries of Saint-Médard, it was possible to collect some particulars information about that sect. Thus, there is no exaggeration regarding the reports of torture that these fanatics voluntarily submitted themselves to. It is well known that one of the mortifications consisted of the person’s submission to the crucifixion and all sufferings of the passion of Christ. The person, who we are speaking about and who had died in 1830, still had holes in her hands caused by the nails that were used to suspend her on the cross and on her side, the marks of wounds left by spears. She carefully hid those stigmas of fanaticism, always avoiding having to explain them to her children. In the history of the Convulsionaries, she is known by a pseudo name that shall not be mentioned by reasons that will be revealed in due course. The following conversation took place in the presence of her daughter, who requested the evocation. Private details that bear no interest to strangers were removed, details which gave the daughter an incontestable proof of identity.

1. Evocation. – A. I wanted to speak with you for a long time.

2. What were the reasons that led you to wish to speak with me? – A. I can appreciate your work, despite what you may think of my beliefs.

3. Do you see your daughter here? It was she, above all, who wanted to speak with you and we will be delighted to take the opportunity for our own instruction. – A. Yes, a mother always sees her children.

4. Are you happy as a spirit? A. – Yes and no, since I could have done better. But God takes my ignorance into account.

5. Do you remember perfectly well your latest existence? – A. I would have a lot to tell you but pray for me so that I am allowed to do that.

6. Have the tortures that you inflicted on yourself elevated you and made you happier as a spirit? – A. They did not do me harm but did not help me to advance in intelligence.

7. I kindly ask you to be accurate. My question refers to the fact, if that was taken into account in terms of your merit? – A. I would say that you have an item in The Spirits’ Book which provides the general answer. As for myself, I was a poor fanatic. Note: Reference to question 726 in The Spirits’ Book, related to voluntary sufferings.

8. That item states that the merit of the voluntary sufferings is in proportion to the resulting utility to others. The suffering of the Convulsionaries, I believe, did not have another objective other than a purely personal one. – A. It was generally personal, and if I had never mentioned it to my children it was because I vaguely understood that it was not the true path.

Observation: Here the spirit of the mother responds in anticipation to her daughter’s thoughts who wanted to ask why, when alive, she avoided to speak about it with her children.

9. What was the cause of the state of crisis in the Convulsionaries? – A. Natural disposition and overly excited fanaticism. I would never have wanted to have my children dragged towards that fatal cliff, which I recognize as such better still today. She then added, spontaneously responding to her daughter’s reflections who had not, however, formulated the question: I did not have an education but the intuition of many prior existences.

10. Among the phenomena produced by the convulsionaries did some of them have similar somnambulistic effects, like, for example, mind reading, far vision, and intuition of languages? Did magnetism represent any role on that? – A. Many do, and several priests have been magnetized, without people’s consent.

11. Where did the scars that you had in the hands and other parts of the body come from? – A. Poor trophies to our victories, that served nobody and that sometimes excited passions. You must understand me. Observation: It seems that, in the practice of the Convulsionaries, there were things of great immorality that had revolted the honest heart of this lady, and later when the fanatical fever was over, they led her to disgust everything that brought those memories back to her. It is no doubt one of the reasons that made her not want to talk about it with her children.

12. Were there real cures over Deacon Pâris’ grave? – A. Oh! What a question! You know well that no, or very little, particularly to you.

13. Have you seen Pâris, after your death? – A. I don’t occupy my time thinking about him since I have come to the world of the spirits. I blame him for my mistake.

14. How did you see him when you were alive? – A. As an envoy of God’s and that is why I criticize him for the bad things he did in the name of God.

15. However, isn’t he innocent of the foolish things done in his name after his death? – A. No because he himself did not believe his teachings. I did not understand that when alive as I understand it now.

16. Is it true that, as a spirit, he was indifferent to the manifestations which took place on his grave, as he said? – A. He deceived you.

17. Therefore, he excited fanaticism? – A. Yes, and he still does.

18. What do you do as a spirit? – A. I endeavor to enlighten myself and that is why I said I wanted to come to you.

19. Where are you here? – A. Near the medium, with a hand on his arm or shoulder.

20. If we could see you how would you be seen? – A. My daughter would see her mom, like when she was alive. As for you, you would see me in spirit; in words, I don’t know how to say.

21. Kindly explain yourself. What do you mean when you say that I would see you in spirit? – A. A transparent human form, according to the depuration of the spirit.

22. You said that you had other existences. Do you remember them? – A. Yes, I told you so and from my answers you can see that I had many.

23. Could you tell us which one preceded the one we know about? – A. Not tonight and not through this medium. Through the gentleman if you like. Note: She designates one of the assistants that had started to write as a medium, explaining her sympathy towards him, saying that she knew him from a preceding existence.

24. Would you be upset if I publish this conversation in the Review? – A. No. It is necessary that evil be known; but don’t call me… (Her nickname). I hate that name. Call me the great master, if you like.

Observation: We don’t mention the name that she was known by out of respect for her and because it brings her painful memories.

25. We thank you for coming and for the explanations given to us. – A. I am the one to thank you for having provided my daughter with the occasion of meeting her mother, and me with the opportunity of doing some good.

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